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Life & Work with Lauren Seserko

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Seserko.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was an athlete growing up playing soccer and basketball but never was one to really work out otherwise. When I went to college, I quickly put on the dreaded freshman 15 with thanks to a lack of sports and a lot of free pizza. I first started running around the summer of 2011 in an attempt to lose a few pounds and get in shape. I clearly remember that feeling of barely even being able to run a mile on the treadmill that day which was a wake-up call. Then and there, I decided to sign up for a local 5K that fall as a way to push myself to keep running and like many others, I fell in love with it.

I ran the Philly Rock and Roll Half Marathon in September 2012, a little less than a year after my first 5K and ran my second half marathon the next month. Since then, I’ve been bitten by the bug and run numerous races. In October 2013, I returned to the Baltimore Running Festival to take on the full marathon-and survived! I finally achieved my dreams and ran Boston Qualifying times at the 2015 and 2016 Chicago Marathons. I achieved another bucket list goal of running my first Boston Marathon in 2018 (yup, it was quite rainy!). I started blogging and sharing my journey after my first half marathon, which has been a fun experience and led me to meeting lots of different people, travelling to different events and races, and partnering with many awesome local and international brands. In the middle of all of this, I started volunteering and then coaching at my local running store and completed my RRCA coaching certification. I also became certified in teaching Yoga Sculpt classes at CorePower Yoga and completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training. In the midst of this, I made the transition from chemist to going back to graduate school to complete my Masters in Occupational Therapy and now work as an occupational therapist at a local rehabilitation and orthopedic hospital. It mixes my love of movement, knowledge of the body, interest in mental health, and holistic outlook on my life all into one career.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I wish training for marathons and trying to balance everything else in life was a smooth road! Going back to graduate school made things tough because the coursework and hours were vigorous and during the two years of coursework, I was still training for marathons and working part-time at my old full-time job in a research laboratory. It was a lot of busy days and running on low energy.

After the two years of coursework, I had six months of full-time clinical rotations, which were extra stressful, followed by months after graduation of studying for my board exam and looking for jobs. Our body doesn’t distinguish between physical and mental stress-it’s all stress. There were definitely many points where the stress took a big toll on me. It just wasn’t possible to focus on studying, training for marathons, coaching and teaching yoga, and doing my other daily activities. The struggles financially with not being able to work during clinical and limited work when I was studying for exams as an adult with no other financial support were really tough too.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Aside from running and fitness/running coachwork, I work full-time as an occupational therapist in a rehabilitation and orthopedic hospital. I help patients after injuries, post-surgery, and dealing with acute medical conditions to help them get back to being as independent and safe as possible with their daily activities as well as managing their changes in their body and any possible restrictions they are currently dealing with. Working in healthcare throughout the past year and a half has been very stressful, and we haven’t talked enough about the burnout, emotional toll, trauma and stress it has taken on healthcare workers who still remain underpaid in an understaffed healthcare system.

I’m most proud of how flexible I have been in taking on different mixes of the patient population and rolling with the punches of what seemed like daily changes in healthcare and hospital policies. I still am a certified running coach trying to figure out my next steps as I am currently not coaching any groups. I also have expanded my blogging into other social media forms such as Instagram and love partnering with local brands, showcasing small businesses, sharing fun fitness and food products and focusing on self-care, movement, and mental health in daily life.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources you think our readers should check out?
I love listening to podcasts when I run or am doing chores around the house on the Spotify app-some of my favorites are Ali on the Run show, You’re Wrong About, and Armchair Expert. I also love the habit of meditation and use the Calm app on my phone. I find it really helps center me at the start of the end of the day. I also am a big fan of borrowing books from my local branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library here in Baltimore-they have been amazing even with changes due to the pandemic.

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