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It’s a Disaster, Yet They’d Rather Track Than Quarantine…

Romania has by far the highest COVID-19 death rate per million in Europe and the third highest in the world. The health system has been overwhelmed for quite some time, hospitals running out of space to even keep patients on chairs or stretchers, any intensive care bed that can be made available filling immediately, the number of patients in intensive care increasing along with the capacity, reaching 1750 today, and some patients starting to be sent to Hungary, who offered assistance. As of yesterday, all counties have an infection rate exceeding three per 1000 people over the past 14 days, Bucharest and Ilfov being far at the top, currently with 16.27 and 16.83, respectively, and Bucharest obviously having by far the highest number of cases.
So, after the national records that were set this Tuesday, 16743 confirmed cases and 442 deaths, Thursday the National Institute of Public Health proposed to quarantine Bucharest and Ilfov. It’s something which should have been done weeks ago, to give time for any other measures to have any positive effects, but I guess it’d have been a case of better late than never… If it would have at least been late instead of never, that is, since the next day the National Committee for Emergency Situations rejected the proposal, so for the moment we’re left with the 8 PM curfew for those who’re not vaccinated, and even that seems quite theoretical to me, since I’m yet to see anyone checking and I’ve been wandering around a fair bit after that hour. However, what will be proposed instead is to make the green certificate required in order to enter pretty much anything except stores selling food and pharmacies, which puts all the pressure on private entities to check, hardly even guaranteeing that a passed check means much of anything, and won’t keep people, regardless of their status, from wandering around and gathering. It will, however, allow for everyone to be tracked at a level unseen before, and that’s the frightening aspect.
I’m just now seeing another set of proposals, which include limiting indoor events and requiring the green certificate to access those that will still be permitted, limiting the number of participants and requiring distancing for outdoor events, and pausing the school year for two weeks, after which school will resume on-line where there are more than six cases per 1000 people, though preschool and primary school will continue in physical format regardless of the number of cases, and so will schools from places where over 70% of those over 16 are vaccinated. So still not much, and adding even more tracking, but at least adding some more limitations to gatherings and at least a partial return to the original decision of “only” increasing the infection level from which school moves on-line from three to six for this school year, a decision which was quickly changed to completely eliminate any such general threshold and only move the classes where there were confirmed cases on-line. But, either way, these proposals come from USR, so they don’t have much of a chance of being approved, considering the current political situation.
So I can only expect things to keep getting worse, until this wave will exhaust itself by infecting and killing pretty much everyone it can, the health system collapsing completely long before that moment. The WHO is apparently sending a delegation to study the situation and try to understand how did it come to this but, for a brief overview: The politicians, whichever side they’re on, don’t care, being too focused on their own battles for power; the medical personnel is utterly crushed and breaking down, those who actually care working themselves to death, perhaps even literally, until they can do no more; and the population is as divided and distrustful as ever and possibly even more apathetic, with the majority unwilling or actually unable to care or think, not to mention do.

Written by Cavalary on October 17, 2021 at 11:59 PM in Society | 0 Comments

Quick Review: Europe: A Natural History

The book is written well, at times even humorous, and definitely engaging and enjoyable throughout, which in itself is quite an achievement when you consider the topic. However, while it usually does a pretty good job of painting a picture in the reader’s mind, it does feel like it’d have been better as a documentary to watch than a book to read and there are times when the information’s too compressed, the overwhelming amount packed in a page or a single paragraph being hard to keep up with.
Otherwise, from the beginning it’s taken as a given that, ever since they evolved, humans have been wiping out other species as soon as they met them, and part four, its first half in particular, is a disheartening tale of environmental destruction and species’ extinction. Also, the event at the start of the Eocene may be the most striking example, but whenever the devastating effects of past climate change events are described, it’s mentioned almost in passing how much slower the change took place and how much lower the level of emissions which caused it was, compared to the current situation. So, while that final trip with the time machine, for the view of Europe 180 years in the future, paints a far better picture than supposedly optimistic views of the future generally do, it’s barely a quick glimpse, with no details, which may easily make it just as bad, and either way it seems utterly impossible, judging by both the present and the past. And… Referring to the matter in general, not for the purpose of bringing back Neanderthals, why would selective breeding of people be profoundly immoral, but just fine and even desired when it comes to any other species?

Rating: 4/5

Written by Cavalary on October 15, 2021 at 11:07 PM in Books | 0 Comments

Starting Book and Game and Walking Part of the Marathon’s Route

If I was so far behind even before, writing’s going to be even harder now, seeing as there are only two months and three weeks left from this year and I only read six books and finished three games. In case of the games, with a normal goal of finishing four or five per year, I’d want to try to get to five, but I started The Purring Quest yesterday and already cleared the first of the five stages before starting to write this, then the second while taking breaks from writing it and, since I initially scheduled this to be posted with only this first part and the first paragraph of the second, then edited to add the rest when I could get back on-line, after dad went to bed, I’ll also add here that I also finished the third stage shortly after midnight, right after finishing the post and before being able to get back on-line to edit it to add what I wrote during the evening. So, to get back to the game, even if I assume it’ll get even harder from now on and I really don’t have the skills for platformers, I should be able to finish this relatively quickly and call it enough if I won’t be able to add another by the end of the year. But the books definitely have to become the priority, since I still have six more to read if I’m to stay at 12 per year, which is a poor target anyway, and I just started Europe: A Natural History Wednesday, pushed to finish the first part then, get to page 89, reading a chapter on the toilet at night and some more after dinner, right until I went to bed, but only added 60 more pages, to also finish the second part, since then. And there’s no way I’ll be reading, or doing much of anything, the week after the next, so I won’t start another right after I’ll finish this.
On the other hand, since I mentioned yesterday, I also finally got around to downloading the portable version of Pale Moon then. Being the only browser other than Vivaldi that I know of and would have cared to try and offering such an option, it was something I had been considering for a while, but the point would be to use it so I won’t need to be signed in to Google properties on my main browser, and preferably also get back to not being signed in to Facebook on it either, and since it uses older code I kept wondering whether it was even worth bothering with it, in case sites will stop working on it as well, or if they already don’t work. But since Google Analytics suddenly stopped loading on Internet Explorer a couple of days ago, I had to try something and at least for the moment it works. Don’t know whether I’ll install the non-portable version, but I’m thinking I’ll switch Facebook to it and also finally sign in to MobyGames on Vivaldi as well, and therefore finally stop using Internet Explorer for good… Even if there are still things about it that I like and am yet to find completely replicated in other browsers, and text definitely looks far better in it than in anything else.

