Chris Worfolk's Blog


Middleton Winter Duathlon

February 7th, 2018 | Sport

A few weeks ago I took part in the Middleton Winter Duathlon. It was a run-bike-run affair with 2.5km of running, 5km of biking and a final 2.5km of running.

The picture above is not Middleton woods. But I was too busy racing to take a photo so this stock one will have to do.

The event itself was reasonably well organised. There were plenty of marshalls. It wasn’t always quite clear where we were supposed to go, but on the whole, I got around. And I got a t-shirt, which isn’t bad for £5 registration.

The results haven’t appeared on the website. My phone clocked me in at 42:34. That’s quite slow, primarily because the bike course was entirely on a hill so my pace up the hill was much slower than it would be on the flat. It’s on Map My Run.

EDIT: They’ve seen emailed around a link to a Facebook page with the results displayed in a giant image. Strange, but it works. I came 13th out of a field of 35. My official time was 42:22.

Parkrun 143

February 6th, 2018 | Sport

I’m really enjoying being able to run again. I’m still getting a bit of pain in my foot, but not like when it was injured. So, with it being pacer day at Woodhouse Moor I decided to make an attempt at following the 25-minute pacer.

I’ve only managed sub-25 once, and that was when I set my PB (obviously).

Things did not start well. The guy disappeared into the crowd and despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find him. It was only as I headed down the hill on the final lap that I saw a crowd of people gathered around a man in blue.

With my heart about to explode (200 bpm) I caught up and passed him on the final corner. Result. But, as it turns out, he must have been slightly ahead of pace as when I got the email, it turned out I had set an all-new PB. By one second.

24:36

Next step: try and consistently run under 25 minutes.

7 reasons The Edge is better than Kirkstall pool

January 29th, 2018 | Sport

I’ve been training at Kirkstall leisure centure for a few months. However, since January it’s been rammed. 9-10 people per lane, which is just too many to get a proper workout.

So, I decided to give The Edge at Leeds University a go. I’ve only been twice but so far it has been a success. Here’s why.

It’s open all of the time

Kirkstall has specific sessions. For example, I used to go to the 12:00 to 13:30 session. Most of the time the pool is closed, or something else is happening, so you can’t go. You have to wait for the specific sessions.

At The Edge, the pool is open almost all of the time. There are a few sessions such as water polo or canoeing where they close the whole pool. However, for most events, they just close a few lanes and keep the rest of the pool open.

You can swim for ages

At the end of a session at Kirkstall, you get kicked out. At The Edge, you can swim until you get bored.

It’s bigger

They have eight lanes. They’re half the width of Kirstall’s three, but it feels a much better way to do it as it reduces the number of people per lane. They have multiple slow lanes, for example. And a double lane at the end if you would prefer that.

It’s deeper

Kirkstall goes from 0.8 metres to 1.6 metres. 80cm of water is not enough for an adult. It’s a family place so I understand why they do it. But I can stand up, on flat feet, at any point in the pool.

The Edges goes from 1.2 metres to 2.0 metres. Their floor can go up and down so sometimes they bring it to 0.9 metres in the shallow end. But even then the whole thing is deeper, and that is only if you go to the morning sessions. The rest of the time it is much better.

It’s cheaper

Off-peak, The Edge costs £4.50. That’s the price the public play, let alone if you’re a member of the university. At Kirkstall it is £4.90. There is no off-peak price because nobody in Kirstall has a job.

They have hair dryers

They might be rubbish, but The Edge does have hair dryers that do work eventually.

The lockers are bigger

They have these big square lockers that are much wider than most places. This makes it much easier to squeeze your bag into.

Exams

January 28th, 2018 | Life

It feels like not a lot has happened in January. But it has been a busy month. Primarily because most of my Christmas and early January was taken up with revision for exams.

It’s not like undergraduate where we had them stacked on top of each other: we only had four to do. But you can’t get away with undergraduate level answers, either.

