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Issue: #54
August 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 August folks. Summer is winding down (thankfully) and the Pensacola Runners Association's (PRA) first race of the 2015-2016 year, the August 29th Argonaut 5K on the University of West Florida (UWF) campus, is only a few days away!

In Pensacola and across the nation it is an exciting time to be a runner. Every weekend runners can choose between multiple races of varying distances, courses and atmospheres. In addition, with charities and other organizations beyond number starting races to support their causes, runners have the opportunity to decide not only what type of race they want to run, but what cause they want their hard earned registration dollars to support.

At the PRA, the money raised from our races is spent, as our mission states, "to promote, support and develop running and racing along the Northern Gulf Coast." We want the dollars spent by the running community to be spent on the running community, and use those funds on projects and programs aimed at enhancing the experience of being a runner in Northwest Florida.

One of the ways we do that is through the Argonaut 5K, from which every dollar raised in profit will be donated to support the University of West Florida's Men's and Women's Cross Country Teams. Typical college students attend 12-15 hours of classes a week and these increased academic rigors are coupled with the loss of the day-to-day structure and security provided by life at home.

While many in the 18-23 year old age group find this overwhelming, the 20-25 members of the UWF Men's and Women's Cross Country teams are required to balance all that along with 6:00 AM workouts, mandatory study halls, personal development activities, weights, weekend long runs and 6-8 races a year generally requiring multiple days of travel. Perhaps more importantly and (and in my experience almost uniquely among collegiate cross country teams), they also find the time to volunteer at innumerable Pensacola area races throughout the year, including 6 of the 7 PRA races in 2014-2015.

They do all this, absent the glamour often associated with other collegiate sports, for the same reason most of us drag ourselves out of bed at 6:00 AM before work to pound the pavement: a love for the sport of running and racing. For this and for the support they provide to the area running community, we want to do what we can to support them.

Over the years, this has included, in partnership with the Pensacola Sports Association, the Capt'n Fun Runners and the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon, roughly $50,000 in scholarships designated for walk-ons on both the Men's and Women's cross country teams. It has also resulted in numerous additional donations to help with equipment, travel and other expenses necessary for them to properly represent their university and the area running community at races across the country.

In short, if you are looking for an addition to your summer racing schedule, consider the Argonaut 5K. It's a great, challenging course through the beautiful UWF campus, will be a great after party, as would be expected of a PRA race and, as described above, supports a great cause!

We have a great year planned at the PRA and we hope you all will be there to help kick it off.

Until next time, keep training!

Eric Miller

Argonaut 5K Set For
THIS Saturday!!

The Pensacola Runners Association and the University of West Florida Cross Country team are jointly presenting the Argonaut Welcome Back 5K race this Saturday. You can still register at Packet Pickup on Thursday (at Dick's Sporting Goods in Cordova Mall) and Friday at UWF:   
  • Thursday, August 27, 2015, 4:30 PM-7:30 PM, Dick's Sporting Goods, 5100 N. 9th Ave, Pensacola, FL 32504
  • Friday, August 28, 2015, 4:30 PM-7:30 PM, University of West Florida HLS Facility, 11000 University Pkwy, Pensacola, FL 32514
Argonaut 5K Race Shirt

This fun, challenging 5K is a great way to give back to the Northwest Florida running community.
100% of the profits will go to support the University of West Florida Argonaut Cross Country Team who give endless hours of their time volunteering at area races each year.   
Argo 5K Registration
 You can find all the race details HERE . We look forward to seeing you on the amazing UWF campus this Saturday!
Don't Forget  
The Pensacola Seafood Festival  
Don McCloskey 5K is September 26th!

Details are HERE


Runner Of The Month
Michele Williams

Michele Williams is a new PRA Board of Directors member and is also this year's Pensacola Seafood Festival Don McCloskey 5K Race Director. She is an exceptional runner and triathlete.

Michele was born in Michigan and grew up in New Mexico. She moved to the Pensacola area almost 20 years ago and works at Advaned Dental Concepts in Pace. She's a Mom who has two sons and they have competed in several races as well.

Michele says she was not athletic growing up and was usually "picked last" for sports. She actually started running only in June of 2013 as a stress reliever. One of her patients invited her to run with the Pea Ridge Running Club and she ran the Lulu's 5K her first week of running. She was astonished that people were so fast and she kept having to walk. Despite getting nauseated at the end, she finished very respectably and she had a great time.

She was soon running at least two days a week, quickly improved and ran a 5K without stopping. Running many races of varying distances followed that achievement. She seemed to get faster each race and her times lowered dramatically. The awards start piling up as she won or placed in her Age Group numerous times.

She's consistently run 5K in the 20 minute range, ran the Fiesta 10K in about 42 minutes and ran a 1:35 half-marathon. She ran her initial 26.2 mile race in January at The First Light Marathon in Mobile. Recording an outstanding time of 3:36, she qualified for the Boston Marathon and will run the 2016 edition of that classic event. She's hooked on the sport and refers to running as her "therapy".

Soon some of her fellow runners invited her to swim and bike with them and she quickly became skilled at triathlon. She now places in most of her triathlon races and did very well in her first half-ironman race in May. She is a member of the Zarzaur Law Firm Gavel Girlz Triathlon Team and enjoys training and racing with her teammates.

In addition to athletics, Michele enjoys gardening, reading, the outdoors and camping. She volunteers with the Gavel Girlz for Favor House and has been active in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Michele tries to consistently focus on the positive in life and says she has benefited greatly from the encouragement she has received in the sports community. She tries to pass that along and encourage others to believe in themselves.

