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Issue: #57
November 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 Eric Miller   

Happy November, Folks!

The fall presented a much needed respite in the Pensacola Runners Association race schedule. This provided us with the opportunity to focus on some other activities to both engage our membership and support the Pensacola Running Community!

First, I want to congratulate our partners at the Pensacola Sports Association  for the truly outstanding job they did in putting on the 2015 Pensacola Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K . We cannot control the elements, however, we can control how we respond to adversity. The fact that roughly 2,000 participants, volunteers and supporters showed up with smiles on their faces during that morning's monsoon is a testament to the resiliency of runners in Pensacola. I also want to thank the folks over at the PSA for allowing us to set up and show off our new tent at the After Party and provide a few extra goodies to our valued members!

The PRA Weekly Interval Program continues to grow. During the first 5 weeks since its launch, anywhere from 20-30 PRA members from across all age and fitness spectrums have shown up each Monday to run 10x200, 3x1600, 8x600 and 2 sets of 10x400. These drills have been overseen by the watchful eye of University of West Florida Cross Country Coach Caleb Carmichael (and occasionally by the friendly heckling of your PRA President). As a sometimes participant and occasional observer of these workouts, the progress seen by our regulars is not difficult to notice. If you haven't yet, come out some Monday, join the fun and take your training to the next level!

Next up on our schedule is the 2015 Christmas Dash 1 Mile on December 12, 2015. While all of our races are open and friendly to the whole family, this is truly an event where we encourage people to bring out the kids and introduce them to the sport we love so much. It's impossible to know what will start a youngster running. However, few things are more likely to work than the chance to run a mile in front of 15,000 cheering spectators to kick off the Cox Pensacola Christmas Parade!
Until next time, keep training (especially now that we have some nice weather),

Eric Miller      

***The PRA will be providing pacers for the 2015 Volition Half Marathon on December 5 th in Downtown Pensacola. We are still trying to fill the slots for 1:30, 2:30 and 2:45. If you or someone you know are interested, please contact the PRA at

Catching Up With 
PRA Treasurer Diane Martinez

Diane Martinez is one of the busiest people we know. She's been on the PRA Board of Directors for five years. In addition to serving as PRA Treasurer, she's been the co-Race Director of the Fiesta of Five Flags 10K/5K and the Bear Lake Trail Run (for several years) as well as being a key volunteer at all the other PRA races. Further, she's a long-term member of Pensacola Young Professionals, serves on the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon Board of Directors as Secretary and Transition Director, is a key staff member of Evenings In Olde Seville Square, volunteers for the Fiesta of Five Flags, is in a Fiesta krewe and was involved with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program for several years.

Diane is a graduate of the University of West Florida (with degrees in Elementary Education and Accounting) and works as a Senior Auditor for the Saltmarsh, Cleaveland and Gund accounting firm. Despite her busy schedule she manages to keep up her training for running and triathlon. After running the recent Pensacola Half-marathon in a driving rain storm, she has her sights set on her next event, the New Orleans Rock N Roll Marathon. It will be her first 26.2 mile race and she's training diligently for it.

Diane has been running since the late 90s and says her favorite races are the Fiesta of Five Flags 10K and the Round The Bay Relay.  She also has run numerous triathlons over the years and is a USA Triathlon Certified Race Director.  She notes that she got extra inspiration for her athletic endeavors recently by seeing the military personnel running the marathon carrying full rucksacks and Cindi Bonner and her group running the Half-marathon pushing IV poles to publicize childhood cancer. 

We're looking forward to seeing Diane cross that finish line in New Orleans and we're sure that soon after that she'll be off running down the road to yet another activity.  

Great PRA Races
Are Coming Your Way! 

The PRA Christmas Dash
You can race one mile through the streets of downtown Pensacola with hundreds of your friends and co-runners on December 12th at 5 PM. The course is the annual Christmas Parade route where you will run through the streets to the cheers of thousands of spectators. You'll get a "cool" PRA scarf along with a unique experience. For more information go here:   PRA CHRISTMAS DASH.


Pensacola Beach Run

Santa Rosa Island's PREMIER road race returns on January 16th at 7:30 AM along with great 10K and 5K races with awesome scenery. Yes, it's the famous Pensacola Beach Run where you will receive LOTS of swag, have lots of fun and enjoy a great post-race celebration. For all the details go here:




Walk, Don't Run

by Steve Lipe
PRA Board of Directors

[Editor's Note: recently a controversy has surfaced regarding what formally constitutes "race walking". We have asked noted race walker Steve Lipe to explain the rules.]
To paraphrase from an old adage, "Hell hath no fury as a race walker's scorn."  The term "race walk" (and race walker) was first coined in 1954. It is defined as "the  competitive sport of racing at a fast WALK while maintaining continuous foot contact with the ground  and keeping the supporting leg straight." This is well defined and absolute. Any deviation can  be grounds for disqualification. 

My question, then, is why do people still continue to do whatever  they can to disobey the rules? What satisfaction can anyone get by taking a prize away from someone
who trained and truly earned the recognition? Walkers are just as diligent as anyone when it  comes to training. Runners  know what it is like to train hard in order to compete at the highest level they possibly can.  Walkers are no different. Training is just as hard and rigorous. 
In our area we have a relatively small cadre of competitive walkers. We may not all be  perfect in our methods but we know what is right and what is wrong.  When a walker sees someone doing something other than what is proper it's sometimes difficult  for them to say something unless it is flagrant and also witnessed by others. 

