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A Breakdown and Catching Up on Runs Before the Series of Three in Five Days

I still can’t get myself to write about the reason, but just to show how messed up I am, I’ll start this post with last evening. Dad had said that he should be back around 8-9 PM, so I waited, not eating earlier, in case he’ll end up bringing something again, but when it got past 10 PM and he hadn’t even sent a message, I started to get worried, and just before 11 PM I called him and he hung up and called back, saying that he was just about to get on the metro and that nothing happened, the rehearsals just lasted that long. And yes, he was going to bring something again, but what he actually wanted was to make mamaliga, so he asked if I could set water to boil in the large pot when he’ll get out of the metro, if he’ll call me again then. I said that it was already rather late to start making even a smaller mamaliga, but I could start right away, in the newer cast iron pot, specifying that it’s the blue one, and once it’ll be done he could take his part and then I’ll add everything else and cook the rest for a while longer, as I usually do, and he agreed, telling me to not fill the pot completely, so it’ll have room to boil… But when he got back, close to midnight, and he saw the pot, he said that it was too little, since he wanted some to be left for the following days as well, so I said that I had told him that I was going to make it in that one and had specified that it was the blue one and he agreed. He didn’t seem convinced, but said that he’ll make more the next day in that case… And I broke down again, starting to cry and repeating that I had told him and he agreed and asking if I hadn’t explained properly, and he said that I had but I couldn’t be there anymore, so I ran to my room and hugged myself and cried…
That was just the beginning, of course, because seconds later he sternly asked, though the door, whether I was still going to cook it or he should, because he was tired. So I managed to say that I’ll cook it and somehow went back there, but then I said that if it was too little he should take all of it and I won’t eat that night… Only for him to angrily say that in that case he’ll throw my part away, which he knows I’ll always do anything to avoid, so I ended up on the floor, crying even harder and begging him to not throw it away, saying I’ll eat whatever I have to, and he kept snapping that we stick to what we agreed and share it, and that I’m not the only one with problems, he has his own and is tired… So I somehow got back to it, pouring the cornmeal and stirring while crying and shaking, and wondering how I was going to eat in that state. I had also taken the large cutting board out, for the first time in a long time, in order to make salad, but that was obviously out of the question by then, so I was just left with the three cloves of garlic which I had already peeled before he arrived.
Either way, he eventually placed what he had brought on the kitchen table, also saying that we were going to split the two large doughnuts, each of us having one, and I somehow managed to keep cooking while whimpering, though when he was coming back to the kitchen I was trying to hold back, even holding my breath, while on the other hand there were a few more moments when I ended up squatting on the floor and hugging myself and rocking back and forth and crying. But when he seemed less angry and I managed to ask whether I really had to eat that night, he said that he thought that I needed to eat, but I could do whatever I wanted and if I’ll leave something, I could have it the next day, though he just ignored me when I repeatedly said that I’ll do whatever I have to do so he won’t throw away the food. And later I also asked if I had to eat that doughnut that night and he said that I could eat it whenever I wanted to, so I put those in the fridge, along with the other things he had brought… Though I then ended up taking one of the pieces of steak and putting that in my part of the mamaliga, and nothing else. And he only ate about half of his part, leaving the rest for today, when he didn’t have time to make mamaliga again and eat it anyway, waking up only some two and a half hours before needing to leave. And then he went to bed, at which point I took my part to my room… And once again broke down and cried, hugging myself and rocking back and forth for a while… Though I somehow didn’t do that again just before going to bed, when the mug that I keep the toothpaste, toothbrush and dental floss in once again fell in the sink and a few more shards flew out of it, though at least it still didn’t break apart completely, despite the big crack that appeared after the first time that happened, last month.

But this post should really be about this month’s runs, to finally catch up before what should be that series of three runs in five days. Not that I have any idea how I’ll manage to get myself through those if the problem won’t be solved by then, but right now I have these three to write about, starting with the one from April 6, which was the last one before this happened. And in fact I’ll start with that day’s early hours, when I went to the kitchen at almost 1:10 AM, after shaving, and then I had to find room in the freezer for everything, so I first took out what was already there and sorted everything, then I asked dad what should be at the front and what could stay behind and under everything else and managed to fit everything in. That took about half an hour, and then I also had some things to wash, so I ended up eating dinner between 3:35 AM and 4:05 AM, and the salad was small.
