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A Fresh Start

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A Fresh Start

Post  Neil Ruggiero on Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:17 pm

So it's been a long time since I've been active on these boards. Far too long in fact. And that coincides with a poor training regimen over the past 1.5 years. And I've waited this long to get back into blogging because I didn't want to have another dud blog where I fell incredibly short of my goals.

As some of you may know, I'm recently divorced and that is part of the fresh start. Been a couple rough months, but I'm coming out with a new perspective, and a whole new level of desire to train, and train hard. Plus I just started a career job, things seem to be finally coming together for me. Another part of the fresh start is the new direction I'm taking in my running career.

I recently ran a race called 'Rugged Maniac'. Its one of those mud races with a bunch of obstacles and such, lots of fun. I went planning on just having a good time, but ended up placing 3rd place overall out of 7,000 entrants, and I had an amazing time doing it. After this race, I'd never been more pumped to train, and train hard. So I figure, I love doing this like no other race I've ever done, and I seem to be pretty good at it! So from here on out my training is focusing on similar races.

The big races on my schedule are the Tough Mudder in VT this spring, and Spartan Race in the fall. Because of this new direction my training is including a lot more strength training and days at the gym. So far its looking to be ~4 days at the gym, running almost every day, and a 'Spartan' workout every weekend. The Spartan workout is a mixture of running and whatever strength training I feel like throwing in. I'll do pushups, pullups on trees, lunges, squats, and pretty much anything else I can come up with depending on the terrain I'm on at the time.

Here's a look at my training over the past few days.

Spartan workout - 1.5 hours total. Pushups, box jumps, pullups, squats, planks, then run for ~20 mins. Rinse and repeat.

Monday - Gym time, ~60 min cardio, ~60 min strength training (Chest / Tri)

Tuesday - Gym time ~20 min cardio, ~60 min strength training (Back / Bi)

Wednesday - Run outside, 60 mins hard

Feeling really good about my training lately. I feel like I'm on track to get my training level back to the high standards I have for myself. A lot of this has to do with friends that I'm going to the gym with, been so nice to have people to train with on most days. So nice to be back into training and blogging.
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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  Jerry on Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:21 pm

Good luck, Neil!
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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Oct 26, 2011 7:22 pm

Looks like we both had a bit of a fizzle on our recent goals. I'll be following in your footsteps with a revamp in the next month or two, so fingers crossed that yours goes well.
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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  John Kilpatrick on Wed Oct 26, 2011 7:38 pm

Welcome back buddy! Sounds like a fun race and maybe you just needed a little down time. Spartan workouts sound pretty ambitious, but they obviously are stoking your fires - good luck!

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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  Seth Harrison on Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:07 am

Neil, your renewed enthusiasm is infectious. Good luck with the new job, new outlook, and new racing goals. If nothing else, your workout schedule is going to leave you in amazing shape.
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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  Neil Ruggiero on Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:16 pm

Jerry - Thanks

Mike - Hope this cycle goes well for ya man! I can't say exactly what sparked it, but I'm feeling like working out like I haven't in a couple years.

John - The spartan workouts are so much fun! I just feel like such a badass running for an hour then dropping and doing 50 pushups, and some pullups.

Seth - Thanks man, I'm really enjoying this style of training. I think that's what I needed, to just have fun with it again.

Thursday - Gym time, 2 hour mixed cardio workout. We did 4x15 min on different pieces of cardio equipment (elliptical, bikes, treadmill) with 10 minute strength sessions in between each. Did pushups, pullups, tons of core, and some medicine ball work. Yet again, a ton of fun, and that is the key for me now.

I also just read all the obstacles that Tough Mudder is gonna be having. If you haven't seen them, check it out, totally badass. Plus after the race they have tattoo artists around who will give you a Tough Mudder tattoo for free. Not only that, but if you get one you can run the next Tough Mudder for free. Yes Please!!
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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  Schuey on Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:32 pm

Hey Neil sorry to hear about the divorce, I'm sure that was not a whole lot of fun to go through. I have never been through that but I'm sure the stress of it was not fun and made it really hard to run or doing anything else when your mind is being consumed.

Glad to read that you are starting to clear your head and that you found a new job that you love and that things are heading in the right direction for you. It's amazing what positive things in one's life can do to help get the ball rolling, especially a job that has a career path and one that you really like. GOOD FOR YOU!!

