You may know Ally from Dailymile or Twitter for her bubbly personality. You may know her from the (as Andy O’brien puts it) “small Caribbean marathon”-winning accomplishments of her husband, Steve Speirs (aka The British Bulldog – who has been interviewed elsewhere). But behind all that, Ally is an accomplished athlete in her own right, with some inspiring performances and ambitions that make me excited to be able to share this interview with her here on Predawn Runner (and yes, I have seen her post runs in the predawn, especially of late).
Predawn Runner: You were born and raised in Scotland, correct? When did you come to the US?
Ally Speirs: I was born and raised in Scotland, and moved to USA in 1988, and have lived in Virginia Beach since then.
PR: How did you get your start in running and triathlons, and which came first?
AS: I got my start in running when I met Steve in 1997, and quickly progressed from 5K to marathon within 2 years. Triathlon happened when we both fancied a challenge and got into that in 2000.
PR: What is your favourite type of race now, and why? (You like that? I adopted the British spelling!)
AS: My favourite race is the marathon; the sense of accomplishment crossing the finish line is like no other. This year’s Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) will be my 11th marathon, and a close second would be my Ironman finish in 2004 Ironman Lake Placid was the biggest training commitment I ever made, and to train and complete it with Steve was just icing on the cake.
PR: Alright, so you have me by three marathons and however many triathlons you have done. How do you plan your training when you are trying to cover preparations for both marathons and triathlons?
AS: My triathlon training is usually more concentrated from March thru September. I am striving to be a better runner and so am focusing on that for the near future, although I still bike and swim.
PR: It seems you are shifting your focus more towards marathons for now – do you have a specific goal in mind?
AS: My marathon goal right now is to qualify for Boston in the next 4 years while I am in the 45-49 age group. If it takes me the 4 years that is fine with me !!
PR: Hey, makes sense to me, Boston will always be there, you know (at least, I assume so). How are you modifying your training to meet this goal?
AS: Steve is training me right now, with more hill work, and more consistency to my running. Long runs on the weekend are still key, and I don’t race as much right now, focusing more on training. Rock n roll half marathon is coming up and I will not race it, but use it as a training run for MCM.
PR: I’m a big believe in limiting races when focused on your “A” goal, so sounds like a good plan. With you and your husband Steve both involved at competitive levels in endurance sports, are you able to motivate each other? Do you ever train together, or are your approaches pretty much independent?
AS: I train with Steve for swimming and biking, but not for running. I think you guys know the reason why, although he always comes back for me when we do race. His support is always there, 100% and I always depend on his advice and knowledge. We always bounce ideas off one another, and since its a way of life for us, its a constant subject during the day, be it running, races, fitness apparel, gadgets, shoes..LOL
PR: Yeah, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with Steve either. You have traveled to some great destinations for events. Which has been your favourite? (Hah – again I got the British spelling right!)
AS: Favourite destination to race has to be Cayman Islands. We go every year, and initially we went to have a relaxing vacation, but it seems to be turning into a great yearly event so we are returning in December to run the Cayman marathon and half again………..it wasn’t my best time but it is my favourite place in the whole world. We are going to Phoenix in January for rock n roll marathon, so I might have a new fave place (but I doubt it LOL).
Second favourite is Cardiff Wales UK as I PR`d at the half last October……weather, and crowds perfect, and I ran well. We are returning for that race in 2011……plus its brilliant to see family and spend some time at Steve`s home.
PR: I love the Cayman Islands too, my wife’s best friend from college grew up there, and we attended her wedding on Grand Cayman in July. Didn’t seem like good marathon conditions then, so maybe we’ll have to come back for that race some day. Mind if we check back in after Marine Corps for an update on progress towards your goals?