Pushing the limits of your body and your strength is one of the really fun things about being a masters athlete. Competition, and getting in shape for competition, means you're probably exerting yourself far beyond what most people your age are doing. It's a little scary, a little risky and totally addicting, I think.
Pushing the limits of safety is an entirely different matter though. This past Saturday was my first outdoor meet of 2016. It was a great venue and a well-run meet, but it was raining. I felt great! Maybe this would be a personal best day, I thought.
But here's the deal. Masters athletes can't ... get ... injured. A slippery, rainy surface can be deadly for a high jumper as we don't run in a straight line and we accelerate on a curve. A season-ending injury I don't want. So after jumping within 2" of my personal best, I called it on Saturday. Smart call, I say. There's no downside to ending the day intact! So, 2016, here we come!
Today, at the 2016 USATF Indoor Nationals in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I had the honor of competing with some really super ladies in high jump. The support and camaraderie is just amazing in masters track, and made the meet a wonderful experience today. I had a GREAT meet!! I won gold for my age division, (whooo-hoo!), jumped an indoor personal best, and placed third overall in the meet for ages 30-59, jumping higher than women younger than me. I also got to "hang" with a former and current Olympian high jumper, which is just SO cool. Having not competed since September 2015, I was VERY nervous, but it all came together today and the bounce was BACK!! Let's go 2016!
I am so excited to be at a national competition! I made it to Albuquerque, New Mexico where the 2016 USATF Indoor Masters National Championships is taking place. The set up is amazing -- an entire indoor track, elevated and banked, has been built in a convention center. There are former Olympians here, athletes hoping to qualify for world championships and many masters "track stars." If I can win a medal here, it'd be a great start on my journey to improve technique and jump higher in 2016!
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.