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Before Bucharest Marathon 2022

I’ll start this post with October 6, when I left just before 4:15 PM, taking the metro to Izvor and getting the race kit and t-shirt quickly and without problems. However, if back in spring I was particularly pleased with the contents of the kit, now I was rather disappointed, even wondering whether everything had actually been included, and about the lack of any magazines. But I just tried on the t-shirt, then went to the tent of that NGO that encourages blood donations and exchanged a few words with them, actually saying that I couldn’t recall whether I had selected to support them back when I registered, but that I still had their t-shirt from last year and might just wear it, since I don’t like the official one, being black. And they also had apples and something else, maybe biscuits, but I can’t quite recall anymore, since I just took an apple.
The plan had been to check how long it took me to reach Constitution Square from Izvor, and then to go from there to Unirii, to see where to get off on the day of the marathon, but I forgot to check the time both when I got to Izvor and when I left Constitution Square, so I gave up on that idea and had a quick look in the Mega Image that’s on the way to Unirii, then checked the one from Unirii as well, wanting to get two of those apple pastries, since those days there was a 60% discount for the second identical product from that category, but at that time I hadn’t yet noticed that the store card was required, so when I got to the checkout I was asked for the full price, and when I pointed to the sign the cashier just tried again and showed me that the discount didn’t apply, so I left them there and walked away, also deciding to give up on the idea of returning for one of the nicer yogurts which I had seen among the expiring products if I won’t find something better at that Carrefour. And I didn’t find anything better, just getting five eggs, four of them being the uncracked bio (organic) ones which I had found, and an expiring cake that still had the 50% discount, even though the other expiring products had returned to the low discounts that they used to have at that location, and I later noticed those lower discounts in other locations as well. Then I arranged everything in the backpack and, on the way to the metro station, I saw that the place which I had purchased some sweets from back in November had returned, in a better location, albeit with higher prices and, at least for the moment, no more meringues.
After having worked earlier, when I meant to use the metro card again, at that station, the machines kept saying that they couldn’t read it, and I tried a few different ones, so I eventually showed it to the cashier and she opened the gate for me, and then I went to Dristor, having a quick look through the farmers’ market, which was close to being deserted at that hour, before going to Park Lake and asking about charging with just 1 EUR, to activate my existing phone credit for a few days, at that store as well. I had tried it the day before, at another location, and had been told that it couldn’t be done, so when I was told the same thing again I mentioned that I had been doing it before, at which point the guy explained that things had changed a month earlier and, at least in stores, the minimum value was 5 EUR, so I gave up on that idea. Then I checked that Carrefour as well, but didn’t get anything.
I got back just before 7:45 PM… And the headphones fell out of my hands as I was taking them off, though that doesn’t seem to have caused any problems, at least so far. Then I ate a small apple and that cake, showered, did my best to clean and wash what dad had left and started working on the pasta. I hadn’t yet finished when the previous day’s problems suddenly returned, but I even did the day’s squats before rushing to the toilet when I found a somewhat suitable moment and being relieved that, after seeing a few drops the previous evening, at least there was no more blood. But otherwise it was once again quite bad, and if I initially returned to the kitchen when it didn’t seem like anything else was going to come out at that moment, even though more seemed to be there, I almost immediately had to rush back, the total time spent there ending up being close to one hour. And I also made too much pasta, so I had to use two pots. But I was eventually done, also made a tea that should have helped with the stomach problems, had some of the pasta as lunch while making dinner, eventually just managed to stuff all of the remaining pasta into one pot, and finally started eating dinner 3:50 AM, albeit after mixing what I meant to put on the bread and licking a fair bit of it in the kitchen. I finished at 4:25 AM.

