Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Athlete Spotlight- Amy Robinson (Ironman)

I grew up in a very close, active English family - as a result of my dad’s job we were always on the move: Wales, England, St. Louis, Belgium, back to St. Louis, Philadelphia, Colorado, and finally Boston. As you can imagine I have got quite good at moving, adjusting to new places and meeting new people.

My parents always said that I had trouble sitting still, and the word ‘relax’ is not in my vocabulary. I have been active for as long as I can remember – hiking, skiing, sailing, racing my brother on bikes down hill and inevitably giving his friends black eyes (this is a story for a different time). In Belgium I started swimming competitively, then went on to varsity soccer, field hockey, equestrian show-jumping, rowing, cycling, and it wasn’t until I attended the University of Colorado that I got into triathlons.

After 6 years of rowing competitively my back had had enough. Being a 5”3’ lightweight rower and trying to compete with 6ft heavyweight women proved challenging to say the least…and no…I was not a coxswain! As a result of my height to power ratio I was attending physical therapy 2 times a week with a very painful lower back injury. The therapist told me that I could continue rowing and potentially not be able to pick up my kids (read: future-tense), or I could stop rowing and my back would eventually get back to normal…I decided to pick up cycling!

Living in Colorado you couldn’t ask for better roads, scenery, and hill climbs…however there was one issue…I got board…apparently I have ADD. My senior year I joined the University of Colorado Triathlon team, but it wasn’t until I moved back to Boston in 2004 that I competed in my first triathlon – the West Kennebunk Fireman Sprint with Team in Training and placed 3rd in my age group. I figured if I could place in my first race, I may be decent at this whole ‘triathlon’ thing, and thus the drinking of the ‘Kool-Aid’ ensued.

Fast forward five years…after 10 months, over 800 hours, and an average of 20 hours of training per week I am an Ironman! Although the road to Ironman came with many highs and lows – I have never been as proud of my dedication, discipline, and performance as I was with Ironman. I found my biggest challenge in trying to balance training with spending time with my fiancé, family, friends and other ‘non-triathlon’ related events (yes, they do exist). I despise being selfish, and at the end of the day it was always all about me and what I needed. Luckily my friends and family couldn’t have been more supportive of my hungry, cranky, tired mood swings and for that I am truly thankful.

The morning of the race was a tough one; have you tried swallowing 2.5 cups of applesauce the morning of a race?? While pulling on my wetsuit (which is never an easy thing – see Sean Brady for explanation) tears started and wouldn’t stop, I didn’t know what I had got myself into. The idea of being an Ironman was certainly glamorous, but walking to the swim start scared the hell out of me – it wasn’t until I heard someone from the crowd yell “this is what you wanted to do!” that I realized he was right, this IS what I wanted to do and I needed to H.T.F.U! For the rest of the day my motivation was that “this is what I wanted to do” and although there were times I wanted to stop each thought was followed by – this is my own bloody fault, and if I cry it is a waste of energy…so no crying till the finish line. And, as I crossed the finish line…I couldn’t stop smiling!!!

Life is full of adventure – although there is not an Ironman planned in my future next year (wedding planning takes precedence) you can be sure I will see you at the starting line with an even bigger smile on my face cheering everyone on and remembering…this is what I wanted to do… until next time!!
ED NOTE: Amy went 12:29:20 at LP (but still hasn't posted her results!!!!).

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