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February 9th, 2011
12:57 PM ET

Baby-boomer aims to check tri off bucket list

In the 2011 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge , six selected viewers will  participate in a six-month training program. Each will receive all the gear, training and nutritional support necessary to complete the race and will compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta on August 7 in the Nautica New York City Triathlon.

At 58, Nina Lovel considers herself to be pretty well adjusted.

“I'm just a plain ol' baby-boomer, circa 1952, 'raised-right', nurtured in the genteel South, loved and educated by fabulous parents who taught me to cross my legs at the ankles, chew with my mouth closed, and keep my elbows off the table,” she wrote to CNN.

But now that her kids are out of the house, and her parents are gone, Nina realized it was time to do something for her.

“The only way I am going to enjoy the 'freedom years' I’ve worked so hard to earn is to start taking care of my OWN self,” she said.

So, when a mostly-sedentary friend of hers signed up for a 5K run, Nina decided it was time for her to make good on her promises to improve herself, and joined the “Couch to 5K” program. A year later, she had run two 5K’s, and it was time for something more.

“After hearing a friend at Rotary talk about his participation in Ironman triathlons, I simply added a triathlon to my bucket list.”

It was that simple: Nina created and submitted a video to CNN’s Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge, and on Christmas Eve, she was selected to join the team.

“I believe that this experience is going to be good for me physically, emotionally and spiritually,” she said. “I am thrilled to be part of it and will do my very very best!”

Nina’s goals for the challenge?

“Complete the event alive and without embarrassing myself, my family, my friends, or my employer; and to set an example for my peers that it's not time to sit down, it's time to GET UP!”

And with the help of her coaches – sports psychologist and Ironman Dr. John Azar-Dickens, and Fit Nation Athletic Director Laura Cozik, Nina is truly confident that she’ll reach those goals.

“In just a few short weeks, I have grown from eager contestant to exhilarated winner to energetic trainee, and am gratefully arranging my calendar around the new workout schedule,” she said.


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soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Jay

    Great fro her – I am curious how this will go. Personally, I work out more often and harder as the stress level increases. Good for her.

    February 9, 2011 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Stasia

    Look at you!!! Nina, you look HOT in your pics!! Can't wait to cross that finish line with you guys!!

    February 9, 2011 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Mike

    Good for you. I am 2 years older, an average athlete, have done lot's of tri's and each makes you feel great. Just enjoy and do it within yourself!! It is for you!!

    February 9, 2011 at 14:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Gerry

    We kids born in 1952 are a hearty breed. I played in a men's softball league until age 55, still hike in the woods and split wood by hand; 5 cords this past summer. We Boomers rock!

    February 9, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jim S

    Go Nina! Wishing you the best on your journey!

    February 9, 2011 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Cathy V

    Nina, go for it! As a fellow boomer, co-worker and friend, I wish you great success!

    February 9, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Lisa O

    You can do it, Nina!! We are really enjoying having your bright spirit in our exercise classes and will be cheering you on through your entire journey!

    "Never, never, never give up." –Winston Churchill

    February 10, 2011 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Mary

    We are all so proud of you Nina! Keep up the hard work. We will be cheering you on way past the finish line! So proud!

    February 10, 2011 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Julia Dent

    Go get'em Nina!!! What an inspiration!!!

    February 10, 2011 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Debbie Shepherd Kines

    So proud of you Nina! Your picture is beautiful and you are an inspiration to all baby boomers!!!

    February 10, 2011 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Juan EnDen

    So happy to have been reunited, recently... We are so very proud of you and will track your many successes to come!

    February 10, 2011 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ninalove

      You sneak... I KNOOOOOOWWWWW who you are behind that pseudo-nombre, one-n! 😀

      February 10, 2011 at 22:04 | Report abuse |
  12. Allen Coggins

    We love ya and are here to cheer you onward. Looking forward to autographs on the Nina Lovel line of running shoes, bathing suits, and bicycles.

    February 11, 2011 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Jessica Lovel

    I love the pictures and I can't even explain how proud I am of my AWESOME mommy!! Love you to pieces....

    February 11, 2011 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. John

    GO FOR IT! I am 54 started doing half marathons, graduated to full marathons and century bike rides...next month I will compete in my first olympic tri.

    February 11, 2011 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Kas

    I am so proud of you. Everytime I have a difficult workout, I think of you. If Nina can do it, I can to. You are already an inspiration to me and I hope we spend more time together soon.

    February 11, 2011 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ninalove

      Sweet words, Kas! I miss you... saw someone who resembled you yesterday and almost ran over and hugged her!!! 😀 Best wishes for good training weeks to come!

      February 12, 2011 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
  16. Barbara

    Best of luck, Nina. I am sure that you will accomplish your stated goals. I did my first triathlon one month shy of my 57th birthday–a sprint tri with pool swim. That was in 2007. I have now completed six half-ironman events and am training for a full Ironman this July. You CAN do it!!

    February 12, 2011 at 07:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Kendrick

    Go Nina! You are such a ball of fire...I know you are going to put everyone to shame!

    February 12, 2011 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Joyce

    I am loving reading about you and others who posted and are in their 50's. I'm 57 and ran my first half marathon last spring (2:44) and am training to do it again this year. I started running when I was 56. My mantra: "Grandmas can be fast women, too!"

    March 8, 2011 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.