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Before Bucharest Half Marathon 2018

The previous post just covered May 13 and the personal post before it was on May 4, so this starts with May 5, when I walked the route of the half marathon, which was quite different from those from the previous years. Since it no longer goes through this area, I took the metro to the starting location and actually walked it start to end. Turned back a little before what would be the finish line, not crossing to get back to Constitution Square when I had passed through it once before, but went a bit around one area where I couldn’t use the sidewalk due to construction work and also went a fair bit farther in one place where there was a difference between what the map of the route showed and what the description said, so I went all the way to the spot mentioned in the description, just in case. Adding it all together, I walked some 25 kilometers, and at one point, as I was on Victoriei and Elisabeta, a sudden strong wind brought dark clouds. I think there was some distant lightning, but that wind was the problem, as it was strong enough to actually make it pretty hard to walk at times and it got dirt and leaves and who knows what else in my eyes and nose.
Got a bit worried pretty early on when, before even reaching the National Library, I think between the fountains and it, that spot above my right ankle where I almost had what I believe was a stress fracture two years ago started hurting again. But that went away… And some time later, on Berzei or even earlier, on Parvan, my left foot started hurting instead. And that kept hurting, getting somewhat better after a while as I walked but continuing to hurt and feeling quite strained after I got back. And that area where it started hurting was the one that concerned me anyway, having a pretty steep slope at one point and going somewhat up and down in general, and otherwise being quite unpleasant either way. So if I ended up with problems even while walking it, running there was definitely a worrying prospect.
Either way, since I was passing by it anyway I also checked the prices at that other place that I keep meaning to buy something from and never do, noticing that they had increased them compared to what I saw last year and what’s listed on-line. Took pictures of the list while I was there, but somehow missed the fact that the bottom part, where what I was actually most interested in was, ended up outside the shot, so while I remembered the price, all things of that type having the same one, I couldn’t see exactly what was available anymore. Not that it mattered anyway, since I didn’t get anything from there now either. Nor from that pizza place that I used to get a pizza from after a half marathon so far, though I also checked their prices on-line that night, noticing increased prices there as well, and also a few changes in the types of pizza available.

The next day I rather randomly checked a gaming forum that I used to be very active on way back and which I keep meaning to log on to once per month, since at one point, also many years ago, I thought I saw something stating that accounts that are completely inactive for over a month may be deleted. Highly doubt that was actually done, or at least not for accounts that had a fair amount of activity in the past, and I hardly ever remembered to do that so often anyway, so I usually logged on a few to several times per year, but now I guess I did so just in time to see that it was going to close for good on May 20, after the site itself otherwise shut down on April 18. Was actually still following the news on the site, glancing at the headlines through RSS and clicking to read the occasional article that seemed more interesting, and I should have noticed that those suddenly vanished, but I didn’t really pay that much attention to that fact and didn’t check to see what was going on right away.
The owner of the site said that part of the reason is GDPR coming into effect, as there are tens of thousands of users with personal data in the trading sections and any one of them could at some point cause problems, but it seems more of an excuse, since he also said that the site never made ends meet and was always more of a hobby, and other sections had stopped being maintained or had even been removed before and ended up redirecting to something else, so I guess he just used this as an opportunity to shut down the whole thing. Not that it’s not true that GDPR has plenty of issues and actually “managed” to turn what should have been a very positive change into quite a problem, not going nearly far enough when it comes to data gathered without users voluntarily submitting it, ensuring that personal information is not required if not actually necessary and making terms and policies be clear and easy to understand and not longer than they have to be, but giving anyone what pretty much amounts to the “right” to rewrite history on a personal level, modifying or deleting anything they themselves submitted and made public at any point. And that’s on top of that awful “right to be forgotten” ruling forcing search engines to remove results related to the past of those who request it. I mean, one of the basic rules of the Internet was that it never forgets, and that’s exactly how it should be!
But to return to the forum in question, it was one of the first places I was seriously active in, from 1999, or perhaps even 1998 on the old one. Not that I was active for that long, but I seem to remember having around 1000 posts, or maybe just a bit over, in early 2000 when I pretty much ran away from there, though now it finds just under 1000 in total, which may be explained by some threads being deleted and apparently at least one section being entirely removed at some point. After that, still in 2000, I see a few more posts in a day in April and a fair number over the last three days of July. Then just three posts in a day in February of 2002, asking for some advice about the components I wanted to purchase and being angered by the replies and the forum software, then a handful of posts again in February of 2003, possibly marking an attempt to return that didn’t last long, two more in 2007, asking for advice after that HDD failure, two more in 2008, to donate the old computer when I got the components and built a new one back then, and a few more in 2012, asking for options after the network I was in was taken over by one of the major ISPs, though the last two just answered some questions I happened to spot about Divinity Anthology, which I had just purchased. As for the last two before the one posted in the dedicated “goodbye” thread this month, those were from 2015, when the network I had switched to in 2012 was taken over by the one I still am in.
Despite not being active there in so long, I have plenty of memories, both good and bad, about that place. And it’s a connection to some better days, of the Internet as a whole I mean, that is now going away. That forum was also probably the place I got most involved with in that way, not a moderator on the forum itself from what I recall but creating and at first administering their IRC channel too. It was where I seriously got to speak my mind and argue back then, clarify values and ideals… And the community found there was quite something back then too, though I gather from the posts I saw now that it was no longer the case for many years now, which is hardly surprising, considering how things are going everywhere.

