Archive for December, 2021

Apple Time Machine

Wednesday, December 29th, 2021 | Tech

Apple Time Machine is the built-in backup system for macOS. The problem is that it’s not very good. Having used it for ten years, it consistently fails to verify its own backups. So, the idea that you have this rich history of incremental backups is often not true as it fails and has to start again.

It also takes up a ridiculous amount of disk space. Given that Apple only ship their Macs with 512 GB of SSD, taking up most of that to run a backup is not ideal.

Maybe it could use a different disk. But then it goes confused about how much storage is available. It thinks there is less than 100 GB available:

But I actually had 4 TB available:

I hope Apple sort all of this out at some stage.

All of the PBs

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021 | Sport

Despite the tragic end to my running this month, 2021 has been kind to me. I’ve smashed all of my PBs and I don’t think I could really ask for anything more.


1 mile: 5:38 at the Summer Mile. I’ve never done a one-mile race before so it was a guaranteed PB.

5k: 19:38 at Woodhouse Moor parkrun. With parkrun closed for so long it was bound to happen when it restarted, and it did in August before achieving the dream of a sub-2 in November.

10k: 41:41 at the Yorkshire Duathlon. Not sure how accurate they measure in multisport but I’m taking it.

10 mile: 1:10:31 at the Christmas Cracker. It was a trail run (on the towpath) so again, might not be 100% accurate. And I haven’t run a 10-mile in four years so this was inevitable. But coming second was awesome.

Half marathon: 1:35:36 at Hubble Bubble. Another Grim Up North towpath run. I came third at this one.

Marathon: 3:55:33 at a self-supported replacement for the Sir Titus Trot. This was an accidental PB as I was chilling out and taking selfies early on (with the timer running) and only realised at 30k I was on a PB pace.


Sprint: 1:04:20 at Tadcaster Triathlon. What is a PB given the courses are so different? For example, Tadcaster uses a 14k bike course. But I did take the fastest run split for the club, so I was very happy with that. I also PBed on the Evolve sprint course.

Standard: 2:42:52 at World Triathlon Leeds. That swim is coming along nicely. I also PBed at the Evolve quarter course.

Middle: 5:46:47 at Outlaw X. Very pleased to get a sub-6. In fact, it had been so long since I Had run a half marathon (this was pre-Hubble Bubble) that I set a half marathon PB at the race as well.

Full: 12:50:05 at Outlaw. It’s difficult to compare full distance courses but the closest is probably my first, the Yorkshireman, which I beat by 1:45:07.

Happy holidays

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021 | Family & Parenting, Life

Whatever version of the solstice you are celebrating, we’re sending our love and wishing you a wonderful time. I hope you’ve found plenty of good stuff in 2021 and have an even better 2022.

We don’t take a holiday photo every year, but we did take one in 2016, just after Venla had arrived. Safe to say she looks a little different!

Ankle fracture

Monday, December 20th, 2021 | Health & Wellbeing, Life

Last week I was leading a club run when due to some combination of poor foot placement, a bit of gravel coming down from a curb and maybe just some plain old bad luck, I decked it. I went over on the ankle and it hurt a lot. Thankfully, Lucy was running in my group and was able to lead everyone back to The Edge.

I booked an appointment with my GP to get it checked out but when I asked for a telephone appointment, explaining I couldn’t walk, they said they were only doing face-to-face appointments (they’re going to freak out when they hear about COVID) and so I had to go to the walk-in. The irony was lost on them.

Next, I tried the minor injury unit at Middleton. However, they don’t allow you to drop in, you have to phone 111. Which I did. 111 booked me an appointment at the LGI A&E. I found this hilarious as pre-bookable emergencies was a Monster Raving Loony Party policy proposed in 2015. Although the LGI had some trouble finding the referral details, everything here was really good: almost no wait going through assessment, x-ray and minor injuries. They checked it out and referred me to the fracture clinic who phoned back the next day.

End result: it is fractured. It’s called an avulsion fracture which is where the ligament rips off a tiny piece of bone. I have to wear a walker boot for 4 weeks, and no running until 8 weeks post-injury at least. Not what I wanted given I had just start my training for Race to the Castle. But it’s happened so I just have to get on with life.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) course

Saturday, December 18th, 2021 | News

Traditional forms of psychotherapy involve talking a lot about problems and take a long time. This is expensive for the client and isn’t much fun because you have to talk about your weakest points. Of course, it may be worth it if you make gains. But there is an alternative.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy says that by focusing on a client’s existing strengths and using those to build solutions, change can be achieved in only a handful of sessions. In my new course, we’ll explore all about SFBT: what it is, how it works and how to use it.

