Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

2020 in review

Friday, January 1st, 2021 | Life

Ironically, January, when the world was relatively normal, was a quiet month. At least Planet Ice finally opened after years or delays.

In February I braved Storm Ciara to complete my British Triathlon strength and conditioning coaching training and the 49ers almost won Super Bowl LIV. I completed my macronutrition course with Wageningen.

Lockdown came into force in March putting an end to spin class, Leeds Dock social run and pilates. Worse, my three-swims-per-week was finally paying off and I was up to 3km continuous front crawl when the pools closed. There were some highlights, though. We had a good time at Michelle’s comedy gig, I spoke at Leeds Front End and I launched my web accessibility course.

I launched my Google Tag Manager course in April and we held a virtual Sunday Assembly Leeds. With lockdown in full flow, Ironman launched their virtual events and I set an unofficial PB of 21:06 at Woodhouse Moor parkrun.

I did a lot of running during May as I started the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, the virtual Hadrian’s Wall ultra and the EveryMayDay 10k challenge. Not bad for a month in which I would have joined the 250 club at parkrun. Unfortunately I also registered my first duathlon DNF when my rear derailleur broke during Ironman VR9. I was busy learning, completing courses on nutrition with Wageningen and Stanford as well as one on sport science and another on physiology. I was busy publishing, too, with courses on CSS Grid, Stripe and Nutrition as well as publishing a book.

It was another month of running in June, completing the virtual Grand Canyon ultra and my first 24-hour race, completing 86.44 km at Endure24. I also launched my Doctrine course.

I finally took a break from running in July when I finished the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. 1,022 km covered in 69 days, averaging 14.81 km per day. It’s a good job because Garmin had a 5-day outage that they never apologised for. I launched courses on Slim, Fear of Driving and Mindfulness for Sleep and started publishing strength and conditioning workouts on YouTube.

I had one thing on my mind during August and that was completing my second full distance triathlon. Which I did with the self-supported Woolenman. Not the week in Copenhagen we were hoping for, but a great race anyway. I also did my first organised event, the Evolve Quarter. I launched three new courses on Symfony, Heroku for Node.js and teaching mindfulness, as well as completing a physiology with Duke. Worfolk Media posted its first profitable year. In my spare time, I started reading Agatha Christie. The Tour de Frace became the first Grand Tour of the year, with the Giro delayed and the Tour de Yorkshire cancelled. Despite the challenges, Kieran & Shweta successfully tied the knot.

In September we headed to the Lake District for a short family holiday and so I could complete EpicMan Windermere. Which was a great race except for my Nike Vaporflys ripping. My family completed their first open water triathlon and I launched the Mindfulness for Anxiety app.

October is birthdays month for myself and Venla who turned 4. I completed my one and only sportive of the year at Daffodils and we finished our family challenge of LEJOG. I expanded my coaching to include the run club side of Hyde Park Harriers and published my course on CBT for Social Anxiety. Elina started a new job and completed her ATT Level 2 accountancy qualification.

I completed my yoga teacher training in November and started teaching a weekly class with the triathlon club. Anxiety Leeds began an online trial and we opened a second branch of the Leeds Anxiety Clinic in Islington. I launched a course on SASS and we reunited with some old friends for some regular Zoom socials. Elina naturalised as a British citizen.

Finally, in December, we got some much welcome news when the UK approved the first COVID vaccine. I reached 1,000 miles of running in 2020 and used my recovery time to watch lots of The Good Place and even expanded my film choices. My Running For Beginners Facebook group reached 3,000 members (having started the year with only 100!) and I completed the Alps to Ocean ultra. Online Mindfulness School opened its doors.

We have a COVID vaccine

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020 | Life

Yesterday, the UK became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine. There are still a lot of challenges ahead: how much of it can we get? How do you vaccinate 58 million people? Will it be faster if we sacrifice anti-vaxxers to a range of deities? And how long will the vaccine (or the sacrifices) provide protection? But there certainly is hope!


Saturday, November 28th, 2020 | Life

Congratulations to Elina, who has now naturalised as a British citizen.

Yoga teacher training

Sunday, November 15th, 2020 | Life

I was planning to do yoga teacher training with my local studio. Unfortunately, I held off to see what was happening with COVID as I didn’t really want to do it online, and by the time lockdown ended the course was full. So, I enrolled with the Yoga and Ayurveda Center which was online, but so affordable that I thought if it’s rubbish, I can just do the training with my local studio and I haven’t lost much.

As it happens, the course was great.

They have spent the money in the right places. The video quality isn’t perfected or edited down to a T. But there are about ten hours of contact time with tutors every week. And I would much rather interact, learn and practice teach over Zoom than have fancy transitions and perfect lighting in the video lectures.

In fact, there was so much contact time that I could often pick and choose what type of class I wanted to attend. With the lunch time ones (early morning in the US) I often had one-to-one attention with the tutor, or if I wanted a larger group to practice teach to, I could go to the evening groups.

Steph and her team have put together an excellent programme and it was wonderful to be a part of it.

Birthday meal

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020 | Life

This may be the only meal we have inside a restaurant in 2020, but having a voucher to spend before it expires (or all the restaurants go bust), we decided to brave it and have a birthday meal for two at Gaucho. There was a slight mix up and we ended up with a cake with “happy anniversary” written on it, but it still tasted good! :D.

Edplx review

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020 | Life

I received an unsolicited email from Edplx telling me I should sell my courses on their platform. They claim that the average instructor earns £2,000 per month. Are they legitimate? I don’t have an inside view, but my guess is not and here are my reasons.

They claim to be a reputable company. But there is no such company registered in the UK.

Next, all of their courses seem to have 600 to 1,200 students. That seems odd. I would normally expect a wider distribution with newer courses only having a few sales and some high sellers having much higher numbers. But they all seem to fall into that band.

And yet, every single course I checked had 0 reviews.

Also, it’s weird they have so many students and yet only three people like their Facebook page.

That is three more people than follow them on Twitter which, at time of writing, has zero followers. They have links to Instagram and YouTube on their website, too, but these just link to the respective homepages and I couldn’t find any evidence they have an account on these platforms.

They claim to have millions of customers every day but I ran their website through SimilarWeb and they said they have insufficient traffic to even rank them.

It’s not possible to evaluate the courses as they do not provide video previews, in either a trailer format or letting you preview any of the lessons. Are the courses on there real? I have no way to tell.


I believe that Edplx is a scam.

Introductory Human Physiology

Saturday, August 29th, 2020 | Life

I recently completed Introductory Human Physiology. It is the second physiology course I have taken and it was pretty difficult. There is so much to human physiology that the courses do not have much overlap.

For example, I have also done a bunch of courses in diet and nutrition. But we did very little on metabolism in this course. Instead, we were treated to a deep dive on how the kidneys make urine. I did nail one module, the nervous system, thanks to my biopsychology background, which I think is the only exam I achieved 100% on the first attempt. But I got through them all in the end.

Anyway, now that I have studied physiology, I guess this makes me a physician?

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.