But now let me move on to Thursday, when I decided to walk the part of the marathon‘s route that I don’t know, in case it actually will take place, so the alarm woke me at noon and I left at 2:20 PM. With the route turning at Alba Iulia Square, no longer reaching this area, I was only actually on it at 2:45 PM instead of almost right away, and the chilly weather and wind made that first part of the walk unpleasant, though later, as I warmed up, it wasn’t an issue anymore, not even after dark.
The only point of interest on the way to Unirii was the spot where the route turns the first time we get there, and I wasn’t even completely certain I correctly identified it when I first got there, only confirming it on the way back. Then, even though the initial plan was to go straight to Constitution Square, where the finish will be, with no way to cross straight ahead at Unirii, instead of crossing three times I went right, which is what the route does when it first gets to that point as well. The first idea was to just cross to that park, then get back on the way to Constitution Square, but by the time I got to that other corner I decided to have a look in that Carrefour, grabbing a box with four pieces of expiring pistachio baklava, which was expensive even with the 50% discount, and six eggs, after spending some time digging through the pile to find six with code one that weren’t cracked. And then I spent some more time figuring out how to place the purchases in my backpack in a way that will protect them.
I didn’t check the time when I went in, but I don’t see how it could have been later than 3:15 PM and it was just before 3:50 PM when I walked out, so I almost certainly spent over half an hour there and that, plus the couple of minutes spent changing something in my backpack after I got to that park to protect my purchases even better, was pretty much all I could afford to lose, so I then hurried to Constitution Square, then turned right, without crossing. With the finish and the halfway point being in the same spot, one version of the plan had me cross at the first crossing and then turn left, to continue from there, just covering that second half of the route, but with the start still next to Izvor Park and the route then passing through Constitution Square the first time after a little over one kilometer, I covered that part as well, though I wasn’t entirely certain I correctly identified the spot where we’ll turn the second time.
Once back in Constitution Square and on the other side of the road, I made my way all around that fence, after turning right reaching an area I had only reached a few times before… And which includes quite a steep and long climb, which comes after 21.5 km, making it even more of a problem, though it also means I know where I’ll slow to eat something, probably a gel if I’ll buy some, the original plan being for bars around 14 km and 28 km and gels around 21 km and 35 km. And that short but very steep climb back towards Victoriei Way seems to be right at 14 km, at least according to the map, so that also seems to fit very well, even if a refreshment point will come less than a kilometer later. 28 km will be when we’ll reach Constitution Square the third time, coming from the other direction, and a sponge point is supposed to be placed there, so if sponge points actually will exist that will be a good moment as well. With a refreshment point supposed to be right at 35 km, on the other hand, eating the last gel right there doesn’t seem like the best idea, and I’d like to delay that moment a little longer anyway, so I’m thinking that the plan will be to eat it around 37 km, since when I got there I noticed another climb as we’ll make our way back towards Unirii Boulevard.
Returning to the walk, after reaching the end of that section, crossing and going left, I reached an area I doubt I ever reached before. And after the spot where the route turns right, the area is quite unpleasant as well, and the fact that it also drizzled for a little while at that point made it even worse. And I also wasn’t sure of the exact spot where the route turned around, but I eventually identified it and went the other way, through another area I’m quite sure I had never been through before, and which was even more unpleasant, and also included another climb, albeit not a steep one as far as I could tell at the time. But at least the drizzle didn’t last long, so I could soon put away the concerns about possible rain. And since that road passes behind another Carrefour, one that’s in a commercial area that also includes a Kaufland, I considered having a look there as well, but I couldn’t afford the loss of time anymore and wasn’t sure how I could get there from the road I was on, so after a few steps on a side street I turned around and just continued walking the route… And kept going for a little while even after I should have turned around. Realized it after no more than some 200 meters or so, but I wasn’t quite sure, so after returning to the intersection, I crossed to the other side and kept going straight ahead for a little while, to find something familiar, since that was a road I had walked a few times before. Then, once I knew I was where I should be, I returned again to that intersection and started the walk back, as the route gets back to Constitution Square that third time.
With the unknown parts of the route over, I then made my way to the National Library and turned right, then continued to the river and along it, what I made a mental note of in that area being that, seeing as we’ll use one side to go both ways, it’ll be quite narrow, with just one lane for each direction, considering the parked cars and the lane needed for emergency vehicles and those belonging to organizers or others who’re allowed to go there… But there’s a spot where one lane’s blocked because of work that’s being done, and it looks like something that will last for quite a while, so I have no idea how the organizers will sort that out.
Once I reached the spot where the route turns around, I made another detour, to Auchan, getting there a bit after 7:20 PM and barely making it to the toilet, having been quite desperate for quite a while. Then I had a look, seeing that the offers listed on the site as being part of their anniversary sale only apply to those who have their app. However, what I mainly meant to buy was available in the two for the price of one package from the manufacturer, and I still found plenty, so I made a stock, and grabbed a few other things. Also meant to get some lemons, since they were cheap, but wanted to see how much I’ll have left after getting everything else and forgot to go back there at that point.
After quite some time spent arranging everything in my backpack and a bag, those eggs being the main problem, I was out of there pretty much exactly one hour after walking in and back on the route at 8:28 PM. And then I stepped right into quite a hole just after taking a picture of that spot where a lane’s blocked, since there’s no light on the sidewalk there and I had my eyes on my phone. But I didn’t fall, my ankle held and there was nothing in it to cause problems, so I could just step out of it and keep going. And I also wondered what was burning, since it first smelled like something was overheating and then I clearly smelled smoke, but then I realized I was passing by Vacaresti, and fires are unfortunately quite common there. But otherwise I just kept walking back, noticing that slope that will be around 37 km, then also confirming the spot where the route will turn that first time, on Unirii Boulevard, and eventually leaving the route, after quite slowly making my way around Alba Iulia Square, at 9:40 PM.
I did have to hurry again after that point, however, since I still wanted to get some canned sardines from Penny. And when I got there a guard seemed bothered by the fact that I was putting my things in a cabinet, the fact that she was apparently retrieving hers from the one above it not seeming to fully explain the hostility I could sense from her, though she didn’t say a word. And then she pretty much followed me around as I was searching for the canned goods, coming right next to me when I stopped there and pulled out an empty box of one of the kinds of sardines, meaning to see whether there were more behind it. But since she was there, I asked her, and she said there were none left if I’m not seeing them, taking that box away. However, I didn’t give up, pulling the almost full box that was behind the empty one out and seeing that it also contained that other kind, another almost full box of that kind being in front as well, but behind that other box there was an unopened one, and after I pulled that out and opened it I found that it contained the kind I was looking for. I also saw two other guards apparently chatting a few steps away and it did seem like they were keeping their eyes on me, but I shrugged it off, got as many as I wanted, counted the money to have the exact amount ready, also using my phone to calculate, since I was tired and they were closing within minutes and I didn’t trust myself with adding correctly at that point, and then made my way to the checkout.
Well, that’s when things became even more interesting. First, the checkout was unmanned, but two of the guards were right in front of me, one of those who had been chatting a few steps away having apparently gone around to meet me there, along with the woman who had followed me around at first. So I asked them whether anybody would come to check me out and was told to wait, but at the same time I thought I caught a gesture they made to each other. And, after the cashier arrived and checked me out, being hurried along by the female guard, who told her they had to close in four minutes, the reason for that gesture became obvious, since as soon as I stepped towards the cabinet the guards placed themselves on either side of me and asked me to open my jacket and show them what I had in it. So I did, pulling out the notebook I had in the inside pocket, but that wasn’t enough for them, the woman patting that pocket and then reaching into it, at which point I remembered having a pen and a pencil there as well and told her so. And then the guy asked what else I had in my pockets, but didn’t even let me say that I just had my phone and some coins, instead both of them patting me down thoroughly, with the guy pulling on my jacket in various ways and actually getting his hands in every pocket of my jacket and pants to search. And I wouldn’t say that they were satisfied that I hadn’t stolen anything after they failed to find anything, because when they let me go they looked very surprised and at least the woman definitely still suspicious, so I asked whether I had seemed so suspicious and the guy at least apologized, asking me to not be upset with them and saying they were just doing their jobs.
After that, it’d have probably been appropriate to say that I wanted to carefully count my money, since we’re so distrustful of each other and their hands had been in my pockets, but instead I nervously laughed it off, said it was the first time I was searched in such a manner and left. And I did count my money, but after getting back outside. Didn’t stop to check what I had in my backpack though, and the way I had taken it out of the cabinet and placed it back on my back made me worry even more about those eggs. But at that point, what was done was done, so I just made my way back, getting here just before 10:25 PM.
Finally checked the eggs at that point, and two seemed cracked, but the cracks were hard to see and I couldn’t be absolutely certain I hadn’t bought them like that, and either way there was far less damage than I feared even to those, and there seemed to be no problems with anything else. So I had half a quince and two of the four pieces of baklava, took a bath, then made mamaliga, as planned… And as I had told dad I was going to, only to find him making some as well, along with fish. But, as I said, I stuck to my plan, making my own and putting those two cracked eggs and one of the cans of fish we still had in it, with what he made being left as food for the following days. So I started eating dinner at 3:30 AM, and finally got in bed at 6:10 AM, after staying to watch something too.

