JustinRuiz.com

Thoughts on Wrestling, Business, and Life

Getting Ready To Head Out Again

January 17th, 2008

Well it is time to get ready for another international trip. This time the destination is Istanbul, Turkey. I have been to Turkey a couple of other times, and I have to admit that I have enjoyed both of those trips. I am hoping that I have a good experience this time around. I leave on Saturday morning and will be gone for nine days. I haven’t started packing, but tonight my wife and I will get the laundry up and rolling so I will have some clean gear for while I am gone.
These last two weeks we have had training camp here in Colorado Springs. We have had some very intense training, but it is just what we need for this time of year to get ready for the upcoming pan am championships, which by the way are an olympic qualifier for us. We still have three weight classes to get qualified, and one of them is mine. I am confident that I will get the job done. I am just doing all that I can right now to make sure that I am prepared for the tournament come the end of February.
In other news, I guess there isn’t a whole lot of other news. I hope everyone is doing well.

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New Year

January 5th, 2008

Well it is a new year and like everyone I am making some new goals and strengthening my resolve to follow through on other goals that I haven’t quite accomplished yet. My main goal is to win an Olympic gold medal. I know that it is a lofty goal, but I am doing all I can to be properly prepared to achieve my goal. I really am excited about this year and all of the possibilities that out there. My family is doing well and I am healthy so I feel like I am already off to a great start. I am very blessed to be doing what I love and being able to meet and associate with so many interesting and wonderful people. Even at this stage in the game, I am still learning more about wrestling and about myself and what I need to do to be my very best.
This holiday season has been a lot of fun, a lot of work, and I am looking forward to getting back to Colorado to get back in my regular routine, with the exception of implementing my strategies to accomplish my goals. I have been on the road these last three weeks, and I am definitely looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. I was in Reno coaching, in Alamosa spending Christmas with my in-laws, and I was in Utah spending the new year with my family. Tomorrow we have a long drive back home. Hopefully I will get to see some more animals on the way back home. On the way out here I saw some huge bucks with huge sets of antlers. I was hoping to be able to see a bighorn sheep or a mountain goat, but didn’t see any at all. Hopefully I will have some more luck on the way home.
This last year was a great one. THanks for all of your help and support and for following my career. I wish you well on this year 2008.

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End Of A Long Trip

December 2nd, 2007

Today was the last day of competition. I ended up taking second place in the tournament. In the final I lost to a wrestler from Russia. It was one of those tough matches where I thought that I was going to win, but he out wrestled me in a couple of situations and won. I was dissapointed, but sometimes that happens. It is all part of the sport. I much rather enjoy winning instead of losing though. We had one champ at 55 kilos. Sam Hazewinkle did a great job here getting his first international tournament championship. He looked really good. What he lacks in technique right now he definitely makes up for in scrapping. Our team won the tournament. Overall we did really well. I had fun on this trip, but I am glad to be getting home.
After the tournament was over I came back to the hotel and hit the sauna for a little bit to try to sweat out some of the soreness from the tournament. We leave the hotel at three thirty in the morning so I am trying to stay up all night so that I can start the process of adjusting back to the time in Colorado Springs. It is kind of funny how that now that I am finally adjusting to the time zone here that it is time to head back home. I am looking forward to the Christmas season and everything else that is going on this month. I am going to Reno later this month to watch the guys from UVSC wrestle, and then I am going to Alamosa for Christmas and Salt Lake for New Year’s. It should be a very busy month. Well there are some other people here waiting to get onto the internet right now so I am going to go. Thanks for following how things are going. Take care.

