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Reserve pilot takes fitness higher

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Lori Fiorello
  • 46th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Whoever uses the excuse, "I don't have time to exercise," never met Maj. Michael Masuda, 313th Airlift Squadron, C-17 instructor pilot and devoted triathlete.

"My passion started while I was on active duty," said Masuda, who still has that new Air Force Reserve scent. "We'd fly for hours, land then go straight to our rooms for crew rest and wake up and do it all over again, for days at a time."

Masuda decided not to let his chaotic flying schedule interfere with his health and wellness and discovered a new passion.

"It's challenging in the flying world to maintain my fitness routine" said Masuda. "I started to run as a means to get out and see the local areas [where we landed]. The more I ran, the more interested I became in other physical activities, which evolved to where I am today [with triathlons]. I became interested in the Olympic distance competitions because it's a faster race and you have more of an opportunity to compete worldwide and travel internationally."

Masudo keeps active while on the road and squeezes out workouts in the air ... onboard a C-17, of course. In between pilot rotations, he ventures to the back of the cargo department and performs his own plyometric workout consisting of pushups and pull-ups.

That's only one of the various ways he finds time for filling the gaps during his trips. After wheels down and landing procedures are complete, Masuda hits the pavement with another set of wheels.

"I bring my bike on trips with me and have cycled everywhere around the world from [the Republic of] Cyprus to Diego Garcia," said the dedicated athlete.

Masuda constantly trains to compete, which involves vigorous training with a coach, averaging from 16 to 18 hours per week. He also participates in local races, competitions and open-water swims. Masuda attributes his ability to follow his competition dreams to his career shift in joining the Reserve.

"As a Reservist, I've been able to pursue my hobbies and interests; I have the luxury of working around my schedule," said the Seattle resident.

Masuda recently competed in the U.S. National Championships for Olympic Triathlons in Milwaukie, Wis. finishing in the top 12 percent overall.

The race consisted of a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike, and 10-kilometer distance run. Although he isn't faster than a speeding bullet, his latest two-hour and 10-minute race time, suggests he's ready to attack. The eager athlete plans to participate again next year hoping to qualify to compete at the world level.

"I just want to see where the sport takes me," he said humbly. "I'm simply enjoying my experience now."

By the way, Masuda said he "took it easy" on his fitness assessment by running a seven-minute, 58-second mile and a half.