Half marathons and post-race marathons make Beef Team member, Renee Kettler happy! And, having this enthusiastic and fun-spirited lady from Clifton, Texas (a smaller city about 100 miles southwest of Dallas) makes us happy. Renee mentions she’s “somewhat new” to running and working out, beginning her fitness journey in 2015, adding in running a year later. She took up the sport at the invitation of a group of women in her town who asked her to join in an “easy” three-mile run followed by mimosas. “I didn’t make it three miles that first day, or that first month . . . instead, I struggled through one mile and enjoyed the mimosas anyway,” says Renee. “They were not judgmental and supported me. I did not give up, showing up week after week…if anything, for the mimosa.”
Kidding aside, Renee actually is inspired to run for her health and to be the best mom she can be for her children. “I want to watch them grow to be adults and, one day, to be husbands and fathers,” she explains. In 2016, my mother suffered a heart attack and was in ICU for 31 days. I was blessed to be with her in her room for most of those days. I watched her struggle through two open heart surgeries and later watched as she received shock treatments and was put on life support to stay alive. As I watched a helicopter carry her away, I promised myself I would do all I could to keep my boys from watching me go through that.”
“The last 21 years have revolved around my children and watching them pursue their dreams. If I am not chasing one around the country watching him play baseball, I am by the other’s side on a lake while he catches a big fish or raises cattle in the pasture. My oldest, Hutch, is a catcher for Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis. He is a junior and is a Biochemistry major. My youngest, Jackson, is a junior at Clifton High School and is a member of the high school bass fishing team. Jackson even has his own cattle business, “Kettler Cattle Company,” explains Renee. She also shares a “proud mom” story about running her first half marathon in Louisiana and taking Jackson along. He allegedly doesn’t care for running but surprised her by signing up for the accompanying 5k and throwing down an impressive finish in a very speedy 17 minutes.
Despite being a self-described “late-comer” to the sport, Renee has already run six half marathons, one obstacle course race, and countless other distances from 15k to 5k. She also has one full marathon on her running resume, but claims it is her “one and done”! In preparation for the marathon, Renee trained with fellow Beef Team member, Ratonia McClement, and another friend, Adriane Carpenter, a vegetarian. “For fun, we often called ourselves Meat and Potatoes,” laughs Renee, and says it was a way to have some laughs and lighten up the mood during the hard 16-weeks of training which often started at 3:30 in the morning. Renee also trains with her dog, Lily, twice a week. “We walk three miles on Wednesday for “Walking Wednesday” and she runs with me on a Saturday or a Sunday, if I have a route of three to four miles planned. Lily is a miniature dachshund but thinks she’s a Great Dane.”
Learn more about this fun and inspiring lady who also serves as an “employee engagement and wellness transformer” for her company, in addition to her everyday job duties!
Profession: I am the Regional Community Liaison for Texas New Mexico Power, an electrical transmission and distribution company. I serve as a liaison between the company and the cities we serve in both Central Texas and West Texas. Additionally, I serve as an employee engagement and wellness transformer for the company. In my role, I am able to engage employees in the communities we serve and many times this includes runs and/or walks to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Volunteer Activities: In addition to Beef Team volunteering, I am currently the secretary for the Clifton Lions Club. I have also served on the boards of the Clifton Athletic Booster Club, Clifton Baseball Association, Clifton EDC and Clifton Chamber of Commerce. I also volunteer a lot through my job in 28 incorporated cities in Texas and I try to encourage others to be active in their communities.
Three Surprising Things: 1) I have been in a Pilgrim’s Pride commercial, I was in an episode of Barney, and have modeled for the JC Penny catalog; 2) For the last two years I have worn a dress every day in the month of May. And, yes, I really do have that many dresses #DressADayInMay; and 3) As a child I raced dirt bikes. I have fond memories at the dirt bike track and vividly remember the wreck that stopped the fun. I was a pre-teen and spent months in a wheelchair nursing a broken left ankle, a right knee injury and multiple broken ribs.