I had set the alarm to ring at 2:15 PM, but I started waking up after dad got up, getting ever briefer naps after that point, but at least I kept getting back to sleep, even doing so one last time after a promotional SMS from my provider woke me at 2 PM. So I got up when the alarm rang, had the usual stuff, with the sweet thing being a large doughnut, with added honey, and it was almost 4:45 PM when I left, wearing the full running gear. Since the reported temperature was 11°C and it was windy, I kept thinking that I should also wear the jacket on the way to the park, but in the end I didn’t take it, so it was a good thing that it was quite sunny until I got close to the park, though the cloud that came at that point made that last part of the way uncomfortable. Either way, the reported temperature was 12°C when I finished.
The time was 48:23.61, with sector times of 4:21.92, 5:08 (5:07.94), 5:56 (5:55.90), 4:38 (4:37.63), 5:11.00, 5:56.15, 4:31 (4:30.72), 5:04.50, 5:51 (5:50.75) and 1:47.10, making for lap times of 15:25.76, 15:45 (15:44.78) and 15:26 (15:25.97). I was of course aiming to stay under 48 minutes, but I noticed how much the wind was slowing me down right away and that time on the first sector pretty much made it clear that I won’t make it. The next two sectors and the lap weren’t that bad, but I knew that I was going to get slower, so at the start of lap two I was wondering whether I’ll even stay under 49 minutes, and after that lap’s first sector I was really doubting it. But I had fought against the wind on that sector’s long straight and the next two sectors were once again not bad, the lap ending up right on the “worst case” target for 49 minutes. So I pushed from the start of lap three, the fact that the wind wasn’t that strong anymore helped a lot, and after two sectors I started wondering about 48:30. And the time at the end of the lap just gave me a chance, so I really gave it everything on the final sector and I ended up a few seconds faster than I thought I’d be. It was still a poor time, however.
A gust of wind caught me before the first sector’s long straight and I spent the rest of that straight trying to regain my breath, but it was the long straight of sector one of lap two that was probably the worst, at first feeling like I was hardly moving against the wind. And there were other areas where I fought against the wind as well, both before and after, so that was the main problem, but it was better on the first two sectors of lap three, before I once again had to fight it on the first half or so of sector three of lap three. At least the people didn’t cause problems, so it was just a matter of occasionally weaving or going the long way around, though I did go wider in order to avoid some dogs, since there were plenty of people with dogs, and on the final sector I hesitated for just a moment because of a kid on roller skates. But over the course of the three laps I was mainly picking my way in order to avoid the lane as much as possible, since it was soggy almost all over. And I also stepped in that other hole that’s under the lane on sector three, at the end of that long turn, on laps one and three, with the right side of my right foot, but the ankle held, the warnings that came from it quickly going away, as did those that I felt just after I started running, from the back of my right hip. Otherwise, I started feeling pain in the upper part of my abdomen I think late on the first sector, or at most early on sector two of lap one, so I was thinking that it might be my diaphragm, because I was struggling to breathe because of the wind, but at least much of it was probably once again reflected from my back, and I eventually managed to snap my back well enough for it to start dying down, though it took a while.

