Team SportPursuit – Ironman UK – Allie Park

All the latest from Team SportPursuit Ironman athlete Allie Park, as she prepares to take on the Ironman Bolton:




31st July 2013 – 3 Days Remaining




30th July 2013 – 4 Days Remaining

So it’s the final countdown.

I’ve been treating my followers to a pictorial countdown since day 6….it’s fair to say I’m more than a little bit excited/scared/nervous now!

My last week’s preparation has involved many short very low intensity training sessions and today I’m off for an all over sports massage to keep me nice and supple.  Like everyone says, the hard work has been done and now is the time to relax, stretch, eat well and look after yourself as best as possible – oh, and sleep!!

At the weekend my new race wheels arrived, so that was the highlight of my weekend (as well as supporting my club mates at the Milton Keynes Olympic distance race and club BBQ on Sunday).  Bike now looks and feels a little bit more ‘racy’, can’t wait to have my full-on ‘bling’ race bike next year, but I guess we cant have everything at once…and tri is definitely not a cheap sport!

So from now until I drive to Bolton on Friday it’s all about the planning.  Lists, lists and yet more lists!

The last 48hrs is going to be pretty manic – my timetable looks something like this:



Travel to Bolton and Race briefing / registration at the Reebok stadium (and no-doubt spend some money in the expo).



Practice swim , cycle, and run (all very short) at Pennington Flash (complete by 10am, sort out final details to transition bags)

11:00 – Racking at T1 open for numbers 501-750

12:00 or earlier – T2 racking at the school

Back to hotel for chill out / spa time.

15:45 – Join TeamSportPursuit at Reebok for interviews, coffee and meeting the team.


Sunday – RACE DAY!!!

03:00 Alarm call

04:30 latest  – At Pennington flash to walk transition area again and ‘relax’!!

06:00 Race Start


The last 24-hours is all-important and I have a nutrition-plan that I stick to religiously – my lunch, evening meal and snacks are all planned out and my breakfast on race morning is always the same – I practice this during my long training sessions too.  Breakfast is always porridge, a bagel, and a protein shake.  I then have a carb-energy drink that I sip up until 20mins before the race, then I have a caffeine gel 5-10mins before getting into the water of the swim.

So on that note – time to start writing more lists…See you at the Finish line!!! 


23rd July 2013 – 11 Days Remaining 

Well what a week – the last full training week before taper kicked off with my longest ever ride a week ago on Sunday – a 125 mile sportive.  I loved it, it was a beautiful day and the ride was in a lovely area with some amazing views.  I used this as a race practice to practice my nutrition again, although i did sneak some extra cake when in the later food stations too! ;o)

The lovely mobile marshal on his bike (above) was chatting to me at around mile 90 and even offered to go ahead to refill my bottles and bring them back to me, bless him!  I didn’t take him up on the offer though as I wanted an excuse to have a stop-off! Everyone there (including the two guys I traveled with from my Tri club) looked at me like I was mad when I stuck my trainers on and had a run just after the 125 miles…

My feet were killing me from after around 60 miles, so I’ve bought some new cycle shoes a size larger.  I think the extra warm weather and swollen feet were responsible for the pain I experienced, still the pain in my feet took away from the pain in my legs, so I felt ok when I finished the ride and put my lovely comfy running shoes on!

The rest of the week was quite low impact and low on hours really, but then I had my final big day this Sunday, which was a race rehearsal.  After a 4am wake up call, my boyfriend dropped me off at Datchet water for a 1 hour swim and then on to T1 at the car and off on a 54 mile around the lovely lanes of Bucks/Herts, ending up at home for T2 and brick session – a painful one at that – 40min run with 30sec pick ups!

Tapering this week means 2 full days of rest, so I’m now twiddling my thumbs and wasting time on the laptop searching for my new race bike for next season – I’m actually tempted to buy my race wheels now so I can get use of them on my current bike at Bolton; everyone keeps telling me the wheels are what makes the most difference, so it couldn’t hurt to put them on the bike I have and then have them ready to go when I buy the new bike in the coming months….

