Nothing Is Too Competitive for Tory!

As the captain of the Marist College Women’s Crew team, I would say that people generally consider me to be a competitive person. I can turn almost anything into a contest, such as “I bet I can eat more tacos than you”, “I bet I can walk to class faster than you”, or “I bet I can shower faster than you” (yes, all of those really happened). When I am not rowing for Marist, I try feed my competitive nature by participating in sprint distance triathlons. I got roped into trying one by our assistant crew coach (and Marist Admissions Rep) Michelle last summer and I loved it. This summer I participated in two more triathlons, one at the Jersey Shore and one in our very own Hudson Valley.

My best friend, Marissa, lives in Jackson, NJ, which is about thirty minutes from Seaside Heights – the Jersey Shore fame. I decided to visit her in order to participate in a race called “Double Trouble Triathlon”. Triathlons are usually fairly straightforward: participants swim, then bike, then run (and then eat lots of food…but that’s not considered part of the race). The reason for the intimidating name of the race was because we had to swim, then bike, then run…and then do it all over again. Most triathlons have two transitions (which is when triathletes switch gear from one discipline from the next, e.g. swim to bike is T1 and bike to run is T2). This race had five. Since the clock is running the entire time, the challenge for this race was to transition as fast as possible and not burn out in the first half. The race was in a great location. We swam .2 miles in the ocean, biked 5 miles on Ocean Terrace, ran 1.5 miles on the boardwalk and then did it all over again. I got to relive my favorite moments of “Jersey Shore”, as the run started right near The Shore Store (where the cast worked during the first and third season) and went right past the rides (where Deena and Snooki had been spotted on the roller coaster two nights before). It was a great racing experience. Even though I didn’t know anyone in the race, everyone was very supportive of each other. I’m pretty sure that Marissa and my roommate, Jamie, cheered the loudest of any spectators there, especially when we found out I placed 6th overall and 1st in my age group. My Marist friends are always so willing to be my number one fans and it makes racing that much better!

The second triathlon I did was in Ulster Landing Park, in Kingston. This was a different race from Double Trouble because each part of the race was longer. We swam .5 miles, biked 18 miles and ran 3.5. This swim, while being much calmer than the rough ocean swim, was in the Hudson! Although I have completed the number one thing on every Marist senior’s bucket list by jumping into the Hudson (multiple times…don’t tell security), I was a little apprehensive about swimming in it for an extended period of time. However, once the gun went off, all I could think about was racing. I had a great swim leg and was the first female out of the water. However, the bike course was the hardest I had encountered. It had a giant hill heading out of the transition area – the area where triathletes store the gear they’re going to use during the race – and a lot of people had trouble getting onto their bike because of the incline. The run was the same way: very hilly. It was definitely a mentally challenging race but a great experience. It made me appreciate the area where we go to school. The Hudson Valley is a beautiful place, even if the hills kick my butt!

Now that school has started again, I am back rowing on the Hudson River instead of swimming in it. I am now working with my team to achieve goals rather than training by myself, but I think triathlons taught me a lot about myself. As I transition from a collegiate athlete into “the real world”, there are certain things that won’t change. One of those things is my competitive nature. Now who wants to bet that my blog post gets the most views? : )

Tory Mather’12
Follow me on Twitter @editoryal
My Honors Project Blog: http://www.trainingintransition.blogspot.com

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