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!
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.