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December’s Odds and Ends, Including Volunteering to Make Packages Again

December 8, when I went out at 3:20 PM, after the rain had stopped, marked the first time when I wore the ski jacket this cold season, so it was nice to have all those pockets again. And since I went to Obor, I stopped at that Library location again and finally, finally found it open! I was listening to the radio, however, expecting to just be asked for the pass and told to wait at the door, so when the librarian said something I had to ask her to wait, turn it off and then ask her to repeat herself, at which point I finally heard that she was saying that if had a certificate I could come in, so I showed it to her and did just that, then told her what book I was looking for. When I also mentioned that it had always been closed when I had been there before, she said I could have called, but that’s obviously not going to happen. Either way, she grabbed the book and handed it to me and I could continue on my way.
The next stop was Kaufland, for the cat food that was on sale, finding the large bags and getting four, which was why not finding those medium ones at Mega Image had been a very good thing. Then I checked the expiring things and grabbed a few, and also some yogurt. One of the expiring things scanned at full price at the self-checkout, however, so I had to call an employee to help, things going fine after that… Though once I got out and checked the receipt I noticed that the listed full price for the most expensive expiring thing, some caramelized walnuts with cinnamon, was much lower than the one on the label, resulting in a discount of less than 30% instead of the listed 50%, the current price being the listed one. Admittedly, hadn’t searched for the product at the shelf to see how much the full price really was.
Then I went to Carrefour, put the purchases in a cabinet, peed, washed my hands and got some expiring bread for dad and eggs. The eggs weren’t discounted, but we were out, so I again checked those sold by piece one by one and found nine bio (organic) ones. However, one slipped out of my hand and cracked and I left it there, and another was already cracked, though I only noticed it when I checked again, so I put it back and was left with seven. But I guess I had to pay to some extent for cracking that one, because when I retrieved my things from the cabinet the bag with the eggs slipped from my hand and one cracked, albeit only slightly.
The original plan included going to that Penny as well, but while I was checking the eggs I received an SMS from the pharmacy I had ordered some pills and tea for dad from, having selected to pick them up from the location that’s on the way to the park, which closes at 8 PM, so I had to hurry and went straight to Auchan, using two cabinets for my things and getting oranges and the other teas for dad. The prices for two of the teas didn’t match those listed on-line, however, the one I had also ordered being cheaper, and in fact cheaper than at that pharmacy, while another was slightly more expensive, matching the price at the pharmacy, so I shouldn’t have ordered the first one and if I’d have wanted to I could have ordered the second. But what was done was done and I bought one of each, since coming back with two of the kind I had also ordered couldn’t hurt. On the other hand, I couldn’t find the tea I wanted for myself, nor the liquid soap. And the two price checkers I found gave “unable to connect to server” errors when I tried to use them, so I was uneasy, especially considering those prices that were different from what I had seen on-line, but the labels turned out to be correct.
I did take a little while to arrange my things in the bags after retrieving what I had in the cabinets, but then I stopped again in the park, at a bench, and did a better job, including putting some things in the backpack I had also taken with me, and a while later I made another brief stop and moved a few more things in order to better balance the bags. And then stopped one more time just before reaching that pharmacy, to prepare what I needed so I won’t waste the cashier’s time after walking in, which I did just after 7:45 PM. She still took her time, however, maybe also because there were no other customers, and the amount she asked for was also rounded up to the nearest 0.10 RON, which had also happened the first time I ordered from them. And I had the exact amount in coins, though not also in bills, but I said that if she wanted that much I’ll give her that much and did so. Then she asked whether I wanted the receipt, because the two copies had ended up being printed on both sides of the same sheet of paper, so I guess the problem was that she couldn’t keep one, but she eventually gave me that paper when I said I wanted something to show I made that purchase. And I also asked why do they keep putting everything in bags, using all that plastic, but after asking me to repeat myself she said she still couldn’t understand what I meant and I left it at that.
She turned off the light as soon as she was done with me, even though I was still inside, so I took the hint and hurried to leave, putting the purchases in my bags and checking that I hadn’t left anything behind once I was outside, at which point I also saw that it was just 7:52 PM, so she shouldn’t have been closing yet. Either way, I also had a quick look for discounted bakery products in this nearby Mega Image on the way back, just from the door, seeing none and being back just before 8 PM, having carried 16 kg… Though I weighed myself again after peeing and saw one kilogram less, which I guess could be said to mean that I had carried 17 kg if you include the pee, but such a quantity seems impossible, even if I felt that I was just about to piss myself even before getting to the pharmacy and had been hopping around in the kitchen because of that before finally going.
With dad cooking at the time, I had those walnuts and an orange while putting the purchases in their place and partially cleaned after him, then when I went to shower I also took the tray he had left there for a long time, saying he’ll clean it and obviously never doing so, which meant spending a long time struggling with that before I could finally shower. Then I took care of some more things before having a late lunch, started at 12:35 AM, after dad delayed me a little more by reading the power meter and saying we had used over 50% more than normal, though it seems quite clear that he had in fact entered an incorrect value the previous month. Either way, I finished that lunch in 20 minutes, then started eating dinner at 3:25 AM and got in bed at 5:30 AM. I was getting increasingly worried about Micky’s breathing at the time, since it was louder and it seemed harder for her to breathe, but dad won’t have her checked, likely because he doesn’t want to know if she’s seriously ill, just saying that we should let her live out whatever time she has left and what will be, will be. And the truth is that she did get better again since then.

Moving on to December 10, that was when I received the e-mail from Declic about volunteering to make packages again, signing up for December 14, which was the first day. Otherwise, had lunch in the evening, then again thought I’d start eating dinner before 3 AM but failed, being 3:10 AM when I finally started… And I was also making a note of the fact that slicing bread in an ever greater number of smaller slices was taking far too long, so while that’s a part of the OCD that I in good part worsen intentionally, for the feeling of control it offers, which helps with the anxiety and holding off breakdowns, and to some extent continuing to push through in general, I had to do something about it.

On December 11, I had lunch in the early evening, consisting of some “pizza” dad wanted to make, having bought pizza dough and adding some things he had to finish as toppings, including a lot of some rather old salami that didn’t quite sit well with me. Then I finished the book, surprisingly quickly, since I had only started it on December 9, and just managed to write and post the quick review before midnight, though after taking a shower, getting back to the kitchen when it was close to 1:30 AM and starting to eat dinner at 3:05 AM, I made some edits before also translating it, so the version on Goodreads was again in both languages. Got in bed at 5:20 AM.

