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Tri Challenge: Physical and emotional health
January 10th, 2012
07:43 AM ET

Tri Challenge: Physical and emotional health

Every day this week, CNN will introduce you to one member of the 2012 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge team. Today meet Nancy Klinger, who says significant life changes have left her feeling lonely and searching for a goal.

On November 15, 2011, I did something crazy by my standards: I sent in a video submission to be selected as a member of the 2012 CNN FitNation Triathlon Team! My submission was titled "Triathlon for Emotional Health."

The past few years have been emotionally challenging for me, starting sadly with the unexpected death of my sister and ending with a separation from my husband. In addition, my youngest child left for college and I found myself alone. My emotional state has been teetering toward depression and I decided that it was time for a jump start.

The mind is like a seesaw and just a small change in thought one way or the other can make all the difference. I certainly did not think that I would even be considered, especially given all of the inspiring submissions, but just the act of taking a chance added some light to my life.

My motivation for the physical component came from watching the CNN special on Tracking Diana Nyad. Wow. My inspiration for the emotional side comes from my children and from "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. To quote Randy, "You need to decide if you’re a Tigger or an Eeyore."

On December 20, I received an initial call from CNN to let me know that I was being considered. Two friends were with me and from what I can recall, I went berserk! A couple of days later, I was informed via Skype that I had been selected. This time I was in shock and very subdued. I honestly can’t remember the last time that I was so happy and energized. What an incredible gift this was to receive, especially right before the holidays.

I have been on Cloud Nine ever since. Thinking that things could just not get any better, I have spent some time viewing the video and written submissions from my teammates. They have done nothing but inspire me. We immediately started communicating with each other and I already consider them all friends. I can’t wait for a group hug when we get the chance to meet in early February.

Although I am thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in the triathlon, I am most looking forward to the process of getting healthy, both physically and emotionally, and setting goals.

The icing on the cake is that the triathlon will be in Malibu, California. I went to college there at Pepperdine University. It was a long way from Minnesota and was a long time ago, when I took a chance. My experiences at Pepperdine turned out to be some of the best of my life and going back there will, in a way, take me full circle.

I hope that at some point during our triathlon weekend in September, I can take my new friends/teammates to the Pepperdine Chapel on the Hill, look out on the Pacific and reflect upon our journey.


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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Glenn

    Nancy I look forward to the field trip and couldn't be prouder having you and the others as teammates!

    January 10, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. teamadrienne

    I know the exact chapel you are talking about, Nancy!! We so must go!!

    January 10, 2012 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Roni Selig

    Wonderful, honest and open, this will make you not only a terrific team mate but an inspiring triathlete. Welcome to our CNN family!

    January 10, 2012 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. ninalovel

    Nancy there are precious few of us that share the exhilaration of having heard those magic words from our CNN friends: "Congratulations, you've been selected!" but I know *exactly* how you felt! My call last year came on Christmas Eve; imagine trying to keep my feet on the ground and my mouth shut at church that night! 😀 This will be an amazing year for you, and you will emerge stronger and healthier than you've ever been in your life. I look forward to meeting you!

    January 11, 2012 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Rick Morris

    Can't wait to meet you, Nancy! We are truly the Lucky 7.

    January 13, 2012 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. warrior11209

    Nancy, best pf luck on this journey to you and your team mares.

    January 21, 2012 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Ski

    Hi! I am going to follow your journey as I really connected to your story about your recent losses. I too, have gone through some emotional roller coaster rides, bankruptcy, kids moving out to college and a separation from my husband. I wish you the best for your journey and look forward to your next blog.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Olivia Chase

    I found your story when looking for my step-grandmother's family roots in Minnesota. Was Ruth Chase your Aunt?

    March 17, 2012 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Pat Griffith

    Nancy, I've read your story and connect with it. Last year I was diagnosed with depression and started on medication, began therapy and increased my physical activity. Eight months later, I feel better about myself and look at my life with a new and renewed sense of vision. Additionally, healthy diatary changes have contributed to a 23 lb weight loss. It is a challenge to take care of your life in a different way, but the rewards are great. Congratulations on your journey and your continuing road to self-discovery and happiness.

    April 20, 2012 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Laurie Kjelden

    Nancy, I heard your story through someone I met at Tri Fitness in WBL. Sounds like you are an incredible woman, so I had to look you up on this site. As a new tri person myself, having only done one, I am excited to follow your journey. I wish you all the best. This can only change your life in a positive way. I was determined to do a tri for selfish reasons and didn't realize that it would change my life forever, not to mention the terrific, uplifting people that I have met along the way. You go girl. Exercise is the best therapy around. Another cheerleader from Minnesota!

    May 21, 2012 at 20:31 | 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.