Allyson Felix is back on the track almost eight months after welcoming her daughter — and the mother of one is getting candid about why that’s a “huge victory.”
The 33-year-old track and field Olympic sprinter wrote on Instagram Thursday that she’d “step on the starting line for the first time in over a year. It might sound cliché, but making it there for me is a huge victory.”
Alongside the message, Felix shared a photo of herself in the NICU with her daughter Camryn, born Nov. 28 at only 32 weeks when the athlete had to have an emergency C-section because of severe pre-eclampsia.
“Almost 8 months ago this was my entire world,” she wrote, continuing, “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.”
Felix said there were “a lot of days I wasn’t sure this was going to be possible,” noting that she “worked harder than I even knew I could.”
“There were tears, frustration and doubt. At times it felt like everything was against me,” she said, adding, “So today I’m far from my best, but I’m grateful for this opportunity and to experience the joy of competing again.”
Now, she said, “More than anything I thank God we are healthy.”
Felix is expected to compete in the first round of the women’s 400 meters in Des Moines on Thursday. According to NBC Sports, semifinals for the 400 meters will be on Friday, with the final on Saturday.
The outlet said that Felix will likely need to place in the top six to secure a spot on the world championships team. She will need to place in the top three to compete at worlds in the individual 400 meters.
Felix’s husband, Kenneth Ferguson, also had kind words for his wife as she returned to her sport, writing on Instagram, “The time is finally here.”
“One of our many goals,” said Ferguson. “Here is a photo of you going out to the track, soon as you were cleared to not run, but to walk only at this point. And to see how far you’ve come since then in a short time, is nothing but awesomeness. Rain, sleek, snow. You were out there pushing yourself to the limits, and having cammy out there some days to help cheer you on. We’re already so proud of you, before you even step on the track today. Win, Lose, Draw. You’re our champion.”