Written by Cavalary on October 10, 2021 at 11:59 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

New Finds – XXXIX

Been putting it off for a while, since I could get away with other non-personal posts, but now even though I could do so again this week, I guess it’s time for another post in this series, even if I still don’t have any actual new finds. But that’s unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, since I stopped checking groups or any other sources and don’t see myself getting back to doing that, and there are a lot of bands waiting on the list, so I’ll keep going through them, mainly looking for those with new releases within the past year. However, I’m also starting to look at those that have split up, at least according to Encyclopaedia Metallum, removing just one so far but eventually meaning to only leave the few I really want to include in such posts. Of course, bands may get back together, and if I remove them I won’t check again to know of that, but it likely won’t be such a great loss either way, and I can definitely use ways to cut down that list.

The first band in this post, Kingfisher Sky, is also the one I wanted to include the most. I find myself really liking King of Thieves, and being rather annoyed right now that I have to also listen to what I picked from the other bands in order to write this post instead of just keeping this one on repeat for a while. And the pick from their recent EP, Rain on Your Parade, is quite nice as well. Admittedly, these two songs may not exactly be representative of their others, but again, my picks don’t aim to be anything other than simply songs that I like, and I see myself stuck at least on King of Thieves for a while. I wonder if that wasn’t the case when I first stumbled into them as well.

The second band, Arion, also has some good songs, but a different sound and it’s also rather unusual for these posts, because it doesn’t have female vocals. Or at least the band itself doesn’t, though they do have guest female vocalists on a few songs, including Bloodline… Though you can’t really notice it. It does, however, remain my pick from their recent album, mainly for the message in the lyrics. On the other hand, there are no female vocals on the older song I picked, Unforgivable, but I actually quite like the sound, it has a similar message, and I must also give a nod to title of the album it’s from, Life Is Not Beautiful. Ain’t that a fact, even if so many who can’t or won’t use reason more than to try to rationalize their basic instincts insist on claiming otherwise.

As for the third band, that’s Seraphic and I hesitated about including them, but with their most recent album being released last October and the song I picked from it, Midnight, being posted exactly one year ago, I went with it after all. I must, however, mention that other songs sound better overall, but they also include growls, so I picked this one because it doesn’t, even if something about the vocals makes me wince. The older Fire and Ice actually sounds somewhat better from that point of view.

