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New Second Bests for Both 16 and Ten Kilometers

This will be long, and I wrote it over two days, despite leaving the Botanical Garden part, where I volunteered again on March 24, for another time. Also considered taking part in an event to clean up a certain area of the city, this morning, but decided against it. And when I started writing it I assumed I won’t be planting trees this spring, since one group just announced on Thursday that Saturday they will plant close to Bucharest, the first event I found to take place around here this time around, but they need only 50 people, which was the reason for the short notice, and they won’t offer transportation, so I won’t be going. Found another group that seems to call for volunteers to plant trees far away, at Sinaia, on April 6, offering transportation from Bucharest, but I don’t know anything about them and they don’t give details about what will be provided and what people should bring, or even if the transportation will need to be paid, plus that planting in a mountain area is usually hard, so I’m not risking it, not even to ask.
However, last night I noticed a sponsored post on my Facebook feed, from the page of the half marathon, calling for volunteers to plant trees tomorrow in Baneasa Forest, at the outskirts of Bucharest, and while they don’t offer transportation, you can get close to the location by bus. Would normally want to avoid buses, but I’ll use one for this, and hope I won’t get lost after that, getting to the location on roads that seem to go through the forest. In fact I thought I’ll have to walk on roads going right through the forest all the way, since another bus stop seemed closer to the listed location to me, but when I asked they said to get off at the stop before that, which would mean walking right on the edge of the forest, between it and what seems to be the Police Academy, before eventually turning right on a road going right through the forest to reach the actual location. That the actual organizers are those who built a residential complex in the area, clearing a part of the forest and pushing to clear even more in order to build another access road, bothers me, but I’m not going to not plant trees because of that. Will need to somehow sew those old pants I keep around for such events tonight though, since they tore badly when I was at the Botanical Garden.

Moving on, the problem with Emsisoft Anti-Malware still wasn’t fixed and I doubt it will be, even if resetting to factory settings made it work again for a little while, I found that updating manually causes it to fail and apparently the developers asked for logs. But I have zero confidence that it won’t freeze my computer again when I’ll turn logging back off if I turn it on again for this, and at this point pretty much gave it up as a lost cause, and the same goes for any chance to have functional security software working in a way that I could at least tolerate without huge amounts of frustration and even anger. Unfortunately, after seeing it fail yet again after I finally installed this month’s Windows updates too, on March 20, I ended up just about shitting myself, since that’s what happens when I’m worried about computer problems, and holding it in meant there was some blood again, after a long time. Not much, but it was there, and it was a few days before things seemed all right again.

About the site, still didn’t get around to copying any of those remaining old book reviews, but on March 16 I worked out a quick way to get my games played list display the quick reviews without changing the data structure and wrote the one for Hordes of the Underdark, some two and a half years after finishing it. Still plan to write one such review for Eschalon as well, but at the moment I no longer need more non-personal posts so urgently… And I wonder if I won’t make another one about that sex education forum I mentioned, since, much to my surprise, on the evening of March 22 I saw I had a reply from The Guardian about my submission, and out of everything I included in it, they said they were interested in that one and wanted more details… Which, of course, resulted in another reply that got away from me, so I only finished and sent it the next day, but then also sent a very short version as well, and then ended up exchanging a few messages with Ria too, after a very long time, after asking her if she knew more about exactly when it shut down.

It was the evening of March 20 when I just learned of the blackout, so I quickly set something up, and then on March 23 I obviously meant to take part in the protest, but I just wasted my time, walking there and back, arriving just before the announced start time of 1 PM, and standing around, one of only 15 people or so, including two from Sweden and one from Poland, and two girls who didn’t approach the group when they saw how few we were, waiting on a bench for a while and then just taking pictures of each other with their signs and leaving. Was also uncomfortable with the opinions expressed by some of the others who were there, as we just stood around and talked, but still stayed until 3:30 PM. The other event had the Bucharest protest listed as starting at 4 PM, the hour changing after it had been 3 PM, so I wondered whether at least a few more would come then, but I had wasted enough time by then and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference anyway. Did at least manage to write e-mails to the Romanian MEPs, Saturday night, so in the early hours of Sunday, so I at least did my part, despite the infuriating and frightening outcome.

