February 8th, 2011
05:13 PM ET

'I know I'm capable of better,' says new triathlete

In the 2011 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge , six selected viewers will  participate in a six-month training program. Each will receive all the gear, training and nutritional support necessary to complete the race and will compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta on August 7 in the Nautica New York City Triathlon.

Processed, sodium-filled, fatty foods and pop. That's what Anastasia Cirricione remembers about her nutrition growing up.

"I'm just a Midwestern girl that was raised on sugar and fried foods and pop," she said. "I came from a low-income family of six."

As a kid, she never participated in sports, partly because she was unfit, she says, but also because she was self-conscious and shy.

"I've looked in the mirror and cried at the reflection staring back at me. How have I let myself get like this?" she wrote in her iReport submission. "At 22 years old, I've decided I'm unhappy with the way I feel. I know I'm capable of better."

So, Anastasia threw her hat into the ring for the 2011 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge and was selected in early January.

"This is something so wildly out of my comfort zone, I'm not even sure it's officially sunk in yet," she said.

But since she was selected, Anastasia has started running three to four times per week, doing yoga regularly, swimming and riding the stationary bike.

"I went for my first "swim" – 500M. It was humbling, for sure," she said. "Now, I just have to triple that!"

With the help of triathlon coach Dawn McPherson, and Fit Nation Athletic Director Laura Cozik, she says she's not worried at all about crossing the finish line.

"I feel confident knowing I have a great support and training team behind me, five other worthy teammates and ALL of the CNN followers to cheer me on."

And after a successful kickoff weekend in Atlanta with her teammates, she says she's even more fired up about the journey ahead.

"I'm tired, sore, and have a little bit of a cold, but my adrenaline is still flowing," she said. " I'm so excited to accomplish this!"

At the end of the day, Anastasia says this journey is for her.

"I deserve better, my body deserves better," she said. "I want to learn the proper nutrition to fuel my body. I want to push my body to physical tests it's never been challenged by before."

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Dawn

    Go Stasia – GO!!! You're off to a fantastic start!

    February 8, 2011 at 22:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Kendrick

    Hey Stasia, I am so inspired by you! I can't wait until we cross the finish line! Keep up the great work!

    February 9, 2011 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. BillyMac

    Stasia, sounds like you've got the spunk to get the job done. We'll be following and supporting you to the finish and beyond. Keep up the good work.

    February 9, 2011 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jim S

    Go Stacia! Wishing you the best!

    February 9, 2011 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Ninalove

    Stasia, you are BEAUTIFUL in your pics–and in real life!!! We CAN DO THIS! Hope your swim went well tonight– my first one is tomorrow. Keep in touch and I'll see you in April! 🙂

    February 10, 2011 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Kas

    Looking good! It's going to be a life changing experience! Good luck in your workouts....See you soon.

    February 11, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. cosmo

    good luck,stasia

    February 12, 2011 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Margie

    Your Grandma used to say "You can do anything you set your mind on; you just have to make up your mind and do it! I'm so proud of you!"

    If she were here, that's exactly what she'd say about you, Stasia. Keep going girl. We love you!

    Aunt Margie

    February 17, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Stasia

    Thanks, Margie!!!! Love and miss you!

    February 17, 2011 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. DAD

    YOU GO Stasia see you at the finsh line.

    March 1, 2011 at 14:58 | 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.