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Sweden

November 28th, 2007

I made it to Haparanda, Sweden the other day. I guess that it is our third day here. Myself, Willie Madison, and Sam Hazewinkle are the only ones from the US that came up here on Monday, and there are supposed to be some more that get here today and tomorrow. It is extremely cold here. Whenever we go walking around outside it feels like the cold just penetrates everything and stays with you until you get inside where it is warm. I don’t know how Rulon Gardner could have survived in the cold for so long. With the cold there is plenty of ice and snow. One of the interesting things that I have seen here is that some parents pull there children behind them on sleds and others push themselves around a type of sled that they have here. Due to the circumstances, it seems like these sleds would be very convenient here. The town is very small. There aren’t many people out on the street at any given time, and I am unsure what the major industry or draw to this town would be. I do know that there is a large shopping center here that people come to because it is near the borders of Finland and Norway. The people are friendly and helpful. They don’t seem to mind when we ask them questions in English, and they seem to be happy that they have some visitors in their small town.
The hotel that we are staying at is very nice. I think I remember hearing that it is the oldest hotel in Haparanda, but to be honest with you I haven’t seen any other hotels even here. I have been making a little video of the town and the hotel. The video isn’t anything spectacular, but I am trying to get in a little bit of everything and everywhere that we go. The beds are a little nicer than they were in Finland. My back was really hurting from sleeping on those beds, but I am sleeping very well here and I am sleeping through the night. The daytime is so deceptive here though because by two or two thirty in the afternoon the sun has already gone down and it is dark outside. Fortunately the skies have been clear, and I have been able to see the sun everyday. It is just a different feeling to think that it is time to go to bed and it is still the afternoon. One of the bonuses of staying in this hotel is that they do have a few channels that have english speaking television shows. That makes it a little easier to pass the time. I am still catching up on all of the reading that I need to do for my class, and I am trying to come up with some ideas for my final paper. It will be nice when I am finished with that.
They provide us with breakfast at the hotel, but we are on our own for the other meals of the day. There is a chinese restaurant here in town that is pretty good. It is actually quite eclectic because they serve pizza and steaks as well as chinese food. We have had a couple of meals there and we keep trying out some of the other restaurants as well. I have been eating some fruit, and peanut butter sandwiches that I bought from the grocery store here. Usually as long as I have enough to eat, I can stay anywhere. I think that tomorrow the wrestling federation here starts providing meals for us here so that will be nice not having to go out to eat everyday. I have seen quite a few posters around town that have been promoting the tournament so I think that it should be a pretty decent sized turn out as far as wrestlers and spectators. Greco will be competing here as well as women’s freestyle. I am not sure what the weight order will be and on which day. Usually my goup competes in the second day, but perhaps it is different here. I guess that I will find out soon enough. It is nice that a competition is coming up again soon. I have enjoyed my trip, but I will be happy to get home to see my wife and my dogs. I have a lot to get ready for the upcoming holiday season as well.
Anyway that is all that I have to say about this place for now. I will post again before I go home, that is as long as the cold doesn’t get me.

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A Long Day

November 25th, 2007

Today I wrestled in the Vantaa Cup in Finland. The tournament went well for me, I won all four of my matches. I will tell you though that I was so exhausted today from last night. Last night I made weight without any problems. I was about two kilos over, and I lost all of it in the sauna. It took me about an hour to get down to weight. After that I had a good meal, plenty of fluids, and I was looking forward to a good night´s sleep. However, I couldn´t fall asleep last night. The couple of nights prior to weigh ins I was taking ambien to help me fall asleep and get my internal clock regulated to the time difference here, it is about a nine hour time difference. However, last night I decided not to take one because I didn´t want to feel groggy in the morning, because sometimes after taking sleep aids I feel groggy and sluggish the following morning. Anyway I just couldn´t fall asleep last night. I think I probably got two hours of sleep last night and I was definitely feeling it this morning in my first couple of matches. I am usually in pretty good shape, and I don´t really end up gasping for air during my matches, but today I was hurting bad! Fortunately for me I was able to squeeze in a couple of short naps inbetween my matches today. They helped me out quite a bit. So now that I am tired from wrestling all day long I am hoping that tonight will be the night that I get a full nights sleep without having to take anything.
Tommorrow morning I leave with a couple other guys to travel to Sweden for the Haparanda cup next weekend. I thought that we were going to be staying here for a week long training camp, but it looks as if our travel arrangements were scheduled differently. Last year the training camp was great. There were several other countries that stayed after the tournament to train and get ready for the Haparanda Cup. I suppose that we will just have to come up with our own training camp maybe doing some things Rocky style like running in the snow and working out in old barns. Well I don´t think that we will go that far, but we will see. Last year it was so cold in Sweden. The city that we will be staying in is very close to the North Pole so you can probably imagine what the weather is like this time of year. All these experiences make for good stories in the future.
Well I know this is a short post, but I am really tired. I hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for following what has been going on in my neck of the woods. Take care.