I wonder if SportPursuit have any Tri bikes coming up…



12th July 2013 – 22 Days Remaining

This week has been mad! Last week had been fairly busy trying to juggle the usual work demands, seeing my boyfriend and trying to keep up with friends.  I went out with my closest friend on Friday night – fish and chips under the excuse of ‘carb loading’ for a heavy weekend of training (well they do say nutrition is the fourth discipline)!   Its got to be said, my weekends are very different now to what they used to be, gone are the booze and late nights and in their place are early nights and 4-5am alarm calls!

Saturday was a long swim at the lake early morning and then my last long run; I did a lovely run along the canal in the sunshine and thankfully lots of sections were shaded, otherwise it could have been a long hot session!

I went to Bolton for the day on Sunday with my friend Tom from the tri-club, we did the long ride out to the bike circuit from Pennington Flash and then one loop of the course before returning to Pennington Flash for a brick run – again it was red hot, in the high 20s all day – love it!

I’m still finding the hardest part of training is juggling everyday life, and that planning is the biggest part that can help ease this.  My coach gives me my plan 5 weeks in advance so I have to check this against my work diary for any obvious clashes and then try to plan around them.  I find that by making my longest training day match with my home admin day helps as I can get an early morning session in, still be at my desk from 9-6 then get an evening session in too.  My most demanding work day I will try to match up with rest day so I don’t have to worry about training if there are flights to catch or a very long day in the city lined up.   Weekends for me now are all about training – I guess pros can still have a bit of a life outside of training, but to us mere mortal age groupers the weekend is all about training as its the only time we can fit in endurance sessions. Even getting up at 5am on Saturday you’d be surprised how quickly 9pm comes around and all you’ve done is a swim, a run, a dog walk and maybe a load of washing!!!  The garden certainly is not looking at its best!

Right then – for now that’s it; another long weekend ahead with my first ever 100+ ride; I’m doing the 125 mile Wiggle Magnificat!




2nd July 2013 – 32 Days Remaining

Last week’s training seemed fairly low key, until the weekend!  Had a variable heart rate limit run set to do Saturday and a long swim followed by a ‘race rehearsal’ Sunday. The ‘race’ day involved getting up at race time, having the same breakfast and using nutrition etc all exactly as I will be on the real race day.  As I’ve been having nutrition issues when getting into the run this is really important for me and this week I was testing out the effect of taking on more fluids than usual to see if it helped reduce stomach cramps.

Had an amazing long bike ride and the weather was perfect – 80miles at a shade under 18mph average which is a really good pace for me, was a good social ride too as I chose a local double lap route so I had members from my Tri Club (shires Triers) joining me, 3 joined me for the first lap, then one dropped of and another 2 joined me for the second lap including Musty, a very experienced ironman triathlete and club member who has taken me on to coach me for the next year or so and get me through my various races.  Next year my focus is on IM70.3 Majorca and IM Austria 2014 – IMUK is all a big practice and warm up for next years races.

After the ride on sunday I had an 80min brick run to do – this hurt! I get the message now that ironman training is all about pacing! Definitely need to reel myself in a little more on the bike to leave my legs (and stomach) feeling a bit better on the run.

I’ve also realised in recent weeks how important it is to be well supported for Endurance events like ironman and it has to be said my boyfriend is amazing – he’s done plenty Ironman racing himself so he understands what I need and has been full of advice and support and joined me on some of my long bikes.

So then this coming week is the first of three pretty intensive weeks before my taper starts.  I’m heading to Bolton Sunday to check out the bike course too so I’m looking forward to that!

26th June 2013 – 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.  Discovered whilst staying next door to Edinburgh Zoo that the hotel pool was only 13m.  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 boyfriend 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)



17th June 2013 – 47 Days Remaining


Another crazy week, but rather than talking about all my training – the highlight for me this week was my training race at Wimbleball!   Friday was amazing and i was getting so excited as i laid out all my kit in the hotel – this is my first triathlon using transition bags as I’ve done 2 sprints and 2 olympics before now. Definitely a weekend to remember.

