9 Aug 2008

A sports personality feature I did for the newspaper

Here's my most recent story for the newspaper. It's a personality feature on this Airman 1st Class who was picked to represent Air Education and Training Command (the major commande that Keesler falls under) in the annual Air Force Marathon. (original link here)

Keesler Medic gears up for Air Force Marathon
by Staff Sgt. Carlos Rodriguez
Keesler Public Affairs

8/6/2008 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, MISS. -- How do they do it? How does someone run 26 miles nonstop? Or, to put it another way, 104 laps around the track. Just think about that number for a second -- 104!

One person who has decided to put himself through this organized form of "torture" is Dominic Ancona, an aerospace medical service technician with the 81st Medical Operations Squadron.

Ancona has been selected to represent Air Education and Training Command in this year's Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Sept. 20.

Ancona and Zachary Foulk from Lackland AFB, Texas, are the two male individual runners representing AETC. The command selected Laura Baugh from Lackland and Rebecca Welch from Maxwell AFB, Ala., as its female representatives.

AETC selected the men's team from Columbus AFB, Miss., and the women's team from Altus AFB, Okla., for the open 10-kilometer relays.

Though this will be his first marathon, Ancona has been running since a very early age.

"I've been running really since I was about five," said Ancona. "My Dad was into running and he got me into it.

"I got serious about running in my sophomore year of high school," he added. "It was then that I set one of my life goals that I would someday run a marathon."

Though Ancona knew he wanted to run the 26.2-mile endurance race since high school, events have conspired to keep him from finally achieving his goal until this year.

"There have been several things that have kept me from running a marathon," said Ancona, a native of Novi, Mich. "I joined the military after high school and things like job requirements, being minimally manned at work and deployments have always gotten in the way."

After several aborted attempts to run in the Air Force Marathon because of these factors, it seems that Ancona will finally get his chance this fall in Ohio.

"It's been hard to stay motivated this past few years, but I just look at it as something I've always wanted to do," said Ancona.

Ancona was nominated for the marathon by his flight chief and was accepted by his commander based on his outstanding run time on his physical training test.

"I managed to run a 9-minute, 15-second mile-and-a-half," said Ancona. "I was actually a little disappointed. I made an 8:20 in (technical training) school."

Ancona's training regime for the big day concentrates on endurance and strength.

"The first thing you need to do is work on your nutrition," he explained. "(You need) a good supply of protein and make sure your electrolytes are up for hydration."

"On the weekend I go swimming, biking and (I go for) long runs," he added. "(During the week) I lift weights using lighter weights, but with plenty of (repetitions). I also do a lot of resistance training."

Ancona said he hopes that his months of training and desire to fulfill his lifelong goal will help him run a good race in September.

"I want to at least get a 2-hour, 49-minute time (on the marathon)," said Ancona. "I'm looking at finishing in the top 25 or 30."

Though he will have finally run a marathon, Ancona doesn't intend to cure his athletic bug once he achieves his goal.

"After the marathon I want to do a triathlon or even an ultra marathon which is 50 miles," said Ancona.

One thing is for certain. Ancona's dedication and pursuit of his goal could serve as an inspiration to anyone looking to run the ultimate race.


Cam said...

Very well written, Carlos. Kept my attention through the whole thing.

I have no idea how people run marathons. I did a quarter of one a couple months ago for a 4 person team relay event and I was exhausted after that.

Carlos said...

Thanks, man. I respect your opinion.

Yeah, it's hard alright...the most I've run is seven miles and I was dead after it!