Tri Challenge: I am excited to be excited
January 7th, 2012
08:15 AM ET

Tri Challenge: I am excited to be excited

Each day from now until next Friday, CNN will introduce you to one member of the 2012 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge team. Today meet Jeff Dauler, an Atlanta-area radio host who joined our team after struggling with a divorce and other personal challenges.

By the time you read this you'll know that I have agreed to participate in the Malibu Triathlon and document my journey there for Dr. Sanjay Gupta and CNN. But these were my thoughts the evening before revealing this adventure on my radio show.

Wednesday, January 4, 8 p.m.

Is this really happening?

In 12 hours, there's no turning back. In 12 hours, Dr. Gupta announces to my co-workers, family, friends and anyone else tuned into The Bert Show that in a few short months I will be swimming in the ocean, biking up and down hills and running for a finish line. All in the same day, one after the other. I'll be a triathlete.

(Technical question: If you attempt, but don't finish, a triathlon, are you still a triathlete?)

Here's the most shocking thing - I'm excited. Like really, really excited. And I don't know if this will make sense, or not ... but I am excited to be excited.

Maybe it hasn't really sunk in yet, because I have no fear of what's to come. I have an alarming amount of confidence. That's probably naive of me, but I think it's good. I'm scared more than I show, and it feels so good to have such a daunting feat before me and not be afraid of it. I'm welcoming it, and that is empowering.

The biggest challenge for me is going to be the swimming. I'm very comfortable in the water ... I spend most of the summer months on a boat or jumping off one. I can get from point A to point B without much struggle. But it's not pretty, and I'm not graceful by nature. The whole idea of getting my arms / legs / head moving in tandem freaks me out. My coach is confident she can get me to do it. I admire her confidence.

The before-and-after videos of this will be fun to watch.

If you want follow along, I'd be honored to share the ups and downs with you. I'd love to hear your feedback, advice and motivation. I'd also love to vent to you on days when I'm regretting ever sending my video to Sanjay.

I'm on Facebook, Twitter, I have my own website, and I even email. And I'm on here, of course, with my new family - the six other amazing participants. Find me and say "Hi."

I'm humbled and honored to be a part of such an amazing team. Six remarkable people ... and me ... are all going to mark 2012 as a turning point in our lives. We each have different stories, different reasons, different motivations. But now we are bonded to a single goal. To run across a line painted on a Malibu street, and into a new chapter of our lives. Healthier physically, healthier mentally.

Off we go ...

soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Glenn

    I'm honored to be one of the Luckey 7 and to share this experience with you and our other teammates.

    January 7, 2012 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cynthia Domenella

      YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!!!!! You got this tackled already. You have so much support behind you! You have motivated me to make some changes also, so, LET'S GO!!

      January 7, 2012 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
  2. britani kamholtz

    Good luck Jeff! Supporting you 100%.

    January 7, 2012 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Barbie Peace

    Hi Jeff,

    I am a Q100 listener, and I am so excited for you! I can't wait for you to share your journey and will be rooting for you every step of the way! I'm sure you will make it funny and I'm looking forward to that too!

    January 7, 2012 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Vicki

    So excited for you! I made a life changing decision 9 years ago and I never looked back! There will be ups and downs but at the finish line it will be oh so worth it! 2012 will be your year! Good Luck!

    January 7, 2012 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jamie


    January 7, 2012 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Pamela

    All I can say is WAY TO GO Jeff for taking on something like this. I know I personally couldn't complete anything of the sorts. I too am excited for you. I can't wait to see the videos and to read the rest of your blogs.

    January 7, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Liza

    Jeff – YOU GOT THIS!!!

    January 7, 2012 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Kerri

    Good luck I support you 100%and wish you all the best through the tough times of training and the end when you finish the event and have accomplished so much while going through this emotional time. Keep up the good luck

    January 7, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Christine Burnette

    I have faith in you that you will do much better than your best in completing your goal. I'm with you all the way! Good Luck!!!

