Chris Worfolk's Blog


2017 in pictures

January 12th, 2018 | Photos

Venla is officially given a name at her naming ceremony.

It was a good year for running including 24 minutes of my time at the Leeds Half Marathon and a sub-50 Abbey Dash.

West Yorkshire Humanists celebrates it’s 50th anniversary.

Riitta visits her granddaughter (and us, of course).

The family comes together to celebrate my Gran’s 90th birthday.

Hugh & Anna get married.

Dinner under the sky to celebrate 100 years of Finland’s independence.

Back in a lecture theatre as I returned to university.

Venla celebrates her first birthday.

Night photography course my sister bought me.

At the finish line of the Braham dualthon, one of three I did in 2017.

The 8th annual Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelters.

Running shoes

January 11th, 2018 | Sport

Back in August, I wrote about how I had to finally retire my Nike Air Retaliate 2 running trainers with a pair of Nike Air Zoom Elite 8s.

They have served me in the short term. I went sub-50 in the 2017 Abbey Dash, for example, and have set a bunch of personal bests at Parkrun.

However, they’re also just a bit too small. They cram my toes in a little too much and this, I think, is contributing to blistering on longer runs. So, after five months of being in denial about the size issue, I decided I had to face up to it and start another journey of trying to find some running shoes.

I started at Up & Running, who put me on a treadmill and pronounced my an overpronator. This may well be true, although it’s not really a problem I have noticed. And seemed to miss the problem that I came in with. They sold me a pair of Aiscs GT 2000s.

I did not get on with these. So, I took them back and traded them for a pair of Saucony Guide ISOs.

These were definitely better. But still not perfect. The toe guard cut into the top of my foot. And with a £120 price tag, I felt that something I didn’t like as much as my Nikes probably wasn’t a keeper. So, I went to the old reliable Nike Factory Shop and to see what they had to offer. I came away with a pair of Nike Vomeros.

Unfortunately, at this point, I strained a ligament in my ankle so I couldn’t run for a week or two. My kitchen table looked like a shoe shop for a week until I could test them all out. After much thought, including trying every combination on the treadmill with one shoe on my right foot and one on my left, I decided not of them were right.

The Vomeros are Nike’s heavily cushioned shoe and that was annoying the hell out of me. So, I took them all back.

I had past Up & Running’s two-week return window, but they were kind enough to take them back anyway. So, I now think they are lovely people.

After all of this, I went down to the Nike Outlet Store at Junction 32. An outlet store is different to a factory store. How you may ask? The Factory Store has lots of stock of the latest models. The Outlet Store has a wider but far more random collection of stuff. And all of the shoe box lids are ripped off.

This is the end game of capitalism: do you want to pay £20 more for your trainers to get a shoe box lid? I really like the orange shoe boxes. In the end, the Yorkshireman got the better of me and I decided that no, I didn’t want to pay £20 for the shoe box. I came away with a pair of Nike Air Zoom Spans.

These have some cushioning in, which will be better for the longer runs. But, more importantly, it is pretty stiff as cushioning goes. Therefore, I’m hoping I can tolerate it because you still get a responsive ride.

They also have more support than my Zoom Elites, and Solereview.com said it was comparable to the Saucony Guides, so if I do need a bit more support than I was getting, hopefully, these will provide it.

Festive Fifty

January 10th, 2018 | Sport

On New Year’s Eve, I took part in my first sportive. It was a 50km spin around Selby to raise money for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fun based at the LGI. Several hundred people turned out for it and the event raised £2,000.

As my first sportive, I didn’t really know what to expect. The race HQ was Squire’s Biker Cafe. It’s basically a pub with food options and seemingly unlimited parking. Both the pub and the organisers, Sportive HQ, did a great job in running everything. It was clear what was going on, there were no big cues and everything ran smoothly.

Plus, the photos they took were available for free. In contrast, you often pay £20-30 at events like Run For All (well, I don’t pay that, obviously, because I’m from Yorkshire).