Moving on, the next day I finished the book I was reading, which required going to the bookstore I got it from for free, since that copy was missing the last chapter and the last bit of the one before it. So I left just before 8:45 PM and read the last chapter that was in my copy on the metro, at the station I got off at and actually on the street, on the way to the bookstore. Once there, after quite some time spent searching, I found the one copy they seemed to have of it on a shelf, which did have those pages mine was missing, even though they weren’t aligned correctly, having a large empty space at the top and the page numbers missing, as they’d have ended up below the bottom of the page. But all the actual text was there, so I sat down to finish reading, which may have taken me less than ten minutes, meaning that it may have taken me a bit longer to find it than to read. It was 9:35 PM when I finished, so wasn’t rushing, since they close at 10 PM, and I could just leave the copy I had with the employee who was there, telling her what had happened. She apologized but didn’t offer to replace it and I didn’t ask, and also said I have nothing to do with it when she said I could just keep it, explaining that I wanted to donate it but I obviously couldn’t donate an incomplete book.
It was about 10:10 PM when I got back, so even just managed to write and post the quick review for that book before midnight. My left foot wasn’t happy with the fact that I had walked again, but it was manageable, and I had been pretty careful, not running even if that meant just seeing a light turn red and having to wait for it to turn green again, and taking stairs slowly and one at a time. Really felt odd to walk that way, but I knew I had to if I wanted my foot to get better before the half marathon.

Not much to say about the next day. One thing would be that I started scenario 12 of that “Divine Empire” series in Disciples, which I only managed to finish on May 11, being stubborn enough to get my main leader all the way to level eight this time around. And the other would be that I added a privacy information page, just in case. Of course, also took the opportunity to quickly state my opinion about those aspects of the GDPR, and also of that “right to be forgotten” thing, that I mentioned above.

Skipping to May 10, wandered around, got a few things from this farmers’ market and a little thing from Auchan, where I also took the plastic bottles to the recycling machine, though I forgot a couple of them. And speaking of that little thing, it was something sold by weight and since I got a little more than I meant to and couldn’t put any back, I’ll admit I cheated a bit, pulling on the bag as I weighed it and ending up paying for 104 grams instead of the 134 I actually got. And after doing that I noticed an older man waiting behind me, so I guess he noticed, but didn’t say anything.
At that point I thought I missed the free bus I needed, but when the next one came I realized that was actually the better one, so I took it to where I wanted to go next… And promptly went the wrong way after getting off. Realized it after a while and went back, checking the two hypermarkets in that area as well but finding nothing I wanted. And I also went and checked out this pizza place that I actually ended up ordering from after the half marathon, having a look at a menu to see the details of their special offer, which aren’t listed on-line. Seems to just be intended for deliveries, not a place where you could sit and eat too, and as soon as I walked in somebody came to me and seemed to want to know what I wanted to order, but I just did what I went there to do quickly, since there was a pile of menus that I saw right away, and left without saying anything. Think I spotted the guy moving the menus away after that though, so they’ll be more out of sight, which seemed odd.
After getting back, I went back out to a place that organized a swap or free shop then, to drop off the whole pile of issues of National Geographic which had gathered since the previous time I dropped off a pile at such an event. Oddly, though the place is a cat cafe, I was greeted by a little dog, which had been left at the door and kept barking at me as I got there. But I just went in, dropped off the magazines, told a guy who approached me as I was setting them down and apologizing to a cat I had almost hit that they’ll be there in case somebody wants them, and meant to have a look around, checking out the place as well as what others had brought, though it seemed that, as expected, there hardly was anything else that wasn’t an item of clothing. But the guy tapped me on the back and said something that I think was “you made a gesture” and then asked if I wanted a beer, to which I said no and meant to just walk away. However, he didn’t give up so easily, asking if I had something to do, so I said I did and then had a quick look at the other room before just getting out of there.
Did sort of mean to check Kaufland again, to see the evening discounts, and also a confectionery, to see how the prices had changed from what I knew, so can’t say I lied when I said I had something to do, but decided against it on the way and as a result I got back at 7:45 PM. My foot, which had mostly recovered by then, had started hurting again even so, after all that walking. But it wasn’t bad, and I had a couple of days left before the half marathon, so I wasn’t exactly worried.
And before moving on, should also mention that the issue with the cause I meant to support out of the fee for this year’s marathon seemed solved that evening. Truth be told, I’m not sure I actually selected one, meaning to but possibly deciding to wait until dad would actually say he can come and make the payment, and then perhaps forgetting when he said he’ll come right away. But I had sent them a message to ask whether the fact that no cause was listed for me was due to an error, and in the first reply I was told there was a cause listed, but for the half marathon. So I replied to point out that I had sent the message from the marathon’s site and had supplied the reference number for my registration there, and after that they said they fixed it, adding the organization I had mentioned, which I could see when I checked. However, I can’t know whether they’ll actually donate that part of my fee to them or just added a bit of text…

