[17:05] End of July madness. Symptoms may include (but are not limited to):
entering the 2015 Manchester Marathon, doing an 8.5K run before work, going to
both circuits and yoga after work, eating rather too much over the course of the
day, not drinking quite enough, taking the plunge and booking the car rental for
a big upcoming trip.
So there's that.
This morning's run wasn't all that easy. I think the stretching before and
after is helping somewhat with the aches and pains in the top of my right leg,
but I still think more work is required. Definitely for the ability to run for
appreciable distances at reasonable speeds, but also such that I can run at all.
Work has been... bitty today. Nothing substantial to get my teeth into, but
useful nevertheless. Tomorrow I don't even need to pack a lunch as apparently
there's some kind of hog roast thing going on. I wonder if I should still pack
some snacks to fill me up.
[16:40] And suddenly we're very nearly out of July. We're over the middle of
the year. Summer solstice has come and gone last month. But anyway, Friday
last week! The crew who caught the one behind us on the Thursday night pushed
us the whole way. They held just inside station from the start until we got
onto the first straight and then they came for us. We held them off and even
opened up the gap somewhat before taking the last corner very very wide. Down
the straightaway we were sometimes as little as a quarter of a length off, but
widely spaced laterally. We wound it up and even messily were able to keep
them off to a full length come the end. Hard, hard work. The party afterwards
was lots of fun, but I only managed to maintain my enthusiasm until around
01:00, at which point I went home and had a nice sleep.
Some time around 10:00 the following morning I headed back to the boat house
and did some solid work in getting the place a bit cleaner. I had some help
from a few people, with whom I then had a spot of lunch. After that it was
high time to get some proper housework done. I think I tidied the entire house
from top to bottom. Also washing up, tidying, throwing stuff away and
generally making the house a much more pleasant place to be, especially for me
when I come back from doing things. The last few months things have been
sliding slightly as I just haven't had time to do anything after getting back
from training, or even first thing in the morning as I've had training then
too. Now though, less training... at least for a while. Well, not that much
less; it's all about running for the time being, now. Well, as soon as I start
increaing the amount to a similar amount to the rowing levels.
As a result, on Sunday morning I went for a quick 7.2K run to wake up what
might still be wrong with my joints and was duly rewarded with a gulteal
ache, a groin ache, and a hip flexor ache. All in the right side. Which is
how it was just after the marathon. It wasn't too painful though, which leads
me to hope that the time off I took to concentrate on the rowing was a good
thing, despite being very difficult to do given how much I like running. Also,
that maybe I can run like I used to again, soon. Anyway, after that I got on a
train and headed down to see Rachel, and popped into a home-setup physio for a
session. He identified what could be the problem (tightness down near the knee
in the muscles of front, inside and back of the leg), and then really went to
town on the potential knots, which has left me with bruises, but a bit more leg
mobility and less discomfort when I do run. I've discovered that I'm not as
flexible in that leg as in the left, which was a real surprise. It's perhaps
something I need to address with more regular stretching, or even some yoga
down at the boat house. Following that we headed down to Brighton for a few
days of fun and to unwind from all the rowing and stress that we've both been
experiencing for the last few days. It was great. After the first night and
walking the Pier (because you have to) the weather was abysmal the following
morning so we just didn't go outside, and watched stuff on the amazing flat
screen in the room, and then went out later. Dinner in on Sunday night was
Monday morning we eventually got out of the hotel and cycled a long way along
the coast, came back and had an ice cream on the way. Somehow we managed to
miss the bad weather, and got to see lots of sea, beach, and broken glass.
Those, and the slightly sad way that connurbations by the coast tend to degrade
with time. Still, a nice cycle. That evening, obviously, we had fish and
chips on the Promenade, like proper tourists.
Yesterday was mainly about leaving Brighton, stopping off at Rachel's to relax
and stay out of the heat, and then getting home. I didn't get home until late,
and then having cycled home with enough groceries to survive the week, I
decided to go for a little run... at 22:00. Only 8.5K, but I was still pretty
hot and tired by the end of it. Meals had been oddly timed all day, so I
wasn't even hungry when I got back, so I just showered and went to bed, after a
moderate amount of stretching.
More stretching this morning seemed to be required, given the aches I had. I do
wish I wasn't quite as achesome as I am for only having run that distance.