Something was obviously still wrong the following day, and I was weak and shaking and even lightheaded, and weighed less than 46 kg. And, after having felt my legs burning the previous day as well, the feeling got worse that day, mainly in case of the left one. As for the rear end, just a few pieces came out after lunch, floating and seeming hard, so I actually picked one up and found that it was brittle, which seemed even stranger. Even so, later I finally took a Smecta, even though it was expired.
Nevertheless, I went out again, at 7:45 PM, and after quickly checking a Shop & Go I went to Mega Image, grabbed some bread and zacusca for dad… And again received no discount on the second bread, so I pointed to the sign, the cashier called someone else, that other employee said that the discount was for another kind of bread, I said that it should be for the entire category, she asked whether I wanted her to bring me some of the kind that was discounted, I said that I didn’t want any of it anymore, and she took back the bread. However, the cashier had been suggesting that the discount required the store card and then actually tried it with one, showing that it did indeed apply in that case, so she asked her coworker to bring that bread back and they used one of their cards in order to give me the discount even though I didn’t have dad’s card with me while I kept apologizing for the trouble.
Then I went to Carrefour, walking in with those purchases, not finding anything to get and showing the bag to the guard when I walked out again. Then, after buying some Smecta Go from that large location of that pharmacy, in order to also be able to take one with me during the marathon, I also went to Kaufland, put my things in a cabinet, peed and washed my hands, and got a number of things, even though I forgot that I also wanted a banana. After having seen expiring protein yogurt, and much of it, two days earlier and deciding that the discount was too low to buy it then, I was hoping that some would still be left and have a higher discount, but that was not the case and the nicer yogurts that had by then appeared among the expiring products had an even lower discount, of only 15%, so I just got a slightly nicer but otherwise regular one, paying too much for it, since it was at full price. And, since I also bought some olives, I confirmed that they do also charge for what they put them in.
At the self-checkout, the machine told me to scan the product first after placing the sweet pastries on the scales, removing them didn’t allow me to continue and no employees were around, so I had wait for a while until one finally came and cleared the error… But then another one decided to stand right next to me, seeming to want to use the machine to purchase something, and it was moments before closing time and that made me unable to focus anymore, so I ended up forgetting to retrieve the coins received as change, and we’re talking about 0.80 RON. So I retrieved my things from the cabinet, arranged the purchases in the bags and backpack, went to pee one more time, again had my brain pretty much disconnect when another man walked in while I was buttoning my pants back up, resulting in forgetting to even wash my hands… But somehow remembering the change, so I hesitantly returned to the gate of the self-checkout area, but then just turned around again, without saying anything, since it’d have been pointless anyway. But at that point I was yet to realize that I hadn’t washed my hands, only doing so after going down the escalator, so I then went back up and did that before finally walking out. And I felt utterly crushed on the way back, walking slowly and with my mind definitely elsewhere, and I also wasted some time by checking that Mega Image, putting the bags in a cabinet but not locking it, since I had no 0.50 RON coin, not finding anything to get, retrieving everything and walking back out.
It was just before 11:05 PM when I was finally back, eventually had a small apple and a sweet pastry, just wasted some time on the toilet, washed… And as I finished washing, when I leaned over in the bathtub, I again felt something in that spot from the bottom of the back of the left thigh muscle, a burning sensation remaining there after that… Even though, when I later tried to feel around that area, I seemed to feel some pain at the top of the back of the calf muscle instead. Either way, I was done a little before 1:15 AM, but still had things to do, purchases to put in their place, also sliced the one unsliced bread purchased for dad and dealt with one of mine which I hadn’t dealt with yet, so I had a few bites in the kitchen, but only finally started eating dinner in my room at 3:45 AM, finishing a little after 4:35 AM, and then also washing the marathon t-shirt a little, by hand.
Well, the big problem came after that, when I meant to take the jar with what I had mixed the previous night back to the fridge and ended up shattering it! It was on a small plate, I hit that plate against the wall or doorjamb and the jar fell off, so that food which I had saved for months, just in order to have it available right before the marathon, was gone! Admittedly, the plan was to put peanut butter on most of the slices of bread the following night, but I still wanted to have some of that as well, and plenty of it had been left, for the following week, and I had planned and saved it for all that time… And the noise also woke dad, and there was broken glass everywhere, so I vacuumed a little despite the hour, and then swept and washed the floor to some extent, though some tiny pieces were quite certainly still left. I might have hit myself a little as well, when that jar fell, or maybe even cut myself a little, since I felt something in my left foot, though I didn’t see anything and there were no problems later. Either way, I finally got in bed at 5:55 AM, without even flossing.

On October 8, I first got up at 2:45 PM, made tea, washed a few things from the kitchen and vacuumed better. Felt something of a burning sensation at the top of the back of my left calf muscle and pain in my hips, but I couldn’t exactly do much about that anymore. So I ate a small apple, a sweet pastry and yogurt mixed with oats, and just after 5 PM I got back in bed… Not that I could also get back to sleep. I might have just napped for a mere moment once or twice, but even that is unlikely, and I got up again just after 6:25 PM, when dad got back.
I was back in the kitchen at 7 PM, but after putting the beets in the oven and the carrots on the stove I went to the toilet and what came out wasn’t soft, though there actually wasn’t much of it at all and it felt like there was more to come. Then I talked to dad a little as well and made the entire large salad at once, but I had lunch separately, starting to eat it at 11 PM and finishing around 11:40 PM, after which I had something else to do, also did the day’s squats… And cut myself while washing the knife. But I had to keep going, so I sliced bread, moved some sour cream in a jar, had dinner between 1 AM and 1:30 AM, obviously putting only peanut butter on the bread, and also took one of those pills against gas that dad takes. Then, after putting the water for the tea on the stove, I went to the toilet one more time, still not feeling like I had gotten everything out but knowing that anything was going to help, and being relieved that it still wasn’t soft again. And after that I got ready for the morning, also writing the number on a slip of paper and using safety pins to put it on the bag, since they hadn’t given us those stickers anymore, then struggling for 30 minutes with the number, the first five because I wanted to write the emergency information on the back of it, as you should do, and none of the pens seemed to work, and the following 25 in order to properly pin it on the t-shirt, also pricking my fingers three times with the safety pins while doing that. And yes, I did choose to wear the official t-shirt after all, since it had a much better structure than the one from that NGO. So it was 3:15 AM when I went to floss, brush my teeth and shave, but managed to do that unusually quickly, so I got in bed at 3:45 AM.

