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Catching Up on Runs Before Bucharest Half Marathon 2021

With the half marathon in a matter of hours and no less than five runs I still haven’t posted about, I’ll get right to it, starting on August 11, when the neighbor again woke me up, at 9 AM. Wondered if there was a chance he’ll stop after that first bit of noise, so I tried to get back in bed, but he didn’t, so just before 9:20 AM I got up. My feet were still rather swollen and the right one still burned, but I had the usual stuff plus almonds and a piece of boiled corn, with doughnuts with added honey as the sweet thing, just wasted time on the toilet, put on the full running gear, with some things in the pocket of my tights, drank all the tea, took the plastic and metal and left at 11:50 AM, when the reported temperature was 28-29°C, supposed to increase by 1-2°C by the time I’ll finish. Obviously dropped off the plastic and metal in a bin on the way.
The time was 51:52.01, with sector times of 4:23.01, 5:18.50, 6:23.32, 4:49 (4:48.87), 5:32 (5:31.31), 6:26.56, 4:53 (4:52.59), 5:39.54, 6:30.22 and 1:59 (1:58.09), making for lap times of 16:04.83, 16:47 (16:46.74) and 17:02.35. Was thinking to aim for 51 minutes, and stay under 16 minutes on the first lap, and on its sector three I was sure I’ll squeeze under 16 minutes by a couple of seconds at the end of the lap, being very surprised when I didn’t. So I switched the target to 52 minutes after that, and at least managed that, though I’d have liked to stay under 17 minutes on lap three and failed even that.
It was quite all right in the shade, but in sunny areas I felt it burning, so that was one obvious problem. On the other hand, there weren’t many people, so there was still some weaving and going the long way around, but not so much even of that. Physically, again there was the lack of energy, and my legs feeling heavy at first, and I was rather sleepy, for obvious reasons, but that time lost on the toilet also returned to bite me, first feeling it on sector one of lap two, then sector two of lap three, and then on the final sector, as I was trying to sprint on the straight. I felt quite exhausted from the start of lap two, but that time on sector three of lap one and the fact that I didn’t realize I was that slow at all meant I had actually been exhausted even then and didn’t really realize it. Also, right after finishing, I thought I’d throw up for a moment, but the feeling passed in a few seconds.

Then, after having a look in that sports store that’s next to it, I went to that Carrefour and grabbed some vegan sausages that were among the expiring products I guess because they were the last, because it was a week until they expired and I couldn’t find any others on the shelf. The cashier didn’t notice the discount sticker though, so I pointed it out when she asked for the full amount and she had to call someone to cancel that. Then, after stopping to ask at another pharmacy on the way and being told an even higher price, I went back to that location of that cheaper pharmacy where I had asked two days earlier, on the way back from the hospital, about the price of the iron supplement I had been prescribed, and bought it even though it’s awfully expensive. Also asked whether they could tell me what the diagnosis written on the prescription was and two cashiers looked but still said they couldn’t make out anything after “anemia”, which was all I could read as well.
Next stop was Kaufland, and I actually meant to look for a few coins before going in and should have done so, but decided against it and got some cat food for Liza, some deeply discounted expiring sour cream, and two expiring breads for dad. Had also meant to get myself an ice cream, but the sour cream used up exactly the amount that’d have been, and the total was more than what I had left even so. So I started looking, but after checking the self-checkouts and then also wandering around the other checkouts, I couldn’t find anything. After I got back to the self-checkouts, a guy who was in front of me left his change, including bills, in the machine when a woman who was butting in, having also pushed past me while asking how those machines worked, placed her stuff on the machine before he bagged his, but I obviously wasn’t going to take that and called after him, so he came back for it and the few coins I spotted on the floor weren’t enough, so I had to leave a bread there for the moment. Returned for it quickly, however, since after putting the purchases next to the others in the cabinet, I looked a bit more, found what I needed and rushed back, even finding it still there. Then I walked back, being here right at 4 PM. On top of my right foot burning even worse, the socks I had on had torn and rubbed that heel.

