Evergold Trail Race

I hope everyone had an awesome weekend! My weekend didn’t go quite as planned, but I still had a wonderful couple of days. Unfortunately, a friend had a family emergency so our backpacking trip didn’t happen. However, we still made it up to Vail on Sunday morning for the Evergold Trail Race!

The view of the hillside from the starting line

Y’all, I seriously loved this race, and a huge thanks to Columbia for the registration!! In fact, I daresay this single event sold me on trail races over road races! We arrived around 9:15 with plenty of time to spare before the 10am start. The run was very small, so there were maybe 75-100 people milling around the parking lot. The 11k runners toed the line right at 10am, and I would estimate that at least 80% of the people took off in that first group. Since the 5k runners ran the same course only shorter, we waited around for another 10 minutes before the event organizers asked us to line up.

I literally had no idea what to expect going into this race. First of all, this 5k would be my longest run in 8 weeks. Yeah, seriously! Second of all, it was a trail race with some serious elevation changes on the course. I was a bit nervous that my knee would freak out and I’d end up curled in a ball on some single track somewhere. Luckily, that didn’t happen. However, we did line up near the back of the group just to ensure I didn’t become a doormat for other runners πŸ™‚

Before the race: Angel, me, Cindy, and Craig. Wore my Mizuno Ascends for this race–kinda loving them!

This turned out to be a poor decision because the trail immediately turned into very tight single track where runners could only follow each other in a single file line. I quickly realized that I was going to be faster than quite a few of them (gasp! Β That never happens!), but I was unable to pass them for at least 1/4 mile. Craig, Angel, and I managed to make a move and pass a group of women, but we lost Cindy behind us.

View of Vail Resort: not where the race was but it was so beautiful!

We kept going like this for another half mile before I told Craig and Angel to go ahead. My knee felt great but let’s face it: those two are better runners than me in general, and 6 weeks of minimal training didn’t help me any. They went ahead and I continued to enjoy every second of the trail.

You see, the trail was very techy and the narrow single track meant you truly had to pay attention to where you placed your feet. The aspen leaves are changing and falling in the high country, so the trail was littered with yellow leaves. Gorgeous, yes, but it also made it more difficult to spot the numerous roots and rocks that poked up out of the trail. Many a runner went down during the race (Craig and Cindy both did!) and I was trying my hardest not to re-injure my leg.

Elevation chart of the race

I turned around at the halfway aid station and headed back to cover the same return course. There were two decent sized hills on this course and my untrained lungs and legs were definitely noticing them! Vail itself sits at 8200 feet, so this made the climbs that much trickier. However, I was seriously captivated by how beautiful the scenery was, and I was thrilled when I realized that I was essentially running by myself for the entire return trip. I had somehow dropped the people behind me and lost those ahead of me, so all I could hear was my own breath and the occasional crashing of wildlife in the woods.

There was one last short and steep section that met up with the paved road and funneled the runners to the finish line. Naturally, I struggle with instructions so not one but TWO different volunteers had to yell at me to direct me back on course. Not sure where I thought I was going, but clearly I was missing the finish line!

Me, Cindy, and Angel after the race

After the race, I tracked down Craig and Angel and picked up my race shirt while waiting for Cindy to finish. Columbia provided all runners with wicked nice OmniFreeze Ice tech shirts that literally cost more than the price of registration. While waiting in line to speak with the man at the Columbia booth, I heard someone calling my name. You can only imagine my excitement when I turned around and was speaking to one of my blog readers, BRG!Β She had read that I was going to be at the race, and I was so glad to meet her! She totally dominated the race (smoking me in the process!) and even won her age group!

