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Triathlon has changed my perspective on life
August 16th, 2012
10:22 AM ET

Triathlon has changed my perspective on life

Editor's Note: Nancy Klinger is one of seven CNN viewers selected from around the country to train for and compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September.  Nancy lives and trains in Afton, Minnesota.

Saturday, July 28, 2012, is a date that I will remember.  I had a wonderful evening bike ride.

Wait a minute: My training for that day was a long run, at a pace a little faster than my comfort zone; and my training for the next day was a 2-hour bike ride. So why was I on the bike that night? I was on the bike because it was a perfect Minnesota summer evening. The air was comfortable, very different from the past several weeks of hot and humid weather. There were little hints that fall is not too far off. I was on the bike because getting some exercise outdoors makes me feel good.

Then it hit me (light bulb went on) - that’s the meaning of training for the CNN Fit Nation Tri Challenge. It’s not about just training for a one-time event, it's about changing your life, your attitude, your perspective. It’s about the journey. When it’s a great night for a bike ride, just go with it!

That evening’s bike ride was an incredible 15-mile journey. Although I was focused on the road, a million thoughts were running through my mind. First was one of the roads that I was on, my favorite road in Afton, called Stagecoach Trail. It is beautiful and peaceful. You ride by woods, prairie, and a creek. The sun peeks in and out. It is a winding road with lots of curves and short hills that are perfect for a quick burst of energy. The sounds are heavenly, including the calls of songbirds, the scream of red-tailed hawks gliding overhead, crickets with their evening calls and the sound of the running water from the creek.

My thoughts were about the incredible opportunity that I have been given and how this opportunity has helped me to change my perspective on things in my life. For me, staying positive is all about having the right perspective. Finding the right perspective is like finding the right focus before taking a picture. The concept is simple but not always followed.

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"

Case in point:  In November of last year I sent in my video submission for the CNN Fit Nation. I went back and looked at the video today. My perspective was all off! I was focusing on what I perceived to be all of the negative things going on my life and had lost sight of all of the positive things, the wonderful things. My new objective is that whatever the situation, I know that there is always a positive aspect and I continue to focus on that.

The Nautica triathlon is four short weeks away. I will be there ready to compete, but feel in my heart that I am already a winner. With great support from my teammates, who are now my lifelong friends, I continue to better myself as a person. Although I wear my positivity bracelet each and every day, I know that to be positive I need to keep life in focus.

Proper hydration matters, even when you're not working out

To follow Nancy, and the rest of the team's journey to the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, go to CNN.com/FitNation, Twitter or Facebook.


soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Ekaterina

    Great story! Nancy should make adjustments to her helmet straps. The most valuable part of the brain is behind your forehead. Your helmet should completely cover that part and should not slide towards the back of your head. Good luck in your race!

    August 16, 2012 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CaitlinCNN

      Thanks for the tip, Ekaterina! I actually noticed the same thing when our team was in Kona (where this picture was taken) and we have since adjusted Nancy's helmet so it provides ultimate protection. Your tip about her forehead being covered is a good one. I hope other people learn from this and wear their helmets the right way.

      August 16, 2012 at 17:47 | Report abuse |
    • NMK

      Thanks, Ekaterina. This adjustment is something that I have already done! It is good to point this out.

      August 17, 2012 at 08:35 | Report abuse |
  2. Samko

    Congratulations again! It was a very hot day and an arduous cusroe. It looked like it took a lot out of you, which it should because that means you gave it your all.

    September 11, 2012 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Aleksandr

    Thats called body codontiniing. Good circulation,lots of Co2 pumping in those veins.Don't forget that bike riders have less fat. The arm muscle iushing those veins out.

    September 12, 2012 at 03:56 | 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.