Chris Worfolk's Blog


Junior parkrun

August 30th, 2021 | Family & Parenting

Yesterday, Venla ran her first junior parkrun. The junior parkrun events are set over 2 kilometres and in such a way that children can run by themselves as there are marshalls watching them at all points. It is open to children from 4-14 years old.

I wasn’t sure how she would cope with the distance. She has no problem covering longer distances but usually, that is walking and with plenty of breaks. But she ran most of the way and finished in 15:57. Great work, Venla!

Dalesman Triathlon

August 26th, 2021 | Sport

My third and final full distance triathlon of the year. It was a little Déjà vu as I booked it last year as a replacement for Copenhagen but Dalesman was then cancelled too. I ended up re-booking this race a few weeks before when I again couldn’t get into Denmark. I went in with the intention of having some “fun” rather than to set a time.

I couldn’t find any accommodation in Ripon so I stayed at home and drove up in the morning, leaving the house just before 4 am. This made for a long day!

The swim

Two and a half laps of the lake in the middle of Ripon racecourse. There was a lot of plant life and reeds. Even more so than Outlaw as at least in Nottingham, you can swim away from them. But at least here the water was clearer than I have seen at any swim and so you could see what you kept grabbing handfuls of.

It all went well: only a few swimmers lapped me and those that did gave plenty of room. I was a little chilly towards the end. I did successfully do a wee while still swimming, though, which was a big timesaver compared to having to stop and tread water.

The bike

The bike was hilly. Almost 2,000 metres of climbing compared to 850 at the salt flats of Nottingham. To an extend that is just how Yorkshire is, although Newby Hall where the Yorkshireman is based is right next door and has a much flatter bike course. Garmin classified seven stretches as climbs, and it was a two-lap course, so 14 in total. Nothing too bad, though: we did go through the moors but they were all short and not too steep. Nothing compared to coming up Chevin Bank, for example.

I certainly felt the sting, though. It was my slowest average moving speed of any full distance. Even slower than my first ever, but thanks to fewer stops, I was still faster overall. My average power was slightly lower than Outlaw (149 Watts vs 157 Watts) but the normalised power was higher (184 Watts vs 172 Watts) showing the stop-start effort as went up and down the hills.

I spent a lot of the time on the bike thinking about my life choices. Every time I finish a long-distance race, I somehow forget how much it hurts. And then I find myself back in this situation. Other strategies for passing the time included singing along to some Billy Talent and re-writing Harry Potter as a Mary Sue fan fiction.

I ate more solid food than I planned. My gel flask had leaked and I could not find any on the first aid station so I was making do with energy bars, sweets and sports drinks. I felt sick pretty much the whole race but barely anything came up so I just kept putting more fuel in in some kind of dare game with my stomach.

The run

The sun came out for the run. It also rained. I was trying to take it easy but also aware that if I ran a 4:33 marathon I would go under 14 hours. This was appealing even though I deliberately came in with a few of having fun. I ran when I wanted to and walked when I needed to without focusing on the time.

I was planning to drink Mountain Fuel energy drink at each aid station but the only drink they had was water, so I went for a combination of water and mini sausage rolls. On lap two I grabbed my Lucozade from my special needs and then on lap three I pulled out my bidon filled with Red Bull. That first taste of caffeine was the highlight of the race. I gasped so audibly the woman in front of me turned around to see what was going on.

With the three big laps out of the way, the two smaller laps were easier. I decided to stop eating and hope my all-day fuelling would carry me through. I finally started feeling good (as good as you can 13 hours into a race) and gradually picked up the pace, running a 5:03 for my 42nd kilometre. The course finishes with a final “glory lap” around the transition and event village and I was all smiles. No slowing down, though, as I wanted that sub-14. I hit the finish straight with two minutes to spare and took a leisurely stroll across the line.

The result

I finished with:

13:58:21

Lovely to get under the 14 hour mark on a relatively hilly course. My splits were as follows:

Disipline Time
Swim 1:33:40
T1 18:51
Bike 7:24:42
T2 9:42
Run 4:31:26

After Outlaw, it was nice to get back to a transition that isn’t a kilometre long. Plus, my fastest full distance swim by several minutes.

