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The Runs Before My Second Marathon

The first run I’m yet to write about was way back on October 4, when I got up after the alarm rang, at 2 PM, though I was awake for a few minutes at that point, and after stretching after waking up at an earlier time I had a cramp in my right calf, where this usually happens. Either way, then I had the usual stuff, the yogurt being a bio (organic) “Greek” one, and a doughnut with added honey and some sort of jam as the sweet thing, put on the full running gear and left just after 4:15 PM, when the reported temperature was about 20°C, supposed to hold steady or maybe drop by just 1°C by the time I’ll finish.
The time was an amazing 47:04.33, with sector times of 4:07.39, 5:01.56, 5:39 (5:38.63), 4:27.37, 5:01 (5:00.35), 5:48.47, 4:25.03, 5:01 (5:00.90), 5:47.04 and 1:48 (1:47.59), making for lap times of 14:47.58, 15:16.19 and 15:13 (15:12.97). That’s the fastest time over this distance since last September, and at that point it was also the fastest final sector since then, and the first lap is a top ten lap and the fastest lap since last August, those being the only two times below 47 minutes since the last one before the state of emergency, last March. Pushed on that first sector, and the time was tied for second fastest at that point, though if you take the exact time it really was the second fastest first sector ever, and actually think I could have been a couple of seconds faster, but didn’t want to exhaust myself like that right away. Either way, I expected to probably cover the sector in just under 4:15, so I was surprised. Then I tried for a first lap in less than 15 minutes, and while I doubted it, even more so after sector two, the great sector three meant I managed it by quite some margin. Still assumed I’ll get exhausted and wondered if I’ll even stay under 48 minutes, but on lap three I started thinking of 47:30 and ended up frustrated that I was just seconds away from staying under 47 minutes. As for issues, there was some wind on sector one of laps one and two, and my right knee bothered me as of sector two of lap two, but otherwise the conditions were great and there weren’t many people, so there was some weaving and going the long way around, but no notable problems caused by them. Did feel something odd in the left side of my chest, not sure if lung or heart, maybe feeling like a bit of fluid, but it seemed to go away eventually.

Had a banana and cake after getting back and started cooking something, but didn’t finish before leaving again, at 7:10 PM, having a list of things to buy for my mother. Had a quick look in the nearby Mega Image, then rushed to check prices in the Carrefour from the park, then hurried to the Penny that’s near the newer Kaufland, or more exactly to that other store that’s also there, for cheese, but even though I was there at 7:53 PM and it’s supposed to close at 8 PM, it was all dark and closed off and nobody was around. So I just got the frozen beans from Penny, meaning to ask when that store closed, but the cashier kept talking to another customer and I couldn’t get myself to ask the guards. Then I went to Kaufland and got what I meant to get, plus two large apples and one of those large cucumbers, discounted since it was going bad. Waited until just after 9 PM, but there were no bakery discounts. Then I hurried back to Carrefour, saw 9:33 PM when I put my stuff in the cabinet, and got what I meant to get from there. Wanted to use the few potatoes to get to exactly the amount left in my account, but after the announcement that the store will close in 15 minutes I was hurrying and ended up a bit short. Still, used my card, and the self-checkout, having no issues, though a guard was interested and asked what I had in each bag, especially since I had two labels on the one with beets, since it had torn, so I used one to hold it together. Then I retrieved my things, spent some time arranging everything in bags and backpack, and was back at 10:25 PM, carrying almost 17 kg, including everything. Then I finished cooking and had a late lunch, finished just after 12:30 AM, took a bath, finished at 1:35 AM, and started eating dinner at 3:20 AM.

