Friday, February 15, 2019

Special effects

With a hurricane blowing in from the west, I make a warming mushroom soup with Italian crostini. At our new COOP store, I also found an alcohol free “Special effects” hoppy lager that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

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Long Slow Distance

According to a widely used running philosophy, long slow distance or “LSD”, is essential for aerobic base building and, thus, for improving marathon performance. While I obviously do not have a counterfactual non-LSD Rasmus to compare with, I am still impressed by the progress that I have seen over the last year. As such, I have been eager to find as much time as I can for these kinds of long runs but understandably neither my professional nor family life looks kindly on running for three hours straight...

As the skies cleared this Friday morning, I was finally able to squeeze in my first half marathon since Marrakech, running 23 km along the river to Älvtåets Gröna and back. 


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Between worlds

Rarely have I felt so between worlds as I have over the last days with seemingly life altering decisions around every corner. Yet, tonight, I finally found some calm after finishing my last lecture with the political philosophy class. Still, already on Sunday, I will be down in Kalmar and, shortly after, the real teaching race will begin.

Meanwhile in Swedish media, the ideological battle over climate change rages on with undiminished strength. Sometimes I am thinking that I should try to be more active in these debates. While I am obviously more optimistic about democracy than Jason Brennan, there is a certain truth to that in a world of “hobbits” and “hooligans”, it is not easy to get a complicated message across. Nevertheless, even if reduced to stupid soundbites, there would perhaps be some value in finally hearing that the emperor is naked and that renewable energy does not displace but rather locks in fossil fuels?

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Monday, February 11, 2019


Once back in Umeå, we had a few tonnes of snow to shovel before we could get into the house and, this morning, both bikes had frozen locks. But thanks to the magic of 5-56, we were soon on our way to the university through Winter Wonderland.


A new chapter

Given that four years have passed since we last took the kids outside the Nordics, this weekend represented somewhat of a new chapter. Despite a broken de-icing truck in Umeå and strong cross winds at Heathrow, we made it in one piece to our London hotel room just before midnight. As much as I have travelled to London over the last couple of years, it is hard to beat the immediate joy that a red double-decker bus brings when you are six or comprehend how overwhelmingly big Paddington Station actually is unless you sit down on the ground next to a four year old. As the sky cleared up, we were even treated to some sunshine as we walked through St James' Park and along the Thames before checking out London Transport Museum.

After a whole day exploring the British capital, we took the Eurostar direct service to Paris Gare Du Nord. The last time I travelled with train under the Channel was back in 2007 with my dad. At the time, HS1 and St Pancras had not yet become operational so I remember that we had to take the train from “Waterloo International”. Thus, this trip also marked my first ride along Britain’s finest piece of high-speed railway.

In Paris, the February weather finally caught up with us and with the elevators of the Eiffel Tour out of service, the boys made an epic climb the 57 metres up to the first floor as the rain poured down from above. Nevertheless, it was with a rather heavy heart that Paul Andreu’s avant-garde terminal at CDG said its goodbyes.


Friday, February 08, 2019

Bad ass

A couple of days ago, my bike decided that it was not sufficiently badass to just bike around in -30 degrees with a trailer. And indeed, riding without a saddle represented an additional challenge. Luckily, I was able to get a new saddle in time for today’s snowmageddon...


Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Around the bend

It is only February but already the days are becoming longer and the sun is slowly returning to the north. Looking around the bend, I could not be more excited for the spring that lies ahead. Having spent endless hours on the treadmill, it will be so good to be able to run unconstrained again and discover new trails.

After registering for Stockholm Marathon, I was able to find a half-marathon event on Angel Island on the day after Breakthrough Dialogue finishes. For someone as emotionally invested in the Bay Area as I am, the thought of doing a trail half-marathon through a state park with the San Francisco skyline in the background is of course irresistible so it should not come as a surprise that I have already registered :-) Now all that remains is finding a race for when I am in San Diego in April...


Monday, February 04, 2019

One hundred runs

Today I passed one hundred runs with the Strava app and decided to mark the occasion with a new PR by running 10 km in 45 minutes and 49 seconds on the treadmill. Earlier in the lecture hall, I spent the break looking at new trail running shoes, as if spring would come faster by such magical thinking.

On Friday, all of the family is off to London and Paris which is the first time we try something like this. Planned stops include the London Transport Museum, Science Museum and of course the Eiffel Tower. With Jack Frost having Umeå in the firmest grip possible, I cannot say how much I look forward to rain and 13 degrees :-)

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Sunday, February 03, 2019


A week ago, I was running through the palm grove in Marrakech, promising myself never to do this again. Yet, this morning, I registered for Stockholm Marathon on the 1st of June, proving that I am truly a goldfish. Unfortunately, there will be no immediate marathon training as another 20 cm of snow has fallen overnight along the shores of Nydalasjön.

If I had the time, I would have gone to the movies to see the newly released Aniara movie. While I should still give the movie the benefit of the doubt, the nuclear war of the original play has apparently been replaced by climate change as the rationale for interplanetary migration. Considering that the destination Mars (sic!) has an atmosphere consisting of 96% carbon dioxide and no breathable oxygen, the magnitude of that climate change must have been severe indeed (and far beyond what even the most pessimistic calculations suggest would happen if all fossil reserves are burnt) to make Mars relatively more habitable...

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Saturday, February 02, 2019

Virtual 5k

While I am still debating the pros and cons of different locations for my next real world race, Strava is prompting me to run 5k “wherever you want, as fast as you can”. Obviously, treadmill runs do not count and with decimetres of fresh snow falling and a wind chill temperature of -23 degrees, I realize that I was up for a challenge. Changing into my winter running clothes, I did the perfect warm-up for any parent, i.e. picking up Duplo and vacuum cleaning the living room, before heading out for five insane kilometres.

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