Now, last week’s run was on March 18, 16 kilometers, and the time was 1:17:23, which is a new second best. Sector times were 4:16, 5:05, 5:49, 4:25, 4:55, 5:47, 4:31, 5:03, 5:56, 4:36, 5:09, 6:04, 4:40, 5:14 and 5:53, making for lap times of 15:10, 15:07, 15:30, 15:49 and 15:47. Aimed for a better time than last time, and preferably better than the 1:17:55 managed for this distance during the half marathon run, and then for 1:17:45, to be certain, so definitely managed all of that, despite hitting my right big toe on a bench during the few stretching moves I do before running. Had to wait a bit for the pain to subside and was worried that the nail jabbed the toe when I hit it, thought there’d be blood, but there was none, though a small bruise did seem to form under that nail.
Was a bit surprised to see lap two being faster than the first, then aimed for and just managed 15:30 on the third, though I doubted it all the way to the end of that lap. After that, I knew I could afford almost 16 minutes for the last two laps, but lap four was the key, as I was thinking of that 15:50 from last time and just managed to stay under it, then pushed with what I had left on lap five. Liver started hurting from the start of lap three, got quite bad towards the end of sector two and on sector three I felt I just couldn’t keep going like that anymore, but managed to snap my back the right way and change the way I was stepping and my posture and breathing, and by lap four I was fine again. There were a few warnings from my right knee, but not an issue.
Went out just a few minutes before 4 PM, the reported temperature was around 25°C and it was sunny, so wore just the half marathon t-shirt. There was a bit of wind in a few places on the first two laps, but not after that. There were plenty of people though, lost a bit of time because of that, had to go off the path a few times… One notable such moment was when I had to go around a bench too in order to get past a blocked spot, and then on lap five’s second sector there were a few different spots where the path was blocked, causing me to lose a bit of time as I found my way through. Did get a bit of help at the very end though, as a guy was running in front of me at that point and I gave it everything to catch him, likely making me a bit faster than I’d have been otherwise. Not sure that I would have caught him if he’d have held the inside, but he went on the outside on that last turn, though then again there was a wall of people forming right at the end of the lap, so I might have caught him there either way. And then an older woman seemed to congratulate me as I was approaching the park exit after the run, don’t know whether she thought I had just taken part in a competition or just because it was obvious I had made quite some effort and had likely taken part in a competition at least in the past, due to the t-shirt.

This week’s run was Monday, and the time was 47:05, in fact the exact time I saw being 47:05.34, which is a new second best over ten kilometers. Sector times were 4:24, 4:56, 5:49, 4:27, 4:57, 5:44, 4:26, maybe 4:53, maybe 5:45, and 1:44, making for lap times of 15:09, 15:08 and 15:04. Have plenty of exact times, remembered pretty much every one for the first two laps, but unfortunately couldn’t quite remember the time at the end of sector two of lap three, not long enough to write it down at least. I will add two exact times, since they were fast, and those are what was actually 4:55.87 on sector two of lap one, and 5:44.56 on sector three of lap two. About that sector two of lap three, however, I will go with 4:53, which would make sector three 5:45, since I know they were 10:38 put together. It may be 4:54 and 5:44, but other options seem far less likely, though not impossible.
I was too exhausted for my brain to work properly at that point; I know that after sector three I didn’t even calculate the time for that sector, relying on the fact that, at that moment, I remembered the time after the previous one and thinking I’ll calculate it on the way back, but then I didn’t quite get to that point, as I was going through all the times again, when I got to the building entrance and a man asked me something about this office that’s in the building. So, if I still remembered it then, the memories got messed up, and then I wanted to be sure I got those exact times for the first two laps right before writing down the third as well, at which point I realized I couldn’t remember that time at all, and it didn’t come back to me after that. Do recall something about deducting six or seven seconds, actually trying to figure out which one it was, from five minutes, and that memory seems to go with an image of the early part of sector three, and with being surprised that it was the fastest time on that previous sector, but there were other moments when I was wondering about six or seven seconds. However, at that point the six or seven thing went for two things, as 39:36 would have meant 4:53, so deducting seven seconds, and 39:37 would have meant 4:54, so deducting six. Also, I could remember another moment with 36 seconds, since after sector one of lap two I was at 19:36, but maybe even more importantly, if I had 39:36 at that point, so 4:53 over that sector, I’d have set 5:53 as ideal target for the next, since at that point I aimed to finish the three laps in less than 45:30, and then I know I had 1:53 as target for the final sector, since I just meant to get under 47:15, thinking I was too exhausted to do more than that, so all those times including 53 seconds in a row could have easily gotten confused in my exhausted mind.
Either way, it was past 4:10 PM when I went out, thinking that I couldn’t wait longer even though the wind was supposed to become less of a problem after 6 PM, since it was going to get even more crowded. And there were indeed plenty of people getting in the way, requiring me to weave around and briefly slow down to wait for an opening. Even did a few silly dances, including one with a girl on roller skates who came towards me with a fair bit of speed, and there was a moment with another girl on roller skates, on sector one of lap three, when she turned to look before turning but still did, right into my path, probably because she had already committed to it and her momentum carried her that way, unable to stop in time. And then there was that moment on the final sector when a child threw a ball in the air just as I was going around him and I just managed to have a quick enough reflex to punch it away from my face. No idea where it went, but that wasn’t my problem. But that wind I already mentioned was quite a problem in some areas, requiring me to turn my head a little and hold on to my cap, and at the worst moment, which was actually close to the end, on sector three of lap three, I found myself needing to sort of shield my face and struggle to advance against a particularly powerful, though fortunately brief, gust. And all of that came after volunteering at the Botanical Garden the day before, which meant that a few muscles and joints still hurt a bit as I started to run, so I thought it’ll be hard and just aimed for a normal time, under 48:30, at first, thinking I’ll need to push like crazy to manage even that. But those muscles and joints didn’t bother me while running, and pushing like crazy led to that result. My nose was really irritated after it though, and remained so even the next day, so until Wednesday it felt like I had a bad cold.