Moving on to the series of three runs in five days, the first was on October 14. The alarm woke me at 8 AM, I had the usual stuff plus almonds, with doughnuts with added honey as the sweet thing, and put on the full running gear. But I also had that thing on my neck, pulled up on the way to also count as a mask, and the wristband to wipe with, and of course wore the jacket on the way and even took gloves, though they stayed in my pockets on the way to the park. Left at 10:20 AM, when the reported temperature was 9°C, supposed to hold steady. The forecast forced me to go at that hour, since it was only going to get worse later, but it was raining even then, albeit lightly at the time, and if I considered giving up on the idea even before leaving, when I got outside and that moisture made me feel cold even with the jacket, I considered it even more. Still went for it, however.
The time was 1:19:45, with sector times of 4:19, 5:16, 6:07, 4:33, 5:14, 6:07, 4:33, 5:14, 6:04, 4:37, 5:20, 6:09, 4:41, 5:23 and 6:08, making for lap times of 15:42, 15:54, 15:51, 16:06 and 16:12. Didn’t really aim for anything when I started, allowing even for just staying under 1:24 at first, but I thought I was rather slow on the first sector and the time proved otherwise, so I started thinking of 1:21, hoping for two laps in less than 16 minutes and to lose less on the third than I had gained on the first two, and the first lap fit that idea, even if I lost a bit on sector two. Then so did lap two, and on lap three I was surprised to see the same times on the first two sectors, which made me push a bit more on the third to end up with an even better time. At that point the target clearly became 1:20, so I couldn’t afford to lose much, and aimed for 16:10 on lap four, which worked out. At the start of lap five I wondered about 1:19:30, which’d have required 15:56, but the first sector made it quite clear that was out of the question, so I then wondered about the previous time, and after sector two pretty much put that out of reach as well, at least under those conditions, I just settled for staying under 1:20, which I managed by some margin.
Put the gloves on after tying the jacket around my waist and kept them on, struggling to press the button on my stopwatch like that and also to move the glove a bit in order to see it, which likely led to a bit of lost time as I focused on that. I clearly lost a bit when I slowed a little at the start of sector three of lap two, to get a proper look at the time, and also failed to press the button at the end of sector two of lap five. Rather surprised it only happened that one time, but I was looking at the stopwatch, so I’ll go with what I saw, though my brain might have played that trick it plays when the eyes are yet to focus, leading me to think I saw then the image I actually saw up to half a second later, so that sector might have been a second faster and the next a second slower, but that doesn’t matter that much.
Otherwise, the rain stayed light and manageable right until the end of sector two of lap two, when it got heavier for a lap, and the wind also picked up then. Both lessened on sector three of lap three, but if the wind didn’t pick up again, the rain varied, mostly around a moderate level, with brief moments when a cloud shook itself and it was heavier and periods when it was light again, but wouldn’t say that any of these had a significant duration either. And I wasn’t cold, which was surprising. But oddly, there were times during the first two laps, while it rained less, when I felt I was breathing water, which feeling went away after that, I guess because I got used to it. And it was also during the first two laps when I moved the jacket back several times, since it kept moving to one side as it was tied around my waist, but after that I just left it as it was and it settled into a position I got used with. On the other hand, my right knee started bothering me a bit, I think on a sector two, though I’m not sure if of lap three or as early as lap two. And on sector one of lap four I felt like crapping. The feeling might have first appeared earlier, maybe on sector one of lap two, but if so it wasn’t bad and went away quickly. It was more noticeable on that early part of lap four, but then it again went away, until sector one of lap five, when it returned and was worse. It then lessened again on sector two, but returned with a vengeance on sector three and towards the end it felt like I was just about to crap myself, so I likely slowed a bit in order to gain some control of that.
That sort of weather obviously meant there were few people, and if you add the runners, cyclists and those who were there for rowing practice, it’s possible that most of those I saw were there for sports. And there were several runners, and they seemed to be serious ones, also doing plenty of laps, and on the last sector I was overtaken by the guy I see as the second in command from that group that organizes the Dream Treks, and he congratulated me as he passed by, no idea if because he had recognized me or simply because I was a fellow runner in that sort of weather. I just greeted him, then saw that he was doing intervals, which explained why I had been hearing someone who seemed faster coming from behind for quite a while but wasn’t overtaken until that point. And I overtook him again when he slowed, he overtook me again when he sped up, and then I had that moment when I felt I was about to shit myself and he pulled ahead and the distance kept increasing until I finished. Otherwise, that group preparing for rowing practice blocked the path on sector two of lap three, and another person was just reaching them when I also did, so I had to squeeze past that guy and then take to the grass to get around them. But the rest of the time it was the puddles that caused me to weave and go the long way around, though from lap three there were areas where avoiding all of them wasn’t exactly a realistic option anymore, so I stepped in a few from then on, and tried less to avoid the smaller ones.

