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Ten and Almost Ten Kilometers, Nicusor Dan and Quest for Infamy

After wandering around the city for a while to compare some prices and get a few things last Tuesday, last week’s run was on Thursday and it was another ten kilometers, once again through the park, so three laps around the lake and then up the stairs and continuing to run all the way to the park exit. For once, I didn’t meet the target time, but that was a particularly ambitious 53 minutes instead of what can be said to be the usual 55, so 17-minute laps and then two more minutes for that final part. Either way, the 53:49 I did manage was closer to this new target than to the 54:43 managed when I first ran this route, which was also the better time of my until then two attempts at ten kilometers, the other being the 54:59 managed on the track.
Since I managed to keep the exact times in mind long enough to write them down then, I’ll list them here as well: Covered the first lap in 17:15, with sector times of 4:52 and then most probably 5:50 and 6:33, though these last two are the only ones I’m not sure I remembered that accurately, as I may have rounded that second sector to 5:50 in my mind when in fact it may have been a second faster or slower, which’d also make the third a second slower or faster, as the case may be, since the total lap time is certain. Then the second lap was covered in 17:23, with sector times of 4:58, 5:34 and 6:51, respectively, the third lap was covered in 17:18, with sector times of 5:07, 5:34 and 6:37, respectively, and then I managed a quite nice 1:53 on that final part, despite again moving to one side of that wide path before returning to the other before the park exit, to add a little to the distance.
Problem was that I didn’t feel well from the start, being somewhat nauseous and feeling other things not being quite right in my belly, including a fair amount of rather painful gas at one point. Pushed through that and also through the usual issues with my right leg, needing one and a half to two laps to get that knee and hip to stop moving in such wrong ways and work through the pain resulting from that, so it was actually getting better towards the end, as the time I managed on that final section proves, but it definitely wasn’t a comfortable run. Also, the way the lower part of that leg hurt later made it clearer that I may have the beginning of a fibular stress fracture there, but more on that later.

