Valencia Marathon 2015

Posted by Torr | Marathon | Saturday 21 November 2015 00:06

Sunday November 15th 2015 I ran my third odd marathon in Spain, namely Valencia Marathon (an IAAF Silver Label Race). I have had this race in my plans for many years and boy did it deliver ! Valencia Marathon is for sure one of the best events I have ever participated in: nice route, ecstatic and cheerful crowds and an unbelievable spectacular finish at the “City of Art and Sciences”.

Valencia Marathon - Tor Rønnow

Valencia City and the beach

Valencia itself is a beautiful, charming city by the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. The food is said to be exceptionally good and besides various turist attractions for sure the beach and the resteaurants should suffice for a visit.

Valencia Marathon 2015

This event is probably most renowned by it’s spectacular finish at the futuristic “City of Art and Sciences” and with the light-blue swimmingpool water on  the pictures. This is admittedly what caught my attention originally and now, having seen it myself, I must say: the trip to Valencia Marathon was worth every penny, every cent.

Valencia Marathon - Tor Rønnow

As you will find in the the race summary below Valencia Marathon is a truly unique and outstanding event.
I can’t wait to revist !

See or relive Valencia Marathon 2015 here:

Valencia Marathon 2015 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Danish)

Valencia Marathon 2015 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)

Valencia Marathon 2015 – beelden van Tor Rønnow (Nederlandse)

Valencia Marathon 2015 – bilder av Tor Rønnow (Svenska)

Valencia Marathon 2015 – photos de Tor Rønnow (Français)

Valencia Marathon 2015 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)

Valencia Marathon 2015 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)

Valencia Marathon 2015 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)

DLL Marathon Eindhoven 2015

Posted by Torr | Marathon | Saturday 17 October 2015 20:37

Sunday October 11th 2015 I participated in my 3rd odd marathon in the Netherlands, DLL Marathon Eindhoven. The race was picked due to its PB-likely qualities and it can for sure be written to book that this race is extremely flat, probably the flattest I have been to at all. Even though I did actually not record a new PB, I secured my best marathon result since May 2012, and overall I was very pleased with the event. I can highly recommend the DLL Marathon Eindhoven and will indeed return myself.

DLL Marathon Eindhoven 2015 - Tor Rønnow

DLL Marathon Eindhoven 2015 in pictures

The raceday was a sunny one and this is always good for the pictures and the overall atmosphere. Thus, as you will find below the race sells itself nicely in the shots.

See or relive DLL Marathon Eindhoven 2015 here:

DDL Marathon Eindhoven 2015 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Danish)

DDL Marathon Eindhoven 2015 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)

DDL Marathon Eindhoven 2015 – beelden van Tor Rønnow (Nederlandse)

DDL Marathon Eindhoven 2015 – bilder av Tor Rønnow (Svenska)

DDL Marathon Eindhoven 2015 – photos de Tor Rønnow (Français)

DDL Marathon Eindhoven 2015 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)

DDL Marathon Eindhoven 2015 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)

DDL Marathon Eindhoven 2015 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)

Copenhagen Half Marathon 2015

Posted by Torr | Marathon | Friday 18 September 2015 09:57

Sunday September 13th 2015 was the opener for the first IAAF Bronze label race in Scandinavia, namely the longly awaited Copenhagen Half Marathon in the very streets of Copenhagen where the World Cup Half Marathon was held in 2014 (relive here). The debut turned out just greatly with a +23.000 runners competing on the day and to see Bedan Karoki to win in the world’s fastest half marathon time in this calendar year, 59.14, that is just dazzling !

Copenhagen Half Marathon 2015 - Tor Rønnow

Copenhagen Half Marathon 2015 in pictures

The race was transmitted directly on danish television (DR 1), you’ll find the link in my race report below. You will also find a full picture coverage of the entire route and my take on this marvelous half marathon experience.

Oh, and did I mention that I ran with a baby stroller and dressed up as Spiderman ? The crowds and especially the kids loved it, thank you for all the shouts and support out there! We love to come back next year.