I woke up at one point, saw that it was 5:05 AM and went to pee, just in case, then managed to get back to sleep, but when I woke up again my right shoulder was hurting quite badly. But it was also 6:29 AM and the alarm was set to ring at 6:30 AM, so I turned it off, got up, had an apple, yogurt with muesli, raisins in dark chocolate and almonds mixed in, also took the supplements… And, as expected, just wasted time on the toilet, even though it felt like I had quite a lot to pass out. But I just had to hope that it won’t prove to be too much of a problem, also ate the last three of those smaller wheat things, with honey and jam between them, as a “sandwich”, and before leaving took the last Smecta that we had, even though it was also expired and actually looked worse than the first one, drinking most of the tea. I was pretty much in “headless chicken” mode at that point, panicking more and more and thinking less and less, so it was a good thing that I had bandaged my heels, to protect them, before reaching that level, and I also remembered to bandage that cut finger before we left. It was only then, just as we were about to walk out the door, a couple of minutes before 8:30 AM, that I realized that I had forgotten to take garlic, but there was no time for it anymore, so I just left without any, wearing the running gear and one of those armbands and taking the running belt, with what I had placed in it, but not putting or even trying it on before leaving.
Since I told dad to just drive me to the metro, he did so, I again had to show the card to the cashier in order to be allowed through the gate, and it was only when I was on the metro that I finally tried to put on the belt… And realized that I couldn’t, since it would end up over the number if placed in any reasonable position, above it would be too high and, either way, it slipped and messed up the number, and below it would be too low, since it’d mean wearing it around my hips. Still, even though I also tried to put it under the t-shirt, before getting off at Izvor I had placed it above the number again. Then, after exiting the metro station, I took off the mask.
I reached Constitution Square right at 9 AM… And realized that I had forgotten the camera! Yes, I had the phone, but its poor camera was going to be quite a problem. Still, it meant that I still had a way to get some sort of picture taken at the end, and it wasn’t like there was anything I could still do about it at that point… And I also thought that I won’t manage to fix the fact that the bandage on my right heel didn’t feel right in one spot, so I left it as it was despite knowing that it was going to cause some discomfort, trying to change anything being likely to make it worse. However, I could do something about the fact that something seemed to be in the left shoe, so I sat down in front of the Zuzu Fit stand, took off that shoe and solved that problem. Then I wandered around a little, albeit without entering the Sport Expo area, not seeing anyone handing anything out to the participants, before making just a few simple moves on my own, at the edge of the crowd doing the warmup. And when I put the jacket in the bag and took the bag to the wardrobe I saw that the lack of those stickers had been intentional, quite clearly as a result of them not sticking to the material that those bags have been made of more recently, and the volunteers were just using markers to write the numbers on the bags.
I had kept the belt above the number while I was in Constitution Square, but it was clear that I won’t be able to run with it in that position, and it had already messed up the top part of the number, so on the way to the start area I resorted to the only remaining option, which was to put it under the t-shirt, even if that was going to make taking things out of it somewhat trickier. Otherwise, I decided to use one of the toilets that are close to the start area, thinking that the lines would be shorter than at those from Constitution Square, but it seemed that plenty of others had the same idea, so they were probably a little shorter, but not by much. Still, I was done with enough time to spare, but since the start area wasn’t separated into sectors this time around either and I had to enter from the back, advancing through the increasingly packed crowd was difficult. But I just reached the 4:00 pacemakers and stopped there, also eating the protein bar which I had taken. The temperature at the start should have been 14-15°C, probably reaching 22-23°C when I finished, at least according to the forecast, since I obviously couldn’t check what was actually reported.

What I managed to post before midnight ended with the first paragraph of the section above, the rest of it being added before going to bed in the morning, to get to the actual start of the race. At that point, I was planning to at least add what I did after the actual race as well, the question being whether to also add the part about the race itself, as I had initially intended, or leave this as a “before and after” post, with that part probably ending up in a later one that will also include the next couple of runs. But I eventually decided to end this post here and leave everything else for a later one, even though the problem caused by the fact that I have no notes about the run, but only a recording made on the way back, which mostly focused on times, remains. I mean, I wrote some of the notes about this part which I added at night about a week later and noticed that my memory was quite unreliable when it came to some details, so it’s obvious that I’ll be forgetting or misremembering more and more if I keep putting off writing about the actual race… And that’s important, unlike the large majority of the personal things that I otherwise write about.

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