Old friends

When does someone become an “old” friend? I guess for some it takes 5, for others 50 years to consider a friendship old. 

My high school friends and I have a 27 year old history together. After finishing high school we all went in different directions, both professionally and geographically. Being able to meet up has become increasingly complicated. However we have started to plan one reunion per year where we spend some time together away from our husbands, kids and daily responsibilities. 

This year we stayed at a large rural house in the north of Navarra region. The house was located in the small village of Garralda. We arrived to the house late on the Friday evening and entered the living room and its lit fireplace. We felt very welcomed and after a light dinner with tapas, red wine and a long chat, we were ready for bed. 

On Saturday morning we put our trekking shoes and running tights on and went to the Irati Forest. We walked a 10 km route around the Irabia reservoir, then had the delicious menu of the day at a local restaurant for 15 euros. 

In the late afternoon we went to Roncesvalles and got smitten with the spirit of Pilgrimage. I think most of us have dreamt of walking the Pilgrim route and we began to make plans to walk part of the Camino de Santiago together with our families next year. 

On Sunday we went on a scenic drive to enjoy a beautiful view from the Mirador de Ariztokia and from there to the picturesque village of Ochagavia. I had previously been there with my parents and sisters as a child and was excited to return. I love the big white houses with red tile roofs and flower filled balconies and heavy wooden doors. The entrance to the older houses are beautifully paved with grey river stones. 

Today this is no longer allowed in new construction so as to protect the natural environment of the river.   


We took the opportunity to have lunch at the local Sidreria Kixkia, where we tasted the local cider directly tapped from the wooden barrel and indulged in the exquisite meat, peppers stuffed with cod and fresh salads. We had a feast for 25 euros per person. 

We enjoyed a wonderful time in beautiful surroundings. Our weekend together adds more happy memories to the history of our friendship. 

I can’t wait to next year’s reunion! 


Can I still call this site The Running Novice?

Since I have not run for a year and a half, it seems to me that The running novice might have become a misleading title for this blog. 

Let’s consider: I discovered that in fact, I was able to run more than 200 meters at 39 years of age. I got into the habit of running and as a way to keep motivated and focused, I began to blog about it. This revealed a new world of writing runners, many of which achieve pretty amazing things. I wanted to achieve too, however I did not go about it the right way, which resulted in a knee injury and later surgery. 

Then followed months with new positions at work and much travel activity, and a lack of motivation to stick to a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise. I have in fact set myself back to where I was 10 years ago – which was by no means a healthy place. 

Taking this into account, it seems like calling this a runner’s blog is if not a lie or a thing of the past, at least wishful thinking. 

I have decided to hold on to this title for one reason: To get myself back on track. I have a vision of the healthy person that I would like to be, and I am not prepared to give up just yet. 

My plan is very humble; to begin with, I just want to move every day. I want for my knee to stop hurting. And my aim and hope for the future, is that I might be able to run moderate distances 2 or 3 times per week for the rest of my life. 

Well I had the same wish and good intentions one year ago, so how do I know that I will make it happen this time? I quite simply do not know. What I do know is that I feel much better about myself when I try. 

Have a great run out there! 


Cleaning up

The family & I have enjoyed a long weekend at a pretty spot in Denmark called Møn. We have walked down the longest stairs in Denmark to the beach by Møns Klint, and walked back up again. That was 497 steps times 2, it was tough on my old knee, but I tried to pace myself and took 2 small breaks on my way up. 


The kids loved our visit to the impressive Knuthenborg Safari Park, and we enjoyed the sunset at the beach by Klintholm Harbour.  

 My right knee resented all the weekend activity, so today when I attempted to clean up by the hedge at home, I soon had to turn to a chair in order to avoid kneeling. 


Removing the grass and weed that had grown among the hedge was a long overdue task at home. I enjoyed doing this, while listening to Classic French songs that remind me of my grandparents, my parents, and my childhood. I was listening to Georges Moustaki, Françoise Hardy, Charles Aznavour, and one of my favorites Edith Piaf. 

Lovely music to end a long weekend break. Have a great week everyone!


Test run and re-start

Short recap: I got my knee injured last year in March, got surgery last October and have not run for 13 months. It’s been boring and demotivating not to be able to run! 

So finally today I decided to go for a test run. It was a perfect spring day, and I went for a very short run with my daughter. I really enjoyed her company and her support. We stretched, ran, and by the end of it I walked back home. I would rather be too careful than risk not being able to run at all again. 

