Archive for April, 2024

Donabate parkrun

Sunday, April 28th, 2024 | Sport

Donabate parkrun takes place at Newbridge House & Farm. It’s a beautiful country house and the drive in passes a ruined tower, plenty of trees and open grass. The house looks lovely from the front (see below) but not quite as nice from the side (see above).

The run is one large lap and then one shorter lap so you don’t repeat too much. There is a nice cafe for on-site snacks after the run, too.

Be Useful

Saturday, April 27th, 2024 | Books

Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life is an inspiration-style self-help book by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is part auto-biography with each rule taken from his life and illustrated by the success it brought him.

The rules are typical for what you would expect in this kind of book: set a vision and work your arse off to get it. But Schwarzenegger places an emphasis on humility and listening, documenting his failures as much as his successes. For example, he hates the term “self-made man” because it ignores all of the people who helped him.

There is a dichotomy in the message. You have to ignore the nay-sayers. But you also have to work together and build consensus with others.

People without vision are threaten by those who have it

It is written in a very conversational style, or at least read this way. Schwarzenegger narrates the audiobook and it is peppered with jokes, apologies if his dog makes any noise and a sense of wonder at some of the amazing people’s stories he uses in the book.

I did take exception when he talked about Reg Park coming from a “small industrial town” in the north of England. Reg Park came from Leeds. It is the second biggest city in the sixth largest economy in the world. And we didn’t even get a name-drop 😆.

Counselling Adolescents: The Proactive Approach

Friday, April 26th, 2024 | Books

Counselling Adolescents: The Proactive Approach is a textbook on youth counselling by Geldard & Geldard. It’s one of the classic textbooks on counselling young people.

It’s an interegrative counselling philosophy. There are bits of SFBT, Person-Centred, Transactional Analysis, psychodynamic and behavioural approaches in here. It’s also a little dated but not out-of-date. That said, I didn’t find it quite as useful as many of my colleagues have.

River Valley parkrun

Thursday, April 25th, 2024 | Sport

Last weekend I went to River Valley parkrun. It is a lovely course: two laps of the park including running along thw stream in the middle of the park. There is a hill but it is nothing compared to Temple Newsam.

I hadn’t run since Westport marathon so I was pretty pleased to be just over 26 minutes. This one takes me to 348, so only two to go until the next unofficial milestone. I did get sunburnt, though! It hasn’t stopped raining since October and at 9:30 am I managed to catch the sun.

Sean Conway talk

Wednesday, April 24th, 2024 | Distractions

Sean Conway is an ultra-endurance athlete. But he is also a pretty normal guy. Until 30 he was a photographer before deciding his life as boring and quitting to do cool stuff. He cycled around the world, completed a triathlon along the entire British coastline and last year set the world record when he completed 105 full distance triathlons in 105 days.

The talk was him telling his life story which was highly entertaining. Plus I got a signed book.

If you like following this kind of thing, Sean said Jonas Deichmann is going for 120 triathlons this year. Sean and Jonas have been friends since Sean took the self-supported cycling across Europe record off Jonas: some friendly competition going on at the moment!

TCD Olympic and Paralympic exhibition

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024 | Distractions

It’s less than 100 days until Paris! TCD put on a small exhibition last week and had some cool stuff: Olympic torches, kit, medals and display boards on famous athletes.


Monday, April 22nd, 2024 | Travel

We went to Westport last weekend. It wasn’t the stunning success we hoped for.

The idea was to get there in plenty of time and have some exploring time on Friday. But it took 5.5 hours to drive across the country meaning we were not there until late and was late to bed.

In the morning I did the marathon and recorded my first run DNF. I wasn’t in a great state by the time I got back I had a shower, changed and went down to collect my bag. But then we got hit by another rain storm and got soaked again.

We went to the beach on Sunday but it was freezing. Then we headed over to Croagh Patrick for a little walk in the foothills but when we got there the car park didn’t accept card or mobile payments so we couldn’t pay. And then the rain started again and properly lashed it down.

There were some highlights, though: Westport itself is a nice place with plenty of bars and restaurants and we had some good meals in The Wyatt, Servd and Woodfire.

Westport marathon

Sunday, April 21st, 2024 | Sport

I booked this race a while ago as a chance to take a trip to Ireland’s west coast. Then I picked up an injury and haven’t run much for the past two months. Still, I was armed with some good distance in me and sign-off to run from two physios. I actually suggested I should skip it but they said it would be fine: must be the first time a phyio has talked a runner into running!

The race starts in the quay and takes in a two laps of the green way before heading out along the coast road. The course is described as having some hills but probably nothing that counts as a hill in Yorkshire. There was sunshine before the race. But then the gun went and the rain arrived. It rained a lot for the first hour and it was real stinging rain pelting you in the face.

The rain wasn’t the worst of it, though. I couldn’t shake the feeling that my ankle would give out at any moment andI would be stranded. I knew that was ridicious but it kept distracting me and no amount of psychological tools was shifting the feeling. I tried to keep going as long as I could, which took me through the half way point, but with another 7k to go until the turnaround to come back into town I decided it was too much and called it a day. A big thank you to the marshal and Kevin for giving me a lift back.

It was disappointing as I don’t think I have ever had to DNF on a run before but I live to fight another day.

Triathlon For Beginners reaches 100,000 members

Tuesday, April 9th, 2024 | News

In 2018, I launched my course Triathlon For Beginners and subsequently set up a Facebook group to facilitate peer support. Six years later and I am pleased to announce the group has now hit 100,000 members.

My Running For Beginners group did the same in January.

I have some battle stories from what spammers will try in a group that size 😆. But it has been wonderful to watch so many people sharing stories, encouragement and support.

Royal Canal parkrun

Sunday, April 7th, 2024 | Sport

With Storm Kathleen sweeping over our islands I wasn’t sure what parkruns would be on. There was a nervous wait from 8:00 to 8:30 as I refreshed all of the Facebook pages hoping to see someone would confirm their parkrun was on. Royal Canal parkrun were the first to confirm so was delighted to join them.

The course is an out-and-back that starts from the town centre. It is pan-flat with no locks on the course. I set off thinking I would not be able to match last week’s time, especially as there would be more of a headwind coming back. But as it happens, I managed to set another walking PB of:


It was my first visit to Kilcock and it looks like a beautiful place.