Written by Cavalary on October 9, 2021 at 5:26 PM in Music | 0 Comments

Over 35 Km in Less than 3:20 and State Bonds

On top of the days spent in hospital, for which I only have some handwritten notes I’m not even sure I’ll be able to fully read, I have things not added to posts going all the way back to that first visit to Coltea, on August 9, and that will remain the case, since I’m leaving that day aside now as well. But I guess I can get August 10 out of the way, since that day I just exchanged some messages with my mother about a possible hospitalization, after having sent her a first e-mail asking for advice and information the previous night, and in the evening I also sent a message to someone I thought was the one who had been nicer and said she hoped I’ll change my mind about the hospitalization. Still about that day, that neighbor woke me a little after 8:30 AM by starting to drill again and kept at it, on and off, until after 2 PM, so I stayed in bed and caught a few brief naps until I got up around 1:15 PM, but that hardly counted as sleep, and a nap I managed to catch in the afternoon didn’t make up for it.

But this post is mainly about the runs I’m yet to write about, so now I’ll jump straight to September 7, when, after getting in bed at 5:20 AM, I got up at 2:45 PM, without an alarm. That meant I had to really rush, yet it actually worked out, since I had the usual stuff, with a slice of cozonac, with added honey, as the sweet thing, put on the running t-shirt and shoes but the old running pants instead of the tights, which I had just washed the previous evening, and left a couple of minutes after 4:30 PM, when the reported temperature was 24°C.
What definitely didn’t work out was the time, which was an awful 52:22.64, the worst since I ran while still recovering from that bad flu, in January of 2019, being two seconds worse than on July 19, when I had just gotten back from getting new shoes and tried running in them, messing up my feet since it was before replacing them with slightly larger ones and they were way too tight, and I didn’t get those shoes for running anyway. And the thing is that, considering how hard it felt from the start, 52 minutes was what I initially thought I had to aim for, but after the first sector 53 minutes seemed more realistic, though lap two made me hope to at least stay under 52:30, which I did, as awful as it is to even have that as a goal. Either way, the sector times were 4:36, 5:22, 6:21, 4:51, 5:34, 6:26, 5:00, 5:38, 6:35 and 1:59.59, making for lap times of 16:19, 16:51 and 17:13. It was pointless to memorize the exact times, so I didn’t even look.
It was rather windy, in a few areas at first, but from sector three of lap two it seemed to get worse and I also felt it more often. As for people, on the long straight of sector one of lap one I heard cyclists behind me and cleared the lane, but they apparently also meant to go around me that way, so when I heard them right behind me I went back on the lane, but they were blocked on that side anyway, someone else having been in front of me, and had to squeeze through, which probably made me slow a bit more, to make way. And on sector three of lap three I slowed a lot and might have stopped for an instant when cyclists and people on scooters were coming from the opposite direction through the gap between walkers. Heard heavy braking right behind me after that, so those behind me probably didn’t make way, but didn’t turn to look. Otherwise, my nose and eyes were awfully irritated at the end, and the nose remained quite an issue even at night.

After getting back, had cake and watermelon and eventually left again at 7:55 PM, taking the recyclables… And forgetting to make that little detour to drop them off in a bin. Also forgot about that new bakery I wanted to check out, so I crossed the road, then saw it, and that it was still open, went back to the crossing to cross back and went in for a quick look. The only employee who was there didn’t give me any confidence in terms of safety, at first being outside and on her phone, walking in after me and going behind the counter, but not bothering with a mask even then. So I continued on my way, and as I was going around the stadium some guys were chasing a ball, one more went after them after a moment, rather cutting in front of a runner, I dodged a bit and pulled my arm in front of me to make a little more room for her to squeeze through… And that was quite fortunate, because one of those guys kicked the ball hard, back in the general direction of the others, and it hit me, but since I had moved my arm like that, it hit my fist instead of my abdomen, so I just glared at him for several seconds and he kept apologizing while the others laughed.
Then I went to Carrefour, first dropping off the recyclables in a bin in that mall, then getting bread for dad and some Bianca peppers that were discounted because they were going bad, not being charged for the bag they were in. Also saw some of those raw vegan cakes that were expiring that day, and it was already evening, but they had no discount, so I considered mentioning it, but eventually just moved on. Then I peed before leaving that mall and also went to Kaufland, walking in right at 9 PM and going straight to the bakery area, where I saw three breads of the kind I get from there and the evening discounts already applied, so I grabbed two, then got the other things I wanted, including some more yogurt, though I wasn’t sure about that at first. Made sure it was past 9:30 PM when I went to the self-checkout, but there was no additional discount for the bread. Couldn’t also get National Geographic from Kaufland though, since they still only had the previous issue, and quite a pile of them, so I bought it from that store that’s there… And I was almost outside when I realized I had left the purchases from Carrefour in the cabinet, so I went back for them.
Since it was almost 10 PM when I walked out, I wasn’t sure I’ll still be able to pass through that mall and, either way, quite sure I won’t be able to enter the area around the stadium, so after a few steps I turned around and went the other way, even if the walk would have likely still been a bit shorter even if I had to go around both times. As it was, I was back just before 10:35 PM, had a banana and a very late lunch, finished after 1 AM, then showered and only got back in the kitchen after 2 AM. Still had plenty to do even then, however, so I only started eating dinner at 4:20 AM, which has to be the latest time so far. Got in bed at 5:30 AM.

