Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Interview with Dr. Andy Baldwin

After having a not-so-great half marathon performance at the Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday, I tried my best to hydrate and get my game face on immediately following the race. Why? Because it was time for my big interview with Dr. Andy Baldwin!

Here is a little bit of background on Andy and some of his accomplishments. (You can find out more information by checking out his website here.)
  • Completed 8 Ironman competitions
  • Doctor
  • U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander
  • On Season 10 of TV's "The Bachelor"
  • Humanitarian
I headed to the VIP tent and met up with my contact at Team Refuel with Chocolate Milk.
My first VIP bracelet just for being a blogger...
As soon as I saw him smile, as I introduced myself and we sat down, I knew this interview was going to be fun. Andy is a very down to earth guy and he was very easy to talk to.

First things first, we talked about the race and Chicago in general. He said he didn't run with a watch and just wanted to run by feel. (Considering the conditions, he still finished around 1:37-1:38.) I think a lot of us have been feeling this way in the Chicago temps these days! He said he's been to Chicago a half-dozen times for the marathon (he completed the Chicago Marathon in 2010), the Taste of Chicago, and Navy week. "I just love this city. I mean, look at it!" The VIP tent was located in the south east corner of Grant Park, lending some spectacular views of the skyline. I must say that I agree! :)

Now it was time for my "official" questions. I was a bit of a nerd and recorded our conversations. I ended up being quite loopy post-race so I was happy that I did this. In transcribing things, I tried to quote Andy as directly as I could! :) Sorry it is so long but I didn't want to leave anything out!

Q (me): As we all know you were on an entire season of TV's The Bachelor. What was the thing you gained the most out of that experience?

A (Andy): A tremendous amount of growth, personal growth. It is not a glorious experience that many people think, being under the public microscope and becoming famous overnight. It is very difficult and you need to have a thick skin. It was also a big re-framing for me when I realized the impact you could have on the public by being a good role model. It allowed me to have a platform to talk about, inspire, and motivate people to get into triathlons, running, and giving back to the community. I learned what truly mattered in life.

Q: I know you're involved with Let's Move and ING Kids Rock which are two organizations fighting childhood obesity here in the U.S. Can you talk about those organizations, kind of segwaying off the previous question?

A: I'm a doctor and I love kids and sports. This is something that is a natural fit for me. It is something that I talk about every day: the importance of physical activity for not only your mental and physical health but giving you the confidence to achieve and succeed. When I was based in DC I did a lot of work with the Surgeon General and got to know the folks at the White House. That is how I was connected to the Let's Move campaign, along with ING Kids Rock and their commitment towards getting school running programs set up. There is no greater feeling than seeing these kids cross the finish line and get a medal and their smiles. They feel they can achieve anything and we are setting them up for success. It is so simple to do if you can spare just a little bit of your time; it is so important.

Q: You've done several different Ironman races. Can you talk about what inspired you to do your first one and why you continue to do them? For me, I can't even imagine the concept of an Ironman and that the marathon is the "home stretch." I barely finished my first marathon last year so the concept of an Ironman is so foreign to me. Maybe you can talk about how you went from your physical fitness state to the Ironman.

A: I believe it is limitless what the human body can achieve. There are so many times we put limits on ourselves and don't think something is possible. I was very much inpsired by people like Mark Allen and Dave Scott as I was eating Wheaties as a kid and first heard about the "Ironman" thing. Just like you, I did a marathon first. If you do the conditioning and the training, you make steps towards achieving it. You've got to push the limit in your head farther and farther along until the next thing you know you're on the start line getting ready to be in physical motion for more than 10 hours. And when you do it, you can't believe its over, and you're ready for the next one. I think that is what life is really about: constantly pushing the envelope, getting outside your comfort zone, and setting personal goals and achieving them.

---At this point, someone stopped by to talk to Andy about his pace, the completion of the race, and drenched they were from the weather. I jumped in soon after continuing the conversation of how hot it was, saying I lost my singlet at mile 3. Andy immediately said that I could "totally do an Ironman." My response was that the swimming would most definitely be the hardest part since I am not a swimmer. Andy grew up swimming and swam in college and he mentioned that this translated well when moving into the world of triathlons and Ironman competitions. He then said "Never say never!" The mind is so important. If you believe in yourself, you can do anything.

Q: Now that you've done many distances and races along the spectrum, what is your favorite distance and what is your favorite race?

