Jackson plans to build on first experience at provincials

Bryce Forbes

When most NHL players hit the off-season months of June through September (or April through September if you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs’ fan), they take to the golf course, maybe toss back a few beers, and reminisce about the season that was.
When Shannon Jackson’s off-season officially started yesterday, she will not be following the footsteps of NHL players.
The figure competitor from Fort Frances instead will take only about 10 days off before revving up her marathon training.
“It was just kind of a whim thing,” Jackson noted. “Five of us women from Fort Frances put into a random draw to the Nike women’s marathon in San Francisco in October.
“We got in, and will begin training in a week-and-a-half.”
Jackson admitted, however, that she won’t take the marathon as seriously as figure competition.
“It’s just for fun, and we are really going there for the sights,” she joked.
This past weekend marked the finale of Jackson’s successful rookie season in figure competition.
She was in London, Ont. competing at the provincials, hoping to be one of five people in each division to punch their ticket to the national showdown in August.
Although fate was not on her side, Jackson said she was not disappointed and returned home with the knowledge she’ll need to go back and win it next year.
“It was a great experience,” remarked Jackson, who competed in the medium and masters divisions.
“I got a couple of nice comments from the judges that I did a nice showing for my first provincial competition.”
Within her two divisions, Jackson competed against 13-15 other women, with the top five getting the call back to nationals.
She said she did not know if she placed sixth or last because the rankings after the top five were not released.
“The meet sent me into overall focus to prepare myself for next year because it made me realize what level of competitors I will go up against,” she noted.
“Looking back at the pictures, I’m right in line with the competition,” she said. “However, I probably need to develop my body into an overall softness because I think it was just a little bit harder than all the rest.
“The muscle definition is there, but it is a softer look,” she explained. “Where I have the muscle definition is a little harder, a little more defined, than a soft overall appearance.”
Jackson noted, as with most women, that she needed to balance out her stature more, with an increased focus on toning her legs.
After earning her way to London by topping the medium novice figure division at the Northern Cup Challenge in Sault Ste. Marie two weeks ago, it was a quick turnaround for the rookie competitor.
While her coaches tweaked her diet and workout plan slightly, Jackson felt the gruelling effects going into provincials.
“I did tire quickly,” she admitted. “The last week out, I was very tired.
“The energy levels were very low because the carbohydrates levels were very low for an extended period of time.
“They didn’t take me totally off carbs, but they lowered the percentages of it because that is your major source of energy,” she noted.
But Jackson stressed that didn’t play a role at the provincials. When she began the meet, she claimed she was “spot on.”
“It’s exciting to be that hyped up for the day because you are glamorous for the day,” she explained.
“Not only are you fit, but all eyes are on you, so I really liked it.”
Jackson added she constantly had her coaches texting her advice and tips since they couldn’t make it to London in person.
In the end, she said she hopes this was not the end of her run at provincials.
“I’m glad I went, and I’m thinking I will try another show next year and whether that leads me to provincials again, I do not know,” she remarked.
“My goal is to have a clean off-season and try again in the new year.
“My trainers will put me in an off-season program, which will consist of trying to keep clean in the diet,” Jackson added. “Indulge, just don’t go overboard.
“A leaner diet so that you don’t get too many calories in you too quickly and blow up.”
Still, Jackson said the diet won’t be as strict.
“I’ll try to still eat healthy, but it’s summer time so I’m going to indulge,” she joked.