The awful long practice run made it clear that I was going to need every bit of help for the marathon, so I finally pulled the trigger and bought new running shoes, going all the way when I saw that a store had a discount on a model of ASICS Gel-Kayano 29 that was also available in my size. I didn’t like the color, and I had noticed some that I liked much more at another store, for a slightly higher price, but by the time I really decided to go through with it, they were no longer available in my size in any of their locations from Bucharest either, while this model that I ended up ordering was listed as available in one location of yet another store. So what I ended up doing was order them on-line from that store that had the discount, even if I always said that I’d never buy clothes or shoes without trying them on first and the running shoes are the item for which the right fit is the most important, and then I went to this other store and tried on that exact same model, finding that the one pair of that size that was left was among their discounted products and the price was only marginally higher than the other store’s, but they had quite clearly been returned and actually looked like they had been used a fair bit, so I wouldn’t have wanted to buy those anyway. And, while they did seem rather hard at the back and my concerns regarding that issue were proven justified since then, I hoped, and still hope, that they’ll give before the marathon, and otherwise they seemed good, so I put those back and waited for the delivery. And I’ll also mention here that the other model showed up in my size once again at that other store, at a different location from Bucharest, but I had already ordered those and I left things as they were.
The delivery came on the morning of September 7, when I received the SMS a little after 9:30 AM, stating that the shoes will be delivered between 9 AM and noon. So I changed, turned on the intercom and got back in bed, but the delivery guy came soon after that, without even calling first, so I jumped out of bed again and I’m not even sure that it was 9:50 AM when I received the parcel. And after taking the box out of the bag, I saw that I really had received what wasn’t just the last pair in this size, but probably a pair that was put together, the serial numbers being very different, the left shoe having clearly been a display model, since it had the sticker with the information and price on the inside and some small signs of wear and a little dirt on it, and the box had been marked as missing something. The writing had been scribbled over quite thoroughly, so it was hard to tell what had been missing, but it probably said that it was missing the left shoe, leading me to believe that they had paired that shoe which had been on display with a right shoe that had somehow been “orphaned”. But I tried them on and they felt just like those which I had tried on at that other store, so the size was definitely right but that problem remained at the back, and it did show that the left one had been tried on before, because it seemed like it was going to give sooner, which was also proven correct since then. Either way, at 11:10 AM I got back in bed and actually fell asleep again, and I managed to do so yet again after waking up when dad left, only getting up for good when it was almost 4:10 PM, though I had been awake for a while at that point. And I started cooking way too late, so I ate a combined lunch and dinner between 3:35 AM and 4:30 AM, and got in bed at 5:30 AM.
I got to really test the new shoes right away, since I ran on September 8, getting up after the alarm rang, at 2 PM, though I had woken up some 35 minutes earlier, when dad was getting ready to leave, and then pretty much remained awake. I might have fallen asleep just before the alarm rang, and possibly once more before that, but those naps, if they existed at all, lasted mere moments. Either way, I then had the usual stuff, though the yogurt was a bio (organic) one and I again replaced three almonds with apricot pits, and the sweet thing consisted of two more of those somewhat nicer biscuits of a different kind, which had expired far more recently than those other ones, of course with added honey. I left at 4:45 PM, wearing the full running gear, obviously including the new shoes. The reported temperature was 28-29°C at that point, and about 28°C when I finished.
