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Blister in the Chicago Sun

If you've ever attended a trade show, you'll know one thing: Wear comfortable shoes. Yesterday, I made the mistake of wearing a fairly new pair of shoes. I thought I had broken them in but apparently not well enough for a trade show.

After my flight landed in Chicago at about 10 am, I caught a shuttle and headed down to the hotel, where I then grabbed a bite to eat and caught the bus over to the convention center. Shoe status was good at this point. No blisters, no pain, just cute shoes.

Then I attended a session led by Pam Conner, fitness director of the Sarasota (FL) Family YMCA, about youth fitness programs. The session was very informative and very interactive as Pam pulled a lot of the attendees' experiences into the seminar. She also stressed the importance of having good, quality staff members to run any youth fitness program, even though individuals with these qualities can be hard to find.

After the session, I hit the trade show floor to check on our booth (which looks fabulous! Our art director Jennifer Ray is here and taking pics of it, so we'll have to post some shots of it later).

That afternoon, I caught a cab and buzzed over to the East Bank Club to meet our Step by Step columnist Jasmine Jafferali (here's a link to her most recent article about joining forces with the spa industry). She gave me a complete tour of the 450,000-square-foot facility. The club was amazing. My jaw literally dropped a number of times. Here are a few of the club's features that I saw: an indoor running track, eight indoor tennis courts, a 20,000 square-foot cardiovascular room, a free weight room, five aerobics studios (heaven for me!), a Pilates and Gyrotonic studio, physical therapy room, a 60-bike spinning studio (60!), four swimming pools (two indoor, two outdoor), an indoor golf driving range, a pro shop; a dry cleaner, a full-service salon and spa, a children's activity center, a car wash, a deli, a high-end restaurant, and a 60,000-square-foot sun deck. Impressive, no?

While there, I also chatted with Tony Swain, who we recently quoted in an article about vibration training.

After my tour, I headed back to McCormick Place where I met up with Pam and Stuart for the show's welcome reception. There, we mingled with many in the industry including our 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award winner Rick Caro and Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro's columnists Bruce Carter and Michael Scott Scudder. At this point, after two glasses of red wine, the feet were still good.

It was a different story though after we "crashed" the IHRSA party. Maybe God was punishing me for attending a party I wasn't invited to; I'm not sure. But, my feet started screaming. I had not one, not two, but three blisters. Yes, God was teaching me a lesson.

Today, I'm in different shoes, and so far, so good. My blisters have been covered in band-aids, and I've been on my best behavior. I've learned my lesson! No crashing parties and no wearing shoes that aren't entirely broken in! --Jennipher Shaver

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