Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve

Monday, August 10th, 2020 | Life

The official map of Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve has about two paths on it and there are way more. So, I did my best to run most of them.

You can see a proper map on Strava.

I’m renaming Covidman

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 | Life

Back in March, I announced Covidman self-supported triathlon to train for while everything else was cancelled. It took a back seat during GVRAT and would have been replaced by Dalesman if it had not been cancelled two weeks after being announced. But now it’s back on.

With one tweak, however. I’m changing the name. Covidman made sense back in March as a symbol that through all of the changes we had to make to keep people safe, we were still going to enjoy life and do what we love.

But the British government hasn’t kept people safe. Excess deaths have now reached over 60,000. It is one of the worst death rates in the world. And, in that light, the name Covidman seems too lighthearted for such a tragic situation. So, I’m renaming it Woolenman in honour of Leeds’s history.

Engineering Health

Friday, May 22nd, 2020 | Life

I recently completed Engineering Health: Introduction to Yoga and Physiology with New York University.

It is a good overview of the health benefits of yoga. Yoga does not have any magical properties, but what it does have is a bunch of stuff bundled together. Things we know that allow us to live healthier and happier, like exercise, strength, flexibility and mindfulness. All wrapped up in a single package that is easy to consume.

Nutrition, Exercise and Sports

Thursday, May 7th, 2020 | Life, Sport

As well as the courses on macronutrients and micronutrients, I’ve also been doing a course on sport nutrition with Wageningen University. I’ve finished the course and am on track for a final grade of 92%, but even though I’ve submitted everything, the grades do not get finalised until the summer.

Micronutrients and Malnutrition

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 | Life

Earlier in the year, I completed a course on Micronutrients and Malnutrition with Wageningen University. I made it through the exams pretty quickly, but the coursework has to go through a long marking process, so I’ve been waiting for my grade for quite a while.

Thankfully, it has finally arrived, and my overall mark is 92%. which is a pass, obviously.

Completing this also unlocks my combo bonus. This and Macronutrients & Overnutrition course form part of the Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health qualification, which I have also now completed.

Stanford Introduction to Food & Health

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020 | Life

I’m officially a Stanford University graduate. I even have a certificate saying so. Sort of. It says “this is not the same as being a real student on campus!” at the bottom, but otherwise is pretty much says that.

I started the Introduction to Food & Health course last year. It was interesting, but not very science-heavy, hence I moved onto other qualifications such as the ones from Wageningen. For people looking to eat healthier and more interesting in improving their diet than understanding metabolic processes, this is a great course.

Coronavirus: A review so far

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 | Life

Let’s review where we are so far. 2020 is a write-off, so I am going to attempt to summarise what has gone wrong.

First, a bunch of people are dead. Sure, so far, many more people are dying of regular flu, cancer, heart disease, the effects of global warming, and capitalism. But those are everyday deaths that we’re used to. This is something new.

Also, a lot of people are ill and having a bad time. Many of the rest of us are torturing ourselves with anxiety because we are unable to switch off the news.

There is no toilet paper or paracetamol. In fact, many supermarket shelves are empty. There is no rice, pasta, bread, tinned food or a wide range of other items. God help you if you don’t have a stockpile of hand wash, and even if you have some ibuprofen, nobody knows if it is safe to take it anymore.

The government says get your groceries delivered, but here is the availability when I checked:

  • Sainsbury’s: no delivery slots at all
  • Morrisons: no delivery slots for 3 weeks
  • Ocado: no delivery slots for 3 weeks
  • Waitrose: no delivery slots for 2 weeks

We’re not allowed to see our friends. Social gatherings are discouraged. Social activities and hobbies are cancelled. We’re deprived of human contact. We all have to work from home, and every company is finding out their VPN can’t handle the load after all.

Nobody is buying anything and so businesses are going bankrupt. That means people are losing jobs. Other companies are terminating people before it comes to bankruptcy.

All the schools and nurseries are closing, meaning that most people cannot go to work and are either having to take unpaid leave (possibly for up to six months!) or losing their job. Nurseries cannot afford to lose fees, so they’re charging parents for childcare they’re not providing.

