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A Slower Long Practice Run and the One After It, Plus More Reasons to Be Depressed

To add to the reasons for being depressed, last evening I just found out that Carrefour’s campaign that offers fruits and vegetables in exchange for PET bottles was extended this year to also include glass bottles and aluminum cans, so I’d have probably had several hundred stored, considering that large box of cans, but it was at Orhideea right at the beginning, only for five days instead of a week and those days were between September 22 and 26, so exactly when I did that series of three runs in five days and I didn’t check. I had been checking since August, but when I knew that I won’t be able to go I set that aside for a while, and they apparently made the announcement on pretty short notice and the two sources that I was relying on to pick it up haven’t mentioned it either, not even by now. And it’d have been so nice to have a lot of nice vegetables and also some nicer apples before the marathon, plus that Carrefour Orhideea is next to a metro station and therefore dad could have brought some as well, at least on some of the days, so we could have made use of more of the recyclables. As it is, it will also be at Vulcan again, but between October 29 and November 2, so again only for five days and dad definitely won’t go there, so on top of having stored all of the bottles and cans used by him, fighting with him over it at times, and not being able to get the benefits when I actually needed them, I’ll also be limited to a total of 100, assuming I’ll go every day… Though the first question is whether I will be able to use what I have at all, since this year it says that they’re using machines, which won’t take flattened bottles or cans, and I obviously flatten them in order to be able to store so many, so I can only hope that they’ll change things and also allow them to be received by their employees, as it always was before, by then.
Otherwise, my provider just removed Eurosport 2 from the channels on the analog list, so I can’t watch it normally anymore, in my room or in the kitchen, and getting the new TV tuner is starting to look like even more of a mistake, since still being able to watch TV on the computer when I’ll finally get a new one is more and more questionable. And even though I haven’t been using that tuner at all after the initial tests, I just noticed that DOSBox doesn’t register the right Shift anymore and after glancing at some discussions about the problem I’m thinking that the drivers which were installed for its remote are the cause.
Unrelated to any of these, I’m getting worried about dad, noticing signs of health problems that he won’t admit to, or may well make a point of not believing, following his idea about the power of the mind. He always had problems with one ear, but now I’m wondering whether he’s losing his hearing in general or what’s going is his ability to comprehend, which would be a sign of worse things. And also a sign of worse things would be his memory, which was always poor but seems to be getting quite noticeably worse… Even if he is very involved in those theater groups and seems to be able to learn and play his parts well enough despite most likely rehearsing less than he should, which makes me wonder whether it’s not still more about not paying attention, in which case the question becomes whether he just doesn’t care to or he’s no longer able to. And since, unlike everything else, he actually admitted to being bothered by one eye and actually scheduled an appointment to have it checked out, I wonder how bad that actually is as well.

But this post was supposed to be about runs, and it won’t even get to those three that I mentioned above, being limited to the two that came before them, the main one obviously being the 35.2 km one, on September 6. I should probably start with September 5, however, and say that it was past midnight, so during that day’s first moments, when I started making pasta, and 3:05 AM when I started to eat a combined lunch and dinner, though that was after licking a few things earlier, while I was still in the kitchen. I finished a little after 3:45 AM.
I was woken up by the SMS received at 8:52 AM, letting me know that the Slow Cooker which I had ordered, after discussing it with dad, was going to be delivered that day, and after that I had a hard time getting back to sleep and was quickly waking up if I did, so I just had a few naps before 12:22 PM, when the delivery guy called. I asked whether I’ll be able to check the package and he said that I will after paying, so when he arrived I paid, then just pulled the box into the hallway and did my best to open it quickly while he stood at the door, having a very quick look and not noticing anything wrong at that moment. Later, when I could take a closer look, I did spot a tiny problem on the bowl, but it’s obviously like that from manufacturing, not a crack, and it’s on the outside, so it seems fine.
Otherwise, I was worried about the left calf muscle, which had been troubling me and seemed to be getting worse at the time, which was definitely not what I wanted before such a run. And I couldn’t get much more sleep that evening either, getting back in bed at one point, napping for no more than an hour, and in fact probably less, then getting up to pee and being unable to get back to sleep despite spending another hour and a half in bed, then turning on the monitor, since there was a match, but getting back in bed yet again and staying there until the end of the first half, so for more than 20 more minutes, just looking at the screen when there were goals. That did mean four times, however.