Checked that farmers’ market again the next day, but still didn’t find one thing I wanted and the other was still too expensive. So, since I had the metro card, I went to another part of the city, to a farmers’ market that I knew to be cheaper. Also checked a hypermarket that’s there, not that I found anything, and had a quick look at a supermarket from the area as well, after going all around and eventually following a guy to cross in a spot where there wasn’t a crossing, because it’s hard to find how to cross the road there to the market, if you don’t come out of the metro station on that side.
As for that farmers’ market, it is cheaper than others, but also quite crazy, and I rather doubt there are many actual farmers selling their stuff there, even in the area where others shouldn’t be allowed. Still, found cheaper Romanian tomatoes, but still nothing from Romania at the few that sold the kind of peppers that I wanted. Found some selling some supposedly from Spain though, so at least they were from the European Union, and the price was also very good for this time of year, but when I just took four I was told they won’t be weighed and they’ll be 1 RON each, since the listed price only applied if I bought at least one full kilogram. Since that would have likely worked out to at least 50% more, and maybe close to double the listed price, I gave them back and walked away, which prompted the men there to shout after me, start laughing, tell me to come back because one will give me something, didn’t quite get what and didn’t care. That was false advertising and I wanted none of it.
The problem was that I still hadn’t purchased tomatoes and wasn’t sure how to get back to those selling the cheaper ones without passing by those guys again, so I first went back to the stairs leading inside and stood there for a moment, figuring out where I needed to go and how to get there. Then made my way to those tomatoes and decided to buy some large ones that weren’t the cheapest ones available and which seemed rather too large and nice to me, but my mother seemed to think they were very good when I showed them to her later. There were others that were slightly cheaper and looked quite ugly on the outside, but a couple were cut and they seemed very nice inside, so I was tempted to buy some of those at first, but eventually decided against it since I didn’t know whether I’ll manage to pick some better ones with the person selling being there. So I got five of that other kind and asked for them to be weighed, being told it’s just under one kilogram and asked whether one more should be added to get to 10 RON, but in fact I couldn’t even afford the 8 RON for one kilogram with what I had on me, so I said I actually wanted less and took the largest one out. It struck me as a little odd when I was told the new total was exactly 6 RON, as I couldn’t see the listed weight well, but then I checked, both on another scale in the market and on the one actually meant for verifying, and those four tomatoes indeed weighed exactly 750 grams.
After that, with the tomatoes in a bag, under the jacket I had with me just in case, I went to pick up my race kit, reaching the area not long after the time when they were supposed to start handing them out to registered runners but nevertheless finding quite a line. Actually, I first saw a line outside, at the tent for registration letters, though plenty had their letters, so I assumed they didn’t know that in that tent they just print them out for those who didn’t do so themselves and didn’t sign on-line either. Since I had signed mine on-line and had the picture on my phone, already open and with the area with the bar code enlarged, since I assumed that was what they needed, I went straight inside, first waited for a bit in the line for those who were registering there, then realized my mistake and moved on to the next. Or to one of the next two, since they were both for picking up the envelopes for the half marathon and a single person was being served at that one, while a few were standing in line at the other. However, that single person had quite a pile to pick up, so I actually ended up waiting longer… And then found out that, even though the instructions sent had stated that those who signed on-line should have the registration letter open on their phone, nobody cared for that, instead being asked for the number and my ID card, to check whether the name matched that number.
Then came the wait, as the line for the t-shirts started pretty much right there where I was, though those participating in other races were picking up their numbers and timing chips a bit farther on, so I just moved to the side rather than forward. And that line went to the other end of the tent, turned around on the other side and obviously continued to where t-shirts were being handed out, close to the exit. And that did not include the people signed up for the popular race, the line for those being in a separate tent. So a lot of people had the same idea I had, to go early in order to avoid the rush, expected more for the evening and for the next day. But the guy giving the t-shirts was still in a very good mood at the time, making a bit of a show as he grabbed each, threw it in the air, grabbed it again, handed it to the runner and stamped the envelope to state that the t-shirt had been delivered.
A shorter wait came after that, as the race kits were being handed out right after the t-shirts. However, there were two lines there and people were pretty much just crowding together, some trying to get ahead, most ending up at the older guy making the kits and leaving few for the girl, but both of them and a couple of others who were helping were trying to keep up. The problem was that the race kits were being put together there on the spot, the volunteer picking up a bag and putting inside what should be given to the runner, depending on the race they were registered for. That obviously leaves plenty of room for mistakes, and I did wonder whether I shouldn’t have gotten one of those cans that were there, I believe with some exotic fruit mix, as well, but I saw a single box of them and one guy with a number below 1000, so starting in sector B, getting one, so maybe they were just for the fast runners. Then again, at first I didn’t even notice that I had gotten both magazines either, at first picking another copy of one up from the Let’s Do It Romania place before realizing there was indeed one in my bag and putting that one back.
Once outside, I actually went back in quickly to glance at something else I had spotted while waiting in line, then finally went to the metro station to get back. That still left time to notice one more interesting thing, when a man and a woman, probably around 50 or so, got on next to me after switching trains. They were speaking in Spanish, and while she also seemed to have the accent I do believe she was actually Romanian, since she leaned in to whisper the Romanian word for something to him at one point. But what caught my attention was how they looked, a somewhat “hippie” look for her, considering the clothes and the dreadlocks in a few different colors, while he looked like someone used with being in the wilderness, quite a bear of a man, beard, sturdy but seriously worn clothing, pockets, pouches, leather boots with quite a few straps… And they also had quite a few stacked suitcases and bags. The guy didn’t seem to be used to the metro at all though, or to standing in moving vehicles in general, as he almost fell on top of me twice as the train got moving, before I moved aside and he, apparently quite gratefully, leaned against the wall where I had been standing.
After finally getting back, I ate a big bag of corn puffs and that really didn’t make me feel well. Stopped after half of it, talked to my parents for a while, but came back and finished it after that, which obviously only made it worse. Had plenty of gas, there was a weird feeling in my stomach, throat and mouth, then after showering I was quite out of it and shaking badly too. Partially recovered while making salad that night, after wasting over half an hour moving some cheese that wasn’t looking well anymore into a jar. Threw away a fair bit of it, and also had to move it twice, since I noticed after moving most of it that the first jar I had picked up was cracked. Also ate a little bit of it then, mostly licking the spoon I had used a few times. Stomach was not happy, but since I nearly finished that cheese since then and there were no more problems, quite sure that was all due to the corn puffs for some reason. And at least the foot was doing better. Hurt again while walking, but got better as I kept going and tried to walk in a few slightly different ways, and in the evening it didn’t start hurting again, actually seeming quite fine.

