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November's Journal
January's Journal

[17:20] And with that the working year is over. It has been... well, an incredibly short year, looking back. But then when I think about how many things I've done (two half marathons, a marathon, been to Paris, rowed at a few national regattas, won a round at Henley Royal Regatta, driven down the west coast of the USA, spent a lot of fun times with Rachel, and hopefully done more good than bad over the course of the year) it doesn't seem like I should have been able to fit all of that in without it being more than a year. I know I felt every moment of all of the training I did for running and rowing.

Anyway, it's all done now. All that's left is a hopefully awesome week of snow-related activities in Finland, then Christmas with my parents, and then back home again for new year. As usual it seems unlikely I'll post anything between now and the new year, but there's always a chance. There's no phone, internet, or anything else where we'll be in Finland, so that's awesome. However, sharing a house with anyone for a week over Christmas is going to mean I need plenty of quiet time to myself, especially as this'll be the first Christmas with my new adopted nephew. I may spend some of it writing journal entries. But more than likely running.

I hope you've had a good year, and I hope next year is even better than this one was. Take care and I'll be back in a few weeks.

[17:10] Tried to get a reasonable early night so that I wouldn't feel too terrible this morning for my totally uncalled for 30min AT erg. It wasn't on the training programme and I was very sure that no-one else was going to be doing it (despite someone emailing me to say they might). As a result there was only one other people in the boat house (doing weights). I didn't do particularly well, or particularly badly. It was some cardiovascular exercise and it slowed down the inevitable growth of my love handles for another day by a little bit.

At work things have been very quiet today. Almost nothing's going on in my quadrant of the sysadminsphere, as it were. I've done a little make-work, but mainly it has been about tidying systems up in preparation for going away for the extended Christmas break. I even ran out of RSS feed articles to read, which is a pretty rare occurence.

I've got an outing this evening, which'll be my last one of 2014. I wouldn't mind if it was cancelled, I have to say. I'm feeling a little low on enthusiasm and energy this evening. I also need to start thinking about packing.

[17:05] I wouldn't say I was particularly impressed with my 5K Test time last night. I don't know how I fare against anyone else either as I got mine out of the way before anyone turned up. Given my gastro-intestinal issues I figured it might be sensible to do it in solitude in case anything went wrong. In the end, aside from wanting to stop about three times during the attempt, I put in a semi-reasonable time given the rate cap. We'll have to see how I stack up when/if the results are published somewhere. Happily my guts behaved themselves, and even seem to be somewhat on the mend as of this morning. I've tried to treat them with a little more respect for the last 24 hours, in the hope they'll calm down completely.

Rather than do a long run before work this morning I had a lazy one and instead did a nice moderately push-y 10K at lunch time instead. Doing my standard 10K route in reverse was a bit weird, but I have to say, I like it. I may do it again, and attempt to do better on the first long uphill (more like a gentle rise) drag. Work was work again, today. I've been able to schedule a couple of machines for updates, happily. Some today, some tomorrow. Perhaps a few on Friday too before I go away until the new year.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to try a 30 minute AT erg because hell, why not?

[16:25] Heading off early today on account of being in early this morning. Theoretically I could have left at 16:00, but I really couldn't be bothered. I'm going to head down to the boat house directly and get my 5K test out of the way. Potentially before anyone else turns up. Not because I want to do it alone, I just don't feel like waiting. Also, I think I've got some kind of stomach/digestive issue at the moment and I'd rather not deal with that when other people are around.

I was in early this morning to patch a whole slew of servers. Thankfully I got rid of all but one or two wrinkles last night before I left so it was just a case of firing things off this morning after a little bit of fiddling. Once the servers (Oracle VM guests) were done and shut down I got to work on the Oracle VM Servers. This didn't go so well until I did a bit more fiddling. Then everything seemed to be fine. Flushed with success I then tried updating the Oracle VM Manager's OS and came unstuck because of issues I'd had with it previously. This necessitated a cycle over to the server room it sits in to reboot it into a kernel that worked. After that I went ahead and updated the actual Oracle VM Manager software. After a few panicked minutes at the end, and some hard reading of the logs (filled with doom and gloom), that seems to be working properly too, post-update.

