[ View menu ]

A Truly Awful Final Part of My Preparation for This Year’s Dream Trek

In the early hours of June 13, I meant to shave before dinner and possibly go to the toilet one more time before going to bed, but I didn’t do either of those and still ended up eating dinner between 3:50 AM and 4:30 AM, putting peanut butter on all of the slices of bread, and going to bed at 5:30 AM. And my right eye was still bothering me and a part of it was red, which had been the case since I had gotten up that afternoon. But, in spite of that and of the heat, the plan was to do the first part of the last stage of the preparation for this year’s Dream Trek, so I set the alarm to ring at 2 PM and got up when it did, though after waking up around 1:40 PM and feeling the need to pee again but deciding to just stay in bed, I’m not sure whether I managed to fall asleep again just before the alarm rang or I remained awake. Either way, I then had the usual stuff, but the yogurt was that high protein one received after the half marathon and I also mixed raisins in milk chocolate in it, along with the cereals and the baked almonds with Himalayan salt. I also ate the last slice of the old cozonac from my mother, with added honey, and drank most of the tea. And, since I hadn’t shaved before going to bed, I did that as well, so I left a little after 5:20 PM, wearing the full running gear, with some things in the pocket of my tights, and one armband. The reported temperature was 33°C, and while it was similar when I finished this first run, it seems that it was slightly higher during it, since dad checked for me and the station inside the city reported 35°C at 6 PM.
The time was 1:19:50, with sector times of 4:27, 5:09, 6:01, 4:37, 5:07, 6:02, 4:45, 5:20, 6:07, 4:39, 5:19, 6:09, 4:46, 5:16 and 6:06, making for lap times of 15:37, 15:46, 16:12, 16:07 and 16:08. I did sort of consider trying to stay under 1:18, but it was pretty much impossible under those conditions, and when even on lap one I went over six minutes on sector three and also over that 15:36 that’d be the target lap time for 1:18, I pretty much settled on staying under 1:20. That meant staying well under 16 minutes on lap two as well, which I managed, but I was thinking that I shouldn’t go over 16 minutes on lap three either, and sector one of lap three made that pretty much impossible, and at the end of the lap staying under 1:20 also seemed impossible, because I couldn’t afford to get any slower on the last two laps and that seemed simply out of the question. Still, I tried to push and sector one of lap four gave me a shred of hope, and at the end of the lap I had just a little more… Only to lose most of the time that I could afford to lose on the last lap just on its first sector. But I just gave everything from then on, and after sector two it actually, finally, seemed that I might be able to make it, which I did.
I had considered giving up on the idea of two runs in one day and continuing to a half marathon distance if I’d have failed to stay under 1:20, in which case the plan would have been to do another half marathon run two days later, to cover the same total distance, and that might have been the better option, but at that point I was content with what I had managed, considering the circumstances. But I was also drained and very concerned about the day’s second run… Rightfully so, as it turned out…
The heat was the obvious problem and, while I saw quite a few clouds if I looked up, it mostly remained sunny, the cloud that came just after I started running moving away before I even finished the first sector, and I think that it was only noticeably cloudy again at the end, on sector three of lap five, the few other clouds that came passing quickly, so I tried to make the most of any shade that I could find. And the wind picked up on sectors two and three of lap three, but it felt hot as well, I wouldn’t say that there was any noticeable cooling effect, and I did rather have to fight it. And those new fountains that cover a part of the lake, causing all sorts of other problems as well, also increase the humidity in the air, so instead of having any cooling effect they just make it even worse when it’s hot.
However, parts of the lane were still wet, obviously because the area had been watered and the lane accumulates the water, and even worse was that plenty of spots were damaged, including some that created a risk of tripping, and work had been done in no less than five spots. Four of them were on sector one, two just being small patches that were just marked with bands placed on the lane, but one was part of that area that had been completely closed off before, the lane being cordoned off, though at least the rest of the path wasn’t, and another was in a turn and, instead of just cordoning off the small patch of the lane which had been repaired, they had tied the bands to trees that were on the side with the lake, so on the inside of that turn, meaning that I had to go on the outside. Either way, I remember that I had to step on the grass twice on sector one of lap two, the first time being on that first area where the lane was cordoned off, though whether the second was at that second spot or near the boat dock, I couldn’t say. And there were probably one or two other times when I had to step on the grass on sector one, but I couldn’t really say when. And there was another moment that clearly took place in that second spot where the lane was cordoned off, but I believe that it happened during the second run, and while I’m not entirely certain, I’ll mention it there. And on sector one of lap three I had to slow no less than three times, on one of those occasions needing to maintain that slower pace for several seconds, to stay behind a couple of cyclists who were making their way through other people and then also had to slow because a few other cyclists were coming from the opposite direction and they’d have otherwise met right in that turn where only the outside of the path was usable.
But I’m yet to say anything about the fifth place where work had been done, which was on sector two, and the area had obviously been completely blocked off before, but that day all of the space on either side of the path was blocked and so was the lane, yet the remaining part of the path wasn’t blocked off even though it looked like the concrete had been freshly poured, so on lap one I slowed when I saw what was ahead, then stopped right in front of that area, looked at the edge of the path, trying to figure out whether I could carefully walk on it, quickly decided that I wasn’t going to do that every lap unless I absolutely had to, and then carefully stepped forward with one foot, being relieved when I found that the concrete only appeared fresh, but had actually hardened. So I lost quite a few seconds because of that, meaning that the time for sector two of lap one was actually really good, if you take that into account.
Otherwise, at the end of sector two of lap one, as I passed by a group of kids, one of them spat and I felt some of it on my left hand, and I wear that armband on that arm, so I didn’t exactly want to wipe myself with it or with that hand after that, and that was most notably a problem when some bugs once again got right in my eyes. As for physical issues, other than those caused by the heat, which I definitely felt more and more as I continued, there were some occasional warnings from my right knee in the later part of the run and my legs started to burn at least from sector two of lap five, if not earlier, and they were definitely burning badly on sector three of lap five, so I was pretty much at the limit.

