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August’s Half Marathon Run and the One After It

I slept badly on the morning of August 23, dad getting back just when I was falling asleep, then Liza started meowing loudly and he fed her when I was again just about to fall asleep, then finally managing to fall asleep but waking up at 8 AM, when the computer did the daily backup. After going to pee, I got back in bed, but it took me a while to fall asleep again and at 9:21 AM I was once again woken up, that time by the SMS announcing the delivery of that TV tuner which I had ordered, even though there had been no e-mail to let me know that it had been sent to the delivery service. But I had written in the comments that I wanted it delivered after 2 PM, so I just set the phone to silent, peed again, just in case, and went back to bed. After again taking a while to fall asleep, I woke up again around 11:45 AM, that time because I had dreamed that the delivery guy was here. So I peed one more time, and had probably just managed to finally fall asleep again when I noticed that the silent setting apparently only applies to calls, being woken up, at 12:26 PM, by an SMS stating that they had tried to make the delivery. When I checked, I saw that the delivery guy had called at 12:10 PM. And I’m not even sure that I managed to get back to sleep after that. Seeing as hardly any time seemed to have passed and yet it was 1:27 PM when I checked the time again, I probably did, but if so then I slept poorly. Either way, I considered getting up at that point, decided against it… And then got up anyway, just before 1:45 PM, since dad woke up, Liza started meowing again, and the alarm was set to ring at 2 PM, so I was just wasting time.
Minutes after getting up, I asked dad for his phone, called the delivery guy, said that I had mentioned that I wanted the delivery after 2 PM and asked if he could still deliver that day, but he said no, so it was left for the following day. However, when I said that I still wanted it after 2 PM, he said that after 2 PM they’re in another area, so it’ll have to again be around or just before noon. On the other hand, when I later checked the link from the SMS, I saw that the delivery was still listed for that day, between 12:15 PM and 3:15 PM, so the interval actually started after the moment when the guy initially called, and included 2 PM without problems. And when I checked again, just after 3 PM, and tried to reschedule for the following day in that manner as well, selecting that I won’t be home on that day, since the only other available option was that I had no cash to pay, there was a message stating that the delivery can’t be rescheduled anymore and telling me to call for details. But I had already done that, and was still shaking because of it, so I tried to put it out of my mind and continue to get ready for that day’s planned half marathon run, leaving at 4:35 PM, wearing the full running gear and one of those armbands, with some things in the pocket of my tights. That was after having an apple, mixing both almonds and raisins in dark chocolate with the yogurt and muesli, and also having a slice of that old cozonac, with added honey. I also considered taking the running belt, but decided against it. As for the reported temperature, it was about 31°C, supposed to either hold steady or maybe drop by 1-2°C by the time I’ll finish, depending on which site I checked.
The time was 1:47:28, with sector times of 4:21, 5:03, 6:00, 4:34, 5:14, 6:06, 4:39, 5:13, 6:07, 4:44, 5:24, 6:15, 4:52, 5:31, 6:23, 4:55, 5:39, 6:18, 1:57, 6:19 and 1:54, making for lap times of 15:24, 15:54, 15:59, 16:23, 16:46 and 16:52, plus 10:10 for the final portion. Of course, a time that I could have used, that I’d have been content with, was under 1:45, but after having estimated 1:49 if I’d have continued the previous run to a half marathon distance, I aimed to at least stay under 1:48, and when I saw how the first lap was going I hoped to complete it in less than 15:30, and also to finally have less than six minutes on a sector three again. And, while it was exactly 6:00 if I just take the seconds, the exact time for sector three of lap one was about a tenth under six minutes, and the lap time was under 15:30, so I calculated target times adding up to 1:48 from there. However, at some point I made a mistake, so after a while I ended up thinking that I had a chance to stay under 1:47, though the target times actually added up to 1:47:30. Either way, I pushed to stay under 16 minutes on lap three and just made it, then allowed myself to relax a little, the target becoming 16:30. After lap four, I was hoping to gain ten more seconds before the end, for that 1:47:30, but lap five went badly, I was trying to push but just couldn’t go any faster and lost almost everything I had gained until then, so I thought that I had to push to just stay under 1:48. But the target for lap six was 17 minutes and I only got a little slower, recovering half of that loss, and then I really pushed on the final portion and was 20 seconds faster than the target time. At the start of the final sector I still thought that I won’t manage to stay under 1:47:30, since I needed 1:55, but in the end I just did.
