Striving for Excellence Beyond Expecations
By Senior Airman Matthew T. Doyle, 132 Public Affairs
/ Published January 11, 2015
132D WING, Iowa -- Being in the Air Force we all know there are physical standards we are expected to uphold. Some airmen aren't satisfied with just hitting the standard though, they want to fully expose what they are capable of.
Take for instance the 132nd Wing Cyber Operations Squadron Superintendent, Chief Master Sgt. Sean Michael Larson. He joined the active duty Air Force in January 1986 and has been with the 132nd Wing since 1999.
In 2009, he competed in the Longhorn Half Ironman in Austin, Texas. A half Ironman consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run, for a total distance of 70.3 miles. Before that he hadn't run anything over four miles. Larson's first full Ironman was a year later, and it was double the distance of everything he had done in 2009. This was also the year he ran the Des Moines Marathon, his first full marathon (26.2 miles).
Larson never really envisioned himself doing these activities or events. "I think at some point in time I was out for a run, then I talked to some people about biking, and all I had to add in was swimming," Larson said.
The whole reason he believes he ended up doing Ironman or marathons was because of training. "By the time I get to competition day, I could walk away and be fine," Larson said, "It's all about the people and friends that you make and relationships that you create in that process of getting to the competition". He likes that on competition day, you are there with all the people you have trained with all year. Even though it's seen as an individual sport, Larson said it takes a lot of other people on your side in order to keep you motivated for the whole thing. "I almost see it as a team sport because you need so many people to help you get you to where you want to be," he said.
Larson's training philosophy has always been to "date outside his league." The people he works out with are Olympic marathoners, athletes competing for Olympic marathon time trials, age group winners, and just athletes who have excelled in those competitions. "They end up pulling you along and upping your game," Larson said. Add in Larson's packed schedule and things get even more challenging. "When you have a four-hour or five-hour ride, with this job it's very difficult to do that on a Wednesday night, so you end up figuring out how to adjust that," he said.
As for the rest of Larson's resume: he has completed the Hy-Vee Triathlon twice, the full Ironman in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, twice, the Wisconsin Ironman once, and the Des Moines marathon two times. The last Des Moines Marathon he ran, he qualified for Boston with a time of 3:10:05 but due to military obligations was unable to run.
Outside of running the Boston Marathon, Larson would also like to compete in the New York City Marathon and the Kona Ironman, the pinnacle of triathlons.