Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Sunday 23 February 2014

Extreme Female Athletics: Case #1

A new generation of adventurous athletes is attempting feats that have previously only been done out of necessity. The Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI) begins today in Knik, Alaska, with athletes travelling by foot, bike or ski over distances from 350 to 1000 miles. This race, or the sled dog version of it, which I have heard about since my childhood, always seemed so far from my reality until I found myself living in “the polar vortex” this winter in Duluth, Minnesota, learning more and more about long distance running at extremely low temperatures.

Being a life-long student of the history of medicine, I found it particularly fascinating that the original Iditerod was run in 1925 when a group of a men, led by Norway's Gunnar Kassen, rode with sled dogs 480 km to Nome, Alaska to deliver the serum antidote to diphtheria, which was killing Nome’s Native American children. These children were being exposed to the European disease for the first time and there were no roads or trains to Nome and the few planes in Alaska were not functioning. After 5 days, the men arrived with the serum, the Siberian Husky, Balto leading the way. Despite what you may have learned in the animated film, it was actually a dog named Togo, who got them trough the hardest stretch.

Recently, a lot of attention has been given to the sport of “frigid ultra running in the snow” (seems like there should be a better name for this…) in Denmark due to Casper Wakefield setting an amazing course record at the Yukon Arctic Ultra in 2013 and then Johnny Wolff Andersen lowering it again this year.

Then just last weekend, my Salomon team mate Christian Nørfelt ran the Ice Ultra in Lapland.

But almost totally under the radar, a little redhead waif of a girl came along, and annihilated the course record (by 7 hours) at the Arrowhead 135 in temperatures below -30 C. She is a little like Togo and, partly because she is one of my best friends and partly because I am a feminist who longs for balance in this world, I want to give her the attention she deserves. And maybe we could learn how to embrace cold runs rather than complain about them!

For some background, here is the location of the Arrowhead race:

Apparently International Falls is one of the top 10 coldest places on Earth (why the top 10 are not all within a millimeter of each other on Antarctica, I'm not sure).

 The interview
SLG (TBH) interviews Alicia Hudelson

1.  Why Arrowhead?  Because I didn't know if I could ever do it.  It has a lot in common with what I like about one kind of climbing--I hate to throw climbing terms at you, but it's similar to onsight trad climbing*.  In onsight trad climbing, you don't know exactly what's going to happen when you leave the ground.  You might have a good idea of whether or not you're prepared for the route, and you might feel confident or not confident, but you don't know for sure what the outcome will be, whether you'll fall, or whether you'll even make it to the top of the route.  Most races aren't like that.  You know that, barring major unforeseen injury, you'll finish; the only question is what your time will be and how you'll feel along the way.  But Arrowhead is different.  No matter how much experience you have, you'd never know at the start whether you're going to make it to the finish. 

*Onsight trad climbing is where you climb a route that you've never climbed before, with no information about the route other than what grade it gets, and you place your own gear into the rock as you go (then whoever climbs second takes it out when they come up).

2.  I understand this is your fourth time running Arrowhead. Why do you keep coming back?  At first, because I kept failing.  And then because, even though I had finished, (a) I LOVE the people aspect of this race, and (b) I felt like I had more to do there.  So, the people:  the racers at Arrowhead are probably my favorite bunch of people in the world.  I've made lifelong friends from the race.  There's nothing better than spending an entire weekend with those people, even if you do have to do a horribly hard race at the end of it:)  And the second reason, that I felt like I had more to do there, was just that I had finished once by taking it slow and steady, which was exactly what I needed to do to ensure I actually finished the thing at the time.  But now, I wanted to try it again to see what I could do if I tried to go faster.

3. How did you keep your hands and feet warm? My strategy is normally to use hand and foot warmers when running in below zero temperatures, but this seems a bit burdensome for such a long race. I decided to "Alicia it" for a 2 hour run at -22 C two days ago and my big toe still hurts from frostbite. I'm honestly worried I did permanent nerve damage*. Thoughts or suggestions?

