Pain is temporary, failure lasts forever

Lean, agile living for the running mother of Peter


2 hours and five bridges...

And the unexpected did happen. I didn't take the run I'd expected. And since I didn't expect that I would run the route I'd imagine, of course I run exactly that route. That meant five bridges in a little less than 2 hours. I think it's the most wonderful run in Stockholm a sunny spring day. Bridges, sun, people. What I didn't say is that I screw up. I fetched my dog during the morning hours and decided to do some needed shopping. I should have gone home and done som serious refueling of fluids. I should have stayed home and done som good eating. Instead, I grabbed some extra breakfast at McD, came home and stuffed myself with fluid and some energy bars.

Not a good idea. Instead a got a stitch on both sides and I kept that during the entire run and my stomache didn't appriciate the treatment either. Well, besides that and a terrible headache as a result of the stupid woman not drinking enough fluids afterwards, it was a wonderful run. But then the non-long-distance-runner say, hey, didn't she say she goot the stitch, headaches and bad stomache. How can that be a good run? Well, first, I practiced running under some bad conditions and could still make it, the weather and surroundings were wonderful. And I got to see all five bridges.



Planning for the long run...

Tomorrow, I'm going for a long run. It's something special about that task. Where am I going, what will I see. I often aim for bridges. I like bridges. Standing on top of one of Stockholm's finest gives me the goose bumps. Especially in the morning. Especially when you have worked for coming there.

Tomorrow I think I'm going to the central parts of Stockholm. Hm. How about Bromma (another suburb in Stockholm). What I do know is I won't run the route I'm imagining today. That is one of the thrills of long-distance running. You always have the option of another route. "What is that? I've never seen that road before. I wonder how where I'll come if I go there..." You haven't experienced Stockholm if you haven't run it. Experience your surroundings. Run for fun!


Boot camp over

It's not very lean, working overtime. Our team worked our asses of during 2,5 days (of which one was an otherwise free Saturday). I don't understand how I handled the multi-night-meetings of the student union days. We used to gather for four days and nights. All meetings. Once, I got into trouble with my gall bladder and was taken to the emergency by my pals. Two hours and some wonderful needles later, I returned to the meeting. I'd missed about 3 sentences in the document we were discussing. What a waste. Terrible meetings.

Well, my conclusions about the weekend will probably linger in my mind but one conclusion is the importance of success. We had no idea about how difficult a task we had. So, we planned for a diffucult task. The first day we'd covered the critical parts of the problem. This was good for the team. After a couple of months of cutting things from our sprints we were for the first time able to do the opposite. The guys could do tasks they'd been thinking about for months and we could clean up some code. Spirits up, in other words.

The downside of this was the the loosing of focus - when you believe that you reached the goal, ýou don't work quite as hard. So, in the end we didn't solve all of the problems. The good thing is that the stuff the guys did during the last hours were things we are supposed to do on Monday. So, you can say we switch. But it's a good lesson. If the guys had done things that weren't planned for Monday, we'd been in trouble then.



Decide as late as possible

I could understand eliminate waste. I could understand focus on learning. Well, I think I could understand the concept of Lean, described by wonderful Mary and Tom Poppendieck ( Well, except decide as late as possible. Being the eager beaver I am I read the rule. And read it again. I saw all the undeciding, slow persons who gives me goose bumps. Is THAT the way to go? Man. Alternatives: try to explore what the mean or ignore the rule. Of course I ignored it. Well, so I thought. Until today.

I'm a planner. When I'm going on a trip you can be certain my bags are packed a couple of days in advance. And when the pals get blisters they know who brought plaster. On one ski trip with a previous work, four girls wore some of my things in one single day. I thought this was quite the opposite of decide as late as possible. But when we today discussed the last things for our work camp (work our asses off for three days/nights) I understood that what I was doing was planning, not making plans. What? Now she's gone bananas. Well, there is a big difference. Many of my girly friends makes plans för their giving birth. They decide on which medication, positions, music, etc etc etc. What happens? Well, there is a baby in the equation. And there is a physical mommy's body. They were never included in the discussions. So, when they gets involved (I believe it's called labour) things NEVER go in accordance to the plan. So, the mothers are disappointed. In the mommy group I was grouped into after my son was born, 60% felt that the birth was a failure. Did they have sick babies? Did they get sick themselves? No, but it didn't happen as they had imagine.

This is what happens when you make plans. Instead, what I do is involve myself in planning. I think about things I might need, what I could have difficulty getting, what is nice. And so on. So what do I do: I think about the different choices I might have and try to have everything that enables me to make the choice when it present itself. So I can decide as late as possible. Wonderful.



Easier done than said

Hey, that isn´t right. Shouldn´t be the opposite??? Well, there are starters, doers and finishers. I'm a finisher. So, for me the difficult thing is not finishing what I've started, it's getting to the start line. Another problem for me is that when I've fixed in on an idea of something that I think I have started, I need to finish it. Well, that sounds good. But sometimes the idea wasn't really something I planned. I just say something (ergo, I have started something) and then I have to finish it. But did I really want it in the first place?

Well, of course, that is what got me stuck on running in the first place and now I'm a total addict. Due to some health issues, I had a one-week-break in my running. Yesterday was my first run in a week. Cold, rainy and moist. Not the funniest of mornings. Today, the morning was one of these runners-high-moments. Nice and sunny. Perfect temperature. Rugsack perfect weight. I decided to run a little different path to work. Instead of a 4,7 km run it turned into a 9 km happy memory. Nice surroundings I just happened to miss in all my earlier runs in the area between my home and work. Birch wood alleys, nice looking houses. Birds singing. The right music in my ears. Just the way to start a day. Just the way.

