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Middle-aged, middle-weight, mother of 3 on mad marathon mission
Middle-aged, middle-weight, mother of 3 on mad marathon mission
When I started this blog, it was to track my progress from an occasional kayaker to taking on the Devizes to Westminster non stop 125 race. Little did I know that would start me on a long distance obsession which has resulted in my completing the 30th Marathon des Sables. It has been a strange and sometimes painful ... but always wonderfully challenging journey

This is my occasional account of a middle-age mother's attempt to take on things which are really quite beyond her.

Competitive, Addicted or just plain OCD?

crawlingkiwiby crawlingkiwiOct 25th 2011
I've known for a very long time that I have an addictive personality but generally, I can use that focus for good. My slightly obsessive qualities become really evident when competition is involved - whether it's playing freecell on my phone or wiping every other name off the leader board for Wii sport (I tend not to stop until I hold all 10 top places in each sport). I've been wondering whether all highly competitive people have this obsessive edge to them - I'm not particularly good at sport these days (wasn't too bad at several different sports in my teens, reaching regional and national levels), but when I set my mind to something I generally focus on it in a strangely driven manner. Two of my daughters definitely share this trait and I suspect the youngest is heading this way too.

Without a goal to aim for however, I do seem to lose interest and focus but give me a deadline or a target and I'm off. I've never been someone who can just do something for fun, I have to do it the fastest I can, or for the longest. My paddling partner and I are already starting our long distance training for the next Devizes to Westminster canoe race at Easter. We are both furious that we were beaten by just 30 minutes last year in our division - 20 seconds faster at each portage and we would have won. This year we are aiming to go sub 24 hours and all our training is focused on that. I've used this week to really up my training and my body is aching as a result. Last night, I could barely keep up with my partner and was dog-tired after just 14k, but it's good for me to get used to paddling in this state. And I should start to see the benefits of increasing my training over the next couple of weeks.

I have had to introduce running to my programme and to be blunt, I'm really crap at it, having always been around 55 minutes for a 10k. I'm pretty much starting from scratch with running, but sheer bloody determination will get me some way.

I'm hoping I can get back to enjoying running as I used to, but at the moment that does seem some way off. But if we're to go sub 24, I have to really improve my general fitness - just being able to paddle for extremely long distances is just one small part of what is needed. I'm now using my OCD tendencies for detailed planning: spreadsheets showing our times last year, predicted times for this year, training schedules, nutrition plans ... it's coming together! I just have to hope that my body holds together and I stay fairly healthy!

I have my first division 6 race this weekend (I've been promoted from div 9 in March all the way down) and this is going to be hard, but it's an excellent training opportunity for us.
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