As my summer of 2014 progressed, I became increasingly confident with my high jumping as I was winning meets and could see my ranking was holding. But, I was still getting my training regime down. My pattern of training and performance was a bit inconsistent. Should I work out like crazy before a competition? It seemed to me that that's what the big professional athletes did. Weren't they always, "training"?
But then, in June 2014, I went to NY State to visit family and with the best intentions to train each day during my vacation, per my trainers instructions. before the USATF East Coast Regionals, held at SUNY Albany, I did nothing but hang out with family for the seven days before and walk the kids to a playground each day. But, I competed, won my age division and jumped better than I had since competing in masters jumping a whopping 1.36m, which was wonderful for me.
I returned to Atlanta and trained for various other meets. Then, excited like crazy, I drove to Winston-Salem, NC to compete in the USATF Nationals 2014 at Wake Forest University. I had learned my lesson from the previous year's hamstring pull and drove up the night before.
I was like a kid! I was at a national track meet! As I walked around, I saw "track stars," heard the announcer call out competitors who used to be former Olympians and professional athletes and had a wonderful time taking in the competitive atmosphere.
The field of jumpers was bigger than before and the talent and technique I saw during the athletes' practice jumps was very impressive. I was nervous and it showed in my jumping. But, I placed second, winning a silver medal in my age group, women's 50-54. Woo hoo. I learned a lot about myself, too......
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.