Back to volunteering, I should have obviously received an e-mail with the necessary information after signing up, so when I still had nothing in the early hours of December 14, after getting out of the shower, I first filled the form provided by Declic one more time, then checked the NGO actually organizing the event, finding posts confirming that the location was still the same, and signed up on the document provided by them as well and also sent a message. Then I got up when the alarm rang, at 10:30 AM, and saw a reply confirming the details, but thinking that I’ll be able to leave in an hour and a half was obviously too optimistic and it was 12:20 PM when I left, taking the paper to drop off in a bin on the way. So I guess it was a good thing that their form asked volunteers to select each two-hour period during which they’ll be available, so I started my selection from 2 PM, with a question mark for the period between noon and 2 PM, because in Declic’s form, where you could just type the hours, I had stated that I’ll be available from 1 PM but it was just after 1:20 PM when I got there.
The gate to the area where that tent is was open at that point, but starting to close, so I ran and just managed to squeeze through, the person who had the remote saying that it was a good thing I made it, because she wouldn’t have known how to open it again and Anastasia wasn’t there, so I guess the gate had been opened for her to leave to get pizza. So I had at least managed to get there before the lunch break, unlike the previous time, and meant to get some work done right away, so I’ll feel that I’ll deserve the break and the pizza at least to some extent, but without Anastasia there, there was nobody to instruct me. Actually, though the instructions stated that it was required, nobody asked for my certificate or told me to disinfect my hands, and nobody asked if I wanted another mask or gloves either. In fact, I didn’t even notice masks, though I can’t say I really looked for them either, only looking for and taking a pair of gloves.
That left me just sort of standing around for a moment, but I eventually asked nobody in particular what to do and someone told me to bring one bag of each kind of fruit and also one of carrots for each box, so I did that until they were no longer needed for the boxes they were working on at that point. Then, after standing around a little longer, I was told I could close the boxes that had the last bag on top, everything having been placed in those, so it was a good thing I already knew just how they were supposed to be closed and could get to it, since nobody tried to give me any instructions and it later became quite obvious that few of those who were there at the time even knew how that should be done.
I was still closing boxes when Anastasia came with the pizza and those who had been there since morning took a break, but I finished the section I was working on before I joined them, and a few others continued working even longer. There was still no way to wash, however, so I just sprayed some alcohol on my hands before eating the first piece, which was probably why it seemed to taste a little weird. I did then notice the wet wipes and napkins and used them, but I’m not sure whether that was before the second piece or only before the third. Either way, with the pieces being quarters, I had a quarter of each of the three kinds of pizza and also a cereal bar, then got back to work, alternating between the fruits and carrots, sometimes also putting them in the boxes, and closing boxes.
It was just after 3 PM when another guy arrived and was told that there wasn’t really anything left for him to do, even though he had called a little earlier and had been told that there will still be things to do when he’ll get there. Indeed, all the boxes we had there at the time had been filled and closed by then and we were sticking the papers with the names and addresses of the recipients on them, but Anastasia did find something for him to do as well, telling him to see where each group of boxes was supposed to go, write that on a sheet of paper and stick it on top, to make it easier to see, since that was just written on the corner of one of the boxes at the bottom of each group, and he took that task very seriously. As for me, since some of the boxes were placed so that the only accessible side was the one with the sticker for the campaign, I asked Anastasia what to do and she told me how to place those papers so they won’t cover anything relevant, which instructions I then passed on when I heard another volunteer tell others to just put them over the sticker after noticing that they were struggling to move the boxes in order to get access to another side.
After everything was done, we took some pictures, I also had a banana and a candy, and we were given a book and a card. Then, as I was just sort of standing around, another volunteer asked if I’ll help her gather the recyclables, so I obviously did that, though in truth there wasn’t much left to do. Then we were told to grab more of the bars and, while at first I didn’t take any on my own, and in fact hardly anyone did, when another volunteer grabbed a bunch and started handing them out, I took one of each of the two kinds she handed me… And then also grabbed one of the third kind from the box, since I had seen that third kind there before. She looked oddly at me when I did that, but maybe it was because I had placed the book down in order to get to those bars, not noticing that something, maybe coffee, had spilled there, so it got a bit dirty, but it was mostly dry and I managed to clean it well enough.

I was walking away from there at 3:55 PM, but stopped before the road, near the barrier and right next to some cameras, to put my headphones back on. And it was just when I had my phone in my hand, to plug the headphones back in it, when another person who had been there drove by and asked whether I wanted her to drop me off somewhere, so I was distracted and then quickly became embarrassed when others drove by as well, thinking that they may ask the same question, so I just stuffed the phone in the jacket’s pocket and hastened away… Only to realize a little later, as I moved aside when a truck passed as I was around the guard post, that the phone wasn’t in my pocket anymore, as I hadn’t plugged the headphones in yet.
My first thought was that I had somehow placed it on the fence instead of in the jacket’s pocket, and when I turned around I saw a guy walk by that spot and go to his car, so when I rushed back and didn’t see my phone there, I headed straight for him, holding up a hand, and asked whether he saw a phone, saying that I had seen him walk by that spot. That could have turned out badly in a number of ways, but he was very helpful, immediately getting out of the car and offering to call, so I gave him the number and he did, but we couldn’t hear it ringing. He said that someone might have taken it, but that it was unlikely, considering all the cameras, and that nobody steals things there and they even leave their cars unlocked. So he then went to ask the guard at the barrier, then called again, obviously with the same result, the phone ringing but not being there. I was starting to panic at that point, and couldn’t understand how it could have simply vanished so quickly, so when he told me to go to the guard post where the cameras are being monitored, telling me how to get there, since it involved going all around the area again, I rushed away to do just that, even if I had no idea how I’ll manage to have that conversation once I’ll get there.
Well, I fortunately didn’t need to, because when I reached the spot where I had realized my phone was missing, I found it on the side of the road, so it probably fell when I stepped aside because of that truck and when I turned around to look for it I only looked on the way back, not also straight down in that spot. So, after taking a moment to check that it didn’t seem damaged and calm down to some extent, I considered rushing back to tell that guy that I found it. Didn’t do it, however, being too embarrassed about the whole thing, especially since I had rather accused him of taking it by saying that I had seen him walk past that spot. That was probably exactly why I should have gone back, but I just couldn’t face him again, so I just walked away, and with no active credit I couldn’t send him a message later to let him know either.

From there I went to the Kaufland from that area, having looked up where it was before leaving that day, since I had to get something for my mother. I also meant to get a bag of snacks, an entire crate of them being among the expiring products and 75% off even though, if I remember correctly, the date was still five days away, but it wouldn’t scan at the self-checkout, so I called the employee over and at first she said I wasn’t scanning it correctly, but then couldn’t get it to work either, and the other pack I brought after asking whether I could rush back and grab another also didn’t work, at which point she said that was probably why they’re still there. For a moment I considered asking whether I could just leave the money and take both packs, but I didn’t say anything and just left them there.
Then I went to Auchan on the way back, grabbing a few things and being stopped on my way to the exit by a guy from an NGO helping children without parents. I normally ignore anything of the sort, but maybe in part because I didn’t immediately see what organization he was working for and in part because I had just volunteered for something, that time I did stop, which led to a rather awkward conversation. He actually started by asking how my day had been and when I said it had actually been pretty good he asked what had been good about it, and when I told him I had volunteered to put together some packages for old people he became even more interested, asking what NGO had organized that and saying I’m just the sort of person they’re looking for, one who likes to help in that manner. And he wasn’t immediately put off when I said I have time but not money, so if he’s asking for donations he won’t get any from me, actually first saying that they don’t accept cash donations and eventually, after presenting what the NGO does, getting to the point and saying that they’re looking for recurring donations through direct debit. The fact that it was about children was already making the whole thing particularly awkward, and in my mind I was making a speech about antinatalism, but when it got to that point I really blocked him off, saying that I’d never allow anything like that, for whatever reason, and became less and less communicative as he tried to explain a little more and see whether he could get anything out of me, so he eventually thanked me for at least hearing him out and I walked away.
After a quick stop in a Mega Image for one more thing, I also went to the Carrefour from the park, not using a cabinet for my things, since the store brands were obvious on the two products I couldn’t stuff in my pockets, so I just showed those to the cashier when I got there with the few things I was purchasing. And it was a few minutes before 8 PM when I was finally back… But I already wrote about the rest of that evening and night in the post about the UPS, so I won’t be repeating any of it here.

Moving on to the early hours of December 18, even though dad was working, I only started eating dinner at 3:05 AM, and that was after a lunch consisting of just two boiled eggs in the evening, though I also had two grated apples, with sugar. Then, before going to bed in the morning, I wrote and posted the quick review for the book received when I volunteered, which I had finished just before midnight, after having started it two days earlier. However, I then made a few edits and also translated it and posted the version on Goodreads, in both languages, in the afternoon.

And the above is how far I got before midnight, so I again posted that part at that point and edited the post multiple times later to add the rest, the parts about December 22 to 27 being added before going to bed that night.

On December 22 I went to the Obor area again, leaving a bit before 7:30 PM, after having lunch. I first checked Carrefour and as I was searching for the expiring products, which had been moved, I noticed that the eggs sold by piece were discounted again, so I unzipped the pocket where I had the smaller bags, to remind myself to get back there and get some. However, after finding the expiring products and having a good look, I also checked the bakery area and then the other spot where that location has expiring products, and since I didn’t get anything from any of those places and the route taking me from one to the other led to the exit, I just kept going and left, forgetting all about those eggs. Then I bought the canned fish I wanted from Penny and continued to Kaufland, peeing and washing my hands before walking in and seeing that the bakery area was almost empty, and definitely empty of anything I’d have wanted, so I got what I had gone there to get and two other deeply discounted products… And I was just calculating the total when I suddenly noticed that unzipped pocket and remembered the eggs. It was almost 9:40 PM at the time, however, too late to get back to Carrefour, so I added two more things from Kaufland and then used the self-checkout without issues, though I was using the one that was farthest away from the area where the queue should form and yet two guys stood right next to me as I was using it, and then they tried to start scanning as soon as I finished, before I took my products off the scale, which obviously didn’t work.
After taking some time to arrange everything in the bags and backpack, I walked out of there just as the announcement that the store was closed came and got back at 10:50 PM. Then I ate the sweet thing I had grabbed, put the purchases in their place and took a bath, the hot water having at least returned, after being off in the early evening, apparently because of a power failure nearby. It was past 1:10 AM when I was done and still had things to do, but I started eating dinner at 3:05 AM. I had something else to transcribe for dad, however, and doing that while eating meant that I only finished at 5:10 AM, and got in bed at 5:35 AM.

