Monday, February 21, 2011

Rattle My Heart 50k Report

You know that little voice in your head that says, "Hey, your knee hasn't felt good all week.  You shouldn't run a 50k this weekend."  Well, apparently I don't like to listen to that little voice.  This is the story of that run (and the week leading up to it).

My last post was on my Linville Gorge run and that is where the knee began to start bothering me.  I took a hike instead of a run that following Sunday, took Monday off, and then ran a nice run with Dennis on Tuesday down in the Wilson Creek Area.  After that run, I knew that my knee would need some rest if I was planning on running the Rattle My Heart 50k the following weekend.  I promptly started taking ibuprofen and icing at lest three times a day.  I also did zero running for the rest of the week.  Friday night, I could still feel some slight discomfort in my knee, but I wasn't going to miss this run.

Hannah and I got to the start in Montreat a bit early and I was ready to get moving.  Hannah was planning to run over to Rattlesnake with us and then go off on here own to piece together some more miles on the trails around Montreat.  Slowly everyone else started showing up and we snapped a few pictures and then took off probably somewhere around 9:15.  We ran some paths through Montreat over to the first trail of the day and everyone was reduced to a power hike.  It seemed like everyone was in the mood to take it easy during the early part of the run and that was fine with me.  I was going to take it as easy as possible in hopes of the knee surviving 30 miles.  We soon made it to Rattlesnake Mt. and everyone was still together to take a few more pics from this scenic summit.  It was starting to get a bit toasty at this point and I decided to shed the shirt.

The crew on top of Rattlesnake Mt

View from Rattlesnake Mt

Youngs Ridge (Kitsuma Peak far right)

We soon were headed over to hit up the Kitsuma Trail and get our first aid of the day.  Everyone began to break up during the Kitsuma portion of the run and I began to run with Rob and Andrew.  We all stayed together down the roller coaster that is Youngs Ridge and the 2 - 3 miles of road to the beginning of the Heartbreak Ridge Trail, the highlight of the days run.  The exposed road section was really hot and the sun was blaring down on my back (have a nice tan to show for it now).  We soon hit Heartbreak Ridge and the last bit of aid for the run.  This trail is about 6 miles long and gains approximately 3000 ft in that time.  I stuck with Rob for about a mile on the trail and then decided to go ahead and push the pace a little.  But about as quickly as I decided to speed up, the grade got a bit steeper and I was reduced to a power hike for most of the climb.   The trail was beautiful and really wasn't that steep, but after already running 14 miles to get to there, it was steep enough to walk.  I would love to do an out and back run on that trail.  I also started to suffer through a bonk session about half-way up the climb and began consuming a few more calories than I had planned.  Subsequently, I was soon caught by Andrew and Rob once more for the final mile over to the junction with the Mt Mitchell Toll Rd.

View from Heartbreak Ridge Trail

Mitchell Toll Road
Upon arriving to the Toll Rd., Rick Gray was there waiting on us to give us a bit of encouragement.  He and his wife were out running 2 hours on the toll rd in preparation for next weeks Mt Mitchell Challenge.  It was great running into him after that brutal climb, but I couldn't hang around too long because Andrew had decided to take off.  I was going to follow him down the toll rd because Adam said there were some tricky turns that a lot of people miss and I had previously never been on that trail.  The toll rd was quite gnarly at times and I personally couldn't wait to get off of it.  Even though that grade was perfect for flying, the rocks kind of kept you from getting into a smooth rhythm.  Andrew soon disappeared (still in bonk mode) and I just decided to stay on the path of least resistance (which was a good choice) and hopefully see some flagging at some point.   There were quite a few people on the trail though, so I would just ask them if they had seen any other runners heading the same way to make sure I was still on course.

At the last tricky intersection, my knee finally decided that it had enough and promptly sent me into walk/stagger mode.  My energy levels were fine, but my IT Band was screaming.  I was worried about a runner's knee flare up before the run because that was what was hurting me this whole week.  Weird how the pain migrated over to a different region.  At least I was about 2 miles from the finish and I was able to slowly stagger on into Montreat.  I finished in 6:11.  I was pretty proud of that effort.  If I would have been healthy, I know I could shave at least 30 minutes off of that time and maybe even more. 

Afterward, most of the crew gathered at Ole's for some delicious mexican cuisine and brews.  Another great run with the crew and big thanks to Adam Hill for putting this amazing run on once more.  Hannah and I had a great time.  Here is the Garmin data:  Rattle My Heart 50k

Check out a vid Adam Hill (Mad A) put together of the run! Two Parts!


  1. Hi Brandon,

    I just saw your beautiful photo of the Tanawha Trail (MST) in the Running Down photo contest. I'm the Executive Director of Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and I'm always looking for great photos of the MST to use in our annual reports. Would you allow us to use it? We would credit you of course.

  2. Of course Kate. I would be honored if you used it. Let me know if you need me to email it you.