The highlight of Track and Field for me occurred in high school, when our girls' high school track team (Fernley High School) won the Nevada state AA championship 4 years in a row (my Freshman through Senior year). We were the feared and revered team that everyone dreaded. We would strut confidently into every stadium flashing our medal and champ patch laden letterman jackets. Mine still hangs in my closet where I can frequently look at it and remember wonderful days.
As a runner ages and life marches on, remaining a track and field athlete is not easy. Is my case, my last track meet occurred in college. Of course I continued to compete as a runner, but only in road and cross country races. I have not since put on my spikes and stepped onto a competition track.
I have, however, continued to train on a track, doing intervals and drills, as I have trained for longer events. Although I count these among the hardest workouts I ever have to do, I find some inexplicable joy in running hard around the turns and finding my stride on the back-stretch. My legs tie up and my lungs burn and I am certain I will not have another repeat left in me. But once the interval is finished and the short recovery does its magic, I discover that I am able to do more than I previously thought.
I find myself now with an opportunity to go back in time to my track days. I am going to compete in another track meet. A chance of a lifetime has presented itself and I decided it was now or never. For the first time in 22 years, the Masters Track and Field World Championships will be held in the USA. And not only in the USA, but in California, USA. Sacramento, CA, USA. That is the WORLD championships! I am delirious with anticipation. I am entered to compete in the 800m and 1500m. In the Masters World Championship (and masters meets in general), runners compete against their own age group only. This is important because as we age, we tend to lose some speed. The 800 and 1500 are events which favor speed, so my ladies 40-44 years of age, will all be at an equal disadvantage.
It is as if I am treading on new ground which I have treaded on many times in the past. I will have to hone my training, gird my confidence, learn to believe I can compete against the world, and buy new spikes. When I was young and unfocused, I had a vague dream to compete in the Olympics. That opportunity gave way to greater priorities in life, but for all intents and purposes, this opportunity comes close. I intend to run to win. In both races, I have a legitimate chance. My dad, who passed away when I was 17 years old, always believed in me. Maybe this will be my one moment in time.
July 6th-17th Sacramento, CA
World Masters Athletic Championships