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Before My First Marathon

Until I’ll get around to writing about race day, let me catch up on the period before it, starting with October 6, when I left a bit after 2 PM, maybe around 2:10 PM, rushing and forgetting to take out the recyclables too. The plan was to cover a part of the route of the marathon, including the area I didn’t know, and get to the other Auchan in time to take the 6:05 PM bus to get to this pharmacy before closing too, since it closes at 6:45 PM on Saturday. And it went very well, despite thinking I was losing valuable time when I had to wait quite a bit for my turn at the toilet in Izvor Park. On that part of the route that I didn’t know I also found a metro card with eight trips left, seeming to have just been dropped but being on the sidewalk that goes along the river, where very few people walk. Reached the end of that part of route, the turning point, around 5:15 PM or so, and was at that Auchan before 5:30 PM, giving me time to even shop a bit and still be out around 5:50 PM, needing to wait for the bus to leave, which was also a couple of minutes late.
At that Auchan I found boxes of that yogurt that were expiring later, so could get one, also that energy bar that wasn’t available at the Auchan I usually go to, and frozen corn, which also seemed to be missing there. Forgot to check for mushrooms though, and while I saw very cheap unpackaged soy, they didn’t have cubes like that, and even though the slices were also much cheaper than even the unpackaged cubes at the other one, I didn’t get any then. As for the pharmacy, did find the gel I wanted for the marathon, so grabbed two of those, but not something else which Alma had recommended to use after it, so decided to just give up on that idea. Also grabbed something dad wanted, but he wanted four and possibly one of a different kind as well and I just found three of the kind of pills he was mainly interested in, so just got those and didn’t try to ask about the other kind, since you need to stand in line and ask for those and I only got out with the other things five minutes before closing anyway.
There’s another thing I need to mention though, and that’s that when I reached Constitution Square the second time as I was walking the route I felt my left foot start hurting again, seeming like it was about to start feeling like it had when I walked the route of this year’s half marathon, so I tried to figure out exactly why that was happening and noticed that I sort of “threw” that leg while walking. Also noticed, while I was trying to correct that issue, that I may not quite have the full movement range of that ankle anymore, possibly due to hitting myself and that bump that’s left there now. But I was careful to keep my walking style in check and the foot stopped hurting, and it was fine after that day as well.

October 6 was also the first day of voting in the referendum, but I meant to wait and see what the turnout will be anyway, so I just kept my eyes on the announced numbers the next day. Complained against the campaign to boycott it all along and stressed that I was going to vote against the proposed change no matter how many attacks are aimed at those who vote, and I’d have felt terrible if I wouldn’t have voted, seeing how I keep stressing, and definitely believe, that if you don’t vote you lose any right to have the authorities pay any attention when you try to complain or make suggestions after that, but I did seriously consider going against all of that this one time for the cause and not vote after all if it’d be close, saying I will go vote as soon as the turnout will be announced to have reached the required 30% or if it’ll be under 20% at the last report. Would have really wanted to vote if it’d have just been under 25%, but in that case I’d have seriously considered giving an invalid vote.
Fortunately, there was no reason to be torn in the end, since the turnout was clearly low all along and still under 20% at the last report, at 8:30 PM, with data from 7 PM. So I waited for that report, ready to go right out, and did just that as soon as I saw the numbers, since there was absolutely no danger of the referendum being valid anymore. The person responsible for my address was a young woman who might have been from one of the parties supporting the boycott, and at the time I thought that was why she looked at me suspiciously and took her time to check my information before giving back my ID card after I voted, showing her displeasure that someone of my age and living in this area voted, but after I thought about it for a while I remembered that the guy responsible for my address at the previous elections had placed two stickers on my card, then removed one when I pointed it out, obviously leaving some glue there that attracted dirt since then, giving someone glancing at the card reason to believe I might have voted already and removed the sticker to vote again, since the system to check this in real time wasn’t used now.

