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'Bionic blonde' uses triathlon to take control
September 10th, 2012
09:55 AM ET

'Bionic blonde' uses triathlon to take control

Editor's note: Denise Castelli is one of seven CNN viewers selected to be a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program. In the week leading up to the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, each of the "Lucky 7" will share his or her thoughts on the journey.

Is Malibu really less than a week away?

For the past 18 days, I've been living out of a hotel in Manhattan, working as a "ball woman" at the U.S. Open.

Since I've been spending my time out on the court, I haven't had much time to think about our impending doom ... er... I mean Malibu.

I haven't been waking up every morning staring at the digital countdown clock, a gift from Jeff Dauler to our team. I haven't had that puking sensation in my stomach for quite some time, but alas, here it is.
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Smoke-free for seven months... and counting
September 7th, 2012
02:42 PM ET

Smoke-free for seven months... and counting

Editor's note: Rick Morris is one of seven CNN viewers selected to be a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program. In the week leading up to the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, each of the "Lucky 7" will share his or her thoughts on the journey.

In addition to visiting all the micro-breweries in Asheville, North Carolina, every bucket list should contain the goal of completing a triathlon.

It just makes plain 'ole sense. Why? Well, for starters, this former smoker and couch “tater” knows how the rewards of tough training and a commitment to prevail teaches a man how to feel better and live stronger.

Yeah, it's me... Appalachian Rick. I'm the same feller who recently discovered the tasty bean paste plenty of folk call “hummus." That's right, the guy who told Dr. Sanjay Gupta that he was fed up with the cancer sticks. The guy who as of today (September 4, 2012) has been smoke-free for 7 months.

You know me as one of the Lucky Seven.
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Racing with our pinky fingers in the air
Nancy Klinger, right, runs out of the ocean after a trianing swim in Hawaii.
September 6th, 2012
10:38 AM ET

Racing with our pinky fingers in the air

Editor's note: Nancy Klinger is one of seven CNN viewers selected to be a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program. In the week leading up to the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, each of the "Lucky 7" will share his or her thoughts on the journey.

Nine months ago I sent in a video submission to CNN that shared why I wanted to be selected as a participant. I just took a look at my video and can’t believe how far I have come.

Last year I felt alone, sad, and scared. I had lost my drive and competitiveness and, more importantly, had lost my spirit. The joy in my life was gone.

Sending in the video was my way of asking for help. My focus was on finding a way to improve my emotional health, which in turn would also improve my physical health. Just sending in the submission was a big step, and I started to take baby steps to get back to being me.

Then it happened; I was selected as one of the participants and I haven’t looked back.
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Get up, get moving and get to what's next
September 5th, 2012
11:01 AM ET

Get up, get moving and get to what's next

Jeff Dauler, a radio host from Atlanta, Georgia, is one of seven CNN viewers selected to be a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program. In the week leading up to the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, each of the "Lucky 7" will share his or her thoughts on the journey.

About halfway through our training trip to Kona, Hawaii, all the athletes were called to one of the CNN staff rooms at the resort. There was a surprise waiting for us; the Fit Nation organizers LOVE surprises.

In that room, we were all handed packages that contained our official race uniforms. In the triathlon world, it is called a "kit." It's shorts and a tank top that you wear during all three sports: under your wetsuit in the swim, on the bike and during the run.

It's skin tight.
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August 20th, 2012
11:50 AM ET

If my options are sink or swim, I choose swim!

Editor's Note: Glenn Keller 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 in September.  At the beginning of the challenge, Keller weighed more than 300 pounds and suffered from sleep apnea due to his obesity.

Today, I got a chance to swim.

There’s nothing particularly unusual about that, but today I got to swim in Jessup, Maryland. By now, everyone knows that I am on the road a lot. I'm only home once a week and previously, that was my only chance each week to swim.

However my truck route had been taking me to Jessup, Maryland, almost every week – I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've been in, to or near the truck stop there!

The last time I was there I happened to notice a place just a block away that had a pool. Granted, it’s a place where they train little babies to swim, but after speaking to the manager and telling him about the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge, he agreed to let me swim there too.
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Triathlon has changed my perspective on life
August 16th, 2012
10:22 AM ET

Triathlon has changed my perspective on life

Editor's Note: Nancy Klinger 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 in September.  Nancy lives and trains in Afton, Minnesota.