Maybe as I do more I'll regain my running fitness. I hope so. Still, I
certainly am not in pain, or couldn't run again if I wanted to today, but I
think it's best that I start slowly and get my body used to this kind of thing
Today has again been one of those catchup days. Lots of email to read, reply to
and delete. I also managed to get a major Oracle VM Manager update done, which
was very helpful. Although it does now open up a whole load more work for me...
which I suppose I don't mind too much. Now all I have to do is figure out what
I do with my evenings now that I'm not rowing all of the time.
[16:20] Probably our best row (over) yet. Didn't get caught, managed to row
quite well. The boat behind us will be different tonight (and probably
faster/stronger) so it'll be a whole new race. It's going to be the hardest row
of the week, of that I'm certain. After that: party! At least for a little
while. I won't be there all night. Nor will I be the one person who cleans the
entire boat house tomorrow morning.
Workwise I've done some SAN work today in connection with the Oracle VM stuff,
waved off my operations manager, and tried to stay cool in a very very hot
office. I'm off for the weekend now, and not back until Wednesday morning as
I'll be having a nice post-rowing break in a Hotel du Vin somewhere in the
country (no, not saying where). Hopefully there'll be some cycling, running,
and maybe even some relaxation, who knows. Oh, and on the weekend I'll be
trying to run before my physio appointment, so I know what to complain about.
See you next week.
[14:15] Day two of racing last night. Not my best row by any stretch of the
imagination. However, the rest of the crew managed to drag me over the line in
the same position as we had at the beginning of the day, so that's OK. I think
it was a combination of not really having a plan, coupled with just feeling a
bit 'off' on the row down to the start. I did have my heart rate monitor and
GPS watch working though, so I got some interesting data from that. I'll be
comparing and contrasting with tonight's and tomorrow night's rows, I hope.
Third night's racing tonight, same time, same place.
Workwise I've installed a new KVM guest and done the needful as is required for
new OS instances here. With luck I've replicated the setup as well as I hoped
and the developers are even now doing the usual horrible things they do to my
servers once they leave my initial management and become used.
Shortly I'll be off to do a complete switch rewire and replacement in a patch
cabinet just up the road from here, and won't be back for the rest of the day.
Hopefully the weather will cool a little by the time I get on the river for the
[16:50] Day one of racing is over, and we did pretty well I think. The start
wasn't awesome, but after that we held it together and stayed where we hoped to
in the grand scheme of things. Frankly I don't think any of us were really
pushed to the limit for terribly long over the two-and-a-bit-K course. There's
a lot we can improve for tonight's row, but hopefully it'll be more of the same,
or better. No chickens will be counted until around about nine minutes after
the start cannon goes tonight, though. It's that kind of event.
Lots of patching going on today at work. Which is always good. A few machines
up to date and running the latest kernel and security/bug fixes always makes me
a bit happier. I've got a fairly complicated set of Oracle VM Manager/Server
things to do over the next few weeks (probably months, given how glacially
decisions are made here sometimes). If I pull it all off without something
going wrong I'll be very entitled to feel pretty pleased with myself. We'll
have to see how that goes, too. More on that another time.
So anyway, that's me done for today at work. Time to go home and have another
early dinner, then relax, then head to the boat house and see what kind of row I
can stroke to do my part in getting us down the river tonight.
[17:10] A thankfully quiet day to begin racing on the river this week. Hot, of
course, which is going to play a factor for those racing now and into the early
part of the evening. Hopefully it'll be cooler by the time we get on the water
I cycled to the boat house at lunch time today to help with putting sponsors'
stickers on the blade faces for the week. I found a couple of people painting
blades still. I think this is the first time in years that so many of our
blade sets will look as good as they have. I just hope everything else about
the boats and boat house stay in as good shape for this week, and that there are
no incidents or accidents. I'm especially worried about the boat I stroke,
which is being used by a lower crew before we get to row in it, every day.
Hopefully nothing bad will happen to it. However, I expect the shoes to be
soaked and the shell full of weed.
Anyway, I'm off home for an early dinner, then to head down to the boat house
to sit quietly and read a book until I'm called upon to row. First update
[17:25] A nice full weekend. Friday evening was rather quiet, which was good
considering the early morning in prospect. It boiled down to me leaving work
early and cycling around in the afternoon sun, coming close to making a fool of
myself before heading over to Max and Stacey's house via Sainsbury's to pick up
ice cream and raspberries to share with five other people. Then we ate an awful
lot of food. I rolled home at a reasonable time and went straight to bed after
packing for the morning.
