Editor's Note: This time last year, Dr. Sanjay Gupta selected seven lucky viewers to be part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. Nancy Klinger, from Minnesota, was one of those viewers, and successfully competed the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September. Want to be a part of the 2013 team? Apply here.
If you have 15 minutes (and I know that you do), go ahead and send in a video submission to CNN to become part of the 2013 CNN Fit Nation team. (You know that you want to.)
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.
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.
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.
Editor's note: Nancy Klinger is one of seven CNN viewers training for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Recently Klinger and the rest of her teammates traveled to Hawaii for a week of intensive training.
How and when it happened, I have no idea, but at some point many years ago, after starting a full-time job, getting married and having two kids, I lost my sense of self.
My list of priorities did not include me. Everyone and everything were well-taken care of, except me. My life revolved around just getting the daily tasks done. Even the pets were given a higher priority than me!
During this period, I also became very boring. I stopped playing tennis and stopped being active - things that had always brought me great joy. I rarely went out with friends. My look was boring, my clothes were boring. But, I was always the go-to person if anyone ever needed anything. My life continued on day-by-day in some sort of strange comfort zone (really a rut).
Since the start of my Fit Nation journey, I have become a completely different person - a better person, much more confident, much more at ease with life and with a renewed sense of purpose.
Nancy Klinger is one of seven CNN viewers participating in the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. Klinger applied to the Challenge after experiencing various personal setbacks, including a separation from her husband of 26 years.
Depression is a challenging, albeit important, discussion. It is even difficult to write about.
I am one of many who occasionally suffer from depression. It is usually just a minor case of the blues, but on occasion it turns into all out sadness - so much so you ache.
You purposely stay away from things that make you happy, you don’t like yourself, and you cry a lot (when you’re alone). You hate yourself for feeling badly while really being so incredibly fortunate.
My guess is that this fact would be a shock to the great majority of people who know me or work with me because I hide it so well. On the outside, I am always thought of as the happy one, the positive one, the person who is always smiling. If I were in a beauty pageant I would be in the running for Miss Congeniality!
On the inside, my life is filled with pain and emotions that are either incredibly high or incredibly low. It’s exhausting.
Editor's note: Nancy Klinger is one of seven CNN viewers chosen to be a part of the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. Nancy applied for the Challenge after separating from her husband of 26 years.
On November 17, 2011, I sent in a video submission to CNN hoping to be selected as a participant in the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. I shared my fears and showed my emotion.
I shared that I was afraid about being able to make it on my own through the upcoming Minnesota winter. I shared things that no one knew I was going through, not even my closest friends. I allowed my vulnerability to show, which is something that I just don’t do - something that I have always been really good at not doing.
Something that drove husband crazy for many years. I have always been the strong one, the helper, the caregiver, the protector, the giver.
I became this person at an early age out of necessity and since that time I just don’t let my guard down.
This time I allowed myself to be vulnerable because in my mind I was just talking to a computer screen. It was cathartic. I did not think for an instant that someone would actually hear me, and never in my wildest imagination did I even consider that I would be selected as one of the Lucky Seven.
Editor's Note: Nancy Klinger is one of seven CNN viewers selected for The CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge, where they will train for and compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon this September.
Last summer into fall I was starting to feel sorry for myself. It wasn't healthy. For the first time in my life, I was feeling old (mentally and physically).
I needed a jump start, some motivation. Then one day I happened to come across a CNN special titled "Diana Nyad: Xtreme Dream."
I remembered how Diana Nyad had inspired me years ago with her phenomenal distance swimming. The special tracked Diana’s planned 100-mile swim from Cuba to Florida. It was awe-inspiring. I was 54 and I think that Diana was about six or seven years older than me but in the physical shape of someone half her age.
Editor's Note: Nancy Klinger from Afton, Minnesota is one of seven CNN viewers selected for The CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge, where they will train for and compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon this September. This past weekend, all seven participants came together with Dr. Sanjay Gupta in Atlanta for the official kickoff of the challenge.
The impact of the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Team kick-off weekend in Atlanta did not hit me until Monday morning.
It started out as a normal work day, up at 5:15 a.m. to take the dogs for a walk, ate breakfast, and grabbed a quick shower before heading off to work. I wrapped the towel around myself and looked in the mirror to dry my hair. And then it happened. The impact.
The tears started to flow and they kept flowing. The tears were constant and heavy, like a faucet fully opened.
Although I was looking in the mirror, I did not see myself but small video clips of this incredible weekend with the most wonderful people that one can imagine. The clips were not in any particular order but were random. Each clip sparked a different emotion; emotions that I have not felt, or allowed myself to feel, in a very long time.
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.
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.