Amid his crazy schedule, we managed to catch Mike Shea to talk about his busy year so far and what’s next on the agenda. Always looking forward to the next challenge, Shea is excited for his second year as a Wings for Life Ambassador and is focused on the upcoming Paralympic games in South Korea.
Q: Tell me about your experience with Wings for Life World Run?
Mike Shea: Wings For Life World Run is one of the coolest runs I’ve ever participated in. Last year I had the pleasure of running with my Dad, my girlfriend, and a few friends. I am a natural born competitor so I entered the race with high expectations. Unfortunately, both my dad and my girlfriend outperformed me. Not surprised considering my 65 year old dad runs 4 miles a day and my girlfriend regularly runs 5k races. That’s okay because this year I hope to get my redemption. I am really looking forward to putting together a team.
Q: What does it mean to be an ambassador?
MS: Although WFL raises money for spinal cord injury research, it represents so much more than that. Wings for Life has built a worldwide platform to raise awareness around individuals living with disabilities. As an ambassador, I have such a wonderful opportunity to be a part of that. I can inspire other adaptive athletes while also spreading awareness to the general public surrounding disabilities. I have dozens of friends who have been directly affected by spinal cord injury (SCI) and it’s my own way of giving back to the adaptive community. WFL is a worldwide movement that has brought people together from all walks of life. That in of itself is something extremely powerful and I’m grateful to be a part of it.
Q: 2017 has been busy for you so far, what have you been up to?
MS: This year has been crazy. Mostly because we’ve had so many last minute World Cup cancellations. We started the season off here in the states. From there we traveled up to Canada for World Championships. Unfortunately, I made some mistakes and it cost me the podium. Luckily we still had South Korea to look forward to. In March, we traveled to Pyeong Chang, South Korea for the Paralympic Test event. The test event is a great way for us to get a feel for our surroundings. I placed 3rd in the Banked Slalom event in Korea and finished up our season with a National Title right here in Colorado. All in all it’s been a good year.
Q: How is training for the 2018 Paralympics going?
MS: As we head in to a Paralympic year things are about to get crazy. Our summer will be filled with snowboard camps and World Cups in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s likely that we won’t see much of a break this summer, but that’s to be expected. My workout routines will also become much more rigorous as I focus on power and strength. This season was tough for me. I got sick in January with a respiratory infection and it never really went away. This summer my plan is to get healthy and strong while making sure to keep the focus on the goals in front of me.
Q: What does a typical workout for you look like?
MS: Everybody has something different that they work on in the gym. I’m pretty meticulous when it comes to my workout programs. I work as a Personal Trainer at Gold’s Gym when I’m not competing, so I take it very seriously. There are four phases of training that I cycle through in one year: endurance, hypertrophy, strength, and power. This ensures that I’m well rounded. I’m currently getting started with my hypertrophy phase. That involves muscle and weight gain. It’s my favorite because it means I can eat lots of ice cream.
Q: What was it like winning a Silver medal at the 2014 Paralympics?
MS: I think about that moment often. It was the most important moment of my life and will likely be one that sticks with me forever. Being on the podium in Sochi, I remember looking out into the crowd of people. I could see my friends, family, and coaches and they all had smiles from ear to ear. As I look to my left I see my two best friends Evan Strong and Keith Gable standing on the podium next to me. Just as the national anthem began, I glanced over and saw three American flags waving in the distance. I knew at that moment that my dreams had become a reality. All the pain, hard work, and sacrifice were suddenly worth it for the short 90 seconds on the podium on the world stage.