Race Report: XTERRA Trail 10K

Last week I was contacted by Outside Media and asked if I would like to participate in the XTERRA West Championship triathlon or trail race as a sponsored guest of Footbalance. I typically run in fairly minimal shoes (Brooks PureDrift, Altra Intuition) and asked if they still wanted to send me, even if I’m not usually an advocate for insoles. They said that YES, I could still participate as the guest of Footbalance and I could be molded for custom insoles to learn about their process. Sweet!

On Friday, I took the afternoon off work and drove to Lake Las Vegas to do packet pickup and get molded for my insoles. A note on the venue: Lake Las Vegas is pretty and kind of sad. It’s just so empty… they have so many empty storefronts and there were a few random senior citizens playing the slots, but it was the quietest casino ever.

Anyway, the expo wasn’t fully setup when I got there so Footbalance wasn’t ready to check my feet. So I made arrangements with them to do the molding on Sunday when I came for the race. I grabbed my race bag that contained my bib number, the race shirt, a Powerbar and a bottle of Paul Mitchell shampoo.

XTERRA 2013 Trail Race Shirt Front
Shirt front
XTERRA 2013 Trail Race Shirt Back
Shirt back
XTERRA 2013 Trail Race schwag bag
Schwag bag

Saturday Alex was really not feeling well. I wasn’t sure if it was teething-sick or sick-sick. She had a really runny nose, was kind of grumpy and developed a fever. I was an emotional wreck, thinking that I was going to go “run in some dirt” and leave her behind. But I set my alarm with the assumption that I was going to run. She slept really well that night and didn’t seem any more miserable than she’d been. Not really any less miserable either though. I fed her and I pumped. I used to spend so much time before races thinking about what I needed for ME. Now I’m an afterthought and it’s kind of a rush to make sure I have things ready for Alex’s needs.

I drove to Lake Las Vegas (about a 45 minute drive) and parked in the garage. I walked through the “village” to get to the start area.

XTERRA trail 10k
Expo / registration area at start

I asked a woman to take my picture. I always feel like a dork asking people to do that!

XTERRA trail 10k
Before the race near the start line

I headed to the Footbalance booth and did the custom molding. They had me stand on a glass plate that took pictures of my feet while standing still and when doing a squat. I thought it was interesting that they commented “You have neutral feet. You have REALLY neutral feet.” I have had 3 different checks tell me I have neutral feet and one said I needed super-high stability. Just kind of weird the differences that can come up. They will be sending me a PDF of my foot pictures and their analysis. They didn’t have internet access there, so they had to save everyone’s scans and promise to email them!

XTERRA trail 10k
At the Footbalance booth getting my feet evaluated and molded for insoles!

After taking care of my Footbalance fitting and having them promise to hold onto my insoles until after the race (they didn’t recommend that I run in them the first time at the race, which was smart. I wouldn’t have done that anyway!) I went to line up for the start. The half marathoners started at 8:30, the 10K and 8:35 and the 5K and 8:40. I got to the start line right as the half marathon was being counted down. The racers cheered them on as they started, then we lined up for our race.

The race started out on pavement to run over to the trail. There was loose, soft sand on the trail, areas that were washed out from the rain we had on the Monday before, broken tree branches… basically, a trail run where you have to watch out for your footing. Headphones weren’t allowed in this race. I’m glad, I would have been tempted to listen to my audiobook and that could possibly distract me from my footing.

There were some steep climbs and it seemed like the downhills never matched the amount of uphill we had to climb. I would have loved to see Scott Jurek or Killian Jornet or some other super-fast mountain ultra runner bound up these hills. But then again, if they were running it they wouldn’t have been anywhere near me! It was beautiful and clear, but it was definitely warm out there too. I felt slightly baked, and I don’t mean that I’d been smokin’ something funny. I should have carried an electrolyte drink with me instead of just carrying water. I stopped and took Gatorade at two aid stations, I needed it… plus it was cold. My water bottle got warm fast.

XTERRA trail 10k
Can you see all the people in the distance up there at the top of the hill?
XTERRA trail 10k
The picture hardly even does it justice to illustrate how steep it is.

I finished the race in 1:13, which I was pleasantly surprised at. I’m always slower on trails, that’s a given, and there were a lot of super steep inclines that required power hiking up them. I didn’t wear my Garmin, so I had no idea where I was timewise until I got to the finish line.

I grabbed a cookie and refilled my water bottle, then stopped at the Muscle Milk tent to grab a bottle to take home to my hubby. (He likes Muscle Milk a lot, they had Banana at the race and he’s never tried that flavor.) I stopped by the Footbalance tent to get my insoles. They had a whole goodie bag for me, that included the insoles, a pair of socks, mints and a bell (which is made to hook onto a bike, but it’s going on my BOB stroller!)

XTERRA trail 10k
After the race

Gear I used/wore at the race:

During the race I realized that I need new trail shoes. Mine are old and have lots of miles on them. I haven’t run in them since I was 6 months pregnant, that was the last trail run I did! I’m going to have to decide if I want to get a newer version of the Peregrine (figure out if Saucony is still making that shoe!) or find a zero-drop trail shoe.

I went back to my car, wiped myself down, did a few stretches and then made the drive back home. I was so excited to see my little girl army-crawling on the floor to me as I came in. I went to shower and when I came back downstairs I found her asleep on her daddy’s legs. Which was super cute, until Kevin told me that his body was asleep from the waist down and we needed to move her! LOL!

I always stress over doing races since I had her, I feel like I should be the one that gives up everything in my life to take care of her. But I’m always sooooo much happier after I get the chance to do something for me. I’m hoping it will be easier to get in these moments once May rolls around and my CPA husband is no longer in his “busy season” at work.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Footbalance and Outside Media for allowing me this opportunity!


  1. I love bondi bands! They are awesome. I have a good number of them. I wish more people would talk to on another during the race it gives you connections especially if you get in a funk mid race you can be all “there’s the guy that took my picture!” As usual, love your race reports keep them coming!

    • I think I need to get more Bondi Bands! This was my first race in one and I liked it.

      I agree, I love when people chat with one another during a race. It’s an “individual” sport for those who are winning, for the rest of us it’s a “community”!

  2. Glad Alex was feeling better so you could run the race. It’s hard to take mommy time, but crucial.

    Question from non-runner, why would they not allow you to wear headphones? I’m sure many runners listen to music or a book so I’m just curious as to why they forbid it.

    • Headphones aren’t allowed because race organizers want people to be aware of their surroundings. For example, in this event there were several stretches that were very steep and narrow. If you were going down the single-track section with your headphones on and someone behind you slipped and started sliding, you could miss out on hearing them and then we could possibly have more injuries!

  3. Nice run, Jill! I’ve always been nervous to do a trail run – fear of turning my ankle on a loose rock or something (even though I live and run on gravel a lot – well, not right now). I’m glad you did take the time for you. It’s good for you, it’s good for your hubby to have that alone time with your daughter and it’s good for her too. 🙂 You’re setting a great example of health for her – not only in fitness but in taking care of your needs as well. 🙂

    • Now is the perfect time for you to start trail running! 😉 LOL! I’m kind of surprised at how much I enjoy trail running. Dirt, danger, falling… so not in line with my personality growing up, but there is something about running on trails that just feels freeing.

      You’re right, my husband needs that time with his little girl and I need to show her that self-care is important. It’s so hard to remember that when you’re supposed to be protecting this little person as well!

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