I had a wonderful experience at the USA Masters Games this past weekend in San Diego, California and won a gold medal in high jump and a silver in long jump.
I spent most of my 20's and 30's traveling around the world on my own but, since having kids, I come as a package deal and rarely travel alone anymore. I went on my own to this meet -- a decision influenced partially by this year's 2017 Indoor Nationals experience. Remember? In Albuquerque? The 12-year old throwing up in the middle of the night deal? We've had a lot of laughs about that since, but getting a good night's sleep is super important for a mom who needs to compete the next day. But, making this trip on my own, I felt a bit like a fish out of water! No one to keep me company on the flight. No one to show the California mountains to! No one giggle with about the quirky 50's resort hotel I found myself booked into. I ended up Face-timing with the boys more than expected just to see their cute faces.
The meet was a great experience. California has a deep bench of talent when it comes to masters track and field athletes. I was honored to jump with W75 world champion Kathy Bergen in the high jump and get to meet, and be given tips by, American Record holder Peter Hlavin. I also met a "famous" (to me!) masters track and field journalist, Ken Stone. He's been blogging for years about masters track, and his was the site I excitedly stumbled onto the day I googled, "track and field for grown-ups?" He indirectly started my track and field journey! Thanks, Ken!
I broke the USA Masters Games meet record for W55 high jump, which was actually my own record that I set last year at the inaugural games. The meet has gotten me fired up for the USATF Masters Outdoor Nationals next month in Baton Rouge, LA. I am feeling strong, jumping well, and ready to chase down another national championship!
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.