Archive for August, 2023


Thursday, August 31st, 2023 | Travel

Last weekend I took my first trip to Belfast. It was a flying visit so I didn’t get time to see the sights. But they do have a lovely city hall. And a Greggs:

Pubs were good, too. We dropped by The Crown, Trademarket and Town Square.

Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Wednesday, August 30th, 2023 | Sport

Did somebody say Hyde Park Harriers club trip time?

We headed over to Larne in Country Antrim, Northern Ireland for a half marathon along the coast. The route is roughly divided into three sections, with a 7k loop of the down, 7k down the coast to Ballygalley and 7k back. There is a bit of up and down but it is mostly considered a flat course with PB potential. Indeed, the women’s world record was set here in 2021, only for them to discover the course was 54m short.

I don’t think I’ve continuously run for 21k since the Clontarf half marathon last November. I ran around a 2:05:xx at both Lough Cutra and Metalman so I thought I had a good chance of running a sub-2 and lined up with said pacers, alongside Grace who was hoping to run her first sub-2.

The early stages of the race were crowded and it was difficult to find space. It did thin out over time but the coast road also got narrower, which meant there was never much space to drop into my natural stride. The weather was good: cool and cloudy which meant we did not get too cold standing around in the pens for an hour, but also did not sunburn.

There is a reason it is so crowded: the views are spectacular. The town was fine but once we were out onto the coast we had a constant view across the sea and the coastline.

I didn’t get chance for a toilet break before the race so I stopped at around 7k. I caught back up to the two-hour pacers fairly easily only to find Ged reporting that Grace was now way down the road ahead of them. I managed to catch up another few kilometres down the road and we headed into Ballygalley for the turn, as Clare came the other way with a convincing lead over the rest of us.

The way back was even more scenic because we were running on the left side of the road, right next to the coast wall, and could see down to the shoreline. We were both starting to feel it by this point and it was relief to see the remaining kilometres tick down.

My official time was:


Third Harrier across the line and first male. Not that I was counting. A big thank you to Ged for taking it easy on me. And a massive well done to Grace for completing her first sub-2 half marathon. Not just completing it but smashing it with over three minutes to spare. And well done to everyone who made the trip over for the race.

Helmsley Triathlon

Tuesday, August 29th, 2023 | Sport

Helmsley Open Air Swimming Pool run a triathlon as a fundraiser each year and it has been on my list for a while: a swim in a heated outdoor pool followed by a bike course around the Moors and a multi-terrain run. It did mean getting up at 4:15 am to drive to Helmsley but surely it would be worth it for the views.

The swim

The pool is beautiful. I wouldn’t quite say bath water but it was a perfect temperature once you were swimming. The swim consisted of 32 lengths (800 metres) and I seemed to seed myself just right, with one overtake and one giveaway during the swim. My lane counter was also wonderful encouraging.

I felt a bit overwhelmed at times during the swim. It’s been very disappointing going from multiple-Ironman finisher to lacking confidence in open water again and here I wasn’t even in open water. It was just a pool that happens to be outside. It has been difficult for me to swim this year and it really shows. I was happy enough with my pace, though.

With one DNF and two cancelled swims, this turned out to be my first completed triathlon swim of the year.

The bike

They said the bike course was hilly. But they also posted a screenshot, with no GPX supplied, saying the elevation gain was 323 metres. I took this to mean they were warning anyone coming up from Lincolnshire that Yorkshire was a bit hillier than home.

But the elevation was simply wrong. We took on the Bransdale Loop through the heather of the Moors, which was very beautiful, but also amounted to 732 metres of elevation gain. There were multiple steep climbs with a maximum gradient of 18%. I was running out of food by the end because I did not expect to be out on the bike course for so long.

The views were stunning, though.

The run

The run starts with a four-kilometre climb up the hill we had just cycled down. I went for a run-walk strategy. Once the hill was completed we turned off the road and went onto trail which was practically all down hill. Game birds were hiding in the hedges and would often run out in a panic as we approached.

Most of it was well-signposted and I only got lost at one point after the farm. The answer was to just keep following the bridleway and I eventually discovered I had indeed been going the correct way. There was a final little hill to get back to the pool and then it was a victory lap of the field.

The result

My total time was:


And my splits were:

Discipline Time
Swim 19:41
T1 2:52
Bike 1:56:52
T2 2:31
Run 1:05:38

This put me 32nd out of 46 in the open (men and trans women) category. This year I have been concentrating on ultrarunning and not training for any kind of speed so it is probably a fair result.

A big thank you to all of the volunteers at Helmsley Open Air Swimming Pool that made the race happen.

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Monday, August 28th, 2023 | Books

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! is a book by Robert T. Kiyosaki.