This week’s run was yesterday and the result was a great but uncertain time on what were probably 9.7 or 9.8 kilometers, but at the same time a complete failure that really messed up my plans at this point. And the reasons for it can quite clearly be described as technical, because the goal was to see how long I’ll manage to maintain a certain pace but my stopwatch stopped working at the end of the third lap. I’m not even sure whether it stopped when I pressed the button to temporarily freeze the display right when I finished that lap or slightly before that, which is why I said that total time of 51:24 is uncertain, as something around 51:30 seems more likely.
The idea was to try to cover five laps around the lake, so 16 kilometers, but I was ready to stop sooner if I’d fall behind the target times, even though there were a few different possible targets. The primary one was 1:27:00 for the five laps, so 17:24 per lap, with a secondary one of 1:27:30, for a more even 17:30 per lap, and one of 1:28:00 to fall back to if I was still fine after four laps but needed to slow down on the fifth. However, the ideal target was to gain a minute over the primary one over the five laps, making for an ideal target lap time of 17:12, which I rather doubted I’ll manage but meant to try if possible. And the fact that I did manage it for those first three laps even considering the other problem I’ll mention below makes it even more annoying that I couldn’t keep going.
The thing is that I first ran into trouble around a third of the way into the first lap, so after just over one kilometer, when I noticed that a part of the path around the lake was closed due to some work being done and somebody was instructing people to go around. That probably only added around 50 meters in terms of distance, but having to go over uneven ground and climb before getting back down once past that portion definitely had a greater impact on the effort required than the small additional distance in itself, so I was ready to consider a lap time goal met even if I’d have been several seconds short of it. In fact, with an ideal target lap time of 17:12 for the 3.2 kilometers, even simply an additional 50 meters would have meant about 16 seconds, but I definitely wasn’t trying to calculate that in my head at the time.
Either way, assuming my stopwatch wasn’t already malfunctioning by then, I completed the first lap in a quite surprising under the circumstances 16:59, with sector times of 4:48, 5:47 and 6:24, respectively. I was obviously overcompensating for that small detour, so I slowed down just a little in the second lap, managing a 17:11, with sector times of 4:50, 5:48 and 6:33, respectively. Then in the third lap I was tiring a little, even though at the same time I had again only managed to work through the pain and the odd movements of my right knee and hip over the course of the second lap, so the first two sector times were 4:55 and 5:55. Then, at the end, my stopwatch displayed 51:24, making for a third sector time of 6:24 and a third lap time of 17:14. However, it seems likely that it actually stopped shortly before I finished the lap, so that’s probably not accurate.
I did try to pick up the pace a little towards the end of that third sector and lap, but I did so because I saw a total time of 50:44 in a spot that should be just under a minute from the end of the lap and 51:11 in a spot that I think is usually about 25 seconds from the end at long distance pace, so it is perhaps likely that I covered that distance in 20 seconds since I pushed, but 13 definitely seems pretty much impossible. Plus that I think I glanced at the watch sort of by accident a few seconds before finishing the lap, as I was grabbing it with the other hand to be ready to push the button that temporarily freezes the display just as I’ll finish the lap, and I may have seen it display 51:24 at that point already, though I’m in no way sure of that.
So I took a few more steps, pressed the button again to unfreeze the display and saw that nothing happened. Pressed again, still nothing, so I stopped and wondered whether I had accidentally pressed the other button and stopped the timer, even though in that case it should have reset to zero when pressing the button that freezes the display while it’s running. However, pressing that again, thinking I’ll simply time the last two laps separately and then add the two times together, did nothing either, so I turned around, tried pressing the other two buttons a few times as well, but nothing did anything. The light didn’t come on, it didn’t switch between time, timer and alarm, and the timer neither kept going nor reset, so there was nothing to do but give up on that run, since the whole point was maintaining a certain pace and simply covering the distance otherwise would have only served to make my right leg worse.

Speaking of that leg, the knee doesn’t worry me too much, as I’ve had issues there for many years and it seems to act up after covering a certain distance, even while simply walking, but is usually fine again after a day or, at most, two. The hip I’m not so sure about, but that’s another thing I’ve been having small issues with for many years, in fact ever since I was little, probably even before the knee, and while something feels slightly different now, overall it’s probably along those same lines and gets better after some rest. So that leaves the potential stress fracture.
No, it’s quite clearly not an actual fracture yet, but it will probably get there if I keep pushing and it definitely felt bad last evening, and also after last week’s run and last Friday’s walk. Now I’m sure the problems started when I ran the distance of a half marathon and then walked a fair bit more only days later, but it didn’t feel this bad then, so I should be staying off my feet for a while instead of doing what I’m doing, but I can’t quite afford to do that just now, so have to control the effort somewhat and hope it’ll hold a while longer. I mean, it’s definitely not the tibia, which would be the more serious problem in that area, and some quick searches say that you can run with the beginnings of a fibular stress fracture for quite some time until it actually cracks. You shouldn’t, of course, as there’s no telling when it’ll give and you’ll need a couple of months to heal if it does, and I’m quite sure I’ll need to see a doctor and assess the damage in a few weeks, but hope I won’t need to do so sooner.

Since I mentioned last Friday’s walk, that was to a question and answer session with Nicusor Dan, who’s the candidate I support for the office of mayor of Bucharest. Voted for him in 2012 as well, when he ran as an independent, but now he has a party and they have people running for all available positions here, so also a list for the city council, lists for each of the six sector councils and people for each of the six positions of sector mayors. They also gained a decent amount of visibility and also attracted some funds, though they already spent most of them on gathering the required signatures, being the only new party who just barely managed to do so in Bucharest. What he said then, just a few days before the deadline, was that they were still a few hundred signatures short of the minimum and about one thousand short of their goal for two of the sectors, and they wanted a few hundred more for three of the other sectors as well, since some will likely be rejected for various reasons.
Still, the part I had the most trouble with that evening wasn’t walking there and back and then my right foot reminding me I shouldn’t have done that until the next day, and every so often during that next day as well. What messed me up the most was what happened before the session actually started, as the time was listed as 6 PM and I got there on time, he arrived minutes later, but there were barely a few others present. Counted over 50 after 8 PM, but people definitely took their time arriving, as only a handful were there even at 7 PM, when things did start, so at first he sat down at a table with a few that I guess were members of his staff and one other person who asked to join them to ask a few questions directly, but then I saw him get up and sit down at the table next to mine, to talk to the person who was sitting there, nodding towards me as well.
Of course, I tried to listen in, but after a while the discussion got to the mess the Liberals are in and I wasn’t that interested in that, so I stopped listening, looked away and sort of drifted off, waiting for something else to happen… Until I suddenly noticed somebody sitting down next to me, and then almost froze when I realized it was him. I mean, sure, I know him from protests as well, but I think the only time we talked, if it can be called as such, was when we exchanged probably a sentence each at a small one in Izvor Park and I’m scared enough of people and of interacting directly with those I’m not already close to even without also being surprised in such a manner… And without the person in question being someone who’s going places, if I may use the term, which only adds to the stress.
As such, I said something quite stupid at first and I’m sure I made things awkward past that point as well, in part by laughing at inappropriate times and appearing not to take things seriously. He actually seemed nervous as well, rocking the table, which I’m guessing had to do with the signatures they were struggling to gather, and he did get up and move to another table after a few minutes, staying there for much longer, but he was very open when it came to answering what I did manage to ask and even volunteered a couple of things. Sadly, I didn’t manage to say the one thing I meant to say to him directly, about his campaign slogan, as the one relevant thought I managed to cling on to had to do with what I had posted on his page earlier that day and I couldn’t remember anything else at that time, and later I obviously didn’t speak up during the actual question and answer session. Still, there were a few more interesting things I learned that evening.

I guess I could also mention that I got bitten by a cat while there. Not entirely sure it was male, but I’ll use “he” to refer to him anyway, and he was jumping on tables, begging for both attention and food. Didn’t seem to find me interesting enough to stick around even when I managed to pet him a bit, but after a while he definitely found a girl sitting at a table next to mine very interesting though, or more specifically he found her food very interesting, pretty much climbing on her when she tried to hold it away from him. And, of course, once she did give him a little bit, he came right back for more until someone working there picked him up and dropped him a short distance away. Wasn’t long at all until he was right back, however, and she was trying to keep him both away from her food and off the papers she had, so I picked him up and dropped him a couple of steps away as well. Didn’t help, of course, as he was right back there immediately, so I picked him up again, saying it’s not nice to bother people, and he sure didn’t like that, as he meowed angrily a couple of times and then bit my wrist when I walked a bit away with him and kept holding him.
I dropped him at that point, asking what that was about, and the cook came out to give him something to eat, which kept him busy for a while. Not for that long though, and when he was done, he jumped on the table I was sitting at, with two other people who had arrived later, and only paid attention to them for the fair amount of time he sat there, keeping his butt towards me, even though they were pretty much ignoring him. The guy even said as much when an employee came and warned them that if they’ll give him any attention they won’t get rid of him, and if they’ll give him food as well they’ll probably take him home, since that’s how he acts.

As for the part about Quest for Infamy, it doesn’t mean I started playing it, but I did install it last Monday… And then had it freeze my computer that night, requiring a hard reset, as I was trying to find ways to take screenshots and switching to DirectDraw in the settings caused that to happen when I started it in full screen, after seeming to work normally in a window. So I’m definitely waiting for version 2.0 of that, which I was told will be available for the GOG version as well, and will likely play it in a window even then, which also seems to be the way to grab screenshots. And I probably won’t be fooling around with settings that much either.


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