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May's Journal
July's Journal

[17:00] And, other than tonight's outing, that's all the rowing training done pre-Henley (other than the training _at_ Henley before Wednesday). Two 2K ergs last night which went rather well considering they were done on sliders, and two 6K UT2 ergs this morning (also on sliders). I have to say, I feel mostly OK, if a little below maximum energeticness. Hopefully tonight won't be a hard outing and afterwards the derigging won't take too long. I need to get home, eat, and see about packing (and possibly a very fast load of washing in the hope it'll dry by tomorrow morning).

After this morning's ergs I managed to make it to work for 08:00 to completely restart that three-tier application stack (as well as do some minor physical networking stuff). That went pretty much OK other than a minor issue that didn't end up affecting anything too badly (no complaints from any users at any rate). Since then I've mainly been trying to clear down my email and my todo list before I head off for seven working days (back a week on Tuesday).

Honestly, there's nothing more to really say at this point. Obviously I'll give you the rundown on how next week goes (I expect we'll be knocked out on the first or (hopefully) second day, and then the rest of the week I'll go running and watch the rest of the rowing. Probably come back on the Saturday and maybe go and see Rachel on the Sunday. Monday is up in the air. Have a great end of the week, next week, two weekends, and two Mondays. I'm going to be rowing very hard, for relatively short periods of time, and probably having at least one glass of Pimms.

See you in July.

[17:55] I was out of the door this evening before I remembered I hadn't done today's entry. Busy day, two machines rebuilt with the correct architecture operating systems, both on different sites to where the office is. After a bit of faff they're both done and seem to be working perfectly. Last night's outing went quite well. Hopefully we've turned a corner (just in time) before Henley. We'll see how the remaining ergs and outings go to discover what's going to be our attitude and quality of rowing next Wednesday...

Speaking of ergs, I should head off. It's 2x 2K this evening (not at race pace). Then there're more ergs tomorrow morning before I completely shut down and restart a major three-tier application at 08:00. Busy at work, for once.

[17:00] A reasonable outing last night (with head coach and another coach in tow on the bank on bikes), and a reasonable outing (after a shakey start) this morning, too. Which is nice. What wasn't nice was having to get up early after a shorter-than-expected night's sleep (which I don't actually mind, given the reason). However, doing a technical row down to the lock and then two 1000m pieces on the way back certainly woke me up (as it utterly tired me out). In fact, at the same time as feeling half way through the second 1K that I'd shot my bolt, I was still able to wind the crew up to rate 39 in the final 150m or so. Which was nice.

I've had to cycle in to town twice today, when I would much rather have been resting my legs after the last few days of rowing. I've got another outing this evening, so it's going to be interesting to see how my body responds to the workload. Otherwise, the rather neat bit of work I did this morning has been totally negated by it turning out that the OSes need to be 64bit, not 32bit. Cue me visiting two server rooms tomorrow with a USB key to do some kickstarts.

[17:00] Something of a mixed bag of experiences over the weekend. After taking Friday night off I was up horribly early on Saturday morning, actually leaving Rachel to head off after I had made my way to the boat house to be collected for the drive down to Dorney. We arrived in plenty of time, had the boat rigged and ready and pretty professionally got down and onto the water in time to warm up well and feel like everything was going well. We tried our best in the time trial and came pretty much in the middle of the field against some pretty good opposition. Unfortunately, after doing very well in terms of staying out of the sun, eating well, relaxing (even sleeping for a bit in my case), we ended up in a final with six other crews we should have beaten... and didn't. I'm not sure whether it was being moved to another final at the last minute, someone in the boat just not trying, or bad technique from someone or more than one person. Either way, for potentially being faster, we came towards the back in what was actually a very tight race across all seven lanes. Not entirely the result we'd been hoping for. Disappointment affected a number of us in different ways. We went home. A few of us met for food outdoors once back. I went via the boat house and saw a few people back from Henley Women's Regatta (where the 8+ got through to the second day before losing, and the 4+ pushed hard but failed to qualify on the Friday). After food I went home and collapsed with the curtains closed for once in an attempt to try and sleep a little later.