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A Good Night’s Sleep

November 23rd, 2007

Last night was my first night here that I was able to sleep through the night. I was lucky that one of the guys on the trip brought some ambien that he let me have. I was starting to get worried whether or not my sleep schedule would be regulated by the time I have to wrestle. Today the first group of competitors weigh in. I think that the weights that weigh in today are 55, 66, 84, and 120kg. Then tomorrow the rest of us, 60, 74,and 96kg weigh in and wrestle the day after. My roommates told me that even though I slept through the night last night that I was making a lot of noise. They told me this morning that I was snoring very loudly last night and that I was talking in my sleep. I don´t know if I do that normally, my wife has never really complained about it. Hopefully it won´t be a regular thing for the next couple of days. It is incredible how much a good night´s sleep can affect you. I feel so much better today than I have since I have been here.
Last night when I went out to eat with Brad, I took along my video camera to make a little video of my experience here in Finland. I am planning on videotaping a little bit everyday so that I have a nice little video by the time that I go back home. I wish that I would have been doing this everytime that I visited a country, I think that I have been to at least twenty different countries by now. I mentioned the same thing to my wife, and she thought that that would have been a good idea too. Better late than never. After going to Sweden this year, I am not sure what other trips that I will take that are out of the country. I know that I am going to Turkey in January and China in August, but I don´t know if there is going to be anything in March or April as far as winter tours are involved. I suppose that I should find that out soon.
The reading that I have been doing for my class has been pretty interesting. I have been reading about imperialism and the spanish influence in latin america. The aspects that I have found most interesting about the interaction between the spanish and the native people were that the spanish were received so well at first until they started destroying all of the native people. After that change in their relationship, it is easy to understand why there was so much animosity between the groups of people. The accounts go into pretty great detail about all of the bad things that were done to the natives as well as some of the extreme hardships that some of the early explorers went through. There was one explorer in particular who I think had a great deal of mental toughness and grit to survive everything that he did. I don´t remember his first name, but his last name was Cabeza de Vaca, which in Spanish means cowhead. Anyway the ships that he was traveling in were destroyed in storms, and he as well as his travelling companions had to do whatever they could to survive. They faced extremes of enviroment, thirst, hunger, and fatigue as well as being enslaved by certain indian tribes later to escape and make it home to Spain alive. This all happened over the course of at least 6-9 years. It was also interesting to see how some people fought so hard to survive while others gave in and went to their graves. Reading about all of the hardship that they had to face makes me appreciate even more the luxuries that I get to live with today. Those early pioneers and explorers were tough, really tough. I love to read stories about strong people who survive or excel in life whether it be sports, or business, or really anything. There is nothing quite like a story of an individual who faces adversity and manages to overcome difficulty and be a stronger more determined person because of it. Maybe that is why I like wrestling and sports so much. Everyday someone has to prove themself. I like that.

