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July’s Runs… Including a New Personal Best!

To start with the early hours of July 8, I finished what I had taken to my room to put on bread by 3:40 AM, but still had plenty of slices left, so I went back to the kitchen to put jam and honey on them and finished at 3:50 AM. Then I got up when the alarm rang, at 2 PM, feeling an odd pain in what seemed to be a spot on my right calf bone. But after a while it went away and I had the usual stuff plus almonds, with the sweet thing being some cookies brought by dad some time before, with added honey. I left at 4:15 PM, wearing the full running gear and also once again both of those armbands. The reported temperature was about 29°C, getting to 30°C when I finished.
The time was 47:41.79, with sector times of 4:23.92, 5:03 (5:02.09), 5:50.19, 4:26.28, 5:00 (4:59.94), 5:56.22, 4:25 (4:24.75), 5:04.18, 5:45.22 and 1:49.00, making for lap times of 15:16.20, 15:22.44 and 15:14.15. Considering the heat and how the Sun was burning when I wasn’t in the shade, I initially feared that I’ll struggle to stay under 50 minutes, but after the first sector the target became staying under 49 minutes and then I pushed harder and after the second sector I hoped to at least be on pace to stay under 48 minutes after the first lap, which I managed. That didn’t really change my target, but it did make me start thinking of 48:30, and after sector one of lap two gave me more reasons to hope I quite clearly set my mind on that after that good sector two of lap two. Then, after the end of that lap, I wondered about staying under 48 minutes. It seemed highly unlikely, but I pushed and sector one of lap three gave me hope, so I kept pushing, really giving it everything on sector three and being surprised to be safe at the end of the lap. And then I still managed a good final sector as well.
From the start, the left shoe was hurting my heel again, so I moved that foot somewhat oddly at first, but after a while it seemed better and I only felt it again towards the end of lap two and at the start of lap three, when I was more aware of everything. Otherwise, there were some warnings from the right knee on sector two of laps one and three, and other warnings from multiple areas on and around both knees on sector three of lap two. As for the weather, I definitely felt the heat when I wasn’t in the shade and tried to make the most of the seconds of relief brought by the few clouds that passed, but while the cooling effect generated by it was otherwise more important, I did feel that I was fighting the wind on sector three of lap two and sector two of lap three. And, while people otherwise just meant that I had to occasionally weave and go the long way around, it was again on sector three of lap two when there was a misunderstanding with a cyclist, causing me to slow or maybe even stop for just an instant, and after that moment I was more aware of all the problems for a while.

After getting back, I drank the rest of the tea and made another, ate watermelon, even did the day’s squats, changed and went back out a little after 7:10 PM. Dad should have been back well before then, and since he wasn’t I left him a note to call me, but when I first checked prices at Carrefour, then walked over to Kaufland, peed and washed my hands, checked some prices there as well and eventually ended up just wandering around because he still hadn’t called, I beeped him and he called back and said that mother had called him and told him to bring some medicine for grandmother, so he wasn’t back even at that hour. And after we talked about what I should get, I ended up wondering how to go about it, those products being from Carrefour, eventually deciding to grab a few things right away, since some bakery discounts had appeared, but put them in a bag and look for a spot to hide it, in case the discounts would increase later. And the area that I ended up picking suddenly filled with people just as I was trying to put that bag behind some products, so I waited for a while, pretending to check out the products that were there, until that area was mostly clear again and I could hide that bag.
After that, I went back to Carrefour and got what I wanted. And it was also just past 9 PM and the discount sign for bakery products had appeared there as well, so I asked an employee what it applied to and she said that it applied to everything, but that there may be problems at checkout if I’ll get products that are already bagged and labeled. So, while she didn’t say it, she seemed to be suggesting what I was also thinking, which was to take such products out of those bags and put them in new ones. But I just wanted the one remaining bread of one kind, for dad, not anything that was already bagged, so I grabbed that and then used a self-checkout. However, when that evening discount once again didn’t apply and having just one such bread meant that I couldn’t get it by entering one instead of two again, I had to call an employee, learning that those discounts don’t apply automatically. So she applied it… And then had to return almost right away, when I finished scanning, to confirm that I was an adult, since I also bought a beer for dad, beer being one of the classes of products that the weekend voucher applied to at that point. But the more unpleasant, and concerning, thing was that the guy who was waiting for me to finish using that machine was coughing badly and came close to me, and not just then but also when I stopped after exiting the checkout area in order to arrange the purchases in the bags, so I ended up leaving quickly.
