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The Last Two Runs from 2022 and the First One from 2023

On December 23, I got up at 1 PM, when the alarm rang, after sleeping unusually well. Then I had the usual stuff, again with two of those nicer biscuits, with added honey, as the sweet thing, and left at 3:25 PM. I had considered running in what I was wearing inside those days, but when I saw 5°C at 3 PM I decided to put on the running gear after all, with just the old, thick training shirt that I was wearing inside on top, plus the gloves, and obviously the jacket on the way, tied around my waist while I ran. The temperature might have still been 5°C when I left, but probably 4°C when I actually started running, and it stayed like that until I finished.
The time was 48:06.42, with sector times of 4:19.45, 5:14.38, 6:01 (6:00.59), 4:30.56, 5:05 (5:04.29), 5:47.18, 4:27 (4:26.63), 5:03.81, 5:49.06 and 1:51 (1:50.47), making for lap times of 15:34.42, 15:22.03 and 15:19.50. I obviously aimed to get back under 48 minutes and pushed harder than that first sector time showed, so I didn’t like it, and the second sector was clearly bad, and going over six minutes on the third and that lap time made me question even staying under 49 minutes, so I pushed on lap two and it started showing from sector two, but at the end of the lap I could barely think of staying under 48:30 and being less slow than the previous time seemed highly unlikely. Still, I pushed harder on lap three and at the end of the lap I realized that I could actually beat that previous time, which I did, though I was still over 48 minutes.
That large shirt was unbalancing me, the main problem being the left sleeve that was moving around and felt oddly heavy, since I had caught the right one under the glove but couldn’t do that with the left one, since I was removing the glove to press the button on the stopwatch, only pressing it with it still on after the first sector. Not that I can blame being so slow on that, but between it and maybe slowing a little whenever I took the glove off and put it back on, it might have made the difference between that time and just squeezing under 48 minutes, since there were no notable problems otherwise. I avoided a few wet areas of the lane, the few people meant just some occasional weaving and going the long way around, the single gust of wind that I felt was on sector two of lap one, coming over the lake and chilling me, and a certain pressing need that seemed to appear at the start of lap two quickly went away and didn’t return. But I just couldn’t push harder, though at the end I found myself thinking that I should have had those seconds in me if I’d have believed that it was possible all along.

On the way back, as I was putting the jacket back on, I was thinking that I didn’t really need it, so maybe I could have done without it altogether, even if it’d have meant shivering on the way to the park. Either way, I also had a look in the nearby Mega Image, despite not having a mask, and noticed some expiring roes and spoiling lemons, so I got back, ate a banana, took what I needed, changed the jacket and the shoes, and left again a couple of minutes after 5:30 PM, going right back to this Mega Image and buying those products, which were still there. The cashier asked whether more of those expiring roes were left and when I said no she said that she had wanted some as well but kept delaying until they were gone, and when I handed her dad’s store card, since those roes also had a 10% discount if it was used, she said that it didn’t matter, the discount being the 50% applied because they were expiring, but I asked her to scan it anyway and that 10% discount did apply first.
The next destination was Penny and I entered with those purchases, got what I wanted and also wanted to grab something to munch on, so I spent quite some time trying to decide and eventually got some baked peanuts with pepper. Then I arranged the purchases in the bags and struggled to fit them in a cabinet after entering that Mega Image, on the way back. At one point the guard asked whether I wanted her to help, because the door kept opening, the cabinets being in front of it, but then she realized that I was putting things in, not taking them out, I said that those cabinets are so small that you can’t even put in a two liter bottle, in either direction, and she said that hypermarkets have larger ones, but stores like Mega Image or Penny have small ones. But I saw much larger cabinets at Penny and said so, and she said that it’s a small store and those are the conditions, though I actually saw somewhat larger cabinets in even smaller Mega Image locations. Either way, after finally finding a way to make my things fit, I found two bags of spoiling oranges and one of them didn’t look too bad, and oranges had a 40% discount if you used the store card, at least according to the sign from the nearby store, though the price listed at that location included a smaller discount. So I should have checked that Mega Image before going to Penny and getting a 2 kg bag from there. Still, after getting the Pepsi for dad, I also grabbed that bag and asked the cashier whether those were the ones that the discount applied to. She asked whether they were oranges, I said that they seemed to be, but that was exactly what I was asking, so she entered oranges, scanned the card and confirmed the 40% discount, so the price that was listed in that location was actually higher than the real one. And then that discounted price was halved, since they were spoiling.
I got back around 7:15 PM, carrying a little over 15 kg. Then I ate those peanuts, put a few of the purchases in their place and washed a little of what was in the kitchen, since dad had cooked and a good question was what didn’t need cleaning. Then, as planned, he removed the stove top and I went to the bathroom to clean it, though I started with the dish drying rack, then moved on to the stove top. And there was so much grease and it was so tiring, but I still managed it, and when he said that it was just 10:05 PM when I called him to take it back, I told him to also bring those supports that the pots actually sit on and I scrubbed those as well, albeit not too thoroughly, before washing. Then I ate a sweet pastry and cleaned a little more of what was in the kitchen, eventually even did the day’s squats, then got back to the kitchen and spent quite some time washing and cleaning what he had left before making a pizza and the salad. I used the electric oven and split the pizza in two, starting to eat the first part at 3:40 AM and then going back to the kitchen to get the second, larger part out of the oven, finishing at 4:45 AM. I got in bed at 5:20 AM… But after waking up around 9 AM and peeing, I was unable to get back to sleep, and after tossing and turning for over an hour, around 10:15 AM I got up and on the computer. On the other hand, I had told dad to ask mother whether she wanted the 2 kg bag of oranges and she said that she did, so it wasn’t a problem that I also bought that one after all.