On August 19 I was up at 1:30 PM, when the neighbor briefly drilled again, but I was already awake for some 15 minutes and meant to get up anyway. Then had the usual stuff, putting almonds as well as peanuts in dark chocolate in the yogurt and cereals, and also having some of those expired nicer biscuits with added honey as another sweet thing, put on the full running gear, drank all the tea and left for the first of that series of three runs in five days just before 3:55 PM, when the reported temperature was 25-26°C, supposed to hold steady.
The time was 1:19:52, with sector times of 4:14, 5:08, 6:01, 4:36, 5:13, 6:06, 4:41, 5:21, 6:17, 4:46, 5:20, 6:09, 4:42, 5:15 and 6:03, making for lap times of 15:23, 15:55, 16:19, 16:15 and 16:00. The initial target was just 1:24 and even what I allowed myself to hope for was only to stay under 1:23, but I also wanted a first lap in less than 15:30 and after I managed that, while allowing for 16:30, I wondered about 16 minutes on lap two. After also managing that, I doubted I’ll stay under 16:30 on lap three, yet I did that as well, so I recalculated the target times to add up to 1:22 and pushed on lap four, being surprised to see a better time than on lap three, even more so since it was thanks to sector three. So, if after sector two of lap four I knew I was going to stay under 1:21, after the end of the lap I wondered whether I had half a chance at 1:20, pushing like hell on lap five and making it. And I was actually disappointed at the end because I covered that lap in exactly 16:00 and didn’t manage to also get under 16 minutes, especially since there were a couple of moments on the last sector when I briefly lost focus, and I might not have optimized the last few steps either. Either way, it was the least bad time over this distance since May.
It was nice when I was in the shade, felt some heat when I wasn’t, but there seemed to be more shaded areas than I remembered, so it was fine overall. It was windy though, there were gusts that bothered me, and the worst headwind was towards the end of sector two of lap three, just when I was climbing that little slope towards the bridge. And earlier on that same sector I had to briefly stop when a kid came running down a slope and crossed the path right in front of me, but otherwise there were few people and they caused no other notable issues, even the several runners coming from the opposite direction in twos and threes which worried me on the first sector being more scattered when I met them again later during that lap, and that was the last time I saw them. Back to sector two of lap three, I also started feeling a certain pressing need at that point, and on the next sector, but it seemed to go away from lap four. And physically, I felt tired at first, but better as I went along. And just to show that I could actually push again to some extent, my nose was irritated at the end, and my throat seemed a little irritated as well.

After getting back, I meant to go out again just after 7 PM, but it was almost 7:40 PM when I did, grabbing the recyclables and a small bag of trash and dropping each in the first appropriate bin. Then I went to the Auchan I used to go to, since I hadn’t found the kind of bread I wanted at that other one, and I did find it there, and also got a cozonac that was cheap but seemed all right, to reward myself for that time, and some tea, not including that one for kidneys I couldn’t find at the other location, since I did find it there but didn’t realize that the price was higher until I scanned it to check, at which point I meant to look for an employee and point out that the price was different from the listed one but first checked the price label again and saw that it was the listed one after all, it had increased, ending up being more expensive than at Carrefour. On my way out, I also saw a pile of coins, most, if not all, just 0.01 RON ones, scattered next to one of the checkouts, but didn’t try to gather any, the checkout being manned and also having a customer at that moment.
After going to wash my hands, it was almost 9:05 PM when I walked out of there and almost 9:40 PM when I reached the Carrefour from the park, so I had to rush. Found expiring bio (organic) eggs, and also some with code one that were deeply discounted and not cracked and also quite large, and in those cartons with the bio ones most were also large, but not all, so I switched the couple of smaller ones from the carton I took with larger ones from another one and also got some more of those code one ones, then also got some tea, including one of those for kidneys, and rushed to the checkout as closing time approached… And since I was rushing I forgot to use that 10 RON code I had, paying almost all I had. Then I retrieved my stuff from the cabinet and at closing time I was arranging everything in the bags I had, so even though I got there just before they closed the area around the information desk, it was a relief that I hadn’t needed to use one of the larger cabinets from that area, since it’d have been really tight otherwise. I got back at 10:20 PM.

