As last Thanksgiving passed and the leftovers were all gone, one Airman had an epiphany about his portly self.
Nearly a year later and 70 pounds lighter, Senior Master Sgt. Ken Holcomb is getting ready to run the Air Force Marathon being held Sept. 19 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He plans to blog the race on his site, http://fatsergeant.blogspot.com/, every step of the way.
“I hadn’t failed a physical fitness test, but I wasn’t excelling. I ran a marathon in 2007, but with my job, it was getting harder to get out for regular runs,” said the Superintendent of the Air Force Media Center at the Public Affairs Agency.
“There aren’t a lot of areas around my office in Arlington to run, and it was hard to find someone to run with,” he said.
“I realized that I was getting way too heavy and was not in the physical shape I wanted to be in,” he said. He decided to answer the “wake up call” that meeting the standard wasn’t enough.
The new standards of the Air Force Fitness Program require Airmen to test twice per year, which Sergeant Holcomb thinks is a good idea.
“I used to procrastinate when it came to fitness. The new standards will help someone stay in shape as a way of life instead of just trying to pass a test.
“I wanted to lead by example, so I started to set short-term goals,” he said. “I had a physical fitness test coming up, and I wanted to do well.”
Through his blog site, the new-found athlete describes what has become his strict regimen of running, weightlifting and eating right.
“Vegetables and fruit are a major part of my diet,” he said. “I enjoy vegetables a lot more now than I used to.” Sergeant Holcomb cut down on processed foods, simple sugars and white flour.
“I’ve learned that my body was made to process food, not to eat food that is processed,” he said.
Sergeant Holcomb joined a running club to help him train and to workout with other people. He also goes to the gym with his 15-year-old son to lift weights and do strength training.
“I just celebrated my 25th anniversary in the military, so I set a trifecta of goals,” he said.
By sticking with his regimen, Sergeant Holcomb has reached two of the three goals he set.
His first accomplished goal was to attend his 25th high school reunion weighing the same as he did when he graduated. The goal of getting a perfect score on his physical fitness test for the first time in his career was also met.
“I was very pleased with the time I accomplished the 1.5-mile run. I did it in 9 minutes and 27 seconds, which is a good enough time for an 18-year-old Airman to get max points,” the 43-year-old said.
Sergeant Holcomb’s third goal is to run and finish the 26.2-mile Air Force Marathon.
He said running marathons can be humbling. “I’ll be running and think I’m doing well, and then a 75-year-old person will pass me. I want to be ‘that person’ when I’m older. I do take satisfaction in realizing that I’m running faster at age 43 than I did when I was 18.”
Catch up with Sergeant Holcomb during the marathon at:
U. S. Air Force photos by Tech. Sgt. Timothy O’Bryan
Post by Master Sgt. Stephen Delgado