See or relive Copenhagen Half Marathon 2015 here:

Copenhagen Half Marathon 2015 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Danish)

Copenhagen Half Marathon 2015 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)

Copenhagen Half Marathon 2015 – bilder av Tor Rønnow (Svensk)

Copenhagen Half Marathon 2015 – photos de Tor Rønnow (Français)

Copenhagen Half Marathon 2015 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)

Copenhagen Half Marathon 2015 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)

Copenhagen Half Marathon 2015 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)

Asics Stockholm Marathon 2015

Posted by Torr | Marathon | Thursday 11 June 2015 20:02

Saturday May 30th 2015 was the day for the yearly Stockholm Marathon, a day that turned out just as wet and gray as forecasted and feared. Still, it was a good race experience and during my short trip to the swedish capital I also found time for a few turist impressions, the visit to the Museum of Modern Art (Moderna Museet) as the most prominent to mention. Especially this one piece of art has afforded many thoughts and feelings in me – ANGST ESSEN SEELE AUF.

Stockholm Marathon - Tor Rønnow

Stockholm City – Museum of Modern Art

Stockholm is a beautiful capital by the shore of the swedish “skjaergaard” (water side) and amongst the main turist attractions we find, of course, the Royal Castle which is situated in the very heart of the city.

Stockholm Marathon 2015
This was my fouth participation in Stockholm, a race that I historically have found very tough, my other times being in the range 4.29 – 5.08 hours. So I was extremely pleased to book the time 3.57.47, having the second half just 13 seconds off the first. My goal was a negative split but this was partly spoiled by congestion on the route during the last 800 meters, partly to the fact that I should have set in my finish-off sprint pace a bit earlier. Nevertheless, I have learned important stuff about marathon pacing strategy by my personal coach Søren Rasmussen and I believe I proved that in Stockholm (in sharp contrast to the April race in Paris !).

Stockholm Marathon - Tor Rønnow

As you will find in the the race summary Stockholm Marathon – several times crowned as “the best marathon in the world” – never ends to deliver the full marathon experience both physically, mentally, field-, spectator- and routewise, indeed one of the big city marathons not to miss.

See or relive Stockholm Marathon 2015 here:

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Danish)

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – bilder av Tor Rønnow (Svensk)

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – photos de Tor Rønnow (Français)

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)

Stockholm Marathon 2015 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015

Posted by Torr | Marathon | Thursday 7 May 2015 21:48

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 - Tor Rønnow

Just two weeks after running Marathon de Paris I had the fortune to participate in yet another truly great marathon, the World Major Virgin Money London Marathon featuring in here in year 2015 the strongest field ever in the history of marathon running. Despite tons of rain in the forecasted weather charts the race day came out dry during the hours of the event, it was even close to optimal conditions. But hey, let’s start by looking at some of the major tourist attractions in London.

British Museum

It is often beneficial to be reminded of an historical perspective on one’s life and doings and you get that – for free – in surplus at the British Museum in London. If you walk through the exhibition halls in the right sequence you’ll basically learn or get brush up of the entire history of the important parts of the civilization for the last 3000 years ! In the times of selfies, media and “me me me” it’s good to remember the skills, struggles and troublesome life conditions of the past.

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 - Tor Rønnow

The collection contains several astonishing pieces of art from both the ancient Egyptian, Greek, Etruscian and Roman epoques / empires, notably the Parthenon Frieze and the Rosetta Stone.

National Gallery
Another free and absolutely mind-blowing museum is the National Gallery at the “top” of Trafalgar Square. It’s just a 15 minutes pleseant walk from the British Museum and you may choose to pass popular areas such as Soho, China Town, Covent Garden or the theatre district on your way. The National Gallery displays work of three of the four NINJA TURTLES, notably two pieces by Leonardo da Vinci. Other works are signed by painters such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Monet and Turner as one of the “latest”. Just insanely awesome stuff !!!

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 - Tor Rønnow

Interestingly, the National Gallery displays the alternate version of “Virgin of the Rocks” by Leonardo da Vinci, the “first” one being at the Louvre in Paris. Thus, we hereby invent the marathon doublet “Virgin of the Rocks”: The Paris and London marathons !