To finally get to September 6, I’ll again start with the day’s first moments, when I was eating lunch. Then I shaved and, after getting to the kitchen, did a few things that could have waited, but I can’t really say when I started eating dinner. It was 3:25 AM when I had the first bite in my room, but by then I had gone beyond just licking a few things in the kitchen, while on the other hand it was actually 3:30 AM when I finished bringing everything to my room and sat down to eat here, but I grabbed some more bites during those five minutes as well. And yes, I had peanut butter again, but only on some of the slices. Either way, I finished eating at 4:20 AM and got in bed at 5:20 AM.
I woke up multiple times, sometimes to pee, after that big salad, but not just because of that. It was the need to pee that woke me up the last time, however, since I hadn’t set an alarm, and when I saw that it was 2:07 PM I decided to get up. The problem was that there had been an announcement stating that gas would be off until 1 PM, yet it was still off, so I first went to the toilet, where I only left a small part of what I felt was there, after putting off going the day before until I ended up not going at all. But the gas was still off when I checked again, so I ended up microwaving two mugs of tea, which I drank. Otherwise, ate a nicer apple and a bio (organic) yogurt with muesli, raisins in dark chocolate and almonds, then went to the toilet a second time, managing to get way more out but still feeling like it wasn’t everything. And if the gas finally seemed to have returned after that and I tried to make the tea for the evening, it then seemed to have been turned off again, though something was coming through and it had that smell, so I was thinking that they were testing, using a substance that wasn’t flammable, but it’s possible that the burner had somehow gotten clogged and too little gas was coming through. So I gave up on making that tea and also ate a banana and some of those wheat things, with honey and jam. I had found a different kind in the hypermarkets, also eight in a package, but 56 grams instead of 80, so seven grams each, so I had three instead of two, as a “sandwich”, with the honey and jam between them.
After also backing up the “safe” partition, I decided to take the running belt after all, putting in it the remaining gel from this summer’s Dream Trek, which had also expired back then, in June, this probably explaining how they had managed to afford to give away so many, and also a protein bar, also from then, plus some garlic and napkins. Otherwise, I was wearing the full running gear plus one of those armbands, only putting my ID card and the slip of paper with the emergency information in the pocket of my tights. The napkins and garlic should have gone there as well, and possibly also the gel, to leave the belt free for the first emptied bottle, which was the main reason why I had decided to take it in the first place, but for some reason I didn’t put them there. Either way, after taking a little more time to remove what had gathered at the back of my shoes, I took a bottle of tea, fortunately made the previous day, in each hand, and left at 5:50 PM, when the reported temperature was 23-24°C, dropping to about 17°C when I finished. But something still seemed to be hurting my left heel, so after reaching the park I sat on a bench and took care of that.
The time was 3:23:09, with lap times of 16:02, 16:39, 16:58, 17:26, 18:27, 18:17, 18:32, 18:55, 19:43, 20:36 and 21:34. When I wanted to hit the light button at the start of lap seven, since that was when it became too dark, I accidentally hit the start/stop one, so I added a second to the times that were actually displayed after that, affecting that lap’s time and the total. It’s possible that it took me closer to two seconds to react, but one second seems good enough, plus that I was standing still at that moment. Either way, the ideal target was to stay under 3:15, but I’d have been pretty content with “only” a new personal best, preferably by at least eight seconds, to stay under 3:18 and average less than 18 minutes per lap. And I did push too hard at first, finding myself aiming for 16 minutes on the first lap and just missing that target, and then wanting to stay under 17 minutes on laps two and three and managing to do so, plus that the actual running time was about 17 minutes on laps four and five as well, so after five laps I was 3:56 ahead of the previous time, but then I started losing time. I calculated after seven laps and saw that I had just gone over the time that’d have allowed me to stay under 3:18 with 19-minute laps from then on, already having almost 19 minutes on lap eight confirmed that 3:18 was a lost cause, and lap nine made it quite clear that I won’t even stay under 3:20, so from then on I just tried to get to the end and stay under 3:25, on the last lap actually being worried that I won’t even manage that. It wasn’t quite as bad in the end, but I was 5:02 slower than last year, with 5:35 lost over those last two laps, since after nine laps I was still 33 seconds ahead. In fact, on the last two laps, and also on the eighth, I was even slower than the first time
While my heels weren’t getting scraped anymore, I felt quite clearly that the left shoe pretty much no longer cushions at all at the front. Otherwise, it was quite crowded, only getting better towards the end, but I wasn’t aiming for speed, so there were few notable issues. I recall having to go off the path and around a couple of benches on lap seven, but cutting a turn in the process, and the one potentially dangerous moment was on the long sector one straight, I think on lap six, though there’s a small chance that it was also on lap seven, when I was weaving and squeezing through, a cyclist coming from the opposite direction was doing the same and we ended up face to face, so he slammed on the brakes, I also managed to stop and we just avoided crashing. Some damaged spots on the lane could have been hazardous in the dark, but I avoided them, though on lap six I again somehow ended up stepping in that hole that’s under the lane. I thought that I had avoided it but obviously didn’t, so it was again my left heel that went in it, which might have caused the sharp pain I felt in my left ankle on lap seven. But that went away after a while, as did the pain which at one point I was feeling in my right knee. My hips and thighs were giving warnings from the start, seemed to get better on lap two but got back to that level on lap three, at which point that right knee also joined them, at first with warnings but then, I’m not sure if almost right away or on lap four, with a pain that was quite worrying before it went away.
I drank at the start of laps four, six, eight and eleven, since at the start of lap ten I decided to wait a little longer and then didn’t want to stop again during the lap, knowing that it’ll be hard to get going again. I know that drinking caused me to lose about 35 seconds on each of the first two occasions, but on the other two I didn’t check. I lost over a minute, and maybe closer to one and a half, at the start of lap five, however, when I ate that bar, struggling a little to open the wrapping and then stopping at a bench to set down the bottles, only recalling after that how to hold them and still have enough free fingers to deal with the bar. I lost much less time when I had the gel, at the start of lap nine, but I didn’t try to actually calculate how much. And, despite not drinking or eating, there were brief stops at the start of laps seven and ten as well, to check the time. But what surprised me was that there was no pressing need at any point. Or maybe a faint feeling appeared some time after eating the bar, but it wasn’t notable and later there really wasn’t anything at all. On the other hand, the feeling that I had to pee, which I had from the beginning, was only starting to ease by the time I drank the first time, and that caused it to return, only finally going away for good some time after that.
But there was so much pain… I knew about halfway through lap eight that I was going to be in trouble, towards the end of lap nine my legs were really hurting and starting to burn, on lap ten that got even worse and my arms were also going numb, and on the last lap my feet seemed to be going numb as well, my hands were so numb that I almost dropped the bottles a few times, and I also had that odd feeling, of partial numbness or something of the sort, in my upper abdomen. Interestingly, I never felt out of breath, but it was so hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I did realize at the end of lap ten that I’ll be able to at least jog, and likely actually run to some extent, all the way to the end, but the last two, or in fact two and a half, laps were really hard.
It obviously wasn’t any easier after I finished either. I was in so much pain and could barely even stay on my feet, so it was so hard to go up those stairs. Still, I stopped at a bench for a little stretching, then struggled to get back here, probably looking really drunk, since I was having such a hard time walking, not to mention going in a straight line. But I got back just before 10 PM and when I mentioned wanting cheese from this nearby store, since I meant to make mamaliga, dad offered to rush there and get some before leaving for work, which he did, so I didn’t have to go out again. But before he went out the door I had already started crying because of the pain, and while I was probably only able to do so because I wasn’t alone at that moment, I then found myself crying harder for a few minutes, while he was away, and that seemed to help a fair bit.
The stove still didn’t seem to work, however, but at that point I decided to try all of the burners and noticed that the problem was just with the front ones, and even those eventually lit, but only partially and with small flames, so I made tea on one from the back, which worked normally. But after eating watermelon and most of a bag of bagels and going to the bathroom at 11:15 PM, to use the toilet and take a pretty quick bath, finishing at 12:10 AM, I decided to have a regular lunch, with the rest of those bagels instead of bread, since it was too late to start making mamaliga, even though I cleaned those burners from the front and they worked well after that. Even so, it was 12:50 AM when I started eating that lunch and 1:15 AM when I finished, then spent 20 more minutes on-line and after that I also put a few more things brought by dad in their place, so the fact that I started eating dinner at 3:05 AM actually meant that I was fast, and it was even better that I still finished at 3:40 AM.

