Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

100-mile bike ride

Thursday, May 30th, 2019 | Life

My training for the Yorkshireman has been a bold one: I would spend the winter and spring building power and then the late spring and early summer bringing together the endurance side of things. That meant that if the endurance wasn’t coming together, I would probably find out too late to do anything about it. That suddenly felt very scary when we arrived in May.

Luckily, it has been coming together. I completed the long route of the Tour de Yorkshire earlier this month and on bank holiday Monday I set out with the vague idea of riding somewhere between 160-180km, or shorter if I wasn’t feeling it. That isn’t a great way to structure your training but I had a 100-mile sportive booked in for the weekend after, so I wasn’t too worried about getting the distance done.

I started by meeting Cat. We went for a tour around the World Triathlon Leeds bike course and had a lovely chat. After that, I headed up towards East Keswick, not really knowing where I was going: just setting out with a map and a pocket full of dreams.

I made great process heading out towards York which always makes me suspicious: if you are going faster than you expect, it is often because you are benefiting from a tailwind you haven’t noticed. As soon as I turned back I ended up hitting the ever-present headwind which made it much harder going.

My back was giving me all kind of grief and by the time I hade it to Otley, my legs were fed up. They cried every time we got near any kind of incline. I made it as far as Golden Acre Park before refilling my bidons with coke for some sugary caffeine energy. Finally, at the bottom of Kirkstall Road, I hit the 160km mark (100 miles).

Hyde Park Harriers Triathlon AGM

Monday, May 13th, 2019 | Life

Last week, I attended the Hyde Park Harriers Triathlon club AGM. It was super dull, even for an AGM. But at least we got this nice group picture.

Vue’s My First Cinema Experience teaches children how bad going to the cinema is

Thursday, April 25th, 2019 | Life

Looking for things to do over the Easter weekend, Elina found that View Cinemas were running a film called Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience. This seemed a great chance to introduce Venla to the cinema, although why we would want to do that I am not sure.

We purchased some refreshments before going in. I asked for a Coke, but all they had was cherry flavour, and what I was actually sold was a Coke Zero, without being asked to consent to the substitute product. This and some sweets was about £5.

We arrived when the film was due to start. We were the only people there. Eventually, two other families turned up, and one man who looked to be in his 50s who was alone. He was just a huge aficionado of Peppa Pig, I’m sure.

I foolishly thought that given it was a “first cinema experience”, they wouldn’t make young children sit through loads of adverts. But I was wrong. There were 19 minutes of them.

It turns out that an hour of Peppa Pig is too much Peppa Pig, even for a toddler who loves Peppa Pig.

And finally home, stopping by the toilets to admire the broken hand driers.

It’s hard to understand why cinemas are losing ground to iTunes and piracy. Why would I want to watch it on my large Apple TV with my Sonos soundbar and clean bathroom, when I can spend a morning watching adverts, dodging paedophiles and paying over-the-odds for substitute drinks?

Kitty Cafe

Monday, March 25th, 2019 | Life

To celebrate Elina’s birthday earlier this month, we went to Kitty Cafe.

It’s not like a normal cafe. You need to book in advance and you pay for a one hour slot. You then buy your food and drink on top of that. We both had pizza. It was equivalent to what you can buy from the supermarket and cook at home, which is the level I was expected. But you’re not really there for the food.

There were a bunch of cats. Sometimes we had to go on a hunt for them, and Venla enjoyed running around trying to spot them. None of them came over for a stroke or a play. But who could blame them when they’ve spent an entire day with children running around after them trying to wave string in their faces.

Calf tear

Thursday, January 31st, 2019 | Life

I’ve torn my calf muscle. This is probably the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone.

It’s frustrating because I haven’t been able to train for two weeks now. I got back in the pool to try and keep my fitness up but even that is uncomfortable. I’m literally on like week 6 of my #RoadToKona and I’m already having to take at least a couple of weeks off.

Luckily, I’m under the skilled care of Dr. Venla.

Yoga Hero

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019 | Life

After my PT described me as the “least flexible person she had ever met”, she talked me into giving yoga a go. As Yoga Hero is just across the water from the office of a client I am currently working with, I’ve been attending their beginner’s classes.

