Race season in full swing in southern Utah

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Sweat is dripping down your nose, your legs are begging for ease, and you are fighting for a steady rhythm of breath.

You turn the corner and finally see that finish line, which could possibly be the best thing you’ve seen in your life. You look and see the second-place runner 20 feet behind you with defeat across his face. Finally, you stretch your legs longer and farther to end the race. First the left foot, and then the right, crosses the finish line—with nothing left but victory.

Some students of Dixie State College yearn for this sensation, and they now have plenty of upcoming chances to develop or progress in running. 

Danielle Valantine, a sophomore dental hygiene major from St. George, said running helps her in several ways.

“I like it because I get addicted to running,” Valantine said. “I always thought the runner’s high was always a joke, but it’s so real. All the endorphins kick in, and I just feel happy and great. It feels really good to run and be fit.”

There are 11 opportunities starting Oct. 13 to do this. If students are beginners, they can start with any of the following warm-up races: the Mud Run, Color Me Rad St. George, the Turkey Trot and any 5K or 1 mile walk/run.

The Mud Run is an obstacle course at Staheli Farm where people can test their strength and conditioning, but it is mostly an event to get dirty and have fun.

The Color Me Rad St. George race is a 5K at the old St. George airport where color bombs start flying through the air at 10 a.m. The runners will get plastered with paint every five minutes. According to the Color Me Rad St. George website, “the runners will end up looking like a kindergarten art class gone wrong.”

The Turkey Trot is for families wanting to do something fun for the Thanksgiving season. Runners often dress up in turkey or pilgrim costumes for this race. Kids are welcome and strollers are not a problem. This race is to raise needed food for Dixie Care and Share in St. George. At the end of the race there is a raffle with prizes.

The Save a Sister 10K, 5K, and 1 Mile Walk is an event where all the proceeds go toward breast cancer research.  Breast cancer survivors will receive a special T-shirt and will be recognized during the event.

Brieana Rebman, a junior nursing major from Bountiful, said the small runs are more competitive for her because of the distance.

“In the small runs I try to be fast and it’s more competitive, but the long races are just for fun,” Rebman said. “I try and beat my times, but I like to do it to say I’ve gone that far.”

For those wanting more of a challenge, there are other options that will test your ability to fight that voice in your head that wants to quit. These options are Snow Canyon Half Marathon, Turkey Triathlon, Expedition St. George, St. George Half Marathon, Lake to Lake Relay, Spectrum 10K and SHAC Spring Triathlon.

If you want to compete in these races, you should probably start training now. 

According to halfmarathons.net, you should be running about 10-15 miles a week for 12 weeks if you are training for a half marathon. The schedule states that you would run Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. During the week you would run three to six miles a day, and on the weekends you would add two or three extra miles until you reach 13.1 miles at week 12. 

According to marathonrookie.com, you should gradually increase your mileage with your longest run being 18-20 miles for marathon training.  This would be a 16-week program of six to eight mile runs Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and the long runs would take place on Saturday. 

“The most important runs are the long runs because you need to be able to test your body to see if you can make it that far,” Valantine said. “You have to have mental toughness because some days it really sucks and your body wants to stop, but you have to push yourself through it and allow your mind to take control when your body wants to give up.” 

You should not only train physically, but mentally as well. 

“You need to convince yourself in your mind that you can do it and you can get through it,” Valantine said. “Sometimes when I’m running I tell myself: ‘I am a champion. I can do this.’ You have to tell yourself you’re capable.”

Rebman agreed that the physical training isn’t the most important, but she also said diet is a big part of it.

Marathonrookie.com also stated carbohydrates are the fuel you need for your run. During your training, 65 percent of your total calories should come from carbs, 10 percent from protein, and 20-25 percent from unsaturated fats. It is also important to keep hydrated throughout your run and the entire day.

If you are wanting to make a goal for yourself or just try something new, then here is your chance.