Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dance, Dance Baby...

Week 9

We had such a blast this week. We were surprised with a visit from Veronica Taylor. She is a Paramedical Esthetician. She has spent years studying about human skin and how to keep it healthy. We learned about the different layers of our skin and how it protects our body from the "outside" world. She stressed how important a healthy diet is for maintaining healthy and clear skin. The only way to completely nurish skin is from the "inside out" she said. Drinking lots of water is not the only way to keep skin healthy. We need to consume the proper vitamins and minerals so they get to the deeper layers of the skin. She illustrated (on the white board) the anatomy of a follicle. She taught us how there are many different types of skin; there is oily , dry, or combination skin. Skin contains follicles can become clogged with bacteria and dead cells on our skin's surface. We learned our skin is the first indication of disease. Generally infections in our body also present on our skin. One of the most shocking pieces of information she provided us with was how the skin and acne products DO NOT WORK! They actually dry out our skin which forces our skin to produce more and more oils keeping our skin unhealthy. Instead she gave us a list of healthy foods and household products we can use to keep our skin healthy. One such food was Manuka honey. It is produced from bees in New Zealand and the honey has antimicrobial compounds. Other foods include milk, egg whites, avocado, pineapple, oatmeal, olive oil etc.... We can use Honey and sugar as a scrub and aspirin and water paste as an exfoliant. Wow so many things we can use right from our Fridge or cabinet! Finally she told us about certain cosmets and how they are good for our skin. Colore Science produces mineral cosmetics which actually protect our skin. She demonstrated how they remain on our skin even when exposed to water. We all received gift bags of samples and Veronica offered all of us a 1-hour free consultation! Thank you Veronica Taylor!!!

After school we revisted B-East for a Dance Aerobics class with Dalila Adams of Exclusive Naturopathic ( Dalila is a Naturopathic Practitioner as well as a dance aerobics instructor, Zumba instructor, Yoga and meditation instructor. Strike a Pose!!! We had soooo much fun. We all had smiles on our faces. For many of us, this was our favorite class yet. We danced to Shakira, Zumba music as well as other great music we all know. Delila led the dances and we followed along. She choreographed the dance moves so they included stretching, warm-up, a fast paced dance to get our heart rate up and a cool down. It was the most fun workout we have ever done! Who knew dancing could also be a workout! We definitely worked up a sweat!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Our First Ride....

Week 8

This week we was a week of firsts! Before our workshop we visited our plot in the greenhouse. Our plants are growing and our lettuces actually look like lettuce! We harvested some of the more mature leaves. We all got to taste the fruit or in our case vegetables of our labor. Our in school workshop theme was "The Power of Greens." Ms. Jennifer Taylor from the Wellness Foundation came in to speak with us again. She spoke with us about the importance of green leafy vegetables and adding them to our diet. She spoke with us about how greens how so many vitamins and nutrients as well as proteins, carbohydrates and especially fiber!!! After our discussion Ms. Taylor taught us how to make a "green" smoothie using kale, spinach and fruit. She said green smoothies are a good way to get greens into our diet without having to eat tons of salad. For some of us it was the first time we had tried a green smoothie. It was delicious! Ms. Taylor brought a friend with her to our discussion. Antonia Demas, PhD joined us in the nutrition discussion. She told us a touching story of a boy in her town who was in a terrible accident which put him in a coma. His doctors had no hope he would ever come out of his coma and informed his mother to prepare to slowly allow him to die via starvation. His mother then saught the help of Dr. Demas who created a soup-like food substance to feed the boy. Through the use of these greens and all its nutrients/vitamins the boy recovered from the coma and is living his life to the fullest!

Our afterschool activity was another first. We went on our first bike ride! Sharon McCobb from the YMCA, certified personal trainer and avid cyclist, led us on a ride from Springs School to Louse Point.  It was a great first ride; it was flat with not many turns. However we learned we are part of traffic when we ride. We learned how to ride single-file and how to signal our turns. Some of us did not have bikes to ride. However the community came together and people have loaned and donated bikes for us to use.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

We SEE........