If you're running Arrowhead, as opposed to biking or skiing, keeping your feet warm is not really a problem; you just have to keep the wind and snow off your feet.   I used my regular Hokas and just glued a windproof cover over them.  My feet were nice and toasty the whole time.

Hands are a little trickier to keep warm.  I had three layers:  liner gloves, big heavy mittens, and chemical hand warmers.  The basic key is to never take your liner gloves off, ever.  And when it's really cold (say, below -20), you don't even want to take your mittens off for longer than absolutely necessary.  That means planning out any tasks you have to do, like changing clothes or getting food out of your sled, in advance, so you can do them as quickly as possible.  And sometimes it means abandoning ship in the middle of the task because your fingers are just too cold and you need to warm them up before you can try again.

*my toe still isn't entirely normal and it is over 1 month later! I don't think Arrowhead is for me!

4. What was the number one thing that contributed to you running it 7 hours faster this year than in 2012?

I trained completely differently this time. Having anemia from November onwards was actually a huge blessing in disguise.  Since I felt awful when I tried to run, I did all my training as race-specific "runs" where I would go out and mostly power walk with a little jogging thrown in. I didn't enjoy it (I like running, not walking or jogging) but it was perfect for Arrowhead because that's exactly what you're doing in the race. I also did a lot of training with either a tire or a heavy sled, anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds. I did double runs maybe once a week and two back to back long runs.  Because I wasn't doing much actual running, I didn't do that many miles per week; I didn't have the time to do 70 miles at walking pace. I think i hit 60 miles one week but mostly they were closer to 40. But as far as time on my feet, it was a lot. And because I'd trained for walking, I found the walking aspect of the race much less tiring than last time. Finally, I did a prerace long run with my sled packed exactly how it would be during the race, so I got to fine tune all the lessons you need for minimum stopping and faffing during the race.

5. Were you still anemic going into the race? How did that affect your race preparation, diet and race performance?

After i found out in late November that I was anemic, I went all out to try to fix it.  I was eating beef every day, taking iron supplements, and getting tons of vitamin c to help with the iron absorption.  And it appears to have worked; I think my anemia was gone by the race. I got my blood retested a week after the race and all my numbers were back to normal. Now I can do some actual running again! 
6. You dropped out of the race in 2010 and 2011… what happened?
in 2010 (lots of nausea leading to getting way too cold) and 2011 (super burnt out legs that winter).
7. Ok- so your iPod broke immediately after the start (my understanding is it likely would have broken at some point since mine says "battery low" after 5 minutes at -30 C or below). What did you think about or do to distract yourself?

My ipod (it's a shuffle) does keep on trucking in pretty much any temperature, although I guess I tend to keep it inside my mitten.  I had two of them so I was excited for 20+ hours of music.  After the headphones broke right away, I was extremely disturbed by the prospect of having to stay awake for 2 nights with no music, so I tried not to think about it for fear of psyching myself out.  I did lots of sightseeing (see answer #4), singing, and talking to myself.  I remembered that back in 2009 when I ran the Superior Hiking Trail, I had entertained myself for a good few hours by making up a pretend court case and then arguing both sides of it (FYI to your readers who don't know me, I'm a lawyer) so I tried to do that but I couldn't get the mental focus going this time.  I'll have to try harder next time!

8. Which part of your body was coldest during the race (I hope not the "hoohaw")?
My forearms are always the coldest part of my body in cold weather runs.  I was wearing arm warmers at Arrowhead but even that wasn't good enough.  My mittens have little arm gaiters on them so I tried to keep them pulled up as high as I could, and that helped, but they were never quite warm enough.

