Allison is a self-coached road runner since 2014, and started cycling and swimming only 3 years ago. Her hard work, determination and dedication to this sport has been proven from time to time with her achievements. Among her latest podium wins are 2nd place and 2nd Malaysian (AG) in the Ironman Langkawi 2018 and in 2019, Champion (AG) for Powerman International, Classic category, and Champion for Everly Putrajaya Aquathlon, Sprint category.
She is coached under the experience of Rupert Chen Coaching and team, and is also well sponsored by a few well-known brands. Her training currently focuses on the 2019 SEA Games selection for both duathlon and triathlon. Allison’s goal is to qualify for the Ironman KONA World Championship. Let’s wish her all the best in her undertakings.
When did you start getting involved in Triathlon?
AY: I was never an athlete nor an active girl before 19. Typical story of myself, I was trying to lose some baby fat and I started to hit the gym and treadmill myself for awhile before triathlon.
I started getting involved in triathlon roughly 3 and a half years ago, back in 2016. At the same time, I was only running on my own, at the park and some small local races. On the same year, my friends signed up for Powerman relay and I was assigned to be their relay runner. I took the chance and witnessed the wonder and joy in multi-sports. I was intrigued by the fascinating bikes and the spirits from the athletes. I watched my boyfriend race and that was also part of the reason I started. I gathered part of my savings and bought my very first bike in my hometown and started cycling afterwards! I took up swimming when my boyfriend was preparing for his PDIT, he would pick me up from my house and we’d drive to the swimming pool to train. For him, it was a hard but good session since he had been doing triathlon for years and started swimming at a very young age. Unfortunately, I was struggling so hard trying to swim with him to the opposite side of the pool in the next lane.
I was determined to be able to swim better and further. I started watching tutorials from Youtube, with guidance from my boyfriend, many hours spent in the pool and with some strength training, I swam more than I expected. Since I know how to swim, cycle, and run, my boyfriend then signed me up for my very first sprint distance triathlon race in Desaru.
Never in my life would I have imagined myself swimming in the sea, what more racing a triathlon in the open water? That’s crazy! But somehow, I managed to survive and this is part of the spirit and motivation that keeps me going until now. Never stop believing in what you capable of.
Describe a day in your life juggling as a triathlete, student and running your own baking company.
AY: It was definitely not an easy task. I just started my own baking company (ZEAL_KL) selling homemade burnt cheesecake and almond biscotti (I made them myself) to fund myself and to establish something that I am very passionate about.
Good time management is the key. For example, I will sneak in a good quality run or training session in between my baking time, while waiting for my cake or biscotti to cook in the oven. Normally, I will have my group training session with RC Coaching at Bukit Jalil National Stadium after my class in the evening, or swimming session with them before my early morning schedule. Sometimes, I will send my own deliveries after my training sessions or classes as well.
How do you prepare yourself few days before a race?
AY: Tapering is one of the main things I do prior to race day. It simply means training with less volume but maintaining the race effort. It keeps the momentum going but not depriving you of your recovery time, so that you will still have that fresh body and mind for race day. It depends on the distance I am racing in, the longer the distance, the earlier I will start to taper.
Not to forget carb loading as well. Simply adjust your macronutrient ratio but not spiking too much on the calorie intake and you’ll will be just fine. Simple, nutritious whole foods are definitely the main component in my diet.
You are plant powered. Have you been a vegetarian all this while? And what is your take on being plant powered for an endurance sport?
AY: I have practiced it for some time, it’s my first time too. I am yet to be a full vegetarian but still practicing bit by bit. My boyfriend has been a vegetarian for 8 years now and he is doing great. He is also an avid triathlete too! I practice it purely for health purposes, for faster and easier digestion, and to nourish my body with less processed foods.
What is your biggest and or proudest achievement?
AY: My biggest and proudest achievement would be my virgin Ironman in Langkawi 2018. I finished in 13 hours, second place in my age group and also second fastest Malaysian female. I couldn’t be more grateful. I was crying in tears of joy for the first time when crossing the finish line. Remarkable!
What is your next goal?
AY: I am training for SEA games selection in both triathlon and duathlon events.
Would you rather be in flips flops/ shoes /heels?
AY: Shoes of course! Flips flops would be for the beach and shower, I guess? Heels, I think I have not worn heels in 2019 yet!
Which is your favourite product (from Outplay) and why?
AY: It’s such a tough question. I mean, why can’t I love them all? In ranking, Swimmer is the first, Sporty would be the second and Gears in third. Swimmers has the ‘organic magic’ removing the chlorine from my head to toe effectively and leaving my skin soft to touch! Thanks to the added essential oils. Not to forget, their products are environmentally-friendly too!