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    Posted December 3, 2012 by
    Ladera Ranch, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    CNN Fit Nation: 2013 Triathlon Challenge

    A journey towards a righteous state of mind. Give me a "tri"

    Hello everyone and members of CNN!
    My name is Martin Acosta, I am 23 years young, and I thank you for giving everybody and myself here an opportunity to influence others by improving ourselves. My journey through this wonderful life has taught me many valuable lessons, and I am here to share them with a fellow team, and a vast amount of people who need to become aware of what they are missing out on. I am ready to begin the next step in this beautiful life, raise my self-esteem, and be well. Allow me to share from the beginning.

    In 2003, I was getting ready to start High School, and my family of 5 were getting ready to move into a brand new house in mission Viejo (and for all intents and purposes, living the American dream). Before I even had the chance to get situated from the move, an event happened that would change my life forever. My father suffered a near fatal stroke and was in emergency surgery within minutes of the event that ultimately saved his life. After noticing and realizing that he would never be the same person again, I began an emotional trip that would rip me apart, and eventually forge me into the man I am today. In an initial attempt to cope, I joined the water polo and swimming team at my school (thanks to the previous athletic influence from my father).

    Once I had graduated from High School, I was at that point “temporarily” burnt out on sports. Still struggling with the absence and blind hope for the return of my “normal” dad, the mortgage on our house had doubled, and with my mom going to school full time, while working full time, while supporting 3 sons and a disabled husband and still not being able to pay our bills, all savings, stocks, and assets were liquidated to support us (even to this very day). I had dropped out of college to work full time to help support the family, and fell into a major depression. While being around bad influences and living a lifestyle (I have grown to loathe), I began to smoke and drink heavily on a regular basis. Ultimately guiding me on a path to complete self-destruction.

    Only by the grace of God, and a couple of individuals that I will never forget or be able to fully thank, am I here today sharing my story with all of you. My perspective and appreciation of life has made a complete turn, and I am back on my feet, ready to tackle any obstacle placed in front of me. I am still working full time, helping my family, and back in school. I have quit smoking and drinking for 5 months now, and am ready to live my life as well as I can, and living it for a greater and bigger purpose than myself.

    I am ready to embark on a journey with fellow teammates of extraordinary journeys through this life of trial and tribulation, who have all found the common flame in their souls to be able to live above the challenge, and share their stories for a greater purpose.
    I am ready to show the struggling old and young of this wonderful nation that there is a way to release your stress and emotions from our challenges through a healthy lifestyle with positive influences to help guide them along the way.
    I am ready to share my story with the world, and help to influence others with my fellow teammates to live a good and healthy life that we all deserve.

    I would like to take this last opportunity to thank everybody again for selflessly sharing their life stories, and to thank CNN for giving us the opportunity to do so with a chance to better ourselves even more in the process. Help me help you make this the BEST FIT NATION CAMPAIGN YET!
    Be well Everybody!
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