The triathlon journey
November 10th, 2010
04:47 PM ET

The triathlon journey

I was on a plane about a year ago getting ready to take off, when I got a call from the director of our unit at CNN. She is a triathlete, and in very good shape. “Hey, Sanjay! I have a great idea. You should do the New York Triathlon with me, and we can pick six viewers around the country to do it with us,” she said. At this point, the flight attendant came around and politely asked me to turn off my phone. “Roni, uh. Yeah sure. Sounds great,” was my reply. And, that is how I found myself signed up for my first-ever triathlon.

Truth is, I never dreamed that I could do this. With a busy schedule at the hospital, three children and constant travel around the world, I immediately worried that I wouldn’t be able to train properly or adhere to the diet necessary to be a triathlete.

When July came around, and we were just days from the race, I reflected on the past several months. I realized my whole approach to fitness had changed. As busy as life is, I somehow found time to break a sweat every single day.

Because it is a three-sport competition, I could always train wherever I was in the world. Whether I was skipping rope and doing squat lunges in Haiti or running through New Orleans, while covering the oil spill, I fit it in. I love to cycle outside, but a stationary bike fit the bill. As far as the swim goes, I took a couple of lessons – something I hadn’t done since I was a kid – and suddenly I was able to overcome my biggest fear about the event, the mile swim in the Hudson River.

I became diligent about what I ate, and felt more energetic than I had in a long time. I also found a group of friends that enjoyed the same things I do, and welcomed me into a culture of the triathlete.

I love goals, and the triathlon was one of them. I really enjoyed the race and left nothing out there on that hot day in July. I gave it every ounce of my physical and mental toughness. I realized, however, at that point, the race was just a formality. It was the journey that transformed me, moreso than the destination. I am going to do it again this year, and would love for you to join me. It changed my life, and could change yours as well.

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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.