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Bucharest Half Marathon 2022: Below 1:45 as Official Time!
As I was saying, I’ll start this post with May 5, when I picked up my race kit… But first struggled for quite a while to find a way to fit the dishes and cutlery I was going to donate into dad’s large backpack, also cleaned my old running shoes a little and took those as well, in a bag, and left at 4:30 PM, knowing that I’ll also be able to pick up the headphones on the way back, the SMS notifying me of that coming some ten minutes before I left.
I had to get relatively close to Romana Square in order to donate those things, and while the backpack weighed 12.8 kg, which shouldn’t have been that bad in itself, the dishes being hard and digging into my lower back made the trip particularly difficult, since I had to keep supporting the backpack with an arm and walk oddly as a result, the bag with those shoes making it even worse, since it didn’t allow me to use both arms. And I had seen that the place was supposed to be open until 6 PM, so I couldn’t take it easy… And it’s a good thing I’m used to keep my ankles firm and those muscles are trained, because at one point I stepped sideways and, especially since I was carrying all that weight, it could have been ugly.
I almost collapsed when I could see the pharmacy that was given as a landmark, my legs going soft and then shaking as I waited at those stoplights. But I held on and got there just after 5:35 PM, going in that courtyard, past that pharmacy, and entering the other building, seeing a handwritten sign with that organization’s name, pointing upstairs. However, when I got to the door, it was closed and locked, and while the schedule posted on it was in Ukrainian, it seemed to indicate quite clearly that it was only open until 5 PM, not 6 PM, and knocking didn’t do any good. That left me wondering what to do, and I even considered simply leaving the dishes and cutlery right there in front of the door, but there were a couple of people in that hallway and I could hear others behind one of the other doors, so I knew that I should at least ask… And that made me decide to actually ask directly, since a phone number was listed and my credit was still active, so I went back out and called, and the woman who answered said that she was still in the building, had just told the others to leave because nobody was coming, and asked whether I could come upstairs… So I went back there, struggling even more, found her waiting for me and went to the room she led me to, a man and I think also a child also being there, though I didn’t even look around. The message I had sent, with pictures, to which they had replied that everything seemed all right, hadn’t included the shoes, so I had meant to ask whether they actually had any use for those, but I ended up just handing them to her and then setting down the backpack and struggling to get everything out… And rushing and rather exaggerating how out of breath I was when I suddenly realized how badly I reeked of sweat. So I just left everything there and left as quickly as I could, feeling so relieved to get rid of that weight.
Then I continued to Constitution Square, getting there at 6:20 PM… And finding that I seemed to be the only person who was wearing a mask. But at least I picked up my race kit and t-shirt quickly and without problems, tried on the t-shirt, checked the kit, being pleased with the contents… And on my way out of the Sport Expo area, saw that the NGO I had selected to support both times last year already had a very visible presence, even though almost none of the others had anything set up yet. I had also seen a truck with their logo, in the area where nearly all the other NGOs were supposed to have their tents, but theirs was actually inside the Sport Expo, and several of their people were there, along with a singer. And when I noticed the woman I had spoken to last year, I greeted her with a gesture, which she returned, but then things got rather awkward for a moment, since she meant to come towards me as I was walking away, so I stopped when I saw her coming, she stopped when she saw me leaving, and we both hesitated for a moment before I actually did walk away and, after I think taking one more step towards me, she went back to what she had been doing. I sent her a message after getting back, apologizing for the awkwardness and explaining that part of the reason for not staying had been that I couldn’t recall whether I had selected an NGO to support when I had registered and realizing that it’d have been strange to say that when asked whether I was supporting them again, but she didn’t reply.
Either way, next I went to Unirii, first entering that shopping center to pee and seeing a backpack that seemed to have been left in a stall. But the reason for going there was to check that Carrefour, so I then did that, putting my backpack in the cabinet which had just been emptied by someone else, all others seeming to be in use. And it was a good thing I went there, since I was looking for some nicer yogurt for the morning of the half marathon and found a few “Greek” ones, albeit with just 2% fat, in the otherwise packed expiring products area, so I bought one… And I noticed that they had changed their campaign for used cooking oil, no longer offering one liter in exchange for three or two for five, but only one for four, so I missed the chance to get one for the three that I think are gathered here, or just about gathered, because I was waiting to have five.
