What was I thinking? Who starts competing in triathlons at age 60? Me? As a middle school teacher living with a bulging disc in my back, siatica, a shoulder that decided to grow extra bone, knee surgery to remove cartilage, obesity, and painfully walking with osteoarthritis somehow I thought it would be a good idea to take a shot at a sprint triathlon. I finished in last place because I walked the entire 5K..but I finished! In fact I completed three that year and was hooked.
A mantra I share with my students is “Dare to dream dreams and make them true!” My dream was to compete in the National Sprint Championship so I signed up. To make it true I needed to be faster. I began jogging, bought a real road bike, and lost weight. A year later I was 45 minutes faster than that first dead, almost, last finish!
A second mantra is, “If I try, I might. If I don’t, I won’t.” Another dream – if I wanted to qualify for the ITU Worlds, I needed to be in the 2012 USAT National Sprint Championship and did – 22nd in my age group loving every moment. The support of the tri community is very uplifting. Amazing athletes passed me on wicked high tech bikes saying, “you can do it” and I gave them a thumbs up. I jogged up to a struggling teenager walking with her hands on her hips, shaking her head in discouragement and urged her on with, “I’m 61. YOU can do this.” She started to jog, then ran away from me. I was overjoyed to see her later on the podium placing second!
In July I was notified that I qualified for Team USA, through the roll down process, and invited to go to London. The dream was coming true! When asked how I complete a triathlon my response is, “Slowly”. My strongest asset when I compete? ”My mind and relentless determination.” I have no illusions of a podium finish in London as I sidestroke, cycle “sweet ride”, and jog through Hyde Park. A victory will be to finish and represent my country to the world.
My newest mantra is, “Dare to dream dreams and Tri!”
Keep shining! Lucy
Lucy Blood, Team USA from Amesbury, MA
Dare to dream dreams…
…and make them true!