Meet Rustie Johnson from San Antonio, she’s a new member to Texas Beef Team, joining at the start of 2021. While Rustie works as a brand manager at H-E-B, the cattle business is near and dear to her heart. “My grandparents owned a dairy and cattle farm,” she explains, “and growing up, I would spend my summers there helping out. When my grandpa passed in 2019, I wanted to carry on his passion for farming and ranching by being part of the Beef Team, helping to educate and spread the word about the benefits of beef. I also joined the team because I was hoping to meet a bunch of great people, which I definitely have so far!”
Friendly, fun, and a former cheerleader, it’s no surprise Rustie was once awarded the title of ‘Miss Congeniality” in the Miss Texas International Pageant. To support her personal interest in healthy living and more knowledgably share that passion with friends, family, and co-workers, Rustie earned certifications in personal training and nutrition. In addition to running, Rustie keeps up a well-rounded fitness routine with strength training, yoga and Pilates. This spring, she is looking forward to her volunteer coach role with Girls on the Run, a program for 8- to 13-year-old girls that promotes girl empowerment by teaching life skills through lessons and running
Surprisingly, Rustie only “got into” running beginning until 2020. “I always had this mindset that I couldn’t run, especially with asthma growing up and experiencing my first asthma attack during a 2nd grade track and field day,” she explains. “Over time, I medically grew out of asthma, but my lungs still tighten from certain things, including running, so I really never tried to run other than a very occasional, super slow 5k for fun.”
At the end of 2019, a group of Rustie’s friends concocted a goal to run a dozen 5ks together in the upcoming year and she agreed to join in. “Then, 2020 happened. But I found running was a way for me to stay balanced during such a crazy time,” says Rustie. “I was doing runs when I wanted to – mostly a long run on the weekend with no true training. But it felt good and honestly, despite the pandemic, I was in the best shape of my life. Since 2021, I have become more intentional about training and I see improvements in my running journey already!” In this short time, Rustie has racked up in-person and virtual race finishes in multiple 5ks, 10ks and a 10-miler. Despite numerous race cancellations and postponements, she looks forward to finishing her first in-person half marathon soon.
Read on to learn more about this enthusiastic and interesting new member of the Beef Team:
Ag Life Insights: I learned many life lessons growing up that revolve around summers spent on my grandparent’s farm, a place I still visit each year. 1) You work until the job gets done; 2) No job is too small; and 3) Complaining won’t get you anywhere. I’ve helped with the processing of meat, which is something most people never experience. Living a little bit of the country life has given me a different appreciation of what our farmers/ranchers have to deal with day to day. One thing I don’t miss though is mucking stalls! I would LOVE to move back to the country and live on a farm again!
Pets: I have one cat, name Dolce. However, he’s not a running partner, he barely likes riding in his cat stroller!
Hobbies Outside of Fitness: I enjoy reading, flea markets and vintage market days, and watching (too much!) HGTV and Food Network.
Fun Fact: I drive a lifted Ford F-150 FX4 which is my dream vehicle. You’ll know it’s me on the road if you spot my plates are pink and say “FAB RJ”!
Favorite Beef Cuts: I rely on the versatility of ground beef for so many different recipes. I also enjoy shoulder, flat iron, and top sirloin steak steaks at home.
I’ve Learned: I didn’t realize when cooking with ground beef you don’t want to “manhandle” it so much as it will lose it tenderness.
Beef Team Highlights: have only been a member for 2 months now, and getting to know other members has been amazing. Everyone is so welcoming and nice. If I see another Beef Team jersey at a race, I know I have an instant friend to chat with before and after. As a new member, I finished the 10k race as part of the San Marcos Half Marathon at the beginning of the year. I nabbed a PR and significantly lowered my per-mile pace from the previous year when I just did the 5k! It proves that training and motivation really pay off!
Inspired By: Anyone that laces up their shoes and hits the roads, trails, or treadmill. It takes a lot just to do that. When I am out running, I love seeing all different types of people out exercising and doing their best. It inspires me to keep giving my best!
Recent PR: Hitting my goal 10k time of 58:44 time at a 9:25 pace!
Running During Pandemic: I am in the best shape of my life and I feel very blessed to say that. But it has been hard to find races this past year, especially with a half marathon on my goal list. So many I signed up for either went virtual or got postponed. I want my first half marathon to be in person so I can have all the glory of a finish line and cheering people!
Favorite Race Distance: I really like the 10k distance. You can really set into a pace and push yourself. It is almost the perfect length because you get a good workout but you are not dead afterwards. I have also enjoyed obstacle course races in the past!
Race Mantra: “One step. One mile. At a time.” The reason I picked this quote is that every step is an accomplishment. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are going; a mile is a mile.
Dream Celebrity Running Partner: Hard one, but I’d say Chip Gains (of Magnolia and HGTV’s Fixer Upper fame). On my running bucket list is Silo District Marathon in Waco which is hosted by Magnolia.
Race-Morning Meal: I always have peanut butter toast with a banana and hydrate with Nuun.
Best Advice: SLOW DOWN!!! When I first started running, I thought I had to run hard and fast all the time. That just wore me out and made me NOT want to run. But then I learned about the 80/20 format for running and fell in LOVE with it. This is how I can run 4 days a week, strength train 5 days a week, and active recovery workout 2 days a week and still have enough energy and recovery to get through each week.
Favorite Running Gear: I only wear Brooks running shoes, but my favorite pair are my Cheetah Adrenaline GTS, which I reserve just for races because they make me run fast like a cheetah! Also, I don’t run alone without wearing a Go Guarded Ring, this self-defense accessory makes me feel safe and looks fierce!
Favorite Running Tunes: Anything country! I switch it up all the time, from 90’s country stations to listening to a specific artist the whole run like Carrie Underwood, Carly Pearce, Maddie & Tae, Luke Bryan, Brantley Gilbert, Jason Aldean, and other favorites.