Tri Challenge: Diana Nyad on staying calm in water
July 7th, 2011
02:44 PM ET

Tri Challenge: Diana Nyad on staying calm in water

Since January, six iReporters have been training in the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. We’re following along as they prepare to compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the August 7 Nautica NYC Triathlon.

Swimming a mile in the Hudson River. It's a daunting prospect for most anyone but Kas Seerla is especially anxious about it. Before the 6-Pack went to Hawaii in April for a week of triathlon training, Kas had never been swimming in open water before. Her time in Hawaii taught her that she's capable of swimming long distances but she needs more mental confidence to stay calm in the water. Who better to give her tips on how to do that than Diana Nyad!

61-year-old Nyad is in the final stages of preparing for her "Xtreme Dream" of swimming from Cuba to Key West without stopping. When she goes, she'll swim more than a hundred miles over the course of a few days. Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently spent some time with Nyad and asked her how someone like Kas could stay calm while swimming in open water.


April 19th, 2011
05:25 PM ET

Tri Challenge in Hawaii: High spirits on Day One

This week, the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon team is in Kona, Hawaii, for a week of intense training. Follow along on The Chart and on Twitter, @CNNFitNation . Kas Seerla is a participant in the 2011 CNN Fit Nation Challenge.  She lives in Chicago with her husband and two young daughters, and is using this challenge to show other moms that it's OK to step out of their comfort zones!

Day One at CNN Hawaii boot camp! After a one-hour open water swim drill, we had to do a three-mile run around the beautiful Mauna Lani property. It was getting hot and the sun was above us at 8 a.m. I was nervous as I had never run after a swim but I was also in high spirits; I wasn't intimidated with a 3-mile run as I would have been a couple of months ago.

The guys took off and were way ahead but I was able to keep my pace and was right behind them when we completed the three miles. What a relief!

Onto the 20-mile bike ride after breakfast! I rode my bike outside the first time last week and it was only for 2 miles. So 20 miles should be interesting!

Triathlon challenge: If I can do this, you can
March 30th, 2011
05:03 PM ET

Triathlon challenge: If I can do this, you can

Linda Fisher-Lewis was a competitor in the 2010 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge.  She is in training to compete again in the 2011 Nautica New York City Triathlon along with the 2011 competitors, and wrote the following words of inspiration for the new group of triathletes.

Congratulations on becoming a member of the Fit Nation Triathlon team. You are in for quite the ride. In looking back at my training prior to the New York City Triathlon, there were a lot of bumps and bruises as well as victories. Staying motivated for an event so far away, and getting in shape can be a very daunting task. My advice to anyone getting ready for such an event and likely a lifestyle change is staying focused, taking “baby steps” and setting obtainable goals.

First, staying focused. It is easy to not “feel” like training today. Especially when your muscles are tired or your energy feels low. Training is essential, and so is the fuel to train correctly. If you're feeling this way, look at everything you are doing. Fuel: What are you eating? Training: Are you over-training? Are you spending more time on one sport (swimming, biking, or running) because you like it more? Remember, you need to fuel your body to train for the event…don’t over train, listen to your trainers.

Baby steps. This is likely a change to your normal routine. You do not need to do the Olympic-distance event daily as part of your training. Train smart; take small steps to reaching your August 7 goal. Run reasonable distances, bike reasonable distances and definitely mix it up. Swim reasonable distances and do all of these for a reasonable amount of time. I did bricks a couple of times a week instead of just once a week early on. This definitely started a trend of over training.

Lastly, attainable goals. Nothing will take away your motivation and momentum than setting goals that are too difficult to obtain. I talk with people regularly about training goals. I will hear, “I’m gonna run a marathon this year.” I will ask what other races they have run, and they’ve never run a 10k. A goal such as a marathon is great for down the road but will quickly seem unattainable, and training may stop. You need to train to be successful, so take small steps, set attainable goals, and give your body the fuel it needs for success. You can do this!

I spent the four years prior to joining the CNN team on my couch. If I can do this, you can! I will be cheering for you the whole way and look forward to racing with you in August.

