Tuesday, February 7, 2012

BLOG INITERVIEW: Chris and Becky Jackson - Lampasas, TX

I am so happy to bring you this blog interview.  Chris and Becky Jackson have a very special place in my heart & life.  

It was Becky who ran with me "virtually" at Hoover Dam. She knew how important going sub2 would be for me that day.  Since she could not be with me at the race, she started her long run day at my gun time and raced with me "virtually".  I felt her support every step of the way.  

In addition, it was Becky who sent me my Ladybug headband this past Fall.  To have someone take the time to send me such a special gift, I could never put into words.  It was even more special, because she wore the same headband at her Tulsa Half. 

Chris and Becky Jackson

Names: Becky Jackson (aka TDO – tiny dangerous one) & Chris Jackson aka "Big Daddy" (or Perfect Pacer)

City: Lampasas, Texas

When did you start running?
Becky (B): 3 years ago
Chris (C): Whenever Becky made me

Why did you start running?
(B): It was an accident. I had spent all summer at camp telling our high school girls to quit judging themselves by their body size but to honor God with their bodies and treat them as the bible tells us – as a temple. Upon returning home, I was overwhelmed with guilt because I wasn’t doing what I had told the girls to do. It wasn’t that I didn’t eat healthy, because I ate “relatively” healthy but because I really hated my body and had since college. So I decided to fall back on philosophy that my dad had taught me years before he passed – Either do something about it or Shut up. So I decided I’d do something about it. I got on the treadmill (yes, we owned one, just didn’t use it) and began walking for 45 minutes a day. I also began cleaning up my food choices – bringing in way more veggies, cutting out sweets and white food (pasta, starches, etc).

The tread mill broke (I had managed to lose weight at a fairly steady, healthy pace) and was scared at what would happen without the treadmill. My husband reminded me that I could walk outside! So I started but with winter coming on, he didn’t want me walking at night by myself so he started walking with me. We got very bored, very fast and myself so he started walking with me. We got very bored, very fast and so he suggested we “jog”. I made it a quarter mile and thought I was going to die. I knew then, that I wasn’t as healthy as I thought I’d become. And my husband and I can become very competitive. He laid the challenge of running a mile down and I quickly picked it up. I worked hard daily to get to that mile. And then it became two. And then three. And then it became an obsession.

(C): To support Becky & when we got serious about training for a marathon 

What was your first race?

(B) & (C) We ran the Rock N Roll San Antonio Half in 2010. Racing with 30,000 people does something to you – I knew we wouldn’t “win” but also wondered if I’d finish. It’s amazing how you feel as you pass people and cross the finish line.

Why do you like racing? 

(B): It gives me a goal to strive towards. As a personal trainer, I truly feel that if we work out simply to lose weight, then we are less likely to succeed then if we work towards a specific goal and deadline. I use races and obstacle events to give me definite goals and training plans to keep me focused and on track. I love the racing community and how they are always encouraging no matter what level you run at. I like the race atmosphere – the energy, the pace, the prep and the afterwards.

(C): Because it is the challenge of finishing, to stay young and in shape and because Becky makes me. I don’t sign up for anything. She comes home and says “I want to do this one” and I just nod and say OK. She then comes up with the training plan and tells me what it is.

Race Day for the Jacksons!

What is your training philosophy?

(B): Train Smart. A lesson we learned the hard way after I trained hard (which was my previous philosophy). Train Smart, means training at your optimum self, while listening to your body. If your body is breaking down, it’s time to for examination and reassessment and rest.

(C): Train Smart & Stay Injury Free. Don’t over train – which is something I’m constantly reminding Becky of. Train consistently and always do your best

What is the best advice you feel you can offer a runner? 

(B): Run because you love it. Run because you want to see how well your body can perform and enjoy your rest day (although that is so hard for me).

(C): Have the proper running shoe. It will help you stay injury free, and can help you have a longer running life. You can generally tell when you need new shoes because an ache or pain that you’ve never had before begins cropping up consistently. Take the time to go to a good run store and get evaluated.

You recently completed your first Full Marathon. It was less than a favorable experience for you. Please share what happened and what you learned that day to make you a better runner?

