February 1st, 2010
11:38 AM ET

Seven words I never thought I’d say

By Caitlin Hagan
CNN Medical Associate Producer

I'm ashamed to admit that I laughed out loud when one of my co-workers encouraged me to race in the 2010 Nautica New York City Triathlon. Me? Swimming, biking, and running Olympic distances? Surely she was kidding.

But now I'm sharing seven words I never thought I would say: I am going to become a triathlete. Really!

It's been an inspiring journey from "no way" to "I can't wait to cross the finish line." If you're not already familiar with CNN's Fit Nation Challenge, here's the skinny: This summer, our Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is competing in his first-ever triathlon, and six motivated CNN viewers will be racing with him.

How did I change my mind? It started early in the process of planning this challenge, when our team met to decide how to select the people who would race with Sanjay. At some point, someone shared her personal experience with competing in triathlons and from there, the whole conversation shifted. Slowly, more and more people talked about races they had competed in (who knew so many of my co-workers were triathletes?) and by the end of the meeting, I was convinced I had been missing out on something special.

But like all serious endeavors, just because you want to accomplish something doesn't mean you will. You need physical and mental strength to race a “tri,” and those things take time and training. As much as I now wanted to do the race, would that motivation last for seven months? Could I make the time?

Talking with our challenge participants is what pushed me to register. These six men and women are some of the most inspiring individuals you could ever hope to meet. If they were willing to make fitness a priority and change their life for the better, all while overcoming their own obstacles, how could I not join them? I remembered my initial argument that I didn't think I could complete a triathlon. I felt so embarrassed that I hadn't believed in myself more.

Last week, I knew I made the right decision when I walked the course we'll be racing. A few years ago I lived in New York City for a summer during college. My apartment was on the Upper West Side and I fell in love with that neighborhood. So it was quite the serendipitous moment when I realized that is exactly where our triathlon is being held. I'll be running past some of my favorite spots in the city, places where I already have so many cherished memories. Suddenly it all became clear: I was meant to be in this. And now I can't wait to cross the finish line.

I'll see you there.

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. P De La Cruz

    I was just watching the local news here in Puerto Rico and when they asked the Governor appointed Head of Medicine who is a phsycrist by profession what he thought about the pictures of the Doctors sent by Puerto Rico on Facebook. They were pictures of taking shots, an underdressed patient, doctors smiling while holding a saw with a patient on the table etc. I think Jay Leno even made fun of this on his show. The Director of Medicine used Doctor Gupta as an example he said Gupta touched a patient without gloves, or washing his hands. This is a disgraceful situation of unmoral, unprofessionlim and conduct unbecoming a doctor yet they used Gupta as an example on how someone else did something wrong in the crisis in Haiti. I think someone at CNN should investigate and clear the difference at taking care of someone without gloves as per taking shots while on a mission of service to human kind. Thank you Dr. Gupta for being there when all the other doctors left, I watched all night. You could have left but there was no way you could turn your back. Now someone should have your back and expose this stupid comparesen. Those doctors who put their pictures on face book have no right to not be ashamed, I as a fellow member of human kind am ashamed that they came from Puerto Rico. Thank you Doctor Gupta for sharing time away from your family and giving us the most important news without asking for anything in return. My prayers are with all of you who choose to cover news where at happens.

    February 1, 2010 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Margaret Hagan


    February 2, 2010 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Cliff and Alison Hatem (friends of your Dad)

    Good luck !!!!

    February 2, 2010 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. rickeywilliams

    Caitlin, I look forward to crossing the finish line with you!

    February 4, 2010 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Justin

    Go for the GOLD! ; ))

    February 9, 2010 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply

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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.