My new chapter……

So its all been quiet for a long time now. I have been very busy working on new and exciting parts of my life including re-training and setting up a business now I am a qualified personal trainer.

Because my business is not taking up a large part of my time, I am using the blog on my business site for keeping people up to date.

Please like my Facebook page on;

https://www.facebook.com/redalertpersonaltraining/?ref=hl

Please let me know what you think of my updates.

Allie

 

Advertisements

Dog tags with sentimental value

Dog tags with sentimental value!

I have carried my dads wedding ring with me for 19 years now as a good luck charm and I’ve worn it for all major events in my life.  As I race ironman triathlon, carrying a chunky wedding ring around my neck was not always comfortable so I decided to have the ring made into something smaller.  As the ring is important to me I did not just want to give this to any jewellers in London where I now work and live and decided to ask Jo from Clusters what she recommend.  I’ve known Jo since she moved to the North East and trusted her to come up with some way of me able to carry my dads ring with me at all times. 

photo 2photo 1

What she suggested to do was to keep the metal intact rather than melting it down. Her idea was just simply cutting, shaping and polishing the gold ring into dog tags.  She also said this way, the original hallmark of the ring would remain intact on the back of one of the tags.  The hallmark tag was kept as the full width of the ring and engraved on the front with the word ‘Believe’. My dad also told me you can do anything you want with your life if you Believe in yourself, and training for Ironman has given that a whole new meaning.  The second half of the ring was split into to two narrow tags – one of these has been engraved with IMUK 2013, the first ironman race i took part in and it has my finishers time on the reverse.  The third tag is currently blank waiting for my next memorable date to be engraved, whether that be an important qualifying race time or a significant life event.

photo 3

I am over the moon with the dog tags and Jo also supplied me with the best chain for such valuable charms.  She recommended a chain made of palladium as this metal is incredibly strong meaning I could have a thin / light chain that was strong enough to take such charms.    

The overall result is perfect. I am very happy and would certainly recommend Jo’s services to anyone wanting some custom jewellery making.  Check out her website for more info.

http://www.clusters-jewellery.co.uk/

Thank Jo and the team at Clusters.

 x

Step by Step

One small step at a time……

So it appears that most blogs I have read in the past few days are either about the last year or the coming year – thoughts, achievements, aspirations etc. All very thought inspiring stuff and very interesting to read but as way of doing something a little different myself, I thought I would reflect back on the little steps that I’ve taken over the last couple years to get me to where I am today in terms of my triathlon achievements and ambitions.

These are the 10 most important steps that have got me to where I am today (in triathlon terms not all my life) – many, many more small steps are still to be taken, but life is an on ongoing project and you have to the enjoy it one day at a time without trying to jump to complete your goals too quickly

Step 1 – Move 300 miles away from home to start a new life ‘Down South’

Back in 2011 I decided to change jobs and move down south to have a new life away from the NE and to be with my then partner, who was from the London area.  With this move I joined a new gym and I decided it would be a good idea to mix up my usual gym based routine with attempting to swim.  A couple of months of doggy paddle and weird ‘head above the water’ breast stroke later I decided this wasn’t going anywhere fast.

Step 2 – Sink or swim

By way of giving myself a reason to learn to swim, I booked onto a woman’s only triathlon with my good mate Lisa. I booked 3 swim lesson at my local gym, which gave me enough confidence to put my head underwater and start to do something resembling front crawl.  I managed to get around the 400m swim on the triathlon half as FC and half as doggy paddle/ breast stroke.  This was a massive achievement for me, and both Lisa and I were over the moon at completing our first triathlon together.  A day I will never forget, the emotion of crossing the crossing the fish line with our hands held together up high, a personal and joint Triumph for us both.

shockabs 12

Step 3 – Join a Tri club

Immediately after crossing the finish line with my friend – I knew | had to do more of this Triathlon thing!  I got home and started looking up triathlon clubs. That’s when I found out about Shires Triers and joined them for help and advice (http://www.shirestriers.co.uk). Through this club I have met some amazing people and the majority of my friends down in the South of the country I have met through the club – some of which I now class as my closest circle of friends.