After retrieving the backpack, I continued on my way, picking up the headphones when I reached the store I had ordered them from, the only issue being that I was given only bills as change, so it was 0.10 RON short. But I guess I expected that, and I had working headphones again, so I put them on right away and then went to the Kaufland from Vitan, getting there when it was almost 8:30 PM. The cabinets proved a problem, since I needed to try quite a few, but I eventually found an empty one with a working lock, peed and washed my hands again and went in, hoping to find green onions with an evening discount. And I did, and while the discount was less than I expected and for a moment I considered also going to that newer Kaufland, I eventually gave up on the idea, grabbing a bundle, adding a sweet pastry after the bakery discounts were announced, and then getting a few other things, fortunately also finding toilet paper. And while the price of the green onions didn’t get any lower, the bakery discounts increased to 75% at 9:30 PM. The lines for the self-checkouts were huge when I got there, however, but at least all the machines worked, so they were moving relatively quickly and I had no problems when my turn came. Then I took my time, arranging everything in order to fit as much as possible in the backpack, leaving just the green onions and that sweet pastry in bags.
After walking away from there just before 10 PM, I got back a little before 10:30 PM, put the purchases in their place, had a better look at the contents of the kit and showed them to dad as well, ate an orange and some more peanuts and that sweet pastry, and it was after midnight when I had lunch, close to 12:30 AM when I went to the toilet and to shower, and almost 1:15 AM when I got back out of the bathroom. Then I also dealt with the bread I had bought two days earlier, after forgetting to do so the day before, only started eating dinner at 3:25 AM, finishing at 4:20 AM, since I didn’t rush, and was going to bed at 5:30 AM.
On May 6 I was so crushed, after carrying those dishes, which was definitely worrying. And the fact that I kept failing to stick to that schedule for dinner was also far from ideal, when the half marathon was so close… And, while I almost made it that night, not taking enough things to put on the bread to my room and needing to go back and get something else made me lose minutes I couldn’t recover, so I ended up just failing yet again, finishing at 3:45 AM.
On the evening of May 7, I wanted to take a nap and actually managed to fall asleep, but soon after that dad again forgot that I had told him that I was going to get in bed and called me, and even if I just stayed there under the blanket I couldn’t get back to sleep after that, so I ended up just staying in bed for another half an hour or so. And after I got up and asked what that had been about, he said he wanted to ask how to take a screenshot… So at least I no longer felt bad for having asked him to wake up earlier and drive me to the starting area the next day, when he was also leaving, flying abroad for a week, so until then I had been thinking of just taking the metro and letting him sleep.
Either way, I then put the beet in the oven, had a large serving of the pasta made the previous evening, with the remaining green garlic, as lunch, and also took one of those pills dad takes against gas. Then I shaved, after which I fixed dinner, putting peanut butter on most of the slices of bread. I should have started working on dinner right away instead of eating the pasta first, separately, and shaved after eating, since as it was I only got back to the kitchen just before 11 PM, started eating dinner at 1:35 AM and finished just before 2:25 AM. But what was done was done, so I then put the number on the t-shirt, struggling for a while, got everything ready for the morning and went to bed at 4:10 AM.
At 6:15 AM, the alarm rang and I got up, had a large Pinova apple, that “Greek” yogurt, albeit with just 2% fat and expired the day before, with both almonds and peanuts in dark chocolate added in it along with the cereals, and a slice of cozonac, with added honey, took both supplements and another one of those pills against gas, and drank most of the tea. Unfortunately, just wasted time on the toilet, and had also decided against trying before going to bed, so that was a reason for concern and, even though I didn’t really think that I was going to use it, I ended up taking the last bit of garlic we had with me after all, in case I’ll end up needing some help to hold something in, along with one of the gels and the other part of that expired banana protein bar. Then I left, with dad, a little after 8 AM… And we found that the road was already closed, so we had to use the alternate route I had planned last year, when we didn’t end up needing it.
I reached Constitution Square just before 8:25 AM and looked around a little, trying to see whether anyone was handing out anything. Those from the Zuzu Fit stall did take some bottles out of the refrigerator, but they were standing next to them, not handing them to participants, and nobody was going there to try to take one, so I didn’t either, just sort of hovering at the edge of the group doing the warm up for a while and then wandering around a little more. At that point I noticed a place that might have been handing something out, but there was a fence, so you had to go through the Sport Expo area in order to get there and I didn’t even enter it, and also didn’t want to pass by that NGO’s tent again, so I didn’t actually check.