Now I’ll skip to the next run, which for obvious reasons was only on September 21. The alarm was set to ring at 2 PM, but I woke up at 1:50 PM and obviously stayed up. My right knee was numb, or at least a part of it was, and I didn’t think I had slept on that side and with the left leg over it, but that’s what must have happened, since it recovered soon enough. Either way, I had the usual stuff plus almonds, and also boiled corn, and doughnuts, with added honey, as the sweet thing, put on the full running gear, also took that running belt, and left a bit after 4:15 PM, when the reported temperature was 16°C, supposed to hold steady or maybe increase by 1°C by the time I’ll finish. Two weeks after the previous run and with the days spent in hospital in between, but on the other hand with iron in me, I had no idea what to expect and, while the plan was for 16, I even considered stopping after ten kilometers if necessary.
Well, it wasn’t necessary, and the time was 1:19:38, with sector times of 4:23, 5:18, 6:15, 4:39, 5:08, 5:59, 4:40, 5:14, 6:07, 4:45, 5:23, 6:09, 4:35, 5:07 and 5:56, making for lap times of 15:56, 15:46, 16:01, 16:17 and 15:38. Hoped for a first lap in less than 15:30 and a target of 1:22, or possibly even 1:21, but that first sector time, obtained despite pushing hard, put that first lap target in serious doubt, sector two made it impossible, and barely staying under 16 minutes at the end of the lap made me think I was looking at just staying under 1:24, with 1:23 the best I could hope for. But the better lap two, after sector one, made me hope for 1:22 again. So I also pushed on lap three, hoping to still be on the 1:20 pace at the end of it, and when I managed that by some margin I was disappointed to just miss also staying under 16 minutes again. At that point I started thinking of 1:21, but when I just fell behind the 1:20 pace after sector two of lap four, I wondered whether I’ll be able to get back on it at the end of the lap… And I was just there. Not under, but exactly there, so I just kept pushing on lap five, thinking I won’t be able to maintain that pace but wondering what pace it was, and when I saw that first sector time that was again exactly on target, I just continued, wondering how long I’ll be able to keep it up. That resulted in the fastest sector two of the day, at which point I seemed to be safely under 1:20, but that likely made me push even harder, also ending up with the fastest sector three and fastest lap of the day, the fastest lap five since that last good half marathon run, after the state of emergency, and the least slow time over this distance since March.
It was cloudy at first, but it only remained so on sector one of lap one and most of sectors one and two of lap four. As for people, there weren’t many, some areas being almost strangely empty, but there was a roadblock, on sector two of lap two, when I meant to pass between a group and a store sign and they moved that way just as I reached them, so I had to go around the other way, while on the long straight of sector one of lap four a kid on a scooter cut me off. There was also a misunderstanding with a cyclist between those two moments, on the long straight of sector two, but while I think it was on lap three there’s also a chance it was on lap two. On the other hand, a girl on roller skates who was in front of me on sector two and part of sector three of lap two helped me push, trying to keep up and eventually, on sector three, overtake her. Otherwise, the right ankle started to bother me on that same sector two of lap two, and later, maybe from lap four, though it might have been even earlier, my right knee did as well, though it wasn’t too bad. And a certain rather pressing need appeared even on lap two, when I was pushing, and became quite an issue on lap five, when I gave it everything. And both shoelaces were loose at the end, but they didn’t actually untie and I only noticed after I got back.

Since those 16 km should have been the previous week’s run, on September 23 the alarm woke me at 2 PM, I had the usual stuff plus boiled corn, with doughnuts, with added honey, as the sweet thing again, put on the full running gear, with a few things in the pocket of my tights, and again left a bit after 4:15 PM, the reported temperature also again being about 16°C, supposed to hold quite steady. It was cloudy though, so it felt quite chilly on the way to the park.
The time was the least slow since May, 49:14.95, with sector times of 4:19.51, 5:16.13, 6:05.25, 4:41 (4:40.22), 5:08.78, 6:13 (6:12.62), 4:34.22, 5:09 (5:08.56), 5:56.10 and 1:53.56, making for lap times of 15:40.89, 16:02 (16:01.62) and 15:39 (15:38.88). I just went for it, aiming to stay under 50 minutes and hoping to have a better time on the three laps than on the first three laps from two days earlier. I did also wonder about getting under 49 minutes, but didn’t think it was at all possible, and sector two of lap one made that quite clear. It might seem that it’d have been possible if my right shoelace wouldn’t have gotten untied on sector three of lap two, costing me a good 20 seconds, maybe more, but I just pushed like crazy after that and doubt I’d have pushed quite that hard otherwise.
It was cloudy except from the end of sector one of lap one to the start of sector three of lap one, but the temperature was definitely good for running, and the conditions were good in general. There was some wind during that sunny period, and from sector two of lap three until the end, but it wasn’t that much of a problem. And there were few people, which of course still meant some weaving and going the long way around but no notable issues. The one unpleasant moment was when a bug flew right in my eye on sector three of lap one and trying to get it out probably cost me a couple of seconds on that sector and maybe a tiny bit of time on the following one as well.

After the run, I jogged to Carrefour and grabbed two expiring things, using the self-checkout since I had only my card to pay with anyway. What I didn’t know was that it printed the receipt as it went along, so when I saw a partial receipt there as I meant to pay, I thought it was someone else’s and pulled and ripped it out, and the guard came and told me to not do that and explained that it was mine, so I apologized and took both pieces of it at the end. Then I withdrew a part of the money from my bank’s ATM, that being the reason I had the card with me, and jogged back, having watermelon and the “soup” left after something I had cooked the day before. Later I had lunch, then started eating dinner at 3:10 AM and got in bed at 5:20 AM. My foot was burning again though, and I continued to feel that over the next few days.