After that first run, I went to the farmers’ market, finding cheap apples again and buying some, and then picking up two cans with the deposit symbol on the way to Park Lake, where I put them in Carrefour’s recycling machine, along with a plastic bottle which another person had discarded because the machine kept refusing it, but for me it accepted it on the first try. Then I put the apples in a cabinet, trying a few before finding one that locked, peed and washed my hands and face, and then I went out again, eating the nice but expired bar which I had taken with me on the way and stopping on a bench after returning to that part of the park to write down the times for the first run and a few notes about the problems, at least as far as I could remember at that point. And then, after using the drinking fountain that’s next to the area that I start running from to wash my hands once again but not daring to also drink, I started the second run of the day. The notes left by dad stated that the reported temperature was 32°C at the time, but it was cloudy, so it felt noticeably cooler. And the temperature probably dropped by a couple of degrees by the time I finished, though I couldn’t actually check.
The time was an utterly dreadful 54:44, with sector times of 4:51, 5:27, 6:22, 4:59, 5:44, 6:39, 5:18, 5:57, 7:08 and 2:19, making for lap times of 16:40, 17:22 and 18:23. And no, I don’t even have the exact total time, only realizing when I reset the time on the stopwatch, at the start of the following run, two days later, that I never bothered to write it down or memorize it. And it might have mattered if I’d have been at least one second less slow, but as it was, it was clearly the slowest ever 10 km run through the park, one second slower than the very first one, which also makes this the first time when the first time I covered any distance through the park except the shortest, 4.1 km, and the longest, 35.2 km, wasn’t also the time when I was the slowest. And that was also my slowest ever lap three, regardless of distance, not counting that time when I had to go over the bridge and cross the street, and even then I was probably only marginally slower, if at all. And the final sector was also the slowest one of a 10 km run by quite some margin, at least as far as I know, since I don’t have that time for that first run. And all of this happened on my 300th run over this distance, as I count them, so including the one that I cut short after three laps, because the stopwatch no longer worked, but not that one that I already mentioned, when I had to go over the bridge and cross the street, which brought the total distance closer to 11 km… So maybe I shouldn’t count either of those and consider it the 299th, to at least avoid marking such a milestone in such a dreadful manner…
And to think that when I started I was wondering whether I could stay under 52 minutes… But after the first sector that was highly doubtful, and after the second I just wondered whether I could complete the first lap in less than the 16:40 that’d be the target lap time for that. And I couldn’t even do that, failing by fractions of a second, so I then wondered about staying under 53 minutes, but that meant averaging less than 17 minutes per lap, since I knew that I was going to go over two minutes on the final sector, and after lap two I was already over that average, being quite shocked by how slow I had been on sectors two and three. So I switched to wondering whether I could at least stay under 54 minutes, but that seemed unlikely right away and after sector one of lap three it was pretty much impossible. 54:30 still seemed likely, however, and while I didn’t remember exactly what my worst time had been when I covered this distance through the park, I was sure that staying under 54:30 would at least be better than it, so that became my target as I just struggled to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and after sector two of lap three I still thought that I might just make it. However, at the end of the lap, after also having to stop for what were probably a couple of seconds, it was clear that managing that was going to require actually running all the way to the end, and as soon as I stepped on the stairs I simply couldn’t do that anymore, barely managing to walk… And then I lost a few more seconds when a guy blocked my way and my legs were simply refusing to take me around him while climbing stairs. So I could only hope that the previous worst time happened to be worse than whatever I was going to manage… And that wasn’t the case. By a mere second and after those stops, but it was nevertheless the worst time.
It was definitely more crowded than on the first run, so I had to weave and go the long way around quite a lot, and I also stepped on one of the damaged parts of the lane from sector one, I believe actually on lap one, though it might have been on lap two, and my right leg bothered me a little more after that. But the notable problems caused by people were just on lap three. What I clearly know is that right at the end of the lap I stopped for up to a couple of seconds, I think because of a kid on a bicycle who blocked my way around the roadblock that had formed, and then, at the start of the final sector, as I was struggling to even walk up the stairs, there was a silly dance with a guy who eventually stopped right in front of me, apologizing but just standing there for a moment longer, neither of us seeming to be able to decide which way to go, and I could barely move anymore, so I lost a few seconds before managing to awkwardly get around him. Otherwise, I clearly remember catching up to two guys right next to one of the cordoned off areas from sector one and having to step on the grass and also go around a pole, and I believe that it happened on sector one of lap three of this run, but I’m not even completely certain that it was on this run and not the first one, as I mentioned earlier. And, while I’m also uncertain, I believe that it was also on lap three of this run and, if so, most likely on sector two, when I had to slow a lot and maybe even briefly stop in order to squeeze through a momentary roadblock. And my legs were getting heavier, the burning sensation got worse and my right knee gave more warnings as I went along, and on sector three of lap three the pressing need really made its presence known, the burning sensation in my legs was really bad and I also felt nauseous.

