Triathlon isn't easy, but the work is worth it
Carlos Solis goes for a long run during the Fit Nation training trip in May.
September 11th, 2012
12:52 PM ET

Triathlon isn't easy, but the work is worth it

Editor's note: Carlos Solis is one of seven CNN viewers training for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  In the week leading up to the triathlon, each of the "Lucky 7" is sharing his or her thoughts on the journey.

To be perfectly honest, when I applied to be one of the “Six Pack” last November, I wasn’t too sure what was involved in training for and completing a triathlon. What I was sure of was I desperately needed and wanted to make serious changes in managing my health or else I would be suffering permanent and painful consequences.

Ten months later, I’m feeling healthier and stronger, and I know a heck of a lot more about my body and how it functions, particularly with diabetes.

Training has not been easy for me, though. I can recall times when back spasms were getting the best of me after a long distance bike ride and thinking “I’ll never get past this,” or when I was sucking on my inhaler after only a mile run. FULL POST

No place for self-doubt in fitness
August 7th, 2012
01:15 PM ET

No place for self-doubt in fitness

Editor's note: Carlos Solis is one of seven CNN viewers selected to train for and compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September.  Carlos is a middle-school teacher in Ontario, California, and is also a Type-2 diabetic.

It’s the first week of August, and I’m already back in the classroom preparing for the students who will be walking through my door on Monday.

I have to say one of the highlights of my week was when one of my colleagues didn’t recognize me and thought I was a new staff member because I had lost so much weight!

This year I wanted to do a room theme for my sixth-graders, but couldn’t come up with anything. Then it hit me: why not go “sports”? Since athletic fitness is my passion as I prepare for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, it seemed like a good idea to carry that enthusiasm into my classroom.

Then the self-doubt came. I started to talk myself out of it, saying things like, “Me? I’m not in perfect shape yet; I still have weight to lose, and I’ll never be in Ironman shape. Will anyone take me seriously?”

Weighing in with the truth
Carlos Solis' driver's license shows his reported weight, more than 60lbs less than what he actually weighed at the time.
July 5th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Weighing in with the truth

Last week, I took our daughter to the DMV so she could take her driving test. While waiting in one of their monotonous lines, I took out my driver’s license to show her. I told her I shaved the beard and mustache because I looked too much like my Uncle Willie. As we were laughing at my picture, I reminisced about when I went in to renew my license in 2008.

I remembered telling the clerk my height, eye color, etc. When it was time for me to disclose my weight, a very personal bit of information, I wasn't ready. I didn't even think that question would come up. Even though it came up the last time I did this, I guess I forgot!

I froze for a few seconds, contemplating what I believe a lot of us do when we’re at that place in line.


I’m OK with calling myself a triathlete
Carlos Solis bikes down the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway near Kona, Hawaii
June 9th, 2012
09:29 AM ET

I’m OK with calling myself a triathlete

Carlos Solis is one of seven CNN viewers training for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Recently Solis and the rest of his teammates traveled to Hawaii for a week of intensive training.

I remember one Sunday afternoon last year. My wife and I were driving, seeing all these cool looking bicyclists decked out in spandex uniforms and racing gear pedaling along Euclid Avenue in our town.

I was thinking out loud, “Man, it sure would be cool to be doing that someday.” The thought ended there as a very cruel reality check set in.

I was 48 years old, still overweight, still fighting to gain control over my obesity and diabetes. What in the world was I thinking?

Paying health forward for my students
March 22nd, 2012
01:30 PM ET

Paying health forward for my students

Editor's Note: Carlos Solis is an elementary school teacher from Ontario, California, and a member of the 2012 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge team known as "The Lucky 7."  Each team member is given the tools they need to prepare to compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

As a teacher, I have always wanted to “pay it forward;" I believe that comes out of gratitude for making it out of something a lot of kids I hung around with didn’t.

One special teacher, Mr. Shackleton, helped me believe I could change my life. Prior to becoming a teacher in 1997, I held down various jobs but I was always volunteering to help kids. I even worked at a group home as a house parent for abused and neglected children.

If you are a teacher reading this, the term “making a difference” means something to you. For me, it means doing whatever it takes to help make a difference in the life of any student I come into contact with.

Along with a quality education, I have always worked to instill character values to help students overcome obstacles in their lives: bullying, problems at home, academic struggles, peer pressure, etc., but never really took a serious look at how their current health issues could have an effect on their future.

Small changes bring big results for triathlete
February 8th, 2012
02:58 PM ET

Small changes bring big results for triathlete

Editor's Note: Carlos Solis from Ontario, California, is one of 7 CNN viewers selected to train with CNN for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September. This past weekend, the "Lucky 7" came together in Atlanta for their first training sessions with coaches April Burkey and Laura Cozik.

Sitting here on the plane trip back from Atlanta, I am reminiscing about the small changes I have recently made in my life as I pursue the goal of completing my first triathlon, and the powerful effect they have already had.

One small run for the record, one giant stride for me

Ever had to think on your feet before? Well, I literally had to think on my feet this weekend! I had only gone a quarter lap of my first timed mile in almost thirty years and my calves were already screaming at me.

So, I made one small adjustment by shortening my stride and I was able to not only finish the run, but - according to my trainer, Dave Ruby - do it in a respectable 13:24. Finishing for me was an emotional experience.

Teacher joins triathlon team to battle diabetes
January 13th, 2012
07:10 AM ET

Teacher joins triathlon team to battle diabetes

Every day this week, we've introduced you to one member of the 2012 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge team. Today, meet Carlos Solis, an elementary school teacher who is trying to avoid what his family's history of diabetes might have in store for him.

Hi, my name is Carlos Solis. I am 49 years old, married for 28 great years and have three beautiful children, ages 20, 18 and 7.

I have been an elementary public school teacher for almost 14 years. Prior to that, I held down a few jobs, including serving in the U.S. Air Force, but none have been more challenging or rewarding than being in the classroom.

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I come from a family of diabetics, including aunts, uncles and, more significantly, my mom and older brother. My mom passed away several years ago and my brother is currently suffering from complications of kidney failure. He is on dialysis three days a week and has had several surgeries to help him get through. He recently has lost sight from his left eye and has very limited vision in his right.

January 5th, 2012
07:53 AM ET

CNN Tri Challenge: Introducing our 2012 team

The 2012 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge is officially underway!  This year we have selected seven CNN viewers just like you to train for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Each person will be given a road bike and all of its accessories, a wet suit, and a gym membership.  In turn, they will blog, tweet, and share their workouts, from now until race day in mid-September, on Facebook.

We invite you to follow along as the "Lucky 7" train to swim a half mile in the ocean, bike 18 miles, and run four miles in California!  So without further ado, meet our new team:

About this blog

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.