Monday, July 22, 2019

Double IPA

Though not a småparti beer per definition, I found a limited edition Double India Pale Ale from Poppels which felt well-deserved after another day of hyper-intense “vacation” even if the alcohol content was a bit on the high side for my taste. For dinner, Monocle had a new recipe for potato salad with sundried tomatoes, grilled asparagus and anchovies but, since I am still scared of small fish after living in Korea, I decided to keep it entirely plant-based.

With three days remaining until the big trip, I was happy to finally find a nice hostel for the last night in Accra. Affiliated with Bohemian Hostels in Prague and made of recycled local materials, it seems to be sort of the antithesis to the 5 Star Kempinski Gold Coast which I had originally booked. For the first two nights, I will use Marriott points which offer some exceptional value (3.2 cent per point or more than three times the most recent valuation by The Points Guy).

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Sunday, July 21, 2019

From Bali to Beirut

One thing I like about running is the feeling of being present, to be in the moment but also the possibility of its exact opposite, to suddenly be jazzed away in one’s imagination.

If last year was mostly about the Atlantic Shift, it seems as if this year will see me running at both ends of the Pacific, and, if Ally gets her vacation approved, also along the Med. Yet, this morning I was just there in the woods of Nydala, breathing the cold morning air and feeling grateful for having fairylike trails like these right outside my door.

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Dog sleigh

One of the most legendary trails near Nydala is the so called “hund- och pulka” track. Last year I ran it with my colleague Rolf but this morning I went alone with my new water belt as I am trying to figure out what equipment to bring for Umeå Ultra 50k in September. Currently number 24 out of 987 runners in the Swedish edition of the Strava Distance Running Challenge this month, I decided to throw in a few extra kilometres at the end, bringing my total mileage this week to 87 km which feels surprisingly sustainable.

Otherwise, I have started packing for the upcoming Legoland + Ghana trip. Given how happy I was with the Moroccan Polo from Magnoli, I followed up with another iconic Bond item, this time the blue long-sleeved rugby-styled shirt seen in Casino Royale.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Feta beta

While I feel far less alone than I used to do a decade ago before there was such a thing as “ecomodernism”, it is still heart-warming but also slightly surreal every time I receive an e-mail from another scholar who expresses views similar to my own. Even if these voices remain marginalized, in particular in Germany, there are growing signs that the current approach to climate mitigation is failing and that other countries are becoming more cautious about following California and Germany down the same cul-de-sac of fossil dependency.

At home, I keep running even if I have cut back on volume a bit from the previous weeks to save my Achilles tendons which were beginning to show signs of overtraining. With one day left until the Moon landing, I open that bottle from Emilia-Romagna that flashed by the other day. It tastes of jasmine blossoms and unfinished journeys.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Torquay

While Apollo 11 is hurling towards the Moon at a speed of 39,000 km per hour, I cycle home as a thunderstorm is closing in. Yet, rather than being trapped in a tin can in space, I am thinking of arrivals, of finally being at the sea continents away.

A couple of hours’ drive from Tullamarine Airport lies Torquay with its windblown trees. It is where the Great Ocean Road starts but for me it has somehow come to symbolize where the road ends or at least takes a long dreamless pause.

V.S. Naipaul has written at length about the enigma of arrival and how our own pre-conceptions of a place affect what we see. On the other hand, maybe caring about aesthetics is stupid in the first place, that none of this really matters to anyone with remotely normal sensibilities. Nevertheless, I am afraid of just that, that my life will never come into focus again.

Strunge

My friend Gabriel sent me a few lines by the late Danish poet Michael Strunge:

Vi går nu, även om vi inte kan inhämta den, horisonten. I gengäld kan den absolut inte inhämta oss.

To my disappointment, there were summer houses all along the shoreline once I got to Ultervik so I guess I will have to run to Holmsund after all to see the unbroken horizon. Still, I was very happy about my morning run, feeling incredibly energized and strong all the way through as my legs are finally bouncing back after those two high-mileage weeks.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Good to go

Today, the FedEx courier delivered our passports with the visas for Ghana that seem to have been issued correctly. Given that our departure is just two weeks away, any changes would have been extremely difficult to make from a logistic point of view so this was a great relief.

Fifty years ago, Neil and the others were getting ready at the Cape. For Strava’s “Race to the Moon”, I will make one last push tomorrow and run to the sea, something that I have dreamt about doing ever since moving to the house three years ago. Originally, I had planned to run all the way down to the ferry in Holmsund but since that would be more than 35 km roundtrip, I will cheat a bit and rendezvous with the Baltic already in Ultervik which should only be about 18 km back and forth.

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Poppels

Some time ago, my friend Ally recommended that I listened to one of the radio programmes by Mia Blomgren. After some browsing, I found a documentary about an old Swedish sailor that sparked my interest. Looking back on a long life at sea and twenty years of living in Australia, the sailor Nisse Andersson has now come ashore in Majorna where he spends his days looking out over the port of Gothenburg and the distant sea.

While I generally prefer the silence of the forest to music when running, I must say that I appreciated this break from my usual routine. And from the excellent “Sommar” IPA from Poppels microbrewery in Jonsered to registering for Göteborgsvarvet 2020, Western Sweden was somehow already on my mind. I have written before about my mixed feelings for Gothenburg, but at a distance it is always easy to romanticize and, as a parent, I have discovered that it is a really great city for kids with all the parks, ferries and Universeum.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Half mast

Cloudy skies and all the city’s flags flown at half mast, this Monday was turned upside down by yesterday’s tragic accident when nine parachutists were left dead after their plane crashed just a few kilometres from here.

In our own world, life is otherwise returning to normal as Anna is back from Wales. We also just received an advance notification from FedEx that the passports are underway from Ghana's embassy in Hellerup. And after two crazy weeks with 204 kilometres of running, I am finally taking a rest day, giving my legs some time to recover before my planned run to the sea later this week.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Cumulative distance

Tonight, I managed to complete my second consecutive 100+ km week. In my experience, running one hundred kilometres in a week is exponentially harder than running sixty or seventy kilometres. Even if I try to alternate shoes, I can feel the physical toll that all these kilometres have had on my body so now I definitely should take a few rest days.

Contrary to my earlier plans, I have also decided to skip Tavelsjö and save the racing until September when I have three races scheduled already, starting with Umeå Ultra 50k on the 7th, followed by Varvetmilen 10k on the 21st and Tvåälvsloppet 25k trail on the 28th. Beyond that, I am still dreaming of Beirut Marathon in November, if only I can get Ally to come along to Lebanon...

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