Up Close with Kelly and Coco Miller in the Off Season

Dream guards Kelly and Coco Miller are staying busy in the offseason. Having participated in their first marathon while preparing for the upcoming 2011 season, find out how training for the WNBA is different than a marathon as well as how they like to spend their free time in Atlanta.

This past season was the first time you have been teammates in the WNBA. What was that like, especially having such a great season?
It was such a dream come true, being on the same team and being teammates for the first time since college. Making it to the WNBA finals was so exciting and it was just so much fun to be able to experience it together.

You both starred collegiately at the University of Georgia. Did you make any visits to Athens over the summer?
We visited Athens a couple of times over the summer. It was fun to be so close to Athens. We had so many loyal fans at UGA, and it was great to see and catch up with former teammates and coaches.

What are some of your hobbies/places you enjoy in Atlanta when you have free time?
We love it in Atlanta. We didn't have a lot of free time, but when we did we loved being so close to Atlantic Station. We went to a lot of movies and did a lot of shopping at Lenox Mall and Phipps Plaza. We also enjoyed the VA-Highland area and eating at Murphy's. They have a great Sunday brunch. Another great eating spot we frequented was Antico Pizzeria. We went there a lot since pizza is our favorite!! Atlanta has some great eats!!

How have you been spending your offseason so far?
After the season, we took a little break. We've been working out here in Phoenix and doing some personal training for high school players in the area. Oh yeah, and we trained for our 1st marathon!

What was that experience like?
We both just recently ran our first marathon (P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in Phoenix). It was probably the toughest thing we've ever done. We both finished together in 3:35. We actually qualified for the Boston marathon, but since it's during the WNBA season we won't be able to do it.

As an athlete, how was the preparation similar or different from your training as a WNBA player?
We were not able to get in too many long runs, the longest being 17 miles, prior to the race, but we wanted to give it a try. We trained for a couple of months. It's definitely different than playing basketball. Just being on your feet for that long takes some serious training. The marathon is the ultimate endurance challenge and it definitely teaches you mental toughness. Unlike the sprinting, stopping, and starting in basketball, we had to train and be disciplined to run at a certain pace for an extended period of time. Basketball is different in that you have to be in shape (more anaerobically compared to aerobically for a marathon) as well as perform a skill. There was nothing quite like the feeling of crossing the finish line!! We both would definitely like to do another marathon at some point and do a triathlon as well.

You’ve both expressed interest in personal fitness, and perhaps working as personal trainers once your playing careers are over. How important do you think your attention to fitness and nutrition has been to your success as a professional athlete?
Health and fitness is something we both have a passion for. We are both working on getting our CSCS (Certified Sports Conditioning Specialist). We've been doing some personal training while we've been here in Phoenix. We've always tried to stay in good shape and to never really get out of shape. It's really a lifestyle for us. We're very disciplined in our workouts and nutrition and are of high priority in our everyday lives.

Kelly- you played on a championship team in Phoenix and last year the Dream made it the WNBA Finals. As someone who has been there before, what’s the key to the Dream competing again this year?
We have a great team coming back this year. We'll have the experience from last year of making it to the WNBA Finals. We're athletic, quick, and talented. Now we have the experience and know what it takes to get there and compete for a shot at the championship. We have great chemistry on this team and that is crucial to success.