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015
As in Paris, it was my third participation here in London too and it turned out to be the fastest. I tried to maintain a 5.30 pace as long as I could, this lasted until around km 26 and at that point I decided to go for a “secure sub-4″ instead of the otherwise planned negative split.

One word sums up the entire race experience: AWESOME !!!
I don’t think I have ever seen so many spectators at any marathon before – the atmosphere was just electric !

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 - Tor Rønnow

Of the 6 Marathon Majors London for sure has a special flavor to it !

See or relive Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 here:

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Danish)

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 – photos de Tor Rønnow (Français)

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)

Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)

Marathon de Paris 2015

Posted by Torr | Marathon | Tuesday 5 May 2015 17:08

Sunday April 12th 2015 was an incredibly nice and sunny day in Paris (France) and it was also the very day for this year’s Marathon de Paris. Whoaa ! Speak about getting lucky ! In fact, the whole weekend was blessed with warm and sunny weather and it was a pleasure to walk around between the many shops and attractions of this mega-metropol.

Marathon de Paris - Tor Rønnow

Paris City

Paris is the most popular tourist city in the world and for good reasons: the atmosphere and charming sights, the cuisine, the museums, the Louvre and Mona Lisa, the Champs-Élysée and – oh, did I forget – the Eiffel Tower.

Marathon de Paris 2015
This was my third participation in Paris and even though I had to struggle a bit for it, I took home the full point. So did my friend Mikael and for his maiden marathon, it was a real privilege to accompany him towards his first finish line.

Marathon de Paris - Tor Rønnow

In toto Paris could not have displayed itself prettier than this race day, the support from the crowds was good and the overall race organisation impeccable. Next year is the 40th anniversary of Marathon de Paris, guess who is already signed up.

See or relive Marathon de Paris 2015 here:

Marathon de Paris 2015 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Danish)

Marathon de Paris 2015 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)

Marathon de Paris 2015 – photos de Tor Rønnow (Français)

Marathon de Paris 2015 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)

Marathon de Paris 2015 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)

Marathon de Paris 2015 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)

Amsterdam Marathon 2014

Posted by Torr | Marathon | Sunday 18 January 2015 22:21

Sunday October 19th I completed the Amsterdam Marathon for the fourth time. It turned out to be a record  warm and humid Sunday in Holland and these factors made me struggle quite a bit, a little more than I had hoped for. However, it is always nice to visit cities like Amsterdam and with lasting impressions.

Amsterdam Marathon starts and ends at the old Olympic Stadion – a spectacular scene for a race lift-off indeed.

Below you find a series of the best pictures of the day and the full story is in the links. Enjoy.

See or relive the unique and spectacular Amsterdam Marathon 2014 here:

Amsterdam Marathon 2014 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Danish)

Amsterdam Marathon 2014 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)

Amsterdam Marathon 2014 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)

Amsterdam Marathon 2014 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)

Amsterdam Marathon 2014 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)

Brain Work: How Internet Chess improved my Running !

Posted by Torr | Chess,Marathon | Sunday 7 December 2014 14:55

Ok, so maybe you read my October post on how to improve and reprogramme your Brain ? You pursuit in this could be many things such as working smarter and better, becoming more at ease, more loving or, like me, wanting to improve your running. Let me give you my personal breakthrough on a very surprising piece of Brain Work: how playing chess on the Internet improved my running technique !

Firstly, let me explain two concepts of Internet Chess that might be unfamiliar to you:

A) Bullet Chess Games
You typically have 1 minute for the whole game !

B) Premove
Due to the very limited amount of time, one tries (especially in the opening game) to move “before it’s time”, that is move whilst the other players time is actually counting. These premoves are often successful and save time, but can of course lead to major blunders and direct losses in a single move. The premoves are all about saving time.

Watch the first three minutes of the video below and notice how many moves that are made literally within 1 second ! This is only doable due to the premoves, ie. (intuitively/instrictively) thinking and thus acting ahead.

