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28/11/2014
[17:55] I got married around this time of year in 2010. It really doesn't feel like something that happened to me. I mean, I remember it, and how wonderful the day was, but there's pretty much no continuity of emotional life between then and now. I had to take a moment this morning to remember which year it actually happened in. 2010-2012 was all a bit of a blur in some ways. Still, time has moved on, I've moved on, whether I chose to or not. I don't often wonder what might have been, but I guess today I'm more than usually entitled to do so. I can't really envisage what it would be like in St. Louis, MO. for me at this point; how my marriage would be faring, my career, my social and exercise life, and how I'd be different to the person I am today, here. It's certainly nothing I should (or will) dwell on. That'd be pointless. Forward is where I should be looking and aiming myself. I'll leave the past as something to refer to, not live in.

Work happened today. Some really frustrating stuff with WebLogic and SHA-2 certificates, and some other stuff I can't be bothered to tell you about. I had a great 10K run at lunch time where I tried very hard not to push, and came away with a reasonable time despite that.

This weekend it's maintenance day at the boat house on Saturday, and then rowing on Sunday. I hope the weather stays dry. Cold I can handle. Cold and wet is just miserable. Happily Rachel will be arriving on Saturday evening, so that should make the end of that day and the remainder of Sunday once we're back from our morning things a lot more pleasant. Then it's Monday again, as usual.

27/11/2014
[17:10] I think today was a good day. And that follows on from a moderately OK last night when the outing (that was within minutes of being cancelled) turned out to be reasonably good, despite the mix of abilities in the crew that went out. Then I think I got a pretty fair night's sleep. This meant that this morning's 30min AT erg, rather than being the poor effort I was assuming it would be, turned out to be my season's best attempt, which was nice. Then I got into work and managed to find the time to cycle into town and swap over six of the remaining ten wireless access points before I had to head back to work again. Hopefully someone else will do the last four, one of which I wasn't able to find the first time around. I couldn't find one of the other six the first time around either, and it took me a long time to track it down this time, but I managed it. The afternoon has been somewhat less productive, but sometimes after a good morning you need to rest on your laurels a little bit. I'm absolutely not going to the boat house this evening and intend to sit on my sofa all evening and do nothing at all. I think I've earned it, for today at least. Tomorrow's a whole other day, and will involve a run at lunch time. It may also involve stepladders, which would be annoying. Here's hoping it doesn't.

26/11/2014
[17:20] Aside from arriving at work late this morning (not that it matters, I've pulled enough lates over the last I don't know how long to easily balance that out), today has been a fairly quiet day. I could have spent it cycling all over town doing wireless access point swaps, but I decided not to, and got stuff done here instead. That does mean there's only two days left to do the remaining ten WAPs before our network brethren begin to get much more annoyed at us. I think I'll aim to do a good few tomorrow and see what that leaves me with for Friday such that I can still squeeze a run in at lunch time. Today's run felt... odd. Heavy, I guess. Maybe it was something to do with the pace I was running at (which didn't feel all that fast), or my pelvis positioning, or something else. Whatever it was it felt heavy, trudgy, for want of a better word, and high impact on my hips, or whatever it is just above my glutes on both sides. In any event the poor weather made my GPS track almost worthless in terms of pace, although I guess the time still stands given I know what the distance is to a reasonable approximation. I'm up early tomorrow for the usual 30min AT erg, so tonight should be a reasonably early one, commensurately. Before that there's an outing with an extremely mix-ability crew in some rather cold and foggy weather. Luckily it doesn't seem to be windy or raining at the moment, so the only wet I'm likely to get is from whoever's in front of me in the boat taking bad strokes.

25/11/2014
[17:25] I guess today was a success. Thinking about it I would say so. I got up and made it to the boat house in freezing fog and did my three 6K UT2 ergs without feeling too rough afterwards. And even did them with a negative split over the course of the three. I came to work and did a morning of useful mini tasks, had lunch, then went to the other server room and fixed a RAID array, fixed a power issue, and confirmed that a certain course of action isn't going to fix something else (thus making a support call critical path that much shorter). And now I'm going to go home and shave as my facial hair has gone past the point at which it's agreeable to those who have an interest in it. And then watch something good on downloaded television whilest I wait for Rachel to arrive.

