The Chart

Triathlon isn't easy, but the work is worth it

Editor's note: Carlos Solis is one of seven CNN viewers training for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  In the week leading up to the triathlon, each of the "Lucky 7" is sharing his or her thoughts on the journey.

To be perfectly honest, when I applied to be one of the “Six Pack” last November, I wasn’t too sure what was involved in training for and completing a triathlon. What I was sure of was I desperately needed and wanted to make serious changes in managing my health or else I would be suffering permanent and painful consequences.

Ten months later, I’m feeling healthier and stronger, and I know a heck of a lot more about my body and how it functions, particularly with diabetes.

Training has not been easy for me, though. I can recall times when back spasms were getting the best of me after a long distance bike ride and thinking “I’ll never get past this,” or when I was sucking on my inhaler after only a mile run.

I'm still getting occasional back spasms, sure, but I now know how to deal with them, and I’m inhaler-free! This is because I’ve learned that I don’t know it all and have put a lot of trust in those who do.

For example, Dave Ruby, my trainer, has from the beginning been telling me to “listen to my body.” When I first heard that, it didn’t make sense. But I learned to set small incremental goals that stretched me without physically overwhelming me. Now, seven months later, I realize he was right all along with a lot of other things, and I’m so thankful CNN found him for me.

I’ve prepared for seven months. Now it’s time to swim, bike and run my way across that finish line in Malibu! As I cross that finish line, I will be totally released from the chains that have bound me for so many years:

- The chains of “self-doubt”… GONE.

- The chains of “letting others lead”… GONE.

- The chains of “medical ignorance”… GONE.

- The chains of “excuses”… GONE.

I could probably add a few more chains, but I’ll stop there.

My wife and I were able to squeeze in a much-needed date night a few days ago, and when she asked me how I was feeling about the triathlon being just around the corner, I told her I was sad. I was sad that this journey was coming to an end.

In reality though, I realized, it’s really only just begun - it will be time to press on for the greater race that God is preparing for me. I honestly believe with all my heart that part of the race I’ll be involved in will be to spread the excitement of all the great benefits the sport of triathlon has to offer to families. I’ve become passionate about spreading this great news; we now have more than 200 students and staff “running for their lives” in this year's 100 Mile Club!

Again, I do not have the words to sufficiently say “thank you” to CNN for choosing me to be part of the Lucky 7. I feel like I have my life back and am ready to go to any length to pay it forward in gratitude for all that has been done for and given to me.

I’ll see you at the finish line!

You can follow the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge on Facebook and Twitter. For more from Carlos, click here.