After putting the jacket in the bag and handing the bag over at the wardrobe, it was around 8:40 AM when I took my place in line at the toilets. Even though it took a while until my turn came, I still thought I had plenty of time as I started making my way to the start area… And saw toilets near it as well, with far fewer people using them, which I think is always the case, but I still never risk going there directly. Either way, I reached the start area at 8:55 AM or so… And found it already packed, the fact that start sectors still hadn’t been implemented again making this even more of a problem, since anyone trying to get to a better position had to go through everyone else who was already there. And the number of people who were already there even surprised some of the pacemakers, those for 1:40 getting there after me and one of them commenting out loud that they had such a long way to go to reach their spot. But that was a good thing for me and some others who saw the opportunity and, after letting them through, tried to make use of the path they were opening in order to reach a better spot. Of course, only the pacemakers actually had the authority, people stepping aside when they saw who was trying to get through, that authority diminishing with each person trying to make use of that same opening, people retaking their positions and making it harder to advance, but I eventually managed to reach the area where those pacemakers for 1:40 and the ones for 1:45 were, and also made use of the time it took to get there to eat the protein bar which had been in the race kit. It was still really crowded, however, and people were moving slowly after the start was given, so my start time was 1:22… Or at least that’s how it’s listed, though I had 1:21 on my stopwatch and that’s also the difference between the net and official times.
That start time meant that I had to recover about four seconds per kilometer compared to the 1:45 pace, so I should have been aiming for 4:54 per kilometer, but thought I had to aim for 4:50 because for some reason I was certain that 4:54 was the time per kilometer listed for the 1:45 pacemakers, though it was in fact 4:57, and that’s because they aim to finish 30 seconds under the target time, which I also forgot to take into account at the time. And it continued to be crowded for the first kilometer, which caused me to only manage to cover it in 4:58, making me think that I was off to a bad start. And then I only managed 4:59 on the second kilometer, though that was clearly going to be rather slow, since there’s that climb at the end of it and I obviously wasn’t going to exhaust myself so early by pushing on it. But I did start pushing once the road stopped climbing, covering the third kilometer in 4:45 and the fourth in 4:40, which made me hope again. And I’m quite sure that the time for the fifth kilometer was between those for the previous two… But this is where the fact that I didn’t write the times before getting back, remembering them so well while I was still in Constitution Square that I didn’t think it could be in any way necessary, is starting to cause problems, because I think that I covered that fifth kilometer in 4:42, but it’d probably be safer to say that it was about 4:42, because exactly 4:42 would mean reaching that point in 25:25, which is an interesting enough time to make a mental note of, and I don’t remember anything of the sort. Then again, I tend to mainly look at the seconds and the marker for five kilometers was just before the first refreshment point, so my attention moved to that right away and I might have ignored the minutes completely.
Either way, there were fruits at the refreshment points once again, and I grabbed a piece of apple and a cup of that drink. And I thought that I had dealt with them unusually well, only slowing for a few seconds in order to drink and therefore losing much less time than I normally do, but was surprised to see just how little time I had lost, as I seem to recall covering that kilometer in 4:46, admittedly after also pushing a little more in order to recover some of the loss. I’m not entirely certain of that 4:46, but I seem to remember that time better than those for the fifth and seventh kilometers, and even if I may be a little bit off, it was definitely below 4:50. And I clearly remember seeing 34:55 after seven kilometers, so if the previous two times are correct, or if at least their total is, it’d mean 4:44 for that seventh kilometer. And what’s absolutely certain is the total of 14:12 for the fifth, sixth and seventh kilometers, so an average of 4:44, despite that refreshment point.
The wind was becoming a problem at that point, however, probably because of how the buildings channel it on Victoriei, since I was otherwise heading roughly in the same direction as on the way back on Kiseleff. But I also had to push, meaning to gain the time I knew I was going to lose because of that short but particularly steep climb that’s at the end of that detour made apparently in order to avoid Revolution Square. And what definitely helped was that the road drops at the start of that detour, so I made the most of it and the eighth kilometer was the fastest, 4:38… At least if the mark that was on the pavement was the correct one, since it was next to a parked car and the sign marking eight kilometers was in the next available space between the parked cars, so I checked the time when I reached the written mark, assuming that the sign had been placed a little farther than it should have been due to lack of space. If the sign was in the right place, on the other hand, I don’t know whether the eighth kilometer was faster than the fourth. Either way, that climb came shortly after that marker, and my original plan was to at most lightly jog, if not even walk, on it, and use that time to eat that banana protein bar. But I didn’t feel the need for it, especially since there were fruits at the refreshment points once again, so I gave up on that idea and did my best with that slope, then pushed once again after getting back on Victoriei, and even more so towards the end of that road, when it goes down again quite significantly, and the result was covering the ninth kilometer in 4:50, which was again much better than expected.