In a lot of ways, I don’t recommend the book. It comes with an irritating self-help tone that fails to acknowledge the systemic oppression many people face. And seems rather insensitive to refer to his actual dad, rich in education and love for his family, as poor dad while idolising his friend’s dad.

That said, this book articulates something I have struggled to articulate for a long time. It is this: if you want to be wealthy, you need more money coming in than going out. That sounds obvious so let me break it down.

Most people in the working class (people who work for a living, like me and most of you) think that buying your own home is the most important thing to do in life. They talk about their home being an asset. But it is not an asset in a profit and loss sense, it is a liability. Your house costs you money. Even after you have paid off the mortgage, you have council tax or property tax, utility bills, maintenance work, etc.

When we don’t have any money coming in, we’re forced to use our last resort: selling our bodies and our time in the form of labour to pay our bills. We forfeit our liberty, and often our health, to make someone else rich just to try and cover our rent or our mortgage.

What a lot of people do is try and buy a house and build a small pension. Essentially, they are trying to minimise their liabilities (eliminating the mortgage) and hoping that they can live on the small amount of income their pension brings in because they have reduced their outgoings to a pittance. But by this point, we’ve already lost what youth we had, and our majority of time on this earth.

Instead, we should focus on building assets: businesses, property, intellectual property, stock and bonds. Things that generate money so that our income can match our outgoings.

There are a couple of counterarguments to this. First, is this a fair world and should we be subjected to the oppression of capitalism? I think we should build a fairer, more equal world. But I don’t know how to do that. Nor is there any political appetite to alter capitalism. Yuval Noah Harari goes as far as to say it might not even be possible. I don’t think the outlook is quite that bleak but I don’t know what to do in the short term.

Second, is it fair to say Kiyosaki ignores the very real effect of oppressions, and then suggests everyone can aspire to be a member of the bourgeoisie? I honestly don’t know, but I do know that from a personal perspective, this book might do a better job of explaining why I focus on starting businesses rather than buying a home.

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!

Women’s World Cup 2023

Monday, August 21st, 2023 | Sport

What an amazing tournament the Lionesses had in this year’s World Cup.

I managed to catch all of the games, except for the final as I was racing Helmsley Triathlon. Could they somehow sense I was cheering them on in earlier games and that carried them through? Who can say, unfortunately.

It’s unclear how we’re fourth in the world rankings despite being the reining European champions and World runners up. But at least the England team made it through the final without sexually assaulting anybody.

Tour de Venla

Saturday, August 19th, 2023 | Family & Parenting

We’ve been searching for a bike for Venla for a while as she wanted to move to a peddle cycle. This was a tough challenge because a lot of them are twice as heavy as my bike. I get that I have a fancy bike that is super light. But sitll, even my first cheap cross bike was around 11kg. Many of the children’s bikes, which are half the size, are significantly heavier than that.

Thankfully, we eventually managed to find a Frog 52. It comes with a spotty design. How come grown-ups never get that?

Selby parkrun

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023 | Sport

If you’re looking for a flat parkrun, Selby is a good shout. It takes place on an airfield and you run an out-and-back hockey still shape that is entirely flat. There isn’t much else to look at but I didn’t find it boring and there was a good crowd. Thank you to all of the volunteers for making it happen.

Motivational Interviewing course

Monday, August 14th, 2023 | News

Motivational Interviewing can be described as the science of helping people change. Inspiring change in others is not about adding information (“here is what you should do”) but rather understanding that people have good reasons for doing what they do and helping them determine if there is a better course of action.

Let’s take an example of someone who is trying to spend less so they can buy a house. Anyone can go up to them and say “why not spend less money?” That’s obvious. In reality, they have good reason for spending money: perhaps they want to travel while they are young and able bodied. Perhaps buying beer at the pub is an important part of their social life. Perhaps they pend money on their niece because they want them to have a better childhood than they had. Perhaps the cost of living crisis offers a choice between saving or eating. These are all very valid reasons.

Instead of lecturing, Motivational Interviewing helps people work through these decisions, working out what is truly important to them and building motivation to follow a path that is aligned with their values.

In my new course, you will learn what Motivational Interviewing is and how its techniques are used to help people resolve ambivalence and inspire positive change. Preview the course on Holbeck College or watch the trailer below.

Michelle’s visit

Friday, August 11th, 2023 | Friends

We had the pleasure of Michelle’s company last week which also involved the opportunity to do some tourist stuff like going to the sealife centre, eating at Johnnie Fox’s and another trip around the Book of Kells. Venla actually ate her food at Johnnie Fox’s so miracles do come true. Plenty of beach trips as well, of course! Alas, at no point did we take a proper group photo.