The time was 49:07.01, with sector times of 4:19.83, 5:08.09, 6:02 (6:01.34), 4:34.60, 5:18 (5:17.18), 6:05.25, 4:37.15, 5:13.07, 5:58.29 and 1:53 (1:52.21), making for lap times of 15:29.26, 15:57.03 and 15:48.51. I obviously aimed to stay under 48 minutes, and I was wondering whether the new shoes would help and result in a surprisingly good time or hold me back, especially since at first I felt like I was barely touching the pavement and couldn’t really judge my pace. Still, I thought that I had been faster than that on the first sector, and the second sector wasn’t good enough either, and when I was hoping for a good third sector but ended up going over six minutes, and with a lap time that was well over what would be required in order to stay under 48 minutes, I knew that there was little hope left. And each sector of lap two made it clear that the only realistic goal was to stay under 16 minutes per lap, and I barely managed even that on that lap. And then, even though the numbers clearly added up to 49:30, over the course of lap three I found myself thinking that I was looking at 48:30, and after sector two I wondered whether I could manage a great sector three and still get under 48 minutes after all. And that sector three was the fastest of the day, and a decent one for lap three, but it and the final sector weren’t enough to even get too close to 49 minutes, as I realized with some dismay at the end. This was definitely not what I needed after that awful long run…
There were a fair number of people, including some large groups, and many seemed to be teens, maybe because school was about to start. So I slowed a lot because of two roadblocks on sector two of lap two, maybe briefly stopping because of the second, then took to the grass, albeit cutting the turn in the process, on sector one of lap three, I think I might have once again slowed because of another momentary roadblock on that same sector, then slowed a lot and maybe even stopped for just an instant when three men were walking on the lane, two probably heard me coming and moved aside, but the third used the space to gesture more widely while talking and almost slapped me. That was on sector two, but I seem to have made a mistake while writing the notes, since I wrote that it was sector two of lap two, which seems highly unlikely, since I otherwise wrote them in order and I also remember the moment as coming rather late during the run, so it was almost certainly on lap three… Either way, I also slowed and almost stopped, or even did stop for just an instant, on the final sector, at the top of the stairs, because of another group of teens. Otherwise, there was some wind, and while it was mostly manageable, there was a spot, at the start of lap three, where I felt that I was barely moving against it. And there were still a few spots where the lane was clearly damaged, including one, close to the end of the lap, where it was damaged in a dangerous way. As for physical issues, my right knee started giving warnings from sector two of lap two, and from the next sector that hip joined it, but those warnings from the hip didn’t last long, and those from the knee also faded, gradually. Other than that, I just felt that I couldn’t go any faster. And my right nostril was once again badly irritated after the run.
As for the shoes, they hurt a little at the back at first, but I was only about halfway through when they seemed mostly fine, and there weren’t even red marks at the back of my feet after the run. Something felt strange with the right heel at the start of lap three, however. And, on the other hand, my small toes were a little red, and they had felt a little pressed while I ran. And the cushioning felt uneven, but it was slowly settling into a better position. Just having so much cushioning, and having it everywhere, not mainly for the heel, is something that I knew I’ll need some time to get used to, however.
I jogged back, quickly checked the nearby Mega Image, ate quite a lot of watermelon, changed, and went out again at 7:20 PM, rushing to a store where I had seen a a desk chair at a noticeably lower price than elsewhere those days, and my old one had cracked even more, so I wanted a replacement. That store’s site did list that chair as only available for ordering on-line, but I wanted to check, so I got there close to 7:45 PM, a little more than 15 minutes before closing time, spotted the furniture area right away, but went in every wrong direction once I reached it, so it’s a good thing that it’s not that large of an area and I could look through all of it once and then check about half of it a second time before spotting the desk chairs. And that model was, in fact, there, though the prices, or at least the labels, seemed rather mixed between the basic model and the one with armrests, and the only blue one on display had armrests and I wanted one without them. But, after a quick look, I decided that if I had to I could accept any of the other colors except, obviously, black, and that sale was about to end, so I sat on one for a few seconds, looked around to see if I could spot a boxed one, and when I didn’t I went to ask the closest employee. However, he said that he dealt with carpets and sent me to the desk from the area with floor and wall tiles.
After going there and asking about chairs, two employees came with me and I exchanged a few rushed words with one of them, trying to make sense of the mixed prices. He asked whether I wanted a gray one, since I had pointed to that one because it had the correct price, and I said that blue would be ideal but I only see the more expensive model in blue, so I’ll take anything except black, and he asked his coworker to give him the product code and then spotted a box above and went back to get the forklift. So I followed him, we went back together, and he got a gray one down, telling me to hurry to get to the checkout. I wonder if a blue one couldn’t have also been found, if I’d have asked them to really look whether they had any left, but with so little time left, I couldn’t get myself to do so… Especially after the guard’s comments, since a guard was also at that desk when I got there and at one point, I’m not sure whether it was when the other two first followed me or when I went back with that guy to actually get the chair, he called after me to hurry up because he had to screw his woman at home. I muttered that in that case she could wait a little, while the guy in the forklift muttered that she could wait even longer, but it was quite unpleasant.
