Thursday, May 30, 2019

Shopping spree

Waking up to all blue skies, I opened the second shoe box that I bought when Stadium had their 50% off weekend. I know, it may seem like I am suddenly hoarding shoes but with the number of kilometres I put down every week, it feels good to have a bit of a selection to choose from. And, after all, compared to most sports, running remains very affordable.

With Stockholm Marathon little more than 48 hours away, I realize that I should not be doing any long-distance running so instead I went for one single explosive kilometre, if nothing else so I could set a new Strava 1k record in under 4 minutes (the previous one was 4:06 min).


Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Some time ago, the Swedish brand Craft released their first running shoes and, looking for a new pair of shoes to replace my old Asics that I retired after Umåker, I fell in love with these red Craft V175 Lite. Thanks to a good night’s sleep and some ColdZyme magic, I am much better in my throat so I thought that a slow 5k afternoon run would be permissible in order to try them out.

With check-in for my Stockholm flight opening tomorrow morning, I have to admit that I am feeling a bit nervous so it was good to go for a run, if nothing else to take the edge off my pent-up energy (as one would expect, going cold turkey after running 80+ km per week has its funny side-effects).


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Elusive ultra

Out on the lake, I spotted a man rowing with a yellow umbrella. Still not really sure how he did that but I dropped off the kids and biked up to work.

Maybe the cold morning rain set the tone but today has been one day of setbacks, a sore throat, and my plans to run the Curonian Spit in October falling through. On the other hand, there will always be new academic opportunities and other ultra-marathons to run. And I still have three days to recover.


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Bola socks

After almost a week with rain, the sun returned this morning and I decided to test a new pair of running socks together with my Asics “race-only” Nimbus 20 that I will be wearing on Saturday. I know what you are thinking, should not Rasmus be tapering? I guess the answer is yes, but sometimes the road is simply there.

As for roads, I think I have also finally found a suitable first ultra-marathon. Unfortunately, the registration opens first on Friday and with the maximum number of participants capped at 100, I will not make it official before I have managed to register. Taking place in mid-October, it is 46k trail race that would allow me to explore a part of the Baltic that I always dreamt of visiting and the timing could not be better.


Saturday, May 25, 2019

Lasagna con salsiccia

Many years ago, I was living in the city on the plain, baking lasagna and running around the Varberga forest as the storm clouds gathered. Since Strava was not invented back then, I cannot say anything about running volume but I guess I would have done 20-25 km in a good week which is kind of sweeet in retrospect. Little did I know about “tempo runs”, Yasso 800s or the importance of running slow in order to race fast. Not that it mattered much as I did not race anyhow.

Now I am preparing food containers with the leftover lasagne after an early lunch. Visually awful but culinary awesome so I will spare you the picture.



With exactly one week remaining until Stockholm Marathon, I now have a bib number (7176) and feel as ready as I can be. Running 10k around the lake this morning, I struggled to hold back even as I know I really should not be running at all. But with 992 km of accumulated mileage in 2019, I of course also have to run the remaining eight kilomeres tomorrow before it is time to head over to Stockholm Olympic Stadium next Saturday.

Tomorrow it is the European Parliament election. Funny enough, the “election compass” provided by the Swedish public service TV crashed when it tried to calculate my responses. I guess a Euro-federalist, pro-GMO advocate of decisive climate action was simply too much for its algorithms...


Friday, May 24, 2019


Beyond trail running dreams, Piedmont is back on Rawls & Me with a glass of småparti red wine as the rain keeps pouring down. Given last year’s drought and forest fires, any precipitation is of course appreciated but still it feels a bit sad to once again wake up to 3 degrees outside...

Though always more of a symbol of the impossibility of actually delivering on a "Brexit", Theresa May finally resigned today. As much as I have disliked her ever since her rejection of Enlightenment values and cosmopolitanism in her party congress speech of 2016, she clearly has not had it easy over these past two years. With or without May, one can be certain that the road ahead is not going to be any calmer for Britain as the inherent incompatibilities of “Brexit” will remain on full display.

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Thursday, May 23, 2019


If it were not already taken, I guess I would call myself an “extramilest”. Be it professionally or in terms of travelling, I always want to go the extra mile and push my limits. However, reading up on the importance of tapering before a marathon, I decided to change my plans a bit and not repeat the same mistakes as I made leading up to Amsterdam.

Thus, setting off shortly after 5 am, I only ran 17 km in the morning rain, exploring the island “Ön” before heading back to Nydala for a second breakfast. 