They know their audience. They have a special lunch flow class designed to avoid getting you sweaty, something I am sure colleagues will be pleased about.

They run two beginners classes a week. Monday’s class is taken by Sophie which is quite strength and stretchy. You come away feeling the burn. Friday’s class is taken by Anna. That’s a bit more focussed on the mental aspect of yoga and I find it a little more relaxing. Both are fun.

One thing I would like them to add is a double-slot class. Anna’s classes end with a relaxation session where you use a blanket, close your eyes and spend some time being mindful. I feel that would transition really nicely into an hour-long nap, and I would pay twice the money for it.

Cycling to the office

Monday, January 21st, 2019 | Life

Many of the clients I consult with are based around Leeds. And, where possible, I like to walk to their office. But sometimes it is just not practical because of time, or distance, or needing to get around multiple places.

The solution: cycling to their offices.

The timing is pretty poor. It’s cold and dark almost the whole time at the moment. But, if I can manage it now, it’s going to be far better in the summer.

New BACS scam targeting charities

Sunday, January 13th, 2019 | Life

As a charity trustee, I’m certainly no stranger to being targetted by dishonest people. Individuals regularly pay for their insurance or gym membership by setting up a Direct Debit using the charity’s bank details and companies never check; they just take the payment. It happens so much that we’ve had to disable Direct Debits on the account.

But I was, well, impressed is the wrong word, but certainly noted the attention to detail that a recent scam attempt had taken.

I received the following email:

Hi Chris and HNY,

How are you?

Can you arrange a payment today by bacs ? Let me know so i can send
you the Recipient details.

I look forward to getting a quick email respond.

Thanks!

Best regards.

Laurence Eccles and Dr Chris Hassall

I’m the current treasurer of West Yorkshire Humanists, and Laurence and Chris are the co-chairs of the group. So, this sounds like a legitimate email. But it’s from an anonymous gMail account, who had I responded, would have almost certainly asked me to pay a large amount of money to an account they control.

They have clearly targeted us individually, though, researching the name of the committee members and setting up the appropriate fake email.

2018 in review

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019 | Life

I started January with a poorly ankle, so, I did what any sensible person would do and bought new running shoes. We welcomed in the new year, enjoyed some blood pancakes, and I went through my first set of exams for my MSc. Worfolk Limited launched our first wearables app.

There were duathlons a plenty in February, with races in Middleton and Bramley Baths. I set a PB at Parkrun #143. Nick turned 40 and Auntie Doreen turned 90. The Eagles beat The Patrics in Superbowl LII and we watched the Winter Olympics from Korea.

I launched two online courses in March: one on Heroku and one on sport psychology. To celebrate Elina turning 30 we went to Flamingo Land, where it turned out we were the only people there. Mostly due to the Beast from the East. We dined at the Star Inn, too. The world said goodbye to Stephen Hawking. I raced the Canal Canter half marathon and York-Leeds-York sportive.

There was plenty of sport going on in April, too. I set a new PB at Parkrun #148 and attended the first ever Middleton Woods Parkrun. I raced the Bramley Baths triathlon (this time outside) and did my first sprint distance race at Skipton. Venla was firmly up-and-running by this point, too.

I spent a lot of May cycling, completing the Up North Yorkshire sportive and the Tour de Yorkshire. We even had chance to watch the pros finish. Chris Froome won a spectacular Giro d’Italia to become only the third man ever to hold all three grand tour titles simultaneously. I went sub-23 for the first time at Parkrun #153. completed my first my first open water triathlon, the Evolve sprint, and my first standard distance at Wetherby. Tesco caved in to my campaign to remove best before dates and I began recruiting for my dissertation.

It was a sport-heavy month in June, too. I rode 106 km in the Flat n Fast 100, and completed the Evolve Quarter and World Series Leeds triathlons. I ran Rothwell Parkrun for the first time. We finished our much-enjoyed Chinese month and our friends Chris & Cara tied the knot. I launched two new courses: Running For Beginners and Digital Marketing for Restaurants.