I jogged back, but also had a quick look in the nearby Mega Image, despite not having a mask. Then I had lunch, changed and left again a few minutes before 8 PM, with the plastic and metal, which I dropped off in a bin on the way, ten bottles for Penny, including two of those that go towards that voucher, and ten more, eight of kefir and two of cooking oil, for Kaufland. But the first reason why I went to that new Penny was to redeem the 150 RON voucher, since I had a winning receipt and on my first attempt to redeem it, a few days earlier, I had been told that they were getting ready to close and I should come on another day. So that day I was there at 8:30 PM and told the cashier what I wanted, but she had a line and told me to wait a moment, then asked through the headset… And if I wanted to make use of that time by putting the bottles that I had brought in the machine, I couldn’t because it still didn’t work, so I put down the bag with the bottles and waited until another employee came, checked the receipt, took it and told me to wait… And it took a while, so I eventually started looking around the store until she returned and took me back to the checkouts, placing the papers that I had to fill on the closed one. But that was it, I just had to fill a few things and she handed me the voucher, at which point I also mentioned that it’s a good thing that I used that machine during the previous weeks, since it seems to have stopped working. And that store no longer appeared at all when I last checked the winning receipt numbers, so it seems that they couldn’t fix that machine… Or maybe they didn’t want to, just because the fewest people used it, which was also why I had switched to taking the bottles to that store, to have the best odds.
Either way, after also buying one thing from there, for dad, walking out a little after 8:50 PM and stuffing that thing in an inside pocket, I still had all of those bottles, and since I meant to go to Kaufland Pantelimon and would therefore pass by another Penny, I decided to make that small detour and use the machine from there, also grabbing one more of those bottles that went towards that other voucher just before getting there and putting that in instead of one of the others that I had taken with me. Since they have separate entrance and exit doors at that location, I still had to go through the store, but I just quickly made my way out and, after grabbing just one more bottle from that area, continued to Kaufland… And found that the route seemed to have been cleaned recently, so the pretty few recyclables that I did spot either weren’t easy to reach or were just next to people and I didn’t want to pick them up in that case. Things changed when I approached the destination and ended up on a street with overflowing garbage cans, but for some reason I just grabbed two bottles from the top in one spot, so I ended up with 14 and meant to put in ten and then see whether I’ll find one more around the store and go back, but I started with those four that were in the bag and I apparently took too long to open the backpack, so the machine released a receipt for four, which obviously meant no voucher. So I then put in those ten that I had brought for that purpose, getting two vouchers for small bottles of Pepsi Max for next to nothing. I also kept that first receipt, in case I’ll put in one more bottle and then manage to get myself to ask at the information desk to have the two receipts turned into a voucher, but there was no time to do so that day and after that I was in no state of mind for something like this, so it went to waste.
After washing my hands, I entered Kaufland at 9:40 PM and grabbed a few bakery products, ending up using some of them instead of bread that night, since that bread still wasn’t discounted. I also got some potatoes that had a discount and some more of those treats for Liza, and when it was announced that the store had closed I was searching for that Pepsi, unsurprisingly without finding any. And I had to wait in line for a while, but at least there were no problems with the self-checkout… But I’m increasingly scatterbrained, though at least that evening that just resulted in a scare, unlike two days later… I had entered with that product from Penny, set it aside while scanning my purchases, then threw it in the bag that hangs from my neck, placed the bakery products over it… And forgot that it was there, so after spreading my purchases on the cabinets that are in front of the bathrooms and not seeing it there, I thought that I had forgotten it on the machine and just left the backpack and everything that was in it there and rushed back, looking around and asking an employee who was there whether she had seen something. It was only after she said that anything left would be among the returns and showed me that it wasn’t that I realized the weight of that bag, had a look, saw it there and calmed down, after which I asked the guard to let me out. He told me to wait until somebody else leaves or to use a receipt if I had one, just sort of shrugging when I said that I had the one that I had already used, expecting it to not open the gate a second time. But I tried it and it did, so I went back to my backpack and finished arranging, then put everything in a cabinet when I also went to that Mega Image, getting one of those apple pastries and another pastry for my mother from the discounted bakery products, then retrieving what I had in the cabinet.
I got back a little after 11:05 PM, ate a banana and that apple pastry, put the purchases in their place, also arranged some things, and went to the bathroom at almost 12:25 AM, to use the toilet and shower. I got back in the kitchen when it was almost 1:15 AM, but then I decided to also wash the cast iron pot and another one, so I started to eat dinner at 3:25 AM, finishing at 4:10 AM. I got in bed at 5:20 AM… And I was getting the feeling that there was fluid in my abdomen again.

