RAF MILDENHALL, England — After nearly a lifetime of competitive running, Senior Airman Trasy Rincan is preparing for her biggest race yet after recently being selected for the Air Force’s cross country team.
Rincan is one of only 15 airmen chosen from bases worldwide to represent the service in the 2009 Armed Forces Cross Country Championship. And Rincan, a member of the 100th Security Forces Squadron, will be the only airman representing U.S. Air Forces in Europe in the 5-mile race next month in Maryland.
"I started screaming when I found out," she said. "I couldn’t believe it because a lot of the applicants who put in their packages are really good collegiate runners who’ve had coaches," said Rincan, who began working toward her degree after enlisting in the Air Force in 2004.
Rincan, 21, ran her way to the top of the heap at Mildenhall’s first half-marathon in September and won a spot in the Air Force’s half-marathon later that month in Ohio, where she took second place among the females with a time of 1:37. Rincan then submitted her application for the cross country team.
"It was very competitive. I just kept my fingers crossed," said Rincan, originally from Cincinnati. She recently hired an online running coach, whom she pays $85 a month for unlimited phone and e-mail consultations.
"Now that I have a coach I feel like I have so much more potential. I sort of ran on my own before," she said. Her coach is a former Olympic marathon runner who now devises Rincan’s workouts, running schedules and nutritional guidelines from Montana.
Rincan has been in a near-constant cycle of training since the fall, running six times a week, both indoors at the gym and outside on trails.
"The race in February is going to be through the mud and up hills so I have to mix it up," she said. Still, even when she’s not training for a race, Rincan runs four times a week and takes a break from the weights just once a week.
She began running as a high school student at Misawa Air Base in Japan, where her father, a retired Air Force senior master sergeant, was stationed. After joining the Air Force in 2004, Rincan began entering competitive civilian and military races and became a certified fitness instructor.
She said the running helps her in her job.
"I believe that being fit not only helps you physically but mentally," she said. "If we deploy, we need to make sure we are able to perform our jobs and duties. As a member of security forces, we have a physically demanding job, and I have to make sure I’m ready. With the high (operations) tempo of my squadron, I’m grateful to be afforded the opportunity to compete and represent the Air Force in such a positive way. It’s amazing."