We caught up with Sean Casey, one of Nex Level's awesome Running Program instructors, after his 57 minute, 10 mile, Broad Street Run! Most NL members have seen Sean preparing for this race for quite some time. Everyday he comes in and stretches before and after his run, acknowledging the messages his body sends to stay healthy (see: Injury = Opportunity, by Trainer, Andrew Radcliffe for more on injury prevention). For those who have run with Sean, know that his knowledge comes from experience. Here is a brief Q & A with Sean about his background in running and what motivates him to continue at such an amazing pace.
Q: Sean, you're somewhat of a mystery to a lot of people. We see you in the back, warming up for a good 30 minutes but then you're gone- off on an endeavor that most of us wouldn't attempt- a 4-8 mile run. We're curious about how you got started. Would you give us some history on your running career?
A: Back in high school I was a soccer player, and when I tried out my sophomore year for the team, one of the requirements was to run a 5:30 mile at the beginning of tryouts to see who trained all summer long. I ended up running a 5:52 mile and did not make the team. Thanks to my loving parents, I was forced to pick up another afterschool activity to keep me busy. Sure enough the cross country team had no cuts- everybody participated. I never was a big fan of running but stayed with it. Throughout high school my times improved and all the races were more enjoyable. My high school coach saw something in me and said you have to stick with it because you could be a very good runner. I kind of shrugged it off and said "Okay. We'll see about that." Little did I know that by the end of my senior year in high school I was running cross country indoor track and outdoor track. I even started to get recruited by colleges to run at a higher level. I ended up getting recruited by Lafayette to run at the Division I level. During my four years at Lafayette I had a pretty good career. I was lucky enough to be on the 4 x 800 m relay team that set the school record indoors, and also have my name on the all-time top 10 list for the 500 meter run and the 800 meter run both indoor and outdoor! My best race ended being the 800 meter run (half mile) and ran a time of 1:51. It's hard to believe that only 5 years ago my legs could move that fast! But it just goes to show that when one door closes another door of opportunity opens. Sometimes it's important to literally "run with it."
Q: We all can relate. The world has a funny way to push us towards opportunites, doesn't it? Now, what keeps Sean Casey running, competing in races, taking care of his body?
A: After graduating from Lafayette- with a decent career under my shoes- I took some time off and let my body recover. This didn't last long because I didn't like how I felt without running. Running is a great sport because there are so many great benefits from it. Not only from the cardio aspect, but from a mental aspect as well. Running is a great stress reliever and I love being able to throw my music on the headphones and go out for a run and de-stress- going into my own world. Because I'm a very competitive person, I started looking for races that would allow me to feel that competitive spirit and run fast again. I started entering races such as the broad street run, various half marathons and even 5k's. Races are unique, requiring different types of training to run fast. That is what keeps me motivated to run. The spirit of competition and the search for that perfect race. I compare running to hitting a golf ball; that one time when you connect, driving it straight down the middle of the fairway and say, "Wow that was easy and felt great." It's addicting. The same can be said for running when one runs a good race or has a great run. the feeling you get is unmatched; it's literally called "runners high," and that's what keeps me coming back for more.
I hope to continue running until the day that I just can't run anymore. It's important to take time off and do stretches to keep the body healthy and being able to take the abuse from running every day. There are several races left in the Bucks 5K Series, the Tex-Mex 5K in June and also a half marathon later in the year that I am looking forward to participating in! Hopefully, I will see all of you out there participating as well!
Thanks to Sean for taking the time to sit down with us! He and Mike Sherman lead the Running Program that has the entire gym buzzing. We're proud to have such great instructors who take pride in their craft.
Looking to get involved with the Running Program? Sign up for our newsletter and send us the message, "Running Program," so we can get you on your feet ;)
-Nex Level Fitness