What’s above this point is how far I got before midnight, but I wanted to only leave adding the part about June 15 for a later time, so I kept writing and before going to the kitchen I edited the post in order to also add this section, about the rest of June 13, starting with the fact that I went back to Park Lake after this second run, picking up two plastic bottles with the deposit symbol on the way and then digging through the bin that’s next to Carrefour’s recycling machine and finding several more, though I couldn’t get the machine to accept most of those, so I added the remaining ones in that cabinet before washing my hands and face once again, also splashing some water on my neck and even on my head, and then entering the store and getting a few things, using both of the vouchers received for previous purchases that I had as well as both of those received for the recyclables with the deposit symbol. Then I retrieved what I had in the cabinet and took a little time to arrange everything, probably being done just before the store closed, since they were just pulling down the gate but there had been no announcement by the time I walked away. And on the way back I quickly checked the nearby Mega Image and when I walked out I saw a very clean bag containing several bottles with the deposit symbol on top of the trash can, so I grabbed it, checking the bottles and pouring out what little was left in them after entering the building, on the mat from the entrance area.
I got back a couple of minutes before 10 PM, and when I weighed myself I saw that I had less than 45 kg… Either way, I then finished the tea and made another, also finished some plum compot, put the few other purchases in the fridge, leaving the apples out, washed a few of the things that were in the kitchen, and went to the bathroom, only leaving very little in the toilet and then washing. A little later I washed the remaining things from the kitchen, including two pots, but not the grill that dad had once again used that day or two other pots, and I had lunch, with a bag of peanut snacks instead of bread, starting before and continuing while I worked on the salad. I even did the day’s squats right after starting to eat lunch, also drank that second tea, and I finally ate dinner between 3:40 AM and 4:45 AM, also writing some notes about the day during that time. And then I had to go to the toilet again, what hadn’t wanted to come out before I washed deciding that it really wanted to do so at that point, so I ended up going to bed at 5:40 AM.