The plan for the next day was to cover the rest of the marathon’s route, since I could use dad’s card to get back to Unirii Square, to start from there, and leave after I’ll end up at Izvor. Sure, mostly knew that part of the route, but obviously still wanted to walk it just before the race. Later learned that a part of the map listed on the site was wrong, so I didn’t know what that small detour would involve until I actually ran it, and the end of it sure was unpleasant, but at the time I just walked the route I knew, having worked out a plan that was even more efficient than what I had originally meant to do, to repeat as little as possible during this walk, even if during the race I’ll have to go both ways or more than once through certain areas. And that really was necessary that time, since I only left around 4:15 PM and was still some way from finishing when it got dark, actually getting to that part that goes through Cismigiu Park, which I didn’t know at all, after dark. And while that was clear once I got there, after leaving the park I got rather confused again, thinking I had walked too far and spending some time trying to get some directions or a map to load on my phone before giving up and just continuing, which proved to be the right choice, as I actually hadn’t walked far enough. Not that I needed darkness to get confused that day, since it first happened at Victory Square, where I chose the wrong road to continue on, realizing it and getting myself to the right one after quite some time. Not much of a problem there though, since I had to go both ways anyway, so walked all parts of that road, just not all of it in both directions.
Was finally back at the Izvor metro station at 8:05 PM, took the metro to the nearest stop to the other Kaufland and went there to get a bag of that kind of pasta that I wanted to make just before the race. Got out of there at 8:50 PM and walked to the other Auchan, getting just the soy, since I couldn’t find any of those mushrooms there, and at the same time definitely confirmed that they don’t carry that kind of pasta, since I walked in with the bag from Kaufland and tried to scan it for a price check, the machine stating that the product was unknown. When I went in, I thought I might just even have a chance at catching the 9:25 PM free bus, but it was just after 9:30 PM when I got back out, so thought I’ll take the 9:35 PM one and walk from where that leaves me, yet there were none of that number there at all and I saw a couple of other people wondering what was going on, so a few minutes after it should have left I decided to just walk, being in front of the door at 10:15 PM. If I’d have waited for the 10 PM bus and it would have left on time, I should have been here earlier and without having to walk, but had no way of knowing that won’t also fail to show up.
Later, after showering, the wax clogging my left ear for a long time now moved in a bad position again and I’ve kept struggling with it ever since. It was very bad just then, and that also affected my balance and I knew I had to do something about it before the marathon, but while it seemed better after a couple of days, it still feels a bit wrong even now. Should do something about it someday, but that’s scary too… Though at least that night I had a reason for annoyance to make me think of it somewhat less, after I tried to get something out of the freezer and a plastic box with some herbs fell out, the lid flying off as it was in the air and the box ending up face-down, some of the herbs spilling all around. Tried to quickly wash and brush off the top layer of what was left before putting it back, then cleaned what was on the floor, with the cats appearing very interested in what I was doing.

Went back to Auchan the next day, to the usual one this time, since I definitely still needed those mushrooms. Had no intention of walking more than I had to at that point, so went out some seven minutes before their free bus should have arrived, and it of course ended up being a similar number of minutes late, so had to wait for quite some time. Also had to get something for the cats, and got some more of their food too while I was there, plus a few other things, a tea actually being the result of me miscalculating how far some money dad had given me earlier would go and leaving me with less for the farmers’ market, but it was fine anyway.
Not sure how to feel about a guy getting my attention and handing me a 5 RON bill as I was looking at bread, saying he saw me looking and that I should get myself a croissant or something. Refused him and quickly got away from that area, and by doing so and starting to look for the other things at that moment, I ended up walking past the spot where an employee had apparently fainted, others gathering around, holding her, getting a chair, trying to wake her up with alcohol and vinegar… When they put her in the chair, a guard was trying to both help those holding her and hold the chair at the same time and didn’t quite seem to manage it, so I rushed to hold that chair for a few seconds, then went on my way again. Hope she ended up being all right in the end…
Did have to return to the bread area though, since dad had also asked me to get him some bread, and he wanted it sliced too, using the machine that’s there. I definitely wouldn’t use that, but if he wanted it like that, I did, struggling to slice all five, leaving others who had less to use it after each, and also struggling to put each bread back in the plastic wrapping I got it in, not taking another bag. Had both an employee and another customer tell me that those bags will tear, but they didn’t, so I managed it in the end, though it took a whole lot longer than I thought it would, so after doing that and getting the mushrooms and tea as well, I noticed that it was just the time when the next bus should leave, and I had no intention of trying to make it to the other one, leaving ten minutes later, and walking part of the way. So I just wandered around a while longer, then accidentally used a classic checkout instead of one of the “fast” ones, and got to the bus stop quite early for the next one, which got a bit uncomfortable when a guy started muttering something, then asked why was I standing and to come sit down, which prompted me to walk to the other end of that area.
Once back, it was very obvious that dad had a cold. Had warned me about it a few days before, but it was getting worse and I really couldn’t afford anything of the sort, so I had to be as careful as possible, and in the end it worked out, as I didn’t get it. My headphones were also a concern, as the broken part of the side I had recently glued again had pretty much gotten loose the night before and that side was largely falling apart, so I didn’t put them on during the day, only doing so again, very carefully, at night. But I’ve kept doing that ever since, simply being careful, and they didn’t fall apart completely just yet, though I’m sure they will soon enough unless I finally glue them again, if there’s any chance for that glue to hold. Admittedly, hadn’t actually glued that part that’s broken off then, and something else broke off at that time, making one of the screws no longer do anything at all, which put added pressure on a fix which was bad to begin with.

