Category Archives: 40 Before 40

Follow my journey towards my 40th birthday as I try to hit various milestones

Photograph 100 sunrises and 100 sunsets

This is part of my 40 Before 40 Challenge.

I’ve been getting more into photography over the last year or two – not in a serious way, just taking more care when taking photos and actively trying to look for photo opportunities. Starting this blog helped actually because I needed images to complement my weekly updates from Bolivia. And obviously visiting some incredible places has helped too!

One thing I’ve learnt is that I’m a sucker for sunrise and sunset. I often make a special effort to seek them out when I’m on holiday, getting up at stupid o’clock and even running somewhere to get a good view. I suppose it’s understandable not to do this so much at “home”, especially when you’re (typically) in a full-time working routine, but I’ve tried to do better this year.

Which brings me to my challenge: I want 100 sunrises and 100 sunsets. I’ve got 8 years (roughly 100 months) to get some good ones and I have some in the bank already – I’ll do an inventory soon and maybe set up some sort of gallery.


Learn to ride a bike with no hands

This is part of my 40 Before 40 Challenge.

I’m not entirely sure what % of people can do this, but plenty of people are shocked when they find out that my sister and I can’t ride a bike with no hands. I think most who can do it usually learned when they were kids, which makes it more surprising to hear we can’t. To be honest, I can’t really remember ever trying.

Anyway, I’ve recently bought a bike (the only way to travel in Cambridge), so that feels like half the battle. Also, the nonchalance of some cyclists while doing this makes me think it shouldn’t be too hard to get the hang of, but who knows.

On a sort of related note, check out this Smarter Every Day video about riding a “backwards bike”:


Super-fast Zip Line

This is part of my 40 Before 40 Challenge.

I went zip lining in Mexico last year and it was ok, but the longest one was a couple of hundred metres and we didn’t really pick up much speed. That same week I was told about some more extreme versions that are either very long (over a mile) or very fast (over 100mph) – or even both!

So that’s when zip lining went on my list. I heard about one in Northern Mexico, another in continental Europe, but at the moment I’ve got my eye on this one in Wales:

Let me know if you want to do it with me!

I’ve got to run faster!

This is part of my 40 Before 40 Challenge.

I enjoy running and setting PB’s so this was always going to be on my list. It’s hard to know where to set my targets though. This is what I’ve come up with at the moment:

Distance Target Current PB
1k 3 minutes 3:17
5k / Parkrun 19 minutes 20:02
10k 40 minutes 42:01
Half-marathon 1 hour 35 minutes 1:45:01
Marathon 4 hours 4:38:23

I’ve been running more this year than ever before, but mostly shorter distances including a few parkruns. I’ve recently entered my first proper event since 2012: the Royal Parks Half-Marathon on Sunday 8th October 2017. I don’t expect to get close to my target time, but there will be plenty more opportunities where I can put in a bit more long-distance training.

I’m representing Camfed in that event and I’ve decided (possibly foolishly) to extend my fundraising beyond the half-marathon, by saying that I’ll run 1km for every £1 donated! That should keep me busy through the winter! You can keep an eye on my progress by looking at my Strava profile.

Go to the airport and take the next flight

This is part of my 40 Before 40 Challenge.

This is a fun one, no preparation required.

I’m not actually sure how you go about buying tickets at an airport, never mind to an unspecified destination, but my sister did it as part of her 30 Before 30 list so it must be possible (she ended up flying first class to Bulgaria).

I’ve not decided what conditions to put on this challenge yet, such as cost and length of flight (I don’t want to fly to Australia for a weekend!) or whether I should limit it to places I’ve never visited before (probably not).

I might even add in some Yes Man type stuff where I just go along with whatever people suggest I should do when I get there.

Solve a Rubik’s Cube in under 2 minutes

This is part of my 40 Before 40 Challenge.

The iconic Rubik’s Cube is the best-selling toy of all time. It’s over 40 years old and was first popular in the 1980’s before it saw a resurgence in the last decade. I first learned to solve one a few years ago (using this YouTube playlist) and it took about 5 minutes at best.

My challenge now is to solve the Cube in under 2 minutes. I’ve forgotten most of the method I used before, so I’ll have to start from scratch, and this time I’ll need to use a different technique to cut down my time.

Did you know a new world record was recently set at 4.69 seconds?!

100 press-ups

This is part of my 40 Before 40 Challenge.

The best thing about press-ups is that you can do them anywhere, which means there are no excuses for not sticking to your plan. It’s also a basic exercise that works a wide variety of muscle groups in the upper body, back and core.

One hundred is a classic target for press-ups, but it will be a big challenge for me – I haven’t trained for this or pushed myself to the limit before, but I think I did about 40 (in a minute) during my 2012 Tough Mudder training. There are lots of training plans, but this looks like the one for me: One Hundred Pushups.