Here is my race report;

Race Report / IronmanUK70.3 Exmoor (Wimbleball);

That was brutal!

Swim was great – ironically the swim was the only dry bit of the day! Loved it and was actually drafting on feet for quite a bit – with hind site could have gone way harder – but again, better to be conservative when trying a new distance that you’ve never raced before I guess!

T1 – the run to transition is around half a mile, up a very muddy hill, that was fun in barefeet!  Because this was my ‘training race’ and not really a race, i took the time to dry my feet properly, and put plenty warm layers on, calf guards, arm warmers, jersey and a waterproof.

Cycle – very wet and it hurt. but I didn’t push 100% as again i don’t know the route, but i knew it was hard and didn’t want to blow up before the second lap. The rain started about 15mins into the cycle and became torrential in parts, continued for all the bike and some of the run.  The cycle leg has 1800m of elevation – thats pretty tough in the torrential rain, i felt really sorry for the people in just trisuits and gillets, i took the time to wrap up and was still shivering about mid way around.

T2 – Pretty normal, got of my soaked outerlayers and kept my jersey on, realised part way in the run i still had gloves on too, felt a bit daft but not as bad as the guy who ran the whole thing in his cycle helmet haha. Also took the time to use ‘the conveniences’ in T2 as i still don’t get this whole ‘going on the bike’ thing!

Run – complete mud fest, didn’t realise it was all off road, a mix of gravel tracks, forest trail, and grass, i would have taken trail shoes if id known as i was slipping all over in the mud. Took ages to get my HR lowered from the bike, but after 20mins it had settled and id got into a good rhythm. By 30mins, my stomach decided to protest to all the gels I had, so there were 4 more ‘comfort stops’ and lots of stomach cramps on the run. In the last couple of miles of the run i started to get all emotional and really had to fight back the tears, the realisation that my goal of the past year was nearly at completion was a bit overwhelming, I’ve put so much hard work in since September and it was all going to be over soon. Crossed the line with a huge smile, and then burst into tears!!

Funny story for in the athletes tent, they were giving out Hog roast rolls, and one guy looked to be particularly enjoying his, when the guy next to him commented on this, he replied saying he’s been a vegetarian for 10years haha! They were lush though; pork, apple sauce and crackling – perfect recovery food eh?

Waiting for full published times, but currently

710 of 1666 total (top 42%)

55 of 226 Females (top 24%)

10 of 35 Cat.




11th June 2013 – 53 Days Remaining


So yesterday the real hard work started! Last week was a recovery week having been on a training camp in the Lake District with my tri-club the previous week for a ‘holiday’.  We managed to rack up about 25hrs training and me and 2 of my friends ended the week by taking part in the Coniston epic swim series race. The race was my first ever 3.8km open water swim so a good step to take as it now means I’ve done all the individual iron man elements so now i just have to put them altogether – on one day – what could go wrong??

The so called ‘recovery week’ involved over 10hrs of training, but all under a HR cap. It was a good week and had some OK weather for some of the sessions but I’m still left wondering where our summer is…..

So, the hard graft! So far this week I’ve had a muscular endurance swim set, a 15mile run, a turbo session (bad weather) and my usual Pilates class. The week is only just starting though and I have an epic day on Thursday where i have to do a 3.5hr ride and brick session before i start work – i am then taking part in my first IM70.3 on Sunday at Wimbleball.  As I’m taking advice on my training now from a coach that trains in my club, i have been given a personalised race plan, which pretty much means I’m using Wimbleball as a practice for nutrition strategy, HR limits and to find any problems that may arise before Bolton.  As i’m incredibly competitive by nature, this is going to be difficult to stick – but i will as i don’t want to jeopardise my big day in Bolton…..

It’s got be said, the excitement is really setting in now!

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