Finishing marathon number 25.
Finishing marathon number 25

Halfway!Maybe an odd title for a first blog.

But, I am halfway to a big target – doing 50 marathons by age 50, which for me is in May 2015. Quick maths, and yep, that’s just over one marathon a month for the next two years.

I only decided to make that my goal, having run my 10th marathon, New York 2011, so the past 18 months have been a bit full on chalking up the numbers.

You may think that commitment alone qualifies for the “Obsessive Compulsive Running” title of this blog. But I don’t really see myself as a committed runner, and certainly not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just an old plodder who likes the thinking time and free space you can lose yourself in on a long distance run.

Running helps me escape the hamster wheel of thoughts and images whirring all the time inside my head – questioning, checking, trying to make sense of the crazy internal kaleidoscope.

I’ve always thought I was a bit mad, a bit weird, a bit different. Sentiments, that my non-running friends in particular have used to describe me many times.

Recently I’ve discovered that yes, whilst I am a bit different to many people, I’m not totally alone in the way I interpret things. I’ve recently been diagnosed with OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – a mental health condition that affects around two in a hundred people.

It was quite a shock – even after years of sometimes desperate deep despair – to learn I had something identifiable. Something specific. Something with real symptoms which I experience in my daily life.

What’s encouraging though, has been finding out that it can be treated. In fact, I am currently in therapy and it’s already helping.

So my blogs are going to be about living with OCD and running a marathon a month over the next two years – which incidentally I’m doing in aid of the dementia research charity BRACE.

Dementia, now there’s another big topic, which forms part of my OCD anxiety.

Still, plenty of time to write about all that in future blogs – in between training, therapy, and my usual obsessing about this, that and a galaxy of thoughts.

Thanks for reading! Until next time……….


12 thoughts on “Halfway!

  1. Stuart Newberry

    Well done Jo and I wish you well on your quest. I have the utmost respect for such a challenge and I’m sure you’ll do it. I don’t know much about OCD, expect that I guess there might be a bit in any of us who commit to bizarre challenges, such as LEJOG etc. Good luck and I enjoyed your blog!

    1. Jo Earlam Post author

      Thanks Stuart. Yes, why do we put ourselves through these personal tests….perhaps to help discover who we really are? Good luck with your own goals.

  2. Sarah

    Great Blog Jo & good luck with your marathon challenge ! Very impressed & in awe of your commitment & courage to do it as well as your honesty in sharing your journey with OCD. Looking forward to the next installment. X

    1. Jo Earlam Post author

      Thanks Sarah. It was a bit daunting starting out – pretty much like running really. Hopefully, within a few blogs I will begin to find my feet a bit. Next instalment on Monday. x

  3. whatrhymeswithsarah

    Hi Jo, interesting to see your blog pop up on Facebook. I follow BRACE through my work with Alive! – we run activity sessions for older people living in residential care, quite a few of whom have dementia.

    What an amazing target you’ve set yourself!! I’d be so happy if I could achieve something like that. My goal is just to complete the Bristol 10k next year. I got the running bug last year but sadly injured myself because apparently my legs and feet aren’t built for running long distances. Nonetheless I’m determined to work my way up to a proper race.

    1. Jo Earlam Post author

      Hi Sarah, thanks for your support. I started out as a runner around 15 years ago (well non-runner then!) doing events like Race for Life, 5kms. It was a long time before I worked up to doing my first half marathon, then I would run for a few weeks and stop again. Things went on like that for a few years, before I decided I would take the plunge in the year I was 40, and do the London Marathon, a long held ambition. At the time it was the hardest thing I’d ever done, and I maintained I would never do another one. But the support from other runners (I was member of a club by then) the endorphin rush you get from exercise, and the sense of freedom/head space from the stresses of life it gave, got me hooked. And so here I find myself 25 marathons later! Your work sounds interesting. Good luck with your running and other goals in life.

  4. Becky Robson

    Loved your first instalment..an honest insight into your world, thanku for sharing it with us xx

    1. Jo Earlam Post author

      Thanks Becky x. And the streamlined “go faster” haircut was a great hit with everyone, so thank you for that also 🙂 x

  5. David Isaac

    Hi Jo
    Good luck with the next 25 and with the OCD. Running a marathon on Dartmoor…. doesn’t sound very flat! Take care of yourself

    1. Jo Earlam Post author

      Hi David, yes it was more than the usual number of ups and downs – Princetown to Ashburton and back via Widecombe. Still it was good to be on familiar territory. Good to hear from you. Take care too. Jo x

  6. Pingback: Obsessive Compulsive Running……. – Halfway! | The Official Blog For Mental Health Project

  7. Janet (ocdtalk)

    So glad you are getting treatment because, as you say, OCD is absolutely treatable! I assume your therapist is doing Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy with you?


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