Many people are not  always aware of the rules and after they are advised, they usually conform. Others, I have  seen and overheard talking, don't care about what is right or wrong, and they deliberately  do what they can to get ahead and stay ahead. (Prior to one local long distance event, I heard one person say that they were registered as a walker, but they were going to run most of the event and then walk to the finish. He said, "I never get caught, it's easy to do). Only when they are close to the finish do  they revert back to walking and that is how they finish. Most times, people are none the  wiser. In many instances, these people won't stay for the awards as they don't want to  be called out. Without going into any details, or naming events, I have witnessed on  many occasions,(two different times at same race), this type of behavior. You can always voice an objection but without substantial backup, it is a moot point.
Is there a definitive answer to this problem? With everyone's help this problem can be minimized  and, hopefully, eliminated. We need to elicit the help of both runners and walkers. There are some  methods we could implement that would certainly put us on the right path. 

One very obvious  way is to have a very distinctive color bib just for walkers. This is something that all race directors
should make as a priority.  Another is to have a bib on both
the front and back of the walker. That way if they go by in an improper manner, it is easy to see which  category they are in. There could be random people throughout the race course observing, and  even possibly taking video, especially with flagrant  violaters. 

Walkers, police your own!!  If you see an obvious infraction, say something to the person and  politely advise them that there could be repercussions or possible disqualification if they c ontinue.  I am sure there are other ways to enforce this, but, unfortunately, if someone is going to  cheat, they will find a way to do it as it will be deliberate and planned. 
I truly enjoy what I do when I am walking and competing against others. It is fun,  exhausting, sometimes frustrating, but, overall, very satisfying when you finish, regardless  of what your time was or how far you went. It's nice to be rewarded for your efforts, but  there is so much self satisfaction that, when you finish what you started, you know that it  was all worth the effort. 

I would really appreciate any feedback, suggestions, etc., from everyone who reads this  article. The more aware we all are of this problem, the sooner it can hopefully be rectified.
"Don't Look Back...You Have Already Been There"

The Race Calendar Has 
Classic Races Coming Up Soon

On  November 21st you can join all the fun at the Wild Turkey Trot 5K at Seville Quarter. More information is available at Wild Turkey Trot 5K 

Saturday November 21st you can race at Pensacola Beach at the In Hot Pursuit 5K held by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office. Get all the details at In Hot Pursuit 5K 

On December 5th you can join in the Volition America Half-marathon/5K which is a great charity race benefiting the Folds Of Honor. Folds Of Honor provides scholarship funds for deceased service members. For information and to register click here  Volition America Half-marathon And 5K

Defining An Athlete
by Teresa J. Hess LMHC
"Athlete" is defined as a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.   Knowing the definition is one thing but knowing it applies to you is totally different.   

I struggled for some time on whether or not I was an athlete. As a kid, athletes were those who played basketball, football, baseball  or who were in the Olympics.  Athlete became a title I didn't feel applied to me.  But why not? I danced. I rode my bike. I was found every warm day in the pool or some body of water. I fished with my dad. I could do a cartwheel. I participated in a plethora of real and imaginary sports during physical education classes. But I wasn't viewed as an athlete, not by myself or by others.  
Now here we are and the struggle to define myself continues.  But this time something is different... ME.  

I run, I bike, I swim.  I can go for 3 miles or 144 miles. I have seen finish line after finish line. I have fought back from injury. I have yelled, screamed and growled like a monster at 4 am. So am I an athlete?  
Others have started to call me an athlete - my friends, my family, my coach and my physician. But I have never been one for defining myself by the words of others. While it is nice to know the outside world views me as an athlete, they don't get to define me to me. So am I an athlete? 
Well, yes Virginia, I am an athlete!

It took me a long time to accept this title, but it is a part of me. What might be interesting though is it is not a part of me because I have finished an Ironman or because I ran a marathon or because I swam a 25K. These are not the reasons I see myself as an athlete, while they are athletic feats. Instead I see myself as an athlete because I am out there running or biking or swimming or doing Lord only knows what and no matter training or race day, no matter poor weather or good weather, no matter pain or ease, I love it at the core of who I am.  Does it suck sometimes? YES, of course it does. But if I step back even in the moment of suck I am learning to be a better me. 
For me is was never about calling myself an athlete once I became "proficient" at a sport, it was about recognizing myself as an athlete because I loved the sport (or sports).  As I look back on the athletes who stick in my mind, I honestly can't tell you their number of games won or how many gold medals hang around their neck - I can tell you what they looked like high-fiveing a teammate or signing a baseball for a fan, I can tell you they take time to coach pee wee football or join a pick up game, I can tell you they come off the track with a smile more precious than any medal, and I can tell you that when they have a bad day they press on. 

now accept my athlete title, it isn't for others to give or take from me, it is my title and I earned it my way and in my time.  The notches on my belt may look like they note only races, but to me they are stories of the journey to who I am. 
I choose to define an athlete as a person who commits to being better through sport of physical activity, who finds joy in this activity even when it gets hard, who gives back to others in their sport and life by lifting them up in support. An athlete is one who knows the world is bigger than them in this moment but in the same exhausted exhale knows this moment is all there is. That to me is an athlete.