The problem was that I was too fast. Yes, it was nice to see that I was beating my expectations, but it was still early and I knew my limits, and what made the fact that I was pushing too hard particularly obvious was that the 1:40 pacemakers were still only a little ahead of me. They had pulled a little ahead on the first two kilometers, at that refreshment point and on that short but steep slope, but I kept slowly but steadily recovering that lost time, and when I found myself doing so again after getting back on Victoriei I was thinking that I shouldn’t be there, the fact that I was meaning that I had an unsustainable pace and it’ll cause me to lose more later than I was gaining then.
I was still spared of that on the tenth kilometer, which I covered in about 4:48 despite the fact that it included another refreshment point, from which I grabbed a piece of banana along with the cup of that drink. At that time, I for some reason thought that the time had been about 4:58 instead of 4:48, but I know that I saw 49:11 on the stopwatch, which clearly makes it 4:48… The problem being that I saw no marker for ten kilometers, the organizers probably assuming that it wasn’t needed because the route split at that point, those who were only running ten kilometers going to the finish line while the rest of us went around it, so passing by the finish line should mark ten kilometers, but it’s possible that I actually checked the time a second or two after I did so… And, if so, I’m not even sure whether I did that intentionally or not, since I had compared the time on my stopwatch to that listed above the finish line and found that my stopwatch was just about two seconds behind, meaning that I had reacted a little late to the start… Though that makes the fact that the start time was apparently correct, or just about correct, quite strange. Either way, I kept those two seconds in mind, in case it’ll be really close at the end, but what worried me just then was that miscalculation which was causing me to think that I had covered that kilometer in 4:58 even though I didn’t think that I had lost more time because of that second refreshment point than because of the first. Of course, the actual time proves that impression correct, but at that moment, somehow, in my mind the difference between 44:23 and 49:11 was 4:58, so that was what I “stored” in my mind, not noticing the mistake until I finally wrote down the times I could remember after getting back.
Well, almost as soon as I passed that point, that concern about the previous kilometer changed to a much more serious one about the next 11, since the effects of that unsustainable pace suddenly made themselves felt… Just when the headwind also became an even more serious problem. It had stopped being one for a little while, between leaving Victoriei and reaching Unirii, but from that point I was facing some five and a half kilometers of running right against the wind, which made dealing with the way I was feeling even harder, as shown by the fact that I covered the 11th kilometer in 4:59, even though there were no refreshment points or slopes. And that’s assuming the correct time on the tenth kilometer, since if I did check that time a second or two later, that time should be added to that 11th kilometer. Either way, I was feeling bad enough when I passed that marker to even start asking myself whether I was going to finish with a time that won’t be utterly embarrassing, the idea of staying under 1:45 suddenly seeming an impossible dream. And a certain pressing need also started appearing at that point, which was another reason for concern, though it passed after a while.
What helped, to the point of probably being the one reason why I did manage to stay under 1:45, was that a woman passed me just at that point, and what drew my attention was that she was having a gel, so I pretty much fixed her as my target and tried to keep up. I was also furiously calculating the times I needed, and with my attention divided between that woman, those calculations and pushing through the exhaustion and dealing with its worsening symptoms, I missed the marker for 12 kilometers, so I just know that the total time for the 12th and 13th kilometers was 9:57.
After that, when I reached Decebal, I was surprised to notice that there was a slope and it actually seemed quite significant. It’s not steep enough for me to really make a mental note of it otherwise, but it was steep enough to be a problem when I was already exhausted, and it’s long, so I had to approach it tactically, looking for the best balance between effort and speed while feeling that I was pushing increasingly unwisely. As time passed, various body parts started giving me increasingly insistent warnings, my liver hurting, my abdomen feeling increasingly uncomfortable in general, going from some pain to numbness to nausea to the return of that pressing need, my arms were going numb, my legs were starting to get heavier, with some muscles and joints giving their own warnings… And the effects are also noticeable when it comes to remembering the times since, while I’ll again say that I did remember them at the end of the race, and while I was still in Constitution Square, after I got back I found myself more or less guessing starting with the 14th kilometer… Which I think I covered in 4:58, though 4:57 is also possible. Putting everything together should mean that the error margin shouldn’t be more than a second or two, but with no more times I’m absolutely certain of until the end, I can’t be sure.