Took a bath after getting back, and the left side and heel of my left foot, which felt rather numb, didn’t get better during it. And my right foot was burning again. Either way, in the afternoon I finished the book I was reading at the time, though I just posted the quick review, the Goodreads version being in both English and Romanian, the following evening. Back to that evening, I napped for some two hours and then ended up making mamaliga at night, though dad wasn’t working.

In the early hours of October 16, while eating at night, I requested and received Diggles: The Myth of Fenris from The Community Giveaway on the GOG.com forums, again donated by that same guy who donates so much. Even installed and started it then, though I’ve been playing just a little since then. I should also take and add screenshots for it, since it oddly has only three so far on MobyGames, but I’ll see about that. Either way, I saw the CPU reach 67°C while just playing a little bit, and I think at some later point I even saw 1-2°C more, and it had been getting to 60°C even without playing, so that made me realize I really had to clean the computer. And I eventually did that, but that’s for another post.

Back to October 16, the alarm woke me at 2 PM, I had the usual stuff plus almonds, with doughnuts with added honey as the sweet thing again, put on the full running gear, also took the jacket and gloves and that thing on my neck, pulled up on the way, had some things in the pocket of my tights and the inside one of my jacket, and left when it was close to 4:30 PM, when the reported temperature was 11°C, supposed to hold steady while I’ll run. It was raining again, and also windy, but felt less chilly on the way than two days before. The weather was going to be a whole lot better the following day, so I kept thinking of giving up that day and going then instead, and then running on consecutive days for the first time, to still do the three runs in five days, but I stuck to the plan.
The time was 49:04.54, with sector times of 4:19.41, 5:10.31, 6:06 (6:05.97), 4:35 (4:34.41), 5:09.22, 6:07 (6:06.69), 4:33.78, 5:13 (5:12.81), 6:01 (6:00.69) and 1:51.25, making for lap times of 15:35.69, 15:51 (15:50.32) and 15:47.28. The target was to be faster than I had been over the first three laps two days earlier, and I managed that, pushing just as much as I had to for it. And I slowed at the start of just about every sector to have a good look at the time, a few times doing so more than once, until I was sure, so I’d have quite clearly been under 49 minutes just without that. And stairs were slippery when so wet, so I was careful when I went up, making that final sector time even better than it looks.
The rain lessened as I got to the park and the trend continued, so for the first lap and a half I’d say it was mostly light with periods of drizzle and brief heavier moments and then it was mostly a drizzle with brief heavier moments. And for the most part the wind wasn’t as bad as the forecast indicated, though there were a few gusts even earlier and it did get pretty bad right at the end of sector one of lap three, making me have to fight it much of the time after that. Otherwise, there were few people, but a few did make me go the long way around. However, the main reason for weaving and going the long way around were again the puddles, of course, those being clearly worse than two days earlier, and after finding no way around and stepping in a sizable one on sector three of lap one, as I was passing the docks, the next two times I passed by there I used the paved docks to go around. As for physical issues, there were some warnings from my right hip on the long straight of sector two of lap two, but they went away after that.