Tomorrow is a work day with a run in the middle of it. Also an outing in the evening so I can't do a second weights session, for the fourth week in a row. Also, did I mention that someone left the balcony doors and windows open at the boat house over night, so there was ice on my erg and the temperature in the training room was somewhere around freezing this morning?

24/11/2014
[16:55] For various reasons I got to sleep in on Saturday morning, which was nice. As a result I headed down to the boat house in good time to get most of the cleaning my crew was supposed to do done before they got off the water from their small boats session. Cleaning was finished and then we went out as two 4+ boats rather than an 8+. Don't ask me why. After getting home and having some lunch I had just enough time to put a load of washing on and go to Tesco before getting home, hanging the washing out, and then getting on a train to see Rachel. Sunday it rained all day, so we decided not to do anything outdoors and had a really lovely, lazy day indoors catching up a little more on Breaking Bad.

Naturally, for having had such a good weekend, I had to get two trains back to work, came in to find someone (probably one of the cleaners) had taken my earphones, we had two RAID sets with failed disks, a failed motherboard battery, and a variety of other semi-major and minor issues. I think I've got pretty much all of them under control now, and one of the RAID sets repaired. Tomorrow there'll be more to do, but there won't be a nice 10K at lunch time to have to fit in like I did today. Nothing special, just trying not to injury myself. I think I feel a little heavier than normal at the moment, possibly as a result of last weekend's half marathon, possibly also because of the amazing food Rachel managed to get me to eat this weekend.

Anyway, now it's time for Monday evening weights before tomorrow morning's UT2 ergs.

20/11/2014
[17:45] Today was going really well until one of my servers announced it had a power fault. Normally this can be solved by simply rebooting the out-of-band management interface, but for some reason it was uncontactable. While I was trying to make contact again I discovered at least four other servers which also weren't responding on that interface. Having noted them down and gone for an 8K run over lunch I returned to find that the server with the purported power issue had in fact responded finally. So, as I usually do I rebooted the service processor (not the OS). For the first time ever this actually caused the OS to lock up (or the server hardware itself, I can't tell). Naturally this box was hosting four Xen guests, which also died. Rebooting the box seemed to bring everything back, but there was a lot of things to sweep up afterwards in terms of bits of software, databases connections, etc. I also still have four servers which can't be contacted out-of-band, but no-one seems to care about that on a Friday afternoon. I also managed to get out in the morning to change over one of the eleven old wireless access points which need replacing. Hopefully I can get the other ten done early next week. Oh, and a hard drive in a server's RAID1 array died overnight too, so I'll have that to replace on Monday as well. Frankly at this point I'm glad it's time to go home for the weekend and forget this place exists for 48+ hours. Over the weekend I will be rowing, running, and possibly even having some time to myself to relax. I should be heading to see Rachel at some point over the weekend, which'll mean I have a bit of a journey on Monday morning. Given Rachel does that far more often when she comes to see me I think I can deal with it for how rarely I do the same. Oh, I don't think I mentioned; the run was pretty good. Nothing seems to ache more than it did before I ran. Still, that half marathon's effects do seem to be hanging around in terms of muscle soreness longer than I remember other runs of that length doing so.

20/11/2014
[17:35] The outing last night wasn't terrible. Neither was it totally amazing. The crew mixture was both scratch and of varying ability. It was also dark. And we had no coach. Frankly, in retrospect I'm amazed it went as well as it did. Steak and beans with potato cakes for dinner helped me get over it all. This morning was the 30min AT erg. It seems my body is still getting over the half marathon as my distance wasn't all that good. I think I could have done better if I'd pushed into the red a little more, but given how little else it feels other people are doing (probably because we're just not training at the same times, rather than them slacking off; I don't think they are) and the time in the season it is I don't think it matters all that much that I'm mostly just treading water rather than making amazing gains.

Work today has been pretty uninspiring. However, I have made up a good bit of documentation and a plan of action for tomorrow's work. Hopefully the weather's going to be dry and it's going to involve quite a bit of cycling around town replacing old/out of date wireless access points. I'll see how many I can do in the morning before getting back to work to go for my run. Then if necessary do a few more in the afternoon and see if I can slope off work a little earlier than usual.