We also had an essay deadline. This fell on the first day of teaching for semester two. However, I submitted it at noon the day before, giving me a good 17 hours of relaxation between the two semesters.

It also feels like an anachronism that I’ve done all of this work: include deadlines in November and December, and we’re still waiting for results from the lot of them. I understand why marking takes a long time, but I’m part of the social media-obsessed instant generation. Basically, I don’t want to put in any work for semester two if I have already failed.

Blood pancakes

January 27th, 2018 | Food

Recently, we finally found a long-sought-after commodity in Leeds. Blood. They sell it by the bag at the international supermarket.

“What do you do with a bag of blood?” you ask. Why, make blood pancakes, of course.

I was a little skeptical, I think partially because of Elina’s reassurance that I didn’t have to eat all of them. Having tasted them, I would describe them as okay. They taste a lot like Scotch pancakes and go well with lingonberry jam.

How I survived Dry January

January 26th, 2018 | Sport

This isn’t about alcohol at all, of which I had some, but about sporty things that happened (or did not happen) in January.

In November, I injured my foot during a run. It didn’t seem too bad at the time but when the pain didn’t go away I knew something was up. So, I’ve been resting it since then and trying to build the strength back up in it.

I’m not sure whether it was worked or not. I’m still getting some pain when I run, but I’m not getting the pain first thing in a morning that I was. But maybe this will build up over time. It will be exciting (well, depressing) to find out.

This meant that I had to miss the Sir Titus Trot on 7 January. I was gutted. Less than a week into 2018 I had the chance to tick off one of my big fitness goals for the year: a sub-2 hour half marathon. Foot aside, I’m confident I could have hit that, especially in the chill of January and the flatness of the canal.

In another way, I’m proud of myself, though. It was an agonising two days after my doctor’s appointment, deciding whether “rest it completely” meant “rest it completely after your race on Saturday”. But, in the end, I managed to resist the temptation.

So, this has thrown my whole running plan off. I wanted to go on after the Sir Titus Trot and do more, but that’s all off the table now as well. The first three months of the year were a perfect time to get some running in at ideal temperatures before I move my focus to triathlon for the summer. Alas.

Bramham duathlon

Speaking of which, there was another Braham duathlon scheduled for Sunday 21 January. I was looking forward to using it as adversity training: racing it in the rain and the snow would give me confidence in my bike handling skills. Confidence which I want in case it rains in one of my A races for 2018.

Unfortunately, a survey of the bike course revealed it was too icy to race on, so the event had to be cancelled.

Tomorrow is the Middleton duathlon: let’s hope for better luck there.

We now do wearables, too

January 25th, 2018 | Limited, News, Tech

Worfolk Limited has been producing awesome software for many years. Whether we are building web applications and mobile apps for customers or launching them ourselves, I take a lot of pride in making them the best apps they can be, both from a user’s perspective and by leaving the client in the best position going forward.

That quality and attention to detail is now expanding to wearable devices, too.

This starts with Garmin devices, and I’m pleased to announce we’ve launched our first app, Mindful Moments. It gives you timely reminders to live in the present. If you have any of the Garmin watches that can download apps from the Garmin IQ Store (Forerunner 230+, Fenix, Vivo), you can try it for yourself.

It’s written in Monkey C, the version of Java that Garmin devices run on. Going forward, we’ll be developing more apps and making these services available to clients, too.

2017 in pictures

January 12th, 2018 | Photos

Venla is officially given a name at her naming ceremony.

It was a good year for running including 24 minutes of my time at the Leeds Half Marathon and a sub-50 Abbey Dash.

West Yorkshire Humanists celebrates it’s 50th anniversary.

Riitta visits her granddaughter (and us, of course).

The family comes together to celebrate my Gran’s 90th birthday.

Hugh & Anna get married.

Dinner under the sky to celebrate 100 years of Finland’s independence.

Back in a lecture theatre as I returned to university.

Venla celebrates her first birthday.

Night photography course my sister bought me.

At the finish line of the Braham dualthon, one of three I did in 2017.

The 8th annual Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelters.

