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Issue: # 47
December 2014
In This Issue
From the Top
Christmas Dash
Pensacola Beach Run
We Believe In Children 5K
Healthy Lives
Ironman Kona Report

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The Mission of the Pensacola Runners Association is to promote, support and develop running and racing along the northern Gulf Coast. Our objective is to provide information, education, training, social and sporting events for competitive and non- competitive runners and walkers of all ages, races, genders and abilities.


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From The Top


By Charles Gheen  


"Tis the season to be jolly" - well, yes, it is. We have family, friends and the holiday season to enjoy.

BUT, while you're savoring the season, don't start looking like jolly old Saint Nick with a belly that jiggles like a bowl full of jelly.

You're been consistent in your running, walking and working out for 11 months. You've worked hard, watched your diet and you're looking and feeling great!

So, during this joyous season, don't  neglect your training and do take it easy on the wonderful food, deserts and refreshments out there at the parties. You'll be glad you did come January.

Our PRA Christmas Dash is coming up on December 13th and the awesome PRA Pensacola Beach Run is on January 10th - we look forward to seeing you in these events!                   

Keep training,



PRA Christmas Dash Is December 13th
The annual Christmas Dash is this Saturday and will be run on the downtown Pensacola Christmas Parade route. Thousands of spectators will cheer as you "dash" along.

The first 300 athletes to register will receive  a holiday "beanie" as shown below:

Late registration and Packet Pickup will be on Friday, December 12th, from 4-6pm at Pensacola Sports Association at 101 W. Main Street and on Saturday, December 13th from 3-4:30pm at the Start line  at Spring and Garden Streets.  You can download the  Entry Form Here

We'll see you at the Christmas Dash this Saturday!

PRA Pensacola Beach Run 
 Registration Continues 

The classic Pensacola Beach road race is coming up on January 10th and you'll want to be part of this great event to kick off 2015. You have your choice of distances - Half-marathon, 10K or 5K and they will each be a challenge on scenic Santa Rosa island.  You can find an entry form, the online registration link and ALL the race information
HERE.  We'll see you at beautiful Pensacola Beach to start the new year off right.


We Believe In Children 5K 
Tne annual We Believe In Children 5K will be held on January 31st at Cordova Park Elementary School. A Health Fair will be immediately after the race.  More details are available at We Believe In Children 5K. More information will be posted in The Rundown in January.

Running During The Holidays


by Corey Dell

PRA Board of Directors 


It's that time of the year again!  The HOLIDAYS are here full force and there is no turning back now.   Did you know the average American consumed more than 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day?  Put it this way, that was a one pound weight gain on Thanksgiving Day alone, since one pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories.  Not to mention, all of the leftovers that you probably annihilated the entire weekend after Thanksgiving.  Well, Thanksgiving was JUST the start. 


Remember to stay active during the holiday season to prevent excessive weight gain.  We have a LOT of great races to come including the PRA Christmas Dash.  I hope to see a large crowd at the Pensacola Beach Half Marathon, since I will be out there running with each and every one of you!!   


Don t forget to take a look at the Pensacola Runners' Association Website for your one-stop shopping for all the local races in town and featured running clubs, including our own Vice-President's favorite running club at World of Beer.  In the summer months you may have had the luxury of seeing Eric run with his shirt off.  But, I m pretty sure he does the WOB running club for the refreshments (beer) afterwards.


More importantly, make sure to have fun and enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones.  I have particularly been humbled this year with my new job of working closely with the homeless, so I will be making sure to give back to my community.  If you have free time, I encourage you to give back to your community as well, like donating time at Loaves and Fishes, food to Manna Food Bank, or clothes to the Waterfront Rescue Mission.  I hope this holiday season treats you well!! 

Until next time, Happy Running!!  

Corey Dell
Corey Dell From Healthy Lives



by Chris Hicks

"Never, never, never give up" is just one of Sir Winston Churchill's many quotes. There are a few different versions and even some debate as to how many nevers were actually stated. Although the content might vary the actual message is crystal clear.


As athletes we typically have goals, desires and even dreams. What is unique to an athletic journey is that it involves so much. The physical side comes to mind but is merely a piece to the puzzle. Nutrition, emotion, drive and the all important and in my opinion the MOST important, the mental aspect.

Chris Hicks Finishing His Most Recent Marathon

The brain controls it all. It has the first say and the last. It can be your best friend and worst nightmare. In the end if it is important enough to dream of a goal than it is important enough to figure out how to get there.


The goals we chase are individual. The time, distance or event need not matter to another. It's internal. Whether it's a 5k or 50k a sprint triathlon or an Ironman it really only matters to the person chasing it. Over the course of achieving a goal smaller yet significant milestones will be met. Along the way there will be set backs and inspiration. A great source for me has always been watching others. Once again the Mere Mortals participants delivered the goods.


Several of the TGC Mere Mortals achieved finishing their first triathlon. They overcame fears of an open water swim among other challenges. A few people I saw each weekend started very concerned about open water swims. But they just kept coming. Sunday after Sunday never giving up. Then they might go run or ride or both. Doing things they only thought about. The Mere Mortals program grows each year for a good reason.