For now though it's home to try and reduce the pile of washing up I have so that Rachel doesn't feel like she has to do it when she arrives later on this evening. She's weird, and seems to actually enjoy it. What's more she's one of the few people I've met who actually does wash up properly, rather than leaving things still partially dirty.

19/11/2014
[17:15] Let's see... today I mainly did lots of little things, went for a 6km run which reminded me that my calves are still extremely tight and could do with more stretching and rollering, and cycled between two servers rooms a few times with SFPs and single-mode fibre cables. Other than that it was a pretty quiet day, really. Some cleaning up of old servers, some configuration of new ones, and some free food from the IT exhibition downstairs. That's about it, really.

I've got an outing tonight, and the usual 30 minute AT erg tomorrow morning (which isn't going to be fun at all after the weekend). After that it's just another day at the office (I hope) before Rachel arrives in the evening to make my day.

18/11/2014
[17:45] Things have been fairly positive today. Other than waking far too many times in the early morning. I'm sure that's something I can address, just as soon as I work out what it is that's causing it to happen. Anyway, after I finally gave up and got up at the right time it was a case of getting down to the boat house for the usual Tuesday morning 3x 6km UT2 ergs. These actually went quite well, and were quite a pleasure to do as they really got the blood flowing through my quads after the weekend's racing. I was a hot, sweaty mess by the end of them, but that's what showers are for.

At work I spent the day fine-tuning the two servers full of disk which are going to be hosting Moodle servers (KVM) and getting one of them transported over to the server room so I could rack it up. This took far longer than it should have done owing to the usually easy task of installing the Dell "rapid rails" being a right faff due to too much paint on the rack. Cue five minutes with a screwdriver scraping off enough so that various bits of the rack kit could bite correctly. Once that was done everything went smoothly.

Right, I'm off home now via the boat house to collect my dirty kit from this morning, then it's home for more food (I'm so hungry at the moment) and an evening off. Tomorrow evening is an outing, so I should may hay while the moon shines, as it were.

17/11/2014
[18:00] A busy weekend at the end of it all. Saturday was all about rowing. Two races before midday, although only 2.5K in length. I did one in a 4+ and one in an 8+. Even though both crews were pretty much scratch, I had hoped that the 4+ time we laid down would be a lot faster than it turned out to be. It didn't feel like a bad row, but it was the slowest of our 4+ boats, I think, and slower than a good few others. It didn't matter so much because it's not really an important race, and because the 8+ won its category, so it was hip flasks all round when we met up at a pub in the early evening to attend the prize-giving. As I'm not big on pubs, and it was better that I not be there I went instead to Tesco once I had my prize and met Rachel, which was a lot better for me. We went home and had a delicious sausage and pasta bake before an early bed.

Early bed because we had to get to St. Neots in the morning and that meant a very early rise to cycle to work to get a lift from one of my work colleagues. We made it in time, collected numbers and at 10:00 the race went off. I'd like to think I didn't go too fast at the beginning, but my lack of race fitness for that distance really showed itself at around the 12km/8mile mark and my splits worsened by about 10 second per km, which wasn't good. I managed to stagged across the line a few seconds slower than last year's time, which was a few seconds slower than the previous year's time. Doubly disappointing was that my average heart rate was up on the previous two years, too. Despite my HM PB at Cambridge this year it feels like I'm not getting any fitter. Rachel says it's all about not being able to serve two masters (rowing and running), but at this point in the season I don't feel like I'm doing right by either of them. The poor showing in the 4+, and the blisters (two, right foot) and the adductor pain (right leg again, of course) post-HM, coupled with the time I got, make me feel a little like I'm not doing this training thing quite right. As soon as my blisters are tolerable to run on I'm going to start doing longer runs where the first 10km are slower than the second. I think that might help my body work out what it is I want from it.

In other news, I got six KVM guests up and running today, and will probably be installing one of the physical servers three of them live on in the server room tomorrow... if I can get the server over there other than on the back of my bike. For now though I'm off home for the evening to myself without any exercise before I get an early night for tomorrow morning's 3x 6km UT2 ergs with Max to try and get some of the stiffness out of my legs.

