In the summer of 2013, I was talking with a friend about watching our children play sports. As a parent, it doesn't get much better (in my opinion) than watching your kids out in the fresh air playing a team sport. I was reminiscing about my sporting career -- volleyball, track and field and cross-country (which I hated!) in high school. I loved it. In particular, I was a good high jumper. I said to my friend, "Man, I wish they had track meets for adults!" I did some research later and found that, in fact, they did! The United States of America Track & Field association (USATF) has a masters component. With meets and everything! Could I? Would I? Is it possible I could remember how to high jump?
Except for a brief period in my early thirities doing mini-triathalons, I had not kept myself in very good shape. Sure, I was of a normal weight, but I didn't enjoy working out at the gym, just to work out. Boring! I needed something to compete at to motivate me. In 2013, my kids were getting older -- ages 9 and 11 -- and I was starting to feel I could squeeze in a little time for myself. I started playing tennis and doing a Bar class. Old muscles were reawakening. Maybe I could? A little light started to burn.
I told my husband I wanted to go to a local Masters track meet, "just to check it out." Did I wear a t-shirt and shorts just in case I got up the nerve to compete? I sure did! I ended up registering, jumping, winning my age division and have been hooked every since. That, is how this all started...
Julia Curran-Villarreal is a three-time USA W55 national masters high jump champion. After a 35-year break from her favorite high school sport of track & field, Julia returned to competition in 2013 at the age of 53. Follow her journey on @juliajumping on Instagram and @juliacurran on Twitter.