The next run was supposed to be on August 21 and I stuck to that plan despite feeling off late in the previous evening, cold, shivering, too much so to be explained solely by the cooler night, and either way the temperature couldn’t explain at all the fact that I also felt weak, even got dizzy at one moment, and it seemed that I had crap in my throat and chest again. But after a while, at night, I started feeling better, so I was more at ease when I went to bed and got up a few minutes before 2 PM, without having set an alarm, though I’m not sure whether I napped for a few more minutes or not after waking up at 1:35 PM. Then I had the usual stuff plus almonds, again really getting back to what used to be the usual stuff for the sweet thing as well, having those wheat things, one with honey, another with jam. Put on the full running gear and left at 4:20 PM, when the reported temperature was about 30°C, supposed to hold steady or maybe drop by 1°C by the time I’ll finish.
The time was 49:41.45, with sector times of 4:24.33, 5:08.03, 6:06.00, 4:33.03, 5:10.25, 6:06.10, 4:44 (4:43.53), 5:22 (5:21.93), 6:14.22 and 1:54.03, making for lap times of 15:38.36, 15:49.38 and 16:20 (16:19.68). The target was always 50 minutes and I’m surprised to have managed it, and by such a clear margin, and even more so after missing the target of staying under 15:30 on the first lap. But the next goal was to stay under 16 minutes on lap two as well, which I managed, after which I just had to lose less on lap three than I had gained on the first two, which was just what I did.
The weather seemed fine, less hot than I thought and with next to no wind, and there were way fewer people than I feared, seeing as it was Saturday afternoon. I did occasionally have to weave and go the long way around, but there was pretty much nothing notable bar maybe two dogs going for my legs, on sector two of lap one and sector one of lap three, and needing to move a bit to avoid them… Things only changed on sector three of lap three, when I kept thinking that the right shoelace was coming loose. I saw at the end that it wasn’t, but at the time I kept looking at it and first almost ran into the low branches of a tree, having to duck and slowing as a result, then there was a bit of confusion with two people, so in two different spots, since I was noticing them rather late, and just as I was thinking that I had managed to avoid any roadblocks, right at the end of the lap one formed ahead of me, and while I didn’t quite stop I slowed a lot as I squeezed through. But that was it, and physically I felt very tired at the start but got better as I went along, and also at the start it seemed that the bone spur was stuck in a bad position, but that also got better, quite quickly actually. My nose was irritated again after the run, staying that way to some extent even the next day, but the worse issue was that my feet were burning again, even the left one to some extent.

I went out again at 7:15 PM… And when I crossed the road a car turned quickly and then had to slam on the brakes, since I was on the crossing, in the middle of the street. Then I checked this Mega Image for some cheap zacusca for dad, not finding it, not that I expected to in such a small one, which was also the case for the Shop & Go. Then I went to the Carrefour from the park, for the cabbage dad had asked for, struggling to find one that didn’t look too bad, and also got myself a bag of corn puffs, so it again wasn’t enough to use that 10 RON code. And then I made a detour, first to check the Mega Image next to the farmers’ market, still not finding that zacusca, and then deciding to also check that Supeco, where I found an even cheaper one. I had decided to get myself one of those from Mega Image as well, after seeing the ingredients on their site, but that one had sugar, so I just got one for him, plus one more thing I added, also for him, to get to a certain total.
After that, I finally made my way to Kaufland, first peeing and washing my hands, then I saw evening discounts for the dill and cucumbers dad also wanted, so I got the one bundle of dill that looked better, out of the two that were left, and the handful of whole cucumbers that were left bar one that was rotten. Also grabbed some expiring bread, also for dad, and then finally heard the announcement about bakery discounts and saw the employee starting to place the labels, though it was almost 9:15 PM, so I had a look and eventually decided on a few things, though there was none of that bread left… And at the self-checkout I saw that the prices for two of the three bakery products were in fact much lower than the listed ones. Had also meant to look through the potatoes, to see whether any were large enough for dad to want them, but I forgot, only realizing it after I left.
On the way back, as I was about to cross a road after a car sped past, the bus behind it also seemed to accelerate as I was just about to step on the crossing, making me freeze in place, and be surprised that the rush of air caused by it passing right by me at that speed didn’t blow my cap off. But at least I did stop in time, and got back at 10:20 PM, having a sweet pastry after that, after having had no lunch that day. Then, though dad wasn’t working that night, I went back to the kitchen at 12:35 AM and made myself mamaliga, starting to eat dinner at 3:20 AM. Got in bed at 5:20 AM.