14/11/2014
[17:00] I feel like I wasted most of my day going over old ground trying to get the new servers I'm installing working over serial console redirect. As it was I didn't hit upon the magic series of options until gone midday. After that it was just a case of getting the partitioning right and I very quickly had two identical servers built (they're called plato and aristotle). Disappointingly, that ate up most of my day. Connectedly, given it was bucketing down as I cycled in this morning and didn't really clear up until gone 14:00 I doubly missed the opportunity to get a gentle run in today at lunch time. No great loss as I think the rest today probably did me more good than doing some exercise. Rachel, working from (my) home today also didn't go for a run, so I feel a little better again about missing out. We've both got our own exercise planned for tomorrow (hockey for her, two head course races for me (one in a 4+, one in an 8+)) before the half marathon on Sunday morning. Did I mention that my friend won't be doing it now due to a foot injury? Well, she won't be. That just leaves me, Rachel, and at least four other people I know doing it (along with, like, all the other hundreds of people who I don't know). I really hope the weather is kind this weekend. Rowing and running in the rain (when it's also cold) is not altogether pleasant. Right now though I'm off home to try and keep quiet whilest Rachel has a Skype call with people in Africa, or the USA. I forget which. See you Monday with tales of the weekend to tell. I don't imagine I'll win anything or set any PBs, but it should hopefully be a lot of fun.

13/11/2014
[17:05] Last night's outing was cancelled at the eleventh hour, which I was only 890% disappointed about at the end of the day (literally). This meant I could go home and do very little with my evening, which was lovely. It also meant I'd had a complete rest day, which got me to thinking about doing a Thursday morning erg after all. In the end Max convinced me that an AT erg wouldn't be to my benefit, so we settled on a set of 40 min and 20 min UT2 ergs instead. This did end up making me a smidgen late for work, but it was just what I needed to get my exercise fix in without overdoing it.

Today was mainly about consolidating a few bits of work here and there and getting the other new server I have to prepare up and running with regard to virtual disk layout and the out-of-band management setup in place.

It turns out I will be racing twice in boats this Saturday (the day before my half marathon), so I have to head down to the boat house this evening to take a look at the 4+ I'll be in as it seems there's a fair amount wrong with it in terms of damage and breakage. Tomorrow's Friday. Thank goodness.

12/11/2014
[18:15] Today has turned out to be a rest day as a late outing cancellation came through about an hour ago. I'm not even mad. I'm supposed to be tapering a bit anyway for the races this weekend (although one of the rowing ones has been cancelled too due to lack of competition), so I guess more rest is good. Given a lack of outing tonight I might just do a 30min AT erg tomorrow morning after all.

Most of today was spent in an off site server room helping an engineer fix various issues relating to CPU boards and DIMMs in a server. I think we got it, in the end. It hasn't left much time for me to do start building the two new servers I have. Hopefully I can get back on with that tomorrow. I've managed to get one server prepared for being built (out of band communication and RAID disc set up), but the other one's still factory fresh and in need of some serious fettling. For now though, home time! And probably some leftover pizza from last night!

11/11/2014
[17:35] Weights last night went pretty well, even with what remains of my cold. I discovered from talking with a few of the men's squad rowers that I'm basically the only person following the official training plan at the moment. Everyone else is pretty much doing their own thing. Not to say that what they're doing isn't any better or worse, it just feels a bit devisive that we're not all training together in the same way. I guess it doesn't really matter, except when it comes to putting together crews for significant amounts of time. As it was I finished my weights, went home, and got an early night for this morning's early rise.

I made it to the boat house just in time to be able to squeeze in 3x 6K UT2 ergs with a few minutes of break between each, and a shower and a cycle to work in time to be at my desk before 09:00. The ergs felt good, and a nice recovery exercise after yesterday's short, fastish run. I don't think I'll have time to run tomorrow, but I've got an outing in the evening anyway so that should do as a tapering exercise for this weekend's half marathon. The reason I can't run tomorrow lunch time is that I have another engineer out to investigate some ECC errors in another one of the servers which suffered from this weekend's power issues. I had an engineer here this morning doing another motherboardectomy on a server whose service processor had stopped working. We didn't even try to do a BIOS/SP firmware upgrade. Life's just too short.