After getting back to Kaufland, I put those purchases in a cabinet, peed and washed my hands again… And noticed a large sign advertising a discount for one brand of beer there as well. It was a different one, but I doubt dad would have cared that much and that discount would have made the large bottle cheaper than what I had bought from Carrefour even after applying the voucher, and it would have been an actual discount applied then, not to future purchases. But at least it wasn’t a real reason for frustration at that point, since there were no large bottles left when I looked, and the packs of cans were more expensive if you calculated the price for the same quantity. So I retrieved the bag I had hidden, then saw that more bakery discounts had appeared, including for that bread, though it was also on a regular discount those days, so I got the remaining two and after another quick look around went to the self-checkout.
As I was waiting in line, I ended up explaining to a man who didn’t know why the machine kept asking for an employee that it was because of the beer he was buying. And the woman who came after him had the machine ask her to remove a product from the scales, but after she initially did so and I thought she knew how it worked, at the end she put that product back and then, when the machine asked her to scan it first, left it there and started removing each of the others instead, one by one, putting one back and trying another. So, after first telling her which product she had to remove, I ended up just grabbing it, setting it aside and putting back the other one which she had removed at that point, to show her that it worked. She wasn’t convinced at first and I had probably been rather rough, but it worked. And I had no problems with the machine when my turn came, and the time on my receipt was exactly 10:00:00 PM. Then I retrieved my things from the cabinet, initially just putting everything in bags quickly and then arranging better in the bags and backpack after going outside.
After a small and pointless detour to a Mega Image that I then saw had also closed at 10 PM, I got back a little before 10:40 PM. But dad was just starting to do something in the kitchen then, so I put some of the purchases in their place and cleaned a little, only having the sweet pastry purchased from Kaufland, with added honey, and lunch when it was already quite late. I finally went to the bathroom around 12:30 AM, and the need suddenly vanished after sitting on the toilet, so I gave up on that and showered, getting out at 1:10 AM. However, dad still hadn’t finished what he was doing in the kitchen, and I had quite a lot to clean once he was finally done, plus some more things to put in their place, his bread to slice and one of mine to take care of, and also something to move in a jar, so it was 3:35 AM when I finally started eating dinner and past 4:25 AM when I finished.

On July 11, I got up when the alarm rang, at 2 PM, had the usual stuff plus almonds, with the sweet thing being some of the cookies that I had grabbed from the expiring products from Carrefour after the previous run, with added honey, and left at 4:10 PM, wearing the full running gear and both of those armbands. After the weather had seemed fine until then, at 3:45 PM it suddenly became quite overcast and windy, but that didn’t stop me. According to our weather service, the reported temperature was about 26°C when I left, apparently dropping to about 23°C when I finished, though that struck me as odd.
The time was 47:11.01, with sector times of 4:20.39, 5:00.21, 5:50.10, 4:25 (4:24.97), 4:59 (4:58.43), 5:41.32, 4:24 (4:23.65), 5:03.75, 5:41.13 and 1:48 (1:47.06), making for lap times of 15:10.70, 15:05 (15:04.72) and 15:08.53. I aimed to stay under 48 minutes but felt like I couldn’t start properly, feeling slow on the first sector even though I was pushing and thinking that I had an unsustainable pace. And at the end of the sector I saw that I had indeed been slow, having felt that I had pushed enough to get close to 4:10 and not managing that. But I kept pushing, sector two was better, sector three made the lap good enough, and after the good first two sectors of lap two I finally felt relieved, thinking that I had a fair chance. And then, when sector three of lap two was much better than expected, I started wondering about 47:30 and went for it, pushing even harder on sector three of lap three, since after sector two it seemed like it was going to take a lot to have a chance. But that sector three was again faster than expected and I was already safe at the end of the lap, though I still pushed on the final sector as well… And ended up being a little annoyed that I hadn’t quite managed to make the most of the last steps and the time was just over 47:11 instead of being able to list 47:10.