Week 7

This week Mr. Eric Casale, our school principal, visited us to let us know how proud we have made him and the entire school community as they watch our progress- he told us that we have inspired him and that he will be competing in his first triathlon in July as well!!!

During our in school workshop we learned all about visualization.  We learned visualization is the process by which we imagine and feel ourselves actually doing something we WANT to do or accomplish. We learned many Olympic and professional athletes use this technique in order to improve their success in their sport. For example a swimmer might imagine his/her race. He/She would see themselves (in their minds) stepping up to the blocks to start, hear the horn and see their perfect dive into the water. They would see themselves competing from start to finish. This makes the actual race seem less intimidating as the athlete has already experienced it. Theresa led us through a visualization.
We all sat quietly at our desks with our heads down as she spoke to us. She led us through imagining every detail of our race day. From getting our gear in the car, driving to Maidstone Park, setting up our transition area, to swimming, biking and running the course. And of course crossing the finish line. We all imagined and felt everything we would do and see on the day of our race. Alana said when she crossed the finish line, Theresa and Alyson hugged her and had tears in their eyes! Other girls imagined people they cared about at the finish line waiting to congratulate them!!! Kirstin saw and felt herself swimming along the beach. Swimming has been by far the most difficult challenge for Kirstin. She has been using visualization from our first day in the pool to get herself down to the deep end of the pool. She has come such a long way! Each of the girls have! Go Girls!

Greenhouse Update: Our plants are coming up! The lettuces are beginning to look like Lettuce! YUM-O!!!

After School we returned to Kama Deva Yoga studio in East Hampton where we FINALLY got to meet owner Jessica Bellofatto. She led us through another yoga class. However this class challenged us a bit more. We warmed up with a familiar series of asanas known as a Sun Salutation. Then.....she had us doing some inversions. This was a challenge for many of us. First she had us practice the bow pose and upward upward bow pose.  Then we tried the full wheel pose where we were upside down with only our hands and feet touching the floor. Then she led us through an inversion where we used the wall to support our legs. We started in downward dog with our feel close to the wall. We then walked our feet up the wall to make a 90 degree angle between our torso and our legs. This took focus as we attempted to raise one leg at a time straight in the air. Finally we faced the wall and attempted to raise our legs above our head as if we were going to do a hand stand with our feet resting on the wall. Many of us were able to get up. Some of us had support and others of us were able to briefly get up. Thank you Jess for helping us realize we can attempt these sometimes scary experiences!

After we finished our yoga class, we were joined by Steve Eaton. Steve is an avid student of both yoga and music. He leads Kirtan at various yoga studios around town. Kirtan is call and response chanting. The i-tri girls loved chanting during the other yoga sessions, Theresa and Alyson had to bring Steve in to share this experience with the girls. He led us through two different chants. Each started soft and slow and increased in speed and volume as we kept repeating the words. Steve brought hand held instruments for us to use during our mini kirtan. It was exhilarating! Thank you Steve!

Saturday we had our very first Track workout at the East Hampton High School. Coach Yanina "Yani" Cuesta taught us about the importance of a warm-up- to warm up our muscles so as not to get hurt. She led us through important stretches so we can begin to gain flexibility and strength. After our stretching she taught us about good form. We learned we do not only use our legs when we run. We have to use our arms as well. She taught us how to "pump" our arms while we run. The faster our arms move, it is proven, the faster our legs will move. She had us do what are called "high knees". She had us move forward as though we were running, but we had to lift our knees as high as we could. We also had to do the same thing except this time trying to kick our feet back to our backside. These are drills to improve ours stride and our overall running.  Then came the difficult part. Coach Yani asked us to run for 10 minutes around the track. Each time she blew her whistle we had to pick up the pace a little bit. All while focusing on our technique. We did not complete the full ten minutes. We finished about half of it.  It was hard!  It showed us how hard our training was going to get and what we needed to work on! Thank you Yani for all of your help!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Today we broke the MYTH about Beauty....