Running shoes

January 11th, 2018 | Sport

Back in August, I wrote about how I had to finally retire my Nike Air Retaliate 2 running trainers with a pair of Nike Air Zoom Elite 8s.

They have served me in the short term. I went sub-50 in the 2017 Abbey Dash, for example, and have set a bunch of personal bests at Parkrun.

However, they’re also just a bit too small. They cram my toes in a little too much and this, I think, is contributing to blistering on longer runs. So, after five months of being in denial about the size issue, I decided I had to face up to it and start another journey of trying to find some running shoes.

I started at Up & Running, who put me on a treadmill and pronounced my an overpronator. This may well be true, although it’s not really a problem I have noticed. And seemed to miss the problem that I came in with. They sold me a pair of Aiscs GT 2000s.

I did not get on with these. So, I took them back and traded them for a pair of Saucony Guide ISOs.

These were definitely better. But still not perfect. The toe guard cut into the top of my foot. And with a £120 price tag, I felt that something I didn’t like as much as my Nikes probably wasn’t a keeper. So, I went to the old reliable Nike Factory Shop and to see what they had to offer. I came away with a pair of Nike Vomeros.

Unfortunately, at this point, I strained a ligament in my ankle so I couldn’t run for a week or two. My kitchen table looked like a shoe shop for a week until I could test them all out. After much thought, including trying every combination on the treadmill with one shoe on my right foot and one on my left, I decided not of them were right.

The Vomeros are Nike’s heavily cushioned shoe and that was annoying the hell out of me. So, I took them all back.

I had past Up & Running’s two-week return window, but they were kind enough to take them back anyway. So, I now think they are lovely people.

After all of this, I went down to the Nike Outlet Store at Junction 32. An outlet store is different to a factory store. How you may ask? The Factory Store has lots of stock of the latest models. The Outlet Store has a wider but far more random collection of stuff. And all of the shoe box lids are ripped off.

This is the end game of capitalism: do you want to pay £20 more for your trainers to get a shoe box lid? I really like the orange shoe boxes. In the end, the Yorkshireman got the better of me and I decided that no, I didn’t want to pay £20 for the shoe box. I came away with a pair of Nike Air Zoom Spans.

These have some cushioning in, which will be better for the longer runs. But, more importantly, it is pretty stiff as cushioning goes. Therefore, I’m hoping I can tolerate it because you still get a responsive ride.

They also have more support than my Zoom Elites, and Solereview.com said it was comparable to the Saucony Guides, so if I do need a bit more support than I was getting, hopefully, these will provide it.

Festive Fifty

January 10th, 2018 | Sport

On New Year’s Eve, I took part in my first sportive. It was a 50km spin around Selby to raise money for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fun based at the LGI. Several hundred people turned out for it and the event raised £2,000.

As my first sportive, I didn’t really know what to expect. The race HQ was Squire’s Biker Cafe. It’s basically a pub with food options and seemingly unlimited parking. Both the pub and the organisers, Sportive HQ, did a great job in running everything. It was clear what was going on, there were no big cues and everything ran smoothly.

Plus, the photos they took were available for free. In contrast, you often pay £20-30 at events like Run For All (well, I don’t pay that, obviously, because I’m from Yorkshire).

I made great progress for the first 35km, averaging 24.6kmph. My theories that I was much faster on quiet roads than I was on the canal or the endless traffic lights of inner Leeds was all coming true.

However, for the final 15km, as we headed back to complete the loop, it became clear why I was making such great time: a big headwind, which had presumably been a tailwind on the way out. In the end, my pace clocked in at 22.1kmph, a full .4kmph below where I need to be for triathlon.

It makes you realise just how easy they have it when riding in the peloton in the Tour de France and makes what Thomas De Gendt does even more impossible.

I enjoyed the group riding. My friend Bogdan was riding it, too, and having caught me up at the feed station we rode back together.

I’m looking forward to doing more. Especially once it warms up so that I can take my hat off. I think I lost a few kilometres per hour by having the world’s tallest head.