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Thanksgiving

November 22nd, 2007

Well it is Thanksgiving, and I have a lot to be thankful for. I am grateful for my wife, and my family and friends. I am very grateful for my health, as well as the opportunity to be able to do what I love and to do it well. I am very grateful to be living in the United States, especially when I get to see how so many other people in this world live. There isn´t any where else that I would want to live.
Even though today is Thanksgiving, it is very unlikely that I will be eating turkey today. I am still in Finland and I won´t be back home until the 3rd or 4th of December, so I still have a way to go on this trip. It has been nice so far, but I am still having a hard time adjusting to the time change. I was exhausted last night before bed, and I thought that surely I would have no trouble at all sleeping through the night. However, to my dismay, I woke up around two o´clock and wan´t able to fall back asleep until 9 o’clock. I have been reading all day for a class that I have at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and it has been a struggle staying awake. One of the guys on the trip said that he will share some of his ambien tonight, so hopefully I can get on schedule. Anyway getting back to turkey, I don´t think that I will be having any. There is a pretty good chinese restaurant here though so I guess that the closest that I will get to turkey and cranberry sauce will be sweet and sour chicken. I hope everyone back home eats plenty of turkey and all of the fixins for me.
There are a lot of things that are easy to take for granted while at home but later become very important when you don´t have access to those things any more. For example, being able to do laundry whenever you want to is very convenient. Usually on these trips it is rare to find a laundromat or access to a washer and a dryer. I do a lot of my own laundry in the shower. I try my best to give everything a good scrubbing, but it just ins´t the same as a machine could do. Then you have all of this wet laundry hanging up in cramped quarters and the room starts to smell. On this trip for example, there are three of us to a room and one of the guys hasn´t been washing or even rinsing his stuff out in the shower so it reeks of nasty, mildewy, sweaty, stink. Fortunately it is hanging up in the bathroom so we can close the door to try to keep the stink monster in small quarters, but when you open the door to use the bathroom the smell just hits you in the face. Luckily though he told me that he is going to do a load of laundry tonight, he found a machine, and that makes me extremely happy. There are so many little things that happen on these trips that I forget to mention that I wish that someone would make a reality show out of these trips so that everyone could see what goes on here. I am sure that it would be very entertaining. Last night after dinner, one of my roommates and I went to a store called Prima. This store is kind of like a finnish Walmart. We went there to kill some time, but then I got the idea to look for a pillow while I was there because the one that is here in the room isn´t that great. It has been like sleeping on a blanket that is folded in half, very uncomfortable. I was looking for a king size pillow, and they didn´t have one so I went with the next biggest one that I could find. When I got to the register it was more expensive than what I thought that it had said on the shelf where I got it from. I told the cashier that I wanted to exchange it for the one that was less expensive. I took the bigger pillow with me to take it back and get the cheaper, smaller one, but after I got to the aisle, I decided to just stay with the bigger one. When I got back to the front of the line at the cash register looked at me funny and laughed because I came back with the same pillow. It wasn´t that embarrassing, probably because I don´t speak finnish so I figured that if the cashier did say something about it I wouldn´t have even known what she said. Now that I just wrote that down, it actually doesn´t seem that funny so I guess I should scratch that reality show idea.
Anyway, I hope that you can all be with your families on this Thanksgiving, and I also hope that you have a lot to be thankful for. Take care everyone and have a happy Thanksgiving.