At Augusta I watched friends complete their first 70.3 triathlon. One in particular crossed the finish line holding her shoes. Her feet had blistered and yet she did not give up. I mean who finishes a race carrying their shoes? I'll tell you, someone who doesn't give up.


At IMFL wind and rough surf canceled the swim portion. A deeper look provides the insight that it took almost every athlete out of their game. The day some planned out with meticulous detail over the course of six months was now changing. The start was late. The morning wind and cold were horrible. My brother heard one athlete say he was done while still on the beach. He was going to walk off and give up. I wonder if he did. People had a reason to bail out yet the absolute majority didn't. Quite simply they were not going to give up. The motto "pain is temporary but quitting is forever" held true.


Finally, one of my friends has completed over 100 marathons, several trail runs, some of 100 miles. He has significant health issues that he deals with and has dealt with for years. Some of these issues have put him in the hospital for days and even weeks. Yet he never gives up. He lends his time to people sharing his knowledge, he gets out and runs and even races as he can and it is all done with an incredible attitude and infectious smile. Giving Up? Not an option.


All of these and more I have found to be incredible sources of inspiration to no matter what keep going and don't give up. Keep that dream no matter how big or small and be relentless on attaining that goal. If it was big enough to dream it's worth chasing. If you don't do it for yourself than perhaps do it for others. You never know who's watching.

Ironman World Championship
 Race Report

By Evan Malone

(editor's note: Evan Malone, a Pensacola-area triathlete was selected to race in the Ironman World Triathlon Championship at Kailua-Kona Hawaii this October.  We asked him to write his impressions of this renowned event - his synopsis follows)
Evan Cycling On The Queen K Highway
For the purposes of a somewhat concise newsletter share of the Kona experience I will lay out a few observations of each part of my trip and race day. In summary, this is certainly an event of a lifetime and I really do consider it to be a "one and done" opportunity for me.  I "qualified" by way of the Legacy Lottery Program wherein athletes finish 12 or more full-IM events and are also currently competing in the sport.  This means I was not fast, rather persistent.  From the beginning I knew I was going to be out-classed as far as athletic ability so I made sure to remind myself (many times) to check my ego and remember that this was all about finishing successfully and to do so with pride (and not ending up in the medical tent).  I was never treated like I did not be log (quite the opposite, in fact) but there were times when some self-doubt crept in, which I only attributed to the "normal" pre-race jitters.


- after 2-3 days the novelty of mingling with professional endurance athletes wears off (a bit), or perhaps it is because it becomes difficult to tell the difference between some of the of the age-group athletes and the pros

- the town of Kona is overtaken by everything triathlon, some of the local souvenir shops even "convert" to triathlon-specific retailers

- shipping my bike via Tri Bike Transport (though not real convenient on the main land) paid dividends on the Island (less time at the airport)

- swimming in the Bay (on the course) every morning of the week was quite an event -- all makes and models of swimmer out there -- and the Coffees Of Hawaii coffee boat is about as unique an experience as you will find

- everyone on the Island was interested in "are you racing?" and they were all very thankful for your business and in awe of your accomplishment

- the gear check-in process on Friday was akin to what I imagine the red carpet of an awards ceremony must be like, great way to forget about the race for an hour or two and an awesome chance to grab some quality handouts from the many industry reps

- truly an International affair, I found myself trying to communicate with many athletes who did not speak English, but everyone understood the common courtesies of the sport and sportsmanship


- this event uses the industrial strength TriTatz body numbers, these things are BOLD and apply somewhat like tar

- once the athletes enter the body marking area, that is basically the last time they will see family/friends since there are many other tasks to complete but in a somewhat locked-down area (load nutrition to bike, bathroom, etc...)

- floating in the Bay just prior to the swim start was oddly peaceful, I elected to begin in the "back of the pack" for the male start wave

- I would later (jokingly) curse the Hawaiian elder who offered a blessing of the athletes by calling for the "sky to open and the winds to blow us" -- he didn't specify which direction to blow


- I am very comfortable with open water swimming, but I knew I was out of my league with many of these swimmers who likely swam collegiately or perhaps are past Olympic-trials competitors

- the first half of the swim flew by, just flowing along with the draft of the other athletes

- the second half of the swim was a bit more of a challenge with 6' - 8' swells backwashing from the pier, at times it felt like swimming in a flume (not going anywhere)

- a great distraction during the swim is all the coral reefs and fish which can be seen for a large portion of the course


- it is just as seen on the network broadcast -- fresh water hoses hanging from the tent followed by rows of gear bags hanging in numerical order

- I was proud to see that my bag was still surrounded by many other bags, meaning I hadn't swum that slow relative to the field

- one big change for me in this transition would be focusing on a good application of SPF, something I would normally let Mother Nature have her way with


