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New Record Over a Half Marathon Distance

Covered a half marathon distance again yesterday, and despite the conditions I managed a time of 1:42:52, beating the previous record by 1:12! Sector times were 4:19, 5:08, 5:48, 4:27, 4:55, 5:47, 4:26, 5:00, 5:50, 4:29, 5:05, 5:52, 4:32, 5:10, 5:59, 4:41, 5:17, 6:07, 1:53, 6:12 and 1:55, making for lap times of 15:15, 15:09, 15:16, 15:26, 15:41 and 16:05, plus 10:00 on that final portion. So I gained on every single lap, and also on that final portion, compared to that previous record, though 51 seconds were gained on laps two and three, eight on the first, seven on the fourth and only six more after that. In addition, I have a new best time for 16 kilometers as well. Obviously don’t have a picture of that time, but I covered the five laps in 1:16:47, beating the previous record by seven seconds while still having over five kilometers to go. So, if I was saying last time that it’s not enough but it is something I can work with if I’m to aim for an official time under 1:45 in May, this is something I can definitely work with a whole lot better.
Can’t say I was completely recovered after wandering around and carrying stuff two days before, but the obvious thing was that my left arm was still a bit sore, so at least my legs seemed all right. My left ankle and right knee gave me a few warnings while I ran, but nothing serious, and my legs seem quite fine now as well. Did feel a bit sore when I woke up, especially the joints, most noticeably my left ankle, but that seemed to stop after I ate something, leaving me just feeling a bit weak. My nose is also a bit irritated and runny, but nothing like last week, and while my throat is still a bit sore as well, it’s less so than when I woke up yesterday and a whole lot less than Tuesday. Was actually worried then, my throat being really sore and thinking I definitely can’t afford anything like that now, but took something, made tea and tried to rest a bit more and it seems to be getting better, so if when I first thought I noticed something, Monday, I dismissed it as likely caused by having eaten popcorn the previous evening, possibly after burning myself with the hot chocolate I drank Saturday, when I planted trees, Tuesday I was worried that I might have caught something, most likely Saturday, but now I’m thinking that it may just be irritated after all, possibly due to how I breathed while wandering around and in that wind, and with that popcorn and hot chocolate not helping either.
Either way, ate the usual stuff, got ready, decided to still wear just the t-shirt from my first half marathon despite a reported temperature of 15°C and quite a lot of wind, and went out just before 4 PM. It was chilly on the way, I was looking for sunny areas and hoping for breaks in the wind, and the wind was the main reason why I didn’t expect much. Hadn’t even looked over my previous times again and I didn’t remember them to be able to compare while I ran, but definitely didn’t think I’ll need to at first. In fact, at first I didn’t even think past the first three laps, and only meant to do what would be normal times for ten kilometers, averaging no more than 15:30, on those.
Things, of course, changed after I started running, but the first change was just that, after I saw that 15:15 on lap one, I thought I’ll just stick to 15:30 on the second and allow myself to slip to 15:45 on the third, to maintain that average. The plan changed a bit when I saw that even faster second lap, the new target for the third being 15:35, to stay under 46 minutes at that point. But that was also when I started to think farther ahead and realized that, if I did manage that, I will get 1:44 if I could average 16 minutes on the next three laps and somehow cover that final portion in ten, meaning that anything I could gain compared to those targets earlier I’ll afford to lose later. Even after gaining pretty much all the time I needed to over the third lap’s first two sectors, I didn’t mean to do better right away, just meaning to not drop below the target for 16-minute laps on any sector, knowing it’ll be hard to get back from such a slip. Even when I gained 20 more seconds over sector three of lap three and ended up aiming for 15:50 on lap four, I didn’t do it aiming for a time of 1:43:30, but just to allow myself to lose those 30 seconds later and still just squeeze under that previous record.
It was only after seeing the time after four laps that I started thinking of actually doing better, though at first I just meant to stay under 1:17 after five laps. Was still on sector one of lap five, however, when I realized that staying under 1:17 would put me really close to a new record on 16 kilometers, and after seeing that I was sort of on track for that after that first sector, I aimed for 5:11 on the second, to ensure I’ll be under 1:17, and when I saw I managed 5:10 I decided to go for it on the third, despite knowing it’ll probably mean sacrificing my chances of staying under 16 minutes on lap six as well, which was indeed the case. Was getting quite tired after that point, even worried about hitting the wall before the end, but that didn’t happen and I still got pretty good times despite starting to feel like I was running out of energy. A bit annoyed that I covered that final portion in exactly ten minutes instead of managing to get under that time, but it is what it is.
At least there weren’t too many people this time around, so that was definitely a good thing, but it sure was windy. On the first two laps I had to hold my cap several times, feeling like it was going to get blown off, and there were areas where I really felt like I had to push against the wind. After that, not sure whether I had my cap on better and learned to position my head, and perhaps my whole body, better in those areas, or just got used to the feeling more, probably a combination of these, but I didn’t hold on to my cap anymore and not even those areas felt quite so windy anymore. It’s even possible that the wind had lessened a bit, but it definitely remained noticeable all the way to the end.
For such a distance, there weren’t many notable moments otherwise. I guess one might be sector two of lap two, that 4:55 being very fast even when I run ten kilometers, and surprisingly so for such a distance. Then, at the end of sector one of lap four, a guy fell in behind me and I heard him being just a bit faster, so I held my line to let him pass me and he slowly did so, giving me a thumbs up and a nod as he passed. I had him in sight for the rest of that lap and at least most of the first sector of the next, as he was only slightly faster. Another moment was on that final portion, just as I started its second sector, so what’s a seventh sector three of a lap, when an older man fell in pretty much alongside me and seemed a bit faster at first, so I might have held back just a bit as he went in front of me, but after a few moments I knew I had more in me and overtook him, and when I looked back a while later I didn’t see him behind me at all anymore. And then, a bit later on that same sector, a ball rolled across the path, right in front of me, and ended up in the lake. Those who had kicked it shouted something, maybe they’d have wanted me to stop it, but I had covered some 20 kilometers by then, was tired and cared for my time, so I was quite busy just making sure I didn’t trip on it.

