Southern Obesity Summit- Day 2

My alarm goes off at 5:20am. I don’t even press the snooze button because I’m super excited to lead the 6am, 4.5 mile run from the conference hotel in downtown Louisville over the Big Four Bridge (no, seriously… I am excited!). I lie there curious to know if anyone will even show up and wonder to myself, if they don’t, will I still run or come back home and crawl into bed? I get dressed, eat a hardboiled egg, drink some tea and walk the 3 blocks from where I live in downtown Louisville to the Marriott.

Look at this motivated group!

Look at this motivated group!

Jamie Sparks, Kentucky Department of Education Director of School Health was the one with the brilliant idea that the keynote would lead the run. He volunteered me a month or so ago, but I’m so glad he did. He showed up as well and we had an amazing turnout- 16 adults and a 6 month old! Being fall, the entire run was in the dark, but we somehow timed our run to miss the rain and I enjoyed hearing conversations, laughter, networking and I was especially excited to meet another UCONN fan (Go Huskies!), Karl from Atlanta (I’m a basketball fan and living in Kentucky as a UCONN fan isn’t always to easy).

We successfully completed the run and the rest of the day brought engaging speakers, courageous conversations, networking, a walk with a new colleague from South Carolina and reconnecting with Scott Bricker from America Walks, an old friend and colleague I met my first year teaching in 1999 in Portland OR. Scott worked at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and needed a teacher to pilot the Bicycle Safety Program. I implemented it, helped with revisions and alignment to other content areas and subsequently hundreds, if not thousands of my students went through that 2-week skills safety program during my years teaching.

I enjoyed the schools pillar conversation in the afternoon, especially hearing the positive things going on in the south in schools. It was great to hear more from Larry Cohen from the Prevention Institute in Oakland. We got a taste of his passion and work around supporting communities promote, implement and live and breath prevention and when Maya Rockeymoore, the keynote wasn’t able to be here. Larry willingly stepped in and did a great job giving many of us ideas of how to use past campaigns, like the tobacco, to eliminate unhealthy environments related to lack of physical activity opportunities and non-nutrient rich foods.

Great second day and looking forward to the third day. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to keynote and share my story with participants at the conference. And one other thing… who says you can’t get any physical activity during a conference?