The sky was only overcast in this area, looking much better even a short distance away, and it was windy so the clouds were moving, but that wind was a problem on the first lap. Then the clouds started clearing and it was mostly sunny and the wind also died down from the start of lap two, though both the clouds and the wind returned on sector three of lap two and again, briefly, just at the end of lap three. And I had no notable physical issues except the fact that I felt like I couldn’t quite push hard enough at first, though that also got better after a while. As for people, on top of sometimes having to weave and go the long way around, I had to make my way through a few carrying kayaks and paddles to the lake on sector two of lap two, and on sector three of lap two there was a little misunderstanding with a cyclist and I slowed and might have stopped for just an instant, the same thing happening one more time right at the start of the final sector, as I was heading towards the stairs. Otherwise, I still had the stopwatch over that armband and it slipped again on sector one of lap two, but just pulling it higher at that point was enough.

After having watermelon and changing, I left again a little after 7:15 PM… And something popped loudly in my left knee as I was putting on the shoes, and it did hurt a little for a while. I also found a spot that hurt more when I pressed it when I started touching around that area while waiting at a stoplight, but that spot seemed to no longer exist when I did that again later, and the discomfort soon faded away.
Either way, I went to Obor, first going to Carrefour and quickly tapping some watermelons that were near the entrance, keeping one in mind. The first things I actually grabbed, however, were the two expiring yogurts that I spotted. Then I looked for eggs and saw no listed price for those sold by piece, just a bar code, so you’d have needed their app to check, but I went to a self-checkout machine, selected eggs and saw that the price was half of the normal one. So I went back there, started picking and soon realized that there were many bio (organic) ones, and not expiring soon at all, so I stayed there until I looked through the entire crate and took all of those that I found and didn’t immediately seem cracked. Then I moved to the next aisle and had a more thorough look, eventually being left with 35. There were a couple more that were all right, but that was a nice number, so I put those that I discarded back and then also got frozen peas, went back and got that watermelon as well, since it was still there, and then also had a look in the bakery area, since it was past 9 PM and they had placed the labels with the discounted prices, since that’s how it works in that location… Or how it should work, because I got two breads for dad but the self-checkout didn’t recognize them. So I called an employee and she said that those weren’t in the system yet, and that it wasn’t the first time that happened, so she peeled the new price label off one, scanned the regular label and then entered the 50% discount manually, and also the fact that I had two of them.
Then I quickly arranged the purchases in the bags a little, being careful with the eggs, and went to Kaufland, putting everything in a cabinet once I got there, peeing and washing my hands, walking in the store a few minutes before 9:30 PM and heading straight to the bakery area. The discounts were staying at 50%, but I got a number of things, then also some more bread for dad, some onions and beets, and after quickly checking the expiring products but finding nothing interesting, I also grabbed some sour cream just before the announcement that the store had closed, which came just as I started to walk towards the self-checkout area. Then, after having no problems with the machine, I retrieved my things from the cabinet, rushed to arrange everything just enough to be able to walk out while being careful with the eggs, and then took quite a long time to arrange everything properly in the bags and backpack once I was outside. The bugs that were swarming in that area were definitely annoying, however.
It was almost 10:25 PM when I finally walked away and, after stopping once more to set everything down on one of the benches from the bus stop that’s next to the farmers’ market and just losing time while trying and failing to get the watermelon in the backpack with rope straps, it was just about exactly an hour later when I got back here, having carried just about 18 kg. And a long time once again passed before I had the sweet pastry bought from Kaufland and lunch, so it was 12:45 AM when I finished eating and I still had to use the toilet before showering, so even though I rushed it was almost 1:25 AM when I got out of the bathroom. And I still had things to do and also spent 15 minutes slicing a bread for dad, but I nevertheless just managed to stick to the dinner schedule, mostly thanks to making a tomato, cucumber and onion salad, which even I can make pretty quickly.

