From The Top
By Eric Miller
Happy New Year folks!
As the fall has presented a short break in the Pensacola Runners Association Race Schedule, I would like to use this month's From the Top to highlight a truly inspirational story that occurred recently in our running community.
Even if you don't know his name, many of you have likely seen a man named J.C. in the Downtown Pensacola area. J.C. is homeless and spends his time doing odd jobs. Since the influx of downtown running groups over the last few years, J.C. has learned where each group meets throughout the week and has taken to hanging around each route to offer a friendly hello or cheer as the runners go by. Several individuals in the running community have even started calling him Coach!
He has also become a fixture at many downtown races, never
anything and always offering encouragement. Recently, local runner and PRA member Mark Rask approached J.C. and asked if he would like to participate in the Seville Quarter Wild Turkey Trot. J.C. said that while he could not run, he would love to enter the Walker category. Mark covered his entry fee and, following the race, was shocked to see J.C. walking onto the stage to collect the medal for second place in his age group!
J.C.'s smile lit up Seville Quarter and he told Mark it was one of the most positive things that had ever happened in his life. He also asked if he could volunteer at future races in the area. Mark offered to buy him a pair of running shoes, and had a sobering realization when J.C. refused because he was afraid they would get stolen due to where he sleeps.
The ability to maintain an optimistic demeanor amid the challenges that someone like J.C. faces in his life is truly incomprehensible to many of us. I am proud to see the running community reach out and do something positive for someone who needs help and I encourage everyone to look for opportunities to follow Mark's (and J. C.'s) example.
Unitil next time, keep training!
***Congratulations to Jehan Clark and the rest of his committee for the truly outstanding job they did in putting on December 5
th's Volition Half Marathon & 5K-Pensacola!
The Classic Pensacola Beach Run
Is Almost Here - Register Today
n a little over two weeks you will have the opportunity to race the Pensacola Beach Run on beautiful Santa Rosa Island. You can choose from the awesome half-marathon, 10K or 5K courses set among the natural beauty of our famous barrier island. The race will also feature impressive premiums, a great medal for the half-marathon finishers, a top-quality race shirt and an over-the-top, post-race celebration with food, music, refreshments and fun.
Each year over 1000 runners and walkers register for this scenic athletic experience. You'll want to join your friends and competitors on the island for the first great race of 2016! More information is available at
PRA PBR HM/10K/5K Run
Outstanding Races Are Coming Up
|Walk For Fun
And Health Will Follow
by Steve Lipe
PRA Board of Directors
No matter where you walk, be it outside or in, try to walk a minimum of twenty minutes
a day. If you can do more, that's great. You do and you will feel better the more you can walk
(or whatever your preference of exercise is). Your stamina will improve, it's good for your heart
and for your overall health.
After a good exercise regimen, you are going to be hungry, but
it's not an excuse to stuff yourself in order to get your strength back. Everything in moderation
and, over time, you will start to see improvements. It won't happen overnight or in a few weeks, but, if
you stick with it, the payoff is worth all of the effort.
You need to know your limitations.
I walk because it makes me feel great. I won't use the tired cliché, but if you don't sweat, if your
legs aren't sore, if you can't take another step, if you are out of breath, then you need to step it
up. Don't run yourself into the ground, know your limitations, be safe.
One of the best encouragements you can have is from other people who are also wanting to be
healthy and improve their skills. Whether it be runners or walkers, we always cheer for our
fellow competitors to do the best they can. A great way to interact with others and also get in
a great workout is to come out to the University of West Florida on Monday evenings.
and UWF Cross Country Coach, Caleb Carmichael, is giving his time to help all PRA members train and
to do the best they possibly can. When I have attended I am the only walker, so I do the same
routines as the runners, but at a much slower pace. The runners encourage each other to push
as best they can. Some of the drills are exhausting, but, over time, it will increase your speed and better
For personal reasons I have not walked or competed as much this year as I have in the past. I have
missed it, not only for the fun of the races but how much better I felt both physiologically and
psychologically. I don't want to use age as any kind of excuse for not getting out and doing what I enjoy.
Heck, some things get better with age. I want to do this as long as I can. I'm hoping to start the new year
off with the Pensacola Beach Run(PBR) and, hopefully, keep going right on through the year. When you are
around a group of people with like interests, whether it be walking, running, or just having a casual
stroll, the atmosphere is uplifting.
Walk to Win...Walk for Health...Walk for Fun...
Don't Look Back...You Have Already Been There...
Get Ready For Race Morning
- Race fueling begins at least 24 hours before the start of your event. You'll want to include a bit more protein in your meals and take smaller portions. You do NOT want to "carbo load" with large amounts of pasta. Whatever you ingest at your evening meal will be carried with you so don't stuff yourself. Drink water as you normally would throughout the day before the race;
- Eat for the last time 2-3 hours before the start of the race. Don't overeat and stay away from fatty items like donuts. Slow-burning carbohydrates in moderate amounts are a staple for many athletes. If you have GI issues, yogurt may be good pre-race nutrition. Caffeine is a known ergogenic and you can have coffee during your morning preparation;
up at least 20 minutes before the race with a jog that builds well into your aerobic zone. You can add in some dynamic (motion-oriented) stretching and drills such as high-knees, skipping or side stepping. All of these activities will help lubricate your joints and get your muscles, lungs and heart ready to work at race pace. Avoid static stretching and NEVER static stretch with cold muscles;
10-15 minutes before the race you can sip your sports drink or water and that's the time to take your sports gel(s) if you use them;
- Don't start off too fast, but do quickly work your way to race pace within the first quarter of a mile. Pacing yourself intelligently will allow you to be strong down the stretch when others are fading.
Editors note - most of these tips were paraphrased from a blog by Dave Scott, 6-time Ironman World Champion.
About TriGulfCoast (TGC)
TriGulfCoast (TGC) the triathlon club of Northwest Florida has over 500 current, active members. This makes them one of the largest and strongest clubs in the United States. They conduct the summer-long Mere Mortals training program. Mere Mortals is a comprehensive "soup to nuts" regimen for those new to the sport and experienced triathletes as well. It concludes with the famed Members Only Triathlon at the end of the summer.
TGC also holds regular training opportunities throughout the year (group swims, rides and runs), contributes manpower to various causes and continually promotes the multi-sport lifestyle. After a very successful year in 2014-2015, the club recently elected their new officers and directors:
2015-2016 Board of Directors
TGC also produces two outstanding kids' multi-sport races, the Maritime Deluna Duathlon and the Sea Turtle Triathlon. Held in March and October respectively, these races are intended to introduce kids to an energetic, varied sport that can keep them inspired and active for years to come. TGC also contributes manpower to various races and causes in the local area. More information is available at the TriGulfCoast web page.
Pensacola Sports Re-Branding
Pensacola Sports" is the new name and "brand" of the Pensacola Sports Association. Each year
renowned public relations and marketing firm ID Group conducts a Brand On Us competition for not-for-profit groups to win a complete branding makeover and marketing campaign. This year Pensacola Sports was selected to receive this valuable package and the pros at ID Group took over.
They designed a new logo, new website, a new slogan ("Be Moved"), new advertisements and will provide further consultations for the first months of the program's continuing implementation.
The Pensacola Runners Association is proud to be a partner with Pensacola Sports and we look forward to their great new look and their continued growth in the future.