On the first lap it was sunny and quite hot, and since cyclists were coming past me and two joggers were ahead and I was trying to calculate where and how to fit though, I again stepped in that hole that’s under the lane, on sector three, the lane being wet in that area as well, though at least it was once again with the left heel, so it was just somewhat jarring. It got gradually less sunny on lap two, but on the first sector I might have had to slow for an opening in a roadblock, since I seem to recall meaning to keep something in mind but obviously didn’t actually memorize the details. On the other hand, on lap three it was cloudy, which helped, but also much more windy, which didn’t, not that there hadn’t been plenty of windy areas on the first two laps as well. The wind lessened to some extent on the first part of lap four, when it was once again mostly sunny, but when I was on the long straight of sector two it got cloudy again, and on sector three the wind once again picked up. On lap five it got partly sunny again, and on its first sector I had to slow and maybe even stop for an instant in order to wait for a way through a roadblock, while towards the end of sector two a dog went for my legs and I had to avoid it.
Well, seconds after I avoided that dog, it suddenly started raining, the rain getting quite heavy almost immediately, so I was thinking that it’ll be quite a problem if it’ll continue like that all the way to the end, but I fortunately only had to cover about a kilometer under those conditions, the rain stopping before the end of the lap. It was more than enough to make the lane even soggier, however, not that there hadn’t been wet areas all along. Oddly enough, it remained partly sunny while it rained, but then became less so over the course of lap six, and the wind was dying down as well. On sector three of lap six I was noticing that it was actually starting to get somewhat dark, the Sun probably being too low to make it through the clouds anymore. A few drops returned when I was about halfway through sector two of the final portion, so what would be the last sector three of a lap, gradually increasing to a light rain by the time I finished.
What my mind refuses to recall is just when and where the most dangerous moment took place. I know that another runner was coming from the opposite direction, on the lane, and a cyclist who had been stationary tried to get moving, going across the path and being about to cut me off as I went to the right of the lane, so I initially meant to go farther to the right, in order to get around her as well, but someone yelled at her to stop and she did, so the space that I meant to use wasn’t created and the only way through was to get between her and the runner. However, when I quickly changed direction in order to do so, I found myself face to face with what I assume was the reason why she had been told to stop, in the form of a guy on what I guess was a large scooter. Both of us opened our eyes wide and he clearly had no way to avoid me, but I somehow just managed to jump aside in time. I have no idea how or even in which direction, but I somehow did. My mind seems to want to say that this took place on the earlier part of sector two of lap five, but at the same time maybe it didn’t, sector two of lap six also being possible. Sector three of lap five isn’t exactly impossible either, but I don’t think that what I can recall about the location fits with sector three, plus that it’d mean that it was raining then, which I don’t think was the case.
In terms of physical problems, I needed to pee even before starting, but the feeling gradually lessened, as expected, being gone by the time I finished sector two of lap two, and no other pressing need appeared. There were small warnings from my left thigh at the beginning, but they quickly went away. Other warnings came from my right knee and hip and left ankle and knee, but those appeared relatively late and didn’t get worse. However, on sector three of lap six my legs started feeling heavy and by the end of it even burning, things only getting worse over the course of the final portion.

After the run, I went to that Carrefour, or more exactly first went to pee and wash my hands, arms and face, only putting on the mask after that, then went to Carrefour and got what I wanted. After that, I had a quick look through that farmers’ market and asked one of the few sellers who hadn’t yet left about the price of some peppers, since dad had asked me to look for some. There was a sign on that pile, but it was for eggplants, and when I pointed that out she said that she thought that it was for the peppers, then told me that the price was the same as for the red ones that were next to them. That kind is usually more expensive, however, and they were also nicer and larger, so I walked away and checked first that Mega Image and then Supeco, just going in with the purchases both times. And in Supeco I found the kind of peppers that I was looking for at a lower price than what I had seen while checking other stores on-line, before leaving, so I bought them from there. I was likely going to find bags of spoiling peppers of that kind for an even lower price at some Mega Image locations, and they were going to be used for cooking, but I decided to pick nice ones from there and not risk to need to keep looking and possibly end up not finding any after all. I only had 100 RON bills, however, having spent all of the smaller ones at Carrefour, and when I told that to the cashier and handed him one he said that he unfortunately didn’t have change either, so we stared at each other for a moment, then I asked whether that meant that I couldn’t make the purchase and after pausing for a moment longer he finally gave me the change, which at least happened to be exactly 95 RON.
