Track and Field is a series of falls and recoveries. USA hurdler, Kellie Wells can vouch for this, having suffered a hamstring injury in 2008, during the semifinals of the Olympic trials.
After a couple of down years, Wells has returned to the top spot. She won the USA indoor 60 hurdles title in February, with the third fastest time in history. Wells heads into the USA Championships this weekend, as the world leader in the 100 hurdles, with a season’s best time of 12.58.
PreRaceJitters caught up with Kellie to discuss her preparation for the USA Championships.
PreRaceJitters: You’re off to a fast start this season, having run a personal best time of 12.58 in the 100 hurdles, in Doha. How did you feel about your performance?
Kellie Wells: I was very pleased with the time that early in the season. I know my fitness is there so now we are just focusing on staying healthy and executing races correctly.
PreRaceJitters: Going into the meet did you think you would run so well?
Kellie Wells: Yes, we had been training well and preparing for the Diamond League series and we knew what type of times and training that would require.
PreRaceJitters: You’re obviously ahead of the game already. What’s different about this season than last season?
Kellie Wells: In 2008, I had a season ending injury and it kept me off of the track from the Olympic trials and the majority of 2009, so 2010 was my first year back and I was finding my rhythm. Now in 2011, I am finally healthy and back to my old self and training has come together this year. My coach asked for my patience thru my healing process and I believed in him and we are in a good place now.
PreRaceJitters: The championship season is around the corner. What are some things you’re doing in training to prepare?
Kellie Wells: We are making sure I am getting plenty of treatment, rest, and staying sharp and executing in practice. I’m keeping my mind calm and having fun with everything. I’m looking forward to the US championships!
PreRaceJitters: You’re the USA champion in the 60 hurdles. What did it mean to you to win the indoor title?
Kellie Wells: It was so wonderful to earn a US title, a lot of people don’t look at an indoor title as much to talk about, but I ran the third fastest time in US history and went on an undefeated season. It was my first title and it came at a great time. I’ve worked hard to be where I am and to see it come to life was amazing.
PreRaceJitters: How have you carried the momentum from indoors into outdoors?
Kellie Wells: Indoors made me hungry for outdoors! It made me want to go harder to see what my body could do. The fear of the hurdle is gone finally and I have let go of my ill feelings of getting hurt again and I’m having such a wonderful time.
PreRaceJitters: You’ve set the bar high this season. What will it take for you to maintain your presence at the top?
Kellie Wells: Just trusting in the lord and in the tools he has given me to do what I love to do.I have to do all I can to ensure my body stays healthy and not put too much pressure on myself. My main focus is to have fun and to do my best!
PreRaceJitters: Track and Field is a series of falls and recoveries. What is the biggest obstacle that you’ve had to overcome in your career so far?
Kellie Wells: In 2008, I tore my hamstring in the semifinals of the Olympics Trials. I had run my personal best of 12.58 and as I was slowing down I got a third degree tear in my hamstring and could not compete for over a year. I was in pain daily and couldn’t do what I loved. I contemplated quitting a few times, but my coach and my family kept my head on straight.
PreRaceJitters: Do you get pre-race jitters? If so, how do you overcome them?
Kellie Wells: LOL of course I do, but I welcome those feelings because they help me run faster. I love the Adrenalin rush!
PreRaceJitters: Looking ahead towards the USA championships… What are you looking to accomplish?
Kellie Wells: I just really want to make the US team. It would be my first team ever, and it means so much to me to make the US team. We have so much talent in our country, so to wear my flag on my chest would be an amazing honor!
PreRaceJitters: Thank you for your time and best wishes on the season.
David Pickett is a Contributing Editor at PreRaceJitters.com writing about the exploits of collegiate and elite track and field.