Mary Ryan

Name: Mary Ryan


Tell us about yourself. I have resided in the village of North Syracuse since 1988 with my husband, Shawn. We have three daughters ages 22, 20 and 18, and one son age 16. I have been an Exceptional Education teacher for 30 years. My life has been centered on young people. I have been active in the schools I have taught in, church and community with emphasis on many years of service to Girl Scouts. I absolutely love to be outside and take every opportunity I can to be there.

How long have you been involved in Triathlon and what made you take it up? I had never heard of triathlons until 2010. A PE teacher at one of the schools I taught at told me about triathlons and that piqued my interest right away! I have been active my whole life and have enjoyed all three sports. In my formative years it was simply play, yet as a high school student I became competitive and was on swim team and track, events which are totally different than any triathlon leg. In 2010, I learned of Iron Girl and thought what better way to put my love of all three sports together than to sign up for the event and train for it! I learned of the CNY Tri Club and became a member, taking advantage of the Wednesday evening spring and summer training sessions at Oneida Shores. I didn’t know a soul nor had any clue of what to do. The people within our club are phenomenal and sooo supportive that I felt very comfortable growing into my training and tri-ing different triathlons. I have made many friends through the club and met many others during events. I believe it is one of the best things that has ever happened in my life!

Who is your hero? My dad. He has taught me so many things! He is the kindest, hardest working person I have ever known. I grew up with five brothers close in age (God bless my mom). She remained at home taking care of all the household tasks while my dad worked several miles away as a steamfitter in construction. When there was work it was very good but sometimes things got tight. My dad’s work ethic and devotion to family are astounding. He has a keen sense of nature and would spend hours with my brothers and myself walking through the woods behind our home telling us all about the animals, fauna and forest wonderland. During the hot summers he would take us to the beach or the local pond on Fort Drum to swim. His dedication to and appreciation of the little things in life, with the most congenial attitude, make him my hero for all his life stories he has gone through.

What is your athletic background? I believe I was born to move! I have difficulty remaining motionless. I am a bit adventurous and like to challenge my skills. I swam in high school with the backstroke as my event. I was a team member for track and field in high school with the 880 relay and 220 sprint being my running events with discus and high jump as my field events. (Those of us of a certain age will remember running these distances before the advent of the metric system.)

What are your triathlon strengths and weaknesses? My strength in triathlon is my passion for all three legs. I absolutely love each sport although I am not good at any of them. I thought that running was my weakest so I have tried very hard the last year to improve that. My time has not really improved although it certainly has helped my endurance. There is just so much technique involved in each leg, far different than anything I have ever experienced, that even with my swim and running background there simply is no comparison.

What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most? My first triathlon was Iron Girl 2010. I remember the empowerment that this event gave to beginner triathletes like me to complete three physical events and the sense of accomplishment that it gave me to venture forth to give back by volunteering at other tris and expand my races with the knowledge that support is available through the tri community.

What is your favorite race and why? This is a hard question because each tri I have completed has been fabulous for so many reasons but I must admit that Henderson Harbor is my favorite because it is in my beloved North Country on beautiful Lake Ontario. Moreover, community service and support are very important to me and I love most of all that this event supports Credo and the Watertown Children’s Home.

What was your worst race and why? My worst race was Delta Lake in 2013. I experienced very poor sportsmanship on the swim. My leg was actually pulled and tugged on to pull me back and I was also dunked next to a buoy by other swimmers. Fortunately I love to swim but this set off my race; I also had a new bike and was new to clipping in and out. The event itself is fantastic; however, my experience for that particular day was not.

What races are on your race calendar for 2014? My first race is Oswego followed by the swim leg of the Syracuse 70.3. I also have Henderson, Gillie Girl and Cazenovia on my race list. I am currently registered for the new sprint Incredoubleman in Sackets Harbor in September but if things go well for me I may bump up to my first 70.3.

What are this year’s goals? I plan on riding 62 miles for Tour de Cure and the swim leg of the 70.3. If all goes well I would like to do my first 70.3. I would also like to run my first full marathon–I am registered for the Empire State Marathon.

In five years you hope to … : Keep going strong, God willing.

Something most people don’t know about you. I have a twin brother.

What triathlon has taught you. Have faith in your skills and trust in your training.

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