Either way, I bought that chair a few minutes before closing time, carried the box outside, set it on a small bench, and the guard who was there asked whether I was wondering how to carry it. And when I tried to put the box in the “shopping backpack”, he said that it couldn’t possibly fit, and he was right. So I said that it had to fit in the large bag that I also had with me, but he said that it won’t, telling me to look at its volume, and after I nevertheless made an attempt he told me to just put the bag over the box and even helped me with that, proving that it was impossible. It was close, but still not large enough. So I said that in that case I’ll just carry it in my arms, but he told me to get it out of the box, since it will fit that way, and I followed his advice and put the large parts in the bag and the few other components in the backpack, and then I even took the box, opening it up, folding it and managing to get it in the backpack as well, poking out through the top. Quite a contrast between how helpful this guard was and the other one’s attitude…
After that, I had a quick look in that Mega Image, entering with everything, then went to Kaufland, struggled for a while but eventually managed to get the bag into a large cabinet, then washed my hands and entered with the backpack. I think it was only a little after 8:20 PM, but I already saw evening discounts for fruits and vegetables, and some of them increased at 8:30 PM, so I got two a number of things. The label printed when I weighed the red cabbage and the Bianca peppers listed a higher price, but I scanned it at a price checker and confirmed that the correct price should, in fact, apply. And then bakery discounts of 50% were announced and I went there, took a glove, since my hands were dirty by then and I had therefore washed for no reason, and I saw that the discount also applied to that bread and three were left, so I took two, and two sweet pastries, and after thinking about it for a while I added two buns and another pastry, but put them a separate bag, which at that point I meant to give to a homeless person. Then I wandered around… Only to realize after a while that I no longer had the bag with the vegetables. But I knew where I must have left it, and it was still there when I rushed back. And then I kept wandering around, searching for some things and occasionally checking to see whether any discounts had increased, but none did even though I waited for 9:45 PM. So I finally made my way to the self-checkout, and after the machine initially accepted the Bianca peppers, it then said that I had picked a product off the scales, even though I hadn’t, so I had to call an employee to override the error. And I weighed those peppers again on my way out, confirming that the weight was correct. Then I retrieved my things from the cabinet and left a couple of minutes before closing.
On the way back, I also checked that Mega Image that closes at 11 PM, putting the purchases from Kaufland in a cabinet, leaving the large bag next to the cabinets, and entering with the backpack… And I had just about finished looking around, without finding anything to get, when the guard came after me and told me to leave the backpack at the cabinets because I was going to catch things from the shelves and bring them down. But I was already on my way out, so I just retrieved my things and left. And on the way back I used a route which should have given me better chances to find homeless people, initially meaning to cut through the farmers’ market and being able to enter it but having someone call after me to tell me that the other entrances were closed, so I had to go back out and around. And then I stopped on a bench and added the bag I had been carrying in my hand into the backpack, over those chair parts. As for the homeless people, I was actually looking for one or two from a certain area that I hadn’t given anything to before, but I didn’t see them. I did see another one, but it was probably one whom I had given something to before and he was before that area, so I didn’t yet know that I wasn’t going to find the others and ended up just keeping what I had in that bag for myself.
It was past 10:50 PM when I got back, with close to 16 kg, and I found that dad was taking a bath… And had put a pair of shoes right on my house slippers! I snapped at him over it and he said that if it bothered me I could just clean my slippers and keep them in my room from then on, and then kept ironically asking if I don’t touch my face or anything else with anything from outside and so on. So I washed my slippers and then pulled out the old ones which I still have under my bed even though they’re falling apart, and used them after just wiping them a little with my wet hands, even though they actually were far dirtier than those would have been even after having his shoes on them, after having been under the bed for so long.