Moving on to the next run, after a short nap and waking up just before midnight, once I could get myself to crawl out of bed I started April 13 with 200 squats, without knowing whether those made up for the previous skipped day or for the next one. And I still find that I can’t keep track, so I keep erring on the side of caution and doing more. Either way, when I had dinner that night I also opened the cheaper peanut butter which I had purchased the previous month and ate a little, to keep what’s left of the better one for the actual race, hoping that it’ll still be good by then. Then I got up at 1 PM, when the alarm rang, drenched in sweat and with something of a strange taste in my mouth, which was really worrying. But the plan was to cover a half marathon distance, despite my mental state, so I had the usual stuff, also mixing raisins in dark chocolate with the yogurt, cereals and almonds, and another sweet thing was a slice of panettone, with added honey. On the other hand, while I was on the toilet I ended up spending quite some time hunting ants, which were suddenly crawling all over the bathroom, most probably after something had been sprayed somewhere else. Either way, I also drank most of the tea and left just before 3:45 PM, wearing the full running gear. The reported temperature was 18-19°C, holding steady. And I stopped on a bench, in the park, to get something out of my right shoe, also cleaning it up a little at the back while I was at it.
The time was 1:42:54, with sector times of 4:22, 5:06, 5:52, 4:32, 5:01, 5:43, 4:28, 4:56, 5:53, 4:35, 5:06, 5:53, 4:39, 5:06, 6:02, 4:40, 5:13, 6:02, 1:53, 6:02 and 1:50, making for lap times of 15:20, 15:16, 15:17, 15:34, 15:47 and 15:55, plus 9:45 for that final portion. I was hoping to get under 1:45 and the target times added up to 1:44:30, but I pushed a fair bit from the start and, despite being pleased with the first lap, I still doubted that I’ll keep it up and was wondering whether the realistic target shouldn’t be staying under 1:47, or at best 1:46. But sector two of lap two caught my attention, sector three really surprised me, and the lap being faster than the first one gave me a slight hope and I started calculating. I still really doubted that I’ll get under 1:45, but sector two of lap three was great, the lap was again faster than expected and I kept gaining compared to the target times, so I decided to keep pushing for as long as possible and see what will happen. Sector one of lap four was somewhat concerning, but the next two sectors were once again better, resulting in one more lap that was under the target time and finally making me really hope to stay under 1:45. And I gained a few more seconds on lap five as well, despite stopping to grab the second coin that I saw on sector three, after ignoring the first. And then I wondered whether I’ll manage to stay under 16 minutes on lap six as well, really doubting it but pushing hard on sector three and managing it with a few seconds to spare. And I kept pushing hard, starting to think that I had the faintest chance of staying under what I thought was 1:44, still seeing that chance after the final portion’s first sector and thinking that I was right on the limit after the second, needing just the 1:55 that I thought was the best that I could manage on the final sector. So I gave it everything… And ended up five seconds faster!
Seeing as I was only two seconds off my second fastest time over this distance, one might be inclined to say that I’d have managed a new second fastest time if I wouldn’t have stopped for that coin. However, I already mentioned that I thought that I was fighting to stay under 1:44, not under 1:43, so the fact that I could try to get under 1:42:52 never entered my mind and, seeing as at the end I gave it absolutely everything just because I thought that the very best time that I could manage was just what I needed to stay under what I thought was 1:44, if I’d have been a few seconds faster at that point, I’d have likely thought that I was already quite safe and probably wouldn’t have pushed that hard, possibly resulting in a slightly worse time, not a better one.
