The Internet Home of Track & Field

Interval Session #68 - Shelby Greany

By Dave Devine - September 18, 2008

If it seems like you've been hearing about Suffern NY senior Shelby Greany for a long time, that's because you have.  She's been a mainstay on the crowded New York girls running scene since her freshman year, when she qualified for Foot Locker Nationals in the fall, then hit 4:36 for 1500 and ran on several record-breaking relays on the track in the spring.  Last winter Shelby drew a strong following among DyeStat readers with a weekly Road to Millrose blog that featured frank discussion of essential topics like phlegm and goose poop, then made us look good by actually qualifying for the race.  She capped off a great junior campaign (which included a third straight Foot Locker National appearance), by winning a national steeplechase title at the 2008 Nike Outdoor Nationals.

This year Shelby has her sights set firmly on joining the exclusive sorority of 4-time Foot Locker National qualifiers (she's finished 38th, 19th and 24th the last 3 years), while pushing her Suffern teammates through to the NY state meet and having as much fun as possible along the way.  She's off to a great start with a convincing win at the Jim Smith Invitational on September 13th, and will be competing in her school's own Suffern Invitational this weekend.

DyeStat senior editor Dave Devine dodges the snot rockets to tag along for a few miles with this longtime Suffern standout.
1)  It looks like you had a good opening race at the Jim Smith Invitational last weekend.  Can you talk about that race, where you're at in your training, and how you approach these early-season meets, knowing you're shooting to race into December?

This early in the season I take my races as practices. My plan at Jim Smith was just to get a look at the course and run it comfortably. The conditions were horrible. The course was all chewed up and it got so hot and humid for my race. I just tried to run it even and not go out and run super-hard this early in the season.

2) This year you have the chance to join a very exclusive group of high school runners: those who have qualified for Foot Locker Nationals all four years of their prep career.  What does that goal mean to you?  Is it something you've actively pursued, or something that you kind of keep in the background during the season?  Do you feel like Van Cortlandt NY (site of the FL Northeast qualifier) is a special course for you, or a place where you can excel?

The chance to qualify four times was a goal of mine since I made it as a freshman. In the beginning of the season I keep it in the back of my mind because I try to take the season week by week. I'm a big part of my team and the beginning of the season is about the team and trying to win as many races as we can and hopefully qualify for states as a team. After all of that is when I start to think about Foot Locker. Van Cortlandt is one of my favorite courses, so any time I get to run there I am really excited.

3) The state of New York is such a difficult place to stand out as a female high school runner, partly because so many great runners emerge from there every year.  Yet you've been "on the scene" since you were a ninth grader, and have kept developing and improving over the years.  What sorts of things have contributed to your long-term development and success, and how do you think you stack up in the state these days?  Why do you think so many good girls come from this one area of the country?
I think a lot of my success comes from just loving to run. I never feel like it is a chore to go out and run, and I definitely do not go out and pound a lot of miles. People always seem to think I run a lot more than I do, but I think because I don't run an insane amount of miles per week, it has helped keep me healthy and successful in New York state. My coaches are also very smart and they know how to train to not only be a team player so I can help my team, but to also peak for my individual races towards the end of the season. I think so many good girls come from New York because there are incredible coaches and because the state has a long history of good runners, and younger girls feel they need to continue the tradition.

4) Last spring you won a national title in the steeplechase at Nike Outdoor Nationals (below), after coming agonizingly close as a sophomore.  How did it feel to get that national title?  What is it about the steeplechase you like, and how did you get into it?  Are you psyched to see it emerge as an Olympic event for women now?

As a sophomore I was disappointed with second, but I can't lie and say I didn't enjoy the race. I just love to compete and run, but winning this year was definitely a lot more enjoyable than coming in second. It felt great to win and know my hard work paid off. I love the steeplechase and I think it's so enjoyable because it is so unpredictable. You never know what is going to happen or who is going to fall. I am very excited to see it emerge as an Olympic event because I think it's a very hard and painful race and amazing to watch at such a high level.

5) I had the pleasure of meeting your parents in San Diego at last year's Foot Locker Nationals, and it's obvious you have a lot of family support, as well as excellent coaching.  Can you talk about those levels of support, what qualities you get from your mom, versus maybe your dad, and how that support structure of family and coaching has contributed to the success you've experienced over the years?
The support I get from my family is very helpful and amazing. My mom and dad have come to almost all my races and are always there to cheer for me, whether I'm winning or losing. My parents have never forced me to run or pushed me to train harder, but are always willing to help me in any way they can. Without such great support I don't think I would have been so successful over the years. I get my love to compete and my determination from my mom, and my patience and trust in myself from my dad. My parents are always  teaching me lessons to not only make me a better runner, but a better person. Their support means a lot to me.

6) For teammates who run with you, what's it like to train with Shelby Greany?  Are you someone who pushes the pace on long runs, or lays back?  Do you always kick at the end of repeats, or cruise in? Do you see yourself as intense during practice...focused but mellow...joking...or something in between?
I think to my teammates I am just Shelby. I try to set an example of working hard, but I like to have fun and joke around at practice. There is a time to be serious and a time to have fun. If you take all the fun out of practice and running, then who would want to run? Depending on how I feel depends on how I run. On long runs, if I am feeling good I will run alone, whether that's starting with the rest of the girls or starting behind them and catching them. When we do repeat workouts, we all for the most part run alone, but I try to set an example and show the younger girls it's okay to push yourself and work hard.   The girls on the team see me as their teammate and not just Shelby Greany.

7)  If a Hollywood director said she wanted to make a movie of your life, who would you want to see playing the starring role, and why?  Would the movie be a drama...comedy...action adventure...animated feature?
The movie would most likely be a comedy because I like to have a lot of fun and I laugh a lot. If I had to pick someone to play me I don't think I could pick an actress, because who could play me better then myself. I like to think of myself as one of a kind :)

Photos by Vic Sailer, photorun.net

Interval Sessions Index