Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

NaNoWriMo 2023 update

Friday, December 1st, 2023 | Life

I spent November writing my second novel as part of NaNoWriMo 2023. The good news is: I made it!

I aimed for 2,000 words most days so I finished with a couple of days to spare.

I managed to get every badge but one. Alas, to hit the final badge you have to stay ahead of par every day (1,667 words) and due to a slow start and faster finish I didn’t quite make that. But it is also a complete set.

Lots of fun and lovely to meet other people at the weekly local writing meetups. I am also looking forward to waking up tomorrow and not having to write anything, though! It’s nice to have the pressure off.

NaNoWriMo 2023

Thursday, November 23rd, 2023 | Life

I’ve been really down recently and I needed something to pick me out of it so I decided, on 31 October, that I would do NaNoWriMo: the national novel writing month challenge where you have to try and write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

I did it in 2015 which produced my first novel Summer on the Horizon. I’m on track to finish this one, too, which is a fantasy adventure set on the Luas.

What has really made this year special is that we have been having a Sunday meetup where other people doing the challenge come together. We do 30 minutes of socialising then 30 minutes of writing and repeat all of that to make a two-hour session. It has been a lovely opportunity to meet new people, encourage each other and have some nice cake.

Yoga Lab

Wednesday, October 11th, 2023 | Life

It’s been a while since I’ve done much in-person yoga but I’ve finally found a new yoga studio I like: Yoga Lab. They do gentle flow classes which are great because they are relaxing but also have a sufficient level of challenge that we’re not doing nothing.

Tour de France 2023

Thursday, August 24th, 2023 | Life

What a fall from grace in the Ed Ops fantasy league. After my victory at the Giro I was promptly spat out of the back at Le Tour when one of my GC riders, Carapaz, didn’t make it through stage one. My sprinter pick was with my heart, Cav, which wasn’t a terrible pick but alas, he didn’t make it to Paris. So, despite having Vingegaard, Kuss and three other Jumbo-Visma riders, I never got back into the pack. Better luck next year!

Shoe-long to my trainers

Monday, July 24th, 2023 | Life

It’s not just my car that recently left us after many years of faithful service. Two pairs of my trainers have ripped between the sole and the upper.

My Brooks Launch are my every day shoe. I don’t know how far I have walked in them but somewhere in the range of 2,000 kilometres seems plausible. My Hoka Bondi X are my easy miles running shoe. They managed a respectable 1,290 kilometres of running before retirement.

Goodbye to my beautiful Astra

Monday, June 26th, 2023 | Life

After 15 years together, I have parted ways with my Vauxhall Astra.

It has been a wonderful car. It was already a second-hand car when I bought it but never cost me a fortune to repair and consistently passed its MOT. The rust is finally getting to it, though, and so it was finally time to say goodbye.

I will announce the details of the wake shortly.

Course audit

Sunday, February 19th, 2023 | Life

Every year, I do an audit of the courses I teach to bring them all up-to-date. This year’s audit was bigger, though. I made significant updates to social psychology, person-centred counselling, cognitive psychology, CBT for social anxiety, and large updates to many other courses resulting in around 172 new lessons.

This has been my main focus since finishing the gestalt course around six weeks and it’s been exhausting. So, I’m looking forward to taking it a little easier until at least tomorrow!

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.


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.


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.