A: With the busy work life these days, I've really come to love the half marathon and half Ironman distances. It's not going to crush you in the way of training requirements and put you out of commission like an marathon or an Ironman would. And yet you still feel like you got a great workout in. There are also great series like Rock N Roll where you can do races around the country where all you need is your sneakers. You've got entertainment and a great group of people. With Refuel being part of the race series, I get to see my friends from Refuel and get in the good nutrition to bounce back so I can go back to work the next day and deliver babies!

Q: That's great that you get to travel around with your friends. You're a captain, right? Can you talk about that?

A: A great group fol folks including Olympic swimmers, NBA players... Apolo Ohno, Dara Torres, and Ricky Berens. It is a lot of fun and I'm honored to be an ambassador and captain for Team Refuel, especially since I've been drinking chocolate milk since I was a little baby. It so pure and simple--it has all the right components. Your muscles are hungry after a hard workout and you get a 3 to 1 carbs to protein ratio.

Q: What was your favorite race you've ever completed?

A: Doing my first Ironman in Hawaii. Nothing beats running down Ali'l Drive, completing something that I never thought I would be able do. Falling into my Dad's arms, it is something that I'll never forget. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life.

Q: I get chocked up just watching the finishing videos every once in awhile and I've never even completed that race--just seeing it. I can only imagine actually being there and being the one to complete the race. I've read a couple of blogger recaps for full and half Ironmans... It is so exciting! But the swimming part...

A: You gotta do it!! You gotta do the half Ironman and go to the full Ironman. I predict it! I'm there every step of the way for motivation if you need it. Just make sure you've got your chocolate milk.

One of the fellow Refuel team members mentioned the blog post where I asked questions from my readers. She said that the comments were asking what type of work he does in the community. I was happy for this reminder to bring me back to my last question!

Q: One of my blog readers works for the Lions Club and she mentioned that you were a Lions Club member. Can you talk about your involvement with this organization?

A: I'm in the Lions Club and it has come in handy. I do a lot of international work with the military; any time I'm overseas there are Lions Clubs around. When I was in El Salvador, dealing with a really tough case with a kid who had some real health challenges and couldn't afford to get health care, I was able to call up the local Lions Club and get this guy connected in. I originally was connected to them in Sacaramento as they were doing work after 9/11 with service members. I learned about what they did, especially with eyeglasses. We organized a couple drives for glasses. Now the times I've spent in Kenya, South America, and Central America we've given out lots and lots of eyeglasses donated through the Lions Club.

After my last question, we took a photo with the beautiful skyline in the background!

Overall, I had a lot of fun with the interview as Andy was so easy to talk to! I felt I got to know more about him and some of the great ways in which he uses his fame to give back to the community on both a local and international scale. If you're interested in learning more about Andy's adventures, you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Thanks again to Dr. Andy and Team Refuel for helping to set this up! It was a great opportunity and now I'm hungry to do more interviews for the blog! 


  1. Thanks for posting, it's great to hear about how he works with Lions clubs.

  2. Great interview! So ... when's your Ironman?

  3. I'm happy to pass on some the information!

  4. Well, I think I have to make it through a marathon without getting sick first... and then learn how to swim... Hmm....

  5. Nice interview. I must have missed his season on the Bachelor, but he seems like a good guy. I'm interested in doing an Ironman since I started swimming again. I guess I need to buy an expensive bike if I do it. I wonder how hard it is to qualify for the Ironman in Hawaii?

  6. So great and motivational! He seems like a really great guy. And saying that the human body is limitless in what it can do...I totally agree! Most people think they can't do something but it's not true! I'm proof of that as are so many others!! Great blog post and thanks to Andy for chatting!

    Kelly, you do a half ironman, I'll do one?? Actually I already want to do one.

  7. I looked up the rules if you're interested in how to qualify for Hawaii.

  8. I gotta break through my own mental barriers on race day. I beat myself up too much sometimes...

    I don't know how to swim so that is a big problem. Although, I'd like to fix that this fall/winter with some adult swim lessons. We'll see how things go. :)

  9. Kelly, I agree. I think you get too disappointed and frustrated right away when it's not going your way. We all do sometimes. It's will get there!! Think of all you accomplished regardless of the time on the clock!!

  10. Thanks, I'll check it out. I noticed that there may be a way to buy buy an entry on eBay, may be easier than qualifying!