Leslie Gold here from Strides in Recovery to talk about running, recovery and inspiration. Today, specifically, we’re talking about what wildfires can teach us about recovery.

A bicycle ride through a burn area inspired this analogy. 

One way I keep my spirits up during this period of physical distancing is getting outdoors daily and exercising. Last weekend, I took a long bicycle ride in the Santa Monica Mountains, an area that had been engulfed in flames during Southern California’s wildfires last year.  The entire area was blackened. There was so little vegetation remaining and the land was so dry that the winds lifted dirt into the air. Skies were brown. It was difficult to breathe. 

But a year later, as you can see, the scenery was completely different. Skies were clear and blue. The blackened dead trees were still there, but new life had sprung up all around them. Observing the beauty of spring flowers and bright greenery among burnt trees made me think of recovery. The dark parts of your past life, intertwined with your new self, add to the beauty of who you are inside and out.

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Leslie Gold

Leslie Gold, Founder and Executive Director of Strides in Recovery Leslie is an RRCA-certified running coach who specializes in training the newly sober. As a volunteer at a residential addiction treatment program, she has coached hundreds of people in early recovery across the finish line of the Los Angeles Marathon, more than any other coach in the country. Years later, many of the participants still credit the group training and life lessons learned as critical to their long-term sobriety. Inspired by these success stories and numerous testimonials about the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits of training for a challenging endurance event with the support of a team, Leslie started Strides in Recovery. The mission of this non-profit is threefold: 1) Bring running/walking-based relapse prevention programs to more recovery communities 2) Strengthen and grow the community of sober runners/walkers 3) Educate addiction treatment providers about the healing power of goal-oriented group training Prior to starting Strides in Recovery in 2018, Leslie spent three decades leading clinical and financial performance improvement projects, implementing decision support solutions, and generating analytics for hospitals and health systems across the US. She holds an MBA from UCLA and a BA from the University of Virginia. She regularly runs 40-50+ miles/week and has joyfully completed a 50K, 9 marathons, and numerous shorter distance events. She is also an avid cyclist.

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