21 Mar True Grit Enduro – 24 hours, 11.3km laps and 32 obstacles per lap
Dave Bonney – resident Joe’s Basecamp member and OCR coach signed up to his 5th True Grit 24 Enduro in March 2021. He shares the good, the bad and the ugly of this gruelling event and all the tips and tricks to help you prepare for your next event.
Signing up to what was to be my 5th TG 24 hour Enduro as Covid hit in March 2020 was something that i guess was now 12 months planning.
It certainly took a long time to get to the start line and not before a series of injuries that nearly resulted in a no show from me.
Knee surgery from a flipped meniscus (football injury in September) pushed my training out the window with a 2-3 month recovery at a minimum, along with a newly discovered severe lack of cartilage in said knee resulting in specialist declaring ‘bone on bone’. The recovery went really well and slowly I got some short runs in with minimal discomfort, but pleasing still no soreness. I figured in late January, I could just do what I could. If it pulls up sore during the event, then I would stop.
Tuesday 2nd March (only 4 days before the event) I woke up and with a twinge in my hip. Thinking nothing of it I continued to head out for my regular Basecamp weighted Trek training session.
During this session the hip got slightly worse, but I pushed through in the hope it may disappear by the end of the day. Wrong !!! So Wednesday I booked into the Chiro for Thursday – Got some treatment for what was diagnosed as bursitis in the hip. At this point I could hardly walk up stairs but left after a realignment with a glimmer of hope. Friday morning it was still sore and I had difficulty walking up stairs, so I went looking for what normal humans would – pain relief via anti-inflammatories. Chemist convinced me to try Panadol osteo first as it would have less potential side effects.
My previous event history on this course/event was 5 laps(2015), 4 laps(2016), 4 laps(2018), 7 laps(2019)
I wake up Saturday and Panadol Osteo appears to have helped a little, but the thoughts of the 24 hours on my feet, carrying sandbags up 65 degree hills and farmer’s carries up the side of a mountain were playing on my mind. However I decided to just
give it a go. So it’s RACE DAY!
I got the JBC team to the start line of their race, including mandatory startline pic, leaving 5 hours to kill before my event kicked off.
I met up with several of my OCR friends and discussed my tactics/issues and ‘how many laps’ I was hoping for. To be honest I was hoping to get through 1-2 without pain and then see if it was getting worse etc. I had done 7 laps on a similar course in 2019 so I pretty much knew the terrain etc.
I couldn’t commit to anymore than the 1-2 but I guess if things went better than expected I may get a few more in.
2pm and I’m at the start line ready to go, meeting up with a couple of other ‘injured’ OCR friends. One who had a broken hand, another with a heart issue who was only given a clearance 2 weeks ago to allow her Heart Rate to go above 160. I never caught the issue, but if her HR went above 160, it would trigger other heart issues. Others at the start line had cracked ribs. My issue seemed insignificant and certainly nowhere near as visible!
Although I was out on the course 21h 20 mins I’ve tried to recall some of the thoughts as the race progressed…
Started with a walk for the first 1.5km and a couple of relatively easy obstacles: Two, four foot walls after about 300 metres then 100 metres later a barbed wire crawl (under) of 10 metres. Hip was good with that. Then a 3.5 metre, A-frame cargo net climb, up and over. Still going well so I decided to go for a light run after a small climb and my hip still stayed quiet. Things were looking good. Worked my around with a little running, a little walking, getting through the obstacles. In fact, the hip was good
until the end of the lap where almost back to back cargo net climbs tended to flare it up. So after completing the lap, having a protein ball and a couple of panadol osteo tablets as a precaution I went out for lap two.
Lap 2. Pretty much the same, no dramas, ran a little bit more, and surprisingly no flare up of the hip for the lap.