Saturday morning we had two outings. One was pretty great, the second not so
amazing. Even so, off the back of those I feel a bit more confident about the
races which start tomorrow. After rowing I went home, lunched, relaxed, then
headed to Tesco via the boat house to collect more stinky kit of mine that
needed washing. Later in the evening Rachel turned up again, which was rather
great. Sadly, dinner was lightly burnt pizzas owing to me concentrating on
other things, but we survived.
Sunday was a single outing, while Rachel cycled 14 miles or so to do a 10K race
(the one I got a 10K PB in last year). After I'd done my rowing and had a big
second breakfast I cycled at a reasonable clip to see if I could arrive before
she left the race venue. Just about managed it. We cycled back together at a
slightly more moderate pace, and then ended up getting clean and falling asleep
for an hour or two. There then followed the world's slowest moving thunder
storm, which we sort of caught the edge of, eventually. By that time though we
were done with moving for the day, got a Chinese delivery, and settled in to
watch some television for the evening.
This morning I had my last outing pre-races. Having to drag myself out of bed
at 05:20 after a hot and humid night's 'sleep' was hard enough, but then rowing
on top of that wasn't so great. Although, once in the boat and moving I felt a
whole lot better. My rowing wasn't the best for a few practice starts, but then
I got into it, and I think the rest of the crew responded to that, which was
Work today has been a bit of a hothouse, which hasn't helped concentration.
Luckily my main task today has been Nessus vulnerability scanning and report
production. I managed that by lunch time, so I've been able to spend the
afternoon catching up on administrative emails and the like. I've got nothing
happening this evening except an attempt to relax, maybe roller my muscles a bit
and think about the same time tomorrow evening (and Wednesday, Thursday, and
[16:55] So while last night's outing wasn't amazing, it was far far better than
most of the outings have been for the last few weeks since Henley. This made me
feel a lot better about next week's races. We're by no means a
certainty to be OK now, but if things go as they did last night, only with race
adrenalin to keep us going we might just survive.
Nothing really happening work-wise at the moment. However, I've got a good few
things lined up for next week which should keep me busy during work hours.
Otherwise, Rachel turned up last night at my spontaneous request, which was
nice. We ate a lot of blackberries from the garden with Galaxy eggs, and tried
not to die in the heat.
Lots of rowing this weekend (four outings before I write again on Monday),
potentially a little bit of running to see how my running-aggravated injuries
are doing, and almost certainly some Tesco shopping, of course. Rachel will be
around too, which'll be nice. She might even be doing a running race nearby on
Sunday morning whilest I'm rowing.
[17:15] Last night's ergs gave me back some hope that I haven't somehow lost all
of my body conditioning and cardio fitness since the end of Henley. That is to
say that by the end of the two 2K AT ergs I wasn't absolutely wrecked. Not
absolutely, anyway. Another outing tonight, still without the full crew, I
think. We'll have to see how that goes.
Most of this afternoon has been taken up with a meeting about the new DNS
software we're going to be upgrading to in August, and then watching the
unfolding news story about flight MH-17 in Ukraine. I can't imagine this is
going to go well (not that it started in a good place).
[16:55] Last night's outing really didn't go so well. Not only were we still
not able to string together a decent couple of 500m pieces (I can't have been
the only one who was absolutely shattered by each of them due to a lack of
togetherness), but there's still a continual tilt to bow side which is really
beginning to get on my nerves. On top of that, we managed to break the boat.
Another one of the cross-braces has snapped at the weld. Hopefully we'll have
it back soon. In the meantime we borrowed another boat this morning (much
harder to set, I think) and by the end of the outing I think we'd managed to
acrually string some reasonable rowing together. Front-stops builds seem to be
the order of the day for getting ourselves in the zone a little more. I just
hope we can get our heads in the game before next Tuesday evening.
As for today, I've not only managed to do a decent morning's work, but also
cycled out and repaired someone's back brake (basically replaced all of the
cabling). This afternoon I'm mostly working on a few basic things, and
preparing for this evening's 2x 2K AT ergs. It's going to be a hot one.