9. Can you describe the scenery? Is there a most beautiful place on the course and what does it look like?
The first 18 miles of the course are largely exposed flatlands with short pine trees and wide open views.  After mile 18 you get into denser woods, with taller trees, more curves, and a few hills.  What I think is the most beautiful section is just after the Gateway checkpoint at mile 36--it's lined with tall pine trees and the light is beautiful there since I was there at sunset.  I've never seen miles 40ish to 72 in the daylight, but as far as I can tell, they're similar to miles 36 to 40 but with a few swamp crossings and open areas.  Coming out of mile 72 is where the big hills start, including one that is so huge and rocky that it looks like it could be straight out of Colorado (okay, not quite, but you know what I mean).  You can see the trail going up it and it just looks like a huge vertical wall.  The trail gets flatter and more open again from miles 79 to 95ish, but then there is another long section of tough, steep hills--though it's worth it to walk up the big hills since for each one you generally get to sled down an equal hill!  There is one "mountain" at mile 112 but after that it's all flat and swampy/boggy til the finish.

10. Did anyone take any pictures of you while you were racing? Could we see one of them?

Photo Credit (for both): Burgess Eberhardt.

11. Besides this race, what is the most hard core thing you have ever done?

I did a thru-run of the Superior Hiking Trail (205 miles) in 2009.  In 2008, Divesh (her lovely Indian husband) and I did the 47 mile rim-to-rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon in the middle of July on a whim once, before we were really ultrarunners.  That didn't go overly well but we both made it and survived.  He and I also went climbing on Mt. Whitney for 3 days with one can of lentil soup, one flour tortilla, and a little trail mix as the sum total of food for both of us.  Again, it didn't go overly well but we both made it and survived--there seems to be a theme here...

12. Is racing long distances at sub-zero temps going to be your new niche? Are you going to run the Iditerod (ITI)? Susitna? Yukon Ultra? Which one attracts you the most and why?
New niche, probably not.  In some ways I feel like it should be because I feel like I finally have the concept down.  And I do love the idea of doing the ITI mostly because I would love to go over Rainy Pass in the middle of a race.  But in general I prefer running a bit faster to the sled-dragging events, and I think 50 miles is a good distance for me because keeping food down isn't as crucial for that length.
13. And you knew it was coming... what is your next goal?

My next big goal is the Bob Graham Round, in the UK.  It's in the Lake District and it isn't a race but rather a set course that people try to do in under 24 hours (it's 42 peaks and approximately 65 miles).  I lived in northern England for 5 years but didn't do much running at the time, so I like to go back to visit and tick off races/events that I never managed to do when I lived there.  This year my friend Nick is doing the Bob Graham Round and offered to let me tag along with him so that I wouldn't have to do the navigation!  Can't turn down an offer like that... We're doing our attempt on June 6, so I have plenty of time to get in shape for big hills, which is easy to do with the north Georgia mountains only an hour and a half away from me.

Alicia Hudleson takes first female at Tuscobia 135 in 47:59, taking 7 hours off the old record.

Alicia tells this story and a lot more really well here on her blog about running and climbing.

Speaking of extreme female sports, did any of you watch the female Ski Cross in Sochi? This sport strikes me as insanely dangerous. They fall with such hard impact at such fast speeds. And it is about half of the 20 something gals every single race. Anna Woerner's fall here was particularly gruesome and I understand she needs knee surgery now.

But this one is even more insane - and entirely real.

And this is just good music from various northern places :-)

From Finland (in Finnish) From Norway (in English) And my favorite song by Alaska in Winter - Close Your Eyes- We are Blind

Sunday 16 February 2014

Off season comes to an end

I have these strange thoughts swimming through my head after my 6th Park Run 5k yesterday. The last couple of months (since Desert Solstice, and really since Grenaa 6 hour race) have been more or less an off season with lots of cross country skiing mixed with swimming, yoga, strength training, with slow, long runs. No speed work. Last week, after I came to Denmark with the boys, I asked coach Ole to add speed work back. There is no snow here for skiing and it is too cold for my taste to bike long distances. 

