DES MOINES, Iowa — Allyson Felix delivered another gutsy performance to book a place in the final of the women’s 400 meters at the 2019 USATF Outdoor Championships on Friday.
The six-time Olympic champion returned 51.45 seconds to finish third in her semi-final heat behind Shakima Wimbley and Courtney Okolo and she was more than delighted to make progress.
Competing for the first time in more than a year, following the birth of her daughter, Felix, although well below her usual standard, improved on the 52.20 she did in the heats and she admits to feeling better with each race.
“I am just feeling my way out,” the 33-year-old told reporters. “I know I am in some type of shape, but I am not race sharp so it’s gonna take some time.”
“I just used the rounds to kind of feel myself, like where I’m at and work out some kinks,” she stated.
Felix, who wished she had a few more races on the schedule, confessed to using the rounds to work on some of the things she lacks heading into the championships.
“I wish I had more races,” she added with a smile, noting that she’s “just trying to put myself in a position to you know, to give myself a shot” at making the team to Doha.
Her primary focus, as she alluded to at the start of the championships, is set on next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, but she’s excited about her progression.
“It feels good,” Felix said about making the final. “It’s such a different mind-set this time around.
“I don’t think I could ever say before it feels good to be in a final. I have to keep reminding myself what I’ve been through this year and just be grateful and take it one day at a time.”
The 11-time world champion, as expected, is still determined to win, but admits that not competing for such a long time makes it difficult to set the bar too high this weekend.
Asked about her expectations for the final, Felix smiled and said, “I am a competitor, so [my expectation is] to win.”
However, she went on to add: “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect [becuase of] the lack of races and just where I was physically.
“This year for me is just a stepping stone.”
Felix, who holds a personal best of 49.26 seconds from 2015, will race from lane three in the final of the women’s 400m on Saturday.
None of the women lining up in the final has gone under 50 seconds thus far this season
Wimbley is the defending champion and she has a time of 50.20 heading into the medal race.