[14:00] Did a 6K erg last night, may have twinged my back. Which is really,
really annoying. We'll see how the outings tonight and tomorrow morning feel as
to whether I've actually properly injured myself or not. After last night's erg
though, I did go home and read straight through from 19:00 to 22:30. Utterly
brilliant, and it means I might get on to the second book of the trilogy I'm
rereading, since I got the last book from town on the weekend, by tomorrow.
That's about it, really. Work today is mainly going to be about deracking a lot
of servers over at the other server room, and then probably leaving as it'll be
about 17:00. This morning was mainly email and admin, and eating sweets.
Probably too many sweets.
[17:00] A mixed weekend. As they usually are, to be honest. I had intended to
do something exercise-related on Friday, but I don't think I did, in the end. I
certainly don't remember doing so anyway. Saturday and Sunday mornings were
some seriously below-par rowing efforts from my crew (two new people since
Henley, and a sub in for the person behind me and the cox). "Disappointingly
bad" would be the most charitable way of commenting on both rows, sadly. It
really feels like people have taken their feet off the mental accelerator, as it
were. Hopefully the impending races next week will wake people up for the
remainder of the outings we have left this week and coming weekend. Saturday
afternoon I went over to the pub of one of our rowers and spent a few hours
demolishing an outside wall with a sledgehammer. That was seriously good fun
from a therapeutic point of view at the very least. I also got a free lunch
(TANSTAAFL), and two free drinks. So that was good. I also went into town and
got myself an International Driving Permit (which I don't need per se, but is
recommended, especially if you get into an accident). I also picked up a book,
which I feel a bit guilty about. So much so that I ordered its prequel.
Sunday afternoon I managed to scrape myself together enough to tidy the house a
bit, do some washing up and even make it to Tesco. Rachel was delayed getting
to me so I went down to the boat house and watched a few of our boats do 500m
pieces against each other, as well as a bit of tidying and cleaning. Sometimes
it feels like barely anyone else there does anything in that regard, but I know
that's not true; we're just a messy group of people when we're thinking about
rowing. Rachel arrived in the evening and we made Moroccan stew and apple
(shop bought) and blackcurrant (from my garden) crumble and relaxed a bit at
the tail end of the weekend. As she'd arrived later than we'd hoped, we stayed
up a little later than I was used to... which mean I had real trouble getting
up this morning.
Morning exercises reinvigorated me somewhat. Or at least enough that I could
get to work. Since then I've basically been doing the Monday thing here. This
includes dealing with someone who'd forgotten the alarm code for the server
room, building a new RHEL7 workstation testbed machine, the usual email battle,
having lunch, having my book arrive (yay!), and wondering who the third person
to suffer a major accident is going to be given our regular cox came off her
bike and gained a concussion hitting the curb with her helmet-encased head, and
one of our coaches who also coaches another club having her towing vehicle
flipped by the trailer she was towing (with one of our boats on it) and ending
up needing surgery for a large head wound. Hopefully the last in the trinity
won't be me...
[16:55] One erg done last night. Lots of helping get people out in boats
followed. Then I went home. I can't believe how much of my fitness seems to
have evaporated since Henley. Hopefully it'll come back just as fast with all
the outings I have this weekend.
Other than that there's nothing really happening today. Replaced a fan tray in
a server at the old server room, had lunch, caught up on more things that I was
falling behind on. The weekend's going to be pretty full of stuff (rowing,
logistics for my trip, seeing Rachel), so I'm hoping there'll be downtime here
and there, too. Also, I just applied for my first ever credit card. Which
feels a bit weird, but aside from the usefulness of it, will probably do my
credit score some good too as the only thing that might possibly exist on it
otherwise is my mortgage payments, I guess. Anyway, that's that. See you on
Monday. Hope it doesn't rain this weekend.
[17:00] Honestly, there's nothing really going on here at the moment. I've
spent the whole day trying to coordinate a fan tray delivery, catch up on email
(it never ends), and tried to find something constructive to do so I don't feel
guilty for being paid for being at my desk today. I think I managed it, but it
was close, and meant taking a bit longer over lunch. Speaking of which, for not
having done much exercise recently I'm still really hungry. I guess my body's
still not used to eating less because I'm doing less. Roll on this weekend and
rowing again (even if it's bucketing down, like it seems to be doing a lot of
I was going to erg last night, but I found myself with a flat rear tyre on my
bike when I left work. Cue the 40 minute or so walk home. After getting there
and repairing the inner tube (these GatorSkin tyres really don't seem to be all
that good) I honestly didn't fancy going out again, so I stayed home, watched a
bit of television and waited for Rachel to arrive. Lots of delicious food
followed, and then it was the end of the day.