As for the part about June 15, I edited the post once more, Wednesday afternoon, in order to add it, and it starts from the day’s early hours, when I was yet again way too slow in the kitchen, starting to eat dinner at 3:25 AM, once again putting peanut butter on all of the slices of bread, and I checked things on the computer while eating, only finishing at 4:15 AM. I got in bed at 5:20 AM and after a while I kept waking up at ever shorter intervals, but I had set the alarm to ring at 2:30 PM and that’s when I got up, even though by that point I was alternating between sleeping and being awake every few minutes. Then I had the usual stuff, the sweet thing consisted of two pretty nice, albeit recently expired, biscuits, with added honey, and I also drank most of the tea. I left at 6:10 PM, wearing the full running gear, with a few things in the pocket of my tights, and one armband. The reported temperature was about 28°C, holding steady or dropping only marginally by the time I finished.
The time was 1:20:41, with sector times of 4:38, 5:11, 6:00, 4:36, 5:13, 6:06, 4:42, 5:19, 6:12, 4:46, 5:19, 6:21, 4:50, 5:20 and 6:08, making for lap times of 15:49, 15:55, 16:13, 16:26 and 16:18. Considering what had happened two days earlier, my target lap times added up to 1:24, and I definitely wanted to at least avoid a new worst time on yet another distance, so if it looked like I was going to go over that 1:24:06, I meant to continue to a half marathon distance. However, after a first sector that was close enough to the 4:35 that’s the target for a 16-minute lap, I wanted to see whether I’ll manage to stay under 16 minutes on that first lap, so I then pushed harder and made it, even with a safe margin. But that only made me feel more confident that I’ll stay under 1:24, expecting to get much slower towards the end, yet after sector one of lap two I wondered whether I could stay under 16 minutes on that lap as well, once again pushing harder and once again making it. That was finally enough to make me update my target times, but still conservatively, the new ones adding up to 1:23. However, after two sectors of lap three I wondered whether I could keep the average under 16 minutes per lap over the first three laps, and after managing that as well I got somewhat more ambitious, trying to work out whether I could stay under 1:22 and setting my mind on trying. And lap four’s time was good enough to make me think of staying under 1:21, despite a concerning time on sector three. It seemed unlikely, however, and after sector one of lap five I was willing to settle for 1:21:30, but that’d have been frustrating, and I was also thinking of the time lost because of the problems caused by people, so I just pushed, on the last sector in particular, and actually ended up closer to 1:20:30… Which is, of course, still a bad time in itself, but minutes better than I expected under those circumstances.
It was crowded and I briefly stopped at least once on the first sector, and possibly twice, though the second time I might have just slowed a lot as I squeezed through that other roadblock. And, while that first moment when I had to briefly stop was probably the one where I lost the most time, I’m pretty sure that I stopped at least very briefly on sector one of laps two and three as well, and there were various other moments when I had to slow a fair bit or quickly avoid others, some when I hesitated and a few when I had to step off the path, though I was making a mental note of the fact that just about all of those tended to be on the first two sectors of each lap and I was pretty much spared of this on sector three. Not that I didn’t have to weave, go the long way around or squeeze through on that sector as well, but I could do so without having those more notable problems.
Otherwise, while it was obviously not as bad as two days earlier, it was still quite hot, and I was trying to make the most of the shaded areas or any passing cloud. However, despite feeling just exhausted when I started, physically I felt quite fine after that. On the other hand, most of the lane was wet and there were even a few puddles, so it had been watered and the rest of the path had dried but the lane just absorbed the water, and while no more areas were cordoned off or marked, some were still damaged, including some that created quite a risk of tripping, and I stepped in such spots twice, on sector one, though I don’t really remember on which laps, the first being on lap two or three and the second on lap four or five, but I managed to keep my footing and not break or twist anything, which was fortunately also the case when I stepped in holes that are under the lane once or twice, but I really can’t recall when or where that was. And a significant problem caused by the lane was that a pretty long stretch, right on the long straight of sector two, was partially moved aside, to the left, so unless I could stay to the right of the lane I had to be very careful how and where I stepped.

The total time for the three runs was 3:35:15, making this by far the slowest of the three such series of runs, over three minutes slower than last year’s 3:32:07 and close to ten minutes slower than the 3:25:47 from 2022. And the total time for the first two runs was 2:14:34, almost four minutes worse than last year’s 2:10:41 and almost eight minutes worse than the 2:06:39 from 2022.