Since I mentioned Monday, went to various places to buy a bunch of things then, dad pointing out the need for cat food again, and also for one more thing for the cats, as I meant to go out. Left at 3:35 or 3:40 PM, took the metro to Obor again, first going to that Carrefour to get one kind of cat food, garlic and some bread, and check other prices. Found a fair number of discounted, expiring things again, but nothing I wanted, so then I went to the Kaufland from that area too, to get some more of those things Liza is addicted to and some tomatoes. Then, after having quickly passed through a part of it on the way to Carrefour, took a better look through that market on the way back. Doubt any actual producers are there, more like a local mafia, but I did get a few things… And had a few interesting moments.
After spotting a few selling things very cheaply quite some distance away from the rest, I got lettuce and had the women who were there try to sell me radishes as well, pointing out, correctly, that the bunches were large and cheap and, when I said I still had some purchased earlier, that I must have paid more for less. Also spotted suspiciously cheap cucumbers in that area, but first went back to the actual market, pretty much just passing through, though I did get a bunch of green garlic. Then I went back to the main area outside, to a spot where I had seen cheap apples, but when I started putting some in a bag the woman who was there pointed out the price and asked whether I had seen any sign that it was self-service that she missed. Then she went on to say that if I’m to pick even from that pile what was she going to do there, why even attend her stall, and eventually, when I rather shrugged her off and went back to picking, telling me to stop picking since she won’t “give” me any. Funny, I thought she’d be selling, not giving, but either way, I just dumped the apples I had picked back in the pile and left, giving her the middle finger as she was loudly commenting that I had been grinning at her like a fool too, which I guess was probably right, since I tend to do that when I need to interact with someone.
That rather drained me, but I still had those cheap cucumbers to check out, so I went back there and, not noticing that they were at the same price on two stalls, one with a person there and the next one without, I went to that one without anyone and started picking, at which point the person from that manned stall asked whether I wanted cucumbers. It was only then that I looked and saw the pile in front of her as well, and that she was looking oddly at me, so I asked if I was supposed to get them from there and moved to do so, at which point she said she thought I was going to just grab some and run, apparently the person from the next stall assuming the same thing and asking her about it. I tried to pass it off lightly, but I was already shaken by the previous conflict and couldn’t exactly find words, so I eventually picked just over one kilogram and agreed when she asked whether she should just put one back to not go over anymore as I was digging for change through my pockets… And then ended up giving her 1 RON more without realizing it, but she was fair and pointed it out, giving me that 1 RON back. The cucumbers turned out to not be too good though, and while there wasn’t that much to throw out that first evening, by the time I used the last of them, last night, those left were quite badly spoiled. But can’t complain too much, at that price.
After all of that, I’m not surprised that I got confused at the metro, going to the right line at first but suddenly being convinced that it was the wrong one when the train came, running to the other side but stopping on the way to read the sign and making my way back to wait for the next train. So I lost some time and was back here at 6:25 PM, just dropping stuff off, peeing and rushing off again, hoping to catch the free bus to Auchan. However, around that time it seems that it skips this area, and can say I pretty much confirmed it now, when I saw the one going the other way turn on another street after passing this stop, so it’s likely that I was right when, in the past, I thought I saw the one coming this way turning on that same street before reaching this stop. So after just losing a bit of time waiting there, I walked, though I did catch the other free bus once I got past the park.
Getting there at that time and with that bus did work out very nicely though, as I found 20 RON in the parking lot. Looked around, didn’t see anybody who seemed to be looking for something, took a few steps, looked around again, then put them in my pocket and went inside, getting what I meant to get from there. No more bread of the kind I prefer at that hour, but there were still some of the other kind, so got three, to add to what I had purchased from Carrefour and have enough for this entire period. Then, at the checkout, noticed that the cashier had scanned a single yogurt from the pack instead of the pack and pointed it out to her, so I didn’t end up gaining even more, and in fact lost 0.02 RON, since after that she scanned one of the breads twice and didn’t scan the cheapest one, since they are priced according to weight.
The free bus coming back here had left a couple of minutes before I got back out, but I had initially meant to check out that Supeco too, so went that way, even though I was already uncertain… And then decided against it on the way, so I kept going to the metro station, getting there at exactly 8 PM, and got back to the Carrefour at Obor to get the remaining things, carrying everything there and shoving it all in one of those cabinets. Or first in one, then moving everything to the one next to it, since that first one’s key didn’t have a number on it and I didn’t want to risk anything. Also spotted that one of the kinds of tea I had bought from Auchan was slightly cheaper there, but I had already purchased it. So, carrying even more things, though not really having trouble with it and definitely having enough bags for space to not be an issue this time around, I got back here at 9:25 PM.

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