Moving on, burned bread by putting it in the microwave two more times, the first after setting it to about a minute and a half more after the looser slices were still soft after three minutes and ending up with the slices that were piled up burning during that time. The second time I burned far less, but it was after just setting it to three minutes, I guess because it was a different kind of bread, bought from Carrefour. However, the potentially dangerous moment was Tuesday and had to do with tea, as I tend to leave the water to boil as I go to the toilet and normally time things well enough to get back around the time it starts, so even if I fill the teapot all the way to the top, since it holds less than one liter even so, I’m there in case it spills over. But I had spent a couple of minutes washing something then, and then took a newspaper with me and meant to finish an article after I was otherwise done, so when I got back to the kitchen the fire was out and the gas still on. But the other windows were already open, so I just quickly turned the gas off, opened the kitchen window as well, waited a while, then first used the electric lighter for the stove next to the window, then got closer and turned the stove back on. After that, lit a candle and carefully carried it around, also climbing on things and putting it close to the ceiling while trying to keep my head down, in case any pockets had formed and drifted up. There didn’t seem to be a real risk, wouldn’t have done it if there was, but I wanted to make sure.

Getting back to the beginning of the period covered by this post, and since I mentioned the power failure in the previous personal post, it seems that whatever caused that outage that night required a longer one in another area the following day to properly fix. When I called, the area specified seemed to be past the address of the network I’m in, but I guess it affected them as well, since the announcement said the power will be out there between 9 AM and 5 PM and it was a few minutes after 5 PM when Internet access was restored for good. Saw in the logs that I first lost Internet access at 8:10 AM, but only for a couple of minutes, then it failed again at 9:15 AM, for almost 40 minutes, and then from 11:35 AM, only first recovering at 3:15 PM, only for some 15 minutes, then again at 4:20 PM, for a similar or slightly shorter amount of time, and then recovering for good another half an hour or so later.

Then come the little things, starting with March 16, when I woke up early, likely because of the noise dad made. Waited for a while and might have briefly drifted off again during that time, but was up by 10:30 AM, though it was 1 PM when I left. Took the recyclables to drop off on the way, checked prices at Carrefour, and got a few things from Kaufland, also finding several coins there, including a 0.50 RON one right when exiting, past the checkout. Left my purchases in a cabinet at Kaufland, to avoid more possible problems with those at Carrefour, which had been full when I looked anyway, and got back to Carrefour for a few more things, including getting bread from there this time. Saw a price label with a good price for the pack of yogurt I’d have wanted, but there were none left on the shelf. Then got back to Kaufland to get my stuff and came back around 3:30 PM. Tried to nap after putting everything in its place, but despite being sleepy I just wasted over one hour in bed without being able to sleep.

