Something Changed

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Party time

Facebook has a feature where it will take you back in time and show you what you were posting on social media in previous years.

This weekend I was reminded that on 19 January 2011, my Facebook status said “Josiejolene is the Google Queen”.

The fact that I have referenced my Google prowess is not unusual. I use Google about half a dozen times a day. So far this weekend, I’ve googled the following: “Is Gerard Butler Scottish?” because I honestly didn’t know. “Do foxes eat cats?” because I saw a fuck off big fox in the garden and I’m worried that Mr fox might fancy turning my cat into an hor d’oeuvre. “Where is the nearest McDonalds drive through?” because I could not be bothered to put ‘outdoor’ clothes on when we decided to have a bit of Maccy Ds for Saturday night dinner and “Is Dominic Cooper married?”… asking for a friend.

On first viewing, a Facebook status about googling from seven years ago means nothing at all, until I provide some context.

In 2011, I completed the Brighton marathon with a friend (I say ‘completed’ rather than ‘ran’ because due to a terrible chest infection and an unseasonably hot April day, to describe us as having ‘run’ any more than about half of it, would be a big fat lie).

When you train for a marathon, your entire world is focussed on running, you can’t eat without thinking about the impact your meal will have on your next run. You don’t drink much alcohol on a Saturday because you’re doing a long run on a Sunday.  You don’t watch telly because you’re running four nights a week and you generally become a running bore. Your yawn inducing conversations revolve around running schedules, trainers and injury avoidance.

My friend and I were fully aware of how dull we’d become. We had animated discussions about foam rolling, interval training and rehydration. We’d lived and breathed running for the past twelve months and we wanted a break.

We decided that after our marathon we would throw a party, with cocktails and cake and general merriment. Many of the things that had been lacking from our lives for the previous year. We’d visited a couple of venues in which to hold our party and we’d fallen in love with one in particular. Unfortunately the venue fell through. Because of this, my friend was despondent and lost her party enthusiasm. She suggested that we sack off the party and just go out for a few drinks instead.

Now, I like a party VERY MUCH and I was not happy that the fabulous event I had envisaged was being turned into a run of the mill night out. No! I was completing a 26.2 mile marathon goddam it. I wanted recognition and, more importantly, I wanted cake.

So, using my trusty Google search skills, on 19 January 2011, because I wasn’t giving up without a fight, I found an alternative venue.

This Google search has incredible significance in my life. This Google search was momentous. Due to this Google search, in the words of the magnificent Jarvis Cocker, lead singer of Pulp; Something Changed.

This Google search took us to a little bar that we could hire out for a party and invite all our friends and family to attend. This little bar had an Assistant Manager who helped us to create ‘running themed’ cocktails and allowed us to bring along a mahossive cake for everyone to eat. As an aside, if you think it’s a really good idea to get a cake with a picture on; in our case, a picture of me and my fellow marathon buddy showcasing our medals at the end of the race, remember that someone has to eat a piece of cake with your face on. No-one wants to eat a piece of cake with your face on so after the party you’re left with a bit of cake with your faces on. It’s a very sad sight.

Most importantly, this Google search introduced me to this little bar’s Assistant Manager. His name was Brad.

Brad is now my husband.

19 January 2011’s Google search, I salute you.

The Grand Marathon Party

Colo[u]r me happy

Three years ago, List 34 was created. One year ago, I ticked “Participate in Colour Run” off the list but didn’t get a chance to write about it, I was just too damn busy with a minor life event. Fortunately, I enjoyed the run so much that I did it again yesterday so here’s the de-brief; a mere 8760 hours late…

The Color Run, with it’s dodgy American spelling, claims to be the “happiest 5k on the planet”. Until someone devises a run that incorporates cake eating, then I’m going to let the Color Run hold that title; it is an enjoyable and entertaining fun run. Everyone is smiling, there are participants of all ages and it has a great atmosphere. That said, on both occasions that I’ve run, it’s been a dry and relatively warm day. If it had been blowing a hoolie and chucking it down with rain I suspect that the experience would have been significantly less enjoyable and I may well have unexpectedly taken ill and been unable to participate.

