The very first time Ronan walked into my gym I thought to myself, “This guy won’t last long…”, but many months since that day, he’s proved me wrong…
Just last week Ronan told me that he had officially been accepted to compete in the 2012 Death Race which will be taking place in Pittsfield, VT this coming weekend!
When he first told me the news I was blown away and I thought that he was joking or wasn’t talking about the actual “Death Race”, but he was 110% serious!
The guy is a true work horse and he’s EARNED everything he’s done up to this point.
He shows up to every session with his mind set on 110% H.A.M. mode and I wanted to grill Ronan on his upcoming race and share his story with you.
Up to this point, Ronan has been training in my gym, The Forged Athlete in preparation to join the Marines and with this upcoming race, he’s out to prove himself.
Back in December he was turned down after a very solid attempt to get in and where most people would of said forget it and quit, Ronan has put his head down and has done nothing more then work his ass off.
So without further adu, here’s the Q and A interview I had with Ronan…
What made you want to run the f*cking Death Race of all races? There’s only a 15% finish rate…
For me, it was all about the challenge. I definitely wanted increased difficulty for my next race. Marathons, triathlons, the Warrior Dash and other short obstacle races are great challenges as well, but I wanted something that would test my physical and mental limits.
The low finish rate appeals to me. To paraphrase Shakespeare,
“If fewer competitors complete the race, there will be a greater share of honor for the finishers.”
How long you been training with Joe and I at The Forged Athlete?
I’ve have been training 3 to 4 days a week with the Forged Athlete for about a year in a half with a few breaks in between.
Little to no strength training. If I did go to my university gym, I wouldn’t really have a set routine and would just waste time on machines. I would also do some low intensity running.
How has training with us changed your life?
It’s tough to put into words how much the Forged Athlete has transformed me physically and mentally. Before training, I had always been kind of a “schlubby” dude who lacked focus and gave up when physical challenges became hard.
The transformation at your gym even took some time. In the early days, I had a poor attitude and might not give 100 percent or finish the last rep because it was “too difficult”.
However, coupled with the tenacity of other clients who train there and the motivation that you and Joe provide, I evolved.
Now I have a laser-like focus on my goals and push myself 110% in every workout. I am much stronger physically, but more importantly, I am mentally stronger and refuse to allow myself to make excuses in all aspects of my life.
What type of results have you seen?
I went from 215 pounds and approximately 19 percent body fat to around 195 pounds and 11 percent body fat. I am hitting max pull ups and sit ups on military fitness tests (from 7 pull ups to over 22/23 and 60 sit ups to 115) and have lowered my 3 mile run time from 23 minutes to 18:59. I went from running a 5 hour and 19 minute marathon in 2008 to a 3 hour and 26 minute marathon in October of 2011.
I also went from breaking my right clavicle playing in a rugby game in early 2011 to hitting harder and running faster in my most recent game in May 2012. I have also gotten numerous compliments from friends and family, and especially the LADIEZ!!
The unorthodox AGGRESSIVE style of training that I had never done before: use of sandbags, kettlebells, and old school strongman style training has been awesome and chellenging.
Also the warrior attitude of everyone who trains there and the wealth of knowledge and motivation that you and Joe provide.
What type of things have you been doing outside of The Forged Athlete to help prep for Death Race?
I’ve been doing 50-60 mile bike rides once or twice a week, running long distances on the weekends, and uphill sprints twice a week. I’ve kept somewhat of a clean diet but definitely have my cheat meals now and then.
I applied to both the Marines and the Navy. If selected for the Marines, I would like to do Infantry. If selected for the Navy, I would like to do EOD (explosive ordinance disposal).
But more importantly, I want to serve in any capacity.
I’m raising money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. I heard about this highly rated charity through a Marine (Big Dave) who trains at the Forged Athlete.
This organization provides full scholarship grants and educational and family counseling to the surviving children of special operations personnel who die in operational or training missions and immediate financial assistance to severely wounded special operations personnel and their families. 100% of all proceeds go to SOWF. I think it is important for us to remember and honor those service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
What do you know about the upcoming race? What type of crazy sh*t will you have to overcome?
The race directors pride themselves on that fact that competitors will know as little about the race as possible. We don’t know when exactly the race will start, what challenges are involved, or when it will finish.
Last year, they made competitors stay up the entire night by keeping them waist deep in a freezing pond for five hours and then having them squat and curl rocks for another six. This was all before the race even started!
During the race, competitors had to chop wood, crawl for miles under barbed wire, translate a Greek paragraph, and memorize a Bible passage. Any mistake incurred some type of physical penalty. Competitors also had to carry a log that was 30 percent of their bodyweight for the entire race. They actively encouraged people to quit.
I’m sure the challenges will be similar this year as well. We know that this year one of the challenges will involve breaking an encrypted code via the Vigenère cipher. So there will be mental as well as physical challenges.
My mental attitude without a doubt. The famous Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu said,
“Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.”
Obviously physical strength and endurance will be crucial, but I believe what will differentiate those who finish and those who quit is deciding for yourself before the race that you will complete it!
To end things off here, I just want to thank you and Joe for believing in me when I might not have believed in myself at the beginning of training with you guys. No matter what happens this weekend, I will go 110% H.A.M., accept NO EXCUSES, and not stop until I cross that finish line!