Bob Babbitt's Endurance World Newsletter Vol 1 Edition 1
March 2, 2016
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Welcome to Bob Babbitt's Endurance World Newsletter! 

Starting in June of 1987 with the first edition of Competitor Magazine, I worked with our team to produce a monthly magazine showcasing the wonderful world of endurance sports. Since leaving Competitor after 27 years, I have missed not only writing articles for the magazine and sharing amazing stories about amazing athletes, I have also missed the interaction with the people who might be moved or inspired by those stories. Which is why I felt the time was right to launch Bob Babbitt’s Endurance World Newsletter so I can get back to sharing conversations with, and stories about, the personalities that make running, triathlon, cycling, mountain biking, and obstacle racing so special. Our sports change lives 365 days a year and I look forward to showcasing fun soundbites, observations, and opinions from our most recent interviews as well as from our archives of over 4,000 conversations with some of the world’s most interesting people. For our first edition of the newsletter I wanted to create a fun mix.

We start with an interview with ballroom dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis who lost her leg in the Boston bombings in 2013. After a long journey of recovery, she’ll be running in the Boston Marathon as a below-knee amputee.

Next, from the archives, we feature a classic interview with the amazing Chrissie Wellington, the four-time Ironman World Champion, who retired with 13 wins at Iron-distance races without a loss. In 2010 she was not able to compete in Kona and defend her title because she was ill. In 2011 she was injured in a bike crash 2 weeks before the race and had no idea how she would be able to make it to the starting line. Chrissie always spoke about wanting to have a race in Kona where she was forced to dig deeper than ever before and give absolutely everything she had. That day came in October of 2011.

Josh Cox, a 2:13 marathoner and former professional runner, told me that since he was done with competitive running, he and his buddy, fellow retiree Ryan Hall, were now into lifting weights. These guys who have spent most of their adult lives trying to be skinny are actually pumping iron and getting into serious muscle. We have a video interview with Josh and a radio conversation with Ryan not long after the 2:04:58 marathoner announced his retirement from the sport.

In my editorial for RACEPLACE Magazine this month I share the unbelievable story of Rhonda Martin, who went from 457 pounds to 180 pounds and is now racing triathlons. How amazing is that?

We finish up our premiere issue with a look back to February of 2015 at cycling star Taylor Phinney’s acceptance speech after we honored him at our Tri-Palooza Awards in San Diego. As Taylor says so eloquently at the end of his speech to the 400 runners, triathletes, and cyclists in the audience:

‘Let’s hang out more!’

I couldn’t have said it better.
Listen to the Babbittville Radio interview with Adrianne Haslet-Davis
Listen to the Babbittville Radio Classics interview with Chrissie Wellington
Watch an interview with Josh Cox, filmed at the RunningUSA Conference for Josh Cox, Sports Agent
Listen to the Babbittville Radio Interview with Ryan Hall
Hans und Franz - Pump you up!
Josh and Ryan have a message for you...
Living Instead of Existing
First published in RACEPLACE Magazine, March/April 2016 Issue

Where do you start? When you’re weighing in at 457 pounds and you’ve been overweight for most of your adult life, what diet do you embrace to help stop the madness?
The date was February 7, 2012. Rhonda Martin, originally from Iowa but by then living in San Diego, made a conscious decision NOT to go on another diet.
Why? Because she had tried them all and success had still eluded her. Oh sure, there would be some weight loss for a month or four, but eventually Martin would revert to her old patterns and the weight would come storming back.
“I was dealing with sleep apnea and high blood pressure,” she admits. “I couldn’t take 150 steps at a time without being out of breath and having to stop.” She realized that this time she had to change everything; and that long-term health doesn’t come from the latest fad diet, it comes from a total lifestyle change. “That’s when it clicked in for me,” says Martin. “I started drinking two to three protein shakes per day, plus eating three healthy meals. I started counting calories and bought a pedometer. Then I challenged myself to take 100 more steps than the day before.”
In her garage she had an electric bicycle that she had barely used. That soon changed. “I started riding the electric bicycle to and from work a few times a week,” she continues. “I’d pedal for a while, rest up, and then pedal some more. By riding the electric bike, I also had two full hours a day of me time. I loved that.”
By totally changing the way she lived her life, Martin was happier and healthier than she had ever been. When she realized that she had plateaued, Martin hired a personal trainer who she worked out with two to three days a week and he recommended that she sign up for her first triathlon.
Triathlon? Isn’t that a sport for an uber-athlete, not someone like Rhonda Martin who was looking to lose some weight and get into basic fitness?
Not quite. While being overweight makes it hard on the joints when you run, non- weight bearing sports like swimming and cycling can become the perfect fitness activities.  Her first triathlon was a 500 yard swim, a 9 mile bike ride and a 3.1 mile run in the spring of 2014. “When I came across the finish line of that first triathlon, I can’t put how I was feeling into words,” she says. “I was in awe.”
Rhonda Martin also discovered a little known fact: she was competitive! 
By the end of her first summer as a triathlete, she had completed four events, had lost 277 pounds since February of 2012, got her weight down to 180 pounds and took third place at the San Diego Triathlon Classic in the Athena Division. “I remember my trainer saying to me while he was looking at the results sheet.  ‘You’ve got to come look at this. You’re third!’ I was in shock.”
Rhonda Martin’s Facebook Page is called ‘Living Instead of Existing’ and she loves answering questions from other people facing similar situations to her own.
Rhonda exemplifies what it takes to make a difference in your life. There is no quick fix and while RACEPLACE was created to help everyone out there find their finish line, we also understand that step number one to lifetime fitness is to find your starting line.

Hopefully, Rhonda Martin’s story will help inspire you to find yours.

Taylor Phinney - Tri-Palooza 2015
Watch Taylor Phinney's acceptance speech from the February 2015 Tri-Palooza Awards Gala
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What Do You Think?
Since this is an Olympic year, would you be in favor of a wild card entry to the 2016 Ironman World Championship in Kona being offered to the male and female Olympic Gold Medalists? I'd love to see it. 
Tweet us your take:  #heybob
Share Your Thoughts! Email Bob
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