(B): First, while it wasn’t everything I imagined it would be, it was still gratifying and I still cherish it – bad and good parts. Everything was great at the start line – we met up with one of former campers (and track star) and all agreed to run our own race. No one would hold anyone back. We hung for the first mile together and I knew that my little camper was itching to blast so I reminded her “run your race, stay true to your pace” and she took off. My Perfect Pacer and I had a plan that we would slow at each water stop & evaluate how we felt. I had been battling ITB for months and he had been battling some calf, hip and back issues. If we had to divert to the half at 10, then we would.

We came to the 10 and I said “are you kidding me? I’m not going half” and so we kept going. My ITB was hurting but I figured I would just push throw it – I’m stubborn. At mile 15 I couldn’t hide the hurt on my face and Perfect Pacer insisted I walk for a minute. And then he revealed his calves had been hurting from mile 12 and he was in extreme pain. At mile 16 we walked up on my camper who had blown her ITB as well. She shooed us on but we all knew we wouldn’t leave her behind so we walked with her.

I’d push her every once in a while to run to see how it’d feel but once we got to mile 20, we knew none of us was running.

My right foot became extremely achy and even numb from time to time. But I was still flying high with the endorphins and adrenaline of the event and wasn’t about to bail. Perfect Pacer was sharing his passion for Christ with other injured runners and we just wanted to make it in 6 hours. We cheered our other favorite run friends on as they smoked past us and cursed our aching body parts.

As we came to miles 22+, we noticed that the volunteers were breaking down the water stops but we also knew there was a heck of a lot of walkers behind us. We didn’t think too much about it – what did we know. But when we crossed the finish line, and were handed a bag of Fritos and told there was no water or chocolate milk, we were left with disgust in our mouth. We headed over for free beer out of desperation of hydration and refueling. Someone handed me a Perfect Fit Protein cookie and I knew I’d be fine. With a huge ice bag taped to my knee, we hobbled the 1.5 mile walk back to the hotel (which was by far, worse than any mile on the course).

What I learned was that as long as I was mentally prepared, I would be able to overcome any short comings my body may throw at me. I learned that it was the journey and not the end that mattered the most, and I learned that not all marathon experiences are the perfect ones we dream of, but that there is always another one.

(C): I know Becky was disappointed with it but I didn’t think it was less than favorable; I enjoyed it. We might not have completed the way we intended to but we completed it. I met a lot of people along the course and was able to share my faith in Christ with quite a few of them. The finish line was a little disappointing and inadequately stocked but other than that, the weekend was a great way to celebrate all of our hard work and hours training.

Who inspires you and why? 

(B): I’m inspired by those that around me who overcome obstacles. We recently had a youth return from Afghanistan without his legs. He jumped out of a plane at the start line of the Marine Corps Marathon and then hand cycled it in 2:04:00. Whenever I think I can’t, I’m reminded of him and my nephew who is also a marine. I also remind myself that I am an example to my camp staff and campers and that gives me a heck of a lot of motivation. I don’t want to preach something that I don’t follow myself.

(C): I just read a story about a young Kenyan who ran 45 miles in order to run a race. He won the race and was awarded a water jug. He was recognized by a running coach and recruited to run at the University which led to other sponsored runs. He never really made any money as an elite athlete but he constantly sent money home to feed the 12 orphans that he had asked his dad to take in. He eventually built them a house, and is now building an orphanage and a medical clinic. He lives in virtual poverty here in the states, all in order to give back to his homeland. That’s inspirational.

What are your 2012 goals? 

(B): I’m limited to my events because of my job as a youth event coordinator. We have 26 weekends already packed with camps & retreats so I have to choose cautiously what I want to run. I have many more that I want to do but these are the ones that are definite: Austin 1020 (10 miles, 20 bands),Austin Cap10K, Spartan Sprint Race – obstacle run, Route 66 Half Marathon (or maybe the full), Jacob’s Run 7.7K (a fundraiser for a scholarship program)

(C): Again, it’ll be whatever Becky gets us signed up for. I won’t know until I see it on the calendar!

What is your favorite quote?

(B): I have a few actually.
The one on my road ID says – “Run til you puke, then run some more” (which I’ve done).
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – comes in handy when I want to give up
“run your race – not theirs” – helps me when I decide I’m too slow.
“Easy Peasy” – one I use for hills (I shared this with a runner in GA and she says it got her through her hill section on her first).

(C): “Whatever you do, do with all your heart as unto the Lord, not as unto men.” Col 3:23. I rely on this in my daily work – not just in my training.

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(c) C. Ragsdale 2011-12
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Running Coach, Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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