The big news in July was Leeds Anxiety Clinic opening its doors. We took Venla to Finland for the first time, to attend Henry & Jonna’s wedding. Back home, the Humanist summer socials kicked off and we had the annual Finnish picnic. Geraint Thomas won the Tour de France and football almost came home as England made to the semi-final of the World Cup, even winning a penalty shoot-out. I completed the Allerthorpe sprint triathlon.

Worfolk Anxiety launched its #ThisIsNormalLife campaign in August. There was Pride Parkrun and Allerthorpe Classic triathlon. I began marathon training in earnest. New research suggested alcohol may be bad for you after all and Facebook banned blogging. I launched another two courses: Triathlon For Beginners and Resilient Running.

If you’re sick of hearing about triathlon, you might want to skip September. I completed my first middle distance race and finished the year off with Nidderdale sprint. I set a new PB at Parkrun #169 and completed a full-distance marathon training run. And, after 21 months of waiting, my Parkrun 100 t-shirt finally arrived. Vicky Holland became triathlon world champion, Simon Yates won the Vuelta a España and Eliud Kipchoge set a new marathon world record in Berlin. Michelle moved back to Leeds. Most importantly of all, I finally turned in my dissertation.

There was no triathlon in October, apart from the Ironman world championship. There was lots of running, though. I ran Armley Parkrun for the first time and set a new half marathon training PB. I completed the Yorkshire Marathon in under four hours and, two weeks later, completed the Hubble Hubble ultramaraton. I had a birthday and so did Venla.

By November I was ready for a break. So, aside from completing the Abbey Dash with my family and trying out the new Potternewton Parkrun, I took it easy. There was plenty of work going on, anyway: Leeds Anxiety Clinic held its first public talk, I launched my first cycling app and a brand new course, Mental Health Ambassador training. The best news of the month, though, was learning that I had earned a distinction in my MSc.

Finally, in December, I launched one more new course: Digital Marketing for Therapists. There was plenty of family time as my sister turned 30 and we celebrated Christmas. This year’s ham was a family record of 8.67 kg. Temple Newsam held its 300th Parkrun and I rounded out the year by riding the Festive Fifty with Bogdan.

2018: A good year for fitness

Monday, December 31st, 2018 | Life, Sport

It’s been a great year for my personal fitness. I’ve always considered myself reasonably fit anyway, but this year I made an extra effort to take it to the next level. I had three goals at the start of the year:

  • Run a sub-2-hour half marathon
  • Complete a standard distance triathlon
  • Run a marathon

I could have knocked one of the goals off within the first week of January as I was registered for the Sir Titus Trot half marathon. Unfortunately, I picked up a nagging injury in November that didn’t disappear, so I had to do the sensible thing and sit it out.

No worries, as in March I ran a 1:52:24 at the Leeds Liverpool Canal Canter. I also accidentally ran a much faster 1:45:25 in training in October.

Next on the list was a triathlon. I knocked my first race off in April with Skipton, but that was only a sprint. My first standard distance was Wetherby, closely followed by World Series Leeds.

Finally, the marathon. I completed my first marathon-length run in September, and still can’t really work out whether that counts or not. But, in any case, I completed the Yorkshire Marathon three weeks later. Sub-4 hours you say? Why yes, yes I did.

So, all three goals knocked off. But wait, there’s more…

I originally told myself I would stick to those and look at longer events, like a middle distance triathlon and ultra-marathon in 2019. But, having the flexibly to train while I completed my MSc proved too alluring.

In September, I completed my first middle distance (half Ironman) triathlon when I raced Sundowner, finishing comfortably within seven hours, and well before the eight-hour cut-off.

And, two weeks after the Yorkshire Marathon, I completed the Hubble Bubble ultramarathon. Mostly because the idea of going through another marathon training programme did not seem too appealing when I could piggyback of the training I was already doing for the Yorkshire Marathon.

What will 2019 bring?

Probably some more middle distance triathlon. But I’m waiting for the club calendar to come out before I decide. I’ve already signed up for Leeds and Skipton. And my 10km PB is currently the run segment at Wetherby Triathlon so it would be nice to move the chains on that. But, at the moment, I’m enjoying some time off.