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019


The other month, Bastard Burgers opened their first restaurant in Umeå with an extensive vegan menu. After a high-intensity run on the treadmill, I decided to stop by and check out their “Beyond London” burger with pickled red onions and vegan truffle mayo. While obviously sad that no one dares to challenge the “non-GMO” hegemony, the burger passed with flying colours so I would definitely recommend a visit.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Ballast Point

Few itineraries have proven as elusive as those featured in Gypset Travel. It seems like no matter how many tickets I book to everywhere from the Aeolian Islands to Lamu, they all get cancel. The same thing happened yesterday when Anna got accepted to attend a conference in Jakarta in late October, meaning that the Swahili Coast once again fell off the radar. Now set for a slightly less adventurous autumn adventure, I mix some fennel with green apples, Parmigiano-Reggiano, hazelnuts and lemons for dinner with a småparti IPA from San Diego. So, circle closed.

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Bay to Breakers

With my left shoulder still giving me some pain after I fell halfway through Umåker Trail, I decided to skip the gym strength training today and instead complete the Strava May 8k challenge that seemingly randomly popped up in my feed the other day. Wearing my “Oregon Project” t-shirt that is normally reserved for official race days and my new "Adizero Boston" shoes, I managed to run the 8.2 kilometres around the lake in well under 40 minutes and setting a new PR. Looking back to when I started running around Nydalasjön three years ago, it is kind of crazy that I have been able to cut almost ten minutes off my time.

When uploading my activity to Strava, I must admit that I felt a sting of envy when I saw that Alex and the Breakthrough crowd had just been running the classic “Bay to Breakers” race in San Francisco. Maybe not much of a consolation price but at least I still have my water bottle from Napa Farms Market...


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Kaffir lime

While I guess I should really be writing an abstract for ISA 2020 on "nuclear democracy", I find myself procrastinating by experimenting with a new soup recipe, featuring Italian lenticchie, coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves. At least, the result turned into a good match for the last glass of Sutherland.

Continental drift alright. In less than a month, I will be back in California, this time to attend Breakthrough Dialogue. With the theme this year being “Whole Earth Discipline”, I am especially thrilled by the fact that my long-term co-author Jon Symons will be able to bring copies of his new bookEcomodernism: Technology, Politics and The Climate Crisis” to the Dialogue. The official release date of his book is 31 May and I have already made a number of pre-orders for friends. Offering the first book-length treatment of ecomodernism (at least by name), I think it will be a returning point of reference in the years ahead as ecomodernism continues to mature and, hopefully, becomes increasingly influential in terms of policy.



Yesterday, when waiting for Umåker Trail to start, I overheard two guys talking about their experiences of running UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc). If not before, hearing that they had completed a 171 km race with more than 10 000 altitude meters, made me feel rather humble about the task ahead and acutely aware of my own inexperience. Similarly, reading “Running Beyond” both fascinates and deters me. But clearly, I am on a journey here and it will be very interesting to see where it takes me in a few years’ time.


Recovery run

Bringing my weekly mileage above 80 kilometres for the second time, I went for a slow recovery run around the ever so beautiful lake that I happen to live next to. Already at 200+ km for May in Strava, it is soon time to wind down on my running volume in preparation for Stockholm Marathon on 1 June. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find time for a half marathon this week but I hope to make up for that in the coming week by running two half marathons as part of my final preparations. As for half marathons, I also discovered a 21k race in Kalmar towards the end of June. As I have to go to Copenhagen anyhow to apply for a visa to Ghana, I registered so now I have two road races in Sweden and one trail race on Angel Island scheduled for June!

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Saturday, May 18, 2019


Whereas my previous race was fast despite a gradual climb, this one was brutal with streams to cross, rocks to climb and moors to wade through. Fortunately, I was accompanied by runner number 198 who made full use of all four paws. Knowing that I would get soaked, I decided to take my old worn-out Asics shoes that I can now throw away with good conscience. However, with Stockholm Marathon only two weeks away, not having appropriate trail shoes meant that I had to take it really slow downhill in order not to get hurt. Despite doing so, I did fall once, but luckily nothing serious. So, in the end, all fine and I got to see the last snow melting away in the forest.

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Thursday, May 16, 2019


Historically, The Escapist has been a late summer affair, arriving sometime between the end of July and September. This year, my world has been turned upside down as it is only mid-May and I am already lost in dreams of Sonoma and Siargao. Clearly, it does not help that I found a #småparti bottle of chardonnay from the Thelema Mountains in South Africa. With another race coming up already on Saturday, I decided that 12k this morning would have to be enough anyhow and that I am better off enjoying the taste of toffee and mango on the balcony.

