Allyson is a passionate triathlete who enjoys racing over long distances. She talks to Sundried about racing highs and lows.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, as a school kid I enjoyed athletics and netball, played hockey too but didn't like the bruises. After I left school I started doing aerobic classes and a bit of jogging to keep fit. I've now run consistently all my adult life with only the odd week or two off here and there. I also did karate for a while when my son was young as I went to a session while he did his class which I enjoyed. Later on, I captained my local netball team for a couple of years before leaving when I moved away, I played WA or C and loved it! Running is still my go-to favourite.
How did you first get into triathlon?
My first triathlon was in 2012; my local town had a "novice" distance event with a shorter swim than a sprint. I'd run every distance up to marathon, and recently got my first road bike, so it seemed like a natural progression - except my swimming wasn't great.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
Tough question! My two marathons were both amazing, but I think Ironman UK 2018, I smiled the whole way round, my jaw actually hurt the next day and everyone commented about me being smiley so it has to be that.
What is your proudest achievement?
Completing Ironman UK. I wasn't confident about my swim, but my training went to plan; the goal was to complete my first one with no specific time in mind. I finished in 13.5 hours; the bike course had been shortened due to fires that year, so if it had been the full course I would have finished at approx 15 hours which I would have been overjoyed with anyway, as it's ahead of the 17-hour cut off.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
Yes, an error I blame nerves for. My first middle distance triathlon at Staffordshire 70.3 in 2016. I wasn't really ready to swim the distance, but was really lucky to win an entry and only had 8 weeks to train. For the whole swim my goggles wouldn't seal, I had to keep stopping and treading water to try and fix them. I had to do a lot of head up swimming as they kept filling up with water, I didn't understand what was wrong until after the event. I remembered I'd put suncream on my face when I was getting ready due to being out on the bike and run. It rained anyway! I never did it in training so I don't know why I did it at the hotel room - live and learn!
How do you overcome setbacks?
Try not to dwell too much on them, but use them as a lesson, what can I do differently in future to improve and progress, and try to stay positive and focus on a new goal/future.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
Don't compare your kit or yourself to others, own who you are - you're good enough.
What are your goals?
Currently to stay healthy, gain strength, and shortly begin training for Ironman Cork 2021, which will mean plenty of sea swimming practice needed.
Who inspires you?
Lucy Gossage - she is an amazing athlete, she spoke at the Ironman UK race briefing and I was starstruck, I also saw her whizz past me on the bike course, I shouted "Go Lucy!" and she replied, which was lovely. Also, my Gran, she was a really strong female who I think of often.
Why work with Sundried?
I'm very happy to be working with Sundried, being a British company and due to their work ethic and I think it's so important that we can wear clothes made from recycled materials. We all need to consider how to be more sustainable especially with clothing as athletes we can get through a lot with washing and sweating.