I've been back a week now from the USATF 2016 Outdoor Masters Nationals. I honestly feel like I spent an entire year preparing for this opportunity to defend my 2015 national champion title. I've had a few strange, random injuries this summer -- warming up one meet, I turned my ankle in a hole in the middle of a field at one meet (jumped and won anyway,) and a friendly tennis match accident resulted in a tear of the intercostal rib muscles, which really should have been given a six week healing period, but sidelined my more vigorous workout right up till nationals. But then, as a 75+ masters athlete told me once, "In masters, everybody's getting over their last injury when they compete." So, I took it in stride, did the job, and won 2016. I'm super excited to write that.
One of my goals of this blog is to spread the word about masters track & field and share with others that the community is warm and friendly, encouraging, and welcoming to new competitors. Last year, a mom at a youth track meet came up to me when she saw me jumping and said, "Grownups can do this?!" She high jumped in high school and was excited to learn there was a way to continue. I'm happy to report she went to nationals this year and had great fun competing. Like me, she's got the bug now.
I have two more meets in my season before I turn to off-season training, which my coach has informed me doesn't mean "off," but grueling and lots of work to get me in the best shape of my life, ready to take on 2017. I'm in!
Meanwhile, I've got two more meets to win, a new school year to get my kids ready for, and the Olympics to watch. Can't miss watching Chaunte Lowe jump! Go USA!
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.