Meet Amy Robillard. Our local runner has been featured in numerous articles over the past years detailing not just her achievements as a runner but also the marathon journey and her family. Some of her many accomplishments include two Flying Pig wins, numerous top 10 finishes, and Olympic Trial qualifications all while balancing cross country coaching, USA swim coaching, and motherhood.
Through her training, ups and downs, children, husband and work, Amy has found ways to balance life and continue to train. She humored us with a Q&A session about her journey as a running extraordinaire.
Talk to me about your family – kids, husband, ages, what you guys do for fun:
I have two kids; my daughter is 9 and my son is 7 and have been married for 11 years. He is my best friend and biggest supporter. For fun we are usually outside playing at parks, finding new places to eat, and exploring creeks and trails with our dogs.
Secrets on getting in proper nutrition while chasing around kids and working.
Due to too many bad experiences of not being prepared, I always have bars and snacks in the car and plenty of water bottles and drinks. I have even debated getting a battery operated mini fridge for the car. I do eat a little different than my family. My son has some food issues from transplant complications so he usually eats something entirely different. My husband and daughter usually eat the same thing that I make adaptions to. I am a clean eater for the most part but have a weakness for dessert. I am always snacking on something and drink a ton of fluids (and coffee). We have rolled on like this for 7 plus years that our system is pretty smooth and fast.
How do you find time to get in running while pregnant/nursing/chasing tiny people all day?
It is a constant work in progress. I look at the day ahead and find the sweet spot for it to happen. It is not always ideal but that is what makes me a better competitor. You can’t always have perfect conditions to be successful. I’ve learned to just get it done and be grateful for that. When I was pregnant with my first, time was not really an issue because I just had work. But with pregnancy number two, it became a balancing act. What I will always cherish is pushing my daughter in the BOB talking about any and everything while pregnant with my son. We really connected then. While nursing, I always found what time of day I could get help and as soon as I nursed I ran out the door (literally) because I was on the clock. Continuing my training actually gave me more energy and that second wind you need with two little ones. Getting outside for a run solo was not always a reality so when one or both napped, so I jumped on the treadmill. If it was one of those days when napping was not happening (we all know those), the baby would be in a seat or jumper-and-play-thing and the toddler would have a craft to do while a movie played. Because I did this from the get-go, they got the hang of it fairly easily. I truly believe it was a way for them to see me working for something and doing something for me. 24 hours a day are devoted to them so carving out an hour or so for myself became very necessary.
Have you always been a runner? Where did you start and how long did it take you to get where she is now? How do you avoid burning out?
I have always loved running but swimming was my main sport growing up. After college, I turned into a runner and always loved competing and training. I ran track and XC in high school and jumped into road racing the summer after I graduated college in 2002. Because I truly love it and keep my training varied, I have never experienced a burn out. Running is an outlet for me. It is a part of my daily life.
What secrets do you have on taking on a huge time commitment for training with young kids.
There are really no secrets on how I fit my training in (sometimes hours a day). My husband is my rock and an amazing team player. He helps me get the kids ready or to and from practices, school or parties when he is in town (he travels weekly). I plan ahead and again, not always ideal, but I get it done. The kids have only known this “me” so they expect it and always are eager to know how it went and where I ran. If it is a track run, my husband will meet me up there and they play around and run while I am finishing the workout. For long runs, we sometimes pick a coffee shop to meet at a few hours later for a snack and drink. I love knowing I will be meeting up with them.
Do you listen to music? What is on your playlist?
I listen to music when running solo. My playlists vary like the Ohio weather and it depends on what kind of run I have planned and what mindset I am in. I listen to house melodic trance to current hip hop and anything in between except for country and heavy metal.
What motivates you?
My desire to compete and see what I can achieve. I truly love pushing the limits. Also, seeing how my training and racing have impacted my kids has turned into a motivator. They see the grind, the day in day out stuff, and they also see success and failure. It has become a teaching tool for me as a mom.
Best advice you have received regarding running and from who.
I have received so much advice through the years, it is hard to point out one specific person. Honestly, Matt (husband) helps me a lot through the good and bad and everything in between. He really knows how to calm my nerves and how to knock some sense into me at the same time. Best one liner from him that I always remember is “don’t let this race be bigger than you”
“Don’t let this race be bigger than you.”
Most memorial/humorous moment of a run.
Most memorable Pig moment was when I won the half in 2011. It was my first race back since my son was born and since he went through his transplant (his 1st year was rough). I was shocked I still had it in me to race and push myself at that level. I felt relief and excitement that the worst year of our lives was over with and we were moving on to a normal life.
Most humorous Pig moment was after the second year I won the full. I finished the race and it hadn’t even been 1 min before one was asking me to take him to the bathroom and the other wanted to eat because she was starving. Yup, right back into mom mode and it made a few reporters get a good laugh in.
Most sentimental moment was having my entire family support me while running in the Olympic Trials last year.
Most humorous moment was having a shoe slip off when I got clipped from the back and having that runner actually stop and grab my shoe and then run with me for a few miles. Always makes me laugh and reminds me there are nice competitors out there!
What does the Flying Pig winner receive?
The Flying Pig is a non-profit race so no prize money is awarded…meaning all money earned goes to the charities and that is really awesome. Winners get Asics swag, a trophy, wreath and an opportunity to throw a first pitch at a Reds game. I have thrown 3 first pitches and each experience has been amazing and fun!
Because Amy is a mom and sometimes as a mom, we put our kids first, she is sitting out this Flying Pig to watch her daughter compete at a meet. Turns out even the best of the best prioritize their family over themselves.
Thank you, Amy, for representing the city by showing resiliency, strength and determination all while being a dedicated and focused mom.