The event

Organising a full distance triathlon is a huge task and can only be more difficult during a pandemic. So thank you to the TriHard team for putting it all together.

That said, there were niggles compared with IRONMAN, OBS or Freebird. Race information came out in a patchwork fashion and TriHard deflected emails: they asked us to wait until the final email promising answers, then sent a final email to say they didn’t have time to answer emails anymore. Water temperature was not checked in the morning. Transition did not open until 5:15, despite the race briefing being at 5:45. There was only one toilet in transition and I ended up queuing in T1. They had “Mountain Fuel” on the aid stations but this seemed to mean different things for the bike and run. Nor was it clear how many aid stations there would be. Multiple athletes got lost on the run.

None of this is a disaster and much of the event was flawless. And it certainly does not detract from the hard work that all of the volunteers put in, all of whom offered plenty of encouragement and were kind and supportive. Plus the photos were included!

Summary

Now that I am sitting on my sofa I am glad I did the race. But I am also looking forward to a little more relaxation and some shorter format races.

Evolve Quarter Triathlon 2021

August 19th, 2021 | Sport

Last year, the Evolve Quarter Triathlon was my first of the year due to COVID cancelling or postponing everyone else. This year, it was race 14 in the 2021 WTS (Worfolk Triathlon Series). It’s so good to be racing again!

The swim

Mass starts are back. As mass starts have not been a thing for the past two years, this was the first swim that I was competitive enough to be in the pack on a mass start. It’s annoying. Bodies flying everywhere. An endless stream of athletes unable to sight. No serious incidents, though.

The bike

Pleased with this. Last year, I really struggled to stay down on my aero bars due to back pain that I was hoping I had eliminated with four months of daily stretching. I had not. But after twelve months of daily stretching, things are looking more hopeful.

Also, I was highly incentivised to stay on them as a tailwind helped us on the first half of the circuit and a headwind slowed us down on the second.

The run

Another happy performance. I wanted to take it easy on the run to save my legs for last week. And thanks to a solid bike split, I saw I had 59 minutes to run it in in under three hours. Even so, I took plenty of scalps and nobody overtook me.

The result

Nearly 13 minutes faster than last year and comfortable under three hours. The course was the same as last year: 1,000-metre swim, 47 km bike and 10 km run.

2:48:14

Here are my splits:

Disipline 2021 2020
Swim 25:39 26:27
T1 1:31 2:26
Bike 1:31:39 1:37:48
T2 2:02 3:38
Run 47:23 50:50
Total 2:48:14 3:01:09

The event was very well organised. There was no real queue to get in as all the volunteers kept the whole process moving with check-in, registration, parking, and checking of details and bikes all split into separate sections. We did have to wait until all of the half competitors finished the bike leg to retrieve our biles, but at least we could get our bags and car keys before then.

parkrun PB and Leeds Dock swimming

August 18th, 2021 | Sport

Last Saturday, Leeds Dock opened up for open water swimming. Jp, Graeme and I completed Woodhouse Moor parkrun then headed down for a dip.

As it was only my third parkrun back, and I have got a lot speedier since I ran a 22:06 in 2018. So, without meaning to but simply trying to keep JP in sight ahead of me, I ran a PB of 21:05. I think I could go faster as I was held up at the start, but I don’t want to pretend I wasn’t working hard!

I would sum up the swim at Leeds Dock as cold. But nice. I am dubious of their self-admitted guesses that it was 17 degrees. I would have guessed at 15-16 but could be mistaken. Once I was swimming, though, it wasn’t too bad. It was mostly the initial getting in and warming up as it was jumping in or use the ladder: no gentle bay area like you get at the Blue Lagoon.

They have a 240-metre loop and there were only a few other swimmers in the water so no traffic to navigate. The water was clean and weed-free. You couldn’t see the bottom but that’s true of basically everywhere I have swum.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy course

August 17th, 2021 | News

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive behavioural therapy that uses acceptance and mindfulness to treat borderline personality disorder, suicidal behaviour and a range of other challenging conditions.