The plan for December 27 was to go out and get bread for dad, and maybe a few other things in the evening, and when I had asked him the previous day he said that he was going to need the metro card in the evening, so I checked closing times and planned a route that I was going to walk… But I woke up to pee when he was eating after getting back from work in the morning and he said that he probably won’t manage to get back from mother and then leave again, so he’ll drive to that other guy as well and not need the metro card after all, and he left it even though I told him to take it anyway. I actually woke up when he left, but that was when he locked the door, not when he unlocked it to leave, so when I jumped out of bed to once again tell him to take the card, it was too late. And he hadn’t just left it, but left it on a note telling me to not leave without it, which made me angry, feeling pressured to change that planned route, to actually use it.
Well, even though the initial plan had been to run on December 30, all of that and the fact that I had gotten up a couple of minutes after 1:30 PM made me think about running that day after all. I had stuffed myself with mamaliga at night and had just made the usual cabbage and onion salad, which I don’t eat before running, so I was really unprepared, but it was a warm day and the forecasts had changed when it came to the wind, one site even listing acceptable speeds by the time I went to bed in the morning, so after a little while, at about 1:45 PM, I decided to get up and have a look outside, seeing next to no wind. Then I checked the weather on-line and one more source was listing much less wind as well, which made me start to get ready, not changing my mind when I saw some pretty bad gusts while I was in the kitchen. So I had the usual stuff, with the yogurt being that bio (organic) “Greek” one bought when dad angered me by throwing away that goat milk with oats, and the sweet thing a slice of cozonac from mother, with added honey, and I left at 3:45 PM, wearing the full running gear. The reported temperature was 13°C, dropping by just 1°C by the time I finished.
The time was 46:43.11, with sector times of 4:09.33, 5:01 (5:00.93), 5:43 (5:42.97), 4:22.13, 4:59 (4:58.65), 5:44.85, 4:20 (4:19.53), 4:57 (4:56.69), 5:39.46 and 1:49 (1:48.57), making for lap times of 14:53.23, 15:05.63 and 14:56 (14:55.68). I had no real target time, just pushing to work off the anger, but I did hope to get back under 48 minutes, though I doubted it. However, that first sector gave me reasons to hope for an even better time, and the second sector made me wonder about covering the first lap in less than 15 minutes, so I pushed and made it. Then I was calculating the target times that’d have allowed me to just stay under 48 minutes, but I kept being faster and after sector two of lap two I wondered about getting under 47 minutes, really doubting it at first but after the end of the lap thinking that I might just have a small chance, so I really gave it everything from the start of lap three and after the first two sectors it seemed that I might just make it, though being already safe at the end of the lap was definitely a surprise, especially since I slowed on sector three of lap three in order to see the time.
It felt like I still had something of a stone in my abdomen after that mamaliga, and I had a little gas as well. It wasn’t too bad and it lessened as time passed, but it wasn’t exactly comfortable. As for the only other physical issue, that was a warning from my right calf, starting on sector three of lap two, but that also lessened towards the end. And the wind wasn’t a problem at all, not even those gusts that I had seen before leaving returning while I ran. On the other hand, it was getting dark on lap three, and since a kid on something with wheels, probably a scooter or a skateboard, had stopped on the lane right in the spot that I consider the end of sector two and other people were coming towards me, I kept my eyes forward after pressing the button on the stopwatch, so I didn’t even see the seconds while they were large, which made me first slow to a jog at the start of sector three and then, when my eyes still wouldn’t focus on those small digits well enough, I ended up slowing to a walk for a couple of seconds in order to see the time for sector two.
But the people were a serious problem in general, so there was a lot of weaving and going the long way around, sometimes I had to squeeze through, several times I slowed a little, but the notable problems were first on sector two of lap one, when I slowed a lot in order to wait for an opening in a roadblock and also briefly stopped because of a dog with a long leash that went across the path in front of me, going almost to the lake, so there was no way through until the guy who held the leash pulled it back a little. This second problem might have actually been on the long straight, though I’m not quite sure of that. Either way, the next notable problem was on sector three of lap one, when I had to go off the path, around a bench and a garbage can, albeit cutting a turn to some extent in the process. And then, after a lap two with only lesser problems, on lap three I had to slow a lot and take just a step off the path on sector one and almost stop in order to squeeze through a roadblock on the long straight of sector two.