Either way, I then put the purchases, with the exception of my bread, in their place, took the chair parts to my room, washed what was in the kitchen and also moved something, ate lunch and a sweet pastry, talked to dad a little, having to just get over the issue with the slippers, and it was past 1:20 AM when I went to the bathroom. I had felt that I had to go when I got back, but at that point I pretty much ended up wasting time on the toilet, then I washed. I was done just after 2 AM, then also dealt with one of my breads, noticing that the crust was really hard, washed a few more things, and ate dinner in the kitchen, between 3:55 AM and 4:25 AM. And when I was struggling to make that bread fit in the freezer, after dinner, something cracked, so I still hope that it wasn’t the inner wall of the freezer, since I didn’t take everything out to actually look since then. Either way, I then put together the chair as well, so I didn’t get on-line at all that night and only got in bed at 6:20 AM, after washing my feet a little, since they had been in those old slippers and I hadn’t even worn socks.
On September 11, the alarm was set to ring at 2 PM, but it wasn’t even 1:40 PM when I woke up, whether because I needed to pee again or because of the noise made by dad, but I did need to pee and there was some more noise for the next few minutes, so I just stayed in bed a little longer and eventually got up a couple of minutes before 2 PM, turning off the alarm. Then I had the usual stuff, with the sweet thing being a large doughnut, with added honey, and left close to 4:15 PM, wearing the full running gear. The reported temperature was 28°C, holding steady.
The time was 1:17:20, with sector times of 4:25, 5:04, 5:51, 4:26, 4:59, 5:54, 4:29, 5:03, 5:54, 4:32, 5:07, 5:59, 4:37, 5:09 and 5:51, making for lap times of 15:20, 15:19, 15:26, 15:38 and 15:37. I was thinking that staying under 1:20 would be nice, but wondering whether a realistic target would be 1:21 or 1:22. And I wasn’t sure what I wanted on the first sector, so that time seemed slow but I didn’t really know how much I pushed. I did push more after that and the times showed it, and the first lap was better than I thought it’d be, and so was the next, actually being marginally faster, and with a nice sector two. At that point, I was thinking to aim for 1:19, only wanting to stay under 16 minutes on lap three, but after two sectors I wondered whether I’ll be able to stay on the 1:18 pace, so 15:36, and actually did noticeably better than that. So the target became 1:18, which I hadn’t even dared to really think about until then, and I wanted 15:45 or 15:50 on lap four, but once again managed to be a fair bit faster. And after two sectors of lap five I saw that I needed exactly six minutes on sector three to just get under 1:17:30, so that became the target and I really gave it everything on that sector, ending up with a time that was tied for the fastest sector three of the day despite two moments when I lost focus. The time was an otherwise normal one, but much better than expected, especially after the previous week’s bad run, so it really helped my morale.
I felt tired at the start, but the feeling seemed to soon go away. And the pain which I had been feeling for the past couple of days in my left lower calf and ankle, probably caused by how I was sitting on the new chair at first, also gradually faded as I ran. But there were some warnings from my right leg over the course of the first lap, probably caused by the fact that I was sparing the left one, and while they also faded after that, on sector three of lap four they reappeared, albeit only from the knee and, to a lesser extent, hip, lessening but not going away over the course of lap five. And my nose was really irritated after the run. Otherwise, I still avoided a good part of the lane, which was either soggy, too uneven or damaged, but there were no notable problems caused by people, only some weaving and needing to go the long way around. It was sunny and quite hot, however, and I was feeling that heat when I wasn’t in the shade. And, as something of a curiosity, I was on sector one of lap four when an apple fell from a tree right in front of me, and I thought to pick it up but didn’t, thinking that I will do so if it’ll still be there the next lap, but it wasn’t.
As for the shoes, something seemed to bother me at the front of the right one, in the sole, as if the cushioning was uneven. And later during the run that heel started to bother me again, and it was also bothering me more and more at the back, but I saw after I got back that the reason, or at least the main one, was the sock, since I was wearing some old ones, the left one being sewn in that spot and that seam was digging into my foot. What I’m uncertain about is whether the fact that I slipped on that paved area of sector two where there’s no lane at all had to do with the shoes or there was something on the pavement in that spot, but it happened twice, I think on laps one and two, though there’s also a chance that it was on laps two and three. Either way, I was even more careful when I passed through that area after that.