Sleeping after that run was quite a problem, however. I guess it was close to 7 AM when I finally managed to fall asleep, but at 7:55 AM I got up to pee again, at which point I also washed what dad had left in the kitchen, and after that I was again unable to get back to sleep, so a little after 8:40 AM I got up, tightened the case screws a little more, since something had been vibrating, and then got on the computer. After having for some reason decided to reinstall it a few days earlier, that morning I completed the tutorial of Fate of the World: Tipping Point, which was the only scenario which I had managed to complete the first time around as well, being easy and not taking long. And then I also finally finished the post about the runs on August 15 and 19 and edited it in order to add those parts, getting back in bed at 9:45 AM.
On the other hand, despite not having such problems that day, nor when I went to the toilet right after the run, the blood that I saw the following day was probably a delayed effect of that run after all. I had only held it for a few minutes and everything seemed fine at first, but it felt like there was a little more, so I tried to push it out and at that point I heard drops, looked in the toilet and saw blood dripping out of me. It’s apparently the first time that happened since November, and so far it didn’t happen again, which is a relief. However, that day I also confirmed that I had lost a filling, though I’m pretty sure that at least parts of it had fallen out quite some time earlier, so I don’t know whether what was left of it also fell out at that point, making it more noticeable, or I was just paying more attention.