In the outside world, the number of people infected with measles globally has increased with 300 per cent according to the WHO. Unfortunately, this tide of irrationality still appears to be rising, something that I could feel first-hand when debating climate policy the other day. As for that, with a climate emergency on our hands, it is simply unbelievable how HBO can produce a new flashy mini-series about the Chernobyl accident without any regard for the consequences and the many thousands who will die from air pollution as anti-nuclear fears once again take hold.

I guess few have put this as well as Ted Nordhaus did in a recent tweet:

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Epic ultra

Last year I read a fascinating article about Youtube and the fact that you are never “hardcore enough” for its algorithms as they keep suggesting ever more extreme videos, whatever the subfield may be. This definitely holds true for running-related content. As such, I have found myself being gradually socialized into the world of ultra-distance running, vertical kilometres and sky races, all to an extent that I am now seriously considering signing up for my first ultra marathon...


Over the cliff

Yesterday evening I took part in a climate debate organized by the Left party of Sweden. As always, I had been nervous for days leading up to this event, to an extent that I again came to question my rationale for accepting these kinds of invitations.

After a talk by Deniz Butros who is number three on their list for the European Parliament elections and a few great songs by Magda Andersson, it was time to jump over the cliff. The moderator started off with a classic question, “if everyone would live like an American, we would have four years to save the climate”, to which I got a chance to point out that in a world where everyone lived like an American we would also presumably have the innovation capacity and the economic resources that would come with four billion people having a university education etc. Over the course of the evening, I got to deliver some of the key arguments that I advance in my new book chapter on ecomodernism and rewilding, while also returning to the basic problems of global scalability and climate nationalism that I have worked on for the last decade. All in all, I think I am happy with the result. Now, off to work!

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Dirt roads

Along Tavelån, there are some dirt roads that are really good for long-distance running. The first time I discovered them was back in January when I was training for Marrakech but then I had no idea that they were not paved as everything was covered in thick ice. Now an instant favourite, I return for 16 gruesome kilometres as the sun sets over Västerbotten.

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Running wild

After spending endless hours on the treadmill, it was finally time to race again. Apparently, Gammliaterrängen is somewhat of an Umeå spring classic with 241 meters of elevation gain split between two circles through the Stadsliden forest. With my fastest Grade Adjusted Pace being 3 minutes and 40 seconds per kilometre, I must say that I feel very happy about my performance and excited about the 15k Umåker Trail next weekend.

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In the morning hours, a heavy rain blew in from the Gulf of Bothnia. With my first race since Marrakesh scheduled for 6 pm tonight, I fear that the trails will be really slippery by the time I get out in the forest. Despite that and a slight cold coming on, the rain on the windows has a strong meditative effect. For some reason, listening to the rain like this tends to take me back to the East Coast, to New Jersey, to calm days that probably never were.

I guess the word I am looking for is “unconstrained”. Like “health”, it is one of those concepts that only becomes meaningful when you know its opposite. But that is what I was back then. Now, every moment is somehow on borrowed time, as a parent you do not decide when you get to sleep or when you will be interrupted in your thoughts. Still, I am immensely grateful that my life is no longer just about autonomy, that I have obligations that are real, and that I can pass on some of the love that I received myself as a child. But, as everything else, it is also about relative balances. So, when asked “what I want to do when I grow up”, I guess the answer is to “breath”, to take some time away from it all. Given my allergy to everything even remotely esoteric, I will not use the concept of “mindfulness” here but I guess that captures some of it. Funny enough, I somehow know that if or when the time comes, I will be just as unable to appreciate it as I was a decade ago in New Jersey...


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Alto Adige

After a lengthy journey that included a visit to a depot somewhere outside Örebro of all places, my #småparti bottle of Manni Nössing from Südtirol finally made it to Umeå yesterday. To celebrate its safe arrival, I mixed together a spicy Moroccan salad with saffron, pomegranate and halloumi for dinner.

I guess I must have been six or something when I first visited Bressanone (or “Brixen” as it is known in German) with my parents and I can still remember the taste of Minestrone soup after a long day in the mountains. Being a great fan of the Grüner Veltliner grape, I was curious to see how it would fare south of the border and at the high altitudes of Bressanone. The answer? Less minerals and more fruit I would say, yet still very stringent, and definitely value for money.

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Friday, May 10, 2019

Race against time

Today, I tried to run 5k in under 20 minutes. While I ultimately fell 15 seconds short, I was able to shave more than a minute off my old PR, something that I again take as evidence of the magic powers of LSD (long slow distance) as I have not done much speed work.