Week 6

This week was probably our most AMAZING week thus far!!!! The theme of the week was BEAUTY!  Half of the girls along with, Theresa and Alyson met at the East Hampton Middle School for their annual Wellness Fair. We had a table along with organizations like the Wellness Foundation, East Hampton Ocean Rescue, various physicians and dentists, the ECCO farm, Southampon Hosipital, the YMCA etc...  We were there to tell anybody and everyone about our journey.  We had a photo slide show, examples of positive affirmations, and some giveaways from Cardio Coach, our corporate sponsor. Cardio Coach offers "downloadable audio workouts" to be used on any cardio machine. They have provided us with t-shirts and mp3 players for all the girls. These mp3 players came preloaded with a workout for the girls. The i-tri girls will be working with Cardio Coach to help develop a Cardio Kids program! We spoke with students, teachers and parents about every aspect of our program. People were very interested in what we are doing listened to what we had to say. We are a part of something BIG!!! It was very good practice in public speaking

During our classroom workshop we debunked the myths about BEAUTY....We are force fed images of what is beautiful everyday in all forms of media. It can really drive us mad -  trying to compete with these images and thinking we need to look like these models in order to be considered beautiful. Truth is, these models do not even look like what we see in magazines and on TV.  The girls were given popular magazines and asked to choose an image of a women they thought was beautiful. Then they had to share why they chose that  particular woman. Answers varied; her eyes, hair or long legs. The girls were then shown a video from Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty called EVOLUTION .  This short film showed the process it takes to make a model into the MODEL you see in magazines, on tv or on billboards. It shows the makeup application, hair styling and photographing. However the transformation does not stop there. The film then goes to show how the photos are digitally enhanced to make the models eyes bigger, her neck longer, hair more voluminous and cheeks thinner. No wonder we have a distorted image of beauty in this country. This led to a discussion about what the girls thought of the model. Many of them thought she looked strange when it was all said and done. She did not, they said, look like herself. We all know there are so many pressures to look and act a certain way. But the truth is we are ALL beautiful and we just need to recognize and feel it!

After we discussed this, the girls were asked to pick a physical feature they love about THEMSELVES and write it on an index card. They also chose their favorite character trait to add to the card. We then spoke about how many of the features the girls chose, were THE SAME features they loved about the models! We all have beautiful traits! Finally, Theresa had found these geodes a while back. They look like ordinary rocks, gray and dingy on the outside. However, when we cracked them open with a hammer, they were beautiful crystals on the inside! JUST like us!!!!!

After school we revisited B East . Two dear friends of Theresa's taught us Bellydancing. Shona Gawronski and Kate Topliff were amazing. Watching them dance was incredible. They were graceful and poised. They completely embodid what it means to be feminine.  When we arrived at the studio, they had jingly skirts waiting for us! They were so pretty. We all felt beautiful. Oh by way, Theresa and Alyson did our makeup before we left. We all got dramatic eye makeup. Very theatrical! Shona and Kate broke down one of their favorite dances and taught us how to do each part of the dance. They taught us to just listen to the music and to our bodies. By the end of class we all did the whole dance, twice!!!! We left there feeling so beautiful and feminine!!!! Thanks Shona & Kate!!!!


Thursday night we had a health fair at our school. We were able to finally share our experiences with everyone we go to school with and their families. Thanks for all of the support!

Saturday we were back at the YMCA for more training. We finaly got in a running workout. In fact we used the MP3 players given to us by Cardio Coach.  We had such a good time. It was a challenging workout. Sean O'Malley, Cardio Coach himself, led us up a fog filled mountain and over hills. He helped us the whole way with encouraging words and peaceful music. When we finished we felt we really accomplished something. We look forward to helping Sean and the Cardio Coach team develop and test a Cardio Kids version of the workouts. We are so excited to share our thoughts with them. Thank you Cardio Coach for all of your support!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Finding the TRUTH....

