January 18, 2014   1 note

Swim, Bike, Run and Recover for Life.

When I think of myself today the words that come to mind are athlete, therapist, business owner, friend, sister, daughter, among others.  I wasn’t always an athlete.  I struggled with substance abuse as a teenager and an eating disorder throughout my older adolescence and early twenties.  When I was 25 I found myself through sport.  In 2009 I broke my foot while training for what I hoped to be first of many NYC Marathons.  I couldn’t run, I couldn’t bike.  I felt my eating disorder creeping back up and had to find a way to tame it.  I needed an alternative to running and with my foot in a hard boot I hobbled over to a pool and took swim lessons everyday for about 4 months, this led me to become a triathlete.  Sport is for me what AA is to many alcoholics in recovery. 

I have a love-hate relationship with swimming.  I often say my favorite part swimming is getting out of the pool.  The sense of accomplishment I feel when I swim a long distance or improve my speed is something I don’t feel in any other area.  Because of the way I mistreated my body as a kid, my bones never developed properly.  I have suffered many devastating injuries weeks before races I have spent a year training for.  I am often sidelined by stress fractures.  Swimming has saved me many times and provided a place where I can achieve the mind-body connection I have come to depend on even when I am injured.  The discipline and passion I have for triathlon is what keeps me healthy, driven and, motivated to help others everyday.  I have met some of my best friends through swimming, biking, or running and triathlon allows me to have a healthy relationship to food, alcohol, and my body.

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My parents and me after I finished the NYC Marathon in 2011 

I have decided to donate to Racing for Recovery.  I discovered this organization through the founder’s movies and books.   This is a program that provides an alternative to 12 step-treatment programs by using the concept of sports and community to help people recover from addictions.  The main focus is drug addiction, however, the principles are applicable to every kind of addiction and very open to people seeking recovery from an eating disorder.   The founder, Todd Crandell, found his recovery from addiction through Ironman.  He now provides support groups and individual therapy to addicts, alcoholics, and others struggling to find themselves.  In my private practice as a psychotherapist in NYC, I specialize in helping people overcome eating disorders.  Similar to Racing for Recovery, I encourage people to discover a passion that will reward them with a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem. 

Finding balance during Ironman training is not easy, in fact, I am not yet sure it’s possible.  For an addict, recovered or otherwise, having balance is a constant struggle.  Until I find said balance in my training, you can find me swimming, biking, running, working, and trying to make time in my life for everything (or anything) else!

Thank you to Colette and friends for letting me participate in your Two Cents Project and for the project itself. Such a great idea!

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One of my best friends, who I met biking.  We are ready to race!

My Two Cents:

What I gave up: My early morning cab to swim team practice, 9.50 plus tip 

Where It’s going: Racing for Recovery

Why:  Because I believe in this organization and wish there were more like it. Sport saved me from myself 

-Steph, usually heard giving my two cents 

January 4, 2014

Giving It Back to the Source — Little League Baseball

What defined my childhood — and what helped form the person I’ve become — was baseball. It’s the sport that best meshes individual responsibility and achievement with collective, team success. Whether you’re alone in the batter’s box, alone on the pitcher’s mound or alone about to catch a fly ball, your individual actions have a direct effect on your teammates, and unlike in other sports, they have nothing to do with the process. Games like basketball and football require multiple teammates working together simultaneously to score, and there are of course important life lessons to be found there. But for moments during baseball games, you’re required to essentially stand alone and perform for the good of your teammates — and you’re reliant on them to do the same for you.
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At a young age, baseball can teach kids that within the construct of a team, as you’re working together toward a common purpose with others, it ultimately comes down to what each individual brings to the field. Some hit for power, others rely on their speed and so on — the sport fosters a respect and an appreciation for unique skills, including your own. 
So learning how to fit your individuality into a group — friends, family, coworkers or even strangers — and appreciating the unique gifts of others is something that’s stuck with me. And I hope that will be the case for generations of kids to come. What better way to support youth baseball than to donate to Little League, America’s leading youth baseball organization that provides equipment, guidance and support to leagues across the country, including to Bayonne Little League, where I played. Instead of spending $10 on a few beers tonight, I’ll gladly say a small thank you to the sport that ended up being so much more than a sport for me.     
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My Two Cents
What I Gave Up: $10 beer money
Where it’s going: Little League
Why: To support the sport that teaches kids that it’s possible to be an individual and a team player.
— Dave, Little League Pitcher and Future Coach
December 24, 2013