Step 4 – Lose weight, get Healthy

Some of my new friends from the triathlon club had been commenting on getting leaner and losing weight by using a nutritionist’s advice.  I wanted to know more about who this ‘Sally’ was and what the plan involved, so I asked about the plan and emailed Sally myself to register.  Sally runs a business called Fitnaturally, the whole ethos of Fitnaturally is built on the foundations of eating delicious, natural foods and using the natural environment for training and exercise (http://www.fitnaturally.co.uk)

Through using Sal’s plans and advice I managed to lose a whopping 2 stone and shave off 9% body fat, I truly believe this weight loss is responsible for a lot of the extra speed I gained in running and cycling over the last 2 years.

The Before and After results from FitNaturally

The Before and After results from FitNaturally

Step 5 – First ‘Races’

In Spring of 2012 I entered the local RAF Halton Sprint triathlon. This was a pool based swim with an open road cycle and mainly off road/trail but flat run around the base of RAF Halton. This was to be the first triathlon I had ‘raced’ because during my first ladies only tri, me and my friend waited for each other after the swim and then cycled and ran together as a pair, back then we we wanted to simply survive a triathlon regardless of time.  Admittedly the Halton event was a very small local event and not a ‘high calibre athlete’ event, but I was over the moon with winning a £50 voucher as 3rd female and being 1st in my AG. In 2012 I also competed in my first Olympic distance races and a road marathon – in all of which I was very proud of my achievements and times.

My first (and only so far) triathlon prize - £50!

My first (and only so far) triathlon prize – £50!

Step 6 – Go Long…..

Most of the people in my Tri Club have done, or plan to do Ironman distance races, so it was only a matter of time before this rubbed off on me, so having completed 2 Sprints and 2 Olympic distances in 2012 I decided 2013 would be the year to go long!  I entered Wimbleball Ironman70.3 with a promise to myself that if I got around it relatively unscathed, I would go full distance and book Ironman Austria for 2014.  A few weeks before doing Wimbleball, I won a competition by Sport Pursuit (http://www.sportpursuit.com), where the prize was a place at IMUK!  This kind of threw a spanner in the works as it meant I couldn’t ‘race’ Wimbleball full out, as It wouldn’t give me time to taper enough for IMUK.  So at this point I enlisted the help of a coach and he recommended using Wimbleball as a long training day and practice for IMUK.  I successfully got around Wimbleball – although it hurt and I’ve promised to go back another year as I can say for sure that Wimbleball got the better of me that day; so I owe that race an ass kicking when I’m faster! None the less, I came 12th in AG and was 56th female, which I was quite pleased with for my first long race.  A few weeks later came IMUK; I was really looking forward to this as it gave me a practice at full IM distance before doing Austria next year in 2014. Again, I got around the race, learnt many, many valuable lessons that day and am still very proud of myself when i think about crossing the finish line.

IM UK finish line picture

IM UK finish line picture

I am fortunate enough to have this memory filmed by Sport pursuit so I never forget that crossing the finish line feeling. I again came 12th in my AG and was 44th female so was very pleased with my performance that day.

(http://www.sportpursuit.com/blog/tag/team-sportpursuit-ironman)

Step 7 – Get a coach

So as mentioned in step 6, I decided that if I didn’t have someone structuring my training and looking over me and guiding me, I was en-route to blowing up!  My training ethos had previously just been the more hours, the better! No structure, some hill reps but limited interval work and definitely not enough rest; one of the more experienced guys at my club is a qualified coach and has done many Ironmans himself.  He had previously given me some advice for my first marathon so he was an obvious choice and kindly agreed to be my coach. I trusted him 100% and he helped me get PBs and massive technical improvements in all 3 disciplines. I am very appreciative of the help and support and he gives me and respect him for the knowledge imparts on me.

Step 8 – Race, Rest and Recover

An important part of what my coach (Musty) has taught me is that recovery and rest are crucially important to endurance training. I now have a rest day almost every week and having had some injuries coming out of the 2013 race season, I now know that sometimes you have to bite the bullet and pull out of races if you don’t feel in perfect health. Aiding my rest and recovery now is also a great sports masseuse and physiotherapist – Claire Doherty, MD of back on track physio.  She sponsors me by providing regular spots massage and advice. (http://backontrack-physio.co.uk)

A much needed treatment from Claire

A much needed treatment from Claire

Step 9 – Enjoy the off-season

Like everything in life – ‘all work and no play, makes Allie a very dull girl’.