On March 19 I slept badly again, waking up to pee at 6:30 AM and tossing and turning until I finally managed to fall asleep again at some point after 8 AM, then waking up again because of the noise made by dad, once again possibly briefly drifting off as I waited but definitely being awake again, quite fully, soon after. Got up then, and rushed to grab something to eat and get ready to leave, just managing to be out at 11:40 AM. Was worried I’ll miss the free bus to Auchan, but it was five minutes late, so it was fine. But I first just checked prices there, finding that pack of yogurt more expensive than the price on that label I had seen at Carrefour and therefore deciding to leave it for another time, and also seeing that the recycling machine was again not working. Then walked to the Supeco which had just opened nearby, got a few things from there, walked back to Auchan, and went back in to get the spinach dad had asked me to get, since it was cheaper there, and some more bread for me. Think the machine gave me 0.20 RON more as change, since I’m quite sure there were no coins left in the tray before, to say that those were the extra ones. Either way, was out in time for the 1:50 PM free bus, dropped stuff off, left again at 3 PM, checked prices at Carrefour, still couldn’t find that yogurt I had seen the label for the previous time, got a few things from Kaufland, got back to Carrefour for just one thing, just keeping the stuff from Kaufland in the bag I had with me, since everything had Kaufland labels and either way nobody said anything, and got back here to drop stuff off yet again.
I wasn’t done though, so left yet again after that, at just about 5 PM. On the way to the other Carrefour, went in that pharmacy to look for toothpaste, not finding the kind I wanted, and also passed through the farmers’ market. After not finding that pack of yogurt at the other Carrefour either but getting a couple of other things, I got back to the market and got a few things. When I got the lettuce I noticed I had lost a plastic bag again, but that probably happened when checking out at Carrefour, when I was startled to be asked if I wanted a bag. Had headphones on, quickly pulled a bag out of my pocket to show that I had bags if I wanted them, but didn’t put those things in it, putting them in my jacket’s inside pocket instead, so it’s possible that I was too startled to keep track of everything anymore and just dropped the bag and forgot about it.
Either way, after wandering around the market I went back to the woman who had called after me to say that her radishes were 1 RON per bunch, finding her gathering her things and getting ready to leave. So got two bunches quickly, then saw green onions too and when I asked she said those were 2 RON per bunch, which seemed a bit much, several others selling similar bunches for 1.5 RON and noticeably bigger ones for 2 RON, but said might as well get it over with and get one. Should have probably haggled though, especially since she was just about to leave and I had given her a 5 RON bill, so if I’d have asked for two bunches for 3 RON, meaning that she wouldn’t have had to give me any change either, I think she’d have agreed, but of course I didn’t. Still, that meant I used that 1 RON left for one kilogram of apples, since I saw a lot of good enough apples at very low prices, those I got being even cheaper than the ones I got from Supeco, so felt a bit bad about getting those. But what was done was done, and I was finally back at 6:30 PM. Was a bit worried when something snapped in my left knee when I was making salad at night, rather hurting for a while and still bothering me even after I finished eating, but it seemed fine eventually.

On March 22 I wanted to take back those movies I had taken from the Library and then had a route planned, forgetting about ski jumping but remembering before I left and deciding to still go, only setting it to record, so I’ll see all of it later, albeit at low quality. Left at 3:15 PM and first went to that location of the Library where there were issues last time, and this time when I placed the DVD on the desk on the side that was closer to the entrance, the woman who was there held her other hand up, on the other side of her monitor, and told me in a voice that was somewhere between bored and annoyed to hand it to her on that side. Seriously, what the fuck? Then she asked for my pass as well, but I wasn’t sure I heard right and dismissed it as she said goodbye to another woman, probably a coworker, since at other locations they didn’t ask for my pass when returning things. So she asked again when I meant to leave, again sounding irritated, and I did point out that at other locations they don’t ask when I handed it over. At the second location, however, it all went smoothly once again, though I did give my pass too right away. The only thing was that a guy who was there and on the computer, quickly getting up to let the older woman working there do what she had to do to register the fact that I returned that DVD, read the name of the movie out loud and asked who wrote it, and then, after I said that it wasn’t written but a movie, he asked whether it was SF. But I just said it was a sort of fantasy and walked away as he took it to look over it.
From there, I went to the Carrefour from that area, that being the first stop on what would have been a long planned route, meant to check out various locations. But, quite surprisingly, found everything I wanted there, at good prices. Still not that pack of yogurt I was looking for, but heavily discounted yogurt that was expiring soon, so I could get four to have for the following days. Also found cat food at a good price and including the kind Rocky apparently likes, and since those we have here still had some of that type, I got some for him instead, for dad to take there. And also found the other thing dad wanted, their store brand instead of Kaufland’s, which is what I usually get for him when he wants more, but at the same price and seeming to be pretty much the exact same thing, and also produced in Romania instead of imported. The issue was that when I put it all together I found that the change I had seemed to be 0.01 RON short, so if I didn’t find a coin I’d have likely needed to break a large bill. Oddly enough, after looking around a bit and finding a 0.05 RON coin, I counted the change again and found that I actually had enough even in the first place, yet had somehow miscounted no less than three times before that. Either way, since I didn’t need to go anywhere else, I came right back after that, so I thought I’d be out until late in the evening and yet was back at 5:30 PM.