- if I felt a bit out-classed in the water, I was certainly going to be one of the slower athletes on the bike course, the trick was to be ready to stay right and ignore the hundreds of cyclists who would hammer past me

- the first 20 miles of the ride are nearly non-existent in the mind due to adrenaline, excitement, "loops" in the town of Kona, and ample spectators

- when the wind came, it was like someone literally flipped a switch -- it was between two mountains and it was funneling directly as a headwind

- the hottest parts of the bike course were where there are "cut-throughs" in the lava where the road treks (basically with a tall wall of rock on each side of the road), pretty much felt like a convection oven in there

- the climb to Hawi was what I thought would be the most humbling part of the day (5-8mph, uphill, into the wind)

- the descent from Hawi (35+ mph without pedaling) would later prove to be humbling, scary, and exhilarating due to the strong gusts of cross winds battering the cyclists and challenging them to stay upright and on the road; humbling because as much as I wanted to take the "free speed" I admit to having tapped the brakepads a few times (out of fear of falling off my bike)

- in all, I estimate I went through about 30 liters of water (drinking and dumping on the body) and my 6 full bottles of electrolyte mix

- during the final 10 miles of the ride I could see the helicopters following the lead male/female pros, and during the last 5 miles of the ride I was actually riding past the male pros who were at miles 20-25 of their marathon

- this would end up being what I consider to be my most difficult bike ride (ever); mainly due to the winds which I believe to be impossible to prepare for unless of course you reside on the Island

- the heat was a challenge but nothing which made me question my nutrition plan, I feel I coped well with the conditions and listened to my body (dump water, hydrate, salt, calories)


- not nearly as many bags hanging on the rack this time through, many of the athletes had passed me on the bike

- focus of this transition was making sure my nutrition and hydration was in range, the heat would not be as much of a problem since the sun would set around mile 16 or so


- due to the tough event and a lingering achilles strain, the plan was for run-walk from beginning to end

- coming right out of T2 was a walk up the first segment of Palani Road (steep hill)

- the Ali'i Drive segment (5 miles out and 5 miles back) was perfect for me, great ratio of walk-to-run and legs coming around nicely

- the hill at mile 10 (the remainder of Palani) demanded a prolonged walk segment and a chance to reset the electrolyte replacement

- once on the Queen K, it was about 15 miles to go and it was beginning to turn to dusk

- the aide stations of this event were the most organized and cleanest I have ever seen, I was afraid to drop a cup on the ground since there were no others on the ground (basically the volunteers were continually cleaning up)

- spectators (including Mindi) were able to ride their bikes out on Ali'i Drive and the Queen K such that they were 1-2 traffic lanes adjacent to the athletes, made for great interactions and support on this otherwise desolate part of the course (even some pro athletes are out there cheering others along)

- the Energy Lab is regarded as one of the most well-known landmarks of this course, for me it featured setting sun over the Ocean (and cooler temps), was fun to reflect on what the pros must have felt like a few hours earlier in this same location

- once back on the Queen K, it was DARK; so much so that I had pulled out a headlamp I had stowed into my pocket and used it to prevent other athletes from running into me

- the final turn onto Palani Road (and downhill) is pretty much where the finish experience begins, despite there being about 1.2 miles to go
Evan Finishing The World Championship

- it is just like as seen on the network broadcast -- for about 0.5 miles it is a narrow path (chalked with names and encouraging statements) for the athlete to follow while surrounded by spectators on each side

- the final turn onto Ali'i Drive is difficult to describe other than, "this is what I have been waiting to do for YEARS"

- I made an effort to separate myself from other athletes for "MY" run down the finish chute

- the chute felt like I was floating, wouldn't do it any other way:  smile, arms in the air, glad to be done but also soaking in every second


- same as the pre-race secure area, so mostly athletes and race personnel here, won't see the spectators for a little while (chip return, medal claim, t-shirt claim, post-race photo, claim gear bag)

- I was able to chat briefly with Ken Glah (30 years straight of competing at Kona) and he basically said the conditions (wind) of the day were tougher than he could recall over the last 10 years, that made me feel some amount of "I had an extra hard day and still finished"


- if you ever get the chance to experience this (spectator, volunteer, athlete) go for the entire week (Monday to Monday) at the very least

- take something which can serve as grocery bags, Hawaii has a "no grocery bag" law

- be prepared for the first morning on the Island to be "off schedule" and when you are awake at 4:00am (9:00am CST) take advantage of that time to go load up on groceries at Safeway

- rent a car EARLY, like as soon as you know you are going on the trip

- be prepared for no air-conditioning in most of the rental properties, a great way to begin acclimation for race day

The PRA Is Looking  
 For Volunteers (AGAIN)!

The Pensacola Runners Association is a not-for-profit organization that is 100% volunteer driven. None of our members are compensated for all the hours that are put in organizing and holding our events and helping out at MANY other events across Northwest Florida throughout the year.
PRA Volunteers Manning A Water Stop
If you are interested in volunteering or in becoming a Race Director, please email Vice-President Eric Miller at  Thanks very much!!