September 13th, 2012
07:36 AM ET
Editor's Note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. This week we take a closer look at Glenn Keller, who is one of seven CNN viewers selected from around the country to train for and compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. Here are his thoughts on this journey.
Well, there are only a few days left.
There is a little nervousness and a lot of excitement that we have made it to this point. When friends and family notice the weight I've lost and comment about how much better I look, it can only be compared to how much better I feel.
I look forward to being able to cross the finish line in Malibu with the rest of my teammates on Sunday. I'm not sure if any of us knew this is where we would be at this point of our lives. I know I didn't, but it is giving me such a sense of accomplishment - so much so that I haven't even done the first triathlon yet, but I find myself looking forward to paying my own way just so I can participate next year.
Crossing the finish line will not be the end of a journey, but the beginning of one. There will be a lot of gratification in being brought to a point of finishing a triathlon. It was this journey that even makes a thought like that possible.
I owe a great deal of gratitude to David Bertrand at Play Tri in Dallas, Texas, who accepted the challenge of being my trainer. Having my schedule, it could not have been easy and at times may have been frustrating for him. Week after week, he e-mailed my workout assignments as I criss-crossed the country behind the wheel of my 18 -wheeler.
I can assure you his patience is unmatched and his professionalism top shelf.
It was those e-mails that helped me tremendously. When I cross the finish line I will know those e-mails were what made the difference. David is so incredible, I can't even imagine what it would have been like had I had a 9-to-5 job and he would have been able to invest the time with me that I know he would have liked to. To David, I will always be grateful.
If I could look in a mirror and see the me that existed last year at this time, I would see a little short man who weighed more than 300 pounds and didn't seem to be the least bit concerned about his health.
He was a guy that ate just about anything that would fit in his mouth. He was a guy that hated to walk. Running was out of the question for sure. He couldn't tell you the last time he swam because he wouldn't even remember.
He had an attitude which seemed harmless, but he seemed only to be concerned about the welfare of others, giving very little consideration to himself.
Well that was then and this is now, and that man is thankfully a man of the past. Actually he is about 50 pounds lighter now. Eating healthy and being healthy has become a priority in his life. He can actually be found now not walking but running around truck stops and his neighborhood. It's not unusual to see him swimming laps at the neighborhood recreation center.
The new Glenn still cares a great deal for others and what they go through, but the hardest lesson learned was the greatest lesson learned - that is Glenn needed to be the priority.
"What a difference a year makes!"
For more from Glenn, click here.
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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.