Moving on to the next run, which was on September 17, I’ll again start with the day’s the early hours, when I finished eating dinner at 3:45 AM. At that point, despite setting the alarm to ring at 2 PM, I was thinking to try to get up if I’ll wake up when dad will leave, which was supposed to be around 10:30 AM, and won’t be awfully sleepy, since there was a risk of storms later and the sites that I check disagreed on the hours. But I was first woken up at 7:10 AM, by a call, and I even answered, but they hung up, so I switched the phone to silent, went to pee and then got back in bed, seeing later that after a few minutes they tried one more time. Either way, I woke up twice more after that, but managed to get back to sleep quickly, and after waking yet again when dad left I took a little time to determine whether I could try to get up, got on the computer and checked the forecast again, seeing that the sites were closer to agreeing over a risk of rain after 4-5 PM. However, one just listed a window with a lower risk of rain, before those hours, so even though all agreed that the wind was going to cause the most problems exactly during that window, I moved the alarm to noon and got back in bed, again falling asleep quickly and getting up when it rang.
The forecast had again changed by then, the sites stating either that there should be no more rain that day or that it’ll only return in the evening. But, despite having something of a headache, the risks of getting back in bed yet again seemed to outweigh the benefits, so I had the usual stuff plus the last of the old almonds, with some chec, which Wikipedia says is a version of pound cake, with added honey, as the sweet thing, and left at 2:30 PM, wearing the full running gear and one of those armbands, with some things in the pocket of my tights. The reported temperature was 24-25°C, which seemed to have pretty much held steady, even though when I left the forecasts stated that it was going to increase by a couple of degrees by the time I’ll finish. Also, even though it was cloudy, the risk of rain had just about vanished from the forecasts, and that of more troublesome wind had moved a little later.
The time was 48:08.85, with sector times of 4:20.35, 5:06.47, 6:01 (6:00.97), 4:30 (4:29.22), 5:06.10, 5:55.18, 4:26 (4:25.75), 5:03.35, 5:49.34 and 1:52.12, making for lap times of 15:27.79, 15:31 (15:30.50) and 15:18.44. I wanted to be less slow than the previous time but didn’t dare to hope to get back under 48 minutes and felt slow on the first sector. Still, that first sector’s time was pretty much what I expected and the second sector wasn’t bad either, but over six minutes on sector three meant that I was already tiring and the lap time didn’t seem to even give me a chance to stay under 48:30. However, sector two of lap two being fractions of a second faster than sector two of lap one got my attention, and being clearly under six minutes on sector three made it seem that I could at least stay under 48:30 after all, if I’ll really push. So I did, and each sector of lap three was better than expected, so I ended up much closer to 48 minutes, though still too far to have been able to get back under that time.
The lane was wet in a number of places, so I avoided what I could, but in terms of precipitation there were only some drops at the end of sector one of lap one, becoming a light drizzle on sector two but stopping by the end of that sector. There might have been a few more drops on the second half of sector three of lap three, but that was barely noticeable. And I can’t say that I noticed the wind at all, which was a pleasant surprise. But the weather, and likely also the uncertain forecast, probably helped to make the park less crowded than I feared it’d be, so while I did have to weave and go the long way around plenty of times, the notable problems were only on sector three of lap one, when I slowed a lot and maybe stopped for just an instant when a woman who was checking her phone and insulting the child she was with walked in front of me, and on sector one of laps two and three, when I slowed to catch the moment when I could squeeze through roadblocks. However, I probably ruined some wedding photos as I went up the stairs at the start of the final sector just when a couple, so I guess the bride and groom, were walking up slowly with the photographer behind them, taking shots, and after squeezing past them I banged my elbow against the railing, making me think that they had probably cursed me out under their breath.
In terms of physical problems, at the beginning I felt tired, a muscle bothered me a little, though in my notes I wrote that it was the bottom part of the back of my left calf, which seems unlikely, the bottom of the left thigh or the top of the left calf being more likely, and I also had some abdominal pain, but all of these issues lessened in time. And the warnings that came from my left ankle on sector two of lap two also went away after a while, other warnings, that time from my knees, or mainly from the left one, and possibly some faint ones from the right hip as well, only appearing on sector three of lap three. Otherwise, on sector two of lap one and sector three of lap two there was a feeling that I hadn’t left everything in the toilet, but it never got to the level of a pressing need and when it possibly returned, on sector three of lap three, it was even fainter.

I still have the rest of that day to write about, but since I’m going to do the morning run tomorrow I decided to start making the salad some time after dad left, so I worked on that until 11:30 PM or so, then finished the part about the run and now I have something else to do as well, so I’m posting this as it is… And the plan was to edit it in order to add that part after I’ll manage to write it, but I eventually decided to include that in the next post.


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