I am really glad I had the off season, while it lasted, though. I am unijured and feel just very healthy. But my brain has sort of lost its killer instinct. I have come to realize that this, probably more than our legs and heart, is what we train when run intervals (and race). 

It can also be argued, though, that the aggressiveness one has on the track can be carried over into real life. That could be good or bad depending on the situation. But our bodies and minds should not be in fight of flight mode all the time or we will never improve. (this is also the basis of hatha yoga- sun and moon; action and rest)

Another theoretical benefit to an off season (for women) is a return to normal menstraul cycle, which in turn will help prevent osteoporosis, especially if combined with strength training. 

Before I get to the last ten days, let me describe the Park Run 5k. We (the boys and I) stayed at SR's parents' house on Friday night and they watched the kids as I headed out to Fælledparken, 15 minute's drive away. Before I left, I could hardly tear myself off the toilet and barely made it the 15 minutes to the facilities in the park! Øv. I have to be honest about this gluten-free, sugar-free diet, that with all of these vegetables, I get sick A LOT. Living in Denmark has led to at least 3-4 x/year food poisoning for me since I just think there are a lot of ground water bacteria here I have never been exposed to, but that has just been magnified and multiplied.

Anyway, of course you run anything you get a babysitter for. Especially after seeing Winforce 100k winner Per Egon Rasmussen show up with his fiancé. And he convinced Klaus Dahl. And then I ran into an MD, PhD in Ophthalmology, who had said he was a runner, Steffen (who I met at a research meeting on the small island of Femø), there he was with his friend, Troels Carlsen, who happens to be a world-renowned painter and artist. What a crowd! The race is seriously worth the no money. (yes, it is free. Stop complaining about the expensive races and show up to the free ones!)

Ok, so not your typical pictures for a race, right? I told you, my mind is elsewhere. I just wished Pia or Thea would show up. There weren't even 10 women toeing the start line. But the men were so raring to run a fast race. I'd be running with them again. 

I have absolutely no fire in my soul. Like, I have completely forgotten that feeling of needing to win or run fast. And seriously only now that I don't have it, do I realize how essential it is... really in anything you do. 

I was much more fascinated with the experience and just seeing other adults who like to run. To make a long story short, it was windy and muddy, but not so much so to justify the slow time of 19:55. 

By the way, the guy who took first for the guys had the first name of Laurie (remember Little Women??)

The above picture was taken after a really fun track workout two days earlier. 4km + 3km + 2km +1km (2 min breaks). This is the brick our apartment building is made out of. I think it has a lot of calcium in it.

In the above workout, I followed the plan of getting faster and faster, but started out too slowly. Again, maybe it's the stomach flu, but my brain is still in rest mode.

and my Garmin still in miles

Week of training as follows:

Sat: 28 km - trails (just under 6 min/km)
Sun: 22 km -trails (just under 6 min/km)
Mon: aerobics + strength training + yoga
Tues: 30 km - trails
Wed: 8 x 600 meters (2-3 min) + 200: total 5km in 18:50
Thurs (above) 4 km + 3 + 2 + 1 (2 min breaks) (always dynamic stretching before track workouts)
Fri: dance/aerobics + pilates
Sat: Park Run 5k + Bikram Yoga (ok that is the last time EVER for Bikram!... It must have been during standing bow pose that my old hip pain came back suddenly and I could still feel it last night. I had a suspicion. As I heard a girl talking about how she could barely walk after what Bikram did to her operated knee ... she was in the studio... I have really been thinking! It is a SHAME, because I love the self-calming techniques you learn! and the feeling of being completely stretched out). I really need to stick to regular hatha and hot (or not hot) vinyasa yoga. They just seem to work better for me.
Sun: 26.7 km trails in 2:39

A view from my run in Fårbakkerne (the sheep hills) on Tuesday.
Edit: I have to add the gorgeous shot over Myrup from today's (Monday's) run. Spring is coming to Denmark!