On the way back, I had a quick look in this Mega Image, though I didn’t have a mask and an older woman was coughing badly, so I didn’t stick around… But I found some coins in front of the door, seeing one on my way in and three more, including a 0.50 RON one, on my way out, these latter ones having fallen into that mat, so it took me a moment to pull them out. Then I got back, ate a banana and lunch… And I had just finished lunch when dad got back. If I’d have known that he was going to get back so early, it’d have been clear that he could have given me the metro card either way, but he had made it sound like it’ll be late when he’ll get back. And my key was in the door at that point, so when I heard him I rushed to unlock… And my key got stuck in the second lock, so not in the one that it had been in, to say that the problem might have been caused by him trying to push his key in from the other side. At least the lock still worked, so I could unlock, but there was no way to get the key out, and when dad tried to take the whole thing out we found that the head of one of the screws was damaged, probably ever since the previous time when it was replaced, many years ago, so he couldn’t take it out on his own and we had to make do with it like that for a few days, until someone came to help him.
Either way, I went back out at 7:35 PM and took the metro to Basarab. I meant to also take those things that I take to Kaufland, and while I forgot to do so, I still checked that Kaufland first, just getting some walnuts with Himalayan salt, which were discounted by 75% even though they were a week away from expiring, and a little more food for Liza. The employee who pointed me to a self-checkout that had just freed, even though I was already stepping towards it, grabbed the change left by the previous customer, but I found plenty of coins that day anyway. However, it was only when I was walking away from the machine that I realized that I had forgotten about the flour and the deodorant for dad which I had actually gone there to get, so I put the purchases in a cabinet and went back in to get those, once again using a self-checkout… And just as I was going to retrieve what I had in the cabinet, I heard the announcement about bakery products being discounted by 50%, though it was just 8:45 PM. I didn’t go back one more time, however.
After retrieving what I had in the cabinet, I walked to that Carrefour, taking a little time after entering that shopping center to stuff the purchases in the backpack and then entering with them. I found just one of those cheaper breads for dad, but that was enough to not need to also go to Auchan that evening, so I wasn’t rushing anymore and I also grabbed a few expiring products before using a self-checkout. Then, after hesitating for a moment but deciding against returning to that Kaufland, I took the metro again, to Unirii.
After putting my things in a cabinet at that Carrefour, I grabbed the two sweeties that were supposedly spoiling and an expiring carrot cake, or “carrot bread”, but both of those new self-checkouts that also accept cash were out of order. An employee was working on one, and another customer was there, but I didn’t wait to see whether it’ll be fixed, taking out the exact amount and going to a regular checkout… Only for the cashier to charge for the bag that those sweeties were in, so she’d have wanted 0.10 RON more, but I had left the music on, since I was sure that there was no need to talk, so I didn’t even hear what she was saying at first, and by the time I realized that she required something from me and took one of the headphones off, she was saying to forget it, so I shrugged it off and walked away, only actually realizing what she wanted when I looked at the receipt. Then I retrieved my things from the cabinet… And, as I walked away, I tripped in a spot where the pavement is a little uneven and fell, with my hand on the box with that cake, squashing it a little, though the fact that it’s flat meant that it wasn’t really damaged.
After again taking the metro, I got off at Dristor and rushed to that Kaufland as well, jogging part of the way, putting my things in a cabinet, using the toilet and entering the store just before 10:45 PM, since that location closed at 11 PM those days. And I just got a few cucumbers and tomatoes, just in case dad wanted some for New Year’s as well, after he had insisted on buying some when he went to grandmother’s for Christmas, and those had been imported and much more expensive, and at least the cucumbers that I got that evening were also listed as being Romanian. A guard told me to head to the checkouts while I was still looking around and I did so, even though it was still a few minutes before 11 PM, so the time on the receipt was seconds before 11 PM… And what was strange was that I heard no announcement stating that the store had closed, even though I took some time to arrange my things after retrieving what I had in the cabinet.
I got back a little after 11:30 PM, put the purchases in their place, washed some of what dad had left in the kitchen and ate those walnuts and that cake, finally going to wash when it was past 12:50 AM. I got back in the kitchen at 1:35 AM, then sliced that bread for dad and also washed some more of what was there, so I started eating dinner at 3:20 AM and it was past 4:10 AM when I finished, after which I also finished washing what was in the kitchen.