And now I’ll get to July 18 and the most important part of this post. I again got up at 2 PM, when the alarm rang, though I had actually woken up a couple of minutes earlier and was quite sure that it was just about to ring, so I waited for it. Then I put on the full running gear right away, cleaned up some cat vomit, the main part seeming to be a hairball but the rest being dark brown, had the usual stuff plus almonds, with the sweet thing being the last of those expired cookies, with added honey, put a few things in the pocket of my tights, and left a little after 4:15 PM, when the reported temperature was 27-28°C, holding steady or maybe increasing by 1°C by the time I finished.
The time was 45:59.20! And the sector times were 4:13.54, 4:50.44, 5:38 (5:37.03), 4:17.59, 4:53.10, 5:40 (5:39.84), 4:17.00, 4:50 (4:49.88), 5:40 (5:39.84) and 1:41 (1:40.94), making for lap times of 14:41.01, 14:50.53 and 14:47 (14:46.72). With three full years since setting what used to be my personal best over ten kilometers, I didn’t think that I’ll ever be any faster, but I didn’t just beat that time, but even managed to get under 46 minutes! And I had initially just aimed to stay under 48 minutes… But I also wanted to see what would happen if I just pushed all the way, start to end, and the first sector was slower than I thought it’d be, since I had expected to get under 4:10, so I pushed even harder on sector two and obtained that great time, which made me clearly aim to cover the lap in less than 15 minutes and sector three ensured that I achieved that by a large margin. Then I kept pushing and obtaining great times, so after lap two it was clear that I was going to stay under 47 minutes if I won’t have problems and I was wondering whether I could also get under 46:30. So I continued to push, doing so even more on sector three of lap three and thinking of a target that was around 46:20, so maybe the third fastest time, or perhaps even having a chance to just fight for second fastest. But that sector was faster than I thought it’d be, the time being exactly the same as that of sector three of lap two, so at the end of the lap I was surprised to see that I wasn’t just certain to have a new second fastest time, but even had a chance to have a new personal best. It required a good final sector, however, and I thought that I had given everything on sector three of lap three, but I nevertheless tried to push even harder, and also to optimize the route, and the result was what it was, with an outstanding final sector as well, so close to the fastest.
I felt the heat when I wasn’t in the shade, so it was a bit of a relief when it was briefly cloudy, towards the end of sector three of lap one and early on sector one of lap two. On the other hand, while there had been a few windy sections earlier as well, I really felt the wind on the first two sectors of lap three. And there were also a few places where the lane was breaking up again, though dealing with them wasn’t a major problem. Otherwise, I can really say that I had no physical issues, and there were no notable problems caused by people either. Sure, I still occasionally needed to weave or go the long way around, but at the same time I should probably thank a little girl on a bicycle or tricycle who was on the final straight, saw me coming even though I was several seconds away and waited for me to pass before going across. That might have just made the difference between staying under and going over 46 minutes.

Then I went to Carrefour and bought a watermelon, and after getting back and eating much of the watermelon that we still had, I changed and went back out a little after 7:40 PM. I first meant to go to Penny, but decided on the spot to also make the small detour to the other bakery from the area and got there just before it closed, since I saw the closing time listed as 8 PM and it was 7:56 PM. The person who was there was already doing paperwork at that point, but they still had that sweet pastry which I had bought after the Dream Trek and found that I liked, so I got one. Then I got to Penny, just walking in with that pastry in the backpack and getting some mozzarella.
After that, I made my way to Kaufland, put the backpack with the purchases in a cabinet, washed my hands, and even though I initially just meant to check some prices, among the spoiling fruits and vegetables I found a bag of apricots and one of lemons that seemed usable enough, considering the discount, so I bought both. And then I found a few coins in a self-checkout machine and grabbed them, but then kept going and actually used the next one, the closest one to the exit, putting the coins on it, not in the change tray, using the 0.01 RON ones when I paid… But forgetting the 0.10 RON one there, only realizing after I had left that I hadn’t placed it in my pocket.
Either way, after adding those purchases in the cabinet, I also went to Carrefour, getting there just in time for their bakery discounts, so after getting some olives I also grabbed two breads for dad and two other things for myself. And I also found a bag of garlic that looked quite good among the spoiling fruits and vegetables, but it was torn and the weight was a little below the listed one, so I looked for a head of garlic that I could squeeze in through the tear and which would get the weight to the listed one, then did my best to tie the bag again in a way that hid the tear… And then I again failed to take some coins, albeit for a different reason. I used the self-checkout and found quite a pile left in the change tray, but the employee who came when I called for one to apply the discounts for the bakery products and garlic grabbed them before walking away.