In the early hours of December 25, I again thought I had time and took it easy, then realized I didn’t and ended up starting to eat dinner at 3:05 AM. And when I went to Goodreads to update the number of pages read in the book I had started on December 23, I saw that it was recommending Mein Kampf because I was reading that, which seemed messed up. Then, while eating, I finally finished transcribing that second interview dad had given me on December 15, as in the part he hadn’t needed right away. And my right foot was badly burning that night, but at least it wasn’t swollen, my feet actually looking unusually normal then. Either way, I got in bed at 5:20 AM.
I didn’t check the time when I woke up, but it was when dad left and he said he hoped to leave no later than at 10 AM. Still, it might have been somewhat later, because it was just after 11:30 AM when I eventually got up and while an hour probably passed between the two moments, I don’t see how it could have been one and a half. I was tired but couldn’t get back to sleep, and I was also more and more depressed, thinking of Andra and past and imagined future Christmases together even if I don’t care about that time of the year, because it used to be important to her.
After finally managing to get up I watched Webb’s launch, then tried to finish the book, but eventually stopped and took a nap. I did finish it after I woke up again and managed to crawl out from under the blanket, but then I spent what was probably an embarrassingly long amount of time even for me cracking open and eating some walnuts, then got back in bed for over an hour, trying to put together the quick review in my mind but for the most part being unable to either sleep more or get back up. But I eventually did manage to crawl back out and write and post that quick review in the evening, the version on Goodreads being in both languages.
After that, I made mamaliga again… And at one point it splashed right in my left eye and I’m not sure that the reflex to close it was fast enough to completely prevent any of it from touching the eyeball. Still, only the edge of the eyelid felt a bit burned and even that seemed all right again after a while. And that evening I also started making the salad on the table, sitting, so I’ll spend less time standing, even though doing it like that when I’m making mamaliga is much harder and I have since returned to standing at the counter when I do that, though I’ve continued to sit at the table otherwise. And that was in good part because the worsening burning sensation in my right foot was making me increasingly worried, but at least it seemed to get better after I stuffed myself that night, even though I had nevertheless spent quite a long time standing.

Since I had decided to wait for dad to return from his mother before having lunch the following evening, to see what he’ll bring from there, and also to watch The Rise of Skywalker on TV, and the movie had already started by the time he finally came back, the first moments of December 27 caught me still eating lunch and I went to shower after the movie, at almost 1 AM. And it was a long shower, so it was just before 2 AM when I got back to the kitchen, after 2:20 AM when I started making the salad, and 3:45 AM when I started eating dinner. After something seemed to have gone the wrong way after eating an orange after waking up that day, which left me feeling that I had something in my throat for a while, that feeling returned while having that lunch and it got worse during the shower, so I was coughing occasionally and also kept feeling that something was in my chest as well, though it eventually got better. Either way, it was past 5:20 AM when I finished eating and 5:30 AM when I got in bed.
As for the day of December 27, after getting up I decided to clean my room a little, despite the mood I was in. Left vacuuming for later, however, wanting to have lunch first, so after dusting I took some time to get rid of old receipts, changed the sheets… And then dad took a nap and by the time he got up it was rather late, so I left it for the next day. And then, even though dad was working that night, I started eating dinner at 3:15 AM.

Written by Cavalary on January 16, 2022 at 11:59 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

New Finds – XLII

Even though I’m still not checking any groups, last night I found myself stumbling into a new band that’s about to release a first album later this month, and looking up its vocalists led me to two others. Since neither seem to have new material released since they joined, what I can post from those two other bands are songs recorded with other vocalists, so you can’t say that there’s a direct connection between the three bands included in this post, but I suddenly found myself with exactly three actual new finds and maybe just enough time on-line to listen to some of the songs and load the others, so if I can add another post to this series, albeit still a rushed one, this is what I’m doing.

That new band is Nocturna, and they’re with that label that doesn’t seem to allow their artists to have their own pages on music or video sites, but with exactly two songs, New Evil and Daughters of the Night, posted by the label so far, it makes things very simple for me when it comes to the picks. And I like this format with two operatic female vocalists that can join their voices and keep pushing the song forward, so they seem promising enough even if I’d say that, at least in these two songs, there’s nothing memorable in the composition as a whole and the instrumental part may even leave something to be desired.

With one of Nocturna’s vocalists also listed as a member of Angelize, this was my second find. Of course, with no new material seeming to have been released since she joined them, what I listened to may not say much about their current sound, assuming they’ll even remain active, especially since many years seem to pass between their albums and there were notable changes in the past as well. First they fortunately got rid of the growls I heard in the couple of older songs they posted but still only had male vocals, such as on City of Innocence, and then they added female vocals, such as on Gone. The overall impression remains that it’s quite an amateurish effort, that they’re trying to do too many things at once with the sound, the instruments tripping over each other and occasionally a section not seeming to fit the rest of the song at all and scratching my ears, plus that the recording quality is clearly not professional, but there are improvements, albeit slow ones, and the vocals also required plenty of them at the time of their last releases, so maybe the next ones, if there will be any, will be more memorable.

As for Nocturna’s other vocalist, she’s also a member of Septum, which was formed in Cuba but then apparently became an international project. They seem to mean to release something new soon, but I couldn’t find anything already released in their current format, so I have no idea how they’re going to sound and can just pick two songs out of the few older ones I listened to, those being The One You Loved and Quiet… Listen!. The recording quality is again a problem, but the songs themselves can be all right for a band at that stage and I actually expect them to be much better in their current format. I may well be proven wrong, of course, and I most probably won’t remember to check for myself, but it remains to be seen.

Written by Cavalary on January 14, 2022 at 11:33 PM in Music | 0 Comments

Best Run Times at the Start of 2022… Including One I Can’t Quite Count Otherwise

It’s time for another one of these posts, obviously just for my own use, likely including as a way to stay at least somewhat motivated. This has been a problem for quite some time, becoming worse along with my times, so while for a time, while I was taking that huge dose of iron and my times improved sharply, things were getting better, now that I’m no longer taking that and my times went from great to bad over the course of a month, it’s getting worse again and I don’t know what the future will hold… Though I am once again already signed up for both the half marathon and the marathon, so, as I was also saying a year ago, I’ll need to keep it up at least at a level which will allow me to not embarrass myself too much then.
Same as before, I didn’t copy the times for the shorter distances, so those are still in the first two such posts. And I still consider the Dream Trek Summer Edition as something different and not relevant for these purposes, so I’m still not including it here, even if I took part in it last year as well. On the other hand, with the new additions compared to the previous such post again being underlined and the usual notes being in the same format, between square brackets, with the first value representing the distance and the second the lap on which that particular time was achieved, only a few additional comments were needed. And the times still include only the seconds, ignoring the fact that I now usually have exact ones as well, especially for the 10 km runs, and those may change some things.
The title of this post mentions the beginning of 2022 instead of the end of 2021 because I pushed hard at the start of this week’s run and managed a first sector time on the first lap that tied for sixth, so I included that here… Even if the run itself is one I can’t really include anywhere otherwise, so I’ll also use this post to describe what happened that day, after I’ll go through the times. At the moment I’m writing this, I’m not even entirely sure how to list that run on the page where I list the times… Which I still won’t link to since it’s still in the temporary location it was in a year ago and still lacks many of the dates, since I only went back as far as the end of 2018, just a handful of earlier dates being added, and most of those also being from 2018.