Sunday morning was something of a lie-in, not having to be down to the boat house before 10:00. So at around 09:00 I headed down and started unloading the trailer in the streets behind the boat house. Once we had the boat rerigged we had a long discussion with the head coach (although only seven crew and the cox were there). A lot of worries, concerns and positives were raised and hopefully somewhat dealt with. Emotion bubbled quite close to the surface and even broke it in one case. Anyway, after that it was probably better that we didn't have an outing (due to being a rower down) and instead spent some time rewiring the boat for speakers and rate meter. Rachel arrived after having done a new PB for 10K at a London race and we went home. Towards evening, after having popped back to the boat house to help put the boat back on the racks we cycled south of the city in the summer sun and had a lovely pub meal before heading home again. I introduced her to Ghostbusters, but I'm not entirely sure it was her 'thing', sadly. Nobody's perfect.

A combination of eating a little late (dessert, anyway), and a hot and sticky night meant that I wasn't feeling the urge to get up this morning. As a result I was only just on time for work, which wasn't such of a problem to be honest, but something I should keep an eye on. Work today has been the usual 'pick up after the weekend' fayre. I also had to spend a few hours setting up PCs for a thing that's happening over the next few weeks elsewhere. That got me out of the office for a little while at least. It's now the end of the day and getting close to me heading to the boat house for what I hope is a good outing. If it isn't I think it could do us a bit of harm, psychologically, even given the good (surprising) news that we've pre-qualified for Henley Royal Regatta this year, so won't have to row on Friday in the Qualifying Race. We'll still be going there on the day and staying until the following Friday/Saturday, but we'll have more time to train, rather than having to worry about qualifying and then training. So that's good, at least.

[17:05] Sort of a sleep in this morning. No exercise today at all to give the body a chance to be as rested as possible for tomorrow's two rows at Marlow Regatta. Or at least we hope there's two rows. If we don't do well in the time trial beforehand we might not get in to one of the finals later on in the day. Here's hoping we have a good day, anyway. Last night's outing, was pretty much as good as the morning's outing. Better in some ways as we did some starts with a coach on the bank and she was able to finesse part of it somewhat. Of course, a 2Kish race isn't won in the first 250m or so, so we'll just have to see if we have the legs to keep things going after the initial burn off the line. On a good day we're pretty good (for crews on our river). We just need to have a good day. Of course, I have managed to gently pull something this morning spinning the mattress around, but hopefully that'll be fine by tomorrow morning.

Our top women's crew is racing at Henley Women's Regatta as I write this. In fact I'm delaying posting this entry until they cross the line so I can comment on the result which is that... they won! "Easily" is the verdict. They now advance to tomorrow's races. Meanwhile I'll be at Marlow doing my own thing about the time they're racing, I hope. Anyway, after that I'm home on Sunday (with an outing, no matter what happens on Saturday). And then relaxing, I hope, with Rachel.

[17:00] I arrived at the boat house last night pre-knackered (as I'm sure I mentioned). There was one other person from my crew, and a prospective crew member who was about to do his 2K Test. No-one was really in the mood to do anything, which is probably why the latter person stopped half way through his erg and went home in a mood, and the former stopped 800m into his first 2K erg with me and left shortly afterwards too. That left me to finish my first erg, and then do the other two with another crew member who turned up just as I was finishing said first erg. Somehow I managed to force myself to do them, and still get home without collapsing. Not that I was all that tired, it seemed.

This was handy given we had an ultra-early outing on the water this morning at 05:45 at the boat house (06:00 on the water). Happily, it was a far better outing than Tuesday evening's semi-debacle, which made me a whole lot happier and meant that I got to leave, get my second breakfast, and get to work not feeling poo and annoyed. All we have to do now is have another reasonably good (or better) outing this evening and we should be as prepared as we can be for Marlow Regatta this Saturday. We're derigging and boat loading this evening, which means tomorrow is a complete rest day, which I think we all sorely need. Even those people who haven't been doing the full training plan.

Anyway, outing tonight, then derig and load, then home, then food, then bed.

[17:00] I don't know about anyone else in the boat, but I thought last night's outing was dire. We did 6x 1K pieces and it felt awful. Maybe it was me not passing down a good rhythm. Maybe it was the new guy in the boat not being completely up to speed. Maybe it was something else. It was a definite step back at any rate. Deeply disappointing. I went home, watched a film with action and things and went to bed.

