Life's funny. If hadn't bruised a rib on Saturday in a collision playing tennis with my husband (we're still married), I would not have been at this particular track this morning, gingerly working out on my own -- testing my injury, before I work again with the usual rigor and enthusiasm of my high jump coach, Ian. After the last few days off, I wanted to see if I could run a bit today with the rib as it is. I could.
But, best of all, on this track today, I bumped into stellar youth athlete Tia Jones, who just won the USATF Junior National Championships in the 100m hurdles this past weekend. She's a champion, her time equaling a number of youth national and world records.
Tia and I are bookends. She's 16, and I'm 56. Both of us are ranked #1 in the US in our age group at the moment. Training, competitiveness and rigor transcends generations and even sports.
My parting words to Tia were, "I still want to see you out here when you're 56!" Masters T&F is so rewarding, I hope she sticks with it. Meanwhile, I've got my own nationals a few weeks away, and she's got a full, exciting competition schedule ahead.
Good luck Tia!
I use tennis as a cross-training sport for track & field. Endurance, jumping and bursts of speed are all by products that contribute to improved conditioning for me. Today also provided the opportunity for me to learn to deal with the heat -- which I hate! But, playing doubles with my husband (and winning) kept me happy and keen to finish it out. One-hundred-forty-one minutes in 95-degree heat and we won. "Try to smile, Dad," said our kid photographer. We were beat and had left it all on the court!
Another weekend, another masters meet. Jumped well considering I was recovering from a foot injury. Someone told me the other day, all masters athletes are recovering from an injury! We do train to NOT get hurt and mine was just a twisted foot that I nursed all week. Great shots by a photographer there. Working the high jump "drape."
Overcast day for the USATF GA Open and Masters, but filled with sunny, friendly athletes and organizers. Injured foot and very windy conditions didn't interfere too much. Just happy to jump well. Still hanging in there at #1 in the world. It was a great day to be on the track! #usatfmasterstrack #atlantatrackclubelite
Jumped at the South Caroline Masters Track and Field Classic this past weekend. I was really happy with my jump as I am starting 2016 ahead of where I started last year. I have to put this down to my high jump coach, Ian Dube. Nothing like working with an expert who knows what he's talking about! Thanks, Coach!
It was also fun to hang out with my Atlanta Track Club Elite Team. That's the competitive arm of masters track & field athletes in the Atlanta Track Club. They are supportive, warm, funny and inspiring.
It was very, very hot in Greenville. I didn't manage the heat well, but when I complained to my husband about it, he said, "But, it's always that way!" Duh. He's right. There's a goal. Hydrate all week, not just all day. Stay in the shade more, and not the full sun. And, expect oppressive heat, for heaven's sake! It's outdoor track and field, it's the South, and it's summer. Bring it on!
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.