Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Volunteering in Ballymun

Monday, January 23rd, 2023 | Life

I’ve been volunteering with the mental health primary care team in Ballymun. It is very much a working class area and between waiting lists already being long for psychology, and COVID, it is good to get stuck into some positive work. It is a challenging environment to operate in because the HSE is incapable of organising anything but otherwise enjoyable.

2022 in review

Sunday, January 1st, 2023 | Life

After seeing out 2021 in style nothing much happened in January. I was rehabbing my broken ankle, and did some further training with AAT and British Triathlon.

I got back to running in February Not before the Grim Leodis, though, which I managed to walk in under three hours. I also made it ack in time for the final PECO. I also had the chance to run several triathlon workshops including a track day and a front crawl fundamentals workshop. I launched my meditation teacher course and Leeds Anxiety Clinic launched its YouTube channel. Matthew Stafford finally won a Super Bowl.

Nothing much happened again in March. I completed the Ven-Top route on Zwift, that’s how slow the month was. But there were lots of things going on behind the scenes as later months will reveal. I did launch my Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy course.

I got back to serious running in April, coming third at the Roche Abbey 32k. Bogdan and I got back to cycling too with the Tadcaster 100k. The previous few months paid off when I completed by British Triathlon Level 2 coaching course.

The ankle rehab was really paying off by May when I got back to ultra running at Around The Park, Around The Clock 60k. I also ran 73k at God’s Own Backyard Ultra before having to drop out due to a Eurovision party I was hosting. Speaking of which, we only bloody came second! Turns out wasn’t political voting after all, just the shit songs we’ve been sending for twenty years. Other sport included the Big Fat Bike Ride, Tadcaster Triathlon and the Keswick Mountain Festival were I learnt what proper Lake District trail running is like! I also unlocked the Zwift Concept bike and updated my first aid training. Plus a bit of social time to catch up with Norm, Katie and Calum.

Another “this is why the winter months were empty” moment happed in June whe I completed my AAT level 2 accounting qualification. We took a family trip to Wales for Llaberis SwimRun. It was so cold! Much warmer at the last ever World Triathlon Leeds (9 seconds faster than 2021!) and the Wuthering Heights Wander where I took second place. Meanwhile, Kristian Blummenfelt and Kat Matthews were breaking records at the Sub7 / Sub8. I launched my Professional Ethics course.

I took on one of my big races of the year in July: the 36k Man Vs Coast around the Cornish coastal path. I also managed to slip in Round Sheffield Run, The Gaunlet at Castle Howard and my second swimrun at Manvers Lake. Elina and I spent a few days in Penzance. After nine years, Anxiety Leeds closed. I would like to thank all of those attended, volunteered and supported us over the years. My new book, Triathlon For Beginners, was published.

I achieved a major milestone in August when I completed IRONMAN Copenhagen after three years of waiting. We spent a week In Denmark, taking in the sights, Faelledparken parkrun and the IRONKIDS race. I also managed to fit triathlons in at York and Sunderland. England women’s team made history by winning Euro 2022.

The news in September was dominated by the passing of Queen Elizabeth II while we upped sticks and set sail for Dublin. That was no excuse to miss the end of the triathlon season, though, and I managed to squeeze one in at Naas. I also completed Ullswater SUPBIKERUN in the Lake District and looked great in my new Trinity College hoodie.

We were homeless for most of October which was great for parkrun touristing but bad for having a life. I did manage to run the Howth Summit 10k and launch my Transactional Analysis course.

We took our first trip to Northern Ireland in November to run the Tollymore marathon among the stunning Mourne Mountains. I also completed the Clontarf half marathon. My parents came to visit, and we did parkrun, of course. I launched my Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course.

England put in a solid performance at the World Cup in December as did Venla setting a new PB at junior parkrun. We sailed back to Leeds and I completed the Chevin Chase for the first time.

Swimming lakes

Saturday, December 31st, 2022 | Life

Since I took up triathlon, I have swum in a range of lakes. I’ve tried to list them below with my favourite ones at the top and getting “less favourite” down towards the bottom. I haven’t included sea swims (but in summary Redcar and Sunderland were cold, Weymouth and St Ives were nice) but I have included rivers. Also, I haven’t included lake swims in Finland which are lovely but I’ve never done a “proper” swim there.

Roundhay Park

It’s lovely. Deep. Not too hot or too cold. The water is relatively clear. It is free of plant life. Just watch out for the swans.

Windermere

The scenery is the most beautiful of any lake I’ve swum in. Great if you’re doing heads-up breaststroke. If you’re not, well, you’re just looking at the water. And that water gets distributed by other lake users, i.e. boats, otherwise, it would probably have the top spot.

