A June evening in Södermalm

Tonight I took the subway to Slussen to visit Lotta. She lives in nice neighborhood with lots of very old buildings.

On the way back home, I took a walk in S�dermalm and admired this lovely city.

Saturday night I went to the year's first Djungelsalsa event — so called because it's out in the "jungle" of �rsta. It was cold and rainy but I had a good time anyway.

Inger and I enjoyed some BBQ with some of her world-famous black sauce. As you can tell, it was tasty.


Last long run before the Stockholm Marathon

Today I ran what was probably the longest distance I've ever run. I ran twice around Brunsviken and then made a lap around Ulriksdals Slott. I estimate that the total distance was 26-28 km. I only stopped to walk a few times, and just for a minute or two each time. It took 2:45 to complete the run, and I'm absolutely exhaused. Today's run gave me more confidence that I'll be able to finish the marathon, in part because of two surprising sensations that I experienced for the first time during the run today:
  1. Several times during the run, starting some time during the second lap around Brunnsviken, I began to feel like I was on autopilot. I didn't have to think anymore; I just ran. It was a surprising sensation, but it was welcome because it made the running just flow, as if running were the natural state for my body to be in. I've read about people getting in the zone when doing extended physical or mental exertion, especially if this involves repeating a task that has been done many times before. The task suddenly takes much less mental effort. It just happens. The sensation lasted only for perhaps ten to fifteen minutes at at time, and it went away if I became distracted by uneven terrain or a grumbling stomach; but it often came back a few minutes later.
  2. Around km 15, my hips and knees began to complain in earnest. It became hard to ignore the pain that increasingly accompanied every step. I allowed myself the luxury of a minute's walk, but each time I did this I set a deadline: After one minute, I'll start running again; or When I get to that lamp post up ahead, I'll get moving again. By setting a definite limit on the rest time, I think I managed to keep my body warmed up and in running mode. Walking for longer than a couple of minutes might have led my body to begin the to switch to let's go home and have a beer mode. My system seemed to work, and I kept myself to the bargain each time. This meant that I resumed running even though my joints were still hurting with each step. It was hard, but I kept going. Some time well after km 20, a surprising thing happened: the pain began to subside. It happend rather suddenly, and the running became much easier at that point. My hips and knees were almost numb. No, this isn't quite right. They weren't exactly numb, but the pain was dull, and significantly diminished in magnitude. Thanks to this I was able to keep my speed up during the last few kilometers as I ran out to Ulriksdals Slott and looped around Bergshamra Centrum before heading home.
I think I've come to the threshold between typical everyday exercise running, and real endurance running. The two surprising sensations today were really welcome, and I hope they will bless me with their presence on 4 June. The last 10-15 km of the marathon is definitely going to be the most difficult.

In the coming week, I plan to run twice or three times, and for no longer than 10 km each time. The week before the marathon, I will only jog a few km at a time, and probably only in the first half of the week. Diet and rest will be as important to success as training.

Bike around Djursholm

I biked around Djursholm last Sunday. It was a perfect day for biking -- sunny but not too warm.

There are many, many nice houses in this part of the city. I biked by the residence of the Swiss ambassador quite by chance.

I also made a few laps in the woods around Cedergrenska Tornet. There are often wedding parties here on the weekends.

Across the water from the tower is Bockholmen. The building on the left side of the island is Bockholmen restaurant, where we dined when Ethan was here last Summer.

Along the way I passed one of the few sand beaches in the area. I'm pretty sure that the sand is shipped in and placed there deliberately. It's still too cool for swimming and sunbathing.


Kungsholmen Runt -- 1:54:33

Today I ran the Kungsholmen Runt half marathon. I finished in a time of 1:54:35, my personal best time for this distance. It's about two minutes faster than my time on Sankt Eriksloppet from last year. I have just a few more weeks before the Stockholm Marathon. I'm feeling more confident about it but I know it's going to be really hard. I'm planning to do another long run next weekend, and also to do some interval training during the next two weeks. Then, it's time to take it easy, get a lot of rest, and eat right in the days leading up to the marathon. This will be my first marathon, so I'm not really sure what to expect. To be honest, the distance is a bit intimidating!

I ran the second half of the race with another runner named Anna. I'd like to thank her for running with me. It was much easier to stay motivated running with another person!

After the race today, I sat on the grass of Rålambshovsparken a few meters from Lake Mälaren and enjoyed the lovely Stockholm sunshine. This city is really amazing when the weather is nice. I had a picnic with Lisa, Lotta, and some of Lotta's friends from Puls.se.

Tonight I'm going to Åsa & Kevin's place for this year's repeat of Åsa's 25th birthday party. It'll be a nice way to wind down after the race.


The Flintholm train station, halfway between Cophenhagen and the office in Ballerup where I've been working this week.

Tivoli Gardens

So this is what all the fuss is about. Tivoli Gardens in the center of Copenhagen took its name from the Italian word for the Latin Tibur, an ancient vacation destination of senators in the hills overlooking Rome. I'm not sure how Tivoli Systems got its name. I heard a rumor once that tivoli was the name of one of the early test systems on which the software that later became the Tivoli Management Environment was first developed.

Here's the view out my room at the Scandic Copenhagen City hotel. It's overlooking what used to be a moat surrounting the city wall. That's a big moat. Imagine that you're on the city wall -- okay, the wall back then was not twelve stories high, but stay with me -- The area across the lake is where the invaders would have come from. Of course Denmark has done its share of invading too.


I arrived in Copenhagen around lunchtime today. My colleague Søren picked me up at the airport. We spent most of the rest of the day preparing the classroom for the course I'm here to teach. This evening around 2100 hours, I checked in to the Scandic Copenhagen City hotel. Internet access is inclded in the price of the room. This room is much more modest than the spacious room I had in Singapore. It's probably about one third the size, and has a twin, rather than king, bed. After a day of walking around Singapore, a 13 hour flight, and another full day of work, I think I'll have no trouble sleeping. More to come tomorrow. Over and out.

This morning, I switched planes in London. My connecting flight bound for Copenhagen taxied by this famous aircraft. Do you recognize it?

I guess it's sitting there until they find a way to transport it to a museum. It's a shame that this lovely plane is being retired, and that there's no equivalent replacement.