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Issue: # 49
March 2015
In This Issue

Mission of the PRA

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  


The first day of Spring has arrived, we've transitioned to daylight savings time and we're enjoying amazingly mild days and cool nights. All of this is great for getting outside and doing some serious training. Whether you're a runner, walker, cyclist, swimmer or triathlete, it's time to get out there and get moving.

If for some reason you're not working on enhancing your fitness (and, therefore, improving your attitude), you're wasting time. The weather is not going to get any better than this, your life is not going to get any less busy and there's no time like the present. I look forward to seeing you in our races!

Keep training, 



 Register NOW For
 The Fiesta Of Five Flags 10K/5K   
Athletes Race Up College Boulevard To Start The 10K

You are going to want to be part of the action for the 41st PRA Fiesta of Five Flags 10K/5K race. Join a huge, strong field for the challenging, historic road race course that starts at Pensacola State College, bisects the city of Pensacola and finishes at Seville Square. A huge post-race BAND party and awards ceremony will follow the run. 
Remember, this is the third year of the five-year series of medals representing the flags that have flown over Pensacola. You can get ALL the details and register here: Fiesta Registration Information.
Michael Green Wins The Fiesta!
Nominations Due For  
The Lou Gregory Award 

Nominations are still being accepted for the Lou Gregory Award named after the legendary Pensacola State College track Coach. Lou represented the United States in the 1932 Olympics, finished second in the Boston Marathon, won 19 national championships and still holds numerous national records.

The Lou Gregory Award

The award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated great leadership and enthusiasm in advancing the sport of running in the Northwest Florida community. The winner must be a PRA member and should have contributed significantly to the success of the Pensacola Runners Association. Please forward your nominations to PRA President Charles Gheen at no later than April 1st.

Jackie Brown - 2013 Lou Gregory Award Winner
The PRA Bear Lake 4-Mile
Trail Challenge Is May 16th!

There are very few quality trail running events available in Northwest Florida and the PRA is pleased to once again present perhaps the best of them in the Bear Lake trail race.

Our experienced Race Directors, Angelika Cope and Diane Martinez, expect that we will have another great event with a PRA workout towel as the premium and LOTS of PRA swag given to the athletes. A great picnic lunch follows along with the PRA Annual Meeting where we will elect our new Board of Directors and Officers.

2014 Bear Lake Premium
Packet Pickup and registration are available at the Pensacola Sports Association on Friday May 15th from 3-7 PM and Saturday morning from 6-7:30 AM at Bear Lake State Park off the Munson Highway in Santa Rosa County. To register or get more information go to the PRA Website.


38th Azalea Trail Run
Is This Saturday March 28th!
One of the storied and historic races in our area is the Azalea Trail Run in Mobile. Over the years it has been on the running community's "classic", "don't miss" list. In its early  
history there were over 15,000 athletes in the field and road racing greats Bill Rodgers, Marty Liquori, Joan Benoit and Gayle Barron were among the champions. The event experienced some down years and waned in popularity, but in the last five years a 5K has been added and the race has enjoyed an appreciable resurgence. It again has the look and feel of an outstanding event.


Bill Rodgers - 5-time Azalea Trail Run Champion
The Port City Pacers have, essentially, reversed the traditional route and you now run out on Dauphin Street and then back down Government Street to the Finish Line. There is still plenty of hoopla. The Azalea Trail maids are out along the course in full hoop skirts and accessories, there are lots of sources of music and many enthusiastic parties in the neighborhoods that you run through. The finishing stretch features a gorgeous canopy of oak trees for the last few miles. More information is available at  The Port City Pacers. 

Safety First


by Corey Dell

PRA Board of Directors 


With the longer, warmer days ahead of us, most of us will have more time to devote to physical fitness.  Whether your exercise of choice is running, swimming, or biking (maybe all three), here are  a few safety tips as we all welcome spring!   


Do not run alone.  If you can avoid running alone, especially late in the evening, please do so. In our area there are lots of running clubs and opportunities to run with other people, make sure to check out the PRA Website for more information.  If you have no choice but to run alone, make sure you carry a cell phone or let someone know you ll be running and about the time you should be home.   


Corey Dell
Corey Dell


Do not run with earphones.  I'm guilty of wearing headphones while working out; however, the downfall to running with head gear on is that you cannot listen to your surroundings.  Being aware of your environment can ultimately help you avoid serious injury.   