All holidays are cancelled as borders close. Some people are stuck elsewhere.

All participatory sport is cancelled. Pools and gyms are closing. Running club, triathlon club, cycling club have all suspended activities indefinitely. All of our races are getting cancelled as far as June. Almost nobody is talking about a refund. Which is a big deal when Ironman are charging £400 per head.

All professional sport is cancelled. The Giro is “postponed”, but where else are you going to fit a three-week cycling race? Football is cancelled, even though Leeds are at the top of the league. F1, triathlon, marathons, ice hockey, everything is cancelled or postponed. Everything we look forward to relaxing with is gone.

Even the misery of being stuck at home is being made more miserable by the EU demanding Netflix reduce streaming quality to “help the internet cope”. And no Eurovision!

On the bright side

So far, it’s been pretty rubbish. But there are good things, too.

People are following social distancing advice and going out less. The roads are quiet. Fit, young people who have little to lose personally are still mostly staying at home to protect vulnerable people.

People have been getting together on video chats for pub nights and virtual group rides on Zwift.

Supermarkets are creating thousands of jobs as they try to keep up with demand.

It turns out we can work from home and that those meetings were not necessary. It’s too late to put the genie back in the box.

The Conservative government have turned out to be raving socialists.

There has been a significant reduction in pollution as planes stop flying and cars stop driving. Dolphins have returned to the canals of Venice.

Corona beer is available for large discounts.

Summary so far

Not the 2020 we all wanted. But we can get through this together. I mean, together as long as we maintain at least two-metres distance. And it may change society for the better.

Of course, in the UK, we’re really just at the start of things. I may be writing another blog post in eight weeks saying “why did I try to put a brave face on things; everything is burning!” Or, I may write nothing, because I am dead.

But until then, stay strong and see you soon.

Macronutrients and Overnutrition

Thursday, February 27th, 2020 | Life

I recently completed my course in Macronutrients and Overnutrition with Wageningen University. I didn’t realise just how good Wageningen was until I looked them up in the league tables: around 50th in the world (Leeds is around 100th) and the top-rated university in the Netherlands.

The course covered macronutrients: carbs, proteins and fats, as well as some of the reasons we eat too much and why weight management can be an issue in the obesogenic environment.

Final grade: 95%. Pretty happy with that.

My thoughts on 2019

Friday, January 3rd, 2020 | Life

I wrote my traditional year in review, which lists all the things that have happened over the year. But it doesn’t really talk about my feelings. So, here it is. It’s what my therapist would want and I’m a people-pleaser.

2019 has been a smash year. I became an Ironman, which has been my dream since I first heard about Ironman tow years before that. Which was one of 15 triathlons I did, alongside my second ultramarathon and 100-mile sportive. Still, I need to stay on top of my game now my dad is a triathlete, too.

I got my British triathlon coaching qualification, my Level 2 in counselling, and my masters graduation (although that was really a 2018 achievement). Leeds Anxiety Clinic has gone from strength to strength and I launched seven new courses via Worfolk Media, including doing a best-ever month that did twice the volume of sales any other month has done. Elina is making measurable progress with her accountancy career and my little girl is growing up into an actual person.

I’ve also mastered swimming front crawl. That’s massive. I never doubted my ability to run a marathon. It was just a matter when I could be bothered to do it. But front crawl was different. Because of my breathing issues, I genuinely believed that it was something that was impossible for me to do. But I kept trying and got the right routine, and the right support in place. And after getting in the pool day after day, I managed it. Which leaves me wondering: if this was possible, what other impossible things can I do?

Being an entrepreneur is definitely one. I’ve always thought I would make it eventually. But the negative voice in my head keeps telling me that it’s not for an introverted computer geek like me. I don’t have the sales skills or the stomach for risk or the natural talent required.

But that voice is being systematically eroded by two pieces of evidence. One is that I am an entrepreneur. I’ve now started three successful businesses. I’m not a millionaire with a private island. But I am building businesses. And the second piece of evidence: I can fucking swim front crawl, my friends.