After getting back, I drank the last protein milk taken after the Dream Trek, ate some slices of pizza which had been brought by dad, changed, and left again just after 7:55 PM, taking a mask with me and actually putting it on when I entered Tei. It was the one used when I had last worn one, on June 17, and which I had kept in my desk since then, until I took it with me on September 4 but ended up just carrying it around, without putting it on. Either way, I was looking for that gel, but I hadn’t checked the site before leaving and there didn’t seem to be any left, so I asked an employee, she said that she was from cosmetics and looked for another one who could help me, and he just went to a computer to check the site and told me that there was none left, and it didn’t get back in stock since then either. At least it’s still listed as available at Hervis Park Lake, but the price is a little higher.
To return to that evening, I then went to Supeco, got some coffee for my mother, and then saw watermelons at the best price which I had seen this year. I quickly realized that they were so cheap because they were huge and seemed to be going soft, but I dug through them, found one that seemed better and, after managing to get it out from under the rest, bought it as well. And it’s actually the best watermelon I bought this year, and we still have some of it. Either way, I then put the purchases in the backpack, put it in a cabinet when I got to Carrefour, and got a few things from there as well, including two apples that had an unannounced discount.
After retrieving what I had in the cabinet, I threw the new purchases, with the exception of the chicken legs, which I left in a bag, into the backpack, and rushed to Penny, getting there at 9:45 PM, entering with everything and just getting some onions. I was out a couple of minutes before closing time, stopped only long enough to tie the bag with the onions, and then rushed to that Kaufland, holding that bag and even the receipt in my hand… However, even though I had checked on-line before leaving and saw that the closing time was still listed as 11 PM for that location, on the door it was listed as 10 PM once again, and when I made eye contact with the guard he shook his head. I said that the site still listed the closing time as 11 PM, but he said that it had changed, so I turned back, stopping again after a few steps in order to add everything into the backpack… At which point a part of the other zipper key snapped off as well, so now they’re both like that, but otherwise remain usable.
On the way back, I checked that Profi, that non-stop Mega Image and this nearby one, entering with everything each time and only buying one egg from this nearby Mega Image, since I found a bio (organic) one that wasn’t cracked among those sold by piece. None of the electronic prices were displayed at that time, the large ones displaying “TEST” over and over and the small ones either zeroes or eights, and when I mentioned that to the cashier she said that they were updating, though it was just after 11 PM and on the door it says that the checkouts are closed between 2 AM and 3 AM, so I assumed that the updates would happen during that time. Plus that Mega Image changes prices on Thursday, and it was Monday evening. But at least I could buy that egg.
I got back just after 11:05 PM, with just about 12.5 kg, and after cleaning the litter box, putting some watermelon in a plate and adding the peel into that bag, I went to throw it down the chute… And it broke and fell on the way, though at least the cat litter didn’t spill out of it that much, so I could gather everything and throw it away. Then I ate quite a lot of watermelon and a sweet pastry, put the purchases in their place, and went to the bathroom, to use the toilet and shower, at 12:30 AM. I was done just before 1:25 AM, then I washed what was to wash in the kitchen and actually managed to have dinner at a normal time. Or I almost did, since I “cheated” a little in order to take a first bite in my room just before 3 AM, though I actually started eating at 3:05 AM. But I still finished at 3:40 AM. And my nose was quite fine, so I’m thinking that wearing a mask had helped. Also, I sent a message to Kaufland that night, to say that they should update the hours on the site when they change them for a location and that I had checked before leaving, saw 11 PM, but got there just after 10 PM only to find it closed… And they didn’t just apologize, but even sent me a 30 RON voucher to make up for it! I definitely didn’t expect that! Either way, I’ll also mention here that I woke up before 8 AM, stayed in bed until I heard the computer do the daily backup, then went to pee and got on the computer for a while, going to pee one more time and getting back in bed at 8:45 AM. And that night I once again ate between 3:05 AM and 3:40 AM. And I got in bed at 5:20 AM.
