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  • 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.

  • 01 Mar 2016 5:12 PM | Deleted user

    In June of 2012, Sharon Byun, M.D. took part in her first triathlon in Crystal River.  Her 1st place finish in the Novice division would be a preview to her future in the sport.  She quickly learned the pitfalls of trying to put a dry T-shirt on a wet body in T1 and the value of a fast bike split.

    Sharon completed her first half marathon a few months earlier and at the behest of her friend Pippin, they entered the triathlon for a new challenge.  She was hooked instantly.  Prior to participating, Sharon joined G3.  Her first G3 event was a brick workout.  Sharon arrived with a 15-year old mountain bike and quickly realized she was in need of a road bike.

    Growing up in Philadelphia, Sharon participated in multiple sports.  She ran her first 10K when she was 11 and ran cross-country in high school.  She also was a high school swimmer, where she was mostly involved in sprint freestyle events.

    Not only does Sharon swim, bike, and run, but as an OB/GYN she considers delivering babies, seeing patients in the office, and performing operations her “work triathlon.”  She loves her job, but admits that sometimes “I feel like work gets in the way of my workouts.”

    Sharon lists the Crystal River Sprint Series as her favorite race and notes that they will always hold a special place in her heart.

    In 2014, Sharon participated in the USA Triathlon Sprint Distance National Championship in Milwaukee.  This was an emotional race.  Her dad was diagnosed with metastatic cancer shortly before the race.  She dedicated the race to him.  She raced to a 1:19:32 finish.  Her father died 12 days later with Sharon at his side.  Despite racing with a heavy heart, it was a memorable race and she loved sharing the weekend with the 8 other G3 members who also made the trip.

    Sharon lists the feeling of complete and utter exhaustion as she is pushing to the finish line that immediately transitions (T3) to pure bliss as her favorite part of a triathlon.  Her least favorite part is flat tires.

    Sharon had a season to remember in 2015.  She finished in 1st place in her age group in every race she entered.  Her best accomplishment was winning the overall Female Masters St. Anthony’s Sprint.  She was ranked 221/1903 of all 45 to 49 year old women, narrowly missing out on being named a USA Triathlon All-American (top 10%).

    Sharon would advise triathletes to hire a coach and attributes her increasing speed with age to her coach, Karyn Austin.  She also advises newcomers to join a club for the camaraderie and support they provide.  She also advises to always thank your loved ones for their support, as she knows she couldn’t live the multisport lifestyle without a supportive family.

    With the support of her husband and 9 year old son by her side, Sharon hopes to continue on this multisport journey and one day be named an All-American.

  • 01 Mar 2016 5:11 PM | Deleted user

    Mark Syzmanski first began competing in the sport of triathlon in 1997.  His daughter’s 8-year old friend wanted to do a Publix Family Fitness Weekend Triathlon in Daytona Beach.  At age 36, he was working behind a desk and couldn’t run a mile.  He figured his body was designed to do more than this and he entered.  He finished 77th out of 79 total entrants.  Despite finishing at the bottom of the race, he was hooked.

    Over the years, Mark has found that committing to a race continues to motivate him to train hard.  He also notes that training for races has helped him become more successful in other areas of life.

    As a 19-year veteran of triathlon, Mark lists St. Anthony’s Triathlon in St. Petersburg, FL as one of his favorite races.  He has also raced the USA Triathlon National Championships in Burlington, VT and Milwaukee, WI each of the past 5 seasons.  He has done both the Sprint and the Olympic distance races at these events on successive days each time in 2014 and 2015.  He also lists Lake Logan, NC is a beautiful place to race and a great way to escape the August heat of Florida.  

    Mark still loves the excitement that can be felt moments before starting the swim.  He also loves trying to set new personal records.  He has raced in many states over the course of his career, but would one day like to race the Boulder, CO Olympic distance race.

    After 18 years, his advice to newcomers to the sport is to set reasonable goals, strive to improve some each year, and make multisport a lifestyle. Additionally, he recommends cross training and having fun in the off-season. Finally, finding a good training partner is very helpful.

    Mark has improved his cycling dramatically over the years and attributes Power Cranks to be very effective for these gains.  Despite finishing near the very bottom of his first ever race, Mark is now a podium regular.  In 2015, Mark was ranked 348 out of 2765 men in the 50-54 year old age group, narrowly missing out on being named a USA Triathlon All-American (top 10% of age group).  In 2016, Mark enters a new age group with the goal of being named a USA Triathlon All-American.

    Mark has been a member of G3 since 2011 and is one of its most accomplished members.  Good luck Mark in 2016 and beyond.

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