After again feeling quite out of it the previous evening and during the first part of the night, on August 23 I didn’t set an alarm and got up at 3:25 PM. Then I had the usual stuff, putting almonds as well as peanuts in dark chocolate in the yogurt and cereals, and also having some of those expired nicer biscuits, with added honey, as another sweet thing, put on the full running gear, drank all the tea and left at 6:20 PM, when the reported temperature was about 31°C, supposed to drop by a few degrees by the time I’ll finish.
The time was 1:21:54, with sector times of 4:33, 5:15, 6:06, 4:44, 5:17, 6:09, 4:49, 5:24, 6:22, 4:55, 5:32, 6:28, 4:49, 5:25 and 6:06, making for lap times of 15:54, 16:10, 16:35, 16:55 and 16:20. That was frustrating, because I was aiming to be less slow overall than I had been on the previous such series, in April, but ended up having the exact same total time, 3:31.27, not even one second better. And let’s not even compare with the 3:24:20 of the best such series, in the autumn of 2018. Admittedly, it’d have been more frustrating to be slower by a second… Either way, I aimed for just under 16 minutes on the first lap without pushing, so I didn’t at first, but still aimed for no more than 4:30 on the first sector and when I saw I didn’t manage that I put more into the next two sectors. Initially hoped to also stay under 16 minutes on lap two, but after the first lap I switched to 16:15 and managed that, but then the targets required 16:20 on lap three and after losing 15 seconds the overall target seemed gone, my only chance being to be helped by the dropping temperature. And that wasn’t the case on lap four, each sector being way off and the total basically meaning that I had no chance. But I still gave everything on lap five, and on the last sector in particular, and somehow just managed to match that time, but not beat it.
Did feel the heat at first, but from sector three of lap two it was starting to get better, and on the last two laps it seemed quite fine. A few gusts of wind bothered me in a few places, but that wasn’t much of a problem overall. Physically, I again felt tired at the start but got better later, and there were some warnings from my right knee, maybe on sector two of lap three, but I’m not sure I recall correctly. As for people, there was maybe a brief stop on sector one of lap two because of a misunderstanding with a cyclist, and definitely a brief stop on sector three of lap five, when a child on a tricycle or something of the sort went towards the side I meant to pass him and his father on and almost fell right in front of me. There were also issues towards the end of sector two of lap four, first a kid riding a scooter or skateboard coming from the side and almost running into me, and then it was crowded from that point until I passed the bridge, some cyclists also coming from the opposite direction, so I had to slow on that entire section, though I didn’t actually stop. And there was also a sector one, maybe on lap three, though it’s also possible that it was on lap four, when I slowed to let some kids on scooters pass me. I’m not sure whether the runner who passed me on sector three of lap five, after that stop caused by the child, helped or hindered, since I moved to let him pass after hearing him coming from behind, but after he did he turned to look twice and seemed to slow, having probably taken me as a target, and I’m not sure whether trying to keep up meant that I pushed harder or was in fact a bit slower than I’d have been otherwise. But I think I gave it pretty much everything, and those last few steps also seemed optimized.

Changed after getting back and went out again a bit after 8:35 PM, only jogging for a couple of minutes on the way to Penny, when I thought I’ll be late, though when I got there I saw that they close at 10 PM in that location, so I didn’t have to hurry and got what I meant to get. Then I just went in and out of Kaufland to check what had evening discounts, left the purchases in a cabinet there, jogged to Carrefour and found unsliced bread and a few more plums. First managed to get a quantity of plums that were all right and just fit what change I still had, but dropped one between some crates and couldn’t retrieve it, so I tried to use others to get to the same weight but ended up just over and was out of time, so I was just getting checked out when the 10 PM announcement that the store was closed came and I gave cashier what coins I had, 0.01 RON short, and she accepted it, the total again not being enough to use that 10 RON code.
At least I no longer had to hurry too much when I got back to Kaufland, so I first peed and then got ten bundles of very discounted radishes. Wanted to also get something from the bakery area, but it was just after 10:30 PM when I got there and there were no paper bags left, the employees seeming to get ready to throw away what was left, and I didn’t ask for a bag. So I made my way to the self-checkout, where an old man was asking for help and moving slowly, and he also dropped a coin and I handed it to him, then I used another machine but returned to the one he had used after I was done, grabbing a coin I had seen left in the change slot. But I wasn’t quite done, having also decided to cross the road to that Mega Image, which I thought was non-stop but saw then that it closes at 11 PM, and it was just after 10:45 PM when I went in, so I again had to hurry, but at least found that cheap zacusca, just three jars being left and one looking in a way I didn’t like, so I grabbed the other two, plus an expiring chocolate, and was just getting checked out at 11 PM, the coins I had found that evening being exactly what I needed to be able to give the exact amount.
I was back at 11:40 PM, putting things in their place, except the radishes, and gathering all the water from the fridge, as it had defrosted itself and the drain was clogged and of course dad hadn’t even noticed that it was full of water even if it was even flowing out of it. Then I had a late lunch, finished just before 1 AM, so it was around 1:10 AM when I went to shower and got back in the kitchen at 1:45 AM. Still had other stuff to do, however, and also had some watermelon, so I sort of started making salad at 2:30 AM, but in fact it was more like 3 AM, since I had the radishes to deal with. Started eating dinner at 4:05 AM, finished at 5:20 AM and got in bed at 6 AM, after staying to watch something.