My new course will teach you all about it. Preview the course on Udemy.

Tokyo Olympics

August 14th, 2021 | Sport

It’s not been my favourite Olympics but the Olympics is always good. Being on in the middle of the night, I kept accidentally seeing spoilers on social media or checking BBC news without thinking and that took a lot of the magic out of it. And the coverage was split between BBC and Eurosport.

However, I did stay up for the mixed team relay and that was amazing.

Around The Park, Around The Clock

August 12th, 2021 | Sport

Last weekend, Hyde Park Harriers ran our first backyard ultra. I say Harriers, for legal purposes I need to make it clear that Toby technically “organised” the event and that we all participated at our own risk. And a lovely job he did, too.

In the “standard” backyard ultra format, you run a 6 km loop every hour and anyone who does not make it back to the finish line for the next hour is eliminated. The winner is the last person standing. The winner normally turns up around the end of the third day after nearly 500 kilometres of running.

As this was our first one, we made it a little easier: it was a five-kilometre three laps of Woodhouse Moor course and time-boxed to 12 hours. People could drop in and out as they wished but around nine of us completed all 12 laps (or 36 laps, depending on what you count as a “lap”), resulting in 60 kilometres of running.

It was raining pretty heavily at 8 am when we started but despite the weather, a large group of us kicked off the running. As the day wore on, it became warmer and less rainy which was much appreciated given we had 20-30 minutes to cool down between laps. My cumulative time was just over 5:48, so I was averaging around a 29-minute 5k. More importantly, my hips held up just two weeks after Outlaw.

Well done to everyone who took part and thank you to Toby for organising, everyone who brought food for the club picnic that took place in the middle, the good people who watched our stuff at base camp and Tim for letting us use Coffee on the Crescent as toilet facilities.

Evolve mixed team relay 2021

August 11th, 2021 | Sport

The Evolve Mixed Team Relay is probably my favourite event of the year. They held the first one in 2019 as a test event to stage one to line up with the Olympics. It was September, getting colder, and it rained all day. But we still loved it. And HPH took ten teams.

COVID delayed both the Olympics and 2020 event but when this year rolled around we were back on. And, as with the 2019 event, we woke up to heavy rain. Luckily it gradually eased off throughout the day and we finished the event in the sunshine.

The effect COVID has had on participation is evident. We only took five teams this year and were still the best-represented club. Despite this, it felt like a small piece of normality: catching up with everyone, racing with the club and having fun.

Our team consisted of TeeJay, myself, Laura and Paul and we named ourselves Paddling Peddling Plodders. The more competitive HPH teams were storming it for most of the race but alas, Wakefield came through in the final run leg to take the victory, leaving us with a still very respectable 2nd and 4th place.

The swim and the bike course remained the same but the run course has switched to the trail loop around the lake. All of these times were taken from my watch so transition times are not going to be mega-accurate as it was when I remembered to press the button. Still, a general trend of getting faster.

Discipline 2021 2019
Swim 5:09 7:36
T1 1:24 3:05
Bike 19:58 20:46
T2 0:37 0:45
Run 5:58 6:22
Total 33:04 38:34

Most importantly, I finally made it into the club group photo! The previous two were taken at Castle Howard and World Triathlon Leeds. I was at both of these events but missed out of the photo, so I was not about to let this one happen without me!

Congratulations to Rosie, JP, Leigh and Alison who were the first HPH team home. And to Cara and Sam who were completing their first triathlon.

I’m already looking forward to the mixed team relay next year. It’s a brilliant event for both hardcore triathletes to those who have never done one before, or anyone who like interacting with other human beings.

Finnish picnic 2021

August 10th, 2021 | Life

Finally, a gold medal in the mölkky! Also it was great to see the Finns and eat some tasty food.

Stand up paddleboarding

July 31st, 2021 | Sport

Earlier this week I tried stand up paddleboarding (SUP). It’s basically canoeing on a surfboard and it’s a lot of fun. It was run by Bev at the Blue Lagoon and despite a lot of wind, she got us up and going pretty quickly. We also practised rescues. I managed to avoid falling in until the final race at the end. Can’t win them all, I guess!