Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

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.

Christmas ham

Friday, December 28th, 2018 | Food, Life

We’ve outdone ourselves this year. Usually, when we make our annual pilgrimage to buy the Christmas ham, they top out at about 6kg. But, this year, we found them all of the way up to 9kg.

We weren’t sure 9kg would fit in the oven. Or in the fridge. So, we went for a conservative 8.67kg ham. Which still beats our record by over two kilograms. Venla seemed pretty pleased with it.

Mindful Ride Garmin app

Thursday, November 29th, 2018 | Life

In January, Worfolk Limited launch our first Garmin app: Mindful Moments. It gives you timely mindfulness reminders on your watch. Today, we’re pleased to announce our brand new app for bike computers: Mindful Ride.

It’s a widget compatible with the Garmin Edge 1030 models. Once installed, simply pull down on the home screen to reveal the widgets and swipe until you find Mindful Ride. It delivers a short mindfulness instruction every 30 seconds.

Simple, but effective. The app contains eight specially selected messages, all set on the Worfolk Anxiety blue that we developed for our wristbands to be the most calming colour possible.

You can download it from the Garmin Connect IQ Store.

Good stress talk

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018 | Life

Last week, Leeds Anxiety Clinic held its first public talk “How to build good stress into your life to make you immune to bad stress”.

As a first event, it has been a success. It was more than sold out: we had a waiting list with people emailing us asking how they could get tickets or just stand at the back. So, it is great to see there is demand for what we do.

Chris delivered the talk with confidence and the feedback we received via Survey Monkey afterwards was generally positive. We’re looking forward to announcing more events in the near future.

In-body analysis

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 | Life

In April I did my first body analysis at the gym and came out with a body fat percentage of 16.5%. A few weeks ago I did another and discovered I had increased my body fat percentage to 18.3%. Bad times.

With them being so far apart, it’s impossible to say when it changed. But after an entire summer of triathlon and running, I wasn’t expecting it to go up. I’ve also lost muscle mass, entirely from the upper body, while gaining it in my legs.

It’s the off-season now so I will be gaining body fat as I eat a lot much ice cream. But come January it’s probably time to look at my strength work.

MSc results

Friday, November 9th, 2018 | Life

After two months of waiting, our psychology MSc dissertation results have finally been published. I’m pleased to announce that they’re great! My final submission achieved 82%. Although I don’t have my official overall MSc result yet, this grade is good enough to secure a distinction.

Well done to all of my friends and peers on the course, many of whom did exceptionally well. It was such a fun year studying with you all and I can’t wait to see the exciting directions you all take your knowledge in.

Fire in the building

Thursday, November 8th, 2018 | Life

What a start to the week we had. Our apartment block caught fire. Nothing too serious. But what exactly is the line between small non-serious fire and large mega-dangerous fire?

The fire alarm went off at 3am. However, it wasn’t really clear what was going on because it would do a few rings and then turn off. Then occasionally turn on again. We assumed it was faulty and a grumpy Venla insisted we “turn it off!”.

But as this kept going on we decided it was safest to evacuate just in case. As we did, one of our neighbours came knocking on all the doors to let everyone know that there was a bit of smoke in the building and so it probably wasn’t a fault.

West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue responded in force. They had five fire engines there within five or ten minutes of us getting outside, including a big platform cherry-picker.

It turned out that someone had left a pan on the stove, which had been left on, and eventually headed up until it ignited the plastic parts. The fire was quickly dispatched and didn’t cause much damage to the apartment’s kitchen, let alone the rest of the flat or the building. But you never know how close it was to a bigger disaster.

ROKA shipping posts

Sunday, October 28th, 2018 | Life

These are the ROKA SL-1 sunglasses. They look pretty nice:

Here it is listed on their website for approximately £95 (at time of writing the dollar is trading at 0.76 to the pound).

But what happens if you try and buy the sunglasses in the UK? Suddenly they are £165.

That appears to be £18 in mysterious currency difference, £25 delivery and £28 in taxes. Although to be fair, I can reduce the delivery cost by £2 if I select “import charges collected upon delivery” with no indication as to how much these might be.

Is this what everything we buy is going to be like after Brexit?

National Railway Museum

Saturday, October 27th, 2018 | Life

Here’s a possibly controversial opinion. The Nation Railway Museum: not that good? I mean, it’s pretty good, and it’s free, but it’s not as amazing as I imagined it would be.

In fairness, the nature of my visit didn’t help the matter. I went there to meet Elina and Venla after the Yorkshire Marathon and so headed straight to the Great Hall where they were located. In some ways, this is the centrepiece of the museum. But in other ways, it is the most boring.

They have a bunch of trains. But you can’t go in them. I mean, they’re trains. They’re designed to have people in them. It’s not like they’re the Mona Lisa: they were built for people to go inside.

Or, at very least, allow us to look in them. Bus most didn’t even had steps up so you could take a peak, and even when they did, they only slowed you the ends of the trains, rather than a proper walkway. Without them, it’s just not that good because trains are really tall.

I thought the station hall was a lot better. This is set up like a train station so you can see into each of the carriages and you can go into several of them, too. The postal train was really interesting.

More importantly, Venla had a good day. If you gave her a giant hall where she could run around in, she would have a briliant time with that alone. Being able to scream “choo choo train” every minute for several hours was just an added bonus.