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NYAC Tournament

November 20th, 2007

I was in New York last week, and I had a pretty good time while I was there. I flew into NYC on Wednesday, and that night there was a little cocktail reception at the New York Athletic Club to help raise money for the wrestling program. It was a nice event, and I got to talk to a few people whom I hadn´t seen for awhile. The guest of honor was Mike Novogratz. He was a wrestler at Princeton, and he has done extremely well on Wall Street as well as with the company that he is president of now. It was interesting to listen to him as he spoke about how everyone there was connected through wrestling and that we could all relate to each other in one way or another. Another interesting thing that he said was something that he was quoting from someone else, but I don’t recall who it was that he was quoting. To paraphrase what he said it went something like this, “There are three types of people in this world. There are those who are afraid of success. There are those who are afraid of failure. And finally, there are people who aren’t afraid.” That comment really hit me, and I thought a lot about different times when I may have been afraid of something. I think that the times that I have excelled most in my life have been when I have faced challenges with no fear and have just acted instead of overthinking things. Anyway it was one of those little eureka moments.
Thursday morning I got a little workout in with my good friend and training partner, Brad Vering, a world silver medalist from this year. Anyway we had a dual meet on Thursday night so we kept our workout pretty light in the morning. We hit a little run on the treadmill at the hotel, and then we needed a place where we could wrestle. We had to do a little bit of searching, but we eventually came across an empty meeting hall in the hotel, and we started to get some drilling and a little bit of pummeling and wrestling in right there in the meeting hall. While we were working out in that room I was thinking, “What other sport can you find where its athletes would be practicing in a meeting hall without any equipment for their sport.” It was a good experience. I guess it is one of those stories that you can tell your kids later when you are older. The old, “When I was younger we didn’t even have wrestling mats and we wrestled anywhere we went. Shoot we also had to walk to school everyday in the snow and it was uphill both ways.” Anyway the workout served its purpose and we were ready for the meet that we had that night with Romania. We both won our matches and our team won the dual. It was a great event and everyone that worked hard to put the meet together did a great job. I was very impressed. The high school gym where we wrestled was filled with spectators, and all the athletes had some time to meet and greet with the fans afterwards. I wish we had duals like that all of the time in Colorado when we get foreign teams to come into town to train with us. It would be a great way to get more matches in.
After the night of the dual meet it was time to start getting ready for the tournament. I didn’t have to cut too much weight for the tournament so I mostly relaxed and got off my weight in the steam room. I felt pretty good going into the tournament and I ended up wrestling well enough to win the tournament. There was a good turn out for the competition. There were a couple of foreign teams that showed up, and I ended up getting in three matches myself. I did have a bye the first round so it made for a long day of waiting for matches. It was nice after things got rolling though.
I like going to New York, but everytime I do by the end of the trip I am ready to leave. I like all of the things that the city has to offer such as the big shopping centers and nice restaurants. I suppose the part that I am not fond of is that everything is so expensive in the city. It is a nice place to visit though. The tournament used to be held closer to Christmas, and at that time it was really nice to visit the city because all of the Christmas decorations were up and there were a lot of people there for that time of year. I am always amazed at all of the people and everything that is always happening down in times square. There is just so much going on that it seems like if you blink that you are going to miss something. I went with my wife to New York after we got married for our honeymoon. She loved it so much that she was ready to move there. We saw a show on Broadway and did a lot of sightseeing. It was a great time. However, I think that I will just keep it as a place to visit instead of making it a home.
Moving on to this week, I am now in Finland. We arrived yesterday afternoon after a couple of flights. It is actually four o’clock in the morning and I am up because I am not yet adjusted to the time change. The time difference is nine hours ahead of Colorado so my internal clock is a little bit off. Today is the biggest struggle. If I can make it through the day without taking a nap I should be on track for adjusting fairly quickly. I tell you though it is quite the struggle. I have a lot of respect for the people in the armed forces who have to go through sleep deprivation training. That would be difficult. The funny thing is that for some reason I usually adjust faster when I am going overseas instead of when I am going home. My wife hates it because for the week after I get home I am waking her up in the very early hours of the morning like three or four everyday. Then in the afternoons she has to deal with me when I am grouchy because of being tired. I am sure that it is very frustrating for her. Luckily for me she loves me quite a bit. It is cold here in Finland. Next week when I go to Sweden I will be very close to the North Pole. There is not much daylight here at this time of year. I saw the sun for a little bit yesterday which was very nice. Honestly last year when I was on this trip I only remember seeing the sun once. Most of time the sky was overcast. The weather so far has been nice. Hopefully it will stay that way.
Well that is about it for now. I will try to keep everyone posted on what is happening over here. Keep checking back in to get the updates. Take care.

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Made It Home!