Premoves in Bullet Chess: thinking and moving “before time” (notice the clocks versus number of moves)

My Achilles heel in Running: Cadence
My awesome coach Aleksandar Sørensen-Markovic of OOB Coaching early spotted that in running, my cadence was way to low. I knew this myself, obviously, but it came as a surprise that it was way too low even when running “fast” (for my running form), and the general importance of keeping a high cadence at all times was also an eye-opener to me.

Cadence explained. Note in the video: “muscle memory” equals neuron memory equals a Brain Pattern

My Achilles heel in Chess: Losing on time
Well, knowledge is one thing, skills  to change the situation are another matter and to put it short, I struggled with this through months (through years, actually). Until I remembered my Achilles heel in Chess too: I HATE LOSING – and especially on time in a won position. I REALLY REALLY hate it. And this is a VERY familiar pattern for my Brain: to premove in those bullet games to avoid these disgusting defeats. You may sense the motivation here is very high.

The Solution: Improving my Running Cadence by tricking my Brain
So now we have the Lego pieces all together: The Premove concept, the runner with a pathetic cadence, the childish chess player hating to lose on time (in 1 minute games, sigh) and the Brain groupie wanting to utilize the hindsight of modern Brain research as intuitively “sensed”. So what emerges of all this ?

Well, I have “tricked” my Brain to “believe” that my legs are playing bullet chess ! One leg, one color. Ground contact time equals time spend on the chess clock. Therefore, my running cadence is forced to become high – ie. using as little time as possible – as the opposite is leading to defeat.  My feet, my legs, my entire body, actually, is premoving those Running Strides and thus utilizing an indeed very trained Brain Pattern for me. The result has been a vastly improved Running Form and Cadence for me and I am now doing split times I only dreamed of in the past.

Obviously, and luckily, the common denominator to Bullet Chess and Running Cadence is: Time. Applied differently but installed in me as a very strong Brain Pattern and with a Physical Component in each area: In Chess moving the pieces, in Running moving my legs. Surely, this “trick” repeatedly uses a sort of Visualization of my Running Cadence, thus implementing one of the recommended tools from the modern Brain research.

Learning Points: Identify Your Successful Skillset and Tranfer it
I believe my story here could be inspirational.  I firmly believe that Brain Work will be a central theme in many things in the years to come,  and that we are only beginning to hear about all the things modern Brain research can do for us. Or rather, how we all have the opportunity to learn, study and apply these things.

Doing so I believe that the fastest results may come by the re-utilization or transfer of skillsets (= Brain Patterns) already well installed in each of us, and, alternatively, by mimicking  Patterns observed / learned in others.

Every Human Being is the Master of something, or becoming so.

Power of Tens and the Big Data of Love and Loneliness

Posted by Torr | Spirituality | Sunday 16 November 2014 14:28

One of the current hypes in the media and IT is the concept of “Big Data”. We have never had access to so much information and so many data to correlate as we have now, and we do indeed see very interesting articles on many different aspects of the Human lives and Civilizations, not to mention Businesses. It seems almost for certain that the “Big Data revolution” is and will become yet another driver for the further evolution of our societies and ways of living. So we better get used to the Term.

Thinking about Numbers – which you could call a sub-task of analyzing Big Data – is not a new discipline at all.  Indeed, the ancient Greek Philosopher Pythagoras is famous for the quote “Everyting is Numbers!”, and we have all struggled with Mathematics in School and the concept of “Powers of Tens”.  In case you forgot: 1*10^3 means 10*10*10 = 1000, and likewise 1*10^-2 means 0.1 *0.1 = 0.01. You will appreciate that once you get it, the Powers of Tens is a pretty neat and simple concept.

So the question of this Post is: did you really ever think about the Powers of Tens ? Let me elaborate: In the metric system, entities measured in 1 meters (1*10^0) are in the same scale as yourself, your kids, your car. Entities in 1*10^1 are like two rooms in your house, entities in 1*10^2 like the houses in your street or the distance of a 5 minutes walk, ie. hundreds of meters. Entities in 1*10^3 (1000 meters) is like the numbers of kilometers to your work not to long away (“a few kilometers”) and entities in 1*10^4  (10.000 meters) is like the distance your are sitting in when up flying in an air plane in it’s normal flight height. So think about this: there are only four (4) Powers of Tens difference to your normal life (1*10^0) looking down from that airplane (1*10^4) ! When you do sit in the airplane and look down, you will have a hard time to grasp that the “dimension” of single meters (1*10^0) even exist ! You can merely glimpse the houses and to imagine that they are actually filled with stuff like kitchenware, shoes and chairs seems kind of unreal from the distance of 10 kilometers. Try it the next time you fly !

Looking a 3-fold Power of Tens down !

Ok, this was just the preparation for the bigger data: think about the distances around the globe, the distances in the Solar System, or, in the World of Chemistry, the Number of molecules in your body or in the food you eat. Example: 18 gram of water contain approx.  6.022 * 10^23 molecules (= 1 mole of H2O). It is completely out of our hands, say heads, to comprehend numbers of this magnitude. This is yet, however, elementary chemistry taught to everyone in school. We can round the number of to 1*10^23, ie.
6 * 100000000000000000000000 water molecules – in 18 ml of water !

The Number of People in an Persons Life
Ok, enough of the nerdy stuff, let’s move on to the most important: the significant persons in your life. Average Numbers could be:

* we estimate the world population to 7 billion (7* 10^9) human beings
* you have 7 close relatives in your family – meaning there are 1 billion (1* 10^9) people per close relative you have !
* you have 7 very close friends – again, 1 billion (1* 10^9) people for each important friend in your life
* you have 70 close friends, most important colleagues, and other significant persons in you life – ratio is now 1:(1* 10^8)
* you have 700 odd persons in your “network”, colleagues, and other people you connect with from time to time – ratio is now 1:(1* 10^7)

I guess you get the pattern in the ciphers by now. Let’s look on the last two situations:  say you have 70 “really important” persons in your life, well then there are 100 million people on the Earth for each. 100 million people equals the entire populations of Germany, The Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries all together ! We Humans tend to care a lot about “what the others think”, but when you inspect the data here, it’s hard not to think: Why ? Why is it important what 70 odd people might think about you, when you for each have 100 million (1* 10^8) people that never have and probably never will know or hear or care about you at all. Why ? Well, I guess the answer is that we Humans in fact relate emotionally, including our Vanity, to the Small Numbers. Our feelings steer around our few loved ones (most importantly, our children and our parents), around the one partner we either have or not have, around our few very close friends, our one childhood, our one career, our one appearance, our one relegion, one sexuality etc. Yes, our Hearts are controlled by the Small Numbers and thus we easily feel lonely here in the Modern World where we are confronted by these immense amounts of the Big Data (=many strangers) including the superficial nature of the Social Networks. My take is that we Humans are not build for the Big Data as beings. And thus we feel lonely.

Do you feel alone in the World ? We all are ! By the Numbers.

So we are in a dilemma here.  We are Maze Runners in our own neurotic psychology  trying to balance the emotions of the Small Numbers with the ever increasing potential opportunities of the Big Data. The key is balance, or with another word: temperance, one of the cardinal Virtues in the Greek Philosophy. We have to understand what the Numbers imply to all Humans: no one get’s anything for free ! We all have the Numbers against us ! And we can all have them on our side. It is a Brain thing, it is an emotional challenge, it is the very mastery called Life ! So run into your Maze and increase your odds !

A Marathon is made up by so many individuals, so many personal stories, so many spirits and faiths, yet poeple bring themselves out there, they struggle, they take decisions, they experience things, alone and together at the same time. Indeed, the Marathon is a wonderful Metaphor for Life itself.

My practical suggestions are:

A) Be yourself, be genuine and uphold and defend your own integrity. (Billions of people don’t care if  you fake it anyways)
B) Understand that “everybody” are strangers. We are all lonely. So adjust your feelings to this core fundamental
C) Safekeep and maintain your close relationships. Friends come, as you may realize, in Small Numbers for most of us.
D) Be open and friendly to all Humans. The Big Numbers imply that your next new friend, lover or spouse is out there !
E) Welcome criticism and resistance ! Be happy that someone actually spend their time on you – billions don’t.
F) Get into the game ! For all we know, Life comes as a one-off thing, so get the most out of it ! Exploit yourself. Act !