Beef Team Memories: One of my favorite memories is my first race wearing the Beef Team jersey in January 2018. I walked up nervously to the race in New Braunfels with my friend Ratonia, who was also a Beef Tip. While we were waiting for the race to start, someone walked up to us and asked us what the beef shirts were all about. Of course, it had to be the first race and the first appearance in the jersey. We did not want to say anything wrong. From nowhere, Jon and Sherri Davidson walked up and saved the day. We were instantly friends and I still meet up with them around the Waco area for events. I knew at that first race this team was where I needed to be. The support from this team started at this race and has not since ended.
More Running Memories: My favorite non-beef team memories include friends who have supported me at races – that were not running. There is nothing like having my best friend, Lorrie Culver, at the end of a race waiting to see me finish and having a mimosa in hand for me to celebrate another good race. There is nothing like seeing a friend at a corner, water stop or pivotal place in a race – especially when they didn’t tell you they were going to be there. I am blessed with so many wonderful and supportive friends and I have some wonderful memories with them.
Favorite Races: My favorite sponsored race is the Dallas Hot Chocolate Run in February of each year. Why? Because there is chocolate, duh! This is also where I was first introduced to the Beef Team by Erica Freeman. Erica was a ‘friend of a friend’ who stayed in the same motel room as me for the race in 2017. She pulled out that Beef Team jersey and I had so many questions. I watched as she was encouraged through that race and knew I needed to be a part of it. I logged in and applied that day. I have not missed that race since! I also like the Community Animal Rescue Effort 5k in Mingus Texas. This is a small race and is considered in the middle of nowhere. I have run this race twice and it is for a great cause. The C.A.R.E. volunteers work hard to take care of animals who are in need of rescue. Their annual race is a great way to bring awareness and raise the funds to meet the animal needs. I love it the most because I can take my dog, Lily.
Favorite Beef Cuts: The most popular cuts of beef in my home are New York Strip and Roast. That being said, ground beef is a go to … after all, what’s a Taco Tuesday without ground beef?
Favorite Recipe: My favorite all time food is a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with spicy ground meat, riced cauliflower and cream cheese. I then top it with cheddar, mozzarella, and Colby Jack cheeses, melting them before serving. It is simple but I could eat it every day for the rest of my life.
What I’ve Learned: I grew up understanding red meat was bad for you. However, education and research have shown there are so many benefits to red meat, including beef, in your diet.
Beef Team Love: I have been amazed at the effort the Texas Beef Team staff has put into the challenges of 2020. While so many races are being cancelled or moved to a virtual event, the staff has worked hard to find ways to make points available. I was lucky to start the year off with a plan and I had a great start. Still, I’ve been able to earn plenty of points during the pandemic which means I’ve been learning, sharing and growing!
Other Sports: I am not athletic but I do work out three times a week in a group fitness class in addition to running or walking 3 to 4 days a week. During the COVID-19 pandemic, my fitness trainer worked to keep sessions active online and kept me, along with others, engaged. I never let myself miss a workout or a run. I kept my same routine waking up at 4:15 each day to get my workout in.
Post-race Reward: I drink a mimosa!
Favorite Distance: I enjoy the half marathon. I don’t know why; I just love that distance!
Positive Self Talk: “You are your own competition!” I am not a fast runner and I will never be the overall first place finisher of a race but I am content with that. I work to beat my previous time and to better myself.
Inspired By: There’s a man in my town named Barney who is often seen running through town. Barney is known to run 5 to 10 miles at a time, several days each month . . . he is 85!
Dream Celebrity Running Partner: I would run with Wade Bowen. He would hate me for this because I would want him to sing the entire time.
Pre-run Fuel: For short races, I drink a pre-workout or chew some gels. For longer distances, I will eat a piece of wheat bread with peanut butter.
Running Advice: Don’t give up on yourself and don’t be discouraged because something that worked for another runner didn’t work for you. Everyone’s journey is different and you have to find your own style.
Running Gear: Hoka Clifton 5 running shoes and Trekz Air headphones by AfterShockz. Also, I have created my own Apple Music running playlist. If I ever hear a song that makes me happy, I add it to my list.