When your best friend is an avid triathlete and fierce competitor, it’s inevitable that you’ll soon join the ranks as a triathlete.
Eleanore Robinson and Team Podium member, Abby Huggins Mowinski initially became friends over their mutual love of
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The Asheville Half Marathon in 2013[/caption]
animals (they are both veterinarians). About 4-5 years into their friendship, they started to run together and tackled several races including the very hilly Asheville half-marathon in 2013.
That same year, Eleanore’s niece was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She decided to sign up for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Ride alongside her sister and brother-in-law in Nashville, TN in 2015
From Abby’s involvement at Podium, Eleanore knew that first thing she needed to effectively tackle the 56-mile bike ride was a bike fit. She came in and shared her goals with Matt Cole, who fit her to a new road bike. She walked out of the store that day with a new bike and feeling confident in her bike fit.
The ride with the JDRF was the hook that brought Eleanore to cycling. She began to go to races with Abby, just to cheer her on and eventually was promoted to the role of Sherpa at Augusta 70.3, where Abby qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
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Post Augusta, Eleanore's first official race as a sherpa, celebrating Abby's 70.3 WC Slot[/caption]
Eleanore reflects, going to races was fun. I liked being out there and feeling the energy while supporting Abby. It was a fun environment to be a part of while supporting Abby,
Because of their long and close friendship, she understood what made Abby tick and how to help her the most pre-race. Abby goes into a pre-race silence zone as she preps for the race. Abby likes having me as a sherpha because I understand how to navigate that better than anyone else.
After completing her first duathlon at Tri to Beat Cancer, Eleanore was ready to take the next step to full triathlete. She decided to sign up for the Georgia Peach Women’s Triathlon in Ackworth, partially because it was a beginner friendly race and partially because she knew Abby would be racing it as well.
Although Eleanore felt comfortable with the run and the bike, the swim was a big hurdle for her to overcome. She signed up for one-on-one lessons with a coach and got comfortable in the water.
She also knew that she had advanced in her cycling skills and wanted a new fit. She signed up for a fit with Chloe Murdock who put her into a more aggressive position that was more appropriate for the confidence that she had gained in two years of cycling. Chloe, a licensed physical therapist, was also able to diagnose some issues that concerned Eleanore with her foot and she now sees her for physical therapy.
As an experienced member of Team Podium and a triathlete, Abby helped pave the way for Eleanore. Bike shops can often feel intimidating to new athletes but Abby encouraged her to try out Podium and she found the people to be just as helpful and welcoming as she had been told they would be.
Abby helped by meeting up with her for rides and runs and encouraging her to push beyond what she felt like she could do.
Having Abby at the race was key. She knew how to help Eleanore out the morning of the race and adapted her pre-race style (the zone of silence) to what Eleanore needed on race morning.
And of course, as she went up the last big hill before the finish line, Abby was there. This time she had a sign with Eleanore’s name on it and was cheering her on.
[caption id="attachment_1404" align="aligncenter" width="744"] Finish line photo at the Georgia Peach Womens Triathlon in Ackworth[/caption]
Eleanore found that in the process she learned to overcome her fears and pushed herself outside of her comfort zone. She did something that she never thought she could or even wanted to do and was surprised at how much fun it was!
It was also a special day for Abby who says, I think that after doing triathlons for a few seasons, you lose sight of what a leap of faith it is to enter this sport. It requires so much bravery, especially for those athletes for whom the swim invokes anxiety and fear. To watch a Eleanore face that fear with such gusto and dedication, and overcome it -- holy smokes, so inspiring! And then to put that together with a bike and an run...and to finish with a smile. I was out of my mind with pride watching her finish her first race - what a thrill!
And of course, Eleanore immediately signed up for her next race. Welcome to the triathlon family Eleanore! ‘We are glad to have you!
Eleanore's Favorite Things:
Her bike: Felt ZW5
Her Saddle: Diva Gel Flo Saddle
Run: Hoka Run Shoe
Her Nutrition: Skratch, Gu Shots or Blocks