Team Member Spotlight

June 2024

Ashley Ruggles

Ashley Ruggles, a four-year Texas Beef Team member from San Antonio, could be considered the real-life star of her own action series! 

“I am an adrenaline junkie,” says Ashley, “and I wanted to be a stunt woman growing up.” 

While the dream may have taken second billing to the reality of life, today Ashley is a construction project manager, wife, mother of three, and avid runner with a ranching background who performs all her own “stunts” seamlessly.

When it comes to running, Ashley has been an athlete since her school days but did not start enjoying the endurance sport until years later. She decided to give running a chance in 2006, motivated by the challenge of shaking up her active life and doing something different.

“I was a casual runner at first, mainly on the treadmill,” she explains, “and never went over four miles. But then, I started training for my first half marathon in August 2019. I really had to rely on my mental toughness to get through many long training runs. And, I actually cried at the start of that first half marathon, flooded with emotions and realizing just how hard I had worked towards the goal I was about to accomplish. I’ve been hooked on running ever since.”

To date, Ashley has run nine half marathons, one full marathon, and countless other race distances. The 10k is her favorite length because it’s “long enough to be work but short enough to push the pace.” 

She is intrigued by the challenge of doing an ultramarathon one day and her motivation to continue running is to stay healthy for her husband and kids. The whole family is active. Her husband, Jeffery, is a runner and her  married daughter (20), who lives in California, has just taken up running and her two teen boys (17 and 13) are high school athletes and will run when required!

“The whole family is 100-percent supportive of my running, even though that means I am not at home in the mornings,” Ashley says. “I feel so much better and can take care of them better when I get my run in.” 

While Ashley has only been on the team since 2020, she’s been an advocate of beef her entire life. Her family has a ranch for multiple generations near Dilley, Texas, about an hour south of San Antonio. It’s a cow-calf operation with mainly Charolais cattle.

“My dad heads out to the ranch daily to tend to the cattle,” explains Ashley. “I love seeing my youngest son help and learn from the experience too. But it was my great-grandmother who was the original cattle rancher and I helped her work cattle frequently until her passing at age 98.”  

“Beef has always been the focal point of our meals; we are a family of meat-eaters! My grandmother always made amazing food like roast, meatballs and meatloaf and she taught me her secrets. Today, those recipes endure as some of the best meals I put on the table. 

Learn more about Ashley and her active, beef-loving lifestyle:

Hobbies: I enjoy reading historical fiction, playing softball, golf, shooting, run vacations, swimming, cycling, and cheering on Texas Tech in every single football, basketball, and baseball game. 

Volunteering: Outside of the Beef Team, my husband and I have committed to becoming more involved with our sons’ activities. This year we are helping with 4H shooting sports and with Aid the Silent, a Texas-based non-profit that aids hearing impaired children and teens. Our oldest son is hearing impaired and the organization’s mission means a lot to us. They host a run, Aid the Silent 5k, in Boerne that we plan to always participate in.

Beef Team Memories: I really enjoyed the retreat this year, meeting new people and getting to know acquaintances better. Also, the silent disco was very fun. My roommate and great friend, Sara, and I were getting tired and about to leave until we heard ABBA’s Dancing Queen start playing. Of course, we couldn’t hear the music but we heard everyone singing it. It brought up a memory of when I completed my only marathon (to date) and this song was playing at the finish line. My daughter and I have also sung along to Mama Mia many times, so this song is one of my favorites. 

Inspiration: I am inspired by everyone out there no matter their pace or body type. I’m more impressed by those at the back of the pack that take much longer to finish and that may not ever win an award, than those that win. I am sure it is because I am one of those people!

Training Groups:  I have changed from a solo runner to a runner who prefers to run with people! I have trained with SARR and currently train with IRun. Also, I meet up with friends and coaches I have met in training classes for my morning runs.

Favorite Mantra or Quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle. I also reflect on the quote, “One run can change your day, many runs can change your life.” — Unknown. These words help me stay consistent. 

Obstacles: I’ve had many obstacles. I have had knee and hip problems and am dealing with arthritis in my back and herniated discs right now. But I have figured out that moving feels much better than sitting still — they say ‘motion is lotion’. I work over 40 hours a week, but my day is always better when I get out to run in the morning. 

Dream Celebrity Running Partner: I would pick the late Mike Leach (football coach). I think we would be at about the same pace and he is someone I would have just liked to have gotten to have a conversation with. Also, the Entitled Housewife (Becky Robinson), a comedian who spoofs ‘mom life.’

Run Rewards:  I’m trying to get out of the mentality of rewarding myself with food and/or beer; but a beer after a run is the best thing ever. Also, during the summer, a dip in the pool after a run is amazing. 

Pre-run Nutrition:  If I am running 3-5 miles, I run fasted. Sometimes I may have a cup of coffee beforehand. If longer, then I drink a cup of coffee and try to eat a couple hard-boiled eggs, sausage links, or cheese. I also buy Stingers in bulk so I will fuel with those or a waffle during the run. 

Running Advice:  It’s the tough, bad runs that make you appreciate the good runs. And also, since we are in San Antonio, heat training is more beneficial than altitude training. 

Favorite Running Gear: I love my Brooks shoes, my Garmin, and Shokz headphones. 

Favorite Song to Listen to While Running: Survivor by Destiny’s Child.

Next Big Running Goal: I have registered and started training for my second full marathon, the Honolulu Marathon in December.

Beef Love:  I have really enjoyed being a part of a team that are proponents for beef and the beef industry. I have also appreciated learning more about grilling and the nutritional value of beef. 


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