To continue with the rest of June 15, I got back a little before 8 PM, picking up a plastic bottle with the deposit symbol on the way. Then I just finished the tea, changed, took the recyclables with the deposit symbol which I had gathered, leaving the ones used by dad, and left again at 8:25 PM, going to the nearest Penny… And finding the recycling machine out of order, so I left the recyclables next to the cabinets and bought a few things, then I put the purchases in the backpack, retrieved the recyclables and went to Kaufland, eventually managing to put all of them in the recycling machines, though one filled up after I had just put six in, so I had to wait my turn to use another one for the rest.
When I wanted to wash my hands, I found a cleaner in the men’s, and when I asked whether I could go in she said that I obviously couldn’t, and another guy entered the toilets for disabled people, so for a moment I was worried that I won’t be able to wash my hands there either, but he also just washed his hands, so I did the same after he was done, entering the store a little before 9:30 PM and seeing bakery discounts of 75%, at least for some products. Others had no discount labels at all, however, and the employee was saying that she hadn’t received them and had no idea what the prices were, and she even went to scan a label and the price checker listed the product as unknown, which also happened when I tried to scan one, and the lines that I saw when I meant to use a self-checkout to check made me give up on that idea, just keeping the few buns which I had taken right away, which did have the 75% discount listed, and then moving on to get something for dad and a small bag of bagels for myself. And then I saw that one of the kinds of those treats for Liza still had the previous week’s discounted price on the label, and an employee had just arranged that area, so I took one to a price checker, but the price was the full one, so I put it back and pulled out that label.
With a quarter of an hour left before closing time, I rushed to the fruits and vegetables, ending up digging through the onions, which still had a higher price than I’d care to get onions for despite having something of an evening discount, but it was a better price that they’ve been having for quite some time, so I got some, and five minutes before closing time I meant to look for a good and ripe banana, even if those just had the regular discount, but a guard came to ask me to hurry up and I ended up grabbing a green one that didn’t look very good and a ripe one that was starting to spoil, just hurrying out of there… And, after the first scales that I tried to use for the bananas didn’t print the label, the second kept varying the weight. I eventually got a label from it, but the self-checkout machine didn’t recognize the bananas as the correct product and I called over an employee, who just logged on to override the error, confirming it when I asked whether the weight was different but not correcting it. And I hadn’t calculated the total, and was also surprised to see that the additional 10% discount applied to what I had purchased for dad, the total ending up a mere 0.01 RON less than the value of the second voucher received for the recyclables, and I didn’t try to see what happened if I tried to use it, so I just used the first one, and then didn’t even think to cash in that second one, leaving it for later. Either way, after arranging some of the other purchases, I weighed the bananas on the scales that are next to the recycling bins and they weighed almost 20% more than what I had paid for, so those scales had malfunctioned in a nice way!
After arranging the purchases properly, I washed my hands again and then also checked the Mega Image that closes at 11 PM, entering with everything and getting an apple pastry, with the evening discount, after taking one of the very narrow bags that were all that they had left in that location, moving the buns to it, and then using the bag from Kaufland for the pastry, which I then added in the bag that hangs from my neck. And then I also checked the non-stop Mega Image, putting just that bag in a cabinet, without locking, since I didn’t have any more 0.50 RON coins, entering with the backpack, and getting one of those breads that I can get for myself from there, also with the evening discount. And there were no bags whatsoever left in that location, but a baguette was in a bag, so I slid it out of it and struggled to fit that bread in that bag. Then I retrieved my bag from the cabinet, added the bread in it, grabbed some more recyclables with the deposit symbol, and made my way back, an odd moment being when I heard a guy running behind me, and when I turned to look he stopped and turned around.
I got back at or just before 11:25 PM, since I didn’t check the time just then, made another tea, ate a banana and lunch, even did the day’s squats, put the purchases in their place, and went to wash a couple of minutes after 1 AM. I went back to the kitchen at 1:55 AM, ate the apple pastry, dealt with my bread, also ate some peanuts with pepper and drank the second tea while working on the salad, putting the last few peanuts in the salad, and started eating dinner at 4 AM, but I also struggled for a long time to get Emsisoft Anti-Malware (EAM) to update, wrote the notes about the day as well, and after spending quite some time gathering the seeds from the plate, it was past 5:15 AM when I finished eating.

I got in bed at 6:20 AM, but I couldn’t sleep, maybe falling asleep for just a moment when dad settled down after getting back but waking up moments later, coughing and feeling like I had choked, so after tossing and turning for quite a while longer I got back on the computer a few minutes before 8 AM, only getting back in bed at 10:50 AM and getting some three hours of sleep before getting up. And that night, after finally washing two large pots which had been in the sink for some time and also making sure that Liza ate the food that dad had given her and then left in the kitchen, so he won’t end up saying that it had been in the heat for too long and had spoiled, I ended up eating dinner between 3:25 AM and 4 AM. And then, thinking that updates are lighter on Sundays and it should therefore be easier to do one more and then possibly leave it without any more updates for a few days, to get a new uptime record and then reboot, I once again struggled to update EAM… Only for it to ask for a reboot once it did complete the update, and the uptime was just 107 days. But I still wanted a new record, so I held off rebooting until I got it. But, to return to that day, I got in bed at 5:30 AM.


No comments

RSS feed Comments | TrackBack URI

Write Comment

Note: Any comments that are not in English will be immediately deleted.

XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>