Rob Davidson of Eugene, Oregon
We caught up with Rob after he completed his first Ironman, Ironman Coeur d’Alene, in a strong finishing time of 10:54.
What got Rob started in triathlon?
After leaving the military in 2000, Rob continued to stay fit with what he called “boring” aerobic exercise. When some of his college buddies said they were going to do a triathlon called "Escape from the Gorge”, he decided to jump in too! Literally, he jumped – the race began with a jump into the Hood River. Daunting? Not really - he thought to myself, “if they can do it, I should try too!”
Rob bought a book and read about training and racing. He borrowed a bike, rented a wetsuit and the second he jumped off that boat, in his words, “i knew I had found my thing.”
What made Rob want to work with a coach?
Simply put, he didn't know what he was doing! All of the reading books and forums, Rob didn't feel like the books were taking him where he wanted to go. Plus, he has a busy life with 3 kids and a full-time travel-based job. In his words, “I don’t have time to waste, every second counts. I needed a coach to focus my workouts, to streamline what I was doing on a daily basis and make it count!”
Not only that, but Rob needed direction in balancing the struggle that many athletes have when training themselves – how much, how often. “I also needed someone to reign me in. Left to my own devices, I will overtrain under the illusion that it will benefit me. Coaching provided me with focus, direction, and expertise.”
What have you enjoyed most about working with a coach?
Rob explains, “Often during training, you doubt yourself. You doubt your capabilities and if you're doing enough. Liz settles me. Liz lets me know that I'm doing enough. That I'm capable. Liz is the logical, focused voice when I'm freaking out.”
How did having a coach help you on your journey to Ironman?
“Focus, expertise, and experience. Honestly, I could have done it without coaching but I guarantee that my journey would have been completely different without it (read: less enjoyable).”
I started working with Rob early in 2008. After months of preparation, Rob qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship with a top 10 age group finish at Lake Stevens 70.3. Even with a few bumps along the way (ie., dislocated shoulder, bike crash, dropping his nutrition), Rob still crossed the line at Clearwater in 4:40. From a coach’s perspective, this is what makes Rob is a true joy to coach. He is resilient, passionate and full speed ahead about his goals – no matter what. He has a vibrant personality that jumps off the page and when I finally met him “in real life” his energy hit me and his sense of humor made me smile.
Rob has the ability to set realistic goals and the work ethic to simply do the work to get there. His limited time means that we must focus his efforts on high quality work – no junk, no extras. He maximizes his energy and with extra attention to recovery throughout Ironman training he was able to stay healthy, on track and finish strong. Rob finished his first Ironman in under 11 hours with a 3:40 marathon. While it was not the perfect day, it was the perfect start to what I know is an idea in his head that he must better himself and achieve more. I suspect he has unfinished business with Ironman…but only 2010 will tell.
Rob is on break now – and when he returns I eagerly look forward to his random texts, quirky pictures and fun-loving personality - all that remind me how coaching is more than giving workouts – it’s about sharing experiences with athletes, it’s about getting to know them and finding out what motivates them. Putting it all together to help them go places they’ve never gone before.
See you next year, Rob!