Total stats for the race:Β 

Distance: 3.28 miles (according to my Garmin)
Time: 44:17
Pace: 13:30
Total Elevation Gain: 862 feet (according to Garmin. The race website said 950+ feet).
Third in my AG, 8th overall…but don’t be impressed. I think there were 10 women in my AG and like 25 total, so it’s really not that impressive πŸ™‚

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The two winners of the $100 Sports Authority gift card are:

Congrats y’all! Email me your mailing address and I’ll drop your gift cards in the mail. Thanks again to Reebok for hosting this awesome giveaway!
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For all you runners out there: do you prefer trail or road races?

Do you prefer large or small races?
Typically, I love larger events but I really enjoyed this smaller race….might be making a convert of me!

17 Comments

  • Reply Chris Donnelly at

    Great job! Trail running is NOT easy no matter what. Keep up the awesome work. Looking at the pictures i always forget how extra beautiful Colorado gets around this time of year!

    • Reply Colorado Gal at

      The aspen are gorgeous! You should check out pics of Copper Mountain today– beautiful yesterday and SNOWING today! It looks stunning!

  • Reply everydaylivingpnw at

    Wow awesome pics, looked like a great way to spend an afertnoon…I always prefer trails over road running, it will just be a matter of time before I find me some trails in this area!

  • Reply brg at

    Wasn’t that a GREAT race and race course. I totally, TOTALLY dig my race shirt. It’s so cute and it FITS!!! definitely going back to do more of that series next year.

    congrats on your podium! Your AG is a competitive AG and that was a challenging trail for sure! Glad you and your pals had such a great time. It’s figures the only 2 people to pass me after the turn were your friends. Angel is super strong on the uphills. I had to forego the brunch and free food (boo!) to get ahead of the traffic. Nice to meet you in person. πŸ™‚

    • Reply brg at

      oh..I forgot to add…my garmin had 3.26 distance and only 535 elevation gain. I’m going with your data of 862 ft of gain. πŸ˜‰

    • Reply Colorado Gal at

      I agree– I loved this race and may try for the whole series next summer. I really loved it! And you know, Cindy’s Garmin showed something entirely different than either yours or mine! I know I lost signal in the trees a few times so maybe we all did and that accounts for the diff stats? And thanks for the congrats!

      Angel is a beast! Can you believe she worked a 12 hour night shift, got off work, drove straight to Vail without sleeping, and did that well? If she ever truly dedicated herself to running, she would be insane!

  • Reply eric at

    I always seem to get stuck on an island during trail races… im a strkng downhill and flats guy but struggle up so i pull away and then get gapped going up… sometimes its cool.. others not so much

    • Reply Colorado Gal at

      Ha, I’m the opposite– I’m better on the climbs (I think from all of my hiking?) and slow down on the downhill to save my knees πŸ™‚

    • Reply Eric at

      I hike a boatload too.. its just these damn guys up front never slow down even when we go up… i gotta figure that out!!!

  • Reply AmyC @ running escapades at

    That sounds like a seriously tough incline. Congrats on your finish!

  • Reply Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog at

    Those are some crazy inclines. I have never done a trail race, but I rub on lots of trails and love how peaceful it is.
    Nice job and if Columbia ever needs someone in Montana to give cool stuff too… πŸ™‚
    Seriously that is so awesome you get to run for them and test out their gear!

    • Reply Colorado Gal at

      I’ve done a few trail races where it was just kind of dirt and gravel and a few rolling hills and they called it a trail race, but nothing like this— the trail was literally 12-15″ wide with crazy rocks and roots. Seriously fun πŸ™‚

  • Reply Efo at

    YAH trail running/racing! Killer elevation stats, yo. Congrats! I’m a big fan of small races, myself.

  • Reply Jen at

    Oh wow! Trail running is so hard & the elevation change is incredible. Great job!

  • Reply Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb at

    Ah trail racing. Let’s see if I love it or hate it… πŸ˜‰ Hope I have the same experience as you!

  • Reply Trail Running and White Water Rafting - Just a Colorado Gal at

    […] originally found this trail series last fall when Columbia paid for me and a friend to run the Evergold 5k. That was the first time I’ve ever run such a small race and I really loved it. Additionally, I […]

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