And now I’m getting to what made me finally manage to get myself to at least post about the runs. I’m referring to the long run I already mentioned, taking place on September 27, even if the day started badly. After getting in bed at 5:20 AM, the plan was to sleep late, thinking of setting the alarm to ring at 3:30 PM, to be safe, but not even doing that at that point. However, a bit after I think my bookcase cracked and woke me at 12:30 PM and I went to pee, my UPS kicked in briefly, apparently just for electrical noise, and after that it beeped continuously, so I rushed to the computer and saw it report that the battery had been disconnected, though when I turned on the monitor it reported it as connected again and stopped beeping. The problem didn’t repeat itself when it briefly kicked in again close to an hour later, but it seems that the battery needs to be replaced, which I had been expecting for a while, but it definitely picked a bad time, just when I can no longer temporarily make use of the amount set aside.
Since I was worried about it, I had barely managed to nap a little before the sound of it kicking in again woke me, and then I was woken up yet again by an SMS with an ad from my operator, and there was some drilling as well, albeit faint, probably from outside, so instead of sleeping late, after 12:30 PM I just got a few brief naps. At some point during that time I did set that alarm for 3:30 PM, but when I woke up yet again, a bit before 3 PM, and needed to pee again, I decided to get up. Then I reduced the sensitivity of the UPS, first to medium and then to low, and slightly increased the acceptable voltage range as well, to 190V to 260V, so it’ll be less likely to kick in unless there’s an actual power failure, and I’m not aware of it having kicked in again since then. And I also backed up the “safe” partition before leaving.
But I did leave, after having the usual stuff, with almonds as well as peanuts in dark chocolate added in the yogurt and cereals, and also baked pumpkin, and two of those wheat things, with added honey, as another sweet thing. Had kept the last of those expired nicer biscuits just for that day, but at that point I forgot all about them. Either way, I also put the rest of the tea in the other bottle, or more exactly poured the one made at night and poured in the better bottle before going to bed in the plastic one and then poured the one made that day in that better one, then put on the full running gear and tried the running belt. However, if it seemed fine while empty, during that 16 km run, and I also thought I had found a way to tighten it more than it’d normally allow, and the bottle did fit, a full bottle added too much weight, it moved way too much and was clearly not going to stay in place. I still tried to see just how it was going to slide off, but it didn’t even get to that point, since just taking one deep breath while it was tightened in that way I thought I had discovered caused it to just snap off. There is probably a better way to do it, but I don’t think it’s worth trying, and I definitely didn’t have any more time at that point, so I didn’t even take it with me to place a bottle there after I’ll empty it, just stuffing the other things, including some garlic I again didn’t use, in the pocket of my tights, taking a bottle in each hand and leaving a little before 6:45 PM, when the reported temperature was 23°C, though it was obviously going to drop a fair bit. Started to run right at 7 PM.
Well, the time was an utterly shocking 3:18:07, with lap times of 16:44, 17:49, 18:10, 17:51, 18:54, 17:54, 17:24, 18:05, 18:41, 18:25 and 18:10. Expected something even worse than last year, and after four laps put together some target times that I assumed were safe enough, which added up to 3:48. But I did try to figure out how to gain those four minutes and at least be less slow than then… And realized I was gaining even in spite of the two minutes lost struggling to eat the first protein bar, at the start of lap five. Then, as time passed, I started to realize that I was even faster than the first time. Now that I checked, and made a chart, I see I got ahead of that time on lap seven, but at the time I was only sure of it after lap eight. Still assumed I’ll hit the wall hard and fall well behind towards the end, but I did start hoping to stay under 3:30, updating the plan accordingly, with a target for 20 minutes for lap nine… Only to be much faster than that, even in spite of losing about a minute with the second protein bar. Did hit the wall towards the end of that lap, and the target for the tenth was 22 minutes, but I nevertheless recalculated yet again and aimed to stay under 20 minutes one more time, which target I again utterly smashed. By then I had actually, finally, started to hope that I’ll be faster than the first time, but at that point, when I saw I had covered ten laps in just under three hours, 2:59:57, I also started to wonder whether I’ll be able to stay under 3:20, pushing myself almost every step, maybe with the exception of a few hundred meters towards the end, before really giving everything I had left, and this was the result: Beat the previous record by 8:31, got well under 3:20, and had the best lap times on each lap starting with the seventh.
Lap two was the only one without time lost because of, shall we say, technical matters. The main losses were caused by the protein bars, that first one in particular, since it was partially squashed and melted and I also couldn’t open the wrapping properly, maybe because I also still carried one full and one half-full bottle, but there were obvious losses when I drank as well, at the start of laps four, six, eight and ten, about half a bottle each time, again the first attempt likely causing the biggest loss, possibly up to a minute, and making me realize that pretty much stopping to drink was better than trying to do so while only slowing, the loss likely dropping to some 40 seconds after that. And I also lost a little bit of time at the start of the first lap, trying to figure out how to better hold the bottles and fix my cap better on my head, and at the start of each lap starting with the third, to get a good look at the time, since the light was only still good enough to see it normally after the first lap. And that period when I didn’t push as hard on lap eleven was because I was looking for a coin. It likely helped, allowing me to regain my breath a little and push even harder at the end, but the reason for it wasn’t something so calculated, but the fact that I recalled having first spotted a coin on one of the early laps and seeing it again later, so I thought I’ll pick it up if it was still there at that point, but couldn’t quite remember where, so I likely slowed a bit while looking for it, until I was sure I passed that spot and someone else must have finally grabbed it.
Otherwise, the forecast stated that the wind would get worse and it did, even from lap two, with moments when it bothered me even more after it really got dark, though on the last few laps it either died down or I just wasn’t feeling much of anything anymore. On the other hand, there were plenty of people during the first part of the run, but since the goal was endurance, not speed, I just recall two roadblocks on lap one and a misunderstanding and a dog getting in front of my legs on lap three. On that same lap three, my right knee started bothering me, and later there were some warnings from my ankles as well, but it never got past that level. And, despite having rather clogged the toilet before leaving, it was also on lap three when a certain pressing need first appeared, lessening on lap four but reappearing on lap five, when I pushed hard in order to make up for those lost two minutes, and becoming bad enough to make me start wondering whether I’ll need to seriously consider using a toilet. But I didn’t even eat the garlic I had taken with me, since it lessened again after that, and later seemed to go away completely. And the number of people also dropped significantly on the last few laps, and one, another runner, even helped, I think on lap eight, being in front of me and slightly faster, so I had a target and a couple of times found myself catching up before he pushed again to restore the gap, this obviously ending at the start of the next lap, when I slowed. It was also another runner who had something to do with just when I felt myself hit the wall, however. I was close to the end of lap nine, with some seven kilometers to go, and I heard someone approaching quickly from behind, sprinting, so I slowed and moved aside to make room, and when I tried to return to my previous pace after he passed it just felt like something broke. But I nevertheless kept pushing.
I have no idea how I managed that time, and maintaining my pace as well as I did. I guess starting to treat my anemia has plenty to do with that, but even so… No lap, regardless of the lost time, even got to 19 minutes, the difference between the fastest and the slowest was only 2:10, but in fact there was that fast first lap, which I considered too fast, making a point of controlling my pace on the next two as a result, and lap seven, when I neither drank nor ate, was the second fastest, while on the other hand there were the two slower laps when I did eat, but other than those, so for seven of the eleven laps, my times ranged between 17:49 and 18:25, and if you also eliminate lap ten, more than half the laps ranged between 17:49 and 18:10! And it also means that pushing past the wall didn’t make that much of a difference in my pace, and once I got used to the feeling I could pretty much get right back to it, even if it required pushing hard while on the early laps I had to hold myself back to obtain similar times, and actually the exact same one on laps three and eleven. There was some pain and burning sensation and pretty much everything other than my legs was going numb, even my mouth and the top of my head, and when I had to quickly move aside when someone seemed about to walk straight into me, I believe on the last lap, I almost lost my balance and had to fight to stay on my feet for the next few steps, but I could still push, could fight through it. And then, after I finished, even going up those stairs wasn’t as hard as I feared, and while it did hurt and there were cramps as I walked out of the park, it wasn’t like that first time, being entirely manageable even when I stopped to make use of a bench and, briefly, a tree for a few stretching exercises.
Even took a moment on the way back to have a quick look in this Mega Image, just pulling my t-shirt to cover my nose and mouth, since I didn’t have a mask with me, and after getting back here, around 10:35 PM, I considered grabbing some money and going back out to buy a pastry. Decided against it, however, since I had quite enough sweets that day, after all, so I ate watermelon, somehow rather clogged the toilet a second time, took a long bath, drank the protein milk I received after the half marathon and kept for this purpose, and then made mamaliga, with quite a number of things in it, even taking a picture of my dinner that night, which I started eating at 3:30 AM, finishing at 5:30 AM and getting in bed at 5:40 AM. I did feel worse as I was cooling down, starting with pain and cramps that were harder to withstand at least until the bath helped, and also feeling nauseous and dizzy, but everything was much better by the time I went to bed.