Magic mushrooms, brain patterns and (running)(thinking)(just about)(everything!)

Posted by Torr | Chess,Marathon,Music,Spirituality | Wednesday 15 October 2014 20:30

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow

Recently, a scientific study has indicated that the human brain is capable of entering a variety of altered states if given “magic mushrooms” (psychedelic drugs !). These findings may seem obvious and expected, however, I do believe that both the philosophical and practical extrapolations are extremely interesting, and, if handled in the right manner, potentially life-changing.

Most importantly, the study indicates that a number of otherwise “unavailable” brain states may come into play. Philosophically, to me, this translates into that a number of personality traits and skill sets just await our personal discoveries.

Our experiences in life both create and define our lives and personalities, and, importantly, vice versa ! The magic mushroom implication here is that our lives, skill sets and types of experiences could be so many other “personally unthinkable” things. You are so much more than you think you are. At least, potentially.  It is there, in your brain !

Personal Development
We  do indeed learn so many things during our lives, and we can further develop and refine the skills we already master. Brain-wise this corresponds to entering either new or known brain trails / patterns and to strengthen these trails. The more trained a brain pattern is, the better you master the particular skill on a subconscious level. This is probably the brain equivalent to the 10.000 hours training principle. The cultivation and repetition of a particular skill/brain trail is indeed the cornerstone of all learning and personal development. It starts when we are infants and if you are a wise parent, you buy your baby toys targeted for brain development.

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
We can all benefit from the brain sciences, babies, children, teenagers, adults

We humans are both blessed and victimized by the (limited) number of brain states known to us. It may not necessarily be enough to “think positive” or in a new manner to change habits, to break diseases (including depression) or alter unwanted personality traits such as compulsive eating (or – disorders), low self esteem or what have you. It may require a magic mushroom, metaphorically speaking, to get in contact of these new states. This line of thinking support the essence of various of the New Age philosophies/schools, the practice of meditation (indeed, the powerful healing states of meditation are well described) and personal development stuff such as NLP, the latter being firmly based on the brains connection and involvement in our human experiences as a whole.  Below is a list of suggested activities (“safe mushrooms”) to explore.

1. NLP – Advanced tools for self development; [short into to NLP]
2. Meditation and self-hypnosis – Your body’s own healing and relaxation methods and states
3. Go into therapy. You send your car to a garage when it needs fixing. You need healing of your soul. We all do
4. Get a personal Psychological Profile (eg. the extremely detailed Identity Blueprint)  to identify relevant “issues”
5. Physical exercise – Creating hormones and BDNF to grow your brain [eg. by running]
6. Study something new to you, eg. the works of an artist, a new language, some unfamiliar music (preferably classical)
7. Off-line activities in the Nature
8. Do Charity ! Help someone without asking anything in return. Just help !
9. Love. Yourself. Your family. Your friends. Life itself.  Odds are you have this one chance. Love deeply !

In the Trails of Brain Science
Without going too much into academic references I do believe that all of the above suggestions have been “proved” scientifically to do good things for your brain and thus for your potential to explore new assets in yourself. There are actually a number of tools and activities that you can exploit that have even closer bonds to Science. I will list a few below and also add some book suggestions. I am pretty sure we will be hearing a lot more on the said issues in the years to come, the art being how to take real advantage of the ever increasing outputs from the areas of brain research and the related disciplines.

A. Use drawing tools like mind maps to capture and explore your ideas, concepts and universes
B. Use brain targeted music and programs like the Monroe products (eg.  Hemi-Sync music, Mind-Food tools) [youtube  it !]
C. Read up on the latest scientific findings within the vast field of brain research, popular books include
C1. “Making a Good Brain Great”, Daniel G. Amen
C2. “Change your Brain, Change your Body”, D.G. Amen
C3. “Super Brain”, Deepak Chopra, Rudolph E. Tanzi
C4. “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, Daniel Kahneman
C5. “smart thinking”, Art Markman

These books reveal the latest on issues like learning, problem solving, creativity, smart habits (including eating and sleeping habits) and a lot more, all based on our current knowledge on how the brain and the mind work. As stated by two of Daniel Amens brain-centered principles: “Your brain is involved in everything you do” <alas the Title of this post>, therefore “when your brain works right, you work right”. These principles convey one of my core intentions with this post, however, YOU must make the difference for you ! Every change  and experience in your life resides in your brain. You decide your moves and the World is not to blame (but of course some people live under circumstances where these thoughts are simply not possible to exercise due to extreme poverty, war, diseases,”regimes” and the like).

