Royal Run ’19

Monday June 10th 2019 I participated in Royal Run ’19. Find below my full race coverage from the second edition of this unique and now extremely popular event in Denmark originally created for the celebration of the 50th year birthday of the Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in year 2018.

Royal Run '19 - Tor Rønnow

Royal Run ’19
Royal Run ’19 took place in 5 different places this year, namely in The Faroe Islands (!), the danish cities Aalborg, Aarhus and Copenhagen and on Bornholm. My report below covers the 10 K run in Copenhagen with a stunning +37.000 runners out on a truly majestic route in the danish capital.

See or relive Royal Run ’19 here :

Royal Run ’19 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Dansk)
Royal Run ’19 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)
Royal Run ’19 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)
Royal Run ’19 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)
Royal Run ’19 – TorRønnow的照片(中文)
ロイヤルラン’19 – TorRønnowの写真(日本語)
Royal Run ’19 – photos de Tor Rønnow (Français)
Royal Run ’19 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)
Royal Run ’19 – beelden van Tor Rønnow (Nederlandse)
Royal Run ’19 – bilder av Tor Rønnow (Svenska)

Royal Run ’18

Monday May 21th 2018 I participated in Royal Run ’18. Find below my full race coverage from this unique event in celebration of the 50th year birthday of the Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

Royal Run '18 - Tor Rønnow

Royal Run ’18
Royal Run ’18 took place in no less than 5 danish cities, namely Aalborg, Aarhus, Esbjerg, Odense and lastly Copenhagen, where our Prince ran 10 K as opposed to his 1 Mile in the other cities. My report below covers the 10 K run in Copenhagen which was held in the evening of this beautiful summer day and with a stunning +25.000 runners out on a truly majestic route in the danish capital.

See or relive Royal Run ’18 here :

Royal Run ’18 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Dansk)
Royal Run ’18 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)
Royal Run ’18 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)
Royal Run ’18 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)
Royal Run ’18 – TorRønnow的照片(中文)
ロイヤルラン’18 – TorRønnowの写真(日本語)
Royal Run ’18 – photos de Tor Rønnow (Français)
Royal Run ’18 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)
Royal Run ’18 – beelden van Tor Rønnow (Nederlandse)
Royal Run ’18 – bilder av Tor Rønnow (Svenska)

Dubai Marathon 2017

Friday Janurary 20th 2017 I ran the Dubai Marathon. Find below my full race coverage plus some tourist impressions from this very special city.

Dubai Marathon 2017 - Tor Rønnow

Dubai City
I was very excited about visiting Dubai after having seen stuff about this luxurious city in various TV shows. It is safe to say that the city delivered! The Dubai Mall and the Burj Al Khalifa is for sure some of the most impressive things build by man and the luxury of the Burj Al Arab is second to none. Still, as you can read in the report, what have made an I will even say life-turning impression is the stories of the taxi-drivers of the city! Well, please read the report and you will understand. I am still trying to digest the Dubai experience but for sure before everything I think about the taxi drivers and their tough lives away from their families. It has really gotten to me.

Dubai Marathon 2017
The Dubai Marathon started at 06.30 in the morning. The course is extremely flat and is essentially running back and forth of the beach drive in Dubai, crossing the iconic Burj Al Arab a few times as a bonus. The day became rather warm and especially humid somewhat making a great performance from my side less probably. The conditions must, however, have suited the elite runners well as new race records were set in both the men’s and women’s marathons. The sights of the route are spectacular and with the view of the Burj Khalifa as the top attraction in several meanings of the words. Visiting Dubai Marathon is highly recommended, of course.

Dubai Marathon 2017 - Tor Rønnow

See or relive Dubai Marathon 2017 here (and in arab):

Dubai Marathon 2017 – billeder/fotos af Tor Rønnow (Danish)
Dubai Marathon 2017 – bilder von Tor Rønnow (Deutsch)
Dubai Marathon 2017 – pictures by Tor Rønnow (English)
ドバイマラソン2017 – TorのRønnowの写真(日本)
Dubai Marathon 2017 – photos de Tor Rønnow (Français)
Dubai Marathon 2017 – foto di Tor Rønnow (Italiano)
Dubai Marathon 2017 – fotos del Tor Rønnow (Español)
Dubai Marathon 2017 – beelden van Tor Rønnow (Nederlandse)
Dubai Marathon 2017 – bilder av Tor Rønnow (Svenska)

Power of Tens and the Big Data of Love and Loneliness

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!)

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.