On October 10 I received Divinity: Original Sin from the Community Giveaway on the GOG.com forum, after having asked for it myself when I saw five copies suddenly show up. Was actually looking for Dragon Age: Origins, since there had been copies dropped in the list multiple times during the sale and I actually just missed a couple of them, so even took to checking on my phone when I woke up to go to the toilet, but when I did so one morning, apparently on October 7, I spotted those instead and decided it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass on and the number of copies made me feel little guilt over it even if I won’t be able to start the game on this computer. Did start to feel rather guilty when it was suggested, and then confirmed, that those keys had been donated by the same guy who does those massive giveaways in which I had already won first The Witcher 3, back in spring, and then, only last month, a free choice of a game, which I used for Lords of Xulima, but I had already asked and I do want to have that game around, so that was that. And at least I had purchased codes for Bloodlines and Theme Hospital during the sale and dropped them in the Community Giveaway then, to give something back.

The next day I went to the farmers’ market, getting the last things I wanted to get before the marathon, and spent over three and a half hours in the kitchen after dad left. But it was what I saw on the way to and from the market that worried me, since workers seemed to be finishing connecting that, and in fact this, entire area to this network of underground cables supposed to replace all those used by the LANs left in the city, and I knew that years ago, when this project started, they would force all cables to be removed in the areas covered this way. Looked things up after seeing that and noticed that the project had been resumed last month, after having apparently been blocked since 2013 just because of these practices that drove LANs out of business, but the authorities are yet to regulate it in a manner that would change things, though they have done so in another city, so there may be hope, question being whether it won’t be far too late for most… Including for me, especially considering what happened Saturday.

Moving on to the next day, that was when I picked up my race kit, getting there a little after 3 PM and finding that at least there weren’t long lines this time around. However, the system failed just before the couple who was ahead of me, and the volunteer who was there said it was the second time that day, and the schedule stated they’d only start handing out the kits at 1 PM. The people managing the system, who seemed to be Italian, started running around and seeming quite concerned, but she wasn’t worried, saying it had fixed itself after some five minutes the first time and will likely do so again, which was proven correct. So I could move on to get my t-shirt soon enough, the volunteer who was handing them out asking everyone what size they wanted regardless of whether they had one reserved or not, which I gather resulted in them running out of certain sizes soon after that. Though I can see the point, it seemed strange that the t-shirt seemed sealed at the top, making me struggle for a bit to try it on before I realized that and carefully pulled it apart, which may have caused some threads to come loose.
Then I went to get the rest of the stuff, the bag and what they put in it, but since I was still paying attention to the t-shirt I didn’t notice that there were two volunteers and a line in front of one, since the line was hiding him from view, so I just saw that there was nobody in front of the other one and went straight there, only to realize after he asked the other guy what the kits for the marathon were that this guy was supposed to just hand out the kits for the half marathon runners. I pointed out that the balloons didn’t say there were different lines, that only being written on some pieces of paper that were on the desk and impossible to see if there was a line, and he said it doesn’t say they’re different, but different things go in the bags. Was somewhat concerned that I ended up with a half marathon kit as a result, especially when I saw no energy bar or tablet in the bag, but then again I had two cans of pineapple pieces and one liter of almond milk, which I doubt would be given to half marathon runners, so I guess it’s just that Isostar decided to not give things for free this time around.
Speaking of Isostar, they may not have given things out, but they were selling them cheaper this time around, as I noticed that the energy bar I had purchased from Auchan was cheaper at the Isostar stand that was there, which hadn’t been the case before and was a bit frustrating. What was a whole lot worse, however, was noticing that difference in the route which I mentioned above, a detour which showed up on the course map that was there and which was not on the map on the site, so I couldn’t have known of it before then and therefore walked straight past it when I checked the route. Tried to ask about it on-line after getting back, but the only answer was from another guy who was also wondering about it, the organizers not saying anything.

As for Saturday, the previous post covers the problems with the Internet access and how that made me too worried to be able to get back to sleep that afternoon or evening, which had initially been the plan. But at least that meant that I cooked after waking up, while dad was away, so in the evening I just made the salad as well and ate, though the time spent doing that meant that my computer worked on just one CPU core for 55 minutes that evening, since I had suspended all SETI@home work units except the one long and few short ones, to be able to better estimate the amount of work left if my Internet access won’t be restored the next day, and forgot about it, the short ones finishing well before I got back to my room. Either way, once I did get back, I probably ate about as much as I do in two days. Did otherwise only have a normal “breakfast” that day though, and finished by 1:30 AM, to have a full eight hours to digest everything before the start of the race.
After making sure everything was ready, was in bed around 3:20 AM, and probably fell asleep around 4 AM, though at 4:30 AM I was already getting up to pee, probably mainly because of the salad, and had to do so again at 5:25 AM. Worse, found it difficult to get back to sleep that second time, feeling hot, having gas, some body parts feeling numb and generally feeling like I was about to have a panic attack. Did just manage to fight it off and get a bit more sleep eventually though, before waking up when the alarm rang, at 6:45 AM.

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