There were no visits recorded by Matomo Analytics on September 18, but Google Analytics, which had actually shut down the old version by then, recorded one, though that was probably an uncaught bot. Either way, on September 19 I got up when the alarm rang, at 2 PM, after actually forgetting to set it before going to bed and only doing so when I got up to pee, a little after 11:30 AM. Then I had the usual stuff, but I once again replaced three almonds with apricot pits. The sweet thing consisted of yet another kind of somewhat nicer biscuits, those having expired only weeks earlier, with added honey. And I must mention that this was the first run after starting to once again take the iron as well, though I decided to stick to one pill per day instead of two. Otherwise, I also did my best to remove that label from the inside of the left shoe, but a tiny piece tore from the rest and I couldn’t get it off, so I left it there and left just after 4:40 PM, wearing the full running gear. The reported temperature was about 26°C and it was cloudy, and while the reported temperature dropped only marginally by the time I finished, it got even cloudier.
The time was 47:32.07, with sector times of 4:20.42, 5:02 (5:01.84), 5:52 (5:51.97), 4:27.60, 5:04 (5:03.37), 5:48 (5:47.87), 4:26.13, 4:58.63, 5:46 (5:45.81) and 1:49 (1:48.43), making for lap times of 15:14.23, 15:19 (15:18.84) and 15:10.57. I might have pressed the button a little late at the end of sector two of lap two, since I was focused on making sure that I made it through that spot before a roadblock fully formed, but I’ll go with that time. Otherwise, I meant to push from the start and that first sector time was at least ten seconds too slow, so it looked bad and I pushed harder, and sector two was better, and the lap was all right, though still worse than what I had aimed for, since I was hoping that the iron would help me get under 47 minutes. Either way, the first two sectors of lap two were all right in themselves, but after that time on lap one, I feared that I’ll even go over 48 minutes, so it was a relief that sector three saved lap two. And then I really pushed on lap three, obtaining a nice time on sector two and finally feeling that I’ll at least stay safely under 48 minutes at that point. After the end of the lap I knew that I could get frustratingly close to 47:30, but had no way to go under that time, and that was proven true.
The back of my left hip gave some warnings from the beginning, but those soon went away, returning towards the end of sector two of lap three. But the warnings from my right knee, which appeared at the start of lap two, stayed until the end. And something of a pressing need appeared on sector two of lap two, getting somewhat worse over the course of the next sector before lessening on lap three. And when I tried to sprint on the long straight of sector one of lap three, I found myself slowing almost to a jog towards the end. But otherwise there were no notable problems, only occasionally needing to weave or go the long way around, and having to go on the outside as I started climbing the stairs at the start of the last sector. I was even making a note that some parts of the lane that are usually soggy were dry that day, though there were still others that remained wet. And the two places where the lane had been damaged in a way that created a risk of tripping had also been repaired, albeit not well, so I still avoided stepping there. And the cushioning of the new shoes also seemed to settle into place, pretty much completely in case of the left one, and getting there in case of the right one as well.
I only managed to get as far as the first two paragraphs that are below this one before midnight, so I’ll be editing this post in order to add the part about the rest of September 19 at another time. It will be a while before that will happen, however…
On the way back, I picked up one of those bottles that are going to grant two products in Carrefour’s upcoming campaign, then went behind the building to see whether I could find any usable apples which had fallen from that tree, and I did… But I forgot my keys there, after having set them down while trying to retrieve an apple that was under some bushes, so I dropped the apples and the bottle in front of the door and dashed back there to recover them. And I was thinking that I might have picked up some bugs from there, and nobody was around at that moment, so I removed my t-shirt and shook it in front of the door, and after walking in I also removed my tights, opened the door again and shook those in front of it as well. Then I ate watermelon and something sweet and left again at 7:50 PM.
I just got a bag of spoiling potatoes from Carrefour, and it had holes and a potato fell from it, so I put it back after opening the bag to check its contents, but when I saw another small potato on the floor while I had another look at the other bags from that area and it easily fit through that hole as well, I added it into the bag through it, so I probably ended up taking a little more than I paid for. Either way, I also used the voucher which I had received for previous purchases at the self-checkout, and obviously didn’t charge myself for that bag which I had been forced to use. Then I put the potatoes in the backpack and had a quick look through another store before leaving that mall.