Utah Runner Pulling Double Duty

Cieslewicz entering XTERRA World Championship and Honolulu Marathon.

Cieslewicz entering XTERRA World Championship and Honolulu Marathon.

From: RunningUSA

Rachel Cieslewicz probably carbo-loaded this Thanksgiving. Come next week, she’ll be expending a lot of energy as an entrant in both the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship on Sunday, Dec. 5, and then the Honolulu Marathon on Dec. 12.

The Trail Run World Championship features a grueling 21-kilometer course that traverses up, down and around Kualoa Ranch on the northeast coast of Oahu, Hawaii. The 26.2-mile Honolulu Marathon takes place the next week on the other side of the same island.

“I have the ability to push hard and then recover quickly,” said Cieslewicz, who is 30 and resides in Salt Lake City, Utah. “I plan on this to happen for me for the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship followed by the Honolulu Marathon.”

Not only is Cieslewicz entering both races, she is considered a top contender among the females.

She placed seventh overall among the females at last year’s XTERRA Trail Run World Championship. Interestingly enough, the six females who finished ahead of her last year are not entered this year.

“My goal for XTERRA Worlds is to race smart, have fun and be the first female to cross the finish line,” she said.

Despite the short recovery period, Cieslewicz said she also hopes to do well at the Honolulu Marathon: “I am aiming for a top 10 female finish.”

Although this will be her first attempt at completing two high-profile races in back-to-back weekends, she is no stranger to testing her limits. As she put it: “In the past, I was notorious for racing everything possible in an XTERRA race weekend. I would race the trail run, and then the next day the triathlon.”

In preparation for her two races in Hawaii, Cieslewicz said she has been completing “high intensity, long weekends with good recovery during the week to imitate what is going to happen for me in December.”

She suffered through a hip injury earlier this year, but returned to training sooner than expected thanks to her chiropractor/acupuncturist, Greg Freebairn, and her running shoe sponsor Newton Running.

Cieslewicz works as a certified massage therapist, a pilates / yoga instructor and personal trainer in Salt Lake City. She is also a single mother, and her 5-year-old son Canyon.

That she is considered one of the top females in both races, let alone any race, is a tribute to her running spirit. Two years ago, Cieslewicz endured several medical procedures – including eight root canal surgeries – after parasites were discovered in her nerve system.

She returned to competition less than a year later and remained at an elite level. She won the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas race in April of this year, and received a trip to Hawaii courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines. Because of that, she will also be able to bring her son to Hawaii for her back-to-back races.

“We are having a race/vacation sandwich,” she said.

Regardless of how she fares, Cieslewicz said she is hoping to inspire other runners to compete in both races in the future.

“It is my hope that racing both events will become the thing to do in the future and many others will be able to enjoy a longer stay on the beautiful island of Oahu, while truly experiencing what it means to ‘Live More'” she added, referring to the XTERRA motto.

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