Saturday, July 28, 2012, is a date that I will remember.  I had a wonderful evening bike ride.

Wait a minute: My training for that day was a long run, at a pace a little faster than my comfort zone; and my training for the next day was a 2-hour bike ride. So why was I on the bike that night? I was on the bike because it was a perfect Minnesota summer evening. The air was comfortable, very different from the past several weeks of hot and humid weather. There were little hints that fall is not too far off. I was on the bike because getting some exercise outdoors makes me feel good.

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Why I don't need to cross the finish line
Denise Castelli, front right, runs with Coach Ken Burkey and teammate Carlos Solis
August 13th, 2012
12:26 PM ET

Why I don't need to cross the finish line

Editors' note: Denise Castelli is one of seven CNN viewers training to race the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. In 2009, Castelli had her right leg amputated below the knee after contracting an infection.

Malibu is just more than a month away, and I’m closer to the finish line than ever.

What I’ve realized is that this whole adventure is not about the finish line. For me, it’s about the journey and, let me tell you, I’ve grown exponentially in the past seven months. It's all because of triathlon.

When I began, I naively assumed what most people would about this challenge. I would lose weight, get fit, cross that finish line, and then obtain my new bragging rights as a triathlete. What I didn’t know is that along the way I’d discover who I was as a person.
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No place for self-doubt in fitness
August 7th, 2012
01:15 PM ET

No place for self-doubt in fitness

Editor's note: Carlos Solis is one of seven CNN viewers selected to train for and compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September.  Carlos is a middle-school teacher in Ontario, California, and is also a Type-2 diabetic.

It’s the first week of August, and I’m already back in the classroom preparing for the students who will be walking through my door on Monday.

I have to say one of the highlights of my week was when one of my colleagues didn’t recognize me and thought I was a new staff member because I had lost so much weight!

This year I wanted to do a room theme for my sixth-graders, but couldn’t come up with anything. Then it hit me: why not go “sports”? Since athletic fitness is my passion as I prepare for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, it seemed like a good idea to carry that enthusiasm into my classroom.

Then the self-doubt came. I started to talk myself out of it, saying things like, “Me? I’m not in perfect shape yet; I still have weight to lose, and I’ll never be in Ironman shape. Will anyone take me seriously?”
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Paying the gift of health forward
Scott Zahn, top left, poses with the Aurora BayCare LiveFit "Six-Pack" and their trainer, Junius Ho.
July 27th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Paying the gift of health forward

Dr. Scott Zahn was one of six CNN viewers chosen to be a part of the 2011 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. He trained with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and raced the New York City Triathlon on August 7 of last year. Since then, Zahn has kept up his new healthy lifestyle and plans to race the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with this year's team.

As the CNN Fit Nation Lucky 7 continues to prepare for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, another group has just completed their journey.

I was lucky enough to be a member of the 2011 CNN Fit Nation 6-Pack and complete the New York City Triathlon. My trainers and I wanted to bring that experience back to Green Bay and recreate the CNN program. 

This was the birth of the Aurora BayCare LiveFit Triathlon Challenge. We took applications from employees of the company, picked six and created our own Six-Pack.  The goal was the 2012 Green Bay sprint triathlon.
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Proper hydration matters, even when you're not working out
Nancy Klinger runs through lava fields during a training trip to Hawaii
July 24th, 2012
12:18 PM ET

Proper hydration matters, even when you're not working out

Editor's note: Nancy Klinger is one of seven CNN viewers training to race the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with Dr. Sanjay Gupta as part of the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge.

The Malibu Nautica Triathlon is only 8 weeks away, and as you can imagine, we have all picked up the training. 

Personally, I have been working hard to improve my endurance, while also trying to increase that elusive speed (remember speed is a relative term). I have also been practicing my bike-to-run transition, and brick training - where you go straight to the run after getting off the bike. I am not sure where the term brick comes from, but in my experience the term brick is how my legs feel when I start my run after hopping off the bike. 

In Minnesota, just as in much of the nation, it has been an incredibly hot and humid summer. I can’t remember the last time the high temperature was below 90 degrees and the humidity has been consistently stifling. 
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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.

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