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Issue: #61
April 2016
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 April, folks!
This month features two of the most important items on the Pensacola Runners Association calendar: the Fiesta of Five Flags 10K/5K and the presentation of the 2016 Lou Gregory Award. 

Coming up on its 42 nd running on April 30 th , the Fiesta of Five Flags 10K/5K is an institution in the Northwest Florida Running Community. This race has twice played host to the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) Florida State Championships and once to the RRCA Southeast Region Championships. 

Past winners have included 1996 USA Marathon Olympian Keith Brantley (1989) and 1972 USA 10,000 Meter Olympian and author of numerous books on running Jeff Galloway (1976). While no former Olympians are currently scheduled to be on the start line this year, the race still features a beautiful, blazing fast, point-to-point course running from Pensacola State College, down the famous 12 th Avenue "tree tunnel" and finishing in the heart of Downtown Pensacola at Seville Square. Following the race there will be an unrivaled after party in Seville Square featuring a performance by the Modern Eldorados. Sign up today and be a part of Pensacola running history!
Another feature of the Fiesta of Five Flags 10K/5K after party is
the presentation of the PRA's highest honor: the Lou Gregory Award. The Lou Gregory Award is presented to a PRA Member (or members) who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and enthusiasm in furthering the PRA's mission: to promote, support and develop running and racing along the Northern Gulf Coast of Florida. Runners in Pensacola and Northwest Florida are fortunate to have an enormous slate of events and programs at which to further their training and racing. This wide variety of resources is not possible without an active and engaged running community, and the list of past Lou Gregory Award winners is filled with individuals who went above and beyond in devoting their time and energy into improving the experience of being a runner along Florida's Northern Gulf Coast. 

Nominations for the 2016 Award will be accepted until Thursday, April 14 th , so if you know of an outstanding candidate who has these attributes, please send his or her name and some brief background information to
Until next time, keep training!

Eric Miller

Classic Fiesta Of Five Flags 10K/5K
Race Coming Soon - Don't Miss It!

April 30th is the day, the renowned Fiesta of Five Flags 10K/5K is the race and YOU and over 1000 runners and walkers will be in the field.  Starting at Pensacola State College you will run down 12th Avenue all the way to Cervantes Street, then run up to Palafox Street and Lee Circle. From there you run down the hill all the way to Government Street and then on to historic Seville Square for the 10K finish. Your 10K race medal awaits you there.

5K runners and walkers will start near 12th Avenue and Scott Streets and finish the race in Seville Square as well. You'll be sprinting from Lee Circle down Palafox Street all the way to Government Street towards the race's finish and a great post-race party.

 Get all the details and register by clicking  HERE.

Last  Second  Racing  Opportunities -  ACT  NOW!
Tomorrow (April 2nd) is the 10th Annual Michele Hill Raider Run in Navarre. Online registration is closed, but you can still register tomorrow morning from 6-7 AM for either the 10K or 5K competitions at the  Navarre Youth Sports Association. T he race start time is 7:30 AM.
Proceeds from the Michele Hill Raider Run will be used to fund $1000 scholarships which are awarded on race day. The Scholarships are for High School Seniors from Santa Rosa, Escambia, Okaloosa, Walton, and Bay Counties. Escambia and Baldwin County Alabama Seniors are also eligible. Last year $30,000 in scholarships was awarded to High School seniors. Jones and Company will provide outstanding entertainment at the post-race celebration. Post- race refreshments will be provided by Creative Catering

Sunday (April 3rd) SOML Racing will present its 1st Annual Off-Road Duathlon. You'll enjoy the challenges of competing in a great natural setting in the Bear Lake recreation area for a run-bike-run race on trails through the woods. 

SOML (So Others May Live) is a not-for-profit, 501C(3), organization that brought the well-received Xterra Blackwater race to Northwest Florida last August. They promise this event will live up to their high standards and all your expectations. More details are available HERE.

Great Races Are Just Down The Road!!
April 16th - Justice Jog 5K/1-Mile Fun Run - run for a great cause as Aylstock, Witkn, Kreis and Overholtz award scholarships to outstanding senior students. Please go  HERE for race information

April 23rd - Tri The Island Triathlon - this is the inaugural race and is a sprint triathlon designed for first-timers as well as experienced triathletes. It's a great introduction to multi-sport for those who want a new challenge and a great way to kick off the triathlon season for "alumni".  You can find all of the 

Pensacola Runners Association (PRA) Bear Lake 4 Mile Trail Challenge/Membership Run - this year the Bear Lake Trail Challenge will be on May 21st at 7:30 am.  This race  is a fun, challenging trail run through the beautiful Bear Lake Recreation Area in Blackwater State Forest. As a way to say thanks for joining us this year, this event is FREE to all current 2015-2016 PRA Members!