Then I went to Tei, getting there a few minutes before 6 PM. Stood in line outside at first, and 25 minutes later had the iron and could go to the other side for the other things, so I still had just enough time. Also found a discount for something dad usually wants, so got two of those too, but couldn’t find one thing for myself and had to ask about it, then went to the checkout and was using one of the chairs to arrange everything when the announcement that the pharmacy was closed came, so it was 6:45 PM. And something rather funny, albeit not for him, was that after I walked out, I stopped before a large puddle and a guy who was behind me didn’t, stepping around me and right in it, then yelping and jumping out. I messed up a bit as well after that, however, going that way for a few steps, then for some reason thinking it was the wrong way and turning around, so I ended up at that intersection and had to go around to reach Carrefour, just grabbing two things from there, though I wandered around for a while, checking other stuff.
Got back at exactly 8 PM, which was the curfew for the unvaccinated, and I hadn’t taken my certificate, forgetting all about that… Not that anybody ever stopped me to check in all the time since then anyway. Either way, as I was having watermelon the guy who had obviously also rang twice, insistently the first time, as I was getting ready to leave came again, dad opened and was told we were supposedly flooding him from the kitchen heating pipe, and we had plastic bottles piled up there, so dad sent him away at first and then started digging those out, I continued… And as I was down there and just in my underwear, oil from dad’s cooking splashed on my back. But we took those bottles out for no reason, there was nothing there, so dad took pictures and went to show them to the guy and he didn’t come up again to see for himself. But since we have quite a large stain on the ceiling there as well, the matter was pursued further and I seem to recall that a problem was found two floors above us, though I still wonder how did the guy below us have issues when our floor was dry. Either way, I then had some cake, washed and made mamaliga again.

Moving on to October 17, I finished The Purring Quest and submitted screenshots for it. There are also some additional credits which I mean to submit but keep putting off, but the main thing is that I definitely mean to write a review, that in fact being the original plan for this week’s first post, so let’s see if I’ll at least manage it next week if I didn’t now. But, to return to that night, I started eating dinner at 3:25 AM.

But now let me move on to the last run in that series, on October 18, when the alarm woke me at noon, since I had to run earlier in order to be able to go for this year’s first long walk to “pay” with PET bottles after that. But that’s a matter for another post, so to return to that first part of that day, I had the usual stuff plus almonds, again with doughnuts with added jam as the sweet thing, put on the full running gear and nothing else, since it was cloudy but not raining or even windy anymore, and left a bit before at 2:20 PM, when the reported temperature was 14°C, likely to increase to 15°C by the time I’ll finish.
The time was an amazing 1:16:16, the fourth fastest over this distance, with sector times of 4:17, 5:06, 5:55, 4:28, 5:02, 5:51, 4:28, 5:04, 5:49, 4:30, 5:02, 5:52, 4:25, 4:54 and 5:33, making for lap times of 15:18, 15:21, 15:21, 15:24 and 14:52. Aimed to just stay under 1:20, with the first three laps in less than 16 minutes and losing less than I gained on the last two, thinking that if I’ll be faster than the previous time, maybe managing 1:19:30, it’d be a bonus. But the first lap was faster than expected and after sector one of lap two I realized I could gain a minute over the 1:20 target on the first two laps. Didn’t really mean to, but after sector two it was clear it was going to happen, so I started thinking of 1:19… Only to realize with surprise that I kept gaining a lot on lap three as well, and at the end of it that I had managed the exact same time as on lap two and had gained a total of exactly two minutes, so I started thinking of 1:18. And if at the start of lap four I was thinking I just needed to make sure I won’t lose time, stay under 16 minutes, after the first two sectors I wondered whether I’ll be able to gain 30 more seconds, which I managed by some margin. So I just went for it on lap five, quite certain of at least 1:17:30 even if I’ll end up exhausted at some point, but aiming for 1:17, and after two sectors even wondering about 1:16:30. Didn’t believe it was possible, but just pushed like crazy on the last sector, and ended up even faster by quite some margin, and also with the fastest ever lap five and third fastest sector three.
Had something in my left sock since I left and it was hurting my heel, and trying to move it a bit didn’t help that much and I didn’t remove the shoe and sock to try to get it out before I started running, but over the first two laps or so it did move in a way that made it stop being an issue. On the other hand, I was getting dizzy on sector two of lap two, thought it’ll be hard from then on, but that went away soon. Not sure if it was also then or a bit later that my right leg started giving me some warnings and some time later I realized I was moving it in a way that risked injury, so I tried to fix that, and had to keep paying attention because I was returning to those movements if I didn’t. Otherwise, there were a few gusts of wind, but nothing serious. And there weren’t many people either, though I did sometimes have to weave or go the long way around.