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Missing the point...

I love cycling. Looking at people on a bike. Insane? Perhaps, but it's fun and entertaining. Most of the times. I like the combination of an individual achievement and the team effort. Without the best team in the world you can't become the best cyclist in the world. (And now all you non believers think they're all doped. Well, many are but tell me which sport there are no doping? When there is competition and money, there are cheaters. But cyclists are the most tested atheletes in the world. So, it's no wonder there are so many cases. But that's an whole other issue.) But sometimes, cycling is a bore. Like Amstel Gold Race yesterday. Plain dull.

The only fun thing was the finish. 6 favorites and a rookie (well, he's no real rookie but in that company, you could call him that) in the lead. Someone of them is going to win. It shouldn´t be the rookie, because his sprint is lousy. All the favorites are waiting for each other. Then the rookie takes off. No one follow him. The cameras are focused on watching the favorites, how they're going to act. Then, suddenly, the camera shows the scene behind the finish line. The rookie has won. The cameras missed it. The favorites missed it. The favorites rode 242 km and lost the game during the last k. The same with the camera crew, and us viewers (well, I am glad I only watched some patches).

Have you ever been in that situation? You are so certain on what is the problem, who/what constitutes the competition, that you don´t focus on what is your job? I wonder what the teams thought of their leaders yesterday. They had fought to give their respective leader that spot in the front and their leader just watched as a guy who any of them would have beaten win the game?

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Enter the world of competition

To all you parents to be: be aware, haven't you been in an environment full of competition, here's one coming. First, it's about the progress of lifting head, moving toes, crawling, standing, running and all these things most children learn but which so many parents see signs in. It is for some reason better if a child learns these skills early. I don't know if there are any scientific studies which support these claims, but since scientific proof is not high on the requirement list in the "parent sphere", this is not an issue. A funny thing is that my son, despite my viewpoint was early in all these respects. But having a early walker is no walk in the park. When all the other mommies babies were content lying playing with the toes, my little monster was ready to explore the basement. If it is not the progress of the child it's of course stuff. You can, as a parent, compete in having the most/expensive stuff or you can compete in having the least/inexpensive stuff. And this is kind of cute in the parenting sphere - both ends can be the best!

Another side of the competition is who can follow the guidelines the best. The guidelines comes from the latest most hyped "I know all there is to know about children" that is. Spock was one the first all-there-is-to-know-guys in the 50:s. One funny thing is that a famous from the guy is "I used to have no children and five theories about children. Now, I have five children and no theories."

For you parents who have other areas in life in which you can compete I do have an advice and it's an interesting series from BBC Prime. Yesterday, I saw they were starting a rerun. The show is called Child of our Time ( It is a project in which about 20 kids and their parents are followed during 20 years. During each show, an issue is being discussed and tested. For example, yesterday was about father's role. But instead of going on with theories and methods, they ask questions. And they use tests on both parents and children to make them answer the question. For example: Does children (4 year olds) have an image of what is female and male work? So they asked the children if their mom or their dad was best at different tasks. Of course, it's not scientific, but it gets you thinking and listen: they let you draw your own conclusions! A blessed gift in this world. Another good thing about the show is that there are no "good families" and no "bad families". All families are different, but isn't that the charm of it all?



Between a rock and a hard place

You can't write about pain is temporary without writing about Aron Ralstons. Today, I read Between a rock and a Hard place ( The book is about a climber who during a lonely hike get stuck with his right hand between a rock wall and a stone weighing 500 K. No one knows where he is. He has virtualy no supplies. The hand is stuck. He has two small not so sharp knives. If you follow the link you can perhaps imagine what he did. But still, you can´t. It's not only the carving you know... But he survived.

There is many things worth reflecting on. The most obvious is of course: doing the unthinkable to survive. But it's also about understanding what is important in life. Could you imagine living without your right hand. Sometime is best to let go, to survive. To feel good. Another thing is the concept of luck. Aron's first thought was that he was unlucky, getting trapped. But then he realised that this was just one of those many occasions where he put himself in the position of needing really good luck. He had lost good friends from this. Finally it's about how does one survive, and again we return to luck - LUCK HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. NOTHING.

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Pain is temporary....

OK. What is this? The quote is from Lance Armstrong's ( book Every secound counts. Most things you want demand some kind of pain. Physical, mental, monetary. You name it. The quote is about the pain that derives from just giving up and giving in. Quitting causes pain. But that is not temporary. You may get a new chance, but that is not the same.

As a long distance runner, the quote has become something as a mantra. Something I tell myself when I want to stop early. When I want to quit. When I want to take a shorter run. When it's rainy. But it applies to many situations in life.

But is it never OK to quit? Of course, sometimes just plain stupid carrying on. Like when I on a half marathon got some severe stomach problems half through the race. I spent some 10 minutes pulling myself together and completed the race. It was hot. I was dehydrated and I didn't drink anything during the remaining race in fear of getting sick again. I also felt I didn´t want to get sick on the sub home so my deluded brain told me to wait until coming home before refueling. Bad idea. Really bad idea. I barely made it home. That was stupid.

But one should never take the will to change for quitting. Leaving a bad situation for a better one does not mean failure or quitting. But what is the difference? Perhaps how you felt about it in retrospect. Dunno.

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