Run With It Offers 10%
PRA Discount To Our Members

Run With It has been a successful and popular full-service running store in Fort Walton Beach for several years now. Owners Donna and Jeff  Harris are prominent, well-respected members of the Northwest Florida athletic community and accomplished runners themselves. 

As a service to the Pensacola Runners Association (PRA), Run With It offers a 10% discount on their first-line merchandise (shoes, apparel , nutrition, most accessories) to all current PRA members in good standing. The store is conveniently located on Miracle Strip Parkway (Highway 98) in downtown Fort Walton Beach. Call them (850-243-1007) with your shoe model and size, order the shoes with the PRA discount and they'll ship them to you. Heading to Destin or Seaside? Stop in and see the amazing array of merchandise and products at the large store. They offer complimentary gait analysis and will fit your shoes perfectly.

More information is available at their WEBSITE. Many thanks to Run With It for rewarding our loyal PRA members!

Five Reasons To Start Walking

by Steve Lipe
PRA Board of Directors Secretary/
Walker Advocate

In Japan, the word, Shinrin-yoku, translates to "forest bathing". It is the act of walking in nature  in order to manage stress and relax. Smart people. Aristotle used to teach his classes outdoors  while he walked. Walking is perhaps one of the most underrated exercise options, and it costs  nothing. It boosts energy, improves cardiovascular health and demonstrably improves your attitude.

According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one killer in America. Walking as little as  30 minutes a day can reduce your risk by as much as 40 percent. Walking should be practiced with  mindful eating and meditation, or yoga, or anything that you can do to clear your mind and focus.

Enough talking, let's get to walking:

1. Walking is an extremely versatile sport. Whether you are staying local or traveling, exploring your  neighborhood on foot is the easiest way to get moving. It clears your head, gets you outside, maintains  your fitness, and because it is low impact, it isn't as likely to cause injury as other sports;

2. You will get both an endorphin and a serotonin boost. Regularly schedule a walking meeting with  your boss or a client or just call a friend. It gets you out of the office or the house and it commits  you to include exercise into your daily schedule. The noted release of endorphin and serotonin brings on  a "happy feeling" state of mind that can counteract those afternoon blahs;

3. Listen to a podcast. Maybe you like music, maybe talk radio (yuck), maybe a book on tape.  If you are walking solo, this makes the time go by quickly, but be sure to stay aware of your
surroundings and never have anything turned up so loud you can't hear the noises around you;

4. You will meet people. If you have wanted to participate in any length of race, find a buddy  and train together. It is a good place to start. If that seems too intense, join a walking group or 
attend a local walking meetup. You never know what new you will discover or who you will meet.  I personally like this idea. Training with another person or a group of people can be its own best  reward. You are not only receiving encouragement from others, you are encouraging other people  to try to do their best. It's a positive win for everyone;
5. Bottom line, walking is good for you. Don't buy into the myth that just because you walk you are  not sweating enough, or it's not that strenuous in order to offer you real benefits. Regular, brisk  walking is associated with lower blood pressure, improved mood, and better cholesterol levels.  Plus, if you are walking to compete, the more you do, the more you will notice your improvement. You are able to go faster and farther than most ever thought they were capable of achieving.

So let's get off your rear and start walking...for the health of it.

      "Don't look behind you, you've already been there"

The Value of Tempo Rides

 by Coach Mark Sortino

Over the years I've come to value the zone in training often called "tempo" for the bike. For Team MPI, we call this Zone 3 and define it as 76%-90% of Lactate Threshold. If an athlete doesn't have power or heart rate information, then this zone would be 5-6 on a scale of 1-10 for Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). I have, oddly enough, both heard and read some coaches state that training in this zone is training in "no man's land" - that is, it's a waste of time. That couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, training in Zone 3, or The Tempo Zone can be hugely beneficial to athletes in many ways as it:
  • Increases muscle glycogen storage *
  • Helps adapt Type IIb to Type IIa (fast twitch) muscle fibers to take on roles of slow twitch muscles
  • Increases muscle mitochondria density
  • Increases lactate threshold
  • Increases blood plasma volume
  • Increases stroke volume/maximal cardiac output of your heart
  • Increases VO2 max
  • Hypertrophy of slow twitch muscle fibers
* achieved better in zone 3 than any other training zone
Training in this zone can be very effective from 20 to 50 minutes and longer. We often break up time in the zone to ensure that the athlete stays focused and stays in the zone the entire required duration. For example, 2 x 20 min with 5 min EASY in between or 3 x 15 min with 5 min in between. This zone is challenging in that it's not too difficult, but requires concentration for continuous effort or else the athlete can easily slip into the easier zones of 1 and 2.

