DES MOINES, Iowa — Allyson Felix will lineup in the women’s 400 meters semi-finals on Day 2 at the 2019 USATF Outdoor Championships on Friday, but faces a difficult task of advancing.
Felix competed for the first time in over one year and the first since having a daughter — when she finished fourth in heat one of the one-lap event in 52.20 seconds on Thursday evening.
The performance earned her a spot in Friday’s semifinals, but it was well below the standard of the 32-year-old who admitted to feeling “rusty” in her first run out.
Her personal best is 49.26 seconds, set to win gold at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in 2015.
“Today I’m far from my best, but I’m grateful for this opportunity and to experience the joy of competing again,” she posted on her Instagram.
Felix, who began her journey to secure a spot on the 2020 Olympic Games team, says she was happy to be back competing.
“Even though it wasn’t a great result for me, it’s a starting point,” she told reporters after the race. “My biggest goal is next year. I know that I’m capable.
“Now I have time on my side. I can get where I need to go.”
Felix also posted on her Instagram before competing that making it to the start line was “a huge victory.”
“Today I’ll step on the starting line for the first time in over a year. It might sound cliche, but making it there for me is a huge victory.
“Almost 8 months ago this was my entire world. Staying in the NICU all day & night watching my baby girl fight. I can still hear the beeping and alarms of the machines. The uncertainty, the fear.”
The most decorated female Olympic track and field athlete with nine medals also revealed that she had doubts about coming back.
“There were a lot of days I wasn’t sure this was going to be possible,” Felix said. “I worked harder than I ever knew I could.
“There were tears, frustration and doubt, at times it felt like everything was against me.”