What’s clear is that the next refreshment point was on the 15th kilometer, and I recall noticing a few gels on one of the tables, but I only “processed” that after passing that spot and didn’t go back to grab one, sticking to the piece of banana and the drink. And I’m almost certain that this was the slowest kilometer, and that I covered it in 5:08. That leads to times that I keep thinking are a second off on the following kilometers, but the problem seems more likely to be either there or on the 14th than on the 15th. Either way, a time that was clearly over five minutes, even if on a kilometer that included a refreshment point, was a very bad sign, and those calculations that I kept furiously making were telling me that I couldn’t stay under 1:45, and with that marker being pretty much at the intersection with the street that would have led me back here, for a brief moment I even considered abandoning the race. But that moment passed and I kept giving it everything, working through the exhaustion and trying to raise my morale by telling myself that the turn was approaching, and from that point the wind will be behind me.
It was right after that turn that I took the gel out of the pocket of my tights and had it, finishing it just as I passed the sign marking 16 kilometers. During that time, I also passed by the 1:45 pacemakers, as they were approaching the turn, and when the two guys who had been behind me for a while and were occasionally chatting shouted at them that it’s pointless for them to run, because they won’t catch them, I commented out loud that I feared that they will at least catch me. But I was also thinking that the gel should start helping me in about 15 minutes, so for the final two kilometers or so, and kept pushing, hoping for some more energy to be generated at that point and help me get to the end… Even if the immediate effect seemed to be the return of that pressing need, along with the feeling that it was going to take a little effort to keep both that piece of banana and the gel down. As for the times for kilometers 16 and 17, I’m quite sure that they were 5:03 and 4:57, though 5:02 and 4:58 is also a possibility, since I’m sure that they were symmetrical in this manner but don’t know where that second that seems to be off comes from.
After 17 kilometers, I was back on Decebal, and that slope was helping. It probably wasn’t helping as much as it had harmed when I had to climb it, but I think I covered that 18th kilometer in 4:53, because I remember being surprised that I had gained a little bit compared to that 4:54 that I wrongly thought was the pace of the 1:45 pacemakers. And I’m quite sure that it was also on that 18th kilometer, on Decebal, that I caught up to a guy who had also been ahead of me pretty much since I reached Unirii… And almost ran into him. I had also noticed him all along, but that was because I found him particularly annoying, since he kept turning to run backwards or going in circles, which meant that he could easily get in the way of others. Yes, he did seem to try to be careful, but that risk always existed, and he actually started such a circle right when I was about to catch him, making me shout at him… Which actually seemed to cause him to calm down, at least for a while, even if that didn’t also mean focusing on his own run, since he asked another guy, albeit one who seemed to know him, whether he was all right, then put an arm around his shoulders and started cheering him on as they both dropped behind me.
Even before seeing the good time on that 18th kilometer, I was trying to raise my morale by telling myself that about 3.2 kilometers will be left from the moment when I’ll see the sign for 18 kilometers, and that’s a lap around the lake, in the park, so I tried to see it as a last lap that I had to push through. It was increasingly difficult to do so, my legs were also starting to burn, but I just kept putting one in front of the other, and still doing my best to follow that woman… Who seemed to lose a little more than I did with the last refreshment point, which was a little before the sign for 19 kilometers, so I took another piece of banana and drink and suddenly found myself almost alongside her. But I was feeling worse and worse, even having a little trouble eating that piece of banana, needing to take smaller bites and struggling to control the nausea, so she started pulling ahead again and I calculated that if I’ll just keep her in sight it should be enough.
Since I’m quite sure that the 15th kilometer was the slowest but only marginally, I’m thinking that the time for the 19th was 5:07, and that is what it adds up to, since I’m certain that I saw 1:34:13 when I reached that sign… Though something doesn’t seem quite right. Either way, as I continued even my field of vision seemed to narrow and towards the end there was even a reddish tint, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, kept keeping my eyes on that woman and my mind on the time, worried that I’ll fail by mere seconds but hoping that I’ll just make it, just manage to keep it up. And I seem to recall seeing 1:39:11 after 20 kilometers, which would mean 4:58 on the 20th and 4:54 on the 21st. But that’s far from certain, what’s certain being the total of 9:52, since the last interval time, marked when I passed the sign for 21 kilometers, was 1:44:05.