Nothing has happened today other than a very long meeting this afternoon. This evening I'll be doing some 2K ergs and then helping the women load the trailer for Henley Women's Regatta on Friday. Then I'm going to go home and eat lots of sausages, beans, and potato cakes.

I actually left the meeting early and went over to the other server room to look at a server which had a bad fan. This was far better than falling asleep in the meeting, and probably more productive, too.

I'm really not feeling the energy right now, but I'm off to do some ergs this evening, and then apparently supervising the boat loading for the women's boats going to Henley Women's Regatta this weekend. That and sorting out two rigging kits so when the men also go to Marlow at the same time we'll have kit for both locations/squads.

[17:05] Weights last night was pretty good, even with the remnants of some kind of the lat strain thingy. It felt a little better after exercising it, which is promising, I think? Anyway, got home, replied to an email from Kris regarding logistics of getting her things that accidentally got shipped back with my stuff back to her, had dinner, watched some downloaded television and went to bed. Was out like a light within fifteen minutes of my head hitting the pillow. This morning therefore wasn't too bad a wake up, given it was 05:20. My back strain was there again, which was worrying. I cycled to the boat house and worried about it as I rollered it and stretched it on the mats whilest waiting for everyone else to arrive. I don't know if it was the single 400mg ibuprofen I took, or the fact that I got it nice and warmed up, but I didn't notice it at all after about five minutes in the boat, for which I was deeply thankful. The outing went quite well, on balance, I think. We had the head coach on the bank and he seemed moderately happy with the work we put down. Rather than do the 6x 500m pieces, we did lots of technical work instead, which I think suited us better. That does mean, however, that we'll be doing the hard work this evening instead. In about an hour and three quarters, actually.

Work today has revolved around missing database log files, and arranging meetings to work out whether it's possible to take down and restart a three tier service we inherited from another group that we've never actually done any real stop/start/maintenance on since we got it. So that's going to be fun.

Anyway, outing this evening, then home for food and relaxation. I might even take tomorrow off... from rowing training, anyway.

[16:55] For beginning to 'taper' that was one of the harder weekend of training I've done in a while. Maybe it's because as we get stronger and fitter the boat is able to push itself harder in the sessions that we do have? I don't know. What I do know is that after going out to watch racing on Friday, and then getting a moderately early bed, I was still pretty tired before we got on the water very early (weekday outing early) on Saturday morning. After two outings everyone was feeling pretty shattered, but pleased with what we'd accomplished, even if it wasn't much more than a little above average. A large second breakfast followed in a nearby pub, and then a few of us ended up back along the river watching more racing. Eventually tiredness overcame me and I headed off to do the Tesco shopping before going home. I fully intended to make it to a friend's housewarming, but once I'd arrived home post-shop and sat down for a moment I had absolutely no energy to get up again and cycle across half of town to help he and his girlfriend celebrate. It's likely I was more disappointed than they were because they'll have had lots of other people turn up, whereas I was home, alone. I don't even remember when I went to bed, but it was pretty early, I think. Sunday outings were two hours later than normal (so three hours later than Saturday's, this weekend). As a result we were getting on the water as most other clubs and our other crews were getting off. This lead to a moderately empty river, which was good for doing 1K pieces with our head coach on the bank. He wasn't unhappy with the rowing we displayed, which counts as a positive considering his usual level of impressedness with rowers. We didn't hang about and got the second outing done as quickly as we could. As it was we didn't get off the water until around 13:00, at which point we were utterly shattered, and everyone else had gone home and the beginners for most clubs were starting to make an appearance on the water. I got home to find Rachel already there. Which was nice. Cue an afternoon of serious amounts of doing nothing at all, acquainting her with the Indiana Jones oeuvre, and a rather disappointing delivery sag paneer for Rachel while I had quite a nice, but very sauce-some desi korma.

Today I've managed to get out of bed despite what feels like a pull of my left latissimus dorsi, do a full morning's work, do a psychology experiment, catch up with a friend, and then do an afternoon's work without falling asleep. All I have to do now is make it through this evening's weights session and I'm home free. Literally. Of course, tomorrow it's early morning and evening outings (hoping for good weather) with a work filling, so that'll be 'fun'.

