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Robbi Young – Why not Exercise?

by Don

The following is the interview I had with Robbi. She’s got a great attitude we can all learn from.

Today I also received my first independent book review (someone I have no relationship with and a professional reviewer). I was shocked when I saw it. If you read the book, I hope you liked it and will also leave a review on

Robbi Up High

Robbi Up High

Robbi Young is a 51 year old triathlete and marathon runner who lives in Erie, Colorado. Robbi participated in volleyball, basketball, and softball when she was young, discovering her love of running in her mid-twenties. Robbi went from running 5K races, to 10K races, to half marathons, to marathons, and eventually to triathlons by always asking herself the question, “why can’t I?” Robbi volunteers her time at events like the MS150 and the Wounded Soldier Ride, and says that seeing people participate in those events usually make excuses evaporate. Many riders in the MS150 are not highly trained riders, but do the ride because they know someone with multiple sclerosis. There are many wounded veterans who participate in the Wounded Soldier Ride, and to see them persevere is truly inspiring. Robbi has qualified for the 2010 Boston Marathon and hopes to run strong and finish well there.

Q: What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?

A: I get a lot of good advice from coaches and other athletes. I did a one hour lesson with a very good swimming coach, and he gave me excellent advice on the level of my hand in the pool. This little advice made a tremendous impact in my swimming. I belong to the Boulder Striders running club and they are coached by very qualified people, and taught me a more relaxed way to run. I also work hard. When I run, I run like I’m competing, I bike like I’m competing.  I don’t do leisurely rides, and I don’t do leisurely runs

Q: What would be your ultimate achievement?

A: If I can do a 3:40 in Boston I would be very, very happy.

Q: How do you set your goals?

A: I had a goal of doing Ride the Rockies, and in that case, I got an email and thought it would be really fun to do. That’s a hard rise, with lots of hills. I really wanted to be able to finish without doing the sag wagon, and I did.

Q: What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?

A: My biggest challenge is time management. My mom has Alzheimer’s, so between work, spending time with her, and training, time is pretty scarce. I plan my whole week in advance, and I put it on my calendar. I print it out and tape it on my desk, so I know what I have to do and when.

Q: What is your diet like?

A: I listened to my body. If my body wants salt, I’ll eat salt. If my body wants meat, I’ll eat meat.  I like to eat chicken, vegetables, and brown rice. Every once in a while I’ll eat chips, especially after a long bike ride. I work for a very health conscious company, so there is always healthy food available in the cafeteria.

Q: What 1-2 things do you believe differentiates you from your contemporaries who have tailed off in their athletic participation and abilities?

A: I like to inspire and encourage people. I know how working out makes me feel, and I want to help others feel that way. I feel so good and healthy. I also get to wear fun clothes because I’m healthy. The benefits are so enormous. I think my fitness is why I only called in sick once in four years at work.

Q: Do you have any recommended resources to share (books, seminars, websites, coaches)?

A: I go to clinics, especially AT triathlons. A Danskin triathlon I did early on had a series of clinics helped me the lot. The clinic on making transitions and the one on dealing with the crowd going into the water were really valuable. Take advantage of the clinics that the triathlons offer.

Q: Have you experienced a breakthrough, and if so, what led to it?

A: I read a book called Chi Running and that has helped me avoid injuries. It teaches a very relaxed form of running and stretching your hips and ankles. When I feel myself getting tense in my running, I take a deep breath, relax my body, and relax. It’s wonderful.

Q: What was the best advice you were ever given?

A: A friend gave me great advice best advice when they looked at me and said; “Why can’t you do this?” I’ve carried that advice with me. When a friend calls and asks if I’d like to do a marathon, my first thought is, “why can’t I do it?” What physical limitations do I have that makes it so I can’t do it? What is in my way? Unless I have a valid reason why I can’t do something, I’ll do it.

Q: Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?

A: Well, why not? Why can’t I do this?

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A: Other people inspire me. I do a lot of volunteer work for events like the MS150 and the Wounded Soldier Ride, and the people doing those events are really inspiring. They are out there working so hard for a cause.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

adina crawford December 12, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Hi Robbi Young. What an inspiration you are. I enjoyed just reading the short blurb about you. I have just ventured into the TRI series since 2010. I am still trying to perfect my swimming skills but I really have a big heart for the sport and staying in shape. Do you have a book out yet? I would be interested in a good read to keep me fully focused and on track.

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