RBR Five Questions with Chelsea Reilly, by Larry Eder

This is a short interview with Chelsea Reilly. Questions were sent day of her second place run at Tufts 10k, where she ran 32:41, winning the US title and taking second overall. Chelsea Reilly is a recent graduate of UC Berkley. Chelsea is another example of the quality of young American women distance runners coming through the ranks. She is coached by 2008 Olympic team member, Magda Lewy Boulet. This was Chelsea's first 10k, road or track! 

Chelsea Reilly, photo by PhotoRun.net

RBR, #1. Congrats on the Tufts race today, how did you feel?

Chelsea Reilly: Thank you!  The Tufts 10k was an eye-opening experience for me.  My coach, Magdalena Boulet, put this on the schedule at the beginning of the summer.  I had seen myself as 1500/5k person, so I was a little wary of the distance at first.  Magda has been training me to develop my aerobic base and threshold system, though, so I knew that I would be prepared.  I felt very comfortable and in control throughout the race.

RBR, # 2. Tell us about the race.

Chelsea Reilly: I had strict instructions not to lead or push the pace until the 5 mile mark.  For the first 4 miles, I was just trying to tuck in with the pack and conserve energy for as long as possible.  Because the 10k is a new event for me, I didn't know what to expect.  I kept on waiting for the pain to set, in but it never did.  I started feeling really good at mile 4 and was finally able to open up my stride when the pace picked up.  With a mile to go, I knew that I had a shot and could tell that I was feeling better than a lot of the people around me.  Tara Erdman made a move with a mile to go and I matched that.  With a half mile to go, I surged and knew that I just had to have a strong homestretch to win the US title. 

RBR, # 3. Tell us about running the Fifth Avenue Mile?

Chelsea Reilly:
Running the Fifth Ave Mile was a thrilling experience.  I felt truly honored to participate in a NYRR event the first summer out of college.  The running community there was incredibly welcoming.  The other athletes, including Jenny Simpson, Bernard Lagat and Haron Lagat were very gracious and willing to offer me advice in my newfound career.  I was humbled to be among such outstanding competitors and people.

The race was a learning experience.  I was in good position from the beginning and tucked in right behind the leaders.  At the halfway mark, the people in front of me started dropping off and Julia Bleasedale put in a surge.  Because I am aerobically fit right now, I decided to make a push for the win with 600 to go.  I was still leading with 200 to go and still thought I had a shot to win.  

Suffice it to say that I was a bit overconfident and probably should have waited longer.  I wasn't able to kick with the top ladies unfortunately.  While the final outcome wasn't what I wanted, Fifth Ave indicated that I could be competitive at the highest level -- that was definitely a confidence booster.   
RBR, # 4. How does it feel to be a professional?

Chelsea Reilly: This summer has been surreal! My life has certainly changed over the last couple of weeks.  I have been given the most amazing opportunities. My coach and my family were supportive in my transition from college to the professional realm -- this enabled me to be a full-time runner right after I graduated.  I am blessed that I am able to do what I love everyday! I attribute my success to the people around me.  As a professional athlete, I am able to choose my support team.  Magda is teaching me to pursue professional running the "right" way.  We aren't taking any shortcuts.  She has a long term vision for my career and I can't wait for the upcoming months and years.  I have also just started working with Tom Kloos.  He is helping me to improve my overall strength. With Magda and Tom's help, I hope to become the "total athlete" -- one who is versatile across events. 

RBR, # 5. Tell us about running at Cal?

Chelsea Reilly: I will always be a Golden Bear! I think that Cal student-athletes are special in that they strive to excel at the highest levels in both the classroom and on the track.  In order to find success, I was forced to learn time-management and balance.  I am very thankful that Tony Sandoval gave me the opportunity to run at the collegiate level -- he stuck by my side through countless injuries.  Ann Detmer was also a guiding force throughout my collegiate career at Cal.  She taught me to run without fear and helped me to enjoy the process.  

I have gained life-long friends from the team at Cal. Qualifying for the NCAA cross country championships as a team in 2011 was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.   The girls from that team are my best friends and it was amazing to achieve a goal with such a wonderful and driven group of women. At Cal I learned to overcome adversity.  I think that I am well equipped to deal with future injuries and roadblocks that I may face in my career.   Go Bears!

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