"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Who Is?: Robin Rongey

Who Is Robin Rongey?
When Patrick asked me to write a post about “who I am”, I kept thinking, I really don’t
know what I can say. I mean, I could tell the truth and say that I am this super smart,
ultra fit, amazingly hot mom, “oh wait, I’m channeling Reese Witherspoon again, so
that’s not right. Well I could tell you what I have been called in the past, the little round
ball of muscle, and the … oh wait, I can’t put the other names in print, so maybe that’s
not who I am either.
After putting some more thought to it, I think to tell you who I am, I need to tell you
where I come from. So let’s see if I can sum up my life’s journey in just a few short
I was born in March of 1964, one month pre-mature, my name was going to be April,
but when I was born in March, my mom decided on Robin because it made her think of
springtime. I was early arriving in the world and have been early at everything since,
like talking, walking, tying my shoes, everything I do, I want to do fast and be the first
one done, it doesn’t matter what it is, work tasks, workouts, races, I was even the
fastest person at picking berries in the summer, no one could keep up with me. I think
there is a pattern here; maybe that is where my competitiveness comes from.
I grew up in the projects, we were poor, but of course I didn’t know it at the time
because poor is relative. We may have been financially poor, but we had a close family
and always had fun, we just did stuff that didn’t cost anything. So many people living
around us were poor in my eyes and I always felt so sorry for them, little did I know, I
was as poor as they were.
I am the only girl in a family of 5 kids. I am the second in line, but I ruled the house like I
was the oldest. I was always told I was really mean and bossy.
I spent my summers heading outside at daylight and not coming in until dark. We
played kickball, hide n seek, kick the can, football, baseball, soccer, we even setup
a ring with our shoes that we ran around acting like we were in the roller derby and
knocking people out of the ring. Most often I was the only girl allowed to play any of
the neighborhood sports. I think that is because all the boys were afraid of me, at least
that’s what my brothers tell me.
When I was 9 my dad died and at 12 we moved from the projects to the country. I went
from having hundreds of kids to play with, in a quarter mile radius to having 10 kids to
play with, in a 5 mile radius. This is when I started picking up endurance activities, riding
my bike, skateboarding, even running, I would run laps around my block and it was 2
miles long.
Two weeks into my freshman year of high school I was in a bad car accident, I spent a
few months in a hospital and then spent months on crutches. My mom was told that I
would most likely have brain damage, so now when I do stupid things I blame it on the
brain damage. It took a year to recover, so it was my sophomore year before I could
play any sports. I ran track and cross country the rest of high school, then I ran track in
college on a scholarship. I was just an above average runner, but heck back then they
just wanted to find girls that would run, that’s why I had a scholarship. I was actually the
first girl to ever run cross country for SIU-E.
After college I got married and had 3 kids, I continued to run, but not really competitive.
When my kids started getting self sufficient I started training hard again and decided to
try some new things, like triathlons, mountain biking and road biking. I loved it all! Then
in 1996, I took a job with Boeing and met my friend and now teammate Chuck Vohsen.
You all know Chuck as a Badass Adventure racer, but back in the day, he was just
some overweight jeep driving, martial arts practicing engineer. That was when I could
beat him both on foot and on wheels, but now, I’m just lucky he lets me follow him
around and share his adventure racing glory.
That leads me up to the current day and the fact that I am so lucky that I have a strong
mother who raised 5 kids on a yearly income that is less than I make in a month, having
4 brothers who even though they called me mean and bossy, they put the smackdown
on anyone else who said it, having friends like Chuck who would fight a bear for me or
give me his last sip of water if I was out, having 3 healthy kids that fight like cats and
dogs and are always planning the next way to pull the wool over their dad and my eyes,
but at the end of the day always give me hugs and “I love you’s”. I guess what I’m trying
to say is that all the events in my life have made me who I am today.
I still sometimes wonder who I am, but if I have to say who I think I am in one big run-on
sentence, this is what it would say.
I’m a girl who works hard at everything I do, I’m very organized, to the point of
annoyance to my family, I love being outside and I love adventure of any kind, I never
give up because I know with persistence I can accomplish anything, I may not be great
at it, but I can do it, and most of all, I’m a real cool mom, well my kids may not say that,
but I like to think I am.


  1. Hey, I'm an only girl, too. Maybe that's why we're so comfortable hanging out with these boys all the time! "You all know Chuck as a badass adventure racer, but back in the day he was just some overweight jeep driving, martial arts practicing engineer". This line made me laugh, as did the diet Coke in your hospital room. :)

  2. Wow that Diet Coke addiction goes way back