[16:30] For a day when I not only didn't get out of bed until 07:40, and didn't finish my exercises, and showering until gone 08:20, this day has gone on iterminably long. Even by midday I felt it should have been closer to the end of the day. Now at actual home time I feel like I've ben here for the longest time. And I've even done some properly useful work today with RHEL7 and kickstarting. Rolled out my first RHEL7 workstation. Started to get to grips with systemd and Red Hat Subscription Manager. And generally been moderately productive. Maybe it's because today is basically a rest day for me; that I haven't had any exercise (other than this morning's morning exercises) to base my day around.

Anyway, haircut (finally, I've been overheating) this evening. Maybe time to get to the river to see the last of the racing for today. Then a quiet evening unless there're plans to do something pub-related. Tomorrow morning is the usual two outings. We've two subs in (and slightly different ones for each outing) so it's possible things won't go as well as normal (but they might). Saturday afternoon I'll try and get some Tesco shopping done (didn't do any last weekend so I'm a bit low on a few 'essentials'), then there's a housewarming which I can't stay too late at as even though Sunday's outings have been put back a bit, still require me to be awake for them. After that there'll be some Rachel, and hopefully a lot of discussion of holiday plans. Then it's Monday all over again.

[17:15] A much better outing this morning. After last night's social event it was good to not find people all hungover and not in the mood. I think things were at least better than average, if not bordering on pretty good in some places. It definitely felt like pretty much everyone in the boat wanted to be there and getting up to the rates I was trying to get up to. As a result the nice weather, on top of the good work put me in a good (but tired) mood for the day. We had a 2 hour meeting at 11:00 which nearly put me to sleep a few times, but otherwise I think the day's gone quite well, all things considered. I even bashed out a few emails which I'm moderaly pleased with. And possibly for the right reasons, too.

There's a set of ergs this evening, and then I'm off home to have steak and think about birthday presents for Rachel. No outings tomorrow morning, so I may have to come up with something exercise-related to do at some point during the day... The high point of my day might be my haircut in the evening!

[17:00] Alas, last night's outing wasn't a patch on the morning's one. I don't know if it was the change of crew (just one substitution), or my timing was off, or people just couldn't be bothered some of the time, but the starts were sloppy and slow, the rowing lacklustre, and is just felt like people weren't trying. Not a great way to end the day, anyway. I went home and had lots of food, watched a film and stayed up a little later than normal as I didn't have to be up at the crack of dawn this morning.

Morning exercises only when I got up, then on the cycle in I tried to get my head in order about a few things before settling down to a day of work. This evening there's an Event in one of the fields next to the river where we'll all get to drink a little, have some nice food and watch rowers competing until the light fades (or my enthusiasm for being out does). Tomorrow morning's an early one for an outing (hopefully better than last night's). Sadly, no Rachel tomorrow evening, but we're starting to get some plans in motion for some other things, which should be brilliant.

[17:15] Weights circuits last night in rather hot weather, outing this morning at 06:00 in weather not all that much cooler. Thankfully it was a good outing and therefore I'm quite looking forward to this evening's second outing of the day. The wind's a lot higher this evening and we've got three 1K pieces to do (with standing starts, I'd imagine), so it's going to be another hot one. We'll have to see how things pan out. Our head coach came out this morning to keep us on the ball/straight and narrow, which was good. Here's hoping everyone remembers the feeling of this morning's row and hour and a half from now. We've got a new call/section of our race pieces now. It's called the "burn" and it's the unsustainable part of the race from about 100m to 300m where we keep the rate high and just try to see if we can get an early advantage before finding a nice, sustainable rate to get us over the rest of the course, hopefully in front.

Anyway, that's the rowing. The work today hasn't been all that interesting, but at least nothing has gone terribly wrong. This has enabled me to catch up on a bit of email, some housekeeping stuff, and anything that people came to ask me about over the course of the day. Also, I ordered new bits for my bike as using it every day does tend to make some of the moving parts wear down. Sadly, this also meant ordering a piece from Germany because the crank chain ring set on my bike isn't the same as it allegedly was specified to have. Short story, but very dull.