And the last run I’ll add in this post was the morning run done on the week of the marathon, on October 27. The initial plan was to wake up at 6 AM, but things were quite a mess that night, so I changed the plan and had the alarm wake me at 7:30 AM instead. I was sweaty and my nose was stuffy at that point, but it cleared later. And, after having initially given up on the idea after being unable to finish baking it at night, I got back to wanting baked pumpkin, so I turned the oven back on… And was in kitchen, hadn’t touched it again in quite a while, when it turned itself off again. So I turned it back on yet again, and at least that did the job. So I had the usual stuff plus almonds, the tea being made before going to bed, and also some baked pumpkin, and regular biscuits with added honey as the sweet thing. Had crapped at night, so I saved a lot of time by not trying again. But had to use the old running suit, after having been unable to wash the tights, and while I had nothing underneath the shirt, I did wear the jacket on the way to the park, obviously tying it around my waist as I ran. And I also took the running belt, with the gels I had bought for the marathon in it, to test it like that. Left just after 9:15 AM, when the reported temperature was around 4°C, but clearly supposed to increase by a few degrees by the time I’ll finish.
The time was 47:17.63, with sector times of 4:06.38, 5:01.57, 5:49 (5:48.09), 4:32.56, 5:04 (5:03.41), 5:50.53, 4:24 (4:23.68), 4:59.25, 5:50.48 and 1:42 (1:41.68), making for lap times of 14:56.04, 15:26.50 and 15:13.41. Aimed to stay under 48 minutes, and after that very fast first sector, the second fastest ever, I also aimed for a first lap in less than 15 minutes, which I just managed. The first sector of lap two was rather slow, however, making me worry that I might miss the 48-minute target, but I recovered well on sector three, and the first sector of lap three was really good. So I realized I could keep pushing and did just that, ending up with a lap three that was a fair bit faster than lap two, and a final sector that was tied for second fastest, albeit with no less than four others. I considered aiming for 47:30 after sector two of lap three, realizing it was going to take a mighty push on the final sector, so that was just what I did, but the time was just amazing either way. And my last steps didn’t quite work out, might have lost a tiny bit of time, perhaps just enough to cost me the chance of putting this down as 1:41.
Rushed to the park and to start running, and even so it was 9:31 AM when I did, but I didn’t forget to make sure to tie the jacket above the belt, so it’ll press down on it, and also throw the keys in the belt, which added weight and unbalanced it, so I could really test it. And it started feeling like it was sliding a bit on the side with the keys from the end of lap two, but it nevertheless held all the way to the end. On the other hand, the jacket being tied higher also made it a bit harder to breathe, and from the end of sector two of lap one the upper part of my abdomen was hurting and so did my back and I couldn’t snap it. Still, it got easier at some point on lap two, maybe towards the end of it. Also, something seemed to be in my left shoe again, eventually moving so it stopped bothering me, but for the first two sectors or so it did bother me and it might have actually cost me a bit of time, so that first sector might have been even faster otherwise.
But the more serious issue was that they’re pouring what’s probably meant to be a running surface, removing the cycling lane where it used to exist and scraping a lane on the side of the path that’s towards the lake otherwise, and also coming from one side entrance to the lake. They had already replaced that bit, from that entrance, and that entire area was closed off, but while no part of the path around the lake was closed off, machines were still removing the cycling lane in one area and the scraped part was uneven, so I did my best to avoid it, needing to be careful when I stepped in it in order to go from one side to the other. That meant going the long way around a fair number of times, and having a harder time getting around people. Not that there were many people, but that made it harder to deal with those who were there.


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