It was only then that I finally knew that I was safe, even if I felt that I had nothing left, after having really given it everything on that 21st kilometer. So that final stretch seemed so long, but I kept my eyes on the timer above the finish line and knew that it should take me about 30 seconds to get there. And it probably took me 27 or 28, taking that difference of just about two seconds into account, since the official time was 1:44:34, with a net time of 1:43:13.
I was completely exhausted, but had finally done it, finishing an actual half marathon with an official time that was under 1:45! It was so hard to believe that I just turned around and stared at the timer until it reached 1:45:00, to make really sure that it happened when I was on the other side of the finish line. And just think about it, less than 26 seconds to spare. Divide that by 21.1 kilometers and you get 1.2 seconds per kilometer. Any little thing could have made the difference between that success and a failure that would have disheartened me completely. And I quite clearly wouldn’t have managed it if I wouldn’t have reduced the amount of time lost at the refreshment points so much. And, again, I highly doubt that I’d have managed it without having that woman as my target for so long, and when I caught up with her I congratulated her and told her that she had been my target for ten kilometers, and helped me achieve my goal.
This is how far I got until dad got back in the evening, and since it actually just covered the main part, about the race itself, I posted it at that time, before disconnecting, and then added the following section, covering what happened until I left Constitution Square, before going to bed in the morning, at which point I also changed the time of the post to 11:59 PM. As for the last part, about the rest of that day, I added it Monday evening. Since this post was already awfully long, I had considered leaving it for another one, but when I realized that it won’t quite beat the longest one I ever wrote, I decided to get it out of the way now… Even if it makes this my second longest post, at 7488 words, or 7497 if you include the title.
After receiving the medal, I grabbed and drank a large cup of water, then took two bottles, plus a banana and an orange that hadn’t yet been sliced into pieces. The only fruit I ate in that area, however, was an apple, or more exactly a few pieces that more or less added up to a whole apple. That took me a while, since I didn’t want to risk getting even more nauseous, and by the time I was done I was feeling that I was overstaying my welcome in that area, especially since I was holding on to those bottles and fruits. Still, before moving on I also had some more of that drink, I think even two cups, though I can’t quite recall whether one or two anymore.
But there were more things being offered in the general area as well, so while I still didn’t go through the Sport Expo and check those places that I had spotted before the start, I also ended up eating a hot dog and drinking two small cups of protein milk. With the hot dog it was easy, a place offering one per person, but at the Zuzu Fit stall I realized that they weren’t giving away bottles, but just offering small samples, and since there were different kinds I had to ask which was which, avoiding the one with coffee and initially just taking a vanilla-flavored one, but then deciding to also ask the other girl whether those were the only two kinds and when she said that they had the chocolate-flavored kind as well I also took one of those samples. And then, after passing by a couple of other places that seemed to have contests with prizes that I wasn’t interested in, I saw that another place was giving away small samples of supplements and also seemed to have a spin-the-wheel contest. When I asked what was happening there, however, I was just handed two samples, with no mention of the wheel, and I decided to just walk away with what I had.
The announcer had also mentioned that you could have the way you stepped tested at the tent of a medical organization and I considered going there as well, but eventually decided against it, maybe because I didn’t want to be told of another problem or get sent to have further tests. So I finally made my way to the wardrobe, picked up my bag, took out the camera, found a way to stuff the bottles of water, the fruits and the supplement samples in, and went to the area that’s alongside the final stretch. That was because I wanted to ask someone to take a picture, and after deciding on a guy I ended up sort of hovering around him for a while, trying to work up the courage to ask until a larger gap appeared between those who were still arriving and he seemed to move his attention away from them, at which point I did ask and he agreed. I also asked whether he could take a picture with the camera in one orientation and one with it in the other, and he actually took two in each, but I just kept one out of the four. What bothers me is that, despite looking right at him while he took the pictures, I only noticed that he had a number when I looked back towards him a little later, and while I tried to have a better look at it at that point, he was just walking away and I only caught a brief glimpse, which doesn’t seem to allow me to identify who he was. I know that it was from the ten-kilometer race and was sure that I had caught the last two digits, and also the first one, though that seems to be the same for all the participants in that race, and also believed that I had an idea about the second digit, only the third being completely covered, but I looked through the pictures for all the possible valid combinations and didn’t recognize him in any.