I made great progress for the first 35km, averaging 24.6kmph. My theories that I was much faster on quiet roads than I was on the canal or the endless traffic lights of inner Leeds was all coming true.

However, for the final 15km, as we headed back to complete the loop, it became clear why I was making such great time: a big headwind, which had presumably been a tailwind on the way out. In the end, my pace clocked in at 22.1kmph, a full .4kmph below where I need to be for triathlon.

It makes you realise just how easy they have it when riding in the peloton in the Tour de France and makes what Thomas De Gendt does even more impossible.

I enjoyed the group riding. My friend Bogdan was riding it, too, and having caught me up at the feed station we rode back together.

I’m looking forward to doing more. Especially once it warms up so that I can take my hat off. I think I lost a few kilometres per hour by having the world’s tallest head.

New Year’s Eve 2017

January 9th, 2018 | Friends

We rang in the new year with our customary house party. Our 10th annual one, as it happens.

I don’t have a group picture this year. I didn’t have one for the Manchester trip, either. All of this living in the moment nonsense is really damaging the quality of my blog. I knew that trying to enjoy life was going to end badly, one way or another.

This year, the three of us were joined by Norman, Chris, Cara, Lauren, Gabriele, Tim and Kearny.

Last year, we made a series of predictions for the year ahead. Most of them we were incorrect about. But a good ones: there was a general election (Cara) and the Patriots did win the Super Bowl (Norman). We’ve now made a fresh set for 2018.

Venla’s second Christmas

January 8th, 2018 | Family & Parenting

Last year we bought a Christmas ham the same size as Venla.

This year, that proved impossible. We went to Makro to buy the biggest ham we could, but they topped out at 6kg. Venla now weighs 11kg, so we’re not even close. That is probably for the best, though. It takes us a full week to eat through 6kg of gammon.

We outdid ourselves with toilet rolls, too.

There was a big difference in Venla between her birthday two months ago, and Christmas. She wasn’t that interested in unwrapping at her birthday but now she delights in it.

Trip to Manchester

January 7th, 2018 | Friends

On the last Saturday of 2017, we headed over to Manchester to see Michelle. She was stopping there on her way back to China. I don’t have a photo from the event, so here is a stock image.

It went well. The trains ran on time and Venla was reasonably well behaved. She had a lot of fun shuffling around Manchester Piccadilly station but was not a happy baby when I told her shuffling time was over.

Most of all, it’s nice to spend time with old friends and that while life circumstances and locations may change, the things you love about each other never do.

We had lunch at a place called LEAF. It was very good; recommended if you’re in the area.

2017 in review

January 6th, 2018 | Life

In, January I set out to make 2017 my year of marketing. Have I learnt it? Well, I’ve definitely learnt a lot. But there is always more to know. January was also “book launch” month. I released Why Restaurants Fail and How to Exit VIM, which, despite both being short books, would turn out to be my most popular. Our friends Craig & Zoe welcomed Holly into the world.

Valentine’s Day is tricky when you have a baby, so February was not all it could have been. As if it wasn’t already bad enough that I had had to trade down my guitar amp. The Patriots won the Super Bowl and I launched a new version of my website.

The excitement of our domestic lives increased significantly in March when we bought a stick blender. It proved very useful for Malaysian month. In business, I launched the IT Career Acceleration course and launched the WAM online store, built with Stripe and React. Venla had her naming ceremony.

I published yet another book in April. This time it was the Human Baby Cookbook. I also discovered that costermonger is a real thing and made it to the Division E final in the public speaking world championships. In business, I launched one of my courses on Udemy. Most of my time, though, was taken up running my 30-Day Anxiety Challenge for WAM subscribers.

Everyone knows that May is all about Eurovision. Portugal won for the first time. We discovered chanterelles in Pateley Bridge and said goodbye to Ho’s Chinese. On the back of my 30-Day Challenge, I launched my 4th book of 2017, Do More, Worry Less. And knocked a respectable 24 minutes off my half marathon time. Anxiety Leeds pitched at Leeds SOUP.