As for May 12, I tried to get back to bed around 5 PM, or maybe a little after that, after watching the first half of a handball match and seeing that things were not going well. Actually may have fallen asleep a bit later, but if I did I woke up almost immediately, hearing my parents getting ready to go to the dentist, at 5:45 PM. Couldn’t get back to sleep after that, so I just stayed in bed until 7:10 PM, then went to make myself a large salad and a lot of pasta and took a pretty huge serving to my room. Only barely managed to get here with the food as the first song of the Eurovision final was starting. And then I finished eating just before 11:30 PM, when the first song after the second planned break was starting.
Since I had written the bit about the semifinals already and did my best to write the rest of the post after the songs ended, I could post the first post about this year’s Eurovision minutes after the end of the broadcast. Then I got ready, putting everything in my bag, pinning the number on the t-shirt and otherwise checking that everything was in order, while watching a recording of the qualifying for the race and part of the recording of that handball match’s second half.
Once it was all done, I got in bed, just after 3:30 AM… And just after suddenly starting to feel pain in a spot in my left foot again, probably after not being careful with the position I had held it in when I quickly got back at the computer to check one more thing just before going to bed. Or, more exactly, before going to bed the first time, because I remembered I didn’t put the pasta in the fridge and got back up a little before 4 AM to do that, also taking the opportunity to go to the bathroom one more time. By then I had also realized that in that post about Eurovision I had included a paragraph copied from the previous year’s first one, forgetting to edit it, but I obviously didn’t try to fix it then.


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