[17:05] I've had a hell of a weekend. And by that I mean mainly good, but very very tiring. Saturday morning was the usual two outings of rowing. The first was delayed somewhat by a thunder storm. However, we then went out, with the head coach and did three 2K pieces. Saturday was basically "peak training" for us. The last of the hard-hard outings before the slow taper to be ready for Marlow and hopefully qualifying for Henley Royal Regatta the following Friday (followed by Henley Royal Regatta the following week). As a result, turning up to the first outing, having it be hard, then have another outing after that, tired me out even more. Consequently, as I then had to leave straight away and cycle across town to do a 5.5 hour psychology experiment, which involved 3 hours of paper and computer tests, and then 2.5 hours in an MRI scanner having an fMRI done I was pretty shattered by the end. In fact I had trouble staying awake in the machine itself. Once I'd cycled home at 18:00 I ended up napping on the sofa until Rachel arrived.

Sunday morning was more rowing. Not quite as hard as Saturday, but still pretty tiring. Then it was home, lunch, and on two trains down to Croydon to see Rachel. Having a good book on the train meant that I didn't fall asleep, thank goodness. And bringing my bike meant that I could get to her house pretty quickly once I was at the end station. We had a good evening of chilling out and excellent food.

I took this morning off so I could have the one morning of the week when I get to sleep in past 05:20, and got two trains back in time to get into work for lunch timeish. The afternoon has mainly been about small bits of Monday work, as they usually are. The call I got from Security over the weekend about an air conditioner alarm turned out not to be anything at all. Which means there weren't all kinds of problems facing people this morning while I wasn't here. Which was nice.

Boathouse now for weights circuits, then I'm going home to relax. Hopefully over the next few weeks I'll not mention quite as often how tired I am. We'll see!

[16:15] I'm both bored and tired at the moment. It's not a great combination. If I hadn't been able to stay in bed (not necessarily completely asleep) until alost 08:00 this morning I think I'd be in a considerably worse state than I am right now. Not to say that last night's ergs were hard (although they were hot and sweaty, even outside on the balcony), but as I'm sure I've said a few time before, everyone's just a little bit pooped at the moment. And with an outing this evening (probably 3x 1K pieces at race rate), and two outings both weekend mornings (I'm not going to the music festival organised by an ex-Nines rower (now coach) Saturday afternoon and evening for all kinds of sensible reasons), it's not like I'm going to be any less tired any time in the next week or so.

Over the course of the weekend I would imagine I'll mainly be trying to rest up, get my grocery shopping done on the Saturday, and generally hoping the weather stays reasonably nice at least while I'm out on the river. It can bucket down the rest of the time (especially Saturday afternoon and evening) for all I care.

But now, it's time to head off and do this evening's outing. Go home and see if Rachel has turned up and either way have a nice relaxing evening and a moderately early night. I hope you have a good weekend doing whatever it is you're planning on doing.

[16:50] Weights last night, a comparatively gentle 2x 6K UT2 set of ergs this evening. It's still going to be hot and sweaty work. But at least I won't feel that much tireder than I do given this morning's early start and outing. We've lost some of what we had over the weekend over the course of this week. And I don't think it's simply down to having subs in the boat. Some of it's me, of course, being at stroke, but something else is going on as well. It's possible there's a law of diminishing returns that we're beginning to approach given how tired some of us are at the moment, as well as other factors. Anyway, tomorrow morning is my first proper lie-in of the week (and only, really). We won't have anything to do until the evening outing. After which, potentially, Rachel may swing by, which would be great as we've not seen each other in a little while.

For now though, in the hopes that the double cherry Belgian buns I had this morning were a harbinger of greatness, I'm off to do my ergs, then go home and try and relax/still get an early night even though I don't have to be out of bed until at least 07:30 tomorrow. There'll still be morning exercises though, I imagine. I said I'd weigh more for Henley this time around and I'm damned if it's not going to be anything but muscle that I'll have put on.

[16:45] 4x 2K AT erg last night. Definitely more interesting than anything else. A real education in what it takes to understand the pain or discomfort that the body (mainly the legs) is going through, and how to then attempt to ignore/compartmentalise it such that you can keep your split (time to do a certain distance) the same, or improve (make it negative). Fairly essential when it comes to rowing a boat, and perhaps a tiny bit more essential when sitting at stroke where not only is strength and power required, but also an almost OCD-like attention to holding technnique and rhythm such that it can be mirrored up the boat to the other end. Anyway, it hurt, but at the end of the session I can't say I was broken, simply just a little more tired than I normally feel at the moment.

