PRA photo
Issue: #62
MAY 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.


Quick Links

Like us on Facebook

Like Us on Facebook!

Follow us on Twitter

Follow Us on Twitter


From The Top
By Eric Miller

Happy May folks!
It has been a great month and a remarkable year at the Pensacola Runners Association. 

We started with the 2016 Fiesta of Five Flags 10K/5K which had 1,550 athletes registered and 1,372 cross the finish line on April 30 th . Danny Goodman and Jennifer McGranahan were the male and female 10K champions on a somewhat hot and humid, but otherwise beautiful, morning for a race. Congratulations to Race Director Shannon Kohler and her committee for the outstanding job they did in putting this event together.

The final race of the 2015-2016 year is this Saturday's (May 21 st ) Bear Lake 4 Mile Trail Challenge/PRA Membership Run. As a thank you for all of the support you have provided us throughout the year, this race and the ensuing cookout is 100% free to all current PRA Members. Bear Lake is also the setting for our annual Membership Meeting, which will include the election of the Board of Directors and Officers for the 2016-2017 year. If you are interested in getting involved in the Northwest Florida running and walking community, come out, run a fun and beautiful trail race, eat some great food and learn more about how our organization works!

Looking back on the past year and forward into the next, the  two thoughts that come to mind are that we have accomplished a great deal and the PRA is in great hands going forward. Since the current board took over last June, we have produced 1 membership social and 6 (soon to be 7) great races, upgraded our equipment to enhance our events, upgraded our website to provide more training resources for the community, founded a weekly interval program overseen by UWF Cross Country Coach Caleb Carmichael and donated over $3,000 to the UWF Men's and Women's Cross Country Programs. 

None of this would have been possible without the dedicated runners and walkers who participated on this year's Board of Directors and I would like to express my gratitude to each one of them. The new Board of Directors, led by incoming President Jason Libbert, takes over in June and with the committed and energetic group that has stepped up to take the PRA into the future, I believe we have nothing but better things to come!

Until next time, keep training!

Eric Miller

Sherry And Jim Readdy
Named Lou Gregory Award Winners

by Charles Gheen

The Pensacola Runners Association (PRA) is an all volunteer organization dedicated to promoting and advancing running and walking in the Northwest Florida area.  For over 40 years our committed members, Board of Directors, Officers and many other selfless volunteers have contributed thousands of hours putting on quality races for our community and no one receives financial compensation for their efforts. 

During that time the PRA has also made substantial donations to worthy causes including establishing two endowed cross country scholarships at the University of West Florida. We currently sponsor a formal speed training program with professional coaching and have encouraged and helped innumerable other races in the area for many years.

The Lou Gregory Spirit Award

Each year we honor an outstanding individual with the Lou Gregory Spirit Award. It is presented to a worthy recipient who has made significant and important contributions to the running and walking community in the area. This individual has shown leadership in and great dedication to the fitness and health of our citizens. This year Sherry and Jim Readdy are the winners of this prestigious award.

Wendy Ellis, Jehan Clark, Mike McCartan (R) Congratulate Sherry Readdy

Jim and Sherry are well known to everyone who participates in road races and triathlons in the area. They are key players in these events which raise charitable funds and make significant  differences in worthy causes and initiatives. Either Sherry or Jim could have won the Lou Gregory Award based on their individual achievements which stand on their own. 

Jim Readdy And Steve Lipe

Sherry is generally known for handling registration, packet pickup and volunteers. Jim sets up race courses, maintains and manages equipment and ensures the courses are pristine after the events end. Each has also handled almost every other facet of race management. Each has previously been honored by the PRA as the Volunteer Of The Year.

There are many people, obviously, who have contributed so much hard work and time to the PRA and to the community. It is our pleasure this year to honor two of the very best, Jim and Sherry Readdy.

McGranahan And Goodman
Win The 42nd Fiesta Of Five Flags 10K 
Jennifer McGranahan  three-peated  (2014-'15-'16) as the female Fiesta Champion on a warm, humid day when 1372 competitors crossed the line in the 10K run, 5K run and 5K walk races. McGranahan, 37, "ran her age" as she finished the classic 6.2 mile course in 37:55. Danny Goodman, 40, topped the field of 862 10K finishers in 33:40 to garner the men's title. Aaron Runyon won the 5K competition, while Sophia Tucker was the women's champ at that distance. 

Over 1500 athletes were registered for the race(s).

Male Champion Danny Goodman

Female Champion Jennifer McGranahan (L)

Tina and Tony Giardina Cross The Line

Sprinting To The Finish Line At Seville Square

A Big Smile As Bentina Terry Finishes The 10K

PRA Bear Lake Trail Run
Is This Weekend!

The Pensacola Runners Association Bear Lake 4 Mile Trail Challenge/Membership Run is this weekend. The race will start Saturday morning at 7:30 am and you can register at the race site up until 7 am.  The race is a fun, scenic trail run through the beautiful Bear Lake Recreation Area in Blackwater State Forest.  The event is FREE for all current 2015-2016 PRA members! You can also join the PRA for 2016-2017 and run without charge. More details are available at  the PRA website.

Catching  Up With.......Nicki Brask

Nicki Brask has been a fixture in the fitness community for years. Born in Minnesota, she moved here from Louisville to attend the University of West Florida (UWF) almost 20 years ago. Majoring in Exercise Science and Physiology, she was not originally a runner. Always very tuned in to fitness, she ran a local 5K early on at UWF and it was a perfect fit! She tried out for the University of West Florida Cross Country team, did very well and was soon a scholarship athlete. She says she "loves running" and has been at it ever since.