After using the last Kapia pepper obtained from Carrefour’s campaign in the salad made in the early hours of January 2, the alarm was set to ring at 1:30 PM, but since Kaufland stores closed at 4 PM that day and dad was supposed to leave by 12:30 PM, I meant to get up earlier if the noise made by him would wake me around noon, to be able to also go to Kaufland after running. And it was just before 11:45 AM when I woke up, when he went to the bathroom, but I fell asleep again while trying to decide whether I really should get up. However, I woke up again minutes later, and a couple of minutes after noon I did get up. Then I had the usual stuff, though I accidentally put a double dose of one kind of tea, and the sweet thing was a slice of cozonac from mother, with added honey. I left at 2:20 PM, wearing the full running gear, with some things in the pocket of my tights. The reported temperature was 16°C, holding steady.
The time was 49:33.76, with sector times of 4:32.14, 5:33.62, 5:59.00, 4:38, 5:15, 6:01, 4:37, 5:08, 5:59 and 1:51.00, making for lap times of 16:04.76, 15:54 and 15:44. Considering the sector times on laps two and three, I guess it wouldn’t have been entirely pointless to remember the exact times, but after the first two sectors I did consider it pointless to do so, only happening to also recall the exact time for sector three of lap one because I happened to also glance at the hundredths and saw the same number that I had seen after sector two. And, while at first I was still hoping to stay under 48 minutes, the park being so crowded made it seem just about impossible, which impression was confirmed after the first sector, and after the second I even had doubts about staying under 50 minutes, which doubts remained after the end of the first lap, even though sector three wasn’t, in itself, bad. But the times did improve to some extent after that, by ten seconds per lap, pretty much as a result of learning how to deal with the crowd and which paths to take in order to lose less time, these gains mainly happening on sector two. I finally knew that I was going to stay under 50 minutes after sector two of lap three, though actually ending up close to 49:30 was a bit of a surprise. It was the worst time in four and a half months, since the second run after getting rid of COVID-19, and also the first time I went over 49 minutes since then, but I’ll take it, under those circumstances.
It was so terribly crowded, with places where I could barely walk, much less run. The worst moment was at the end of sector two of lap one, under the bridge, when I could barely advance at all, at a slow walk, for several seconds, but I had various kinds of major problems on all sectors and couldn’t possibly remember all of them, so I didn’t even try and decided that there was no point in making notes about those that I did happen to remember. I wouldn’t be surprised if the total time lost, directly, because of slowing, stopping and going off the path because of people added up to about two minutes. As for physical issues, a certain pressing need appeared from the start of lap two, but I was too focused on just finding a way through the crowd to pay much attention to it. On the other hand, I did also feel that I couldn’t push as hard as I’d have liked when I found some space, actually feeling that from the first sector, even though I had little room to run over the course of it. I felt somewhat better later, but on sector three of lap three and on the final sector I really felt that I couldn’t push when I found some space and should have done so.

After the run, I jogged to Kaufland, washed my hands and face, only put on the mask after doing so, and entered the store at 3:40 PM, seeing an employee who seemed to be finishing cleaning the bread area, so there was no more bread. But I did grab a number of other bakery products, discounted by 50%, and also just two beets, getting in line a few minutes before 4 PM and being done with the self-checkout ten minutes later, which was faster than I initially thought, considering how long the line was. Then I hurried, without jogging, and also checked Carrefour, putting the purchases in a cabinet and then retrieving them and hurrying back, without getting anything.
I weighed myself after getting back, before eating, and saw the effect of the pizza that I made and ate on New Year’s, plus everything else eaten those days, since I had 49 kg, which hadn’t happened in a long time. Then, after eating a banana and lunch and even doing the day’s squats, I kept changing my mind about going out again, but I eventually decided to have another look at Unirii, for the sweets which I hadn’t managed to get before New Year’s. So I changed and went back out when it was close to 7:25 PM, walking there and, after once again finding that confectionery closed, going to Carrefour. But all of the boxes of those mini cakes had just been produced, there were no discounted, expiring ones, so I just grabbed a bag of oranges that were supposedly spoiling but actually seemed just fine, even though it was actually the only bag that had a 50% discount, the other ones having lower ones. And that time I could use a self-checkout without problems. Then I got back at 9:20 PM, and at night I took a pill, just in case. That spot on my back was not happy, and my feet were burning again, the feeling starting to climb on my legs as well, making it quite clear that the problems with my back are also causing that.

The plan for this post was to also include the next run, to have the last two from 2022 and the first two from 2023, and also cover the first half of January, and it’s strange to just have the last two runs from one year and the first one from the next in a post, but this is how far I got before midnight and I guess that this first run from 2023 doesn’t exactly count, at least in terms of the time, so I’ll leave it like this.


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