Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Running in Copenhagen: The Lakes (Søerne)

After my 2013 year in review post, you'd expect to see my 2014 plans by now. Well, not quite yet, still working on a few details... In the meanwhile, I'm back to Scandinavia, more precisely Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden. 2 years after my last visit here.

In spite of long working days and evenings, I managed to run 3 times in Copenhagen (Sunday evening just after landing and checking in, early Monday morning before going to the office and late Tuesday evening). But, sorry Little Mermaid, I was too rushed to do much tourism this time and come to see you at the other side of the city. Next time, promised...!
Instead, I ran on the Copenhagen running "stadium", that is around the Lakes.

The Lakes of Copenhagen are another emblematic fixture of the city, having been designed and built in the Middle Ages in order to provide the city with a water reservoir. See the Wikipedia article for more details. They are called Søerne in Danish and the lakes respectively called Sankt Jørgens Sø (English: Saint George's Lake), Peblinge Sø (English: Student Lake) and Sortedams Sø (English: Black Pond Lake or Black Dam Lake), from South to North. (Picture from Wikipedia)
From a running standpoint, they are almost the perfect spot for urban running: 2-mile long for building mileage, a mix of pavement and dirt/gravel, a separate walk path from the bike path (Danish are avid bikers as a mean of transportation, even in freezing temperatures!), reasonable lighting to run at night (sunset around 4 pm in winter...), many runners at any time of the day to have some company (including quite a few fast ones for good emulation! ;-). Why did I say almost then? Because the full loop crosses several avenues with heavy car (and bike...) traffic and that Danish are very disciplined, or I should say civic, so every pedestrian wait for the green light to cross, no jay-walking here! And there is only 2 underpasses out of 8 intersections.

With that, I tried the three options. First, the full loop which is almost 4 miles (3.95 miles according to my Garmin).
The next day, I did three upper loops to leverage the 2 underpasses and minimize the traffic light stops.
Finally, last night, I did 12 3/4-mile loops around the first lake: 100% asphalt and flat, no wait to cross intersections, a good long tempo run.
Temperature was right on 32F, or 10 degrees less with the wind chill factor, but at least there wasn't any snow in the city (just saw a few patches on the way to the office in the suburb).

Again, this isn't the most touristic route and part of the city, see my December 2010 post for that, but a great place to log a few miles if you are in town. And still great views of the local Danish architecture. (Picture from Wikipedia)

No comments: