09 March 2013 By Rachel’s

Tips for the Trail – Take a Chance at Lake Las Vegas – XTERRA – 3-8-2013

By Rachel Cieslewicz

published by XTERRA March 8, 2013

It is always a glorious experience participating in a perfectly executed event.  Luckily, we have XTERRA as the poster child of producing dream race day experiences. XTERRA has a way of magically weaving together the best of all aspects of racing out in nature. They are prime examples of “Live More” as they carefully plan, promote, direct and aspire to create the greatest racing lifetime memories for athletes, families, and communities.

Rachel CieslewiczThe most important ingredients of a fantastic trail race for the athletes are landscape, well-marked trails, varied terrain, and fantastic support.  Integrate that with an exciting atmosphere and a community feeling of tribe, and it creates the perfect recipe for a fine day on the trails.  The high-energy hard working crew that is XTERRA always delivers experiences fully emulating these qualities.

Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for the national or world championship races later in the year to see the crew, and race in world-class events. In conjunction with their famous USA championship triathlon series, XTERRA gives us the opportunity to race multiple top quality trail run events across the nation leading up to Trail Run Nationals and Worlds!  Coming up on April 14 is the first big race of the year at Lake Las Vegas.

The XTERRA Lake Las Vegas Trail Run is the ultimate scene to pull us out of winter.  Temperatures average between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with full sunshine as the norm.  The 21-kilometer race is fun and fast, yet challenging with a moonscape feeling as we race through unique desert terrain.  Travel is easy, as the Las Vegas airport is less than 30 minutes away, and yes, that also translates to The Strip as a nearby sideshow.  Because the race is located outside of the city, it is the best scenario to stay at one of the beautiful hotels within the Lake Las Vegas area, such as the Aston MonteLago Village Resort.  With logistics and motivation in place, all that is needed is you!

Six weeks is plenty of time to prepare to race the trails of Lake Las Vegas, so there really is no excuse not to join this event. If your XTERRA regional races have already started, the Lake Las Vegas Trail Run offers a perfect opportunity to find out how you are doing against a field of talented athletes from all over the USA.

If you are just coming out of hibernation from a super cold winter, Lake Las Vegas is the perfect event to get your running legs going and jumpstart a fabulous 2013 running season. There are 5K, 10K, and 21K distance options to provide opportunity for us all, regardless of current fitness.  Keep reading for advice to be ready to fly in Vegas!

Along with simply running, here are a few keys to adopt into your training. The first is to keep a positive attitude.  As with life, there are always ups and downs with training and racing. Decide each day a purpose for your run and then make the decision that it will be the best run ever. Imagine days and weeks and months of each new run being even better than the last.

Next, practice good form. Run tall, stay over your center of mass, and lean from the ankles-not the hips.  Remember to practice quick steps-an average of 180 steps per minute regardless of pace is huge in keeping your bones and joints healthy.

And finally, smile. It is the best ever to practice your smiling muscles while running. Smiles are contagious. Your run becomes happy and light, it is easier to push hard, and you are much more fun to hang out with! Plus you never know when, due to your joy of running, someone else may be inspired to put on trail shoes and run.  Then they too can join you at Lake Las Vegas and learn what it means to “Live More”.

This year at Lake Las Vegas I will be racing the 21K. I am super excited to be back after missing last year.  My favorite aspects of this race are many.  The varied terrain is full of gut wrenching power hills mixed with flat winding sections to keep it fun and challenging.  There are places to truly let go and fly as well as times to focus on keeping toes out of large cracks or falling into dinosaur-sized craters in the soil.  I especially enjoy the “running on the moon” scenery and sunshine.

I love seeing long time race friends I only see at big events, as well as meeting new ones.  The best part for me is the Lake Las Vegas trail races are a fantastic catalyst to set me up for an incredible season. My mind, body, and soul completely come on board to continue my love of running, achieve high goals and “Live More” in all ways possible.  I look forward to seeing you in Vegas!

Rachel Cieslewicz is an elite runner and triathlete based in St. George, Utah. She is a past winner of several XTERRA Trail Run events, including the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas Trail Run, and placed ninth overall in the women’s field at the 2012 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. She is a talented sports massage therapist, Pilates and yoga instructor, and is a certified running form and endurance coach. She can be reached at  or visit her website at or follow her on

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I will always remember waking up at the age of 12 to the pain I saw in so many while simultaneously realizing how lucky I was to feel fantastic.

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