The test went quite well, in that my knee seems ok. At least it’s not worse. I would like to have a short run every other day for the next week and see how I’m doing. 

I hope all goes well and I can re-start my running. I have lowered my ambition level; it’s not about half or full marathons for me anymore: all I want is to do really is be able to run – even if only shorter distances – for the rest of my life. 

This little fellow came by the garden the other day – this is one of the reasons that I love where I live. 

Have a nice run everyone! 



The liberation of conscious choices

Procrastination, otherwise known as displacement activity, is translated as “overspringshandlinger” in Danish. Most of us know it well, and we procrastinate every time we are supposed to do something which seems too big or complicated a project, or simply not interesting enough. We then procrastinate as a mechanism to postpone the discomfort associated with the task. Diffusing to 100 other activities is also tempting in this situation. 

As I grow older, I am becoming more aware of the importance of using my time if not wisely at least consciously. This goes for other consumption than time, like energy, food, money, social media, etc. 

I cannot claim that I succeed in restraining from procrastinating or consuming in excess of what would be my best interest, however something happens after 40. Getting to the middle of life gives a new perspective, a new mindset. 

There is a realization that NOW is the time to choose consciously and let go of all that is not necessary or is in disharmony with who I am. The restlessness and curiosity that characterize me are not gone, but with time I have become more rooted and focused – and learned to choose something and let go of something else. In Danish you actually “choose to” (at vælge til) and you “choose from” (at vælge fra), which makes much sense. It’s logical and coherent. 

For many years I lived in the illusion that I could have it all, and this pursuit made me deeply unhappy. I wanted to be everywhere, I wanted to do everything. Something had to give, as indeed it did.  I spent too many years burning my candle on both ends, attempting to do everything at once. As soon as I let go of the illusion and focused on what really mattered, things started falling into place. I began to feel content, I began to feel at home. 

And so the journey into consciousness continues. I have peripherically become acquainted with mindfulness and yoga and I find them interesting. I would like to dedicate more time to meditation and cultivate the balance in my life. 

Everything is much easier when you discover what you want and who you really are. 

I would encourage everyone to liberate themselves. It’s a choice. 


Arthroscopy and the way back

I have not run since March due to an injury on my right knee – and it has been tough on both body and mind. I did not manage to practice other alternatives, like swimming, cycling or cross-training on a regular basis either.

My knee aches increased overtime and even mild walking activity or taking the stairs became painful. The surgeon decided it was time to take a closer look at my knee, so I finally got surgery on October 10th. I was reassured that it was minor surgery and I was not to worry. “A piece of cake” as the anaesthesiologist said before sending me to sleep for a couple of hours.

Details about the procedure can be found here

Fortunately my good friend drove me to and from the hospital and was there to calm my nerves. The arthroscopy went fast and the surgeon seemed happy with the result, so hopefully I’m on my way back from here.

It’s been 2 days since the surgery so I am doing the prescribed exercises and trying to avoid pain killers. I would rather be able to feel my knee and whether there is progress. I hope the knee heals well so I can be mobile again.

I started running to be healthy. In my eagerness to achieve the next running goals, I neglected my body’s signals and damaged my knee. I think I have learned from this experience and hopefully will be able to avoid a similar situation in future.

I am so looking forward to going for a walk in the woods with my family when I’m well again. It’s beautiful autumn weather and I can’t wait to experience it with my kids.

Have a great week and a great run out there!


Great vacation, terrible shape!

In a few hours, my family and I will be heading back to Denmark after a wonderful long vacation.

If you have never visited the Basque Country in Spain and France, I highly recommend the region. I am born in Bilbao and have family and friends in the area so naturally I am biased. But thousands of visitors will tell you that they come to enjoy our landscape & nature, our coasts and charming villages, our ancient culture, our gastronomic traditions, etc.

I read that 70.000 tourists visit the Basque Country every year to surf, and this trend is growing. We have world class waves in beaches like Zarautz or Mundaka.

People from all over the world visit the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. I personally find the building itself truly impressive. I appreciate that precisely this building came to represent a new beginning for the heavily polluted and industrialized city that I grew up in.

Today Bilbao’s center is beautiful and clean, and the City has become residential with its restored buildings and facades.

