The Molly Seidel Interview with Tips4Running.com
Molly Seidel is a Senior at University Lake High School in the Fall of 2011. Recently she won the Footlocker 2011 CC National HS Championship with a time of 17:22. Over the past 3 1/2 years of running high school track and cross country, she has put together some amazing performances. In track she has run under 5 minutes for the 1600. She the fastest time at the Wisconsin State Track meet in 2009 for the 3200 with a time of 10:39.
Recently, Molly ran the fastest 4K ever for a high school girl in Wisconsin, with a blazing time of 13:10 in the Fall of 2011. The most impressive part is every season she keeps getting much faster. She also set the "unofficial" Wisconsin Cross Country State Meet record with a 13:45 in 2010. The course was slightly modified in 2010 because of the conditions. The previous record was 14:11. Her best CC 5k time is 17:11 run at the UW-Parkside course.
Below are two of the recent races she was in. The first is a CC race held in Hartland, Wisconsin. The second is the Footlocker CC National Championship race in 2011. After the videos, there is an interview I did with Molly in the Fall of 2010.
David Tiefenthaler - When did you first start running track or cross country?
Molly Seidel - I started running track in 7th grade when I switched religious ed. classes and I found out that I could run with the track team from that church. I had been looking for a team since 5th grade since we didn’t have a middle school team at our school, and it was such an unbelievable opportunity to meet so many people and really get into the whole running scene.
DT - Did you like running right from the start?
MS - Yes, I’ve always loved running. Lots of people think I’m crazy because of it, but it has always been something that I enjoy to do. I love doing workouts and distance and racing, so it’s easy to push myself because I’m always having fun.
DT - The school you attend, University Lake School, is a very small Division Three School. Typically, your school would race in much smaller meets, but you end up running many large invites. Do your coaches work hard to get you into some of the more competitive races with the fastest runners.
MS - Yes, my coaches do so much to make sure that we get into many of the really good meets that have the larger schools such as Arrowhead and Oconomowoc. I just feel so blessed to be able to come from such a small school but still run at the Division 1 level.
DT - I can’t imagine many people can hang with you for workouts. Do you run with your coaches at all, and can they keep up?
MS - I do a lot of my runs and workouts alongside my coach, Brian Borkowski, and he’s easily able to keep up with me. But since he can’t make it to every cross country practice I do end up running alone quite a bit. In a way it almost helps when I have to do workouts by myself because I learn how to set a pace and push myself when no one is there.
DT - One advantage that you have in the small school setting is you can participate in more than just track or cross country. What other sports or activities do you take part in?
MS - The past two years I’ve done field hockey in conjunction with cross country in the fall, and I downhill ski race in the winter. I also sail competitively in the summer.
DT - Do you have any one race or personal record time that you are most proud of so far?
MS - I’m probably the most proud of when I broke five minutes in the mile last June. When I started running track in 7th grade the mile was the first race I ever did, so it’s always been such a big goal of mine to finally get into the 4 minute range. I feel like it really was a breakthrough race for me because before that I really doubted my ability to run at that level even though I had been so close all season, so when I finally broke it I gained so much confidence for my training and racing.
DT - Have you had any disappointments, and how do you respond to a bad race?
MS - I’ve had a lot of races where I didn’t do as well as I wanted to or didn’t get a specific time, especially last year in track when I was trying to break five minutes in the mile. When that happens to me I just try to channel that disappointment into determination to work harder for the next race. Most of the races I remember really well are those that I didn’t do my best in for the reason that they made me work harder and become a better runner.
DT - Are there any other runners in your family?
MS - Neither of my parents are runners, so they’re still wondering where I got that one from. However, my aunt (also named Molly) is a runner, and my grandpa ran track at Shorewood High School. My younger sister also does cross country, and my brother does track, so it’s really exciting to see them doing so well as freshmen this year.
DT - Last year you were disqualified from a race for having your shorts rolled up. Is this incident the reason the WIAA changed the rule and allow people to roll their shorts at the waist if they are too big? Can you explain the shorts rolled up incident?
MS - Going into the race, I had no idea that I wasn’t able to roll my shorts; I had always just rolled the waistband once because they were too big if I didn’t. The referee didn’t ask me about it at the starting line, so I just went into the race thinking everything was okay. When I came through the finishing chute another referee came up to me and said that even though I had just won that he was disqualifying me for wearing the uniform in an illegal style because he saw the bottom of the rolled waistband when I was finishing. I couldn’t even believe it at first, but then when it really sunk in I was totally crushed. They threw out my time (which was a P.R. for me and the 3rd best course time), and it was like I had never even been in the race. It’s just such a disappointing thing to train so much and work so hard for a big meet like that only to have it taken away from you right at the finish.