At the beginning of the course is a hill. Last year, I was considerably fitter than I am this year. I had been running with a personal trainer on a regular basis and so I ran the whole 5k without hesitation. Last year, myself and a friend smugly whizzed past everyone who was walking up the hill, whilst yelling ‘eat my dust, suckers’*. This year, when two of my friends said that they would be walking the course, I didn’t argue and happily meandered up the hill whilst runners sped past me yelling ‘eat my dust, suckers’**.

*not actually out loud, just in my head

**not actually out loud, just in their heads

The colour stations are dotted throughout the course and involve volunteers, with slightly evil glints in their eyes, throwing coloured powder in your direction as you pass. However, I would recommend trying not to breathe too much as you run through the brightly coloured dust as it’s not the most fun breathing experience you’ll ever have. Inhaling the powder is a little unpleasant, but you might get an exciting bright purple bogie when you blow your nose later in the day, so it’s not all bad.

This year there was the addition of a foam station, a much more family friendly version of the 1990’s style nightclub foam party, without dance music or some creepy dude trying to surreptitiously touch you up through the foam. I should point out that at no point during my misspent youth did I actually go to a foam party.  I did once go to a custard pie throwing party which had similar principles but after a while everyone started to smell of sour milk and look a bit jaundiced so it didn’t catch on as a pastime.

The foam provides a lovely damp layer enabling the coloured powder to stick to you so I feel it was a positive addition to the course. You want to finish looking mucky and colourful otherwise just how happy can you possibly be?

Bring on Color Run 2018! (Weather conditions permitting).

Color Run – 2016:

Color Run – 2017

Lost: Dignity. If found: Return to nearest runner

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Running is not glamourous. When you run, you will generally experience sweating, chafing, sweating, heavy breathing, sweating, spitting, sweating, swearing, sweating, burping, sweating, farting and sweating.

Shall we start with the sweating? As the queen of yo-yo dieting, I have attempted a veritable array of exercise classes: aerobics, aquarobics, body pump, body tone, body sculpt, boxercise, dancercise, salsacise, hot yoga, cool yoga, just right yoga, none of which have made me sweat like running does.

Put it like this, rookie runners wear grey bottoms and it doesn’t take long before an accidental sideways glance in a shop window at the end of a run will have them converting to black faster than you can say “sweaty arse”. I didn’t even realise that my arse could sweat, let alone sweat in such abundance.

Another nasty side effect is, there’s no way to put this politely, wind. When you run, your body is basically bouncing up and down. Imagine that your body is a bottle of fizzy pop. When you shake the bottle of fizz: danger! So, when you shake your body: danger! Without doubt, from one end or other, wind will come out. If you see a runner look behind them surreptitiously for no good reason, I’ll bet good money that it’s because they are seeing if anyone is within hearing distance of a fart.

Until I became a runner, I would encounter runners whilst out and about and it didn’t occur to me to move out of their way when they headed in my direction. I thought “they’re running, they’re fit and active, they can move out of my way”. No, no, no, no, no. This is most definitely not the case, it is taking that runner every ounce of their strength to put one foot in front of each other and move forward in a straight line. When faced with an unexpected obstacle that involves changing direction, the runner is momentarily stunned. This feeling is closely followed by dismay. The runner has to summon up extra effort, take a few more steps and run around the obstruction when all they want to do is get home so that they can stop running.

Getting to the end of a run is the goal that every runner is aiming for, no matter what. I ran the Brighton Half Marathon in February 2011 and after about mile six I realised that I needed a wee, I thought I could carry on, I just wanted to finish the race. As time went on, my need for a wee became more urgent but there were no toilets on the part of the route that I was running and I just wanted to get to the end. If changing direction is difficult, then stopping, having a wee and starting to run again is a hundred times worse. A thought occurred to me: “I’m wearing black bottoms, I could just wee whilst running, no-one will ever know”.

And that is when I realised that I’d lost all dignity. If I was out shopping or at work, or sitting on a bus, nothing in a million years would possess me to contemplate wetting myself and yet, set me off in trainers and lycra and it seems like a serious option.

Oh and for the record, just in case you were worried…

…I didn’t.