Given that it is Friday evening, I am also very happy that I was able to mark all those 118 exams, even if it took a few ungodly early mornings. With this behind me, I made some chili with chipotle and coriander for dinner. At Systembolaget, I found a new alcohol-free IPA from Mikkeller called “Weird Weather” which was absolutely awesome and a world apart from some other beverages produced by Mikkeller.


Wednesday, May 08, 2019


Today at work we had an important interview with UKÄ or “Universitetskanslersämbetet” (yes, some words are simply better in Swedish) as part of their evaluation of our social science teacher programme. Given the rather tangible anxiety, I could not think of anything better than dressing up in my fleece cardigan from The Bond Experience (especially as this happens to be my 1000th post here on Rawls & Me).

Otherwise, I am still struggling with the 50+ exams that remain to be marked this week but my marathon training plan said long run so no more work tonight for Rasmus. Coincidentally, I just received my new Adizero Boston so I decided to take them out for a 21k test run...


Monday, May 06, 2019

You win some, you lose some

Today has been a mixed bag. It started of with 120 new hand-written exams to mark, enough to make the sanest man go mad (if I am allowed to paraphrase StarTrek Discovery). With a rain front passing, I realized that the Umåker test run would also be something out of the ordinary. Playing it safe, or so I thought, I took the bus to the start in Röbäck. Unfortunately, the bus broke down half-way so I missed the start with eight short minutes... thus, finding myself at the far end of Umeå all alone in the rain, I recognized that the only thing I could do was to run back home to Tomtebo. As for the good news? Just before jumping on that bus, I learnt that the Karl Staaff Foundation has decided to give me a grant to fully finance my participation in the ISA Accra conference in August... so, in the end, a good day. And I got some running done along the river.

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Saturday, May 04, 2019


While the Italian Grüner Veltliner from Südtirol still evades me, I travelled south along the Adriatic to Le Marche for a different #småparti wine made with Verdicchio grapes. With asparagus being the spring ingredient above all, I ended up making a potato salad with almonds, mâche and cress, all served with Italian bread and, to tell the truth, some Prosciutto di Parma. In other words, back to square one. As for the "Bisci" wine? Molto bene, as one would expect, with a taste of pear and lemon.


Going forward

After 23 km mostly on asphalt yesterday, I went for some soft trail running this morning. With the forest covered in light frost, Klasmyran’s MTB track was as beautiful as ever. This had me pondering whether I should sign up for a real trail run later in the summer, perhaps at an ultramarathon distance, or if I should focus my racing on a fast city half-marathon like Copenhagen in September?

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Friday, May 03, 2019


It is May but the snow keeps falling outside. As such, I may be forgiven for some slightly embarrassing Friday night retroactive escapism.

After investing in a Moroccan polo, I still needed one more item in preparation for my Marrakech trip back in January. Obviously unwilling to fork out £800 for the Matchless suede original, I found a fairly similar Jack & Jones jacket for a mere £40. Enjoying the post-marathon sunshine at the Mandarin Oriental in 100% polyester, I must say that it almost did the trick.

Eating animals

In theory, it is quite simple, do not eat other animals. No matter how hard I try, I cannot find any abstract ethical justification for eating meat. If humanity were to continue along an Enlightenment trajectory, I am confident that we will look back on meat eating as something cruel and savage, a bit like we today think about parents who beat their children. With ever more advanced meat substitutes and a richer global variety of vegetarian foods, the transition away from meat eating might happen even before the advent of molecular assemblers and other similarly StarTrek-y innovations.

The other day I bought some organic “animal-welfare-friendly” chicken. It is worth noting that it cost about 25 EUR per kg which probably says a lot about the welfare of non-welfare chickens. Still, making my Thai chicken with cashew, I realize the futility of all my practical arguments (such as that the kids like it).

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Moyo Sidamo

Today I had the privilege of meeting seven future social science teachers and assess their final papers. Like others, I have felt a slight sense of despair about the direction of teacher education in Sweden so it was definitely a relief to see the seriousness by which these students had gone about their thesis work.

Expecting a long night in front of the computer, I grind a new blend of beans which seems to share my playfulness when it comes to continents.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

15k trail running

With Umåker Trail just a little more than two weeks away, I took my Reebok All Terrain Craze out for a first real test to Klasmyran’s MTB track. Having already spent too much on shoes this spring, I was relieved by how great they turned out to be, even providing some traction on the remaining ice. Back home, it was time for waffles with the kids.