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
Creating Mind Maps is an incredibly effective way to use and train your brain, to learn and innovate. Check up on the books by Tony Buzan. You find my Mind Map on my London Marathon 2005 here.

Leonardo Da Vinci and the Renaissance Man
For me, the ideal of brain and potential utilization reached its very peak with the life and works by the great masters of the renaissance, ie. artists like Bernini and Michelangelo and the universal genius Leonardo Da Vinci.

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
A sketch by Leonardo Da Vinci, the ultimate brain of all time

There is actually a book on peak performance called “How to think like Leonardo Da Vinci [by Michael J. Gelb]” and it is very much similar to mind mapping and to utilizing all your senses  and putting a variety of skills into play (at the same time). Kind of the same goes for the De Bono Six Thinking Hats approach to brainstorming and problem solving forcing you to approach the same problem from six different angles (it’s fun to do, actually !). You find similar “advice” in the famous Disney Principles, or, to change the game slightly, in LEAN or Six Sixma approaches to optimization within production systems and organisations. The common denominator for all these things is: applied pattern recognition (plus, perhaps, rigor and systematic). Pattern recognition is en passant one of the key skills in playing chess and playing chess may in fact increase your overall IQ according to recent studies.

The reason I mention this in this section of the post here is based on the thought that patterns and brain usages are (or may be) similar to or “transportable” from one type of thinking/skill to another. Like my oldest son is a “genius” with a ball in any type of such sport (soccer, table tennis, basket ball, etc.), just the same  ease Leonardo had with the arts, with sculpturing and with “the sciences” (which he founded in many ways).

In conclusion: strive to make your brain work  beneficial to several areas of your life. Take your pride and talents from one set of skills and apply them (if possible) to other, perhaps for you, new areas. If you can learn one language, you can learn ten. If you ever learned anything, you can learn again. Your efforts (and, obviously, in some countries your opportunities) define the limits. Not your brain – it is (for all practical purposes) limitless ! Just imagine, your brain can make up a picture of Mick Jagger sitting on the moon in a pink tuxedo with Scarlett Johansson on the left and Megan Fox on the right them all listening to “Over the Rainbow” sung by Elvis on his old days. Tell me:  your brain just produced exactly that, yes ? See ?!

Visualisation, Peak Performance and Running
It has been known for quite a while that visualization is a powerful tool for eg. athletes with respect to their *physical* performances / skills, this again translates into sets of “activated” brain patterns in these individuals. One might even speculate that it may be the very availability of these particular brain patterns that provide the assets to these athletes, and if you extrapolate, that particular skills have their corresponding brain patterns.

You could speculate that a “talent” for something is a natural or maybe even a genetically given preference or availability to a particular brain pattern / sets of neurological trails. It may be such that certain patterns by default are just not available to everyone, explaining why some few are “naturals” and  most of us not. However, this is where the implications of the Magic Mushrooms become so interesting: the default can be circumvented ! It requires, however, brain work.

In some contexts brain work is actually achieved “by proxy” by the body’s physical movements. Babies learn to walk during numerous repetitions of the copied behavior of their parents or siblings, and what actually happens is that the brain patterns connected to “walking” are being established and sufficiently strengthened until the skill of walking is mastered.

Babies also train speech long before action [according to this brain research study]. The same can be said about so many other physical skills, including running. It is thus tempting to speculate that one could dramatically improve ones running abilities / performance by eating Magic Mushrooms in the metaphorical sense: can we get reach of “new” brain states that unlock such awesome running skills ? I think the answer univocally must be : Yes ! Indeed, this is what much training of eg. running style is all about: finding and enforcing the brain trails to support an efficient/desired running style. The alluring thought here is whether we by visualization/pure brain work can discover mushroom running states which we then afterwards can transform into actual movements ? I take delight into thinking so. Obviously, we would need to bring our body into the shape to be able to carry out this awesome running and this shaping could itself require various kind of work such as weight loss, training if core and leg muscles etc. The point is: the mushroom awesomeness is there, available if you go for it and put in the hours. Your brain decides.

