Woo hooo! My second big meet of the season is in the bag! I won gold the 2015 USATF Masters Outdoor National Championships in Jacksonville, Florida! Please note, my weather app said it "feels like 108 deg" while we were jumping. Yikes! Hot!
At this meet, the current 2015 #1 (me), #2 and #3 ranked women jumpers in the USA 55+ age division were there. I had to be at my best. I jumped well, clearing 1.35m and just barely hitting 1.40 down. I WILL get that next time!
The jumpers there ranged in age from 30 -59. One 30-year old was going for an Olympic-level height. At 55, I am only technically measured against those in the 55-59 age group, so winning a gold for 55+, means beating everyone there of that age.
Some masters athletes expect their times to get slower, and their jumps to get lower as they age. Not optimistic old me. I am hoping that since I went from 0 - 55 mph in the last two years, I will only improve. I jumped higher this year than at the 2014 nationals and won gold, instead of silver like last year. Most importantly, with women jumping so close to my personal best, it was an excellent way to get revved up for the World Masters Championships (WMAs) in two weeks time.
The WMAs will be held in Lyon, France and my age division jumps August 12th in the morning. I've trained hard to get ready for this. European competitors are far above USA competitors -- they have more organized masters track clubs (which they call athletics) with places to train, people to coach them and more meets to compete in. I've looked at the entrants and many are jumping above my personal best.
BUT....you never know what's going to happen on the day. Each time I jump, I visualize clearing the bar, even before I start my run-up. I imagine myself lifting high in the air, arching over it and landing on the other side, clearing it brilliantly. Wishful thinking? Absolutely! "Visualizing?"...you betcha! Am I sticking with it? Oh, yeah! I could probably use that more in my real life, too. "This basket of clean laundry will magically be folded and put away in drawers in under ten minutes."
August 12th could be a REALLY good day for me and I may soar high over the bar, jumping my best EVER. That's what I'm telling myself. That's what I'm visualizing. Wish me LUCK!
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.