July 18th, 2010
04:52 PM ET

CNN triathletes cross finish line

CNN Fit Nation team (white caps) takes off from the swim start barge in the Nautica New York City Triathlon

Dr. Sanjay Guptasix CNN viewers from across the nation, and seven other CNN employees finished the Nautica New York City Triathlon on Sunday in front of thousands of race spectators in Central Park.

The culmination of CNN’s Fit Nation Challenge, the race started with a one-mile swim  in the Hudson River, a 25-mile bike ride along the West Side Highway, and a six-mile run in the park.


July 17th, 2010
01:15 PM ET

One more run before Sunday's big event

The CNN Fit Nation athletes, dubbed the "six-pack," mark yet another achievement, finishing the Jamaica Underwear Run, the kickoff event for this weekend's Nautica New York City Triathlon. These six CNN viewers were chosen for the 2010 Fit Nation Challenge, with a goal of competing alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in Sunday's swim-bike-run. On Friday, the six-pack and some of the CNN producers who've been  training with them ran a 1.7-mile course through Central Park in their undies. Now it's on to race day!  Above, from left: Linda Fisher-Lewis, Dean Hanan, Rickey Williams, Meredith Clark, Stanley Saballett, Angie Brouhard, Anthony Fox, Caitlin Hagan, John Bonifield. Front: Roni Selig

July 16th, 2010
10:14 AM ET

Traveling the road to the NYC triathlon

Outside my window, I can still see the cracks in the wall of the Port-au-Prince airport. I am sitting on the Tarmac, my plane getting ready to taxi to the runway for takeoff. I am headed back to the states - to JFK International Airport. Over the past couple weeks I have been in the Gulf, covering the oil spill and now the six-month mark of the earthquake in Haiti.

It is notable, because when I first started training for the Nautica NYC triathlon, it happened to be on the day of this earthquake. Earlier that day, Jan 12, 2010, I had met with the Fit Nation team in its entirety for the first time. We were all a little nervous as we started our routines. However, I think we all took comfort that six months lay ahead of us, allowing us plenty of time to prepare. Of course, within 12 hours of that meeting, I was on my way to Haiti, where I would spend the next several weeks. And, now again six months later, just a couple days before the triathlon, I am in Haiti once again.


July 14th, 2010
11:07 AM ET

Teacher finds transformation in triathlon training

To those who didn't know him, Rickey Williams, 38, seemed to be living the good life. He had a successful career and a loving, happy family. In short, he was comfortable. Maybe too comfortable.

"Comfort was my goal," he remembers. "Comfort kept me still when I needed to move and led me to eat when I wasn't hungry."


July 9th, 2010
10:32 AM ET

Triathlete ready, hopes to encourage others

Back in January, CNN selected six lucky viewers to compete alongside Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the Nautica New York City Triathlon this July. Among the "six pack" was Meredith Clark, a newspaper columnist from Tallahassee, Florida.

When Meredith first sent in her iReport, she talked about her personal goals – losing weight and completing a triathlon by the time she was 30 – but also spoke of her desire to use the triathlon as a means to educate her peers.


July 2nd, 2010
05:40 PM ET

Helping others with the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge

CNN Fit Nation triathlete Stanley Saballett rides alongside cycling great Lance Armstrong

Stanley Saballett, 36, spends his days helping homeless and potentially homeless youth in San Diego get their lives back on track. (Watch Video)

"I'm constantly trying to tell them I understand your struggle...you can make it, you can change your life," says Saballett. "So if I'm asking young people to be healthy, live right, work out, do their thing, and I'm not doing it, there's something wrong there."


July 1st, 2010
05:34 PM ET

As triathlon nears, athlete feels real change

Back in January, CNN selected six lucky viewers to compete alongside Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the Nautica New York City Triathlon this July. Among the "six pack" was Linda Fisher-Lewis, a retired police officer from Mollala, Oregon.

When Linda sent her video application, she told of a tragic car accident that forced her to give up a 20-year career in law enforcement. That, in combination with the loss of her brother the following year put Linda into somewhat of a funk.


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About this blog

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.