Providence Academy senior Maddie Kelly is back to full strength after a productive spring that saw her earn class A all-state honors in two track events (4th, 1600m, 5th 3200m). But it has not been an easy road for Kelly following an injury the summer before a promising sophomore year. Her fitness is good again this fall with two meet wins under her belt at the Mora and Rockford Invites. Learn more on the road back, future goals and more in this MileSplitMN Q&A.
MileSplitMN: Some may know your story but could you give us a bit of history on your running career leading up to your injury/what the injury was and how much time you were away from running:
Kelly: I have been running cross country and track since 7th grade. I also used to play competitive soccer. My injury occurred the summer after my ninth grade year. I was playing in a soccer game in late June and the goalie and I were both going for the ball. I planted to shoot and she dove into my leg, with her head going straight into my knee from the side. I ended up tearing my ACL, MCL, meniscus, and had an avulsion fracture. Because of this, I needed to have surgery and could not put any weight whatsoever on my leg for two months. From there it was six more months before I could do any type of running. When track season rolled around, I was still limited to running three times a week, only two miles at a time, so I had to spin bike to get my cardio in.
MSMN: Describe your path back to running in both training, racing and if there were things you had to relearn:
Kelly: It was a long road back to running. I had physical therapy 2-3 times a week and had to relearn how to walk before I could relearn how to run. Returning to racing was definitely a challenge. I had to relearn what running a race felt like and how painful it is.
MSMN: What was it like to be back at the big meets like XC State/Hamline/Track State last year season:
Kelly: Not being able to qualify for the big meets was one of my biggest fears during my recovery from my injury. I am really lucky that I was able to qualify for the Track State Meet during my sophomore year even though I had just recently started running again. That meet was fun because I was just so happy that I could run again and participate in it. I was also really happy that I qualified for the Hamline Elite meet for the first time last season The Elite meet was super cool because I raced against people from Class AA, which I normally don't get to do.
Kelly: I learned to love running even more and really missed it when I could not do it. I also learned how much I love being part of a team. It was hard to be away from my teammates for so long.
MSMN: Did you have inspirations/key supporters in your road back to going into TF state last spring?
Kelly: I have been very lucky to be surrounded by great coaches who always support me. Coach Fogle and Coach Hohenecker are amazing. Coach Meadows, my new track coach has been amazing, too. He always gave me great advice and provided really helpful post-race feedback. My parents and brother don't miss a meet. I am also really lucky to have the support of my sister and also be able to run with her as a teammate.
Kelly: I would tell them to understand that this injury is temporary and the only thing stopping you from a successful comeback is yourself. Even though all hope seems lost, you have to remember why you love running and why it is so important that you return to it. I also learned to trust the recovery process and to listen to my doctors and physical therapists.
MSMN: How did summer training go?
Kelly: Summer training went very well. I increased my mileage a lot from last year, which I am hoping will make a big impact on my cross country season this year.
Kelly: I feel really good about my current fitness. I cannot wait for the bigger meets at the end of the season because that is when my fitness is at its peak, so my times will be faster.
MSMN: What are your goals for your last year of HS running?
Kelly: I really want our Cross Country team to qualify for State again. I also would like to PR in each of my track events and run in the Hamline Elite meet again.
Kelly: I plan to go to college and run wherever I go. I have not decided where I am attending yet, but am so excited to see where I end up.
MSMN: Do you have a personal motto or mantra you use in races?
Kelly: Pain is temporary, victory is forever. I have to remember that even though it hurts now, the reward is so much greater.
MSMN: Do you have favorite inspirational movies/songs you go to before big races?
Kelly: My favorite song that got me through my recovery and pumps me up for races is "Glorious" by Macklemore. I actually saw him in concert twice as I was recovering from my injury. The words to the song just really hit home for me.
You know I'm back like I never left
Another sprint, another step
Another day, another breathe
Been chasing dreams, but I never slept
I feel glorious
Got a chance to start again
I was born for this
It's who I am, how could I forget
I made it through the darkest part of the night
and now I see the sunrise
Now I feel glorious......
Kelly: I love track repeats. Honestly any distance is fun for me!