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Last Three Runs Before the 2018 Bucharest Half Marathon and Other Stuff

The previous post was awfully long even for me and only covered two days, or in fact less than that. This one should cover ten, plus today’s run and some other things that took place after I started writing it, so I sure hope I’ll manage to be a whole lot briefer, because I won’t sit here and write that much again on likely less than two hours of sleep, and when the plan for tomorrow is to walk the route of this year’s Bucharest Half Marathon, which differs significantly from what I knew from the previous editions.

I’ll start with the runs, and there were three of them during this period, the first being last Wednesday, when I ran 16 kilometers again and managed a new record: 1:19:29! Sector times were 4:23, 5:08, 5:57, 4:32, 5:05, 5:57, 4:37, 5:12, 6:17, 4:41, 5:22, 6:02, 4:52, 5:15 and 6:09, making for lap times of 15:28, 15:34, 16:06, 16:05 and 16:16. So, compared to the previous record, I gained 17 seconds on the first lap, 15 on the second and 13 on the fourth, but lost one on the third and 28 on the fifth, leaving me 16 seconds faster at the end. That fifth lap was outstanding back then, now I couldn’t keep up, but I had enough of an advantage at that point to afford it. And even though it was a pretty hot and sunny day, with a bit of wind as well, and more people were showing up along the route as I went along, since I started at 4:30 PM, I did rather aim to make a new record, though I was also prepared to fail as long as I won’t fail by much.
Sadly, that was followed by another poor run, Monday, when I got back to ten kilometers and only managed 49:42, with sector times of 4:19, 5:11, 6:06, 4:35, 5:13, 6:11, 4:44, 5:22, 6:09 and 1:52, making for lap times of 15:36, 15:59 and 16:15. Woke up early, around 8:30 AM or maybe just a bit over that, so after some two and a half hours of sleep or so, and did mean to run on that little sleep in order to simulate how it’ll be next week, but first couldn’t quite get much out when I went to the toilet, then with dad sleeping and my running pants still on the balcony to dry I decided to eat more, finishing the pasta that was left even if there was a fair bit more than I’d eat at once otherwise, and spent some more time on-line. It was around 11 AM, maybe even a bit later, when I decided to just put some shorts on and go like that, but he came out of the living room just as I was at the door, so I grabbed my running pants after all and changed… Yet the delay wasn’t enough to digest what I had eaten, so it was a real struggle to run like that. There were also some pretty serious gusts of wind and plenty of people in the park, but the biggest issue was my full stomach, plus the fact that I hadn’t emptied the other part properly either, so I had cramps, felt like throwing up, there was gas I didn’t even dare to burp because I feared more would come out… Things got better towards the end and I considered continuing to 16 kilometers again, but decided against it, leaving me with a time on ten that made me feel like crap. But maybe pushing through under those circumstances counts for something…
As for today, I wanted to simulate the race morning even better, so meant to wake up at 8 AM in order to start running exactly at 9:45 AM, which is the scheduled start time then. Ended up waking at 7:40 AM though, hearing my UPS click repeatedly. Didn’t hear it beep to indicate an actual power failure, but it is possible that it did so before and that was what woke me up, and I remember noticing unusually few lights outside when I went to sleep, so I was already worried about power failures in the area. But I had a plan and stuck to it, going to pee and then staying in bed until 8 AM, then eating what I normally do before running and going out and starting right on time. And the result was 47:42, with sector times of 4:18, 5:07, 5:53, 4:25, 5:05, 5:52, 4:24, 4:57, 5:56 and 1:45, making for lap times of 15:18, 15:22 and 15:17. So I was exactly two minutes faster than Monday, even though there were some gusts of wind again and a large group of children was in the park, getting in the way on sector three of lap one, though they had learned to leave some room for others by the time I had to go past them again. Otherwise, plenty of other runners, as you’d expect, but none I could actually race over a longer distance, overtaking those I saw running in the same direction quite quickly. But I was pushing anyway, leaving just about nothing over the first two laps and pushing even harder on the third. And I felt all right, I could do it, which makes me feel just a bit more at ease.