YES, to get faster you have to work hard, and YES this involves a lot of hours of training, but NO – you don’t have to beast yourself for 12 months of the year, and NO – you don’t have brag about how many hours training you’ve done a week, how hard you ‘smashed yourself today’ and how many miles you ‘thrashed’ out on the turbo….. there is a balance to life and there is enough time to brag about your mileage and how much you can punish yourself once into pre-race season. Why not get some base training in and enjoy the lies in, spending more time with friends and family (or in my case Will and the dogs).  There seem to be too many people afraid to have a drink or a mince pie (or 6) over the festive period because it might affect their performance in 6 months time.  It might, but its very unlikely to, and each to their own, but I actually want to have a life outside of work and triathlon too – at least for a few months of the year ;o)

We all know a 'Jack'

We all know a ‘Jack’

Step 10 – Be thankful

Finally and perhaps most importantly, be thankful; not just for what you have within your triathlon life, but also outside of it.  Within Triathlon, I’ve ben very fortunate to pick up sponsorship this year from the following companies;

Advanced TRI Fuel   http://advancedtrifuel.com

Azione carbon cycles   http://www.azione.cc/

Back on Track Physio   http://backontrack-physio.co.uk

Sports Pursuit   http://www.sportpursuit.com

One more to be announced later in January…

Aside from these companies who are kindly helping me through 2014, I am truly thankful for the friends and family that support me and put up with my moods and tiredness when training and general anti-social nature during race season.  It is your friends and family that are most important in life – if I were to decide to stop Tri tomorrow, they would be still be there for me tomorrow and fill the huge void that would be left if I didn’t train and race.

So here’s to a Happy New Year to one and all – put the negatives behind you, take the positives with you and aim to have the best year that YOU can. It’s your year and your life, aim to be the best person you can be in whatever way is important to you.

Here comes 2014 – its all about being faster than 2013……..

Back on track and ready for racing……

From the Doom and Gloom of injury to ‘Back On Track’ and Race fit!

So since my ironman in early August I’ve had a fair few niggles and issues that were getting in the way of my training and prevented me from taking part in both the Helvelyn Triathlon and the Beachy head marathon.  Things are now on the up….

My pelvis locking issue is well on the road to recovery after lots of physio and help with strengthening my glutes, helping them to fire more and also working on my lower abdominal strength.   This issue is so common amongst endurance athletes and isn’t helped by the fact that I have a massive imbalance between my left and right hand side of my body.  Apparently my right hamstring and quads are much more developed than my left hand side.  This is most likely due to me favouring that side for years of kickboxing and downhill mountain biking.

As part of the process of strengthening and keeping my body working properly I have also been advised to have regular sports massages concentrating on the areas that are tightening up because of these issues.  Through my triathlon club I became acquainted with the MD of a physio company called ‘Back on Track.  Back on Track is a small team of chartered physiotherapists specialising in sports injuries and rehabilitation as well as occupational health and Ergonomics. Because the physio’s participate and compete in sports themselves they have a good understanding of the stresses and strains I place on my body and the effect that injury can have both physically and psychologically.

Over recents months Claire has become a very good friend and as a fellow Ironman triathlete has very kindly offered to help me on my road to Kona by sponsoring my regular sports massage treatments and giving my regular advice and help with injury prevention and treatment.

Because things have been looking up recently and my injuries seem to be well maintained I have decoded to enter a winter race.  Always in search of a new PB I decided to enter Bedford Half Marathon in December.  I’m pretty much guaranteed a PB here being as my last (and only) half marathon was the great north run aged 19, a lot heavier than I am now and with very little training – I’m hoping to take at least an hour of my time – now that will be a good PB!!

Its only 8 months to go now until Austria IM and I also have my half IM in Majorca earlier in the season as a bit of a warm up.  Sport pursuit has helped me so much with all my kit requirements for next year so I cant thank them enough for their help.  I also pick up my next seasons race bike this weekend so I am very excited about that.

All in all, looks like 2013 injuries and races are all behind me now and Im well and truly ‘back on track’ for a storming 2014!