Week 5

This week we learned about SUGAR content in products we are all so used to consuming. Ms. Jennifer Taylor, from the Wellness Foundation, taught us all about sugar.  We discussed how sugar gives our body a high, we have tons of energy, but then we crash and become really tired. The only way, she taught us, to get that high again was to eat more sugar. Our body begins to crave it. Then she layed out products many of us have eaten and may even love. She showed us each product and held up the amount of sugar (using sugar packets) in each product. There were products we thought were good for us but it turns out they are loaded with sugar. One of the most shocking discoveries that day was about Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Ms. Taylor told us about a man who works for Pepsi but will not allow his own children to drink it. This man uses the product to CLEAN HIS GOLF CLUBS!!! Alyson mentioned she has used coke to clean her toilet! WHY are we putting this stuff into our bodies & WHAT is it doing to us?

Then she taught us how to make healthy sorbet using fruit juice and frozen fruit. It was soooo YUMMY! She also told us how to make our own vitamin water by simply adding fruit to water and allowing it to sit overnight!

GREENHOUSE Update: Our Plot is sprouting!!!!

After school we went into town to the Kamadeva Yoga Studio. Owner Jessical Bellafato generously allowed us to use her studio for our Pilates  Mat class. Melissa Roach, of Pilates by Melissa (, led our class. She is a very energetic instructor and we were glad we did not have to stay silent the whole time!!! Many of the exercises forced us to use our core muscles to maintain our balance. We learned Pilates was an exercise for both our mind and body.  It combines stretching, stregnthening and posture exercises.
It tones, and stregthens through graceful movements of the body. Like Yoga, Pilates forces our attention inward to our body, our breath and the movements we are making. It also helps improve flexibility!  
We did exercises with our legs, lifting and circling them. We did some rolling exercises that stretched and massaged our back. Overall it was a great class!

Saturday was supposed to be our first track workout. Sadly we got rained out. So we went to the Y to continue with our swim workouts/lessons. We are all really starting to get the hang of it. Our strokes are looking better each day. After our lesson we enjoyed some REAL vitamin water, Alyson made strawberry pinapple and cucumber waters. They tasted so good!

Some Exciting News To Share!!!

We recently received a very generous donation from a FAN in Ohio. With this donation and support from Gubbins Running Ahead in East Hampon, we were able to outfit the girls with with proper new running shoes. Thank you for all of your support!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Training our Minds...

Spring has sprung ... it is a time for renewal and growth...

Today's theme encompassed this very well. We arrived to our workshop to find cards of encouragement made out to each and every one of us. These cards were mailed to us by Susie Roden, Community Outreach Director of the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center She organized a Hallmark card drive from our followers in the breast cancer community. Many in this community have been following our journey and decided to send us cards of support! Thank you to all of you who are supporting us! It could not have come on a more perfect day. Just as we were learning about staying positive through our struggles. You are an inspiration to all of us! We are so grateful for your support and encouragement. We hope you join us on our race day to cheer us on from the sidelines!!!!  Hey you never know...maybe we will have inspired you to TRI as well!!!

During our workshop we learned about AFFIRMATIONS. We learned about the difference between negative and positive affirmations. Alyson and Theresa surprised us with a shocking role-play skit in which Alyson was the voice in Theresa's head - picking herself (Theresa) apart and making negative comments about Theresa's appearance, weight, failures etc...We discussed how we ALL do this to ourselves but would never let our friends speak to us the way we all speak or think about ourselves.
We learned that these negative thoughts are NEGATIVE AFFIRMATIONS! (powerful statements - that AFFIRM how you feel) Each negative thought only leads to negative beliefs and experiences..."its like a magnet" Katie realized during the discussion. Alana asked "isnt that a waste of time?"
Yes! Negative thoughts are only a waste of time!
Then we thought of times when we made negative affirmations and found ways to turn them into powerful POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS. We made affirmation cards to hang up at home where we will see them and think and say them everyday!   I AM BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!
Continuing with our growth theme of the day we headed to The Springs Community Seedlings Project located at OUR school!!! Karen McFarland, from  the Seedlings Project gave us our own planting bed in the greenhouse. We planted seeds for lettuces, kale, peppers, and cucumbers. We will tend to the plot and then harvest when the plants are ready.

It will be great to experience the entire GROWTH process from planting, caring for and tending to the plants and then harvesting them to eat! Can we say picnic?