So.. I can feel what you are thinking. How can you work full time and be a "single" mom and fit in this much training?

Well, I will tell you. (isn't the number one annoying question for any athlete "what is your secret?") Other than constantly drinking baby goats' blood out of my soft flasks, there really is no secret.

But I will describe to you all how I get this to work out. The boys have a very flexible day care schedule. I wake up, work for an hour or so, take them to day care at about 10 AM, work out, pick them up at 6 PM (they are given dinner there) and then work again at night while they play after dinner and after they sleep. I don't watch tv; I don't shop for anything but groceries and brooms.

Diet and Weight update

Doesn't everyone just love reading about diets and weight? Anyway, part of the overarching off-season plan was to gain a small amount of weight through weight training and a higher protein diet (my main sources of protein: fish, eggs, soy, nuts, cheese, peas and sometimes oats) and good fats. My racing weight last fall was 111 lbs (down from 117 last summer). This winter I got up to 117 again and was down to 114 today. The no gluten, no sugar diet has made this pretty easy. The idea is the body will feel light while racing. If you stay at the same weight all the time, it is harder to build up the muscles that during race season will make you feel like you are flying when you weigh less. It is the same concept with pregnancy.

Speaking of pregnancy...

Uber Mother Runner has started a post partum running support group. I think this is a great idea since it is a hard time to avoid injury. Once those protective hormones are gone, especially the hips can get stuck in the wrong place, tendons and muscles can get torn and bones can break. It is not pretty. I am working on finding the funding and a publisher and a running during and post-pregnancy book. It will be based on individual stories and research.

I am not sure I like that the UMR group is called "the come back trail" because honestly pregnancy may be the most fun you ever have running in your life and maybe shouldn't be viewed as something to "come back" from, but something to relish.


It has been a big week! I have sent two articles in to JAMA Ophthalmology and got the vision loss among ultra runners research accepted for presentation at the American College of Sports Medicine meeting in May.

The boys

Christian has started making a lot of masks. Just ones that cover his eyes. Any super hero for any occasion. And he has developed the strangest rash around his mouth. One of the boys at his school went to the doctor with this same rash and was diagnosed with chickenpox (skoldkopper in Danish). Folks chickenpox is not limited to the perioral region (this doctor misdiagnosed). It starts at the center of the body and moves out. It was either impetigo or hand foot and mouth. Since he didn't have a fever or rash on his hands and feet, I am leaning towards impetigo. It is highly contagious. Happily it is almost gone.

Here you can see the beginning of the rash. And their favorite playtoy, right behind Christian, the razor... (I moved it!)

What a boy looks like when he doesn't want you to take a picture of his rash (this is how it looks tonight- almost gone)
Race Schedule Update

I have signed up for the Ultra Race of Champions 100k in the elite group again and have it as a major goal for 2014. The location is Copper Mountain and will take place September 6th. I regretted so much missing it last year that this year I really want to make it!

Danish Female Ultra Runner Update

1. Annette Fredskov (the 366 marathon in 365 days) just ran her first 50k in an impressive time of 4:44.

2. Maibritt Skovgaard, Denmark's 24 hour superstar, just had knee surgery because some cartilage that apparently broke loose after her awesome run in November. Recovery quickly, Maibritt!!

3. Pia Joan Sørensen will be running the Trans Grand Canaria run in March and is one of the favorites to win. Or at least one of my favorites.

Dream Shoes

In 2010, I told SR that I wanted to design minimalist shoes that had great traction for running in snow and mud. I was running in New Balance Minimus at the time and it was a mess. Now that I have run over 100km in the new S Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG shoes, I can say they are a dream come true. They have perfect traction in mud and snow and are very light on asphalt. Having only a 4mm drop and weighing only 230 grams, they easily qualify as minimalist shoes. Whatever they qualify as, they really work for me.

S Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG: the best multi-purpose shoes I have ever owned.
Sense Ultra (Left) SG (Right). Just to be clear, Mattias' model has a lot better traction.

Shoes for Sale

And now for the shoes I don't want :-). Yet, they are super popular, I am sure someone out there does!

Let me know if you would like to buy them. Here or email: or over Facebook.
Size 40 - will ship anywhere in Denmark; other countries if you cover shipping. Only used two times.  Bought in 2012. (my lower back hurts when I run in them). Will take best offer :-).

Things that make me happy

So, before we go to sleep, the boys and I always watch a little movie on Youtube and Christian has found an amazing Russian animated series called Маша и Медведь (Masha and the bear)... yes, Olga, I am learning Russian. I am having trouble chosing one episode because there are so many good ones, but here is the one Christian and I needed to play twice:

Репетиция оркестра (which means "orchestra reharsal")

Running Songs

Black Francis is 49 years old and oh my God, he can still write a song. What an intro. What an incredible running song!

And Australian Pop; really need I say more? This is great!

Saturday 8 February 2014

A life more ordinary

I realize this will sound strange to all the moms out there who just want a break from their kids, but the past few months have been torture for me. Between my residency interviews and job in Denmark, I have hardly seen these boys since October. It is unthinkable at their young ages. 

I have been from Minneapolis to Kansas City to Chicago to Denmark to Utah to Minneapolis to Pennsylvania to Washington DC to Newport Beach, VA, to Duluth to Minneapolis to Phoenix to Orange County CA to Duluth to Baltimore to Duluth to San Francisco to Sacramento to San Francisco to Denmark to Chicago to Duluth to La Crosse -- and now-- finally... back in Denmark with the boys.

All this for a residency position in the US starting July of 2015 so I can get a medical specialty that is recognized in both the US and Denmark. 

I was reading a gal's blog (from my hometown) who has a brain tumor and how much she values those simple nights when she is just "alone with her boys". I don't think I have a brain tumor, but I could totally relate to this. Now I appreciate it all. Not least of all the guilt trip from everyone who has been helping me watch the kids. Life is MUCH better and easier when you aren't both constantly feeling guilty and constantly worrying about what is going on with your kids. Is it only moms who can relate to this feeling?

I basically had given up about the fact that they were eating waffles with chocolate and syrup every morning and corn dogs or pizza for dinner every night. 

But now I am in charge. It is amazing how much I embrace cooking and cleaning for my little offspring in our little apartment. I seriously can't remember the last time I was this happy.

Oh mackerel, tuna in tomato sauce and salad that doesn't taste like cardboard. Denmark, it is great to be back! 
 I have to admit that I have had it up to ^^^^^ here with Facebook about the bending of the truth about the amazingly extraordinary things people do. It seems the value of normalcy and doing the right thing is not valued as much unless it can be posted on Facebook. Or is this just my impression? I realize more and more that good living is about simply making it through each day the best one can and developing patterns and routines one can stick to... Open faced sandwiches on Barbapapa plates and serve them next to Runner's Word magazine (the British version where weight is in stones- oh yeah!)
You dissin my gray sweater?

And I can go on slow runs despite jet lag and weight gain - and find my old favorite places.
Gavnø harbor
Again Gavnø Harbor- Næstved's gateway to the Atlantic. The only time it will be frozen all year. My last three runs have been in short sleeves.

 I love the Herlufsholm track. It is one of the places I feel most at home

Nothing great, but getting it done. 25 laps on a track is a lot.

Same place. Same gloves. Different day. OK - I suppose I should switch my Garmin back to kilometers now.
Kikkan Randall does pull ups with 25 extra pounds. She was asked in Outside Magazine when it was she really started to pull away from her competition in her Nordic sprint competitions. "When I started regularly doing strength training".

Lately, I have been incorporating an actual bell bar and heavy weights into my training. I even grunt and make strange audible breathing noises. It is kind of fun.