Llyn Padarn

Another lake with beautiful scenery. Freezing cold though, even in a heatwave. And the slippery slate makes getting in and out difficult.

Blue Lagoon

You have to love the Blue Lagoon just for Bev & Morg alone. It is a bit murky, though, and sometimes difficult to see when you’re about to hit a shallow bit.

Leeds Dock

Despite what you might think, it is a lovely place to swim. The water feels fresh. It is cold, though.

Allerthorpe

So shallow you can walk half of the swim course. It is also too small when once you put several hundred triathletes in there. Warms up well, though, and lakes plant life.

Ripon race course

Clear water. So weedy, though. Unbelievably weedy. Some of the swim is literally grabbing handfuls of weeds and pulling yourself along.

Bowers Lake

Also known as Caroline’ Lake at RSPB St Aiden’s, it has a lot of reeds but once you get out into the centre it is not too bad.

River Ure

I did my first full-distance triathlon here which was traumatic but not because of the water quality. That said, there was a hidden concrete block or wooden post or something that I kicked and it really hurt my foot.

Thoresby Hall

Outlaw X said they had cut a path through the weeds. If they had, it was impossible to tell.

Holme Pierrepont rowing course

Weedy, but also just a rowing lake and therefore incredibly boring.

Castle Howard

Shallow, even after you have sunk through the half a metre of mud underfoot. This also makes the water super-muddy. And there is a lot of plant life floating around on the surface.

Manvers Lake

Shallow, weedy, muddy. It has everything you don’t want in a lake.

River Wharfe

After completing Wetherby Triathlon I was throwing my guts up and by all accounts, I wasn’t the only one. Which is a shame because it wasn’t too cold.

Trinity College

Tuesday, September 20th, 2022 | Life

Look at this handsome gentleman.

IRONKIDS

Saturday, August 27th, 2022 | Life

Alongside the main event, IRONMAN Copenhagen run a 4-18-4 sprint triathlon and a children’s event named IRONKIDS.

The distance varies by age with under threes doing 300m (often carried by parents), 3-6-year-olds do 600m and the over 6s do 1k. It’s a pretty tame affair compared to the 2k Venla runs at junior parkrun but she was keen to take part.

Registration didn’t really work. We turned up at 10:30 for an 11:00 start and joined the queue. It didn’t move much and got longer and longer behind us. By 11, they gave up and just started spraying bib numbers and safety pins at everyone.

The event itself was a little more organised. They had a fun warm-up before the run started. The course was an out-and-back followed by a loop around the building to the finish arch. It was a nice touch having an inflatable IRONKIDS-branded finish line.

The pit-and-back went well but the loop of the building was carnage. There was a municipal maintainable vehicle parked on the course. One kid fell over and then half a dozen others tripped over him, going down like a pro peloton crash. Luckily, we were behind and managed to dodge it all.

Every child got a medal and a drawstring bag that Venla did not let go of for the rest of the holiday.

Penzance

Friday, July 8th, 2022 | Life

Elina and I spent a few days down in Penzance. It was a chance for a little getaway while Venla had a sleepover at the grandparents, albeit one where I went racing in the middle. It is a long drive but luckily we avoided any queues so we made it down there and back in about eight hours each way.

The weather was nice, too. We spent the first day on Porthminster Beach and did some standup paddleboarding and sea swimming. The lifeguards said the water was 13 degrees but it was a very warm 13: I was a little cold when I started swimming but warmed up within a few minutes. The water was super clear and I could see all of the crabs scuttling about below. It made the bottom look really close which was unnerving when paddleboarding, but it was much deeper than it seemed.

Day two was Man Vs Coast.

Day three started with us going back to the beach. The wind was stronger today and I struggled to get stood up on the paddleboard, but it was still fun. After that, we headed over to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary to see some seals, sea lions, penguins and goats.

AAT level 2

Saturday, June 18th, 2022 | Life

My certificate has arrived. It turned up damaged unfortunately but not badly enough that it’s worth my time doing anything about.

Triathlon first aid

Friday, May 20th, 2022 | Life

Earlier this month, four of the coaches from our club headed over to Huddersfield for a triathlon first aid course.

The one-day courses are a mixed bag. They concentrate on life-saving conditions such as cardiac arrest and anaphylaxis, and it makes sense to do this because those are the things that will kill someone. At the same time, the things I run into as a coach is people falling over and small wounds, which get very little time.

The instructor was very knowledgeable and an engaging teacher so that made the day a whole lot more fun.

British Triathlon Level 2

Sunday, April 24th, 2022 | Life

My certificate is here! In my next life, I’m going to train with a triathlon federation that either delivers coaching courses in the summer or is located in a warmer climate.

Running d-day

Tuesday, February 8th, 2022 | Life

I can run again. Hurray!