I did put the purchases in a cabinet when I got to Tei, then I got what I wanted from there as well… And on the way to the checkout happened to see what seemed to be a lower price for those gels, so I grabbed two… And only realized after getting back that they were the regular kind instead of the Pro, which is what I’ve been getting so far. But I did buy three of those back in April, so I still have the two which I’ll likely use during the marathon and these two expire in 2024, so I have time to find some use for them. Either way, I then added those purchases in the cabinet, quickly checked that Mega Image as well… And while I was there it started to rain heavily, so after retrieving my things from the cabinet I took my time to figure out how to at least protect the medicines to some extent.
By the time I finally walked away, it wasn’t raining quite as heavily either, so I continued to that location of that other pharmacy, but they didn’t have that supplement for joints. I had seen it on their site, so I hadn’t looked for it at Tei, but I was told that the site lists what’s available for on-line orders and there’s no way to see the stock of their physical locations and therefore they couldn’t even tell me whether it may be available elsewhere, so I got the other things and also added a tea. Then, after just glancing from the door at the bakery area of that Mega Image, I decided to also go to the other location of that pharmacy, and since the route took me close to the larger Mega Image from the area I had a look there as well, putting the purchases in a cabinet… And finding bags of spoiling peppers of that kind. But it was too late, so I retrieved my things from the cabinet and continued on my way to that pharmacy. A single pharmacist seemed to be working when I got there, and he was outside, talking to people, so he ended up following me inside… Only to say that they didn’t have that supplement there either.
So I went the other way again, getting to Kaufland and stuffing everything in a cabinet just when the 75% discount for bakery products was announced. After washing my hands and walking in right at 10 PM, however, I found that not much was left in the bakery area, so I just got one thing that I could put something sweet on, or in, even though I checked using a self-checkout and saw that it didn’t even have an evening discount, being one of the products that had a regular discount those days. Either way, I then got some bread for dad, saw some evening discount for beets and got two large ones, one for dad and one for myself, wandered around for quite a while, decided to also grab an expiring mix of dried plums, apricots and walnuts, then got those snacks that dad wants, since they were on sale, and looked for salt but had to get an imported pack of their store brand, since we were out and I couldn’t find the one that we usually get. And while I was at the self-checkout an old man was telling the employee that he had been to the Pantelimon location and it closed at 10 PM and she told him that he must have been at Carrefour, since only Kaufland closes at 11 PM, but I spoke up to say that I had also bumped into that problem, that location indeed closing at 10 PM. Then, after needing to try several times before the cabinet door finally unlocked, I took quite some time to somehow arrange everything in the flimsy bags which I had taken with me, walked out right at 11 PM… And once again saw heavy rain, probably the heaviest of the day, so at the end of the covered area I stopped again, arranged some things a little more, and when it seemed to start to lessen I braved it, the good thing being that pretty soon after that it lessened a lot.
I was finally back at 11:40 PM, and I know that it was 6:40 PM when I finished the run, so I had wandered around for exactly five hours. Then I put a few things in their place and left others for dad to take, ate that mix, went to the toilet and to shower when it was almost 12:45 AM, and was done at 1:25 AM. I had quite a lot to wash in the kitchen, however, and other things to do as well, so after a lunch consisting of the rest of the large bag of corn puffs which I had started two days earlier, which I was just finishing at 3 AM, and a slice of pizza brought by dad, eaten while slicing bread, I started eating dinner at 3:45 AM and finished at 4:35 AM. And my stomach wasn’t happy, so I then rushed to the toilet again. And I was also noticing pain under the nails of all of the middle three toes from my left foot, and while it didn’t happen right away, in time I saw faint bruises appearing under the top parts of the other two as well, along with what was left of the one from the Dream Trek. Either way, after sending an e-mail to that pharmacy, to ask whether someone could tell me whether that supplement was actually available in any of their locations, which I actually never got a reply to, I finally got in bed at 5:45 AM, though my stomach was still unhappy.

The next run was on the evening of August 29, so after having a small apple after getting up, I decided to actually cook something and then have some of it as lunch, finishing a little after 6:15 PM, though I then moved what was left in a smaller pot and scraped the little amount left on the bottom of the other one and also the breadcrumbs from the plate at 6:30 PM. Then I put on the full running gear and one of those armbands, plus some things in the pocket of my tights, had another slice of that old cozonac, with added honey, drank most of the tea and left a little after 8:05 PM, when the reported temperature was about 30°C, supposed to drop by a couple of degrees by the time I’ll finish. Sunset was at 7:58 PM, so I ran in the dark.