As for the running and training again happy to read that you have found things that spark your interest to train. That is what this stuff is all about having goals and doing well but that doesn't mean shit if you don't enjoy it and are not having fun. So best of luck to you have fun and enjoying your new routine! Nice to have you back.
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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  Dave-O on Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:31 pm

Glad to see you back, Neil, and I hope running can offer an escape from the other stresses in your life. Get after it!
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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  Neil Ruggiero on Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:37 am

Schuey - Thanks man, good to be back! Things are really looking up, and it feels AMAZING to be back into some harder training. I missed the days of 1.5-2 hours of daily training.

Dave - Ya running and lifting has been amazing for me, I forgot how good it feels to put in a good effort!

Friday - Easy gym day. ~20 mins of running, and some light leg workouts. I still can't do much heavy lifting without it stressing my knee, who knows if I ever will be able to. At least running doesn't hurt it.

The whole rest of my weekend was a mess. We had the huge storm up here on Saturday, and were left without power or hot water up until yesterday. So I didn't get anything done on the weekend, or Monday.

Tuesday - 5 mile pyramid workout. 2min, 4min, 6min, 4min, 2min with rest equal to 1/2 the interval in between each. Ended up doing these @ 6:00 pace, although I probably could have gone harder. After that, ~60 min of lifting, chest and tris with the usual 15 minute core session afterwards. First day after a few days off, feels great!





I dunno if anyone else has heard of this, but I'm seriously considering entering myself into the Spartan Death Race. Basically it was a 40 hour + race (you don't know when it will end until you've already finished) where the directors will give you random challenges as you go. Things like chopping wood, lifting rocks, catching a fish, diving for a bike chain, and anything else they can think of. Sounds like an awesome time to me, and probably would be the most difficult challenge I've put myself against so far.
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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  Neil Ruggiero on Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:23 am

Wednesday - 10.5 miles @ 8:29 pace. My gym buddies couldn't make it today, so I had the afternoon to myself. Decided to get in a midweek long run, great decision! Longest run in a few weeks (I know I know) but my knee felt great the whole way through. I could definitely tell though that I need to work on my stamina, because my legs were starting to feel a little more fatigued than I would have liked. Only bad part was wearing a bad sock on one foot and it gave me some blisters, hopefully that'll heal up soon enough for a long run this weekend.
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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  Dave P on Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:51 am

Hey Neil, I know you're looking at doing the Tough Mudder on Sat, but I hope that changes so we can meet up on Sun. Sorry to hear of the massive stress recently in your life, but glad that it seems things are turning around for you.

Watch out for the fallen tree branches & wires while running!
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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:21 pm

Good to see you sticking with it, Neil! Don't forget to rest (duh), but hell, keep pushing yourself until you find that limit. Then push through it.
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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  Peg Coover on Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:27 am

Here's to a fresh start! Awesome job in the mud race--wow! Third!
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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  nkrichards on Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:32 am

Neil Ruggiero wrote:


I dunno if anyone else has heard of this, but I'm seriously considering entering myself into the Spartan Death Race. Basically it was a 40 hour + race (you don't know when it will end until you've already finished) where the directors will give you random challenges as you go. Things like chopping wood, lifting rocks, catching a fish, diving for a bike chain, and anything else they can think of. Sounds like an awesome time to me, and probably would be the most difficult challenge I've put myself against so far.

That's an understatement if I ever heard one but your training regimen seems perfectly suited to preparing. Keep us posted!
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Re: A Fresh Start

Post  Neil Ruggiero on Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:02 pm

Dave - Maybe I can do the race twice lol. I'll talk with my people and see if maybe we can switch things over to Sunday. We like to go out and drink after the race though, so Saturdays usually work better.

Peg - Thanks Smile The fresh start is going swimmingly so far

NK - So you have heard of the race then Smile I'm going to be in the best damn shape of my life, and I can't wait. If anyone else is interested in joining feel free


Took Friday and Saturday off to hang with a lady friend and just hang out and have fun.

Sunday - 18 miles @ 9:10 pace. Well lets just say I didn't expect to be running this far, was aiming for 15 miles. I ran 9 miles them met up with a friend, and we just ran around until he got tired which took longer than usual. It felt amazing to get out there and run long again, oh how I missed that kind of exhaustive fatigue. My knee started to feel a bit sore on the uphills towards the end of the run, but it feels fine now so I can only assume I'm not doing any lasting damage. Feels good to be back!
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