He just finished his first full Ironman in Lake Placid, New York, on July 26 and is already hitting the ground running—literally—training for the San Diego Superfrog Ironman 70.3 in less than five weeks. Oh, wait, there’s more: He's also training for the New York Marathon the first weekend of November. Who is this czar of an athlete? Robb Fordham—wholesale mortgage executive, competitive athlete, father, and self proclaimed “shy guy.” Robb makes his achievements look easy, but they are not for the faint of heart.
Robb set a personal goal to finish the Lake Placid Ironman in 14 hours. He finished in 12:33. The forecast was for rain, but they got heat instead. With a tendency to overheat, Robb said that heated cycling at The Sweat Shoppe made a massive difference in his performance and helped him control his heart rate.
“I took a non-conventional training approach. I just wanted to do it and see if I could hang on. In hindsight, it doesn’t seem like a long time. I sit and analyze my goal, the little points.”
He rode as hard as he could on the bike for the first hour. He said the run was as long and difficult as he had expected it to be,but was pleased to see he was the first one out of the water. Then came the cycling.
“The bike ride, through upstate New York, was gorgeous, but after six hours—and for the last 10 miles—I wanted to get off the bike so bad. The running was the worst part; my feet swelled up bad.”
Completing his first full Ironman was an emotional and transcendent experience. One of the things that got him through was the support of spectators along the route.
Upon finishing the Ironman, he and a few others joined the spectators and cheered the rest of the competitors. One moment that touched Robb was hearing the crowd roar as the name of a 77-year-old man was called out as he crossed the finish line later that evening.
“I cried tears of joy many times along the course. Spectators are there from 6:30 a.m. until midnight, cheering people on. You don’t see that in a lot of sports.”
To make his mark on the score board, Robb takes his training seriously and always makes time to get his workouts in. Adamant about reaching his goals, he attributes his success to balance. The father of two (Max, 4; Sam, 2) knows time with his sons is paramount and puts them first—even when training for a race.
“When it came to balance, I told myself I was going to do it. It doesn’t make me happier to work harder. I get my fulfillment with my kids.”
While looking for something to get him into shape six years ago, Robb started doing small races, one a year. Robb is a former CrossFitter, and his friend (who was also his CrossFit coach) was a strong influence on him when he began racing.
A wrestler since he was six (and through college at the Air Force Academy and Cal State San Marcus), he knows how to tap into training mode. However, it has not always been easy.
After participating in a half Ironman last year, Robb underwent reconstructive knee surgery, so his training was non-existent until March and April of this year.
“It’s tough getting back into working out. I had gained weight but have just about trimmed all of it off. It’s always hard to jump back into a training regimen.”
With swimming and running having already been a part of his routine, he was looking for the cycling element.
“I was looking to train for the cycling part. I checked out Jason’s class, and at first I thought I was going to die.”
But Robb came back. He loved the workout he got from The Sweat Shoppe without the impact of being outdoors. He has attributed his athletic success to incorporating heated indoor cycling into his training. Robb enjoys being around like-minded individuals at the Shoppe who share his training mentality, and likes that the people are nice.
Just kept going, be persistent. It’s a different style; you either like it or you don’t. Everyone goes at their own pace. Stay on the bike for 50 minutes, stay on it, go a little at a time, push it, go for it. Give it a shot and come back.
Outlook on training:
After a crappy day, I realize that running is a luxury, simple things, and everything is not so bad.
3 Things to Know about Robb
Shy around other people, reserved
2 awesome kids
Likes to eat and drink beer
Half IronMans Completed - 7
New York Marathon - 1 completed. November will be his second NY Marathon.