Triathlete takes a good look in the mirror
Nancy Klinger gets to the summit of Stone Mountain with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and her Fit Nation teammates
February 9th, 2012
02:08 PM ET

Triathlete takes a good look in the mirror

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.

I felt as though I was part of something special, something real - something that was about to change how I feel about myself.

There was the clip of everyone meeting at the airport, meeting face-to-face for the first time, but feeling like you were getting back together with old friends. There were clips of each first hug; the first of many hugs that weekend. Of course there was the now infamous clip of Glenn coming out of the dressing room with his tri suit on.When I think of Glenn, I think of everything good that this world has to offer.

There were clips of the talks, the workouts and the meals. Clips of hiking with Sanjay Gupta. Did that really happen?

There was a clip of our Atlanta Hawks workout and Tebowing in the park. Those could make the ESPN top 10. There was the clip of Rick when he announced to the world that he had smoked his last cigarette. What an impact Rick made. My jaw just drops thinking of that moment.

There were all sorts of clips about the amazing Denise. How someone so young can go through so much, yet comment that where she is, is where she is meant to be. Her courage is amazing. To be honest, the clip of Denise’s initial video submission continues to play over and over in my mind.

The clip that I saw of Carlos was of him listening intently to Jerry Stackouse of the Hawks talk about his family members with diabetes. You could tell that Carlos was full of emotion but was working hard to hold it in. He held it in, but I couldn’t. My tears that afternoon were for Carlos, one of the most sincere and kindest people I have ever met. They were tears of hope.

Although Jeff was not able to join the group until the second day, I saw several clips of him. My clips of Jeff were of him watching and listening intently to his new teammates. I sense that Jeff was sharing in the feelings of his teammates; he was experiencing empathy.

The clips that I saw of Adrienne were different. They were not from the weekend but were from the future. I saw a clip of a newly confident Adrienne walking down the aisle for her wedding. The clip was beautiful, as beautiful as Adrienne.

The dogs barked and awakened me from this wonderful trance. The tears of joy were still flowing and my hair had dried.

What I experienced on this Fit Nation Triathlon kick-off weekend was special, real and spiritual.

What I realized was that although this group of people all want to make positive changes in their lives such as losing some weight, stopping smoking, getting healthy physically or emotionally, or gaining more confidence, I hope they all know that there is one thing that does not need to change. That is who they are; they are all unbelievable, one-of-a-kind individuals who are embarking on the experience of a lifetime.

I love all of you. Darn, the faucet just opened up again.

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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.