COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - After spending three months aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, LCDR Andy Baldwin is happy to be back on land and participating in this weekend's Ironman Coeur d'Alene.
With the amount of time and training that goes into an Ironman Baldwin had to do all of his training aboard ship.
"Someone said to me, you can't do Ironman, you're on a ship, you can't train! That just made me want to do it even more," Baldwin said.
There was just one drawback to being on a ship. How do you prepare for the swim?
"The most challenging thing was training for the swim. Ironic right? I wanted to ask my captain, 'Hey can I go out for a swim here and try to keep up with the ship?"
Baldwin, a senior medical officer aboard the Makin Island, ran miles at a time on a treadmill and rode his trainer in tight corridors. This Sunday will mark Baldwin's ninth Ironman, though this one has some special meaning for him.
"I'm getting ready to go on deployment to the Arabian Gouf so this is kind of the last hoorah to do Ironman Coeur d'Alene," he said.
Baldwin is well known as an athlete, a humanitarian and participated in the 2007 season of the Bachelor.
"One of the guys on my ship the other day, I just selected for a promotion for commander and he was like 'Wow you have come a long way since the lieutenant on TV. You're a real doctor,'" he said.
But what he is most proud of is serving his country, whether its providing humanitarian assistance and disaster response in Africa or deploying for the better part of a year.
"I lead a team of about 100 doctors and 100 corpsmen and preparing to receive any casualties we might get, and if we have to go into the fight," Baldwin said.
For now Baldwin is trying to enjoy his time on land and put that ship training to the test.
"This time around it's been nice to really just relish what is most important and that's the people the friendships, the experience, the travel," he said.
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