November 4th, 2007

Well it has been too long since I posted last. We made it home safely from Utah. We had a lot of fun while we were there. The guys are a great group. They are real hard working and I am excited for them for the rest of the year. Now that I am back in Colorado Springs I have started to focus in more on my own training. On the 14th of this month I leave to go to New York for a dual meet against a russian team and also there is going to be a tournament there. After that I leave for Finland and Sweden to compete in two tournaments over there. I am looking forward to getting in some good training and competition this month. Right now we have the Romanian team in Colorado to train with us as well as a pair of French guys that are also solid wrestlers. We also have our tough US team battling in the room every day.
I don’t think I posted about my anniversary, but it was on October 15th; and it was quite a day to remember. Leading up to my anniversary I made sure to tell some of the guys on the team at UV to remind me that my anniversary was coming up so that I would make sure to do something nice for my wife. I wasn’t planning on forgetting, but I just wanted to take all of the necessary precautions so that I didn’t forget it. Anyway I was in charge of planning what we were doing on our anniversary. I knew that she had wanted to go to downtown Salt Lake City to visit temple square for the day so I decided that our anniversary would be a good day to make that trip. We drove to Salt Lake City, had a tour of the conference center, the visitors center, and the museum. We also watched the movie that they had playing in the Legacy Theater, and we had a nice dinner at the Roof in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. When we had done everything that we could do we decided that it was time to head back down to Orem to call it a night. It was nice because Sarah was even commenting on how the day had been so nice and it was the most fun that she had had together as a couple for a long time. So it seemed as if things were going great. After we had been on the interstate for about half an hour, there was a truck that cut me off on the freeway. Something big and black flew out from underneath the truck, and I had no real option other than to run over whatever it was that came up from underneath the truck that was in front of me. I guess I could have swerved and smashed the car into the cement divider or sideswiped the car next to me, but I took the chance to just keep going forward since there was no time to brake either. I ran over the object and after we had passed over it I said, “Well the car is still running so I guess nothing bad happened.” I had spoken too soon. Immediately after those words had escaped from my lips did the coolant light come on and the car started to overheat. We pulled off on the next exit and tried to asess the damage that was done. Our radiator was smashed and our car was leaking fluid like crazy. We called our insurance company, Farmer’s by the way does a great job, and a tow truck from Larry’s towing came and took our car to the shop. So all in all our anniversary was a great day, but I suppose that the night could have been a little better. Eventually our car was repaired and we chalked everything up to a good story. However, I would have preferred a happier ending than the one that took place. In any case we had a good time while we were in Utah, but it is nice to be back in Colorado and settling back in to our old routine.

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Utah

October 9th, 2007

Well I am in Utah for most of the month of October. I am a part time assistant coach at UVSC, and I am training with the guys here for awhile. I am really excited about this program. The guys on the team are a great group of hard workers. They are hungry to wrestle and improve. I like being in this situation because it provides some new faces and a change of pace from Colorado Springs. However, I will be back in Colorado at the end of the month focusing on greco and working on my own wrestling goals. I am so excited for this year of wrestling. I am having a great time and am looking forward to the Olympics.
My wife and I drove out here last Monday, but we didn’t get here until Tuesday because we had to stay the night in Rawlins, Wyoming. There was a snow storm that we didn’t want to get caught in, and I was also exhausted. We didn’t leave until six o’clock in the afternoon so we were off to a slow start. I also got a speeding ticket after we got into Wyoming. I was going 81 in a 65 mph zone, but I thought the speed limit was 75 mph. Anyway I got a ticket and that slowed us down a little bit too. The officer was pretty cool though because I guess he could have given me a more expensive citation than what he did. Now I know to slow down when I cross the state line though.
The time that I have been here has been pretty busy. When I am not training myself or working with the guys, I am at work in the office so that has been a change to. It has been good though and I am learning more about the coaching world. I will be moving out to Utah after the Olympics to be on the staff full time so I am trying to get a foot hold of what is going on during the time that I am here this year.
UVSC has been putting on some free clinics on the weekends at high schools here in Utah. This last weekend me my wife and some of the guys drove down to St. George to do one of these clinics at Dixie high school. The group was small enough that the kids could get some individual attention and they all worked hard enough so it was nice to be there. At the end of the clinic we had a few posters to give away so I had the kids do a pushup contest to see who would win the posters. There were these two little kids that must have been about fifty pounds each that were just blasting out pushups like they were nothing. They just kept going and going. They ended up in the top three, but there was an older kid that ended up winning. After one of the little kids got to a hundred he was done and he just flopped onto the mat. It was pretty funny and I am sure that my description of it doesn’t do it justice. While we were down there I also got to meet up with some old high school team mates so that was a lot of fun as well.
Well I guess I should get back to work. I know that I still have some pictures to post, and I will get to it. Please be patient with the sight. I am doing a lot right now with everything, but I have some t-shirt designs being made up and I will be selling them in the future so stay posted. Keep tuning in to see what is happening.

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