10 km (through the park)
Note: No change from a year ago.
1. 46:09
2. 46:24
3. 46:28
4. 46:31
5. 46:32
6. 46:37
7. 46:39
8. 46:41
9. 46:48
10. 46:49

16 km (through the park)
1. 1:15:10
2. 1:15:37
3. 1:16:09
4. 1:16:16
5. 1:16:17
6. 1:16:54
7. 1:17:23
8. 1:17:30
9. 1:17:37
10. 1:17:38

Half Marathon (21.1 km)
I. Bucharest Half Marathon real time

1. 1:45:36
2. 1:50:54
3. 1:51:54
4. 1:54:56
5. 2:02:38
II. Through the park
1. 1:42:52
2. 1:43:15
3. 1:43:23
4. 1:44:04
5. 1:44:51
6. 1:45:50
7. 1:46:27
8. 1:46:41
9. 1:47:26
10. 1:48:20

35.2 km (through the park)
1. 3:18:07
2. 3:26:38
3. 3:44:40

Marathon (42.2 km) – Bucharest Marathon real time
1. 4:11:28
2. 4:19:40

Lap around the park lake (3.2 km) [10-1 unless otherwise specified]
1. 14:21
2. 14:31
3. 14:38
4. 14:43
5. 14:44 [16-1]
6. 14:46
7-8. 14:47 [10-3] (twice)
9. 14:48 [10-2]
10. 14:49 [10-3]

Lap sector one [10-1 unless otherwise specified]
1. 3:56
2. 4:06
3-5. 4:07 (and a second and third time)
6-11. 4:08 [16-1] (and a second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth [*] time)
Note: [*] = See the run described in this post.

Lap sector two
Note: No change from a year ago, so all times from two years ago are also still here.
1. 4:32 [10-1]
2. 4:42 [10-2] (Slightly uncertain I remembered it correctly.)
3. 4:49 [16-2]
4-7. 4:50 [10-1] (and a second [10-2], third [16-2] and fourth [10-1] time)
8-9. 4:51 [10-2] (twice [10-3])
10-12. 4:52 [10-1] (and a second [10-3] and third [10-3] time)

Lap sector three
1. 5:24 [10-1]
2. 5:25 [10-1]
3. 5:32 [10-3]
4. 5:33 [16-5]
5-6. 5:35 [10-3] (twice [10-3])
7-9. 5:36 [10-1] (and a second [10-2] and third [10-3] time)
10. 5:37 [10-3]

Final sector on a 10 km run
Note: All times from one and two years ago are still here, the only new addition adding another tie for second place.
1. 1:40
2-6. 1:42 (and a second, third, fourth and fifth time)
7-16. 1:43 (and a second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth time)

Final section of a Half Marathon (21.1 km) run (through the park)
1. 9:52
2. 9:54
3. 10:00
4. 10:03
5. 10:04
6. 10:05
7. 10:10
8-9. 10:11 (twice)
10. 10:12

And now I’ll get to that January 5 run, when I got up when the alarm rang, at 1 PM, though I also woke up when dad received a package that morning and couldn’t get back to sleep while he made noise opening it, seeing 11:45 AM when I went to pee, though at least I managed to get back to sleep after that, albeit probably sleeping lightly and possibly being half-awake at times. Either way, I had the usual stuff plus almonds, with a slice of cozonac with added honey as the sweet thing, wasted time on the toilet twice, put on the full running gear and went out at 3:35 PM, when it was sunny and the reported temperature was 15°C, supposed to drop by a few degrees by the time I’ll finish.
So the conditions were great, I was in the proper gear and nothing else, had tried to prepare to some extent over the previous couple of days, and while I thought that the time only wasted on the toilet was going to come back and bite me when I’ll push hard, I had every intention to make it a good run, making up for the one on December 31. With both the weather and my form clearly getting much worse, it seemed to be my last chance to do so, after all… And my efforts to keep pushing away the next breakdown relied on it almost entirely.
Well, assuming I’m remembering the time when I first stopped correctly, I ended up with an actual running time that was probably 55:56, over a total distance of 10.8 km. If I’m to list the sector times, those would be 4:08.29 and maybe 6:13, if I correctly remember that 10:21 and it actually marked the time when I stopped and therefore ended that section, then 4:27.98, 5:49 (5:48.03) and, if I deduct the 1:22.38 spent waiting for the light to turn green, 6:43.40, making for a “lap” time of 16:59.41, then 4:46, followed by what I think was 13:39 for the next two sectors, since I didn’t check in between, making for a “lap” time that I think was 18:25, then I think 1:58, then 6:18 and 1:55, making for what I think was 10:11 on the route I’d normally use for the final portion of a half marathon run. While I think I remembered them correctly, it’s possible that those two sectors that I only have a total time for and therefore also the last “lap” were up to a few seconds faster, which would make the first sector of that final portion and the portion itself up to a few seconds slower, since I had until reaching the bridge, so a minute or less, to make a final decision about how I’ll continue, I focused on that at that point and then didn’t check the time again before finishing that short sector and therefore clearing the previous intermediate time. But I’m quite uncertain about that 10:21, and therefore also the 6:13, especially considering the possible confusion with a mix between the 10:16 when I stopped for that red light and the 18:21 that was actually displayed at the end of that “lap”, including the time spent waiting.
I was so pleased with that first sector time, even more so since I felt I hadn’t pushed as hard as the week before, but that was all I got out of that run… And I’d say the main reason why I tried to at least continue in some manner and keep timing as well, since when I stopped that first time the options that seemed available were giving up on running that day completely, giving up on running in the park and coming back here to use that street route, or staying in the park for an untimed run on some route I’ll think of on the spot, all of which would have meant not being able to list that first sector among the best times, since it wouldn’t have actually been part of the run. It’s questionable even so, seeing as I did stop and reset the stopwatch after I passed under the bridge again, and in fact don’t even know whether I did so right at that point or when I actually stopped running, a few seconds later, when I got to the turn. But then I walked back the 200 meters, if even that, to what I consider to be the start line and got back to running 15 minutes after the first start, so let’s say it can be considered acceptable… Maybe…
The reason for all the mess was that the way under the bridge was blocked off on one side. Most of sector two was fenced off again, leaving just a narrow strip for people, and the nice weather meant that the park was quite crowded, so I was trying to fix the problems caused by people in my mind, roadblocks causing me to take to the grass, slow and even briefly stop on that sector, plus that there was some pain that seemed to be below my right knee almost from the start, but then it all became irrelevant when I approached the sector’s end and saw that I couldn’t continue and a guard directed me to go over the bridge. I asked in passing how was I supposed to continue to the other side, but just ran up the stairs at first, then had a quick look around and ended up going across and back down on the other side, then under the bridge again in the other direction. But that would have taken me back to the start, which didn’t make sense, so I stopped, reset the stopwatch and had those thoughts about abandoning, using that street route or not timing. Yet that first sector time was too good and I wanted to be able to list it somehow, so I had another look around, saw the stoplight above and thought I could try to cross there.
After walking back to the start and, as I already mentioned, starting again 15 minutes after the first time, I did just that, going up the stairs again when I got there, but then going right, or pretty much straight ahead, since the stairs are to the right. The first stoplight, for that side street, was red, but there were no cars, so I just kept running in order to catch the one for the main road still green… Yet I only managed to catch the first one, the second turning red just then and making me stop in the tram station, at which point I considered sector two completed. I’m quite sure that, at full speed, I’d have had just enough time to cross before the light turned green for the cars, but I didn’t risk it, ending up waiting there for that time I mentioned above, checking exactly how long it had been when I got going again. And then I went down the stairs on the other side and continued with an almost normal sector three, as in exactly the lap sector three that’s sector two on that final portion of a half marathon run.
Since that run clearly wasn’t going to “count” overall, I didn’t care to look at the exact times anymore after finishing that “lap”, and also probably took a couple of seconds when I stopped to pick up a coin on the first sector of the next one. But, even so, I didn’t want to have to wait for the light one more time, so after going up those stairs yet again, I turned left and went back under the bridge on that side, as I had done the first time, but then went back up, to go across and then back down, continuing with that sector three one more time, adding a little distance and more stairs but no longer having to cross the road. I guess I could have added another interval time there, even if only in order to stick more closely to the usual format, but I just didn’t care anymore, plus that I was quite busy trying to decide what to do after the end of that “lap”.
Speaking of decisions, if I’d have managed to think things through on the spot, I could have run those first two sectors back and forth five times, since they have two kilometers together, so let’s say 1.95 km if you exclude going under the bridge, and then do what I did the first time but actually continue to the start, making that the finish line as well, the total in this case being 10.1 km and the sectors and “laps” also being much clearer and more equal… Though it would have been strange to alternate the direction like that, and I’m not sure how I’d have entered that in my file and on that page. And that’d have also been the problem if I’d have decided to do full laps with the exception of passing under the bridge on that side, as in turning around when I first reached that block, so after 1.95 km, then running the 3.15 km until I’ll get blocked on the other side, turning around again for another 3.15 km, and then one more time, either for all the 1.95 km, making for 10.2 km, or stopping right after the bridge in order to stick to 10 km. But those possibilities never even crossed my mind at that point, when I had a second or so to decide what to do, and once I went up those stairs I couldn’t exactly do either of these things anymore anyway.
Back to what I did decide, I was very much aware that doing so will put me well over 10 km, the calculations I was making at the time actually adding up to 11.1 km instead of the 10.8 km I now see was the actual total, and the fact that the total running time was also going to be over 55 minutes was another clear reason why I wasn’t going to list it as a 10 km run, but I wanted to at least finish with one complete section, so I decided to go for what would otherwise be the final portion of a half marathon run. That also causes problems when it comes to listing it, since at first I had entered it in the cells for such a portion but it’s not at all after the required distance and clearly can’t be taken into account and compared to my other times on it, so I’d have needed to keep remembering to exclude it when checking the times, while on the other hand, even if it’s in no way a lap four, it at least can’t be confused with a lap time, so I eventually decided to enter it in the cells for lap four because I know I’ll exclude it automatically. Besides, the first portion was in no way a lap one either, and the second and third also can’t really be compared with actual laps. So, as I said, this is a run I can’t quite count, with the exception of that first sector… Or with the exception of each sector one, I guess, since all of those were normal first sectors. But that makes little difference, and when I relied so much on managing one more, and possibly one last, good time in order to still somehow keep myself together a little longer, you can imagine the state I’m in since then…

