TOLEDO, Ohio — Two weeks ago, Todd Crandell was landing in San Juan, Puerto Rico for a half-Ironman.
Two hours after landing, the event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"People were upset, but it was only a half-Ironman. That doesn't mean much in relation to what is going on in the world," Crandell said.
In 2001, Crandell, a longtime triathlete, started Racing for Recovery. In 2016, he opened the doors on a massive facility in Holland. He has used his past life as a drug addict and alcoholic to reach those with similar demons. Through group meetings and individual sessions, he counsels hundreds of people in drug and alcohol recovery each week.
One of the biggest triggers for an addict is a feeling of isolation, something that is hard to avoid in today's environment. But Crandell believes those he works with at Racing for Recovery have the tools to withstand shelter-in-place orders.
"Racing for Recovery for Recovery has 10 lifestyles that we follow, and lifestyle number six is actually that isolation and self-pity lead to self-destruction," Crandell said. "So what we are trying to do with people right now ... what can you still do by yourself that is productive for your self-care? And that includes exercise, prayer, reading, using technology. So you may be by yourself, but you are not alone, and there is a difference between those two."
He said that we can still go outside to exercise or hook the computer up and virtually work out with the exercise partner who you usually go with to the gym.
While many people view the current environment as a life-altering negative, Crandell believes it also offers opportunities to grow as a person.
"There are opportunities to really focus on what's important in life. I don't hear people talking about buying new cars or look at my new clothes or any of that right now. It's really getting back to what's important in life - health, family, friends, a relationship with whatever you believe in," he said. "Those are the things that life has to offer and what I really see people getting connected with right now, and that's a good thing."