Make sure you're hydrated.  As it starts to get warmer, your body will start losing sweat at a faster rate.  On a hot day, you may sweat out three to four pints of fluid per hour.  If you're thirsty, that is one of the first signs that you're dehydrated, so make sure to drink up!  Hopefully these tips serve you well!


 Also, I would like to highlight The Lakeview Center's Run for Their Lives 5K on April 25th, 2015 at 8:00am. The race is an organized fundraiser to support critical services for victims of rape or other violent crimes to help provide prevention, hope, health and healing.  It's a small race, with a BIG cause, as it recognizes Crime Victim's Rights Week and Sexual Violence Awareness Month. 

Until next time, Happy Running!!


  Get A Plan

by Nancy Grogan

Mere Mortals gave me my first taste of the joy of a triathlon. Seeing Improvement in how I feel and look makes me want more. I have watched the TriGulfCoast seasoned athletes and I realize how committed they are in their training and goals. Many come from competitive backgrounds, but some have not. Realizing my swim, bike and run were non-existent before Mere Mortals, I needed a system to get me to the next level.
Triathlete Nancy Grogan

Right now the weather is perfect for running.  I have received many tips and also got my Ah Ha moment from an article by Mike Ricci:

"An important factor for having a strong run is developing all your aerobic energy systems. It's important to change speeds often in all three sports. In running it's common to get into the plodding mode, running the same pace over all distances and never seeming to get faster. If this sounds familiar, you aren't alone."

At that moment I could see myself plodding along in all three sports. Just in case I am not alone, here are some tips that will help with your swim, bike and run:
  • Work on the long run. If your goal is 6 miles, then you need to be able to run for a total distance of 9 miles in training (1.5 times your target distance)
  • Change up your pace. Do little sprint sections every 5-10 minutes. Work on improving your speed.
  • Find a hill and do hill repeats. Local bridges work great. Time yourself running up the hill and when you can maintain a consistent pace, start increasing your speed. Incorporate a hill into your long run.
  • As you get closer to your event, work on your race pace.

Most important, take time to rest and recover. Nothing is more satisfying than being prepared on race day. Make this work for you. Get a plan.

The Pensacola Marathon Part Deux

by Steve Lipe 
PRA Board of Directors

After finishing the 2013 Pensacola Half Marathon and stating I can cross that off my bucket list and not do another one, I was resolved to doing just that...until registration opened up for the 2014 event. I don't know what compels me to do certain things, but with certain challenges, I have to see them to the end. This was a series of three marathons, with commemorative posters for all three. I had to do them all to get all three posters...right?

Training started extra early as I remembered what I went through the previous year and I was going to be prepared in all aspects, from socks and shoes, to hydration and nutrition. As always with me in any event it's all about the socks and shoes. I'm a sock slut and to date, I have yet to find the "perfect" sock that will go the distance. Two dresser drawers full will attest to that. The second is the shoes. I had literally 'blown out' the bottom of my previous pair and I not only needed a new pair, but I needed the right pair. Fortunately I was going to Ohio for a family visit and I went to my favorite show store in Columbus. I not only found the perfect shoe, I also found a pair of socks that, at the time, was convinced these were The One.

Four months prior to the race I started my diligent regimen of training. I was committed to doing it right all the way through. My weight was down, my legs were strong, and everything was feeling right. While training I was also competing in other races, mostly 5k's, but kept up the training schedule.  

Steve Lipe 


From the previous half, I knew that, nutritionally, I had been lacking. I experimented with bars, gels, goos, anything that I thought would give me that extra shot of energy when I was lagging. I also remembered that most of the nutrition stations were more in the mid-point of the race so I stocked accordingly.

Fast forward to race day. I was as ready as I felt I could have been, and already knowing the course, I could project how I was going to tackle particular obstacles. As is my usual routine I had a cup of coffee and an energy bar on the way to the race. I arrived about 90 minutes prior to the event in the dark. Regardless of how many events I have done there is always nervous energy right up to taking that first step across the start line. I pace and fidget and rarely have much conversation. The sun was coming up, I attended the blessing for the racers and got in line for the start. My goal, as before, was to finish in under a certain time. I was just trying to better my previous year's time. I knew there were other racewalkers, but I blocked that out and focused only on me.