Written by Cavalary on January 9, 2022 at 10:48 PM in Personal | 0 Comments

Quick Review: The Destiny Knight

If the previous book managed to make what was likely close to the most from the limited source material, the short length being justified by the need to avoid overstaying its welcome, now I must say that I’d have liked to read the book The Destiny Knight could have been if it’d have fully exploited the source material provided by the game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better than the first one if you judge it according to the same criteria, actually making it far less obvious that it’s based on a game at all, again doing well to avoid losing itself in endless battles, twisty dungeons and confining corridors, and not only remaining quite engaging but largely even offering some worldbuilding. However, it’s the difference between what it is and what it could have been, the existing potential, that’s much greater.
Considering how much it focused on the puzzles, I think it could have even done with a few more battles, and battles which the party actually won in particular, since many of those presented are a matter of them holding the enemies off long enough to either escape or solve a puzzle. But the main problem I had was that there were several locations that could have been exploited much better, resulting in much more worldbuilding, at least a few more secondary characters and the general feeling that it’s a proper book, set in an actual fantasy world, and not just a novelization of an adventure. And no, Isobel didn’t redeem herself in my eyes; I doubt one like her ever could.

Rating: 3/5

Written by Cavalary on January 7, 2022 at 11:59 PM in Books | 0 Comments

December’s Runs: No Longer Taking Iron Means Going from Great to Bad Again

The first run I’m yet to write about was on December 2, when I got up when the alarm rang, at 1 PM, though that was after waking up multiple times from 10:30 AM or so, because of my mother cleaning and cooking and dad also leaving for a while at one point. Then I had the usual stuff plus pumpkin, with a large doughnut with added honey as the sweet thing, put on the full running gear, with a few things in the pocket of my tights, also took the jacket to wear on the way, tying it around my waist as I ran, and left at 3:30 PM, when the reported temperature was 11-12°C, supposed to drop by a couple of degrees by the time I’ll finish.
The time was 46:54.44, with sector times of 4:14.95, 5:01 (5:00.68), 5:46 (5:45.72), 4:28 (4:27.78), 4:53.85, 5:44 (5:43.12), 4:23.50, 5:04.35, 5:32 (5:31.37) and 1:49.12, making for lap times of 15:01.35, 15:05 (15:04.75) and 14:59.22. I just aimed to stay under 48 minutes at first, but after the first lap I rather switched to 47:30, even briefly considering 47 minutes but deciding that it was impossible. However, sector two of lap two made me wonder whether it was possible after all, and at the end of the lap I decided to go for it. The target times I had set were still for 47:30 though, and after sector two I knew I needed outstanding times on sector three and the final one to get under 47 minutes, but I felt I could push harder and did so, not thinking it’d work but realizing at the end of the lap that it had, not even requiring such a mighty push on the last sector anymore. So this was the first time I got back under 47 minutes since September of 2020… And, seeing as that evening I took the last of the iron, quite clearly the last at least for now, and possibly or even probably not only.
Pushing that hard did lead to feeling a certain pressing need even early on and on lap three it became quite an issue, but I managed… And I also had to manage all the work still being done. The scraped area still started after the bridge on sector one, though at least that part wasn’t fenced off yet, while at the end of sector two, under the bridge, it wasn’t fenced off anymore. It was fenced off earlier on sector two, however, on that long straight and not only there… And it also seems like they had removed the fence too early on an area, as you approach the bridge, since there are many foot and paw prints, and even a cyclist seemed to have ended up there for a couple of meters before turning away, and they didn’t bother to fix it. Back to what was fenced off, that was again the case for most of sector three, where they were painting the edges of the new surface. So I managed that time despite going the long way around a lot and being careful on sector one… And despite a number of issues caused by people, mainly on the long straight of sector two.
On lap one, a guy was barely moving and I reached him right when he was next to that stall that’s there, so I had no way to go on the grass either, and another person was just ahead of me as well, but I just managed to squeeze past them while just slowing, without actually stopping. And I managed to squeeze through without quite stopping a little later as well, a roadblock forming when I was almost at the bridge. Back to that straight, on lap two this time, a couple was ahead, holding hands and the guy also holding a bicycle, and someone else who came from the opposite direction barely squeezed through because they seemed to pull each other in opposite directions and therefore blocked even more of the path… And the girl seemed to have been amused by the moment and started slightly pushing and pulling the guy as she moved in the opposite direction to the pushing and pulling, so I shouted at them to make way and he apologized, twice, also pulling her visibly before the second time, maybe as a way to say that he was apologizing for her as well. Then, on lap three, several people formed a full roadblock on that same straight, so I took to the grass, going quite wide in order to be fully on it, not just with one foot, which also meant going behind a few things. I can’t recall whether the things were benches, trees or both, but I clearly was on the grass for a few seconds. And the last issue was on sector three of lap three, when a guy had left his large dog off the leash and it came running, having spotted another dog I had just passed, so I avoided it while the guy apologized to me in passing and then shouted at the owners of the other dog that his was well behaved… As if that even mattered when it was large enough to knock over even a grown adult…

Then I went to that Carrefour and grabbed a few things, had an orange after getting back, changed and went out again at 7:10 PM, after my parents left, dad taking mother back. The first stop was the Penny that’s close to the newer Kaufland, and what I noticed was that, even though I got there at 7:40 PM, that other store that’s there, which is supposed to close at 8 PM, was already closed again. Didn’t want anything from there, but I wonder what its real closing time is.
Either way, there was supposed to be garlic on sale at Penny, but I couldn’t find any, the one thing I did spot in that area being a label that still listed the old discounted price for pumpkins. It was a bit away from the place where the remaining pumpkins actually were, but I assumed it still applied and grabbed one, plus what I thought were two bottles of tomato sauce. However, there were two kinds there, looking exactly the same with the exception of one word on the label, and one of the kinds was not on sale and twice the price of the other, and I guess I somehow mixed them up when I walked away, despite looking carefully at first, because I ended up staring in surprise at the total when I got to the checkout… Which I guess happened often enough for the cashier to know just what the problem was as soon as she saw my look, telling me that I had picked one of each, so I said I had meant to get two of the discounted kind and she called someone to void the other one and gave me the change for what was left, albeit rounding down to the nearest 0.10 RON, so being 0.06 RON less than she should have given me… And when I checked the receipt I also noticed a higher price for the pumpkin.
Since I had to go back in for the other bottle anyway, I didn’t mention anything right away… Which proved to be a good thing, because when I checked again, meaning to actually grab the price label and show it to the cashier, I saw that a label with the price I was charged was actually right where the pumpkins were, that old one that was a bit away having likely just been forgotten there. It could still be considered a trick, and it obviously had tricked me, but since the correct label was in the correct place, it was my fault for missing it, and that price was still lower than anywhere else, so I shrugged it off, took that second bottle of tomato sauce… And had to stand in a significantly longer line in order to buy it, quite a number of people having suddenly showed up there. And I would have likely held that line a little longer if the cashier would have known the regulations of the campaign they were running, offering a free drinkable yogurt in exchange for three Tetra Pack packs, but when I pulled out the three I had, from some other kind of tomato sauce, she said that they didn’t accept those, only milk or something like that, so I just left.
Then I went to that Kaufland, put the purchases in a cabinet, washed my hands, went in at 8:15 PM and saw evening discounts in the bakery area and five of those breads still there, so I grabbed four, and a couple of other things. Then I wandered around a little and eventually also got some lemons and three discounted breads for dad, adding up to almost everything I had left. Still had one more look, wondering whether I could just squeeze something else in, but eventually made my way to the self-checkout, having no problems with the machine.
Though I initially put the tomato sauce and pumpkin in the backpack, it was that torn one, so on the way back I decided that having so much weight and bottles in it was too much of a risk and I just put it in the sturdier, albeit also torn, bag I had, so I no longer had to worry about it and reached the building at 9:40 PM. Then I had the sweet pastry I had bought, put things in their place, showered, and then made mamaliga, adding quite a lot of stuff in it, so there was a whole lot of it and it was also quite watery despite boiling for a very long time. Either way, I just barely managed to start eating in my room at 3 AM, though I had been cleaning what was left on the whisk in the kitchen for a few minutes before that.