So that, along with the usual small sysadmin tasks that fill a sysadmin's day, has been what I've been up to today. Now it's another cycle in the cold, a warm up erg, a 5K test, and then a shower, home, and hopefully a dinner that reminds my body how it's supposed to digest things.

[17:30] Firstly, congratulations to Kris, whose first book (of many, I imagine) is now set to be published within a few days. Whilest I know it has been through months, if not years, of revisions, it's still in some ways the Ph.D thesis I read from cover to cover for typos, grammar, and other mistakes only a few years ago. I hope it's a popular, useful, and much-lauded addition to the oeuvre. One day I may even get to read the acknowledgements, which apparently mention me.

I didn't have a book published this weekend, but I did get to row, coach, watch all the Resident Evil films back to back with friends, eat a lot of tasty food, see Rachel, and generally enjoy my life as it is now. There were, as there always are, a few thoughtful moments about life, relationships, and everything that ties the two of those things together. But there was also time when I didn't think about anything but being in motion, using my body for sport, fun, or both, and also being able to relax and not think about anything at all. All of these things are important, for a balanced life.

This was also my last Monday of work until 5 January 2015, which is very exciting. I only ran 8K today, and won't be going to weights this evening as I have a 5K erg test tomorrow evening and I figure I should try and give my body a reasonable chance at doing as well as possible at it. Semi-related to that (but really only vaguely) I turned on the central heating in the house for the first time yesterday (so my body didn't use as much energy keeping itself warm, not that the house was cold, I have other means of heating the rooms I use). Initially, while the boiler fired up, and the timer whirred around, the water pump didn't work. I emailed my landlady, then started hitting things with my torch. Literally, I hit the fused switch with the butt of my torch and things sprang into life. Hopefully that's everything fixed with the power of percussive maintenance. We'll see.

I don't have an erg tomorrow morning either because of tomorrow evening. This is useful as I have eighteen or so servers to patch tomorrow morning. Most are simple straightforward updates, but four of them (the most important, obviously) are Oracle VM Servers, so all bets are off as to whether they go tits up or not. I'll be doing them one by one. Which will add a lot more time to things, but means I don't throw my entire basket of eggs up in the air in one go and see how things land.

[17:00] Well, it's a good day for Orion. It made it up into orbit and back down almost flawlessly, which bodes well for future Orion-based missions, with people on board. Today I and a friend made a plan to be at Cape Canaveral in or before November 2018 to see the SLS launch. Given we never made it to a Shuttle launch I think we owe it to ourselves. There might also be a road trip involved, too.

Otherwise today has been mainly about trying to sort out the licensing issues we seem to have gotten into given bad information and problematic communications on both our side and our vendor's side. It was a pleasure to get out of the office after watching most of the Orion launch (stupid live stream cut out at T-15 seconds and I had to watch it on YouTube later on) and do a rather cruise-worthy 10K before coming back to watch it come back to Earth again.

And now I'm going to go home, watch some television, have a nice dinner of something or other and then pack for a Saturday morning of rowing (although apparently both outings are cox-training outings, so could be... interesting), and a Saturday afternoon and evening of marathoning all of the Resident Evil films (don't ask). Sunday morning will be more rowing. Hopefully better than Saturday, then Tesco, then Rachel will be turning up for an awesome late afternoon, evening, night. Then it's Monday all over again and everything that happens next week. Which will actually be my last working week before 2015...

[17:25] Please forgive the brevity of this entry, but everything is stupid and annoying and I just want to go home. It's all do with software subscriptions we have and the fact that everything is broken, and I'm honestly sure it's not my fault. However, I'm going to have to be the one who clears it all up, in the main, I think. So, my day went from being pretty good to totally broken in the last hour of the day. Now I have a shitty Friday of running around trying to get things sorted instead of a pleasant day of clearing things down for the weekend.