What this space for a race report after Bedford half in December!

http://www.backontrack-physio.co.uk/

 

SAM_2949

Team SportPursuit – The Ironman UK 2013 Story / SportPursuit | SportPursuit.com

Team SportPursuit – The Ironman UK 2013 Story / SportPursuit | SportPursuit.com.

The #TEamsportpursuit video is here!

Blog from SportPursuit;

“Typically, most sports businesses choose to champion the elite athlete, sponsoring a team of pro athletes in order to endorse and lend credibility to their product. There is no shortage of perks for the modern pro-athlete.

What there is a shortage of is people championing the everyday athlete; the unsung hero. That’s what Team SportPursuit is about – giving unsung heroes the opportunity to feel like a pro-athlete for the day. Our heroes are our members – they are why we do what we do – so we choose to champion them.

We selected four members who applied to be a part of Team SportPursuit at Ironman Bolton 2013 and gave them each a spot in the sold out event. The team was made up of everyday athletes, chosen not just for their physical abilities but because to us they represent what sport should be about; commitment, passion, determination and involvement for personal enjoyment and achievement, not for money or fame.

In the lead-up to the event we followed their journey through the blog diaries, before bringing a film crew to track them through the race weekend. Their skills and abilities were varied, with some having never attempted a triathlon before the big day (even overcoming an inability to swim), and two team members who hoped to qualify for the World Championships in Kona – the mecca of Ironman – one on his seventh attempt.

What resulted were four incredible stories of determination – all with individual goals but each with the same sense of achievement.”

Many thanks to the film crew and producers at Dimension2.

See more from our time at Ironman UK or check out our photo album from the event

IRONMAN UK – TRAINING ROUND-UP – WEEK 3

BACK DATED FROM 26th JUNE;

38 days remaining……

Week 3 on team sport pursuit has been fairly uneventful – lots of training, lots of blisters on feet, no where near enough sleep and way too much eating out.

I’ve been working in Scotland so had to link up training with my overnight stays. I discovered whilst staying next door to Edinburgh Zoo that the hotel pool was only 13m – not ideal for an hours interval set! That said the hotel staff pointed me in the direction of a local council pool which was 25m – it was a 3 mile run away so managed to use my laptop backpack to run there with swim kit, do my swim set, run back and still be in the restaurant for breakfast in time to meet my work colleagues. Got to say, the biggest problem with training is time and fitting it all in.

This weekend was fairly intense too – over 8 hours of training and then my friend decided to take me for a ”little local walk’ with my dog – i didn’t realise this was a 2hr walk with a big hill on my already blistered feet just after my 17mile run…….the next day, he turned my planned training ride into a longer 72mile ride over 4hrs long, and me getting lost on the way home didn’t help!

Ah well – only another 38 days……. :o)

image5-e1372349489903

 

Welcome to #TeamSportPursuit

Welcome to my Blog. My aims are to blog on all my training activities to follow my journey in triathlon – from non-swimmer to Ironman triathlete.

This is my first blog from #teamsportpursuit webpage – a team place I won as part of a competition BACKDATED FROM 5th JUNE 2013

“After the phenomenal response to our Ironman Bolton Competition earlier this year; we’re proud to introduce the five athletes who will be running for Team SportPursuit this Summer! The competition was stiff, but these five Ironmen and women stood out amongst the rest of an (already extremely impressive) group!”

ALLIE PARK
Name
Allie Park

Age
36

Location
Hertfordshire (Originally from Northumberland)

Anything we should know?
I have a dog called Chilli who acts as my training buddy for recovery runs and hill reps!

Ironman experience to date?
None yet! First event will be the Wimbleball 70.3 later this month.

The dream finish time?
12 Hours

Why do you want to be a part of the challenge?
My Ironman plan was to do Austria in 2014 and just do a half this year, but training has gone so well and I have raced all the individual Ironman distances this year (first 3.8km swim in Coniston last weekend)!

Your Ironman Bolton kit list?
I haven’t planned this far ahead but it will definitely involve a lot of check lists being written.

Twitter name
@alliepark1976

If you could have one super power what would it be?
An ability to read minds – so I can tell if others were as smashed and in pain as me!

image