Just before leaving I had felt the need to go to the toilet one more time and the effects of not doing so made themselves felt quite clearly on sector one of lap two, the feeling going away for a while before returning, even stronger, on sector two of lap three and not going away anymore, though the intensity varied and diminished, remaining manageable and probably never worse than on that sector. Otherwise, there was a little warning from my left ankle at the start, but it went away quickly, and some more warnings appeared from my right knee after stepping in that hole that’s under the lane, on sector three of lap three, with the left side of my right foot. And, while I avoided some parts of the lane, a few because they were actually still wet and the rest because of unevenness or damage, I kept stepping in holes on that sector after that, doing so once each time but one when I was back on that sector, and it was a different hole each time, so the other one that I knew of and two that I didn’t, or at least didn’t remember. But at least those other occasions were less jarring and caused no problems. And the people also caused no notable problems, though there were plenty of them and they did make me weave and go the long way around quite a lot, squeeze through a couple of times and briefly step off the path once, on sector two of the final portion. And I felt surprisingly fine, physically, until the start of sector three of lap six. I could obviously still push even after that, but my hands started going numb, later followed by my arms, and my feet started feeling heavier. There was a fair amount of wind to fight against, however, especially on the first three laps, and maybe most of all on the long sector one straight, but whether it lessened to some extent after that or I noticed it less because I was somewhat slower, I’m not sure.

That pressing need became really bad on the way back, but I still quickly checked the nearby Mega Image, still without a mask, then barely held it in while getting my shoes off, finally rushing to get rid of the worst of it after that. Then I wrote the times and tried to call someone, but that has to do with what I can’t make myself write about, so I’ll leave it for another time and say that, after that, I ate what was still usable of an old banana and a little glucose, finished the tea and made another, and went once more to the toilet, even if only a little more came out, before taking a bath. Then I started the washing machine and ate a bag of those snacks with peanuts, while at night I made a pizza, needing a couple of minutes to manage to get it out of the electric oven, since the plate was too hot and positioned in a way that didn’t let me use that handle without first turning it around, so I started to eat right at 3 AM. But I still finished at 3:40 AM. On the other hand, that night there were once again a lot of ants at the bathroom door.

As for this week’s run, that was Friday and the fact that I’m losing the hope that I still had last week definitely showed. But I’ll once again start with the day’s early hours, when I started eating dinner at 3:20 AM but somehow still finished at 3:40 AM. Then I got up when the alarm rang, at 2 PM, after actually waking up just seconds earlier, and had the usual stuff, with the sweet thing being a slice of cozonac, with added honey. But it’s hard to even move in this state, so I took it slowly and only left at 4:40 PM, wearing the full running gear. The reported temperature was 17-18°C, holding steady… But another potential problem appeared when I reached the park, since the large path was completely blocked off by something huge, and when I got there I was asked to go around, on the grass, because they were filming something. So I did so, and after reaching the stairs and noticing that they were also cordoned off I went around them in order to get down as well. That obviously made me wonder what to do about the final sector, and I can’t say that I know exactly what I would have done if things would have stayed that way, but when I finished lap two it seemed that they were finishing and at the end of lap three the area wasn’t blocked anymore, so I could use the normal route, more or less… Not that it did much good…
The time was 49:24.77, with sector times of 4:27.17, 5:14 (5:13.85), 6:04.15, 4:35.38, 5:12 (5:11.62), 6:03 (6:02.85), 4:35.96, 5:18 (5:17.82), 5:58.06 and 1:58 (1:57.91), making for lap times of 15:45.17, 15:50 (15:49.85) and 15:51.84. I knew that my mental state was too poor to be able to push, so staying under 48 minutes was pretty much out of the question, but I did hope to at least stay under 49 minutes. However, even if I did mean to start more slowly, hoping to be able to focus somewhat better as time passed, the first sector’s time was a bad sign, and the next two sectors weren’t better, that lap time and the fact that I had gone quite clearly over six minutes of sector three making me wonder whether I’ll even stay under 50 minutes. When lap two wasn’t much slower, and in fact sectors two and three were slightly less slow than they had been on lap one, I was quite sure that I’ll at least manage that, but I also knew that squeezing under 49:30 was the best that was still possible, so I tried to push more on lap three, and even more so on its third sector, but I couldn’t even maintain my focus for those six minutes, my mind drifting off a couple more times, which quite clearly resulted in slowing down before managing to snap myself back. And I ended up with one of the worst times in a long time, and the worst since the year’s first run, when the park was so crowded that at times I barely had room to advance at all, while the final sector was also one of the slowest, and the slowest since that very careful first run after getting rid of COVID-19.