    January 7, 2012 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Jason B

    As a newly minted Ironman, I can tell you its a journey worth taking! If you need some motivation (big guy to big guy) shoot me an email or better yet come train with us! I have 11 races on the calendar this year and can always use a training buddy!
    Cheers to you on a journey of a lifetime!

    January 7, 2012 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jessica Noggle

    Jeff I am proud of you and excited for you. This past August I stepped way out of my comfort zone to start training in martial arts. I was 100lbs overweight, never been a good athlete and I was so uncoordinated but decided to do it to lose weight. However, by going out of my comfort zone I have done more than just lose weight. Like yourself, I was empowered by the challenge. I surprised myself in what I could accomplish and even though I still may not be the best on the mat, this journey has marked a turning point in my life that has made me healthier, stronger and given me the confidence that no matter how tough things may get (on the mat or in life) I have the power to overcome and conquer. I think you will be amazed at yourself when you look back when this is all over and see just what all you have learned and conquered during this experience (both physicall and mentally). I admire you, you are my inspiration to continue to step outside my comfort zone no matter how hard it may seem and I will be cheering you on all the way. You got this!!!! 🙂 (Q100 listener)

    January 7, 2012 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Maggie

    So excited to follow your journey. Yes, the fitness part is awesome and inspiring and important. But I adored how you referred to this experience as a Ctrl+Alt+Del. I think all of us need those from time to time, but hesitate. It's fabulous that you're making it okay to need a reset - and to create one! It's been incredibly interesting to listen to how your on-air persona has shifted over the last several months and I can't wait to hear you continue to "come into your own," so to speak.

    January 7, 2012 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Nola Villis

    Hi Jeff, I am so excited for you....you will be successful and you also probably not stop with this one event! I joined a cycling team organised by Team in Training last February, which for me at 52, from Australia, so the other side of the road is interesting and with problems with vertigo, was a supreme challenge. I have since completed two century bike rides and am planning on adding the running and swimming, to complete a half ironman in the fall. Over and above the six other people in your close team, you will meet an amazing group of people that compete for all sorts of reasons. You will be amazing 🙂

    January 7, 2012 at 14:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Jody

    Jeff, you can do this! You've got the motivation all you have to do now is follow through. Don't question anything along the way just push through...or as a friend of mind calls it, PUNCH LIFE IN THE FACE! For inspiration check out this blog on tumblr. Lots of great success stories here. We'll be punching right along with you.

    January 7, 2012 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. ninalovel

    Jeff you WILL succeed! April is the most * AWESOME* coach-you will love her and she will get you perfectly ready for Malibu! As one of the immediate-past-CNN FitNation SixPack, I assure you that you are in for the best year of your life. You will change in ways you can not imagine, all of them good. Words of wisdom: follow all the advice you receive from April and the CNN pro's-they know what they are doing! Other than that, fall into the whole experience, enjoy your new friends, have fun and wait for the miracles!

    January 7, 2012 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Candy Lee

    Go for it. I work triathlons with Blue Sky Sports and I have seen great stories come from it. I love supporting the athletes from the beginning to the end. I would love to be there for you as well. I think that you are going to be great at it. There is nothing like seeing everyone after the event, the support, the energy. It is amazing. It is quite a feat you are undertaking but one that it well worth it. I support you all the way.

    January 7, 2012 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply


    January 7, 2012 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Paula

    You can do it Jeff...I'm inspired by and really excited for you!!!

    January 7, 2012 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Christine

    I have been a Q100 listener for a long time and love starting my mornings laughing to the retorts out of your mouth 🙂 Happy New Year Jeff and I'll be supporting and cheering for you along this journey!

    January 7, 2012 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Fred Shetler

    Jeff, I am so glad to be included in this most recent challenge. I have watched you do many unusual things over the years
    and I am confident that you will do well at this one. I fully support you and will be looking forward to your progress. If anyone can do it, it'll be you. Blessings along the way.

    January 8, 2012 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Meg

    You already have the hard part done... you are mentally ready for this challenge... your body will follow along 🙂 You are an inspiration to so many... have fun and keep us posted!

    January 9, 2012 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
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