 Later in the afternoon we visited the Mandala Yoga Studio in Amagansett, NY. Owner, Jolie Parcher, led our amazing experience. First we started with some simple breathing and centering exercises. She guided us through some chanting.  For many of us this was our favorite part! Then Jolie led us through various poses. We learned that anytime we are feeling anxious or scared, we just have to switch our attention to our FEET! Our feet keep us grounded and connected to the earth.  For many of us this class taught us how to refrain from talking for a period of time and how we may feel the urge to talk but we chose not to talk and do the class in silance. Olivia said she learned "she could be quiet for a long time and block out noises." It took us a while to be able to be completely silent, but in the end Katie felt "happy, calm and amazing!" We finished the class in the Savasana pose. Savasana is lying on your back on your mat with your palms face up. We were silent for about five minutes.  It was so relaxing that Karla actually fell asleep for a few.

Overall we learned how we have the POWER to CHOOSE ! The power to choose Positive over negative thoughts; the power to choose silence over making noise; the power to listen simply listen and feel what our bodies are telling us! We have the power to change our own lives!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This week we took a moment to BREATHE....

Week Three

This week we were fortunate to have Jennifer Taylor, Executive Director of the Wellness Foundation of East Hampton, come and speak to us about the importance of reading food labels. She spoke to us about WHOLE foods and what they are: fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains. We learned about the "bad for you" fats and oils such as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. The most shocking part was the exercise she prepared for us. We had to tally the ingredients in many popular "healthy foods."  To our amazement we learned that these so-called healthy products (even the ones that say Healthy on the box) are made mostly from CHEMICALS!!!! It was a big eye-opener. In fact Katie responded with, "WOW, that's a lot of chemicals!" Thank you Jennifer for bringing this to our attention!

After school we traveled to lululemon athletica,  in East Hampton, NY where Heather D'Agostino, assisted by Marissa McNaughton, led us through a partner yoga class. Many of us have had some experience with Yoga before but only breifly.  It brought us a bit out of our comfornt zone but we really enjoyed it. It is not easy to be silent and still. Heather taught us to focus on our breathing: notice the inhale and the exhale. She said that it is that brief moment between our inhale and exhale where we will find a quiet mind. 

We started the class with brief individual asanas, sanskrit for poses. Then we moved to partner poses during which we supported our partner and helped them get deeper into their pose and practice! We learned it was important for us to trust in our own stregnth and ability as well as our partners. It was a very good exercise in "letting go" and being present in that very moment.

We finished class with three OM chants. Heather explained that OM in is the sanskrit syllobol for the underlying sound or vibration of everything in the universe. After chanting a few of us recognized the sound was similar to the sound of exhaling beneath the water during our swim workouts......OOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!!!!!

Thank you Jennifer Taylor, Heather D'Agostino and Marissa McNaughton for helping us with our discoveries this week!!!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We Beached it Today!!!!

Week Two

Today our in-school workshop was all about DREAMING and DREAMING BIG!!!! We discussed how visualizing what we want for ourselves helps to make that dream come true.

Theresa shared her Dream Boards with us and showed us goals she had in the past and pointed out which ones have already happened for her. Alyson shared her journal and how she has written down goals and affirmations for herself to live up to. Abby even shared a dream board she has made to illustrate her love and dream of being a fashionista!

Then we were each given our own DREAM JOURNALS to start where we can write, illustrate and collage visuals of our own dreams and goals.

We will continue to add to our Dream Journals throughout this Journey to capture and remember how far we have come and how far we will go!


Today was a beautiful day. The temperature was in the 60's. So.............We went to the beach!!! We walked the loop around Maidstone Park in Springs (.8 mile). This is the route we will be running when we do the Youth Triathlon in July! We were joined by our friend Lourel from LuLuLemon in East Hampton.

Of course we couldn't go to the beach and walk on the road the whole time.....So we went down to the water to see where the swim would be held. The water was calm and the sun was casting our shadows on the sand. We felt inspired to write in the sand and so we each found a spot and wrote a word or phrase in the sand that described us or that we were feeling at that moment:

"I Am"


What a better way to spend an afternoon?