Either way, after putting the jacket on and moving everything, including the medal and number, into the backpack and spending some time to try to arrange everything a little better, I went to pee again, needing to wait for quite a while even though only a few others were also waiting at the time, because most of the toilets seemed to be locked. And then I finally walked away, leaving Constitution Square a little before 11:45 AM.
Once I reached Unirii, I first checked that Mega Image, putting the backpack in a cabinet and just getting the one bag of this cat food that was left, since it had a good discount. But I had sent dad an SMS before leaving Constitution Square, to let him know of the time and that he could call if he wanted, and he did call just when I was grabbing that bag, so I ended up pacing around that area while talking to him. Then I retrieved the backpack from the cabinet, stuffed the bag of cat food in it, put it back in a cabinet after reaching that Carrefour, and found just what I was looking for among the expiring products: Bio (organic) mozzarella and a yogurt.
I had dad’s metro card, so I then went to the metro station… And just as I was entering it I realized that I had forgotten to retrieve the backpack! So I rushed back, jogging at first, but after retrieving it I took my time to find a good way to also fit the mozzarella and yogurt in it and didn’t jog back to the metro station either, which led to just missing the metro, one being there when I got to the turnstyles, so I ended up losing some nine minutes, until the next one came, when I couldn’t exactly afford to lose time. In spite of that, I still got off at Romana Square and rushed to that pastry place for one of those carrot and orange cakes… And the time taken to get the money out and the fact that I didn’t jog back from there meant that I just missed the green light, and by the time it turned green again and I could cross back to the metro station, I had again just missed the metro, the timer listing 1:15 since the previous one had left when I got there.
I was rushing because I wanted to grab some things spotted a week and a half earlier, while looking for a cheaper option for the whisk, at some of those stores from Obor, and if they close early, at 5 PM, even on weekdays, on Sunday they close at 2 PM. But I just made it in time, reaching that pet store as they were starting to gather the products and grabbing a bag of cat litter, then also rushing to the one where I had seen those terribly cheap “perfumes” dad uses and getting two for him… And almost walking away without the cat litter, the shopkeeper fortunately letting me know.
Then I went to that Carrefour, putting my things in a cabinet that a guy had just emptied, taking some time to stuff everything in and find a way to also put that cake in there in a way that I thought was still clean without leaving it in the cloth bag, since I wanted to take that with me… And then noticing that the guy had forgotten his coin there, and he wasn’t still around by the time I saw it, so I used it instead of one of my own and then took it after getting back out and retrieving everything, having found nothing to buy from there. I didn’t have much money left anyway, and still wanted some of those bagels from Kaufland, and maybe some other snacks as well, so I went there next, put everything in cabinet once again, peed and washed my hands… And found that the area for refrigerated expiring products was overflowing, so I took my time searching through what was there, leaving and returning a few times, either to also let others look or to check the ingredients of some of the products, since the discount labels were placed over them, and eventually decided to get some nice salami that I could just afford, alongside the bagels and the bag of snacks I had grabbed from the other expiring products area. Then, after having no problems with the self-checkout, I retrieved my things, arranged everything in the bags and got back to the metro.
I was back here a little after 4:35 PM, ate that small bar that I had decided against eating while running, and while watching handball beeped my mother, since she had told me to give her a sign when I’ll get back, talked to her when she called, and then ate a part of that snack. After the handball was over, I went to the toilet and washed, then ate a handful of those peanuts and slowly started working on a homemade pizza and the salad while watching a match, also making another tea… And at one point I paid more attention to the scratching that I was occasionally hearing and found Micky in this wardrobe that’s on the hallway, on the shelf where my underwear, socks, sheets and other towel are. She must have gotten there up to three hours earlier, when I took my clothes, before washing, and left the door open for a moment, while I took some of the clothes to my room, and I somehow hadn’t noticed her despite looking. Either way, I let her out, finished that snack at the end of the match, and rushed to eat the first half of the pizza, a part of the salad and the carrot and orange cake before midnight, while watching the race. Then I went to my room, to do something I had to do, and then took the second half of the pizza and the rest of the salad there, eating them slowly.