- Ron Cothran is racing his first triathlon this weekend in California
- He's had a very powerful physical and mental journey
- Follow the triathlon on Twitter this weekend @CNNFitNation
It has been just over eight months since I started this journey of training for my first triathlon. So much has happened to me, physically, mentally and spiritually.
First of all, Fit Nation has made me face my fears. Triathlon is a sport that I had never undertaken before now. It was virtually unknown to me.
How would I possibly complete the race when I couldn't even run more than a half lap around the high school track without stopping to rest?
I have always felt confident in the water, but what if I were to freak out in the ocean? Was my body up to the task?
How could I stay motivated, seeing as I had trouble with exercising consistently in the past? What if I failed?
With the support of my family, friends, teammates and coaches, I have been able to conquer those fears. My last workout found me riding 30 miles, followed by a 4-mile run -- all in less than 3.5 hours. That is amazing compared to where I was in January.
In preparing for this triathlon, I have completed a 5K, 7K and a 10K run race, all since March. I was not first, but I wasn't last, either.
I can now swim over 3,000 yards in a training session, all with a freestyle stroke; unheard of in my life previous to this.
I now know that my body is ready, it is up to the challenge and I will conquer the course.
Will I win? I already have.
I have developed the courage to look fear in the eye and match it with determination.
I had hoped, at the beginning of this journey, that my work would be inspirational to those around me -- so much so that they are driven to improve their health. This hope has been realized over and over again in the past eight months.
My wife Lori has been by my side, running and biking with me. She told me that if I was doing it, she would do it with me. People at work have stopped me in the hallway to say how they have enjoyed seeing my posts on Facebook, and that that has gotten them off the couch. So many people have been cheering me on along the way.
I have been inspired by those who feel they have been inspired by me. These supporters inspired me to continue training when I didn't feel like getting out of bed, or when I felt too tired and thought about taking the day off. It is truly a symbiotic relationship.
Every time I get a "high-five" from a fellow runner at the nature trail, or a wave from another on a bike, I feel as though I have been given a new group of friends to share this journey.
My dream? I dream that I will make a podium appearance at the triathlon just like my mentor, Rae Timme, did at last year's race.
I dream that I will be first out of the water, that my legs will be strong and powerful during the bike portion. I dream that I will have the energy to kick my run up a few notches as the finish line comes into view, while in my head the theme from "Rocky," "Gonna Fly Now," carries me past the tape.
I dream of living a long life because I now have the tools to help my body and mind be the best they can be. I realize that they have always been at my disposal, but now I have chosen to get serious about using them.
What do you fear about getting healthier? What do you hope to gain by an improved physique and clearer mindset? What do you dream of doing or becoming?
Whatever is holding you back, don't let it anymore. Whatever it is you dream of and hope for, cling to it with all your might.
I do not doubt that there are people around you ready to support your good efforts and positive improvements. Give them a chance to show you. And give yourself the opportunity to surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.