Besides spending time in Bilbao, San Sebastián (Donostia) and Pamplona, we visited the cozy coastal towns of San Jean-de-Luz, Hendaye, Plentzia, Mundaka, etc. We walked to see the sights from San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a chapel at sea from the late 19th century.

A small note on our visit to Pamplona. The city’s festivities involve different traditions besides the running of the bulls or the corridas, which I certainly do not support. I oppose violence or abuse against animals. I recently met a German friend who specifically asked what my views were on bullfighting and I wrote a post about it. If you are interested, the full post in Spanish is here

The only downside I can think of in connection with the vacation is that I have indulged in the wonderful local food and wines but have done no exercise at all. This has resulted in an even worse shape. My knee injury still prevents me from running, but a fellow blogger has suggested that I swim and I have decided to put it into my schedule.

Do you take a break from running while on vacation? What’s your record in weigh increase after a lazy vacation period? What have you done to get back to your healthy routines and stick to them afterwards?





The Neverland of Facebook

As one of my Facebook contacts pointed out last night, her wall “is often filled with substantial posts, or the opposite, or something in between”. You find all sorts of things on Facebook, that’s a truth I can’t refute.

I had commented quite categorically that “one should not search for substance on Facebook”. In my experience, substantial information is for the most posted as a link on Facebook. So FB becomes a means of distribution, not the source of substance itself.

In general terms, I find the private use of FB mainly turns the platform into a Neverland; a symbol for childhood (or childlessness) , immortality and escapism. I would say that the instant recognition of the likes appeals to the child within us, that we seek to immortalize ourselves through the documentation of happy moments or deep thoughts, and that we try to escape reality, boredom or our daily chores by constantly checking what new status updates have come up on our wall.

We post everything on Facebook, what we are proud of, what makes us happy, sad, angry, etc. For the most, we fail to realize that our posts are like a cry into the wind that has very limited relevance to anyone but ourselves. Even when realizing this, we post anyway, because as the ad goes, “we’re worth it”.

Among others, Facebook is the land of make-believe, of self-promotion and self-staging. Danish journalist Heidi Vesterberg has written a good reflection about self-staging on FB. Here is Heidi’s post in Danish

She argues that we have always tried to present our better side, like we do on FB today. And that we still have the ability to see through the falseness of it. I agree that it’s human to present our better side in a social context, but I would argue that the reach of social media is unprecedented and actually changes our social behavior. So that the nature of our interactions, our conversations, our opinions are affected by the media we use. And thereby also their content and substance. We’re all busy checking what we missed out on in the last five minutes. Mass consumerism has taken over our personal relations too.

Don’t get me wrong; I like Facebook as much as I dislike it. It is a useful tool, and not even the reprehensible fact that Facebook experiments with its users without their knowledge or consent has stopped me from having an active profile.

But I do resent the effect that FB has on me. I resent using too much time on irrelevant information from people that I seldomly see or that I see everyday, quick fix articles of the type: “5 reasons why you should quit doing this or that”, and I resent that I keep coming back for more.

So whenever I feel that I’ve had enough of it, I take a break, and deactivate my profile for a while. I can then put my time to better use on other media which I feel is more agreeable. And then there is “downtime”. Time without internet connection. Scary. Might have to do that more?

Do you feel you have sufficient “downtime” away from social media? Do you also have mixed feelings regarding FB or other social media platforms?



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Bli en stjärna på digital marknadsföring. 7 prylar att göra efter semestern.

Digitalt fokus - Katarina Jönsson

Hur ska jag göra vårt företag bättre på digital marknadsföring? Strategier och marknadsplaner sätter mål och affärsfokus, men hur omsätter du det i praktiken? Vad blir den digitala taktiken?

Hanna Kastås, strateg på byrån Bazooka, tipsar om att göra följande 7 punkter:
(Se videon från hennes seminarium i Almedalen)

  1. Ta digitalt på allvar!

    De flesta på marknads- och kommunikationsavdelningar vet att digital närvaro och aktivitet är viktig. Missionera om det för alla avdelningar på företaget. Se till att ledningen får lära sig varför det är viktigt att göra digitalt till ett prioriterat område.

  1. Studera användarens resa och curla!

    Lär dig hur användarna av din webbplats, app, facebooksida mm upplever sin vistelse där. Känns det lätt att använda verktygen? Fattar man vad man ska göra? Kommer man till avslut (anmäler sig, köper något, kontaktar en säljare)? Se till att hitta hindren och ta bort dem. Förbättra, testa och förbättra…

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