Lap 3 My left knee started to feel ‘not right’. Was trying to work out if it was cramping behind the knee (think hamstring but low) but also appeared to cause issues
on all the downhills regardless of running/walking. I came in after lap 3 a little unsure of whether to progress. The knee was a brand new issue for me with no history
of similar pain in that area. It had just gone dark and was too early to quit (I thought anyway) so I decided to just ‘walk the lap’. I did take some anti inflams this time
as the main and seemingly only issue, was this knee. The hip, and the ‘bone on bone’ knee all seemed ok. Or at least the pain from the left knee totally outweighed all
Walked the whole lap. Grip Obstacles were getting dew on them making them hard to complete (10 burpee for failed obstacles) but I took the penalty rather than fall and injure myself further. Felt relatively good after the walk and confident I had one more in me. I had withdrawn from this event twice before at the 4 lap mark and both times, while I was hurting at the time, I wondered whether I pulled out too early. In both cases I regretted it 2-3 days after the event. Anyway, I decided I could walk another lap.
Similar to Lap 4 – Walked some – started to run again a little to see how things were. Knee was still bothering me, so I walked some more. Completed lap 5 around about 3am leaving 11 hours still to race. This lap however was my slowest at just over 3 hours.
Before heading out I tried to do a best case scenario finish. Just under 11 hours to go and going at 3 hour pace and I will get 3 more laps. Could I get to 9 laps? I would have to get down to 2 hours 35min laps to be sure. I tried to pick the pace up on this lap and I did bring the time down by 15 minutes to a 2 hour 50m lap. I also felt quite queasy after this lap, but couldn’t work out whether it was because I was pushing the body too hard, maybe taking too many anti-inflammatory or Osteo tablets, or was some of my food not right? A lot of things
going through my head.
Given my current state, I decided not to go too hard on Lap 7 but still managed a sub 3 hour, but again losing time against that average I was looking for to convince me
a 9th lap would be a chance. The sun came up on this lap which lifted everyone, but with it also came the heat
Starting this lap I had 5 and half hours to get two more laps in, but lap 6 and 7 had started to take its toll. Pushing the speed in places I knew I could, I still managed a sub 3 hour, but I needed a 2hr 45mins lap. I think I was around 2hr 50mins, but the heat of the day was increasing, my body was pleading with me to stop. There were many times during this lap I wanted to push harder, but I couldn’t. So I made a touch call not to go out for lap 9. The race rule was only completed laps in the 24 hours could be counted. I had visions of being 100 metres short when the buzzer went and being left disappointed I couldn’t make it. So with 2hours 20mins left I pulled the plug, finishing 3rd in my age group and 49th Overall. My first EVER OCR podium so pretty well happy with that.
All up I was very pleased to have got through the event with relatively low preparation, and a number of injuries and issues in the lead up as well as during the race.
4 Coconut Bounce Balls
2 Tins Sienna Tuna/Brown Rice
3 Hammer Bars
8 Hammer Electrolyte tabs
2 small packs plain Smiths chips
1/2 bottle of coke
2 Litres Tailwind
2 Litres true Protein electrolyte (alternated 500ml each lap with the Tailwind)
6-8 litres of water
4 aint inflammamatory tab
6 Osteo tablets!!
What Went Well
– All things considering, my training and OCR preparation work @Joe’s Basecamp Gym certainly got me from crutches 5 months ago to the start and more importantly the finish line
– While I certainly had some moments during the race, my mindset of getting 1 lap done at a time and reassessing plans continually during the race certainly helped
– Nutrition – mostly good – Something not quite right though, so I will need to keep improving in this space. But certainly did not dehydrate or suffer from a lack of food.
– Gear – Did not change shoes/socks/short skins/shorts/shirt during the race. Put a very old t-shirt compression shirt on just before dark and kept that on until the end. I had spares of everything, but never needed them. It was a warm race so no need for a wetsuit/long sleeved thermals etc, like back in 2016 when it -5 Degrees overnight.
Not So Well
– Being my 5th Enduro – I had a ‘ been there done that’ mindset about my gear, my food, the overall Enduro setup. While it certainly helped having that experience, complacency crept in. It didn’t cost me, but I certainly felt I could have been more OCD about some things
– The drive home was horrendous. Although it’s only an 80km drive home, I needed to stop 4 times due to fatigue. If i do this event again, I will need to find a bed for Sunday night within 20 minutes of the site. Way too dangerous to be nodding off on Sydney Roads.
Dave Bonney OCR & Trail Journey
True Grit Enduro, March 6-7th, 2021.
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