When my oldest was a baby, I had to quickly jump in the back seat every time we went through a car wash. I'd get on the mechanized tracks, throw the car in neutral, and leap to the car seat in the back, holding his little hand and cuddling him to calm the noise, scary wash blades and darkness. This went on till he was about five years old. We didn't wash the car very often. Today, as we entered, I instinctively reached over and laid my hand on his back. But...there was no need. Yes, old habits die hard.
Our white car went into the car wash with months of dirt and soot, assaulted by the hours of driving that a mom of middle-schoolers with myriad activities does. The soap and water cleared and we drove out into a sparkling sunny day.
As a masters athlete trying to find the balance between training, injury, healing and competition, I wish I could just "car wash" injuries away, as I continue to recover from a hamstring pull -- with indoor nationals only a few weeks away.
Don't we all wish we could "car wash away" many things that bother us. Physical injuries, emotional tension, worries of the day, political differences, parenting mistakes, tiredness, and that loop in our head of things to get done.
But, we won't get everything done. We'll get enough done. Everything won't get repaired. But it'll work just fine. Everything won't be perfect, but it'll be enough to get by. And, we'll get there...one car wash at a time.
After two weeks of worrying about a strained hamstring, I'm back at the gym in full force. Indoor nationals will be here before I know it, with a chance to gain a fifth national championship title - if I'm lucky. Thinking positively helps, as well as some serious rope sessions!
If you compete as a masters athlete in high jump or pole vault, you always deal with the challenge of finding a place to practice. When I happened to spot the high jump standards at the side of the track at Union College last week, I quickly set them up at the back of the pole vault mat and snuck in some low practice jumps. Couldn't resist popping over since I hadn't jumped in four months! There's no where to go but up!
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.