BLUE EARTH?- Going to college, working and having a social life isn't enough for Trevor Ruser; he's also training for the Ironman World Championship in Las Vegas on Nov. 5.
Ruser will compete along with 1,500 to 3,000 athletes from all over the world.
"It's gonna be brutal," he predicted.
IRONMAN?— Trevor Ruser receives an award at the Trinona triathlon in Winona.
Ruser graduated from Blue Earth Area in 2006, participating in football, wrestling and baseball. He is the son of Dennis and Carol Ruser. He attends Minnesota State-Mankato, where he studies construction management and business administration, and plans to graduate in December.
He wrestled at MSU for a year, but decided to hang up his wrestling shoes to concentrate on his schooling.
That was a mistake.
"I saw myself at 180 [pounds] and thought 'I've got to start doing something,'" he said. "I started running half-marathons."
Then he met Greg Taylor, a five-time World Ironman Champion.
"I started working on his house and he trained me," Ruser said. "He's the one that got me thinking I should do Ironman."
Ruser has been competing in triathlons for a year, although his first experience in an event in Racine, Wis., wasn't a lot of fun.
"It was 105-degree heat index," he said. "The heat played a big role in Racine and I wasn't absorbing liquids."
He continued to train and learn about staying hydrated. By the time he went to the Pigman Triathlon in Palo, Iowa, a month later, he had taken 39 minutes off his time.
"I guess I just like the challenge," he said. "It's a challenge and a reason to stay in shape."
It does keep him in shape: His weight is down in the 150s, within a few pounds of his high school wrestling weight.
Ruser's training schedule varies depending on the day. He likes mixing it up between biking, running and swimming, and works out anywhere from two to six hours per day.
"On weekends or longer days, I go on a four-hour bike ride and run 10 miles after that," Ruser said.
It's a bit of a trick to balance school, a part-time job and a social life. When asked if he ever sleeps, Ruser said, "That's the part where I struggle. You need more sleep [after all the activity]. I take naps whenever I can."
To fuel all that exercise, Ruser follows a "common sense diet with lots of fruits and leaner foods, rather than a lot of fat." He prefers foods that are easily digested and keeps PowerBars and Clif Bars handy for eating on the go.
He will need to be prepared for the Ironman in Vegas. Even though it's not a full Ironman competition, Ruser will be swimming 2.5 miles, biking 76 miles and running 18.75 miles.
"I'm excited for the swim," Ruser said. "The lake is manmade and a friend told me it's like a giant pool."
The bike ride will be "extremely challenging," Ruser said. "Nine thousand feet of climbing. I've been training on hills in Mankato. I hope I'm ready."
The run also will include rolling hills.
"I'm sure I won't be able to feel my legs," he said.
No matter how he finishes in Las Vegas, Ruser likes what he has accomplished so far.
"I'm very satisfied with my first triathlon season," he said. "This is a bonus to end the season. Who knows what will happen?
"Next year, I'd like to step up to full Ironman distance," Ruser said.
"Everyone wants to qualify for World Championships in Kona, Hawaii," Ruser added. "I might have a way to go before I do that."