In June, Venla had her first trip to the beach and started learning the xylophone. We celebated Kerny’s first birthday and had a changing of the guard at West Yorkshire Humanists as Moz stepped down as chair and we celebrated 50 years of the group’s existence. Food was tasty but small due to canape month. I wrote half a million words in one week (according to Grammarly).

It was a good foodie month in July with hand-rolled truffles and MasterChef-inspired dishes. We attended the annual Finnish picnic and celebated Higgs Day. I ran an okay-ish time in the Leeds 10k and launched my Mindfulness for Anxiety course.

Things got technical in August, with a focus on accessibility and mobile-first navigation. We celebrated Leeds Pride and Anxiety Leeds published its first impact report. It was also a month crammed with sport: inspired by the Tour de France we got on bikes for the first time in decades. We went swimming. And I traded in my Air Retaliation 2s for new trainers and brought my Parkrun PB down to 25:06. We celebated Gran’s 90th birthday and Finland turning 100. Riitta came to visit and Hugh and Anna got married.

In September I helped the NHS launch their new homepage before heading back to university. We bought bikes and went to City Ride and ran the Kirkstall Abbey 7. I made a very early exit in the Toastmasters speech contest.

Richard Thaler collected a long-overdue Nobel prize in October. We celebated our second wedding anniversary and Venla’s first birthday. I also celebrated my birthday, just after squeezing in last year’s birthday present. I ran the Yorkshire 10 Mile in under 90 minutes and moved my Parkrun PB down to 24:37.

I declared that November would be a month of action for my business and it was. I published two books: a book version of the IT Contracting Master Class course and Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy. I published my course Mindfulness for Social Anxiety and made Running For Anxiety available to the public. I went to my first business networking event, WapenTalkie. Outside of work, I went sub-50 in the Abbey Dash, completed my first duathlon (and my second and continued training on the bike.

Finally, in December we celebrated the festive season. It wasn’t quite a white Christmas, but it did snow. Venla mastered the art of standing up and climbing and we celebrated Finland’s independence day. Elina became an auntie for the second time. We held the 8th annual Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelters. I placed 9th in the Braham pie-athalon: a dualthon where you had to scoff a mince pie at each transition, and completed my first sportive.

Sport Psychology

January 3rd, 2018 | Books

With a rather long full title of Handbook of Sports Medicine and Science, Sport Psychology (Olympic Handbook Of Sports Medicine), this textbook provides an introduction to the major issue in sport psychology.

It’s a really well put together book. It covers each area in short and to-the-point chapters. The whole thing is just over 100 pages and gives you a brief but comprehensive introduction to the areas.

What it’s missing are the details on some of the interventions. It talks about confidence, mental preparation and focus. And explains what these areas are. But then it goes on to say “imagery is useful for this” without going into any detail about what exactly imagery is.

Overall, though, this is a great introduction to the subject.

Our Korean Kitchen

December 31st, 2017 | Books, Food

Our Korean Kitchen is a cookbook by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo.

It sounds exciting, but honestly, it’s not. I just can’t make much from this book. Everything is too difficult.

There is always a question of authenticity vs practicality. Some people may have preferences either way. Mine is probably towards the latter. I want to make stuff from a cookbook. If that means dumping it down for British people, I’m for that.

The recipes I did manage were total winners. The bulgogi is delicious. Elina loves the warming chicken and potato stew. But I’m not sure where to go after that. Have you tried making your own kimchi? It’s not straightforward.

I thought I had really put the effort in after I spent an hour in the international supermarket chasing down gochugaru paste, kimchi sauce, muli and half a dozen other ingredients. But it wasn’t enough.

If you are someone with a lot of determination, you can probably get a lot out of this book. But if, like me, you are time limited and not entirely sure how to use doen-jang soybean paste, you might struggle with this book.

Beef wellington

December 30th, 2017 | Food

I tried my hand at a beef wellington. It looks more like a sausage roll, largely due to me using pre-cut fillet steak, rather than an entire fillet. At £30 a pop for one, I think I’ll live with the shape.