Magic 'Marc-er' Marc Rubin Destroying Limitations
On New Year's Day 2003, Marc Rubin sat by the trail that snakes its way up what was then known as Squaw Peak feeling like he was about to die. Weighing 325 pounds at the time, Rubin also felt frustrated that he could not complete the hike with his wife, Suzanne, and their two sons, Nathan, then 4, and Joel, 2. The Rubin family descended and went home.
I saw the disappointment in Nathan's eyes, Rubin recalls. I sat at home devastated. I felt sorry for myself for a couple of days. It was like how in the hell did you get yourself in this mess? You've really done it now.
The incident jogged Rubin's memory of his childhood. Growing up with a father who constantly faced health problems, rarely was Rubin active with him. Rubin could now clearly see the generational pattern he was replicating. In the past he had lost weight, then promptly gained it back and more. He felt lost.
Not long after his humiliating Squaw Peak retreat, a friend called to invite him to lunch.
I said great, I like to eat so I'll go to lunch, Rubin says.
The lunch turned out to be a major turning point in Rubin's life. He was stunned to see that his friend has lost nearly 70 pounds since the last time he had seen him. Rubin's friend had been under the care of Sofie Fontis, a weight loss doctor at Scottsdale-based Chiro-Med.
I told him that I would love to see her, Rubin says. Then he said, Fine, because I've paid for you to see her. She taught me how to eat right, and the weight started coming off.
Like ice melting, the pounds began to slowly disappear. As they did, Rubin began to feel reinforced by hearing positive comments on how he looked. The good feeling he felt began to snowball, motivating him to stay on his weight loss regime. He was hell-bent to stay on course. In six months he lost 40 pounds.
Once I got down to 275, I became more active in the gym, Rubin says. Before then I was just walking every day. Once in the gym I got a trainer, she helped me regain my fitness and taught me about stretching.
In October 2003, a trimmer Rubin entered the sprint event at the SOMA triathlon. Amazingly, he crossed the finish line. He was hooked.
But then the nagging injuries began; old baseball and football injuries began acting up. A third-degree shoulder separation had ended his baseball career at Wake Forest, while a nagging torn knee tendon plagued him as a linebacker at SMU in the late 1980s. Also, bad form and an overly aggressive event schedule had Rubin taking one step forward and two steps back for he next nine months.
Relief came at Endurance Rehab, a Scottsdale physical therapy company.
I worked with Nate Koch, he's a big part of my story, says Rubin, referring to Endurance Rehab's director of rehabilitation. He put me back together. I had tons of unresolved injuries from college. We worked on running mechanics; I had never been a runner. Now I was running 50 miles a week? I was going to get hurt. He made me more structurally sound.
Rubin went from not being able to walk around the block to competing and completing Ironman Arizona in 2005.
It was stupidity! he says. I went 14:37 my first year to 11:36 in 2006.
Rubin plans to qualify for Kona by competing in the June 24 Ironman Coeur d'Alene. After going 10:10:59 at Ironman AZ 2007, he's working toward a 10-hour tri. His training regimen for Coeur d'Alene- and the June 3 Escape From Alcatraz-consists of riding 350 miles a week on the bike, 60 to 70 miles running and more than 13 miles in the water.
Along with fellow triathlete Lewis Elliot, Rubin founded 10-Hours, a non-profit foundation. Both make visits to a variety of corporations and schools touting the benefits of exercise and making good health choices.
10-Hours is all about destroying our limitations, Rubin says. I'm letting people know they can do anything they want to do.
Rubin and Elliot didn't stop there. Both athletes formed www.triscottsdale.org to promote health and wellness through triathlon. The organization is sponsoring races and athletes, and supporting youth development.
This is all about showing people that they can overcome things and they can recapture their youth.
At 39, Rubin is having more fun in athletics than he's ever had. Having lost more than 150 pounds, Rubin is on the fringes of being an elite triathlete. He now weighs 168 pounds and has just 6 percent body fat. He's used to comments by people who see the photo taken by his wife, the now infamous Disneyland photo where his girth reminds all viewers that in 2002 it really wasn't a Small World After All.
I was certainly well fed at the time, he says.