"Much of your success in life is determined by how well you handle discomfort..."
I'm not sure who came up with the above quote, but it's been my motivational mantra over the past few months. As usually, I spend the fall training and resting up for the indoor track season which usually kicks off with the USATF Masters Indoors National Championships, which in 2018 were held in Landover, Maryland.
But, last November, within minutes of getting the schedule for the indoor nationals three-day meet, I got an email from church announcing that my 13-year old's confirmation service was the same weekend. Was I going to have to choose between defending my W55 high jump national championship title, and attending my youngest's confirmation service? You betcha. I was fairly certain the high jump would be scheduled at a time during the weekend that would conflict with me attending my youngest's confirmation. But, as mentioned before in this blog, I am a mom first, athlete second. There was no choice to make, really.
So, as a three-time national champion in the W55 high jump, I decided it was time to present myself with a new challenge, a new ledge to jump off, a new "just out of my comfort zone," situation. I saw on the schedule for nationals that the pentathlon (60m hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put and 800m run) was on Friday. I could make that, I thought. The only problem was, I'm not a pentathlete.
I set about training for the pentathlon two months before nationals. Much to my surprise, I was able to finish (even sucking wind in that 800m) and placed third in points, while being awarded silver because the second place finisher was from out of the country.
The "pent" was a blast -- a day surrounded by inspiring female masters athletes who supported this newcomer to the event. I'm now officially hooked!
Looking forward to the next one!
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.