To finish with the topic of running, I’ll add that Saturday I registered for the Bucharest Marathon as well. So I guess that’s “real” now as well; I’m actually going to run a marathon… Or at least I plan to, because who knows what will happen until then. Does mean that next week’s half marathon will pretty much mark the beginning of the training, and I’ll have to get quite serious about it and really stick to the plan over the summer, which definitely won’t be easy, considering the heat. But I’ll have to do my best, getting to 16 kilometers more often, to 21.1 at least a few more times as well, and doing a long run at the start of September. Planning 11 laps around the lake, so 35.2 kilometers, but I’ll see then I guess.

Getting back to the start of the period covered by this post, last Tuesday I ended up caught in quite a storm. Had checked the forecast and saw storms possibly starting around 8 PM, so I didn’t think that will trouble me, since I wanted to go to the farmers’ market and that closes at 7 PM anyway, but by 5:40 PM, when I was just about to get to the market after having finished the other things I meant to do first, it was pouring and I had to wait it out in order to be able to get back. I only had a t-shirt on, also had a book with me, and didn’t want my phone to take such a bath either, so I was getting a bit worried there for a while, plus that if it lasted a little longer I risked finding nobody still selling anything in the market, since I didn’t purchase anything while taking shelter there at first.
I didn’t go directly to the market because, after the previous day’s events, the plan was to first pick up MILA 2.0 from the Library, since I saw that it was available in a location that was on the way, then go to the location of that bookstore in the mall that’s close to that market in order to read the final part of In Calabria again, and only then go to the market. And those other things went well enough, it was sunny, nobody said anything to me for reading a book grabbed from a shelf while occasionally pretending to have a close look at several sections in that bookstore, but when I walked out of that mall, which I actually know was at 5:36 PM, I smelled rain and saw heavy clouds, then felt a few drops on me after taking a few steps. Still, it didn’t seem bad and the market was close, so I put the book from the Library in a plastic bag as well but otherwise thought I’ll be fine.
Well, by the time I got to the corner, it was pouring, and since I got there just as the light turned red, in the time it took for it to turn green again I got pretty much soaked. Ran to the market as soon as I could, taking shelter there along with a fair number of others, but it was uncomfortable, the drainage pipes from the market’s roof creating rivers along the edges and the roof itself dripping in many places, plus that some areas don’t have a roof or just have something like a net. Also, my pants were too wet to keep my phone in my pocket, so I took it out and held it in my hand for quite some time, before noticing that the back pockets were relatively dry and putting it there. Then I made my way past those rivers at the edges and sort of wandered around the more protected areas for a while, though I wasn’t about to buy anything, and plenty were gathering their things anyway. After a while, when things seemed just a little bit better, I dared to make a dash for a less protected area, but the rain got heavier again right away and I ended up crowded with a few other people under an umbrella that was pretty much the only proper protection there, that net allowing much of the water through.
That wasn’t a good position to be in though, not just because my feet kept getting wetter, but also because the net seemed to be bending more and more under the weight of the water that wasn’t getting through it, and the remaining sellers tended to only worry about the parts of the roof that were just above their heads and their things, which were more solid anyway and also had drainage pipes. So I just ran to a butcher shop, after an employee who had taken pictures from the door went back, then after another employee, who had been outside, returned and said the rain really messes you up as soon as you leave the cover in front of the supermarket that’s also there, I thought it’d be better to wait there instead and quickly made my way to it, sticking close to the wall.
A few more people were also taking shelter just inside that supermarket, so I waited there along with them, at one point sending dad a message saying I may need a boat if this keeps up. But fortunately it didn’t, and as soon as it started easing up I dashed outside to see how the sky looked, then went back to the market when it seemed safe to do so. Of course, I guess it was around 6:30 PM by then, so many had already left and others were carrying what they had left away in order to leave, but a few did brave the storm and stayed there, or were very quick to “open” again, so I wandered around a little and bought a few things after all, and then the way back wasn’t a problem. Was still worried it’ll start again, so I ran a good part of the way, but it didn’t get worse than a drizzle.

