, Newburyport, MA

August 27, 2013

Blood, sweat and cheers

Amesbury woman will compete at triathlon world championships

By Jim Sullivan

---- — The Rev. Lucy Blood had never run a triathlon two years ago. Since then, she has run nine.

“Every time I finish, it’s a celebration,” said Blood, 62. “Wow, I did it again. Look at that.”

The Amesbury resident and former minister of the Union Congregational Church has spent much of her life as an eighth-grade special education case manager at the Timberlane Regional Middle School in Plaistow, N.H. She is now taking her experience to London next month as a part of Team USA at the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Sprint Championship.

“Two years ago in September, I decided to follow one of the sayings that I have, which is ‘Dare to dream dreams, and make them true,’” said Blood.

Blood will be competing in the Sprint Distance World Championships at Hyde Park in the 60-64 age bracket. The triathlon itself will consist of a one-half-mile swim followed by 12.4-mile bike race and a 5K run on Sept. 13. She got the idea of doing a triathlon while watching her wife, Debbie, run one in 2011.

“I figured, if I was going to do that, I was going to have to start jogging,” Blood said. “I found a couch to 5K (program), and I got up to the point where I could actually jog an entire 5K. So, a year later, I went out for the US Championship.”

The top 18 qualifiers in the US Championships in each age bracket get an invitation to be part of Team USA at the World Championships the following year. Blood finished 22nd in her age group last August, making her eligible to become an alternate.

“First I thought, ‘I have to get a passport,’” said Blood. “And I didn’t have a passport. Then I had to check with my school to make sure that I had time. They told me that I definitely had to go, and the last thing was keeping up the training to make sure that I was ready for it.”

Blood’s training varies, and that is how she likes it. She has dropped 50 pounds in the past year, working something different every day on a three-day cycle. Blood will run a 5K one day, bike 17 miles the next, then go for a swim in the ocean on the third day. Once that is done, the cycle starts all over again.

“My big hope is to finish in under two hours,” Blood said. “That for me will be a victory. I’m really only competing against myself.”

An avid cross-country skier as well, Blood played field hockey, basketball and softball in high school. She continued with field hockey, volleyball, basketball and tennis at Fitchburg State College, where she became part of the first generation of women to benefit from Title IX. Another one of her mantras is “People do have dreams; the hard part is making them come true. And that is where the work is.”

“The students hear it all the time,” Blood said. “Things that I never thought I could do, I have done. I never thought that I could write a book, and I have written two so far.

The books are “Study Skills: Strategies for Students, Parents, Teachers” and the children’s book “The Pirates Log.”

Also an accomplished songwriter, Blood will be the 19th oldest out of 321 Team USA members when she gets to London. This will also be her first trip across the pond.

She won’t have much time to sightsee, but she is hoping to see the Dickens Museum and bring home some souvenirs for her students.

“Always keep having some kind of a dream,” said Blood.