I woke pretty shattered this morning, but still managed to fit in morning
exercises before getting to work. Now I'm about to go and do a little bit of
exercise, help people move boats around (some crews are racing on the local
river this evening), and then go home and think about what to have for dinner.
There might be meat involved. There usually is... Oh no, tell a lie, I'm
having dinner with Kate this evening. Better remember that.
[17:15] Went to rerig the boat last night at the boat house, ended up doing a
weights session. It was going to be an erg, but I started and realised I just
didn't want to. Trying again tonight before Rachel comes over. I have to
pre-burn off some of the sausages and mash we'll be having.
Nothing's really happened at work today. I've dealt with some hardware issues,
and fixed a few small problems here and there, but there's nothing really
happening that I can get my teeth into until someone decides what I'm doing with
the two new servers which're sitting in the store room here. They're probably
going to be Oracle VM servers, which'll mean a whole load of cascading updates
for the Oracle VM farm, top to bottom. But that's for another day. Right now
I'm off to do some exercise while I still can. By which I mean that the
injuries I picked up whilest training for the Paris Marathon seem to be coming
back again, even though I haven't run since April. This is quite distressing.
I've got a physio appointment for after the rowing races towards the end of the
month (on my way for two days holiday away from almost everything), so hopefully
I'll either get some good new or some diagnosis and therapy which could help me
run again in time for the races I have a few months from now. We'll see. In
the meantime I'll just keep trying to strengthen the muscles I think are close
to or in the area that's bothering me, in the hope that'll do some good.
[13:00] Its been a while, I know. Sorry about that. Also, we've passed the
middle of 2014, already! What's that all about? Time just seems to fly by
these days. If I'm not careful I'm going to run out before I've done everything
I want to do.
Speaking of things I want(ed) to do. We went to Henley again, and won this
time! After pre-qualifying (although our M2 crew didn't manage to qualify at
all, sadly), we stayed in a nice house in Nettlebed and prepared for Henley
Royal Regatta by doing outings twice a day every day except Monday and Tuesday
(one outing for logistical reasons). By the time Wednesday came around we were
ready. What made the day even more special was that we were going up against
the same club that'd beaten us in the same cup, on the same day, on the same
stations the previous year. Six of us and the cox were the same as last year.
I think two of the other club's crew were the same. We lined up and for the
first time in an 8+ we were in the lead off the start. We've done the same in a
4+ now and then at small regattas, but this was a first. All the way down the
course we remained in the lead, sometimes as much as 3/4 of a length ahead, but
at one point no more than 1/4. In the end though all our training paid off and
we crossed the line a good 1/2 a length ahead. Pretty fantastic, and a
vindication of all of the effort we'd put in as a crew over the months. Of
course we lost the next day to a much heavier and stronger and taller crew, but
to have beaten a heavier crew on the Wednesday was wonderful. Some stuff went
on with coaches, ill-planned logistics, personalities, and other things, which
took something away from the whole endeavour. But at the end of the day we won
a race at Henley Royal Regatta and that's what I'm aiming to take away from the
experience. We got to go to the Stewards' Enclosure and see something of the
day on the Thursday afternoon, but by then I was pretty done with Henley for the
year and got a lift home (sacrificing a night's accommodation payment, I think)
so that I could have Friday back home in my own bed.
Rachel turned up on Friday, which was lovely, and I went to see her Saturday
evening through to Monday morning. Having taken my bike I was able to go and
see something of the Tour de France before meeting up with Cormac, and spending
a happy afternoon replacing most of the drive train of my commuter bike with new
parts for a really lovely, smooth ride. Also, there was barbeque, and people
(like Cormac) I haven't socialised with in over six months. Rowing really can
isolate you from the rest of your life, sometimes.
Having had the Monday off I'm now back in work for a nice short week and hoping
to be all caught up on stuff as soon as possible so I can get my nose back to
the grindstone for a while. This afternoon I've got a switch installation to
do, followed by looking in on a server with a possibly transient power fault.
Then there's two ergs this evening to complete, followed by boat rerigging and
potentially a proper, celebratory, dinner with the rest of the crew. Although I
am pretty low on funds this month what with one thing and another, so I may have
to see how that bit goes.