After making the tea and putting some things in the pocket of my tights before going to bed, on August 31 I had the alarm wake me at 7:15 AM, then had a banana instead of the apple, added almonds in the yogurt and cereals, unfortunately just wasted time on the toilet, which I had also done at night, had some more of those expired nicer biscuits, with added honey, put on the full running gear, rearranged the stuff in the pocket, drank most of the tea and left at 9:10 AM, when the reported temperature was 16°C, supposed to increase by a couple of degrees by the time I’ll finish.
The time was 50:43.38, with sector times of 4:19.76, 5:15.15, 6:12 (6:11.91), 4:46 (4:45.84), 5:24.25, 6:16 (6:15.69), 4:49.06, 5:27.00, 6:18 (6:17.50) and 1:57.22, making for lap times of 15:46.82, 16:26 (16:25.78) and 16:34 (16:33.56). Thought I was at the level of 2017, thinking that I had seen 50:45 for that run, but in fact it was 50:15, and I was managing problems with my right leg at the time and still managed to be slightly faster on each lap, while this time I pushed from the start, thinking of trying for a first lap in less than 15 minutes even if I’ll end up going towards 17 minutes after that, but could barely sustain that pace for some 200 meters, and after the first sector my body was telling me to stop. Pushed through that moment and stayed on the revised plan after that, pretty much on each sector, even though on lap three I was quite done, but that revised plan wasn’t the right one, since I should have aimed to be 30 seconds faster, not that it’d have been in any way possible. And even that would have been an awful time anyway, but this one makes me seriously worry about even staying under two hours this morning.
Stood around for five minutes after I’d have been ready to start, wanting to start at 9:30 AM, and maybe that caused me to cool down a bit too much, but that was hardly the problem. And there were few people, though right at the end of the first sector a dog crossed in front of its master just as I was getting there and got in my way, forcing me to briefly stop and sidestep, and on sector two of lap three a little kid threw something in my way, though it was small and I didn’t really have to avoid it, just that it startled me and I sort of missed a step. As for the weather, there was some wind, mainly on sector three of lap three and on the final sector, but the temperature was just about perfect for running. Physically, however, on top of the lack of energy, I felt bloated, stomach hurting on sector two of lap two, and while that feeling went away after that, it seemed to do so because what had caused it made its way down, so on sector three of lap two I briefly thought I’ll feel a pressing need, and while that also went away during sector one of lap three, when I was struggling to pretty much just jog, that long straight seeming endless, on sector two of lap three it really did come, staying until the end. And while I felt sleepy all along, on sector three of lap three I caught myself rather drifting off a couple of times, almost as if I was going to fall asleep while running. And my nostrils were closing on the final straight.

After the run, I went to Carrefour, finding that they had just filled that area with expiring products and picking up a few, and also seeing cheap eggs again, the vast majority with code three and a few of the others cracked or already expired, but could find ten to buy. Then I went to the farmers’ market, finding cheap cabbage for dad and also getting some cheap Kapia peppers, even if plenty were rather bad. A little girl was lost as I was wandering around the market, other people wanted to make her stay somewhere and preferably stand up on one of the stalls, to be more visible for her grandfather, but she was just getting more and more panicked and running from everyone until her grandfather finally came… And, instead of trying to calm her down, immediately scolded her for leaving his side, which resulted in plenty of comments about people who are unfit to have children. Also while in the market, I started feeling crap in my throat and coughed, and did so a few more times on the way back, and seeing as that was after waking up with a stuffy nose, I was getting worried, though at least the problem seems to have gone away since then…
Was back just after 12:15 PM, had some doughnuts with added jam, also had watermelon, then eventually took a long shower and got in bed at 3:40 PM… But I was getting up to pee every hour, once or twice the noise made by dad also kept me awake for a while, though he was admittedly doing what he could to be quiet considering the fact that he was cooking, and I eventually started reading at 7:30 PM, at which point I had been awake for a few minutes again.

And that’s about it. And yes, I am awake at this time, though the start is at 8:30 AM and the alarm is set to ring at 5:30 AM. Started eating dinner at 12:05 AM, finished at 1 AM, then actually did get things out on the toilet, shaved, got my bag ready, or at least I hope I did, and now let’s see whether I’ll manage to get any sleep at an unusual hour, since I mean to be in bed at 3:45 AM when I’m normally barely getting in bed, and definitely not yet sleeping, at the time when I’ll need to be up this morning.


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