I’m not sure if my incident had anything to do with the WIAA changing the rule, but I really hope that my bad experience can help to prevent other runners from ever having to go through what I went through.
DT - I imagine that you are getting recruited pretty heavily with some of the times you have posted? Do you plan on running in college?
MS - I definitely hope to run in college. Running is such a big part of my life that I could never give it up, and I really look forward to competing at that level in a few years.
DT - After the cross country season for the WIAA is over, will you take part in any of the national races like the Foot Locker Championships or the Nike XC Race?
MS - Yes, I plan to do the Foot Locker Championships at the end of November.
DT - Sometimes runners will hit a time plateau and struggle to improve, but every season you have gotten considerably faster. Have you gradually done more mileage or harder training each year, or do you attribute your continued success to experience?
MS - Higher mileage has definitely had a lot to do with my improvement, and it helps that I can handle more now that I’m older. However, I think that one of the biggest factors is having two years of cross country experience under my belt. Coming in freshman year I really had no idea what cross country was all about, and I didn’t exactly have lots of older teammates to tell me what to expect or about all the little details that go into racing. Now that I’m a junior I feel that I’m training smarter and have so much more understanding about the sport and running in general.
DT - Do you put in a lot of miles during the off-season, or do you focus on other interests?
MS - In the off-season I make sure that I keep running at least 3 or 4 days a week, but I take a lot of time to cross train and just recover. Since I do other sports in the summer and winter I’m able to stay in shape without having to kill myself with extremely high mileage. My goal in the off-season is really just to stay healthy so that I can come back a stronger runner with the season starts again.
DT - You recently dipped under 14:00 minutes for the 4k. Was this a goal, or were you surprised with this time?
MS - It had been my goal to go sub-14:00 for a while, and since I felt strong in my workouts and my times were dropping I felt pretty good about it. I a little shocked coming through the finish line under 14 minutes at Janesville because I didn’t think I would be able to get that kind of time so soon. It was really exciting and it’s given me even more confidence for the rest of the season.
DT -You were a one-person team for track during your freshman year. How did you convince the school to start up a track team, and do you have any teammates now?
MS - When I was in middle school and deciding where to go for high school, I really wanted to stay at ULS. They had a cross country team; however, the track program hadn’t been in place for years. I told them that I really wanted to do this, so they decided to hire my middle school coach, Brian Borkowski, to help build the program and let me run. I was the only one interested at the time, so it was just Brian and me for freshman and sophomore year. This year we’re getting a couple more students on the team, so it’ll be pretty cool to have more people coming out for it.
DT - Has some of your success drawn more interest to running at University Lake School?
MS - Yes, it’s taken a while but we’re going to have at least 6 people out for track this year hopefully (Doesn’t it seem so big?). It’s really hard to get people out for the sport since there aren’t a ton of student-athletes available with such a small school. We usually get some girls from the field hockey team who fill in for a couple meets so we can score as a team. It’s really cool to see those people getting out and trying the sport.
DT - Thank you for your time Molly. Good luck the rest of the season, and I hope to see you running up in Wisconsin Rapids in late October for the State CC Meet.
MS - Thanks!
I also was able to ask Molly's coach, Brian Borkowski, a few questions.
David Tiefenthaler - Molly said she runs 3 to 4 times per week in the summer when she gets busy. That must mean there is still a lot of room for improvement in her running. What is her mileage like during the track and cross country season?
Brian Borkowski - Mileage during the season is about 30-35 miles a week. Off season typically 3-4 times per week she rests but cross trains to counter her running.
DT - How did you end up becoming her coach for track and cross country?
BB - I coach middle school track at St. Joan of Arc in Nashotah. I ended up being her track coach luckily back when she was in 7th grade and since then have been hired at ULS for cross country (2010) and track (2008-present).
DT - You run some workouts with her, so you know her strengths really well. A lot of excellent girl high school runners plateau, but she keeps on improving dramatically. What makes her such a great runner?
BB - What makes Molly such a great runner is that she is mentally tougher than anyone I have ever met. She is a competitor, you put a goal out there, she will attack it. We set realistic goals, short term and long term. I also believe she will be under 4:40 per mile by her senior year, because of her drive and determination. She is an absolute blessing to coach.
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