So yes, when I got up at 05:00 this morning for a slightly-earlier-than-normal outing (in the rain) I was pretty tired. It's probably a regular motif at the moment in these entries. I'm going to be tired until after Henley (if we get in). And then there'll be a week more of tiredness when it comes to the four nights of racing we have a few weeks later. After that though, there'll be a break from rowing for a few weeks when I can start to run again, as I think I've said a few times now.

Today's work has revolved mainly around getting more ducks in order, apologising for not being around tomorrow morning to do things because I'll be in a boat, and catching up on administravia. I won't be doing administravia in the boat, that's something else I've been doing today. Right now though I'm about to head off and do weights circuits again, then go home and eat everything in the house that's remotely edible, and be in bed by 21:30. What a wild and crazy life I lead.

[16:45] I managed to snag places for almost all of my friends in this morning's scramble to enter the St. Neots Half Marathon. Sad to say a few didn't get in, but I've got feelers out for any places which might appear in the future. That was this morning, before I even got out of bed. Following that was morning exercises (I'm really pleased to be doing them again, I have to say), shower, lunch-making, breakfast, and the cycle to work. Same old, same old. I got a text from Rachel just after I got in telling me she'd been forced out of her car at AK-47-point by a man in a head scarf. While this was totally true, she's actually going through hostage training in Surrey (I think) as her job can sometimes see her in parts of Africa which aren't necessarily as safe as Surbiton on a hot Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, I've been holding the fort here while my collegues have been at ITIL meetings and stuff. Frankly, I think it's time I left, went to the boat house, did four 2km pieces (hopefully without dying), and then went home for tea. Tomorrow morning we're aiming to be on the water for 05:45, which is even earlier than usual. It's going to be a long, long day. Especially if it's raining.

[16:30] A long weekend of not entirely unsuccessful rowing. We didn't win the one race we managed to get an entry into, but we only came second by 0.6 of a second, which in the grand scheme of things, especially as we were still accelerating as we went over the line, is promising. The crew that beat us is probably one we could meet at Henley Qualifiers, which is a longer course. Our women's crews (especially the W1 crew) did very very well. They thoroughly deserved to win what they did, and the club is very proud.

Before and after our race we did a lot of long, long outings on the river next door to the rowing lake. I think we did about 55-60K all told over the course of the weekend. With me still settling into the stroke seat this was all good practice. Hopefully we'll take the fact that most of the outings went quite well as a reason not to change the boat around again before Henley and I'll have a chance to consolidate myself into this position. That would be nice, and while it wouldn't guarantee me a seat in the boat (changing your stroke rower isn't something you try to do too often) it would mean the chances of me making it to Henley would be slightly higher. Which would be nice.

Certainly not beginning today, but I spent a chunk of this morning thinking about how I got to be where I am, here, today. The things that've happened to me over the past two years or so (and before then, actually) since the realisation that I was going to be divorced, everything that's happened (both wonderful and not) since then, and the things that I've been able to do and achieve... as well as the things and opportunities I might have missed out on whilest being broken and either unaware of, or unable to grasp that they were potentially within my reach. I've thought about the places I want to go, the things I want to see and do... stuff like that. I even asked about extended or unpaid leave/a sabbatical (the latter, it turns out, not being something on offer). I have to think more though, about a lot of things. Is a long holiday (alone, or not) really going to fix the disquiet/dissatisfaction I feel about some (but certainly not all!) aspects of my life, both professional and personal. I think the answer is a resounding "No." So, what is? That remains to be seen. With luck I won't just sit on my arse and whinge and complain about my lot (as some people have seen me do and been disappointed in me about in the past), but actually do something. What the timeframe is/will be I don't know. But some things are going to have to change if I'm going to feel happier about myself in this next phase of my life.

For now, weights circuits at the boat house, and then home for sausages. Sometimes it's the simplest things that give the most pleasure. Which is probably why I give pleasure to so many...