And that was the only real problem. Yes, there were still cables on the stairs and trucks on the path, so on the final sector I had to climb on the outside of the curved part of the stairs and then take a tight turn, but that doesn’t even really excuse that sector’s bad time. And otherwise, sure, it had rained and the lane was soggy almost all over, so I avoided what I could, and there was some wind as well, but it wasn’t a notable problem, the people didn’t cause any either, and there weren’t many of them, and I also can’t say that anything was wrong physically. So all I can really say is that I just wasn’t “there”, mentally, and in such a state it’s hard to even move, not to mention to push yourself… And it’ll only get worse, unless this gets solved…

I managed to get this far before midnight, but getting logged out just when I meant to post meant that I actually ended up posting what’s above seconds after midnight, needing to edit the timestamp after that… And also to select the correct category and add the title once again, since I had opened a new tab and just pasted the text again, hoping to still manage to post in time. Either way, I added this paragraph and what’s below just before going to bed.

After once again quickly checking the nearby Mega Image on the way back, still without a mask, I had lunch and made a call that once again had to do with what I can’t write about, so I’ll move on and say that it was almost 8:10 PM when I left again, going first to Carrefour and finding a single unsliced bread of that kind, which I grabbed even though I weighed it and saw that it weighed a little less than it should. And I also grabbed two expiring products, only realizing on the way to the checkout that the total was just under 10 RON, so I couldn’t use that voucher unless I added something else. And I could add a beet, but after initially deciding to leave getting more of those for another day, I didn’t want to go back after already being directed to a checkout, considering the system that they have there, so I once again left the voucher for another time, after having forgotten to use it three days earlier.
With the expiring products in the backpack and the bread in the bag that hangs from my neck, I continued to Penny, not bothering to use a cabinet and finding enough products to use that 150 RON voucher. The plan had been to get four bags of the cat food that was on sale and six packs of four of the other, since the price of those packs hadn’t increased and it was the cheapest option, assuming that I’ll find enough of those and nothing else, but there were peanuts on sale as well, in case I’ll need to replace something, and I was also considering looking at the bug sprays that were also on sale, because of those ants. And I ended up with four bags and five packs of cat food and one bag of peanuts, since I initially took four of each, then looked around, decided against the bug sprays, since I knew of a better deal from Kaufland, found that they were out of the bags of bagels that were also on sale, didn’t spot anything else that I wanted to get, and when I got back to those packs I only saw one more left. There had been two more at first, but somebody had obviously taken one, so I grabbed that last one and added the peanuts in order to get to the required amount. And there were no problems with the voucher and no personal information was required, I just handed it to the cashier, she scanned it and it applied. Then I took some time to arrange those purchases in a bag and walked out, noticing that the gate to the recycling machine was down even though it wasn’t closing time yet, so it’s a good thing that I had decided to not take more bottles with me that evening.
After reaching Kaufland and putting that bag in a cabinet, I checked the time and saw that it was 9:44 PM, so I rushed straight in, without washing my hands, and put on a glove before grabbing a few bakery products that I could use instead of bread, since no bread that I’d care to get was left. I’d have grabbed more if I would have checked the actual prices, but I didn’t and the labels listed discounts of only 50%, so I didn’t, just adding two cabbages and a discounted coconut and then deciding to grab a bug spray after all, the announcement that the store had closed coming as I was doing so. Then I used the self-checkout without problems, retrieved what I had in the cabinet, arranged a little before walking out, then used one of those tables and took my time to do it properly, finally walking away when it was past 10:15 PM.
I got back a little before 11:05 PM, with 20 kg. Then I ate an orange and a large doughnut, on which I spread a part of the interesting cheese, with raisins and cinnamon, which I had grabbed from the expiring products from Carrefour. And, after putting the purchases in their place, it was past 12:45 AM when I went to wash, and after that I used that bug spray in the bathroom, so it was past 1:40 AM when I got back to the kitchen and I started eating dinner at 3:20 AM. And I took it easy and also wrote dad an e-mail and checked some things on-line, so I finished at 4:15 AM. I got in bed at 5:20 AM.


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