In the traditional periodization flow of training, training in this zone works well in the middle or tail end of the Prep or Base phase. However, I often write these sessions for Elite athletes throughout the year as they reset their training after a big race and enter another build phase. We then can move on to Threshold, VO2 Max and Anaerobic Capacity zones or any combination thereof.

So spend time in the "Tempo" zone - you will absolutely benefit from doing so!

Ride More Bicycles Joins
The Pensacola Cycling Community 

Ride More Bicycles actually opened last summer in an impressive building at Tarragona and Gregory Streets in downtown Pensacola. The great location has striking lines outside and the interior may be even better - it's really an attractive store. 

The two owners, Travis Coleman and Mike Esmonde, are avid cyclists themselves and true "gear heads". They love working on bikes and helping others to get the most out of their machines. The store offers triathlon favorite Cervelo as well as Specialized and Kona bicycle brands along with full maintenance services. They also have group rides and bicycle fitting available including the nationally-known Retul fitting system.  Drop by, check out the store and meet the guys.

Ironman New Zealand

By Amy Simonetta

Ironman New Zealand is definitely a destination race!  A crystal clear lake, beautiful scenery on the bike and a 3-loop run around the lake and local neighborhoods make Ironman New Zealand one of the best Ironman races I have ever competed in.
My adventure started in customs when I arrived in Auckland.  I had my very large bike case packed with a plethora of energy bars, gels, and other snacks for the week and the race.  The customs officer asked what I had in my case besides my bike and I knew I had to say all of the different types of food.  He asked if I was here for the Ironman and also made sure that none of my food products had honey in them. New Zealand is very protective of their native pollinators.

Following that, a 4-hour drive from Auckland south to Taupo through beautiful, rolling countryside full of sheep and dairy cows was breathtaking.  Taupo itself is a beautiful destination with the crystal clear and refreshing lake and rivers. There were waterfalls and thermal baths nearby. The native people of New Zealand along with the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board and  the D epartment of Conservation require that all swimming equipment be dipped into a type of disinfectant to eliminate foreign flora and fauna from entering Lake Taupo. This process is called CHECK CLEAN DRY and it must be completed before race check-in.

The energy and excitement in Taupo is terrific the entire race week as there is an Ironkid's triathlon the week before Ironman and the day before is the Ironkid's run.  The number of youth that complete in triathlons in New Zealand is staggering compared to the US.  Their youth races have between 1800-2000 children participating!  I noted that all locals, young and old, don helmets when biking on the roads although shoes seem to be optional. 

Dawn Breaking At Lake Taupo Before IMNZ

On race morning it was a chilly 55 degrees and the water temperature was about 65 degrees.  It was a mass start in the lake, but still shallow enough to stand.  A few minutes before the race I was in the water and looked at the amount of spectators and it was amazing.  They gave us a one-minute warning before the loud cannon went off and I told myself to wait two minutes before taking off. In reality, I probably only lasted a minute. It was not a terrible swimming experience, but I always felt the other athletes around me. T1 was over 400 meters long and we even had to climb up a set of stairs. The volunteers in T1 were amazing as they were throughout the entire race.

The bike was mostly on chip and seal roads through beautiful countryside.  At one point I was counting sheep and stopped at 750.  The sun came out at some point during the bike and it started to heat up a bit.  I was having a rough day and at mile 80 on the bike I told myself you are in New Zealand racing an Ironman so just enjoy the day and finish.

Amy Simonetta (in yellow) On The Run

With the run being 3 loops it allowed the whole course to be lined with tents and spectators around the lake while the homeowners were out in their front yards having parties of their own.  It was, overall, a very memorable day and experience.  It is always a pleasure to hear Mike Reilly say "you are an Ironman" once again.  Ironman New Zealand was a wonderful experience for me and I cannot imagine anyone having a bad time in such an idyllic place. If you are a triathlete looking for something different and adventurous, maybe a little off the beaten path, then this race is for you. 

Registration For 
The   Santa Rosa Island Triathlon 
Opens On April 2nd 

The nationally-known Santa Rosa Island Triathlon will soon open registration. The Board of Directors has decided to maintain entry fees at the 2015 rates for this year's race. The race sells out every year and you'll want to ensure that you secure your slot for the October 1st event. All the details are available at the RACE WEBSITE .