The following day I got up at 10:50 AM, the alarm being set to ring at 11 AM, but I only got half an hour or so of sleep, needing to get up to pee several times and falling asleep being next to impossible anyway, likely because I was still too full of adrenaline and whatever else my body had generated to push itself through that. I had no more time to lose, however, since that was the last day for purchasing state bonds that month, which I had decided to do after all, yet again putting off the plans for a new computer for another year, but I hadn’t managed to get there in time a few days earlier, so I wanted to go then in order to be able to take the money out before my birthday next year, even if I assumed, correctly as I now know, that the interest rate was going to increase this month. So I was out just before 12:35 PM and in the Sector 3 Treasury 20 minutes later, and since I knew just where to go and what to do, there were no lines and the employees were nice and quite efficient, everything went quickly and smoothly and at 1:05 PM I was already out.
After that, I went to the movie theater from the shopping center Auchan Titan’s in, since I saw that tickets were just 8 RON that day and I was curious about the new documentary about wildlife in Romania. And along with the ticket I was also given a scratch card, which granted me a free 0.5-liter Pepsi or 7UP. But there was still almost half an hour before the listed start time of 2:45 PM, so I had a quick look through Auchan and, on the way back to the theater, noticed that a pastry place from there offered two doughnuts for the price of one, making a mental note of that for later. Then I picked up the drink, choosing a Pepsi, even if I can’t remember the last time I drank anything of the sort, and went to watch the movie, along with only five other people. All had assigned seats behind me, but while two, a boy and probably either his quite old mother or young grandmother, stayed in their seats on the last row and were also quiet enough, with the boy only speaking up a few times and not loudly, the other three, quite obviously grandmother, mother and daughter, decided to sit on other seats, in front of me, but at least on the side, not in the middle, so the fact that the girl stood up and fussed around constantly wasn’t as annoying as it might have been. I do wonder why they came though, since I guess the idea was to have the girl see the documentary, but she was only a few years old, pretty much only sat down at the beginning, and more often than not had her back to the screen when she was up, repeatedly asking when was it going to end and at one point having her mother go out with her for several minutes, maybe to the toilet. As for me, the adrenaline finally wore off during the movie, so staying awake was becoming an issue and that Pepsi definitely helped.
The movie finished right at 5 PM and after leaving the theater I noticed that just six of those doughnuts were left, so I got in line and bought four of them before going back to Auchan, also needing to reach for the receipt and feeling the need to explain myself, saying I was going to enter Auchan with them, because the employees were otherwise just throwing all of them in a basket, not seeming to hand them to customers and no other customers seeming to care to get them. Then I got a few things from Auchan and, before leaving that shopping center, I also decided to get an instant ticket from the small Lottery booth that’s there. The last time I got one of those I was probably a little kid, my parents occasionally buying them and asking me to open them, but I was wondering if my luck would hold, considering that scratch card. Well, it didn’t, so I just wasted 3 RON.
Since dad had called while I was in Auchan and asked for some more of that zacusca, on the way back I checked two Mega Image locations, getting that and cabbage for myself from the second one. But I still wanted some pizza and/or large and not sweet pastries after that run and thought I was going to get them from the Carrefour from the park… Only to not find any of the things I expected to find after I got there. But there were two remaining pieces of one kind of pizza, so after wandering around for quite a while I eventually bought those, the last remaining focaccia with cheese and the cakes I meant to fall back to if I won’t find any of those nice ones, plus a large watermelon and a couple of other things. I also asked for two pieces of pumpkin pie, but since the full ingredients for the things you have to ask for aren’t listed otherwise, but just printed on the label you only see once you get the product, I only saw then that they contained hydrogenated fats, so I left them there.
My brain tended to sort of disconnect while I was in Carrefour and I rather felt like I was falling asleep on my feet, but I eventually made my way back, getting here at 8:50 PM, having carried 22 kg, the watermelon alone weighing 11.25 kg. Then I ate one of the cakes and showered, then started the pizzas and focaccia as a late lunch, but after a while decided that I wasn’t going to have something else that night, so I stopped eating those at 1 AM, made salad and ate the rest, along with the salad, as dinner, starting at 3:25 AM. Unfortunately, as I was finishing one of the pieces, I “managed” to bite the fork, chipping at least one tooth a little. There was little damage, however, and after a couple of days I stopped noticing it. Either way, I got in bed at 5:35 AM that morning.