You'll see Michele at the races, but not for long as she'll be out at the front of the pack very quickly.

To Rest Or Not To Rest That Is The Question

by Corey Dell
PRA Board of Directors 
There have been plenty of articles that discuss the importance of rest days, but do you really need a rest day?
It's not a simple black and white answer because everyone is different.  It ultimately depends on what your goals are. 

For those who just enjoy staying physically active and work out for a hobby, alternating low-intensity activities may benefit them.  However, those runners who incorporate high-intensity and high-volume workouts to set personal records would benefit from having a set day off to allow the body proper time to heal and recover. 

Rest also includes getting adequate sleep and proper nutrition to allow your body to function to its best capabilities.  I am more active typically in the summer.  The weather is nicer and I can enjoy the great outdoors more frequently than in the winter.  The interesting this about exercise is what works for me, may not work for you. 

I encourage each one of you to step out of your comfort zone and do something you've never done before.  I recently started doing yoga.  It's not my favorite thing to do, but after a week of tearing my body down from lifting, running, swimming, and biking, yoga incorporates great stretching that is going to ultimately benefit me.  

Until next time, Happy Running!! 

  Team MPI Coaches Corner

Heat Acclimation

by Coach Jay Weber

While the peak of summer has already hit many climates, the weather is still very hot. Athletes are traveling more and more to destination races, where the weather can be unpredictable. Heat is a variable that is difficult to predict, and, for some, even tougher to adapt to.

The popularity of the ironman distance triathlon (140.6 miles) has hit an all-time high. Many athletes will continue to push themselves until they reach the pinnacle of the sport at the world championships. For the Ironman series, this is held each year in Kona, Hawaii during the 2nd weekend in October. In many parts of the world, it is cooling off, and if you've qualified for this specific race, it can be challenging to be prepared for what the Big Island will throw at you during that extreme competition.

When it comes to heat acclimation, you will need to test your body on how well it does with increases in temperature, as well as humidity (if expected at your race venue). The first test is to check your sweat rate, and ability to cool on your own. If you are not a good sweater, you will notice your heart rate increases, and in more extreme scenarios your skin could become hot and dry.
To acclimate to heat properly can take up to 3-4 weeks.  As with any part of endurance sport, this takes time, so going out and doing your 80-mile ride in the peak of the heat as your first day can certainly lead to issues. Start with an hour on the first day, and move up from there.

You can train the body to learn to sweat more efficiently. If your weather is hot, but dry, you can increase layers. This does not mean jumping on your bike with a snowsuit, but a long-sleeved shirt can keep the skin moist and hot and simulate humidity if needed.
Once you see how your body reacts to the heat, it is time to teach it how to cool off. This involves providing proper hydration with electrolytes, since the hypothalamus will be working overtime. It also means assisting the body with the cooling off process. Pouring moderate amounts of water on your body can assist in cooling the core down and decreasing the need to sweat. You don't want to overdo it, since the excess water will likely end up in your shoes.
You will start noticing positive impacts almost immediately- whether it is lower heart rate, increased sweat rate, or just lower perceived effort.
Recovery from heat is also an important factor to remember. Your body is being stressed at a rate that it is not used to, and the need for recovery (which includes hydration to adapt to the pressures you've put on your body) is a key factor. Since you will be sweating more, you won't have as much hydration to hit the rest of your body to keep the systems firing on all cylinders. While you can certainly get through a workout without optimal hydration, you'll want to get your body dialed in as quickly as possible afterwards- especially if your coach has you doing a double session!
 editor's note - this information is shared/published by permission of TeamMPI. 
Mind, Body, & Soul
by Jason Vaughn 
Recently James Lawrence AKA "the Iron Cowboy" completed the unimaginable. He ran 50 full-distance (140.6 miles) triathlons in 50 different states in 50 consecutive days. Wow!! All of this was to raise money and awareness for childhood obesity. I, along with several of my triathlon family, was involved in this amazing endeavor.

We welcomed him to Pensacola on june 26th. He was on Day 21 and was really feeling fatigued at this point. During the 112 mile bike ride (6 loops from Portofino to Navarre Beach) the cowboy was fading. He
did nod off for a minute, but made a quick pit stop and shook off the cobwebs then continued on. The man is a machine. The longer the day went on the stronger he seemed to get. The same goes for the remaining days on his mission. Day after day, mile after mile he would keep going until he completed what he set out to accomplish. Kudos to you "Cowboy".

On the other end of the spectrum you have Ted Jackson. He is a middle-aged pudgy guy who set out to do the World Marathon Challenge. 7 marathons in 7 different continents in 7 consecutive days. All of this was to raise money and awareness for MS (multiple sclerosis). His training is practically non-existent. He eats greasy fast foods. He's not your ideal endurance athlete, but.....he has the mindset to complete this challenge. He has not set any speed records doing this. His average marathon was about 6 hours. He kept it simple: one foot at a time, one foot in front of the other, keep on moving, don't stop. He completed this amazing task by telling himself that he could. Kudos to you Mr. Jackson.

You two gentlemen have shown us that our body's limitation is only bordered by what our mind can conceive. The mind is powerful fuel for our machine body. Never, ever sell yourself short......anything is possible

The PRA Is Looking  
 For Volunteers (ALWAYS)!

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 President-elect Eric Miller at  Thanks very much!!