Though I obviously didn’t run again then, I’ll also add December 3 here, when I had lunch right after waking up and was leaving at 3:05 PM. I still wanted that garlic, so after having a quick look in a Mega Image on the way I went to the nearest Penny… And realized I had forgotten to take those Tetra Packs again, since I had checked the regulations, seeing that there was no restriction on the kind, so I had meant to insist if they were going to refuse me again. But at least that made things simpler, and I found the garlic, so I got some of that, and also a cabbage, since the price was lower than what I had seen on-line. Then I went to Carrefour, deciding to not also check Kaufland on the way but making the little detour to check that Mega Image instead, the fact that I couldn’t find any of that cat food there either actually proving to be a good thing, a better discount appearing at Kaufland the following week. Either way, from Carrefour I just bought some expiring flour for mother, then found that the area around the stadium was closed off, so I had to go back a little and then around, but still managed to be back a little before 5 PM. The next breakdown seemed to be getting too hard to keep pushing away that day, but I somehow struggled on. Started eating dinner at 3:30 AM, though I licked a bit of some cheese again while moving and mixing, before that hour, then got in bed at 5:20 AM. And the following night I started eating dinner at 3:15 AM.

On December 6, the alarm woke me at noon, and that was after sleeping quite poorly in the first part of the morning, until the second time I went to pee, at 9:15 AM. Didn’t really need to go then, but decided to and it seemed to help, since I finally slept well after that. Then I had the usual stuff plus pumpkin, and a large doughnut with added honey as the sweet thing, and put on the full running gear, with the undershirt underneath and some things in the pocket of my tights. Also spent quite some time trying to figure out how to wear the thin thing received in the kit for the marathon, which I thought could go around my neck, since I still hadn’t washed those better ones, but I ended up just rolling it, so it wasn’t on my neck but at the base of it. Maybe that’s the point, so cold air won’t get under the t-shirt so easily, or maybe I’m missing something, but that was the only use I could find for it. Either way, I also took my gloves and jacket, tying the jacket around my waist as I ran but keeping the gloves on, since when I left, a bit after 2:45 PM, it was overcast and even a bit foggy and the reported temperature was 4°C, albeit supposed to increase by 1-2°C.
The time was 47:09.67, with sector times of 4:15.39, 5:05 (5:04.81), 5:47.25, 4:27 (4:26.63), 4:58.03, 5:42.84, 4:25 (4:24.13), 5:00.16, 5:41.00 and 1:49.43, making for lap times of 15:07.45, 15:07.50 and 15:06 (15:05.29). The initial target was again just staying under 48 minutes, and that didn’t change after lap one, but after lap two I started thinking of 47:30 and pushed all the way to the end. Had actually felt like I was exhausting myself on sector three of lap two, which made me worry about lap three, but when I saw the time I realized I had been pushing harder than I thought, so it was fine, and in the end lap three was the fastest.
Thought I’d be cold, even more so after seeing a couple on the way to the park who had quite clearly been running and their noses and faces were all red, their fists were clenched and they were walking like they were frozen from head to toe, but I didn’t quite freeze even when I took the jacket off before starting, and once I got going it was all right, remaining so even as the fog fell even more towards the end. Taking the left glove off to properly push the button each time and then putting it back on likely caused a small loss of time, but that shouldn’t be something significant, and while at first I was also worried because there were wet areas and even puddles, that proved to not be much of an issue either. However, on the long straight of sector one of lap one I slowed a lot because of a guy, and also had to go over the scraped part a couple more times, while on the long straight of sector two of lap one I had to take a few steps on the grass. And there were several other issues caused by people, but while a few came close, none were quite as bad as those. Otherwise, my right knee gave a few warnings on sector two of lap one, and on sector one of lap two there were some warnings from something that seemed to be below my left knee and I also felt the need to snap my back, the pain going to my right shoulder. There was also some pain around my appendix on sector two of lap two, but that was likely just gas, though for a little while on sector one of lap three my liver also gave some warnings.

After the run, I went to that Carrefour and grabbed two expiring yogurts, a bio (organic) one and a protein one, and something for dad. Then I also went to Kaufland, and on the way I saw a cart on the sidewalk, with the coin in it, but I didn’t take it back to the store, despite considering it for a moment. So I just bought some more things for dad, the only thing I’d have gotten for myself being some tea, after seeing that the price listed on the label was a bit lower than elsewhere, but when I scanned it I found that the real price was the same old one, slightly higher than elsewhere, so I mentioned it in passing to an employee working in that area and obviously left it there. Then, after also having a quick look in the Mega Image that’s next to the pharmacy on the way back, I got back a bit before 6 PM, grated two apples, with sugar, showered and had a sizable lunch. And at night I just managed to start eating dinner at 3 AM.

On December 16, I got up when the alarm rang, at 1 PM, had the usual stuff plus pumpkin, with the last slice of the old cozonac, with added honey, as the sweet thing, but then I finished the transcript dad needed that day before leaving, at 3:30 PM, wearing the old running suit, which I had been wearing inside, also with the running t-shirt underneath the shirt and that thinner thing at the base of my neck. It was overcast, and in fact quite dark, and the reported temperature was 3-4°C, supposed to hold steady, so I obviously also kept the gloves on, and wore the jacket on the way, tying it around my waist as I ran.
The time was 47:43.13, with sector times of 4:19.13, 5:02.75, 5:59 (5:58.16), 4:27.66, 4:58 (4:57.72), 5:52 (5:51.81), 4:27.44, 4:56.22, 5:51 (5:50.34) and 1:52 (1:51.90), making for lap times of 15:20.04, 15:17.19 and 15:14.00. Considering the cold and the added clothing, I again just aimed to stay under 48 minutes, realizing even more clearly that it was the only realistic target after I saw that they had scraped pretty much everything and then also noticed that the fence started on the long sector one straight. I still hoped to surprise myself by doing better, of course, but got worried after seeing a sector one time that was slower than I thought it’d be. Then, after a sector two time that was fine, I was thinking that going over 5:50 on sector three would mean trouble, so when I saw that I didn’t just go over that target but in fact barely managed to stay under six minutes, I was thinking that it was the result of having stopped taking that iron two weeks earlier. So I knew I had to push and did so from lap two, being pleased with the first sector and even more so with the second, and the third allowed for a lap that was faster than the first, so I was hoping again, and then I ended up being even faster on lap three, so it worked out. It required pushing like crazy, however, and the sector three times were way worse than they had been recently, so I was still thinking that it might end up being the last time I’ll manage to stay under 48 minutes, my times being about to become awful again.
Then again, I doubt I’d have managed it even then if there would have been many people, especially considering that fence on the long sector one straight. But there weren’t, the one notable issue being a roadblock that caused me to slow a lot on sector three of lap three, since it seemed like something had been partially poured on the scraped area and I didn’t want to step in that. And there were a few other places where I had to carefully step on the scraped area, but I probably lost more because I kept going the long way around and avoiding the new surface more than I had to, since fences seemed to start and stop and the new surface didn’t inspire confidence when I glanced at it in some of the places that weren’t fenced off. There was also that tiny loss caused by taking the glove off and putting it back on to press the button at the end of each sector, but the more significant loss was caused by slowing to better see the time, a little at the start of sector two of lap one and more at the start of sector one of lap two, and then I even stopped for a couple of seconds for that same reason early on sector three of lap three. Otherwise, my right hip gave some warnings from the start, though it soon stopped, and that knee and ankle followed around the halfway point, though that wasn’t much of an issue either.