The UWF Women's Cross Country Team 2001
(Nicki Lower Right)

Nicki worked for Running Wild for years and initiated many of their running programs and promotions. However, about a year ago she felt the need to be her own businessperson.  She had tried the Isagenix nutrition products, liked them and decided to make a lifestyle change and begin a full-time relationship with the company. That business is going full force and she is enjoying every minute of it.

Running For Two

While being a Wife and Mother (to three children), she also manages her business, continues to run with her friends and in races, practices yoga and has recently gained prominence as a speaker. The first invitation to speak to a group may have been a small surprise, but the word has gotten around and she has been in some demand as a motivational speaker. She says she loves to inspire people to succeed in health and wellness and she's enjoying this new aspect of her life very much.

Nicki And Her Parents At The Fiesta 10K/5K

Upcoming Races Of Note 

It's still six weeks away, but put the Ronald McDonald House Firecracker 5K on your calendar for July 2nd and circle it! This race benefits the "home away from home" for families of children who are undergoing extended hospital stays in our area. The friendly, quiet environment is a great comfort for Moms, Dads, Brothers and Sisters of kids in very serious circumstances. What better cause could you support with your race fees? You can get all the information and register Here.

Don't forget the Argo Run 5K is coming up on August 27th.
You'll want to support your hometown University and run this scenic race on the beautiful UWF campus. More details are at the  PRA website.

The nationally-known Santa Rosa Island Triathlon is open for 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 .


The Swim Shop Is Now Open 
For Your Swimming Needs

We've had a couple of swimming stores in the Pensacola area over the years, but a void was created for serious swimmers, swim teams and triathletes when the last one closed due to corporate consolidation. Now The Swim Shop is open at 6024 N. 9th Avenue just north of Pensacola State College and they have a great variety of products for your training and competitive needs.

The Swim Shop is a locally-owned specialty store offering top performance brands including Speedo, TYR, Dolfin and Aqua Sphere. They have recently added MP Michael Phelps training equipment to their inventory of products. Owner Elizabeth Doyle and her staff look forward to filling your needs and providing excellent customer service.

Gulf Coast Cycle And Tri
Relocates And Expands

Gulf Coast Cycle and Tri (GCCT) has expanded into a new, larger store at 1320 Creighton Road.  The new location features over 4000  square  feet of retail space, a professional bike fitting room, a changing room (with future shower) and a training facility.  The expansion will allow a focus on the multi-sport community while continuing to serve their cycling and MTB customers.

Owner Patrick Wilkes is a multi-sport enthusiast and says "I fell in love with the sports of triathlon and cycling years ago and enjoy talking with new customers and getting them excited about joining our growing (athletic) community."  This enthusiasm led him to open the original store and now to invest in doubling his space so that he can offer a greater selection of merchandise and other services. 

The separate bike fitting room will offer computerized fitting technology that should result in each athlete being comfortable and efficient on the bike.  The Training Facility will have classes, clinics, and equipment to prepare athletes for upcoming events.  Some of the disciplines included will be strength training, form coaching for swimming , biking and running, yoga and bike trainer classes. Nutrition and recovery clinics will also be offered. 

Resistance Training and the Endurance Athlete

by John Fitzgerald

Endurance athletes tend to stay away from strength training for various reasons.  In the past few years, more and more research has shown that an effective strength training routine can improve performance, help prevent injury and make endurance training more enjoyable.  Many endurance athletes blame performance issues due to muscle fatigue rather than cardio fatigue.  After years of running I incorporated weight training into my weekly routine and cut my time in the Double Bridge 15k by 12 minutes and most recently PR'd in my latest marathon by 18 minutes.  I am convinced these improvements were accomplished in large part to an effective and consistent weight training program.

While there are different plans available, a few principles are almost universal:
1)  Free weights are more efficient than machines because they require more muscles to be utilized during the movement and the core is almost always involved in ground-based exercises (exercises where you are standing);
2)  Compound (multi-joint) exercises are the best at building strength.  Think deadlifts, squats, lunges, pull-ups, bench press.  Additionally, compound exercises are more functional;
3)  Consistency matters.  An endurance athlete should weight train two (2) times a week;
4)  Keep it short.  An effective strength building routine should not last any longer than 45 minutes.;
5)  Work your bigger muscles first and then move to the smaller muscles;
6)  Technique is king!!  I tell all my personal training clients to do it correctly or don't do it all.  Poor form results in injury and/or diminished results.

Do not just focus on your lower body.  Our bodies work as a unit and should be trained as such.  A strong, conditioned upper body can help carry you through the hard miles when your lower body is wearing out.

Triathlon specific strength building exercises should be comprised of: deadlifts, squats, walking lunges, kettle bell swings, bench/chest press, back cable rows, pull-ups, push-presses and sit-ups (not crunches).  The goal is 2-3 sets of each exercise using a heavy enough weight that you cannot get any more than 12-15 repetitions.

An example program would be:  
Day 1) Deadlift, walking lunges 3 (carry dumbbells if necessary), cable rows, bench press;

Day 2) Squats, kettle bell swings, pull-ups, push-press, sit-ups.
Preform 3 sets of 12 reps of each movement then move to next exercise and rest about 60-90 seconds between sets;

John Fitzgerald has been an endurance enthusiast for over 30 years and is a Personal Trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise with a specialty certification in Senior Fitness.