I had little money left at that point, but I nevertheless went back to Kaufland, added the olives in that cabinet, washed my hands again but completely forgot about the bag around my neck, with the bakery items from Carrefour, so I walked in with them. But that was no problem and, even though the bakery discounts remained at 50%, I got two more things from there as well. And, even though I again used the machine that’s closest to the exit, so the farthest one from where people should stand in line, a couple stood right behind me. I had spotted them a few times before making my way to the self-checkout as well and I don’t know whether they were both foreign, but the man quite clearly was, seemed to be watching me in order to figure out how the machine worked, and when I put both bills in at once and it rejected the second one he said that it seems that you need to put them in one by one, at which point I muttered “not really, it just doesn’t work sometimes”. I considered offering to help them, but couldn’t get myself to say it, so I just walked away, retrieved my things from the cabinet, arranged everything in the backpack and bags and still managed to walk out a couple of minutes before closing time.
I got back at 10:30 PM, ate the sweet pastry from the bakery, put the purchases in their place, just wasted time on the toilet, showered, sliced a bread for dad, and made pizza. It was 3:45 AM when I had the first bite in my room, but then I decided to take a picture and it was 3:50 AM when I actually started eating, finishing at 4:45 AM, only then also finishing the tea, and getting in bed at 5:25 AM… And I woke up around 9:30 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep. And my nose was irritated again, and my legs were also burning, the right one being worse, the feeling going up to the knee at that point and later, as I spent some two and a half hours in bed late in the evening but slept for less than one, even higher. At least my nose got better after that, but the following day I started feeling something in my chest, there was a little crap to spit out, getting worse at night, and after having been better during the day both of my feet started burning again after dark, and at night I was feeling rather off overall.

I could only get as far as leaving Kaufland before midnight, the last paragraph above and this one being added a few minutes later and the links to the pictures of the stopwatch showing that new personal best and the dinner I had that night about an hour later, and I still had July 25 to cover in this post. Of course, since I included July 18 and that was the important part, I could have left that for another one, but it’d have been weird, and I’d have also needed to think of another title for the post, so I edited it again Tuesday afternoon, to add that day as well.

In the early hours of July 25, I started eating dinner at 3:15 AM and finished at 4:05 AM. Then I didn’t set an alarm, but got up just after 2:10 PM anyway, and then also decided to still have the usual stuff plus almonds even though I had initially meant to eat lunch. The sweet thing were some expired “digestive” biscuits, with added honey. I also drank most of the tea and left a little before 7:15 PM, wearing the full running gear and one of those armbands, with some things in the pocket of my tights, and also taking some trash, which I dropped off in a bin. The reported temperature was about 32°C, supposed to drop by a few degrees by the time I’ll finish.
I had to cover 16 km, having realized the previous evening that I had to start preparing for the marathon that week, and the time was 1:17:49, with sector times of 4:19, 4:59, 5:52, 4:26, 5:01, 5:55, 4:30, 5:06, 5:58, I think 4:37, I think 5:12, 6:06, 4:37, 5:14 and 5:57, making for lap times of 15:10, 15:22, 15:34, 15:55 and 15:48. Though I know that I had 46:06 at the end of lap three, while running I found myself mixing the seconds with those from the end of its second sector, so two more, and if I did that after sector one of lap four then I miscalculated when I thought that I had covered it in 4:35, and then for some reason the actual time at that point immediately slipped from my mind, so after the next sector I had to recalculate, adding 4:35 to the misremembered 46:08 and ending up with 5:12 on that sector, which obviously didn’t add up to the 55:55 that I clearly know was the time then. So if I misremembered that time all along, which seems likely, those sector times were actually 4:37 and 5:12, but if I didn’t then they were 4:35 and 5:14 instead. Either way, I initially wondered whether I could aim to stay under 1:18 or I’ll have to settle for 1:20 and the first sector didn’t look too promising, but the first lap did, and the second was good enough, so I thought that if I won’t lose time compared to the 1:18 target on the third either I should make it. And I just managed to gain two more seconds, but had to push hard for them, so it was still tight, and continued to be when I hoped to complete four laps in less than 1:02 and instead did so in 1:02:01, so I needed to stay under 16 minutes on lap five as well. But I made it in the end.
