Xterra Lake Las Vegas is awesome. If you want a hot, fast, challenging, fun race...go to Vegas! There really isn't anything too technical about the course, it is mostly hard packed rocks/sand, with a couple loose sandy spots. There were a few longer climbs, some short and steep climbs, and steep descents. Oh, and a lot of sun!
I really don't have any complains/regrets about my race or race experience. I flew into Vegas on Wednesday night and my friend Kendal picked me up. For the next couple days, all I had to run was run, eat, sleep, and relax.
Race morning was pretty easy. It was just a short 20 minute drive to the race site. Check in was quick and easy, and I was ready to go.
The mini cannon went off. There was already a pack of 5-7 that had separated from the field in the first 400m with one guy leading. In the first mile we were down to a chase group of 4 with one guy extending his lead out front.
I wasn't wearing my Garmin, so I had no idea what pace I was running. The goal was just to get from start to finish as quick as possible. I found myself going back in forth with 2-5 on the up hill and downhill and finally in 4th with about 1000m left in the first loop. I bridged the gap and tried to use the group for a min. As one of the guys went to grab water, I made the decision to skip that aid station and try to put a gap on him before starting the climbing on the second loop. It seemed to be working, but unfortunately he caught me on one of the steeper climbs. I was in 4th.
With about 3 miles left, another guy passed putting me in 5th. At that point the sun was baking me enough that I was just hoping to finish. I could still clearly see 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, but I knew it would be hard to catch them.
I ended up finishing 5th in 1:24:34 and a big trail half marathon PR. I don't know that I could have put together much better of a race. Living at 10,200ft is great, and I *should* have altitude on my side, but I was not fully ready for the Vegas heat. The only thing I would do different next time is wear a visor to keep the sun off of my face.
Other than racing, I got to actually see things in Vegas this time. Fremont Street, Vegas the Show, different casinos, good food, Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. I also decided that since it was still snowing in Leadville, I would stay in Vegas a few extra days. Fortunately it was cheap to switch my flight, so the decision to stay in the sun was pretty easy.
I also got to train in the heat for a few more days. I even had a crew van on one of my longer runs - how exciting! I think the crew was having fun while watching me back in the sun.
Here are more pictures from the week.
Thanks for reading. Happy training!