The next day, after running, I spotted two apparently new books, one on a parked car and another on a garbage bag. Nothing interesting, and I wouldn’t have taken the one on the garbage bag anyway, but I was left wondering why they were there, and actually checked to see whether there was a BookCrossing label on them. There wasn’t any, and the fact that they were pretty close together also made me think that maybe somebody had thrown them from a balcony, but I have no idea. They really seemed new, and the roof of a car and, especially, on top of a full garbage bag aren’t exactly places where one would leave books if they’re intended for others to pick up.
Either way, after that I wandered around quite a lot to get just a couple of things, checking some prices in all three hypermarkets and then returning to the first two. In Carrefour I could have gotten two 0.50 RON coins from abandoned carts actually inside the store, but only connected one to others that were nearby, wandering around the second one for a bit, to make sure nobody had just left it there for a little while, planning to get back to it, and having some guy who had just walked in grab it instead, though it sure didn’t seem like he had brought it there. On the other hand, I found some interesting lettuce in Kaufland that was deeply discounted, as some fresh stuff tends to be in the evening, but there were multiple types and a couple of different prices, and since I had very little money on me I had to be absolutely sure how much each would be, but the price scanners wouldn’t work with the bar codes on those, and an employee actually said so when she saw me trying to scan them, so I gave up on that idea.
But the unpleasant, and somewhat concerning, part came after that, around 10:30 PM, when I was close to getting back here and suddenly found a truck rather slowly going past me, spraying something that was probably some insecticide out of a “cannon” mounted on it. It was aiming rather high, at the trees, but considering how much those have been hacked apart, and how many old and large ones have been cut and maybe replaced with little ones that will likely need decades to reach a similar size, if they’ll ever be allowed to do so, that didn’t offer too much protection. Tried not to breathe before turning the corner, but did have to take one breath, and felt droplets on me and that stinging sensation of being in contact with a toxic substance like that. My eyes actually stung a bit for a while after that, and felt a little nauseous as well, and of course I washed and had everything I was wearing then washed as well, which also led to my running pants still being on the balcony Monday morning, since I hadn’t changed after running that day. But seriously, shouldn’t they do these things late at night, not while it’s still evening, and take care when they see somebody walking either way?

Something pretty awesome happened the next day though. I spent most of it reading, but what I’m referring to has nothing to do with that, but with the fact that the winners of an incredibly generous giveaway organized by a user on the GOG.com forum were posted and I ended up winning The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Game of the Year Edition. Definitely didn’t expect that, since it was the game that the most had entered for, but at the same time there were two keys being offered, so there actually were, if I calculated correctly, four titles with worse odds, even if fewer people had entered for them. Not that I’d have anything to do with it on this computer, of course. This probably wouldn’t even run the previous game, not even at the level my old computer was struggling to when I tried to start it back then. But it is a game I definitely want to play when I’ll be able to do so and it’s great to have it. Winning it actually made me quite happy for a while that day, which was rather surprising.

Next, skipping to Sunday… And Sunday started awfully. Not referring to anything that actually happened, but to the dreams I had that morning. Or in fact to one of them, as the other two that I recall were quite neutral, only somewhat notable due to how well I remembered them. One had to do with some completely impossible ski flying record set once again at Planica, by Dimitry Vassiliev, and which I only happened to catch a replay of after starting to watch just after it happened. It was over 500 meters, and later, when I could watch it better, I recall it was even 573 or 578 meters, and with a mess of a landing but still somehow without touching the snow with anything other than the skis, and questions whether it’d have mattered anyway since the landing itself was well beyond the line after which problems shouldn’t affect the jumper’s score anymore. As for the other, there was something about some important person apparently being in danger of being assassinated, but it eventually seemed like the person delivering that message was actually the one in danger, some woman catching on to that, and something about an address, but it wasn’t clear whether it was a street and a number or a hotel and a room, I believe the name of either the street or the hotel being Savoy.
But the terrible dream, which left me completely shaken, had to do with my worst fear, Andra with a child. She actually came to me with one, first seeming to be a baby, then she said two years old, and it suddenly looked like that as well. She claimed he was mine, and that she didn’t know she was pregnant until the end, so I guess this would place the dream in 2008, but that didn’t add up even without considering how crazy such a claim sounds when coming from someone with any reasonable level of information and intelligence, since it was some ten days over nine months between the last time we had sex and her getting back to England again after marrying him during that time when they both came here, which was something I was quite aware of in the dream as well. So I just pushed her away. That’s obviously the one thing I won’t tolerate, no matter what, immediately demanding papers to reject any obligations or rights and making it clear in my mind, and trying to do so to her as well without actually saying those exact words, that I will kill the boy if I’ll ever see him again. I wasn’t sure how or what to tell my dad about the whole mess, my mother showed up at some point too, but what I remember more clearly is that Andra had unblocked me on Facebook, but her current username had many numbers in it and I couldn’t remember it when I woke up. Could see an older one too, but I used a link that ended in 5 and it redirected to one ending in 9, which as far as I know can’t happen anyway. But I actually checked these links I did remember when I woke up, just to make sure there was nothing there and maybe convince myself that it was evidence that the part about her with a child wasn’t true either.