After getting back, I ate something sweet and some walnuts, watched something and left again a bit after 7:10 PM, taking the things I take to Kaufland. However, I first went to the larger Mega Image from the area to grab a catalog, since I hadn’t checked on-line, staying there to have a look through it before deciding I had no reason to actually enter the store and continuing on my way. I was mainly looking for food for Liza, which was on sale, but I grabbed a few other things as well… And meant to grab one more, but scanned the price and found that it was much higher than the listed one, and when I went back there, meaning to find an employee and complain, I saw that the price label had been removed, so they had likely been made aware of the problem and I just gave up on that product, eventually making my way to the self-checkout after waiting to see whether the bakery discounts would start at 8:30 PM but still seeing no sign that the bakery employee was about to place those labels when I passed by that area at 8:38 PM, and I had no intention to wait until 9 PM. However, scanning those 30 pieces of cat food one by one took a while and the announcement about bakery discounts came while I was doing that, maybe at 8:45 PM, so I put the purchases in a cabinet, washed my hands, went back and grabbed a number of things, most of them to be taken to my mother… Only for the self-checkout to run out of paper and fail to print the receipt. It actually listed an “unexpected” error, but I figured out what the likely cause was and told the employee when I called him over, and he put a new roll in. On the other hand, I couldn’t find the bin for masks, so I ended up coming back with the ones I had meant to throw away there, and got back a bit after 9:50 PM. And at night, though dad was here, working on the computer, I made mamaliga again.

On December 20, I woke up just after 12:40 PM, saw the time, decided against going to pee and might have managed to nap just a little bit more before the alarm rang, at 1 PM, and I got up. It soon started snowing quite heavily, but the forecast stating that it was going to stop by 3 PM seemed to have been proven correct when it did even before that time… But then it started again, albeit lightly and mixed, so it was sleet. Nevertheless, I had the usual stuff plus a small piece of pumpkin and also almonds, with regular biscuits with added honey as the sweet thing, put on the old running gear, with some things in the shirt’s pockets and both the running t-shirt and another old one under it, and also that thinner thing at the base of my neck, and left just after 3:30 PM. With a reported temperature of 1°C, supposed to hold steady or maybe drop to zero by the time I’ll finish, I obviously also wore the jacket on the way, though it was still tied around my waist as I ran… But just as I got to the stairs I realized I didn’t have the gloves, so I had to turn back and grab them.
The time was 47:24.01, with sector times of 4:20.42, 5:01.43, 5:49.13, 4:27 (4:26.41), 4:59 (4:58.65), 5:49 (5:48.97), 4:25.38, 5:00.00, 5:44.18 and 1:50 (1:49.44), making for lap times of 15:10.98, 15:15 (15:14.03) and 15:09.56. Considering the previous run, I didn’t really know what time to aim for at first, and I started a bit slower than I normally do, probably being a little confused by the big pile of some material, not sure if gravel or the new surface, which was there and meant that I couldn’t quite use the exact path I normally use for those first few steps. But sector two of lap one was all right, making me have hope for that lap again, and when sector three was also good I could start to actually calculate the times needed to stay under 48 minutes one more time. And from then on I pushed, managing nice times and even getting back under 47:30 at the end.
I quite clearly felt that I was no longer taking that iron, however, seeing as I again found myself unable to quite keep sprinting all the way to the end of the long straights, and I was also running out of energy on the second half of sector three of lap three and also the second half of the final straight. Then again, that was likely also caused by running out of breath, just the fact that my nose was running keeping my nostrils from sticking together at that point. Otherwise, my left hip started bothering me on the long straight of sector two of lap one and, while it never became a serious issue, it remained something I had to manage from then on. And my fingers and toes were freezing, but at least the sleet seemed to stop around the time I started running and there were even breaks in the clouds, so the light was good, and I also could avoid the puddles well enough. Likely slowed a little a few times to check that what I had in the shirt’s pockets was still there, however. As for problems caused by others, the fenced off area started right after the bridge on sector one, and in two spots the remaining room was so tight that I had to be careful to not trip over the fence on my own, so it was a relief that there were few people, only finding some ahead of me in that area on lap three, needing to take to the grass twice as a result. And I used that new surface in more places, though at least where it replaces a part of the paved area it’s better to stay off it, since it’s way too uneven and seems to give under your feet.

And this is how far I managed to get while I could stay on-line, before dad got back in the evening, so I posted this part then and what follows was added before I went to bed in the morning, when I also changed the time to 11:59 PM. Actually, the remaining part about December 20 was written before midnight, but the rest was written after that.

After the run I again went to that Carrefour and bought a few things, then came back, had lunch and went out again just before 7:20 PM, first going to Tei, for toothpaste and, since I was there, also another nose spray. I had checked the prices on the site, but finding no price label for that specific toothpaste and both price checkers apparently being out of order made me uneasy. It was fine in the end, however, the prices being those I had seen, so I continued to Penny, got what I meant to get, and then also went to Kaufland.
After putting my things in a cabinet, peeing and washing my hands, I found that the bakery discounts already applied and got a few things, including one bread of another kind, the evening discount not applying to the one I usually get from there, which had a regular 20% discount those days. Then I also got deeply discounted carrots and lettuce and wandered around a little, but when I couldn’t find the cheap kefir for dad, I checked the time, saw 9:11 PM and decided to hurry in order to get back to Carrefour before closing time, since I had seen one kind there that was at least cheaper than what was still available in Kaufland. Admittedly, I should have found cheaper kefir in Auchan, but I had quite a number of purchases and Auchan doesn’t have cabinets, plus that I hadn’t actually been there that day to be certain I’ll find what I wanted. But I had to leave Kaufland first and the self-checkouts were causing issues, so I first had to wait for the employees to help those who were ahead of me, then as soon as the first machine freed up another employee rushed to use it to purchase something before I could step in, and then I had problems of my own when my turn finally came. The machine didn’t like the fact that I placed the bag with all the bakery products on the scales at once, and while the guard said that the bag was the problem and told me to remove them from it, that didn’t help, so I also had to wait for an employee, the one from the information desk eventually coming, the one working in that area being busy with other customers. But at least she took care of that error and also entered the lettuce, and I saw that the discounts had increased for all of those products, and after she logged off to let me scan the carrots I could finally leave.
It was past 9:25 PM when I finally retrieved my things from the cabinet and walked out, so I didn’t have the time to arrange them better, just rushing to Carrefour… Which wasn’t easy when it was so slippery. There had been some ice on the way there as well, but on the way back it was a fair bit worse… And I also tripped when climbing stairs in the park, just as someone who was climbing down was telling someone on the phone how slippery it was. And three people climbing down the next set of stairs were stepping very carefully and tightly holding on to the railing. But I had to hurry, putting stuff in the cabinet and being in Carrefour at 9:50 PM, having just enough time to grab one of those kefirs and also two expiring bio (organic) drinkable yogurts, since those ended up being cheaper for the same quantity and dad had used that one I had eventually received for those Tetra Packs, so I thought those would also be fine, though after he used them he told me to not get any more of those for him. Either way, I was walking away from the checkout at 9:59 PM, so the store closed just as I got to the cabinet to retrieve my things. Then I could finally take some time to arrange everything a little better and was back just after 10:20 PM.
Dad was cooking at the time, annoying me with the mess. In itself, that actually wasn’t as bad as it usually is, but he hadn’t even turned the exhaust hood on and had been feeding Micky on the table again, her food ending up scattered on the table as a result. Either way, I eventually had the sweet pastry I had bought and an orange, but the water was quite cold, so I put off showering and cleaned what was in the kitchen until dad went to bed, setting a pot of water on the stove in order to wash with that. However, after leaving the water running while I cleaned the bathroom sink and bathtub and then finished in the kitchen and brought the pot, it got to a level I could have managed, even though it still felt quite cold except on my hands and feet. So I finally went to shower at 1:20 AM and in fact mostly used that water, only using maybe about a third of that from the pot from the waist up, before using soap and then for a first rinse of that area. Then I saw how much was left and used it for a first rinse of my legs as well, and another rinse of my genitals and butt, but it felt like I had rather spoiled myself with that. Either way, I was back in the kitchen at 1:40 AM and finally started making the salad at 2:15 AM, but I also dealt with the bread after that, so it was 3:50 AM when I started eating dinner, 5:25 AM when I finished and 5:50 AM when I got in bed. And I’ll also mention here that there were no visits recorded in either view that day.

