Another One Bites The Dust 2018:
🎶 I hurt myself today… 🎶
- Johnny Cash
Not long ago I took on a last minute challenge in an attempt to push myself beyond my limits. I had been hoping to compete in a 24hr race at the end of this year but unfortunately this was cancelled. After searching the web I came across a “last man standing” event (format from the Barkley Marathons creator) in Belgium called “Another One Bites The Dust” and I signed up for this instead. A last man standing event consists of completing a 6km loop within 1hour and being at the start line to do it all over again at the start of the next hour. You repeat this process until there is only one person left. Being autistic and using running to learn more about myself, I am constantly pushing myself to find where my limits are. Up until now I haven’t found them. After signing up for this event I got into a spiral where I lost control of my autistic behaviour and I went outside my self imposed rules which keep me safe. Unfortunately due to this, I overtrained and picked up an overuse injury (groin) meaning I couldn’t run for the two weeks leading up to the event. I spent the last 3 days before the start on ibuprofen, stretching and hoping I could actually run.
At the start line I was so nervous just wanting to know what would happen. It took around 4 loops (4hours) to learn to run again and to trust my groin. After this I settled in to a rhythm, but again due to only being at around 25% fitness my quads emptied around 50km mark. I pushed on through with so much discomfort but this is why I wanted to do this event, I wanted to experience pushing my brain/body beyond the limit. When I approached the 17hr mark my quads decided they would no longer listen. I was reduced to walking only and this left me with a decision, do I speed walk the last 10hrs to the 100mile or call it quits? I chose to quit as my body was overriding my brain which was a weird experience, but I thought I should respect it. 18hrs and 117km was all I had in me. 20 minutes after stopping my groin decided to remind me that it was injured and it seized up, the pain was incredible and I emotionally broke. It actually scared me with how I was able to mentally override the body for such a long period of time.
I learned a lot from the experience about training, pain threshold, perseverance and running in 30°+ temperatures. I am hoping having stopped when I did only means a few weeks recovery apposed to months although it is time for a running vacation anyway. I’m totally hungry to complete the challenge again next year, if this was me at 25% I’m really curious how far I could go in this format when I am fit?
Sidenote: I do seek advice from a physiotherapist due to not having the best communication between body/brain with my autism and yes I was cleared to run (but not advised). So please don’t use me as inspiration to take risks without seeking proper medical help.