Member Spotlight: Karen Allman

24 Mar 2016 7:56 PM | Deleted user

In 2003 Karen Allman, 56, was approached by two coworkers about doing a triathlon.  She didn’t know what a triathlon was nor did she own a bike or swim very well.  They convinced her to try.  She bought an entry-level bike and got started.  She first had to learn to shift gears and use clip-in shoes.

Her first triathlon was the TriGator Supersprint at the University of Florida, which she did to get a feel for the sport.  Her first full sprint triathlon was in 2004 at the Winona Classic Triathlon.  She finished in 2nd place in her age group.  It was a very fun race and it featured a swim, run, and then bike.

Karen has a background in nursing.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1985 and became certified in oncology in 1990.  In 2008, Karen was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease with only 43% kidney function.  After 45 years in the profession, the majority of which spent caring for cancer patients, she decided to retire. 

Karen has three children and three grandchildren.  She has a daughter who does horseback riding and competes in 25-mile endurance rides.

Over time, Karen climbed the rankings of her age group and in 2010 she finished in the top 10%.  In 2014, at 68, she qualified for the USA Triathlon Olympic Distance National Championships.  She finished in the top-25 of her age group and qualified for Team USA.  She lists this race as her best accomplishment and notes that it was her best ever Olympic distance swim.  She credits being able to swim the day prior to the event and all the support of her fellow G3 members for her success.  She didn’t perform as well as she would have liked to in Chicago in 2015 for Team USA, but was grateful for the experience.

Karen lists Miami Man as her favorite race in Florida.  She loved swimming in the quarry, riding through flat farm country, and running through the Miami Zoo.

Karen joined G3 in 2012.  She feels it is a great resource for information, support, and benefits of the local sponsors and races.

Her advice to all triathletes no matter seasoned or new is to join G3, get a bike fit, and get a good coach. She met Jeff Plasschart in 2005, an expert in bike fitness and cycling.  He significantly helped her improve on the bike.  She also met Karyn Austin, a USA Triathlon certified coach.  She credits her with significantly helping her improve in the swim.  Karen also advised new athletes to be sure to incorporate brick workouts into their training.

What Karen likes most about triathlon is the challenge.  Not only is it a physical challenge, but also it takes mental preparedness such as from nutrition, fluid, and electrolyte management.

Karen will celebrate her 70th birthday this year and is going to continue to compete to the best of her ability.  Amazingly, the combination of triathlon, blood pressure control, and eating right has kept her kidney function stable.  Karen still loves competing and looks forward to continuing to have fun in triathlon.





G3 - Gainesville Tri-Club
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