Not everything in 2019 has been unicorns defecating rainbows. Being a dad is still really hard. Despite launching seven courses, most of them have performed poorly and growth hasn’t been what I hoped. It looks like the fate of Brexit was sealed, and the Tories look set to destroy one of my businesses, along with tens of thousands of others, as they continue their ten-year rampage of increasing taxes on small business. And I would like some extra time in the day to see friends.

Nor has it been a year of things coming easy. It’s shit getting on a turbo trainer three times a week. And getting in the pool three times a week to do something really hard. It’s shit getting up at 6am every morning to smash out work on my companies. To do uncomfortable things like sales, counselling and interpersonal development until you get good at it. But I’m learning to tolerate more and more discomfort in order to achieve the things I think are valuable.

2019 in review

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020 | Life

Much like in 2018, I started January 2019 with a running injury. Luckily, Dr Venla was on hand to help. I did some bike maintenance courses at Evans and Leeds Bike Mill and started commuting by bike. Worfolk Anxiety launched several new languages.

In February, Super Bowl LIII became the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history as Brady-Belichick set new heights with a record sixth win. The fourth version of the Rauma framework was released and Hyde Park Harriers triathlon launched their spin class.

We paid a long-awaited visit to the Kitty Cafe in March for Elina’s birthday. Then raced the LBT duathlon.

Finally, in April, race season arrived. There was another LBT duathlon and Skipton triathlon. I launched three new courses: one on public speaking, one on social psychology, and one on Facebook ads. I also spoke for Leeds Anxiety Clinic at the town hall, entitled “How to be incredibly productive, even when you have anxiety”.

I did a lot of cycling in May, including my first 100-mile ride and completing the Tour de Yorkshire long route with Bogdan. I raced Tadcaster triathlon, Driffield triathlon, and the open water swim season started. At home, we had Mexican month. Netherlands triumped in Eurovision and Finland took their third ice hockey world championship. We saw Mark Knopfler in Leeds Arena and relaunched Sunday Assembly Leeds.

I had one mission in June: to complete my first long-distance triathlon. And I did! 14:35:12. I also went sub-three hours at World Triathlon Leeds and completed my second 100-mile ride at The Flat 100. Meanwhile, everyone was arguing when Eid was. Did I mention I became an Ironman?!?

England was on top of the world in July, winning the cricket world cup. I completed Allerthorpe sprint triathlon, Castle Howard triathlon, and Redcar triathlon. My dad completed his first Go Tri and I finally got my masters graduation ceremony. For most of the month, I will still pretty sore from doing my ironman, to be honest.

In August I ran my second ultramarathon (and made a film about it!). I also completed the Alltherope Classic triathlon, Coalville triathlon, and Sundowner sprint triathlon. I launched a new course, Mindfulness for Productivity and the Resilient website.

We took a long-awaited group holiday to Weymouth in September (the first since Anglesey three years ago) and I also used the opportunity to complete IRONMAN 70.3 Weymouth. I also completed Nidderdale triathlon and Evolve sprint triathlon. Jimbob paid us a visit from America. I launched two new courses: Feel-good Productivity and Mindfulness & Visualisation for Athletes. The triathlon season finally ended with the Evolve mixed team relay and the cycling world championships came to Harrogate.

It was marathon month in October with Eliud Kipchoge running the first sub-two-hour marathon and Brigid Kosgei setting a new women’s world record in Boston. Her time of 2:14:04 beat Paula Radcliffe’s record that had stood for 16 years. Venla celebrated her third birthday and my dad completed his first sprint triathlon in Goole.

In November I completed my Britis Triathlon coaching certification and completed my level two counselling qualification. I set a new 10k personal best at the Abbey Dash and finally made a breakthrough with my front crawl. I launched my biggest course ever: Sport Psychology for Triathletes.

Finally, in December, I reached my first yogaversary while the 49ers continued their long-overdue winning streak. There was an election, it was Christmas and we finished off the year by completing our third Festive Fifty cycling event in a row.