At least I didn't have to do an outing last night with a mixed ability crew. That was a big plus. As is the fact that Rachel's already at home waiting for me, which means tonight should be quiet and nice and relaxing. I don't even have to be up early tomorrow morning, as I have been every other morning this week thus far. This morning was 4x 5min ergs (with a 5 min break between each one) at hoped-for 5K Test pace. I have to say, it wasn't easy. Still, we'll see how that goes next week, probably. Unless I decide not to do it.

[17:10] Last night's outing was a bit grim weather-wise. Cold, initially spitting, and windy. Despite that and the crew mix it wasn't a total washout, but I don't feel like we did anything achieveful. We might have made some progress in bringing a few people up to speed a little, but without proper coaching on the bank, and these outings being in the dark we're really not making much progress. It's going to be even more frustrating this evening as I'm in with a bunch of tier 2 and 3 rowers. In a perfect world I'd be rowing with people who had a similar skill level to me, but I don't think we have enough people with enough availability at the moment so this is what we get to do. I'm just hoping I can sit in the seven seat behind someone half way competent and make it through the outing without getting too cold and wet. After that I'm going to go home, have a steak dinner, and relax. Not that I can stay up all that late as I have an earlyish morning tomorrow to do some 5K Test prep on the erg. It should be in some ways easier and harder than getting up this morning to run 15K from work. That went pretty well, if I'm honest. The usual aches and pains in my right leg afterwards, but otherwise I'd say it was another 85% push/effort, like Monday's 10K. I was maybe four minutes off my PB for 15K, but that's OK at this point in the season. It's more about seeing if I can slowly push up the distances without breaking myself utterly as I did last year/the beginning of this year.

Anyway, it'll shortly be time to go, so I should, like, go.

[16:55] Last night's weights session on top of the run yesterday lunch time seems to have given me some DOMS in my quads. Which is kind of good actually, as I haven't had anything like that in a while, other than after the last half marathon I did. Here's hoping for some muscle growth off the back of it. Well, I think it was those things plus this morning's two 6K UT2 ergs, which I swear were at UT2 rate and pressure, even if they were a smidgen faster to complete than perhaps they should have been. It was only two, so my argument is that I had a bit more energy to spread over 12K rather than 18K. Work today has been OK, but I'm not looking forward terribly much to this evening's outing as it might be drizzling outside. I can't actually tell as it's pitch dark already, which is depressing. I left the house this morning and it was still properly dark then, too.

Tomorrow morning I have to decide if I want to run 15K before work or not. If so then that means getting to work for about 07:30 or so. Which isn't so bad really. That and working out how fast I want to run it, anyway. Anyway, before that it's going to the delivery office to pick up a parcel, then to the boat house for tonight's outing.

[16:55] Happy December. Final month of 2014. I don't know about you but right now I'm already wondering if I did 'enough' with the year or not. I think I did, but sometimes I have trouble recalling everything I did, or remember how much time I spent sitting on the sofa reading or watching downloaded television. I guess you can't be in motion all of the time, though.

The weekend passed. Saturday was mainly a boat house maintenance day. I got up and was down there for about 08:00. Ended up staying until around about 16:00 before pretty much everything was done. There was still stuff to put away on the Sunday morning though as many people just left without dealing with the things they'd been doing fully. Rachel arrived fresh from a hockey win on Saturday evening, which was lovely. However, after my two outings on Sunday morning I was in a bit of a mood/down state for a variety of reasons, so for some of the afternoon I was a bit... off. Hopefully I made it up to us both before the day was over, though.

Today I haven't felt 100% full or energy and energetic, but I still managed to put in an 85%-ish effort 10K, which was good. I didn't feel totally blown out by the end of it, which bodes well for a hopeful 15K on Wednesday morning. I still have the usual aches and twinges in my right leg/right adductor, but hopefully continued stretching and strengthening will stop anything from becoming too much of an issue. I have three friends out with running-related injuries at the moment, so I count myself as extremely lucky that I'm not sitting on the bench with them right now.

Weights tonight, early morning 2x6K UT2 ergs tomorrow morning, and then a day of work before an evening outing. I hope it stays dry.