Moving on to Monday, after running I went to buy some things again, and again wandered around a lot. First went to Auchan to get bread and yogurt and a couple of other things I knew I’ll get from there, then took the free bus they provide and brought those back, then went to Carrefour and Kaufland to get a few other things, comparing prices as well, then came back with those and went back out to Auchan, mainly for red cabbage, but picking up a few other things that were cheaper there as well, and again using their free bus to get back. But a somewhat odd thing happened when I first went to Auchan, when I just had the bread in my basket, passed by two boys and noticed one of them throw something there. Didn’t even realize what it was when I picked it up and threw it on what I believe was coffee that was on sale nearby, only then looking to see that it was a pack of Always Discreet. I guess they thought that was funny, assuming I’ll get to the checkout without noticing it and be embarrassed, and I guess I should have thrown it at them instead, if I’d have realized what it was right away…

And this gets me to yesterday, when I returned the book to the Library, after having finished it the day before, had a look at that pharmacy after my mother asked me to look for some things, I guess for my grandmother, finding none of them and also deciding against getting toothpaste for myself if I wasn’t getting anything else, and then went to that farmers’ market again. But what I want to write about took place later, after I started reading that book I picked up for the “price” of hitting my head twice… And noticed that it ends suddenly, on page 352 out of what it seems should be 368. And then I checked and found that it does indeed miss the entire final chapter and the last part of the one before it. No sign of torn pages, it just looks like it was incomplete to begin with, and it’s something I should have noticed there if I wouldn’t have been in such a hurry. Wonder if they weren’t actually aware of it, and the copies that could be taken for free during that event couldn’t be sold for one reason or another.
Now I do mean to keep reading until I reach that point and then probably go to one of their locations to grab a copy and read the end there, and maybe leave this one there once I’m done, I hope after also managing to tell them what happened. But I also found it on-line, so can finish it like that too, that’s not the problem. The problem is that Wednesday night I had just sent the donation form to the Metropolitan Library, wondering if I’ll be able to also drop it off on Tuesday if I’ll finish it by then, since they say a reply may take up to five business days and approved donations are only accepted in a single location, only on Tuesday, between 9 AM and 2 PM. So I then had to send another, rather embarrassing, message, apologizing and stating that it would appear that I have nothing to donate after all, explaining why that is the case.

Still on that topic, today I sent a message to that bookstore explaining what happened and saying that I’ll probably bring it back to one of their locations so they can send it back to the publisher or recycle it or do whatever they want with it, but I again bumped into that issue having to do with their on-line and physical stores operating separately. Still, while I sent the message to the on-line store, since a way to contact someone having to do with the physical ones is rather difficult to find and I didn’t even think to look for that separate section, and they pointed it out to me, they also said that the gifts they offer come directly from publishers, they can’t check all of them, and advised me to tell my story to an employee at the location I got that book from and see whether I’ll have it exchanged for a complete one, if any copies are still available. But that would require actually, well, doing that, explaining face to face, and I have no proof that I got it from them in the first place, and it’s not like I bought it, plus that I already sent that message to say I have nothing to donate, so sending yet another to say that I actually do after all would be quite awkward, and probably make it look like a prank. But I’ll see what I’ll end up doing…

And this didn’t have 5200 words again, but it will get to more than 4200 with this paragraph. Meant to stop at some point, but then went to the kitchen and hit my head yet again, and then decided not to go to sleep after all, even though I know that old recommendation doesn’t apply anymore. Do need rest, especially considering the plan for tomorrow, but right now I am also getting somewhat concerned over the possible consequences of hitting my head so often, since I seem to keep doing it lately, with plenty of light hits between the more noticeable ones, which are rather frequent as well. This time I also hit it against an edge again, and even if I didn’t end up with a scratch this time, there was quite a bump, and you can easily see the spot even if I kept frozen meat there for a while, since we don’t have ice in the freezer. We should have ice there from now on at least, since it’s becoming quite clear that I’ll need it frequently, but holding something frozen there also means I’ll end up feeling really cold. It’s been over three hours since I stopped holding that frozen meat there and I still can’t get that chill out.


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