Archive | February, 2020

Catching up With Jackie as she runs into her 2nd Olympic Marathon Trials!!!

24 Feb

“Discomfort is when you grow”- the wise words from our friend Jackie Pirtle-Hall. Jackie has a way with words that stick. Her advice is always considerate and purposeful. Those around her listen to her kindness with intense admiration. Jackie is truly an inspirational human being, she balances a hectic life and trains like a beast. Always humble, I have never heard her brag about her accomplishments but focuses on her friends and family. She lifts other up around her with her big smile and warm heart.  Her kindness does not go unnoticed and all who know her are lucky. My inspiration and my friend, Jackie. – Diana Casanova.


 As Jackie gets ready for her second Olympic Trials this upcoming weekend, we as her Runnababez team mates have seen the hard work she has put in first-hand, she takes no short-cuts, she put her head down and does the work, and we love training with her.  She is a friend to us, we know her well.  She lives a full life.  But, most people don’t get to witness first-hand the hard work, dedication, and friendship.  So we take some time to catch up with Jackie as she shares her thoughts leading into the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials.


RUNNABABEZ: What do you think is different for you this time around in how you are approaching or preparing for your 2nd Olympic Trials?

JACKIE: The difference for preparing for the trials this time around is my ability to handle more miles because of all the years I have been active and running. Even through injuries, I always found a way to safely move while I healed, I believe this consistency over the years has kept me strong and hardened my body to more and more work over time.  Coach also had me doing back to back quality days and mileage days – this was hard and risky, but that’s part of the excitement to me is trying new things, taking risks, and just seeing what happens. I am accepting of the result good or bad when I take risks – it’s the fun part to I’m a science experiment! Also, I have a team of best friends to train, communicate, and laugh with whereas last time I trained alone on the treadmill in my basement- I had a baby at that time too.


RB: What are you looking forward to with this race?

JP: I’m most looking forward to having a great experience with my friends and family. I have nothing to prove, no pressure, no expectation, I’m doing this for me and for the life experience. I get to bring my girls, Samantha 11 and Gwyneth 6 who have seen me go through ups and downs with my training over the years with injury and motivation, and they get to see me actually seeing this through. I love that.


RB: How do you manage to balance being a mom, wife, teacher, and elite runner?

JP: Managing being a wife, mother, runner, teacher, and friend is a constant practice that I still do not always have figured out. There are times when everything is fluid and everyone is happy and taken care of and then there are hard times when I have to talk to someone who can help me get back into balance. It is so hard to be the type of person who wants to show up and be great at everything for everyone- this is just not possible. I have to have priorities at certain times and be ok with not being AMAZING at all and just understanding everything is fluid and temporary. My family knows that the 12-14 weeks of concentrated training prior to a big race that mom might have some tired days sprinkled in there. I just make sure to take advantage of all the days I am blessed to have extra energy to be a great mom and teacher while training. There is only so  much energy you have in a day – you have to figure out priorities, don’t doubt your dreams and goals, and understand priorities change as the seasons in the year change. I am so lucky to have a job that allows me the entire summer off with my husband and kids – we travel and spend so much good time together. During that season, running doesn’t require so much of me.Again, this is an ongoing practice.


RB: Why do you enjoy the marathon distance?

JP: I like the marathon distance because it suits me well. I get better the further I go.  I’m not any tougher than anyone else. I have just practiced and learned lessons along the way. That is my whole goal and purpose is to learn about myself and grow into a better version and when I make a scary goal, follow through, and cross the line after being tested during the race, I learn things about me and about life, about friendship, about the people who love me and that I love; I feel the most alive during these moments. That is how life is, the best moments are experienced during and after moments of discomfort and stretch. When I get to stretch myself, enter a new “arena” I am scared, doubtful, and want to hide – but I never hide, I show up – sometimes when I show up, it’s painful emotionally or physically, but on the other side is a new, more educated, more equipped human being who is more compassionate and understanding of those around me. It’s a crazy phenomenon. so when people ask why I run – well there it is!


RB: You are a very tough runner how do you remain focused for 26.2 miles?

JP: During the marathon just like in life – expect discomfort – don’t back down, don’t just accept it, embrace it- you have an opportunity to grow here- you are doing something amazing…get excited about the discomfort! When it gets uncomfortable on Saturday, I will know it is temporary and that I must be doing something really great today!


RB: What is your favorite post marathon race splurge?

JP: MY favorite post marathon race splurge is actually the weekends after when I get to take my time waking up with my family, eating pancakes with them and drinking my coffee slowly in my jammies. I look forward to getting on the trail on an early morning with my hiking boots and my family and taking my time on the trail laughing and playing with the girls and Jon – after we go get donuts which I rarely eat – I get an apple fritter! When I was in high school, mom and dad and I had a tradition after the state meet we would go to Krispy Kream – I don’t know how that started, but it became a tradition. So many, so many great memories attached to running in my life.

The Runnababez are the reason I am still training instead of just running – there is a big difference! My girls- Lisa, Jessica, Amy, Courtney, Brooke, Diana, Justine, Julie, Noa- these women are my heart. I love them; we will be doing this deal when we are 80 or longer….albeit much slower 😉

Also, my parents- Beth and Jerry Pirtle- help Jonathan, the girls, and me so much. They will have dinner waiting for us in the fridge once a week, help with the girls when we are super busy, my mom cleaned my bathrooms one day while we were at work because she knows how anxious I get when my house is not clean and out of order! They are interested in us and want to help us. Seriously these two show us so much love. I am going to be like this with Sam and Gwyn when they need me too.

– Jackie Pirtle-Hall


“Training, dreaming big, and laughing with Jackie over plenty of miles are some great times. We started Runnababez together back 9 yrs ago  to find other women to train with who were, “just as crazy,” as us, who wanted to try and do it all. We wanted to have fun while doing it too.   I still remember the long run back, when she asked if it was crazy to try again one more time to hit the trials time in the marathon back in 2011.  I said, no you should go for it!  We have shared great memories over the years, we seen each-other through ups and downs of life, and sometimes just needed a good hard run with a friend who understood…many ups and downs as runners too.. thru bizarre injuries and illness that can occur when riding the fine red line of pushing your body to be its best…  It was always nice to have someone who understood and encouraged.. Jackie remained focused and unfaltered over the years, she is a great runner, who works so hard, she is an excellent life balancer, and inspiration.  Most importantly, she is a great person – mom, daughter, sister, wife, and friend to many.  Kick BUTT Jackie, BADGER UP!!”  – Lisa Cary