The obsession of the 10km:
🎶 I feel like I’ve always had a tornado inside of me. You have it inside of you. Just sometimes it doesn’t move. 🎶
Double digits, who would have thought that would mean so much to someone? I knew I was vulnerable to obsessions, but what followed after the 5km mark (a single digit) gave me some useful insights into how my brain works. During this time it was still pre-diagnosis, and I wasn’t aware of the dangers that my obsessions would present to my physical health.
I was introduced to running with Runkeeper shortly after reaching the 5km mark and this brought a new dimension to my running. Time, distance, and speed quickly became the motivation behind running. I was forgetting the reason why I had started to run in first place (lower stress). I had started to run 5 days a week and was focusing on how many kms I could do over those 5 days.
In a short space of time my body was full of overuse injuries: tendonitis in the groin, shin splints, hip and back pain, the list goes on. Looking back, I wish I had the knowledge that I now have about Autism; it would have offered some protection from the war I was fighting against my body. This war wasn’t just the inflicted physical pain, but also the mental drive forcing me out the door to complete the goals I felt I had to achieve. Having Runkeeper meant that I was able see how others were doing. If they ran a certain speed, I would have to run faster. If they ran 7km, I would have to do 8km, and if they ran 3 times a week, I would do 5 times. The tornado inside was beginning to spin as I was stressed, exhausted, and hurting. I was getting consumed by it all which resulted in losing touch with the realities of work and family life.
Running, to which I credit as being a positive tool in coping with my difficulties, can also be used negatively if not kept within certain boundaries to keep me safe. Unfortunately these boundaries I had not yet come to understand. In order for the tornado to be brought under control, I needed something major to happen that would force the chaos to stop. This major event happened in the least expected way, I made an incorrect decision while on a bike resulting in a crash with a car. €1500 damage to the car vs €10 to my bike is the best way to describe the impact my shoulder took when I made contact.
Already 5 days after separating my shoulder I was out trying to run, but the tendonitis was so bad that I could no longer even walk properly. Limping and arm in a sling, my obsessions had to surrender to reality; a ceasefire was now in place.