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
Bring Running to your Mind and your Mind will make you run !

So – how ? Well, you could start out by studying videos teaching a particular running style. You could read up. You could take notes and make personal posters to remind you of the new stuff. Mushroom posters, running motivational posters. Your first thought each morning should be on your running style, and your last one each evening. The more your mind focuses on reaching your goal, the closer you get to it. Use your mind to create your Reality, NOW and your Future. This applies to Running as to everything else in your life.

Your Brain, Your Health, Your Spirit and God
During the reading of the above you might have thought “but I believe in God”, or “I am a spiritual person” or “I believe in Science “only”" or whatever, so all this does not apply to me.

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
David, Transfiguration of Christ; coronal section of human brain
From Paluzzi et al., Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 2007

Well: Wrong ! Brain research has indeed established that “believing” is a brain-state itself, a very healthy and positive one by the way [A.Newberg, M.R.Waldman, "How God changes your brain"], and that the brains of believers change such that the objects of their beliefs become as real to them as “real” verifiable experiences/objects. The mentioned book also points out that religious extremism damage the brain and leads to destructive behavior. (Just take 5 minutes think about the content of the last sentence and what it actually means and implies !)

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
Did Michelangelo hint the God-Spirit-Brain connection in the Sixtine Chapel ?

Surely, “healthy” and “constructive” are the key-words we like, and what could be more important to any person – and thus families and whole communities – than a prosperous health, both mentally and physically ? Again, your brain is the key player, and you may by the powers of your brain and will-power govern your  daily health by meditation, and, in case of disease, apply your mind to heal via the Placebo Effect [J. Dispenza, "You are the Placebo"]. It is time to step up to the fact that our minds can heal, and that disruptive, non-constructive behaviors may be the results of brain-damages, literally, and thus need treatments as such. The latter has been proven over and over again at the Amen Clinics by capturing and analyzing thousands of brain SPECT images (cf. the books mentioned above). Healthy is (involving) a series of brain patterns and so is unhealthy. Same goes for the experience of “God”.

Disclaimers and Conclusions
Please note that I am not trying to reduce neither Religion nor diseases to “a brain thing” only, I am just pointing out that our brains a involved no matter what and that we can benefit from this knowledge itself.

I am also not prescribing  ”development” as an exquisite positive by definition, indeed, in many matters of life just keeping a blissful status quo is just fine ! Change should be initiated by your own motivation and desire, which again can be propelled by either lust or need. If you have already found the brain states and activities that bring grace and happiness to your life, you may need no change. At the end of the day, authenticity may prove to be one of the most important things in a persons life and well-being, casting ropes to the psyche, feelings, aspirations, sexuality and personal, unique life-stories and fates.

Ok, to wrap it up: this write is a somewhat long “brainstorm” (!) / series of associations upon the mentioned Mushroom Study, and the key point is this: your brain can take you to new places. You may add; if so desired. Indeed, identifying what you want and what is good for you is a key and life-long process. My speculation on the Mushrooms is: your goal/state may be completely out-of-box with your current normal thinking. Or it may be applying your skill-set from one area in another (a touching and telling example is found in the movie “The Blind Side” where the All American football player Michael Oher sets on fire when protecting [the "other" skill-set] his team).

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
The Blind Side: Michal Oher finds his transferable skill. What is yours ?

I believe we will hear a lot about this in the future as the research in these matters continue to evolve and refine our understanding of the magnificent human brain. The techniques of tomorrow is already here, perhaps in somewhat rudiment forms, it is up to us to utilize them, both for our personal endeavors and for out loved ones, colleagues, friends, people we meet, communities. Striving for a better tomorrow will benefit the entire mankind and the future generations to come.

The Force is within us all – our brains.

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