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Home  > Health >  Fitness

Tribute to a Mediocre Athlete
by Rita Kennen

Robin Chotzinoff is a self-proclaimed mediocre athlete with a shameless passion for fitness. She's also the author of a book called People Who Sweat, a collection of stories about ordinary people pursuing extraordinary athletics.

Robin's story is an inspiration for all would be athletes.

In February 1995 Robin Chotzinoff decided to compete in the Mount Taylor Winter Quadrathlon, a race up and down 5,000 feet of mountain in western New Mexico. Why did she take on this challenge?

Name: Robin Chotzinoff
Age: Forty something
Occupation: Writer, mediocre athlete and mother
Interests: running, cycling, surfing, jazz dance, tennis, yoga, weightlifting, snowboarding, etc.
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Robin was on a quest for years to find her sport.

"I would, in my fantasy, win and go on to become a famous middle-aged multi-sport endurance athlete. Plus I thought the Quad might constitute an adventure. Also, my husband then my boyfriend wanted to do it, and I wanted to do whatever he wanted to do."

While she was a child

Raised on the East Coast, Robin attended an exclusive girls school where everyone exercised in gym class three times a day. "I was an extremely mediocre athlete from the start to the finish. I had fantasies about being good at gym but none ever materialized."

In the summer before college, tennis became her obsession. And since almost everyone was on a diet, "It was always such a relief to me to break the diet, go out and play two hours of mediocre tennis and then eat real food, a lot of it."

That led to a spot on the Bryn Mawr tennis team, where Robin swears she would have sunk to the bottom if she hadn't dropped out of school. Life's journey then led her into the hard rock life of the '60s counterculture. There, she developed her true fitness philosophy.

"I could never do a sport because it tones up or staves off heart disease or something. Instead it has to hold out the possibility of gigantic kicks."

And kicks drove Robin to train for the quadrathlon.

Page:Part II: Making It Through the Race
Page:  1 2 3

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