Fit Nation challenge update: ‘It’s launch time’

Editor’s Note: Six CNN viewers have been selected to be part of the 2015 Fit Nation triathlon team. They’ll race alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September. As they train, the six will share their stories about their Fit Nation experience.

Story highlights

Linda Garrett and her CNN Fit Nation teammates reach midway point in training

"My inner voice tells me to keep calm, carry on, and it'll be fine," Garrett says

CNN  — 

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on!” advised Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer. Well, my five CNN Fit Nation teammates and I are on a rocket ship. And what a ride it is!

We are training every day for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon on September 20. And time is flying. In January at our kickoff weekend, the midway training trip in May seemed so far away. Well, it’s here, ready or not. It’s launch time. Practice launch time anyway. Time to swim/bike/run. And have fun.

My swimming is still a work in progress. Breathing was my big hang-up. I have asthma, which I considered to be controlled. And it was, just not controlled enough for swimming. Last year I stopped using my long-acting inhaler. I didn’t need it, or so I thought. (Nurses, of which I am one, are the worst patients.) I’m back on it now, and that and lots of pool time have resulted in increasing endurance. I’m slow, but I’m doing it.

Related: Fit Nation: Change up your living space to get in shape

Biking has fallen into place. With the beautiful Specialized bike we received and group rides with the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club, I have begun to master the gears. Key word: begun. There’s still much to learn. The first time I climbed a hill in the correct gear, I posted on Facebook that it was a “Hallelujah moment.” Oh, and I even took one hand off the handlebars and waved at someone. All done without wobbling. I’m not quite to the point of reaching down for my water bottle, but it’ll happen.

Running. Aah, that’s another story. Back in mid-February, I had medial meniscus repair on my right knee. Comparing my recovery after the same surgery on my left knee about eight years ago, I thought recovery would be quick. The doctor has told me to “be patient” and the ever-popular “healing takes longer as we get older.” As of this writing, my right knee is still painful when I run. I can walk, but as soon as I pick up the pace, my knee gives me instant (and painful) feedback.

I am feeling the pressure, but it is coming from me. Just as I’m learning balance and gears on the bike and proper breathing in swimming, I am learning patience.

And so as we head into the midway training trip, we’ll bike and run on the Pacific Coast Highway. We’ll swim in the ocean, in a wetsuit. Oh, and we’ll do a mock triathlon, too. My inner voice tells me to keep calm, carry on, and it’ll be fine. I just need to be patient. As for the run, I’ll get that, too. In time.

I can’t wait for September 20. Each of my teammates and I will cross the finish line in our own way, in our own time and it will be sweet!