But I mentioned that I was unable to buy those state bonds a few days earlier, so I’ll include that day, September 24, in this post as well. The alarm actually woke me at 10:30 AM that day and I meant to leave at 12:30 PM, but I didn’t manage that, only going out at 12:50 PM. That meant I reached the location of my bank that’s on the way just after 1 PM and they close to disinfect the area between 1 PM and 1:30 PM, so I couldn’t use the machine that’s inside to withdraw the rest of the money, as initially planned, needing to use one of those that’s outside. But the real problem was that I reached the Sector 3 Treasury a bit after 1:15 PM, which I thought was still fine, seeming to recall that, while the schedule is shorter on Fridays, it’s until 1:30 PM… Only to notice the announcement stating that state bond operations end at 1 PM on Fridays. But I saw the cashiers still there, so I tried my luck, asking one about buying state bonds and being directed upstairs, which gave me hope, even if the door leading to the stairs was closed. So I opened it and went up, but the cashiers who were there told me they had closed and one said that if I’d have had the money already in my Treasury account maybe they’d have worked something out, but the schedule for cash deposits is very strict and there’s nothing they can do.
I was almost crying when I went out, uncertain what to do… And I also wanted to call the hospital to ask whether what I had been told by the clinic I had managed to schedule the MRI at was correct, which was an even more daunting prospect at that moment, yet I did try almost right away. However, perhaps fortunately, there was no answer at that time. So I started walking back, checking a Mega Image on the way, getting some spoiling peppers and paying by card, and since I didn’t know how that worked I accidentally entered my PIN too soon and part of it ended up being displayed, so I quickly pressed what I thought would make it disappear and that messed up the reader a bit, the cashier needing to do something to fix it. Then I tried to collect myself a little more and called again, and that time there was an answer and I was told that what I had been told was correct and I should go ahead and do things as I had been told by those at that clinic. After that, I checked another Mega Image, not getting anything, had a little look at some decorations in another store, and then decided to make a detour to the bigger Mega Image from this area as well, getting some more things and wondering about one more, but I couldn’t find the price for that and it wouldn’t scan, and the employee I asked told me to ask at checkout, which I didn’t care to do. What I definitely didn’t like was that, since I paid by card again, trying to get rid of the amount left in my account, the cashier told me I didn’t need to put it in the reader or enter the PIN, and that was true, and being able to make payments like that is something I definitely don’t want.
Either way, I was back around 3:05 PM… And when I undressed in my room there was a small bug on my belly and it escaped when I tried to squash it between my fingers, and I’m not sure what it was and couldn’t spot it anywhere after that, despite looking carefully on the floor and shaking the clothes thoroughly. So I had to shrug it off, had watermelon and lunch, and then went back out at 7:10 PM, taking the recyclables and some other trash, dropping each in the first appropriate bin, and also some of the things I drop off at Kaufland.
I first went to the Carrefour from the park, however, just grabbing one expiring thing and again paying by card and using the self-checkout. The machine surprised me by asking for the amount to put on the card, but after I realized that it was doing that in order to allow people to split payments between multiple cards I could continue and had no other issues, and then I used my bank’s ATM from there to make sure that the right amount was left in the account. What was quite a concern when I continued on my way, however, was that my left ankle was hurting a bit, and I definitely couldn’t afford any such issues before that planned long run, so it’s a good thing that it seems to have just been a momentary issue that sorted itself out.
Either way, I then also went to the Penny that’s close to the newer Kaufland, getting a few things from there, including this season’s first pumpkin, and then continued to that Kaufland, waiting for evening discounts and being in the cat food area when they were announced for the bakery area, though it wasn’t quite 9 PM yet. There were no evening discounts for fruits and vegetables, however, so I had to buy a bundle of green onions at the regular price, needing it for the salad made before that run. But at least there was one last bread of the kind I get from there left, so I got that and two other things, then sort of wandered around, picked up a couple of other things and was thinking to wait for 10 PM, to see whether the evening discounts would increase. However, at 9:30 PM there was an announcement that the store was going to close at 10 PM, which was surprising, since it used to close at 11 PM. That caused me to switch from wasting time to rushing, and if I grabbed the rest of the actual food for Liza I meant to buy, that announcement about bakery discounts interrupting me the first time, I forgot to grab some more of those treats for her as well, and I had told dad that I was going to get some… And her food caused me to spend quite some time at the self-checkout, needing to scan each piece, unable to ask whether an employee would be willing to log on and enter all 30 at once since only a guard was around, the employee who should have probably been there having just opened one of the regular checkouts after a kid kept grabbing things and the father asked whether they had a family checkout, even though as of some time ago I noticed that Kaufland closes the regular checkouts I think at least an hour before closing time.
I got back at 10:35 PM and, after a bath, only got back in the kitchen around 1:25 AM, started making the salad after 2 AM, started eating dinner at 3:30 AM and got in bed at 5:40 AM. And I’ll also add here that I only got to work on that pumpkin in the early moments of September 26, a bit after midnight, so that was another night when I started making the salad late, and it was once again 3:30 AM when I started eating dinner, admittedly after having lunch in the evening.

I first meant to write and post this Thursday, only including the part about the runs, but only got as far as the start of the long run that day. But after dad changed his original plan and stayed here yesterday, I meant to spend the day writing and post this last night… But between two loads of laundry, searching for something for dad, cooking myself some beans and having about half of them for lunch, and doing a few other things, I barely managed to finish the part about the long run last night, with the last paragraph written while eating dinner, which I started at 3:15 AM. And by then I had decided to include the parts about the state bonds as well, and initially meant to also write about the MRI, but I had to give up on this last part, other than mentioning that call I made, since I couldn’t even finish the rest before midnight, again needing to edit to add the previous four paragraphs and this one after posting the rest. But at least I caught up on some things… Really wonder when or if I’ll write about the time spent in hospital and the other medical matters, however.

Written by Cavalary on October 3, 2021 at 11:58 PM in Personal | 0 Comments