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16 Kilometers in Under 1:20!

To get it out of the way, I’ll start by mentioning that Monday I wandered around a fair bit to buy some things. Still didn’t feel like interacting with or even seeing people again, but needed bread, so had to go for that, and then had to go to another hypermarket as well because my parents had also told me to pick up some snacks that Liza likes, because she had run out of them, dad hadn’t managed to get back in time to get any more Sunday and she was even more of a handful than she usually is because of it. Still say they let her get addicted to those things and just keep making sure she stays that way, but I guess that’s their problem, and they had also left me over three times more money than the amount of snacks they had asked me to buy would have cost, and two and a half times more than I ended up spending on them, since I bought a bit more.
Either way, with this second hypermarket next to a third, I decided to check that one out as well, grabbing a couple of things from there too and then returning to the second for a couple more that I then knew were cheapest there. But I had also noticed an offer at the first one for something dad had asked me to keep an eye out for before, so after getting back to drop off the purchases I went back there in the evening, also taking the plastic bottles and aluminum cans, this time none of them being crushed… And that not helping at all, since somebody else had left the machine with an error that time, so I just dropped them off and went to spend just about all I had left, including 0.98 RON in small change, a part of that having been found over the course of the day. Interestingly, though I had given the exact amount by doing that, I used one of the “classic” checkouts again, since I was rushing to catch one of the free buses they provide and thought it’d be faster that way, and the cashier apparently got confused and assumed I had given her 1 RON in change, so she gave me 0.02 RON back and I just took them.

After all of that, knew I’d have had to squeeze every last drop to hope to even stay under 49 minutes when I ran the next day, and that’d have just been too disappointing after last week’s record. Also, with the Bucharest Marathon taking place Sunday and considering the fact that I initially meant to sign up for it as well at the start of the year but then left a first attempt at that for next year, had been considering for quite some time to at least mark the moment with a longer run this week. Possibly even a very long one, ten or, ideally, 11 laps around the lake, so 32 or 35.2 kilometers.
But I have never run a distance longer than a half marathon and even doing that again would have required preparation and I had done nothing of the sort recently, so in the end I chose something in between, five laps around the lake, 16 kilometers, this being only the second time I run this distance. The first time I managed 1:24:06, but now I had an ideal goal of getting under 1:20, 16-minute laps. And fucking made it, the total time being 1:19:45, with intermediate times of 4:31, 5:16, 5:58, 4:38, 5:09, 6:02, 4:45, 5:14, 6:06, 4:38, 5:21, 6:19, 4:39, 5:12, 5:57, making for lap times of 15:45, 15:49, 16:05, 16:18 and 15:48.
Those times for the first three laps didn’t give me many hopes, since I had already missed the target on the third and definitely hadn’t gained enough over the first two to be able to afford to continue that way, but settled for a 16:20 target for lap four, to still be on target after four laps, and pulled that off, the 16:18 meaning I had 1:03:57 by then. At that point, with all of two seconds to spare over the course of lap five, I thought the worst case scenario would be a 17-minute last lap, missing 1:20 but staying just under 1:21. But wanted to see if I could actually do it and just went for it, aiming for a 16-minute lap five, even if my legs were starting to feel a bit heavy and my right knee wasn’t too happy.
It didn’t look good after the first sector, since I was four seconds behind the 16-minute lap target of 4:35, so already two seconds behind the overall under 1:20 target, but those sector targets aren’t calculated so exactly, so maybe I still had a chance. And the second sector proved it, as I covered it in three seconds less than the 16-minute lap target of 5:15, so had clawed that lost time back and just needed to stick to the 16-minute lap sector three target of 6:10, or even miss it by one second. And I really gave it everything, not checking the time again before the end but pushing as hard as I still could and sprinting at the very end, leading to the fastest sector three of the run and the second fastest lap. Interestingly, that was also the case back in April.
Didn’t think I’d pull it off. Even during that last sector of the last lap, even during the last couple of minutes, I was seeing myself missing the goal by just a few seconds and being awfully disappointed over it, but I still didn’t give up and there it was. My legs were already cramping on the way back, there was a moment, just as I was crossing the street in front of the building here, when it suddenly became a bit of a struggle to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and it was hard to move again after I first stopped for a moment after getting in, but by yesterday it didn’t really hurt anymore, so that was better than expected as well. I still feel quite exhausted though.

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