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Tri-Challenge: The 6-pack inspired me
April 28th, 2011
11:55 AM ET

Tri-Challenge: The 6-pack inspired me

Former professional triathlete Nicole DeBoom and her husband, triathlete and Ironman champ Tim DeBoom, spent time with the CNN 6-pack last week in Hawaii.  In addition to coaching in each of the three sports of triathlon, the DeBooms lectured on raceday prep, how to train in open water using a wetsuit, and how to transition effectively. They also worked individuall y with the athletes, answering questions about confidence and mental toughness.

Last week, Tim and I were invited to join the CNN crew as guest coaches on the Big Island of Hawaii. We had been following the program, but it's really tough to prepare any coaching until you actually meet the athletes and can gauge their levels of fitness and training. It was time to put faces to the names!

We first met the 6-pack on Monday morning. What I love about this program, is that the 6-pack are REAL PEOPLE. They are men and women who never thought they would do a triathlon. They realized that they needed to make a major life change, and they reached out for help. CNN answered!

Tim and I spent four days working closely with the athletes, learning their strengths and "areas for improvement." All I can say is that the journey is officially in progress. I saw marked improvement in every single athlete in just five short days in Hawaii.

Kas faced her fears and learned how to open water swim. Nina showed True Grit in every workout and learned how to dig deep for herself. Scott gained at least two fitness levels in just  five days. Joaquin looked as if he'd been doing this for years. Stasia was incredibly consistent – never wavering – this will come in handy on race day. And Kendrick had a PR-distance bike ride... on every ride!

It's not often that you are given an opportunity to make a life change. The 6-pack has this opportunity, and they know it. Their gratitude shows through in their work ethic. They pushed through barriers this week, more than they ever thought they would. Of course they still have a lot of work to do. That's the fun part.

I am confident that every athlete will finish this race. For some, it will be about how fast they go, for others it will be to conquer barriers, but for all, it is a life-changing, TRANSFORMATIVE opportunity to become who they have decided they want to be. Did you notice that I called them ATHLETES? Yes, whether or not they see themselves as athletes yet, by virtue of completing this program, they are tapping into unexplored territory with limits that have yet to be defined.

Something else happened this week. As I got to know the athletes and shared in their everyday successes and challenges, I felt something stir inside. My job last week was to inspire them and I'm thrilled to say that the reverse has happened. The 6-pack inspired me!

I look forward to celebrating on August 7 – the journey has officially begun...


soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Jing Hu

    Hahaha. I thought this article was about how to obtain a 6 pack abs!?!
    Nevertheless I wish them all the best on their race.

    April 29, 2011 at 01:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. iamthefredman

    I thought I was getting a free 6-pack of chilly Buds if I read this article !

    April 29, 2011 at 11:53 | 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.