Tonight, I leave for France to compete in the biggest track meet I have ever participated in, the 2015 World Masters Athletics (track & field) Championships (WMA) in Lyon, France. The combination of excitement and nerves is an interesting cocktail. Sleep has been difficult, but I figure that'll get me so tired, I'll sleep on the plane and then, once I arrive, get over jet lag more quickly. One hopes!
Wearing a USA-team jersey as a part of the 426-person USA masters team, competing against 8000 masters athletes from all over the world feels surreal and is as close to the Olympics as this lady will ever get!
I've been watching the results of the events before me https://www.lyon2015.com/en/ and can see some very strong competitors are doing well. The best in the world are there. I choose to not be nervous about high jumping against them, but chose think that the surfaces are good, resulting in great performances. Well, that's what I'm telling myself. I feel strong, prepared and ready, and with incredible jumpers from Germany, Austria and South America, hope to place in the top five.
Of course, it hasn't been easy. Getting my children ready for the first week of school, coordinating "kid management" for while I'm away and getting my husband and mom up to speed has made this a super busy week. Add some last minute training and you get the picture.
I particularly want to take a moment to give a shout out to my incredible supporters. The unconditional encouragement for this endeavor from friends and family over the past two year has been so overwhelming! We're all excited about this! I love it when people come up to me and say, "Whaaaat? This is crazy! " I couldn't agree more. Thank you for that!
My success is due in part to the special support of my husband, Juan, my brother and sister and law, and my mom, Nancy. They've stepped up to hold the fort down while I'm away (my mom jumping on a plane at the last minute!) and I know they're excited for me.
Okay, I jump August 12 at 11 a.m. France time. Follow me on Instagram at #juliajumping or FB. Stay tuned!
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.