Preview the course on Udemy or watch the trailer below.

SEQ Level 1 Swimming Assistant

Monday, December 13th, 2021 | Life

I’ve been expanding my triathlon coaching knowledge by completing some of the individual discipline training programmes, including the Swim England Qualifications Level 1 teaching assistant.

Part of the practical was delivering swimming lessons as part of the Learn To Swim programme. Working with children is a very different experience from working with adults who, as triathletes or would-be triathletes, are typically strong swimmers. Definitely a fun challenge!

To Sell is Human

Sunday, December 12th, 2021 | Books, Business & Marketing

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others is a book by Dan Pink. In it, he argues that the old ABCs of sales (always be closing) have been replaced by a new, more authentic and honest approach to sales.

His case is essentially this: the old way of sales relied on information asymmetry. The salesperson knew more than the customer and could use that to their advantage. However, in the information age, the customer has often done a lot of research and in many cases knows more than the salesperson (such as competitor offerings) and therefore you cannot bullshit a customer anymore.

So, what do we do about it? Pink argues that we need to be empathetic towards our customers. Understand how we can help them and build a way to win together, rather than seeing sales as a zero-sum game where we have to get one over on the customer.

We should give them all in the information they need and not be afraid of doing so. He gives the example of CarMax, an American car superstore brand that provides computers for customers to research what their competitors are doing so they know that CarMax is offering the best deal.

Finally, be clear on what you are offering. Pink suggests an elevator pitch may be too long for the modern generation who are used to 140-character tweets. Pink suggests a number of successors to the elevator pitch including one-word pitches (when I say “search”…), questions and rhymes.

The Offspring at The Wardrobe

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021 | Music

The Offspring are touring to support their new album Let The Bad Times Roll. They did two stops in Leeds, one to play a big gig at Leeds Arena and another to do a more intimate acoustic site at The Wardrobe.

Ironically, despite it being an album launch, I don’t think they played any songs off their new album. It was all about the classics: The Kids Aren’t Alright, Self-Esteem, Why Don’t You Get A Job, Dirty Magic and a host of others. But perhaps the highlight was Noodles busting out Come Out And Play on the ukulele.

COVID compliance was good. The venue was checking COVID passports and face masks at the door, and most people kept their masks on if they weren’t actively drinking.

Christmas Cracker 16k

Tuesday, December 7th, 2021 | Sport

I’ve had an amazing triathlon season this year and so it was only fair that I had a difficult off-season. Not long after I recovered from my first cold I picked up a second one which was one of the worst I have had. It’s a cold, so that’s still not bad in the grand scheme of things, but still kept me from training for 10 days.

By the time the Grim Up North Christmas Cracker rolled around, I couldn’t wait to get running again. But I was also concerned that after two weeks of not doing much I wouldn’t perform too well. Sunday turned out to be surprisingly mild and I went leggings and a t-shirt for what I hoped to be a fast-paced affair. I managed a 10-minute warm-up and a breakfast of Red Bull and energy gel.

Nobody seemed keen to lead out so I set off from the front and led the race for the first 50 metres. Another athlete then came past me. Joel then overtook us both and I followed him through to take back second place. He accelerated away building about a 30-second lead over the first few kilometres and then the gap stabilised. I was running on the limit but decided to push hard to halfway and then ease up on the way back.

I was maybe closing the gap a little at the halfway point before Joel put the hammer down on the way back and re-opened the gap. I was running with a blister on my left foot but thankfully the pain in my chest was so overwhelming that my foot pain was very manageable in comparison. The gap established again and I crossed the line 30 seconds down and 3 minutes ahead of third place.


I was hoping to average somewhere between 4:20 and 4:22 per kilometre and I came in at 4:21. This was my first ever second place, besting the third place I picked up at the Hubble Bubble half marathon a month ago.

Since COVID, Grim Up North have been splitting the events over two separate races, one on the Saturday and one on the Sunday. If I had run on the Saturday, I would have been three minutes clear of the field and the winner from Saturday would have not made the podium in our race. But that’s the luck of the draw. All we can do is our best and know that the more times we do that, the luckier we will get.

Post-race care was good as usual: they had a BBQ on for this event a well as the usual sweets and drinks.

Counselling L3 certificate

Monday, December 6th, 2021 | Life

It feels like years ago that I finished my level 3 in counselling but my certificate has finally turned up. To convince Leeds City College to send it to me, I had to post them enough stamps for them to send it out.