The heat was a problem, but it lessened as time passed and on top of the fact that sunset was approaching there were clouds as well. But the big problem were people, and unless I forgot something and had an issue then as well, sector two of lap one was the only one without significant problems caused by them, though the instant of hesitation because of a misunderstanding on the first sector was also a small issue compared to the rest, and I almost escaped roadblocks on the last sector until one formed in front of me right at the end and I had to squeeze through and pretty much walk the last couple of steps. Otherwise, on top of often going the long way around and weaving, I had to squeeze through, slow, take to the grass quite a number of times, including on straights and in spots where that area is sloped towards the lake, and several times I briefly stopped, including a couple of occasions when I had to stop for a couple of seconds, not just for an instant. As for physical issues, there was one moment when I felt warnings from my right knee, but they went away almost immediately, and a certain pressing need first appeared at the start of a lap, forgot if the second or the third, but then it went away and only returned as I was pushing hard on lap five.

Then I went to that Carrefour, putting my mask on as I got in that mall. I found that bread unsliced, so I got one, also got a few more potatoes, and then I spotted some bio (organic) yogurt that was cheaper than most regular ones… Only to use a price checker and see a much higher price. But I checked the bar code on the price label, to make sure that it was for that product, and since they do honor the listed price I grabbed two… Only for the cashier to refuse to even try to have the price checked. At first she said that it was probably a discount for those who use the app, using hers to check when I said that it didn’t say so, and when that obviously didn’t apply any discount she said that all she could do was remove them, because nobody would be available to check the listed price at that hour, even though closing time was still 15 minutes away. So I just bought the bread and potatoes and got back a little before 10:20 PM, after also having a very quick look in the nearby Mega Image.
When I took off my shoes, I noticed that a toenail had jabbed the toe next to it and there was blood, but I had never felt it. Then I ate a lot of watermelon and most of a large bag of bagels, went to the toilet and showered. It was 12:50 AM when I finished that and I had quite a lot to wash, plus that I also sliced a bread which dad had bought for himself, but I’d have still just managed to start eating a combined lunch and dinner, with the remaining bagels instead of bread for the lunch, before 3 AM if I wouldn’t have noticed a pile of clothes on the floor of the small bathroom. And I knew that Liza had been there, to use the litter box, after dad went to bed, so I had a look… And saw that those were my running clothes! I had placed them on the basket, since they might have still been damp, and she seems to have dragged them down and might have even done more than that, because the tights didn’t seem damaged, but a spot on the t-shirt is almost tearing, looking like one of her claws got caught there, and later I also noticed two fainter scratches in another area. That t-shirt’s from my first half marathon, from 2016, so it lasted so many years without problems only for Liza to make me unable to use it anymore with one touch. I mean, what else could have happened? And, on top of being hurt by needing to change it because it’s the one that I got used to using, it’s also thicker, seeming to have two layers, which makes it much sturdier than the others, which are very unlikely to last this long, and it may also allow me to withstand slightly lower temperatures while running in the colder part of the year. Admittedly, that also makes it a slightly worse choice when it’s hot, but I’d say that the benefits are far more important. At least the one from the 2017 half marathon seems similar, but I’m not entirely certain…
Either way, I started eating at 3:05 AM, only finished the lunch at 3:35 AM and everything at 4:15 AM. And that night I saw that the price of that TV tuner, at that one store from here that seems to carry it, had dropped again, being only 24 RON higher than the one which I had demanded them to honor, being the lowest that I had seen, and I do have that 25 RON voucher from them, so I meant to order it again after all… Only to see that they added an additional 5 RON fee to shipping if you pay cash, so I’d have still ended up paying 4 RON more and I will not accept any price that’s higher than the one displayed when I asked them to either adjust my existing order or, if necessary, cancel it and make a new one, so I gave up again. But then I sent an e-mail to Carrefour, to complain about that cashier not honoring the listed price, and that actually worked out. It’s a matter for another post, however.


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