As for December 31, I again got up at 1 PM, when the alarm rang, had the usual stuff plus almonds, with a slice of cozonac with added honey as the sweet thing, then put on the old running suit, which I had been wearing inside, also leaving the t-shirt and undershirt under the shirt even if I knew I was going to overheat, and left at 3:35 PM. It was overcast and the reported temperature was 4°C, supposed to hold steady, so I obviously also had the gloves and wore the jacket on the way. However, I had some things in the jacket’s inside pocket and as I turned it upside down in order to roll it and tie it around my waist before starting to run, they fell out, so I had to put everything back and then took no more chances, setting the jacket down in order to roll it safely.
The time was 48:54.10, with sector times of 4:12.76, 5:09 (5:08.31), 5:57.38, 4:38 (4:37.59), 5:09.69, 6:02 (6:01.44), 4:41 (4:40.97), 5:10.06, 6:00.15 and 1:56 (1:55.75), making for lap times of 15:18.45, 15:49 (15:48.72) and 15:51.18. So I wasn’t just a full minute and a half slower than the week before, but in fact this was the worst time, and actually the first one over 48:30, in two months a half, and also marked the first time I failed to stay under six minutes on sector three since then. If you just take the seconds into account, laps two and three were also the slowest since then, but if you look at the exact time and ignore longer runs, lap three was actually the slowest lap since September. And you actually need to go to that absolutely awful run from early September to find a slower sector one time than the one on lap three, again taking the exact time into account and not counting longer distances.
In part because I didn’t want to end the year with a bad time, especially after having done so well the week before, and in part because dad had bought two Penguin cakes for me along with the sweets bought for New Year’s, I had eaten one the day before and meant to eat the other that evening and wanted to do something to feel that I deserved them, I meant to use every last shred of energy, hoping to somehow get under 47 minutes one more time, or at the very least stay well under 48 minutes again, so I gave it everything from the start. The stage was being set up for the New Year’s concert, the only one being organized in Bucharest, and there were three bumps covering cables that I had to step over on the long sector one straight, but otherwise the fences were moved aside on that sector and there weren’t as many people as I feared, in fact far from it, so I was thinking that if I won’t cover that sector in less than 4:10, I’ll be in trouble… And I definitely was, because I gave it absolutely everything, needing to slow a little on sector two in order to recover, and then all I could do on sector three was stay under six minutes. So, though I completed the lap in less than 15:20, it was clear that I won’t be able to maintain that pace, so I had to give up on any targets actually worth considering and started wondering whether I could aim for 48:30 or I’ll need to struggle to even stay under 49 minutes, the latter obviously being the case in the end, and requiring pretty much all I had even so.
I had to slow because of a roadblock just before the long straight on sector one of lap two, and a worse roadblock made me briefly stop on sector two of lap two, but otherwise the main problem caused by people was that plenty insisted on walking on that new surface, so on what should now be called the running lane, even if the rest of the path was free, so I had to keep moving off it in order to get around them. But, with only two quite small areas still fenced off and I think two tiny pieces for some reason still only scraped, I did try to use that lane much of the time, when it was free and it didn’t mean going the long way around… Though sometimes I even tried to stay on it when it did mean that, leaving my usual path just to see how it went. So I also wonder whether using it makes me force my hips in order to lift my legs more, or something like that, since it feels much softer, seeing as my left hip started hurting a little from the long straight of sector one of lap two, remaining something I had to manage all the way to the end, even though it wasn’t a serious problem, and the right hip also gave me a few warnings over the course of the run. And there was some wind on lap three as well. In the end, however, the main problem was that I once again simply lacked the energy to keep pushing, or to sprint all the way on the long straights, making it quite clear that nothing was solved and the anemia returned in force after I stopped taking that huge dose of iron.

After the run I again went to that Carrefour, just quickly checking the expiring products and the bread area, not finding any for myself, only some white bread being unsliced, but finding a whole lot of a certain very good kind that I could get for dad, having a good discount. Considered getting four at first, but then I thought I might find some for even less in Kaufland and only got two, then jogged to the newer Kaufland, thinking I’ll have better odds of still finding what I was looking for there… Only to find the bakery area almost cleared, and definitely cleared of all bread except a few of one kind that I didn’t care to get and which was quite expensive anyway, the evening discount not applying to it. And there was no discounted bread I could get for dad either, so I just got some lemons and some more onions, plus some yogurt for myself, and then waited in line at the self-checkouts as 6 PM approached, that being when the store closed that day. I actually heard an employee ask another whether the checkouts were going to close automatically at 6 PM, but was told that they will at 6:30 PM, and either way it wasn’t my problem, since the time on my receipt was 5:50 PM and by 5:55 PM I had retrieved the bread and my gloves from the cabinet, arranged the purchases in two quite balanced bags and was walking away.
With no more reason to hurry, I took it easy on the way back, then had some walnuts, but decided against also having that second cake then, leaving it for dinner, since I definitely didn’t deserve it after the run. Then I showered and started making mamaliga again, adding quite a number of things in it again and not quite managing to finish it by midnight, so it ended up boiling for some 20 more minutes without me even stirring it anymore, since I was splitting my attention between watching some fireworks, both on TV and outside, and checking on the cats. Then again, somebody fired quite a load at 11 PM, so Liza had been hiding all the way behind the living room couch, actually going up against the wall, ever since then, and with the worst of it actually only lasting some five minutes in this area after midnight, but some people apparently waiting until around 12:20 AM and 12:40 AM, respectively, to make use of what they still had, she was there for a while, and also went right back after quickly eating what I had set out for her once things seemed to have gone quiet. Micky, on the other hand, alternated between looking curiously out the window and rushing under the living room couch, or at one point under the kitchen seat, but she wasn’t staying there for long, even ate when she was passing by her food, and returned to her normal behavior as soon as things seemed quiet again.
It’s a good thing my parents, and especially my mother, didn’t call that night, however, since I was at the very edge of a breakdown, even sort of having it in my mind, and anything of that sort would have triggered it completely. But as it was, once I knew that the cats weren’t going to die on my watch, I could focus on the mamaliga again, finishing it and then placing a plate on top of the pot, to keep it hot while also finishing the salad. Then I took those and the cake to my room and ate, being quite surprised when I finished and found only a couple of small burn marks on the bottom of the pot, since I had expected to have burned it quite badly after letting it boil for so long and not even stirring during that period, towards the end.

And now, although this is awfully long as it is, I’ll just add this part about today as well, starting with the early hours, when I started eating dinner at 3:35 AM even though dad was working, and that was after having lunch quite early in the evening. More notable, however, is that at some point in the morning I woke up screaming and whimpering, dreaming that dad was forcing me to let him buy something for me from a Mega Image, even if just a pretzel at half price, in order for him to get something for himself as well and not make it appear unfair in some way, and I just couldn’t take having more money spent or resources used for me anymore and was trying to get away, crawling away on the store floor while the employees were staring… And the dream images continued to blend with “reality” after I woke up, hence that reaction. And I also had a headache then, but actually managed to get back to sleep quickly enough… Only to still have the headache after I woke up for good, when dad left, though it had mostly gone away by the time I got up, after spending a little more time in bed. It did return, albeit at a lower intensity, after I got on the computer and resumed writing this post, but it eventually seemed to go away for good. And, to also mention these things, I had lunch after dad got back in the evening and, seeing as I’m posting this part just before getting to bed in the morning, I can also add that I just managed to start eating dinner at 3 AM.

Written by Cavalary on January 2, 2022 at 11:59 PM in Personal | 0 Comments