August 20th, 2012
11:50 AM ET

If my options are sink or swim, I choose swim!

Editor's Note: Glenn Keller 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.  At the beginning of the challenge, Keller weighed more than 300 pounds and suffered from sleep apnea due to his obesity.

Today, I got a chance to swim.

There’s nothing particularly unusual about that, but today I got to swim in Jessup, Maryland. By now, everyone knows that I am on the road a lot. I'm only home once a week and previously, that was my only chance each week to swim.

However my truck route had been taking me to Jessup, Maryland, almost every week – I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've been in, to or near the truck stop there!

The last time I was there I happened to notice a place just a block away that had a pool. Granted, it’s a place where they train little babies to swim, but after speaking to the manager and telling him about the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge, he agreed to let me swim there too.

So far, swimming has been one of my biggest challenges, if not the biggest.

While training in Hawaii, I could tell I was getting better, but I was still struggling. There I was, in the ocean, wearing my wetsuit and all, and I got a reality check.

Roni Selig, one of our coaches, was helping me out when she sprung it on me - if I didn't improve, I wouldn't be swimming in the Malibu Triathlon.

At first my heart dropped at the thought of having gone through all of this and not being able to participate. It was a pretty emotional moment. She went on to explain how important it would be to be able to tread water – something I had never done for any length of time. Well, then we spent the next 27 minutes treading water.

I think this says a lot about the coaches and producers of CNN and their real concern for our health and safety.

This is more than just another segment for the viewing public. It's so much more than just our next blog or public appearance. There is not only a genuine concern for our health and getting physically in shape, but our safety as well.

All of my swimming so far was done in places where I could stand up and put my feet on the bottom. Roni, in no uncertain terms, was letting me know there was not going to be a place to stand up and put my feet on the bottom. She told me, "We’re not taking you to Malibu to drown."

Even though I have a very busy schedule, I am taking advantage of every opportunity I can to train, and not be pulled from the swim portion of the triathlon. Our coaches are extremely knowledgeable, but it has been said, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Our coaches are the most caring. My options were not sink or swim, they were swim or be pulled.

I will be swimming!

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. fitfunmom

    Go Glenn! That's awesome that you are working hard toward your goal of mastering the swim portion. Open water swimming is a huge challenge and all the more rewarding when you met your goal. I just went out to Zuma Beach yesterday to preview the course for Nautica Malibu. The water was gorgeous and I even saw two dolphins swim by!

    August 20, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      thanks. Dolphins are good just no sharks. smile

      September 11, 2012 at 20:37 | Report abuse |
    • glenn c keller

      Thank you so much for the encouragement on yesterday came across the finish line at my first Triathlon

      September 17, 2012 at 07:42 | Report abuse |
  2. Stephanie

    You can also swim in Centennial Lake in nearby Columbia, Maryland. TriColumbia has a triathlon race route that you could find online.

    August 20, 2012 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Susan Lowney

    You go!! I was an unfit, couch potato until I had cancer and found Team Survivor NW to train with. At 1st it was exercising and then it was walking a half marathon and then it was training for a triathlon. I had to learn to ride a bike and swim so I do understand the struggle. Crossing that 1st finish line was so amazing. I think I stood inches taller. Good luck with your training and your triathlon.

    August 20, 2012 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      Thank you so much and I appreciate the words of encouragement!!!

      September 11, 2012 at 20:39 | Report abuse |
    • glenn c keller

      You were right Susan crossing that first finish line was amazing. Thanks

      September 17, 2012 at 07:43 | Report abuse |
  4. Stef

    I'm glad to be seeing someone trying make it even though your schedule is impossible to train without planning!

    August 21, 2012 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      It is taking a lot but it also means alot.

      September 11, 2012 at 20:40 | Report abuse |
    • glenn c keller

      Stef your words meant a lot and yesterday I was able to cross the finish line. thank you

      September 17, 2012 at 07:44 | Report abuse |
  5. Aida

    Way to go Glenn!!! I admire your dedication, you doing this will inspire so many others 🙂 Best of luck to you!!!

    August 23, 2012 at 18:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      Thanks Aida!

      September 11, 2012 at 20:44 | Report abuse |
    • glenn c keller

      Thank you for your encouragement Aida and on yesterday I was able to cross the finish line. Best of everything to you.

      September 17, 2012 at 07:45 | Report abuse |
  6. Cheryl

    Glenn – what an inspirational story!! You are setting a wonderful example for fitness, not just for your family or community, but for our entire country. Stay the course and finish the Triathlon. We will all be cheering you on!

    August 26, 2012 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      Thank you and please keep me in your prayers

      September 11, 2012 at 20:44 | Report abuse |
    • glenn c keller

      Thank you Cheryl for caring and just wanted you to know I did cross the finish line yesterdayand it was amazing.

      September 17, 2012 at 07:46 | Report abuse |
  7. Penny

    Awesome! I truly admire your dedication. Count me in as cheering you own from a far!

    August 27, 2012 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      I really appreciate your support!!!!!

      September 11, 2012 at 20:45 | Report abuse |
  8. Rick

    Glenn, if you really want to be safe and swim with peace of mind, check out the Swim IT. It is the USA Triathlon and Ironman Race Approved swim safety device. The Swim IT is made by my company, in the USA, for triathletes and was approved this year for racing. If you send me an email, I would be glad to talk to you about using IT. ( http://www.myswimit.com )

    August 30, 2012 at 02:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. glenn c keller

    It seems like a really great product

    September 11, 2012 at 20:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. kore

    hahahaha ka sipat jud kaayo ug nawong oh! perti jud kbasuy si mommy ani ron kay baby K.. hehehe.. 🙂 that is nice.. we are trying to get baby HF too mommy to get used to the water para kamao mo langgoy kay ako raba dili kamao mo langgoy.. hehehehe.. 🙂

    September 14, 2012 at 01:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Dee

    Glenn, I am so very proud of you. You are definitely going to inspire me to lose more weight and learn to swim again. Your LaPlace friend. Good Luck

    September 17, 2012 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      Hello my Laplace friend just wanted to let you know i did cross the finish line yesterday and to let you know you can do it and I am here.

      September 17, 2012 at 07:48 | Report abuse |
  12. D Washington, VA


    Proud of you Brother. May God continue to bless you and may you continue your journey and attain the goal you have set for yourself. You are truly an inspiration.

    D Wash

    September 19, 2012 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      D Wash He saw me through to the finish line last Sunday and I praise Him.

      September 20, 2012 at 19:16 | Report abuse |

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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.