The next day, on my way back from that protest that unfortunately wasn’t actually a protest, I stopped at the Carrefour at Unirii as well, and for the first time noticed that it continues upstairs as well. Whether that was always the case or they expanded that store at some point, I have no idea, and I only happened to go there a few times anyway. Not that I bought anything then either, but had a look around, and was eventually back at 4:45 PM. Tried to take a nap in the evening, but spent about an hour and a half in bed and didn’t sleep at all. Probably would have, but one of dad’s phones beeped, probably because he got a message, just as I was drifting off. That woke me up completely and there was to chance to fall asleep after that.

As for March 27, wanted to check various Carrefours for expiring stuff first, starting with that one from Obor, where I had found everything I had been looking for and had seen many such things five days before. Was thinking I could also go to Auchan later, and perhaps also visit another location of the Library to pick up a few more movies, now that I got started. But as I was here at the computer, playing Lords of Xulima, dad asked whether I was awake and when I came out he asked whether I’ll go to the Library again. When I said I could go, he asked for a particular book, mentioning that he didn’t need it right away, but I checked where it was available and decided to go there, though it was a location I hadn’t been to before and not on my planned route. I had his metro card that day, and the site said they had The Martian at that location too, so I could strike something off my list as well anyway.
It was 4:20 PM when I left, taking out the paper to drop off as well, then went to Obor, accidentally went out of the metro station through another exit but that meant that instead of going to that Carrefour first, I went around, first checking out a Mega Image on the way and then the Kaufland from that area as well, which I had meant to do anyway, since I had never been to that one. Didn’t get anything from those, so got to that Carrefour after that and again saw a whole lot of things that were deeply discounted due to expiring soon, an employee struggling to find room to add more. So I got some better yogurt, again four of them despite the fact that they expire today, since they should still be good for a bit longer. As I was trying to decide how many to get, I also saw that the discounted price which I later saw should have applied as of yesterday had already applied at that location for some tofu, so I grabbed one of those too, then got back to the area with the expiring stuff and got one more thing. And that again meant that I got everything I had meant to get. Or not exactly what I had meant to get when I left, but enough to not need anything until Monday, and I was just about out of money anyway.
After that, went to that location of the Library. Left my pass on the desk as soon as I went in, to avoid any more issues, and started looking for the book dad wanted, in the section I thought it’d be in. It was a small section and I thought I’d find it quickly, but I didn’t, so I eventually asked the person working there and she told me it would be somewhere else, leading me there and pointing it out. She didn’t also get it for me though, and it was on one of the top shelves, but the ladder was right there and she had also pointed it out when I looked around, so I picked up the book as she went back to the desk and dropped it on her desk on my way to look through the movies. Did get a bit worried when I didn’t see my pass on the desk anymore when I placed the DVD there as well, and since there had been another one there when I had put it there, I was worried the other person might have taken it, even more so when she said she thought I had taken it back and told me to look. But I showed her I didn’t have it in the notebook I had kept it in and then tried to look on her desk as well, only to quickly be told not to do that and just look through my things. But, of course, there was no reason to look through my things, because I knew I didn’t take it, so I gave her the number and she checked out the stuff that way, then was saying that she’ll set it aside if she’ll find it, but I said I kind of need it and she looked again, and again told me to not look on her desk when I tried to do so as well. Still, at least she found it that time, so everything was fine and I could walk back, since it’d have probably taken me longer to get back to the metro station and then come back from there that way. Was back at 6:50 PM, really needing to pee. Had needed to pretty much since leaving that Carrefour.


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