The time was 48:52.10, with sector times of 4:30.34, 5:12 (5:11.86), 6:01, 4:36, 5:12, 5:56, 4:33, 5:11, 5:53 and 1:48 (1:47.56), making for lap times of 15:43, 15:44 and 15:37. I did try to see the exact times at first, but by the end of the first lap it was completely dark and my eyes wouldn’t focus before the stopwatch‘s light went out, would have had to stop and didn’t, so after several attempts over the course of sector one of lap two I just gave up on that. As for the target time, I hoped to get back under 48 minutes, but only really aimed to stay under 50 minutes, and when I saw that poor time for the first sector despite having felt that I had been fast, it seemed that I was in big trouble. And sector two wasn’t good either, the first lap’s time made me worry that I’ll fail even that, and sector one of lap two only worsened my concerns, though all the attempts to see the exact time had probably slowed me a little. But sector three of lap two marked an improvement, and having pretty much the same time on lap two as on lap one made me change the target to 49:30 and push on lap three, first giving a passing thought to staying under 49 minutes after sector one and thinking that I might just have a small but real chance to do so after sector two. So, even though my body was complaining from the end of sector two, I pushed even more on sector three and continued to do so on the final sector, not even checking the time at the end of the lap, so I didn’t know what I needed or what my chances were, but in the end I made it by a safe margin… Not that almost 49 minutes isn’t still an awful time.
As expected, the park was crowded, and some cyclists without lights were a danger to others and even riding on the running lane. But many people were on the lane, though I mostly managed to just weave my way around them, albeit often going the long way around or squeezing through. The most notable problem was on sector two of lap two, when three dogs on leashes, one going in the same direction, one in the opposite one and one coming from the side, met and wanted to go to each other, so after avoiding one I got in the path of the second, after avoiding the second I got in the path of the third… And after avoiding that one as well I almost slammed into a woman who had just passed through that spot before the dogs got there and then stopped to arrange her hair, so I had to quickly avoid her too. And at the end of that sector, under the bridge, I slowed a lot because of a triple roadblock. I might have just managed to squeeze through, next to the wall, but another runner coming from the opposite direction who had apparently just stopped and was checking the time noticed me and blocked that spot by moving off the lane, probably out of reflex, so I had to just squeeze through somehow.
Otherwise, I also lost time because of the dark, since there are areas where you can see next to nothing and I had to be more careful. As for physical problems, there was a little warning from that spot at the back of my left thigh at the start, but it went away… And what I wrote down at the time is that both thighs started giving warnings on sector two of lap two, towards the end of that sector my chest also started burning a little, and towards the end of the lap I started feeling a little out of breath, but it seems more likely that these actually took place on lap three, especially considering what I mentioned above, about the moment when my body started complaining. Either way, it was definitely towards the end of the final sector when I felt even more out of breath, not quite managing to sustain that sprint all the way to the end. But I managed a good time on that sector anyway.

Then I jogged to Carrefour, once again first washing my hands and face and only putting on the mask after that. I didn’t find anything to get, however, and I was rushing, so I removed the mask again after I got back outside and held it in my hand as I mostly actually ran to Penny, getting there a little before 9:40 PM, so only ten minutes after walking out of that mall. Then I put the mask back on, just got a bag of bagels and continued to that Kaufland, washing my hands again, not bothering to put those bagels in a cabinet, since they were Penny’s store brand, walking in the store at 10 PM, going straight to the bakery area and grabbing a sweet pastry and a bun, the discount for bakery products soon increasing to 65%. I saw plenty of other evening discounts as well and grabbed another cabbage and more plums, and then also grapes for my mother. And I kept seeing some bagels that seem to be a kind that I used to get in the past among the expiring products in that location, though now they’re apparently sold by weight, with those apparently expiring ones being packaged by Kaufland in plastic boxes, but if I had previously only seen a few such boxes at a time, that evening there were dozens, so I grabbed one of those as well, then went to the self-checkout, walking to the last machine… And finding that it was in German. I pointed that out to the employee and she told me to wait for another to become available, but I said that I’ll manage and did so, the fact that the product names were still in Romanian making it easy enough.
I walked out a few minutes before 11 PM, when that location closed, but then spent several minutes arranging the purchases, only actually walking away after the announcement that the store had closed. And it seemed that I caught several spiderwebs on the way back, though none of them was as thick as the one I had caught the previous evening. Either way, I got back a little after 11:40 PM, put some of the purchases in their place, ate watermelon, the sweet pastry and those bagels, finally went to shower at 1:05 AM, got back in the kitchen at 1:30 AM, sliced the two breads that I was yet to slice for dad, out of the four purchased the previous evening, started eating dinner just after 3:05 AM and finished at 3:50 AM. However, after having decided to not do so before showering, I found myself needing to go to the toilet before going to bed.


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