I started in the middle of the pack and it still took about four minutes before I crossed the start line. Everything stayed pretty well tight for the first few turns. By the time I reached the bayfront, people were settling into their own pace. One of the best things about this race are the crowds of people who are out supporting not only their family and friends, but everyone in the race, and they are all throughout the entire race.  

The weather was ideal for this start and after going under the Grafitti Bridge, you hit the first 'hill'. I had changed my posture and stride from before and before I knew it I was making a right turn onto Cervantes. I knew there was a water station at the bottom of this hill so I popped a quick energy tab and washed it down with a couple shots of water.  

When I started the turn onto Scenic Highway I still felt strong. Legs were still responding well, arms were swinging properly, and breathing was steady. I listen to music when I walk and I focus on this rather than external noises or other distractions. I have it programmed for particular beats per minute, and try to maintain that rhythm. Before I knew it I was seeing the next water station. I knew it was the last one on Scenic before turning onto Summit Boulevard so again I popped a couple of gel tabs and grabbed two cups of water. After turning onto Summit I knew it was a good flat area. I knew what was ahead and that I was approaching the half way point. I don't ever know what my time is and I don't want to know. It's just another issue I don't need to deal with.

Up ahead I could see the PRA water station. The banners were flying and Jim Readdy was in the street with the microphone, encouraging all the participants. My wife Heidi was volunteering that morning and although you want to slow down to acknowledge everyone, you just push on. I grabbed a cup of water from her and a handful of peanut butter filled pretzels and continued on. I made the turn onto 12th Avenue and knew what was ahead..."The Hill".  

The prior year it was my "bane" and I wasn't going to let it psych me out. I hit it hard and fast, standing erect and pushing my feet as fast as I could all the way to the top. It still takes your breath away, but I was able to keep going at a decent pace. Walking under the arches of oaks on 12th is always nice and I felt that I was doing well and not even thinking about the last obstacle. I knew there was another water station just ahead so a couple more tabs and after turning onto Texar Drive, I washed them down with more water. I remember crossing 9th Avenue and then Davis Highway, but after that I lost concentration.  

I couldn't focus on what was ahead. I was feeling sweaty, my arms were down to my sides and I started to feel a cramp in my right thigh. I was hearing horns honking and whistles blowing and I felt like a boy in a bubble. Everything was moving in slow motion. As I approached the bottom of the Texar bridge I heard drums beating and people yelling. There was a school band and they were cheering people as they passed. Then it hit me, my music had stopped. By the time I had it going again I was on the downside of the bridge and turning onto Palafox Street.

From here I knew it was, for the most part, all downhill. I hit two more water stations, crossed Cervantes Street, and continued down Palafox. As I started down I felt a burning on the front of my right foot. It was like I had felt before when I realized the socks were no longer providing the needed comfort. I quickly dismissed this and after making my final left turn, my full concentration was on the finish.   



All I wanted to do was walk as fast as I could. Sometimes the mind wants to, but the body doesn't always respond in kind. When I hit the chute I didn't look at the clock and just crossed the finish. I received my finishers medal and a bottle of water. I walked around for about thirty minutes, re-hydrating and eating whatever I could and was finally able to catch my breath.

I was starting to leave when one of the younger walkers asked me how I had done. I told him I had no idea and that I would check later. He said I should go to the awards area to see if I had won anything. When I asked, I was told I had finished first in my age group. I had not even thought of this happening so it was a nice surprise. Then they advised me that they had forgot to make an award for this particular age group. They said they would have one made and it would be a couple of weeks. It was a nice feeling to have won, but bittersweet that I could not have it at this particular time.

Eventually I did pick up the award and I did check my time. I had walked six minutes faster than the previous year. Even though I had said I would finish the series the following year, I wasn't going to say for sure. A lot can happen in a year and I had no idea what was to come...

Don't Forget The Michele Hill Raider Run 5K
We are pleased to recommend the 9th annual Michele Hill Raider Run in Navarre on April 4th at 7:30 am. Every year this race provides LOTS of scholarships to area high school students. The race course is fun and there are great awards and an awesome post-race party. More details are available here: Michele Hill Raider Run.

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 Waterstop Volunteers
If you are interested in volunteering or in becoming a Race Director, please email PRA Vice-President Eric Miller at  Thanks very much!!