And, as many of you know, I have given up wheat- and have stuck to it for over a year now. So I rarely drank beer before this, but then drank some (½ a bottle) at a party at one of my residency interviews and had this very severe reaction to it! I really thought a little wouldn't do anything, but I was slurring my speech, felt sick to my stomach and suddenly couldn't keep myself from falling over with fatigue at 7PM (it was only a half a beer!). I actually had to leave the resident get together early, which normally would have been unthinkable at a program I would love to match to!

I have found this book brings up a lot of fascinating points (which I started reading afterwards) about the very new (from the 70's), very genetically modified food we call wheat that people eat without ever questioning it. I am not about to go prescribing wheat free diets, I just found it a fascinating, thought-provoking read.

written by a Cardiologist from Wisconsin
Now on top of that, I have given up sugar, which has been a great decision. It makes me feel a lot more energetic. It is nice not to have the fluctuations in blood sugar. I had to go back on it though when I got the stomach flu last weekend in La Crosse- it is HARD to find things to eat with the stomach flu when you don't eat wheat, sugar or meat! I have to thank Robyn for the inspiration to give up chocolate (sugar), by the way. It was tough to convince myself I wouldn't develop chocolate deficiency.

So where is SR? He is still in Duluth, working hard. We miss him!! Why am I here? Because I was told very directly by my PhD adviser that if I did not get back to Denmark ASAP and finish my PhD that I would not be granted a PhD. So we are here until that is done. (I have been awarded such a large amount of money by private and public funds to do this study and so many people have invested their time that it is unthinkable that I back out. And that had never been my intention- and I don't in any way want to!)

I was interviewed a few days ago over Skype by the New York Times journalist Anu Partanen about differences in health care, pre and post natal care and maternity leave in Denmark vs. the US. Her book will be on cultural differences between the US and Nordic countries and what these countries can learn from each other. She is originally from Finland. She has got my head spinning thinking about cultural differences and the importance of them. They are everywhere.

Exhibit A:

This is Christian with his best friend, Frederik in our yard today.

Christian has explained to me multiple times that he has not had a best friend like Frederik in the US. I had not thought much about the fact that Christian and Frederik roll around and wrestle so much - and even hug each other- until Christian's kindergarten teacher in Duluth said to me that Christian needed to stop "touching" the other kids. I had no idea what she meant and was worried "touching" meant like - "down there" but it turns out he was just trying to hold hands, give hugs og tickle. He got in trouble every time and even got time outs. I was at a loss about explaining to him why he couldn't do this, since he was so used to it, and it is the way kids here play and show affection. I just had to say "respect your teacher and the other kids' space".

Then Danni and I were discussing on Facebook Americans, Russians, Danes and gay rights. Yes, when I moved here the mayor of Copenhagen (and actor from Festen, etc), Klaus Bondam, was openly gay and gays really do have the same exact rights and straight people here. And the X-Factor winner a couple years back was a 15 year old lesbian with a steady girlfriend. It is just not questioned or discussed here and that gays are discriminated against by law (and attitude always follows) is very tough to understand.

But- I will say that Denmark's politics and attitudes towards foreigners are not something I can understand or condone. I have really gone through Hell and high waters to apply for permanent residency and for all I know, I won't get it. I hear story after story about wives and children, etc etc being deported. Sometimes I feel it is only a matter of time and I cry on my runs in the woods here thinking- what if we were never allowed to come back?

Just thought it would be educational for the readers to know which countries in the European Union do NOT allow double citizenship:


Here is a pic and a cool video taken by Frabricío of our 40km run by Stevns Klint two weekends ago. That Canon go-pro camera is seriously impressive.

Stevns Klint is going to be one of Unesco's worldwide protected sights because you can clearly see evidence of the meteor ash that probably killed the dinosaurs in the chalk along the shore.
I really ought to loosen up a bit when I run!

Running song of the day: Sømand af verden by Dodo The Dodos.