I'm about to head home via the boat house to collect some kit from this morning, then it's an evening of relaxation and maybe even some television. I don't even have to be up early tomorrow... unless I decide that that's when I'll squeeze in my run... Hmmmm, there's a thought. Long and slow, or short and fast. Or not at all. I'll see how I feel in the morning given I'm still not sleeping in terribly well.

10/11/2014
[17:10] Went to see friends on Friday. Had a great time. Got home at 01:00 and slept fairly well. Did a good (but I think too short) run on Saturday morning, feeling full of cold. Had brunch with Max and Stacey in town. Went to Tesco, went to bed having felt like getting up early for rowing the next morning would be a bad idea and having texted asking for a sub. Went to the boat house Sunday morning and was told a sub had been found and that infecting people was not a good idea. Went home, back to bed, read most of a book before getting up again. Tried not to do anything too energetic, went to town to meet Rachel and bought her some decent sun glasses before having lunch. Went home, did lots of washing up and clothes washing. Relaxed for the rest of the day and had a lovely Sunday.

This morning was a little less lovely. I think my cold might be on the way out... maybe, but even so I was pretty tired when I finally dragged myself out of bed and to work. By lunchtime though I felt pretty great and even managed to run a really fantastic 6K in cold, sunny, weather. It was one of those runs when you feel like you could have gone so much further at what turned out to be a pretty good speed (although I'm still not sure I can keep it up for a half marathon distance right now). We also had a power cut over the weekend, so not only had my workstation rebooted, but all the servers in one of our server rooms had too (no thanks to the UPS). This caused some issues with a few servers (ECC errors, blown service processors, unhappy PSUs) which means I've had to open a few calls with Oracle which could take a few days to get resolved as they're being a bit hard to convince that I know what I'm talking about. Anyway, time to head off for some weights, and then home. Tomorrow morning is 3x 6K UT2 ergs, so it's going to be an early one.

07/11/2014
[16:20] Last night's outing wasn't too bad all things considered. I did end up with two proto-blisters (perils of only erging for the past few weeks, rather than actually rowing), and we had to replace a lot of parts (seats, shoes) which'd gone missing, and we found two bits of damage on what should have been a practically completely refurbished boat when we got back. Otherwise the row itself wasn't too bad. For a scratch crew it was fairly well set, although sitting at seven I still wasn't immune to getting splashed a lot by the stroke man (who should have known better). I then managed to get a reasonbly early night's sleep, and slept perhaps a little better than I have been recently... although I'm still waking moderately early/in the middle of the night for reasons I can't seem to fathom at the moment, I don't think. It was nice not to have to get up early this morning anyway. In fact I didn't actually get to work until gone 09:00, which is incredibly rare for me. Not that it mattered. I didn't run at lunchtime, which was probably best for me in terms of letting my body recover, especially in light of what I hope will be a long run tomorrow morning, and being out on the tiles (at least for a little while) tonight. I don't think I'll get home/to bed much before 01:00. The weekend has a run on Saturday, as I said, and two outings on Sunday. Rachel should arrive in good time on Sunday for us to have some kind of pleasant afternoon and evening, hopefully. Naturally, somewhere in there there'll be a Tesco trip and probably something else active, probably on Saturday afternoon.

06/11/2014
[17:25] The fireworks last night were pretty good. Some new ones I hadn't seem before towards the end were quite spectacular. Given we hadn't eaten before we left home to see them Rachel and I headed back shortly after they were done so we wouldn't be too hungry. As I ate dinner I noticed that I'd begun to get a sore throat. I think I'm coming down with a cold.

While still sore in the morning, it was more the general feeling of tiredness this morning which put paid to any improvement to my 30min AT erg distance after Rachel had left for work and I'd cycled to the boat house. Max was there to pace me at UT2 level but that didn't help all that much. As is usually the way with sore throats, it hasn't been too bad for most of the day, but now the end of it is approaching things are starting to get a little more uncomfortable. I'd really like to just be going home right now, but I have an outing in what is going to be pretty chilly weather. I'm just glad that it doesn't appear to be anything other than cold tonight, rather than windy and/or raining.

I got given two new servers to build today. After carting them upstairs they're now sitting in the prep room ready for me to make a start on at some point. I'd have done something today but they needed to come up to room temperature from the moisture condensing temperature they were from sitting in Stores for the last 24 hours or so.

Anyway, outing tonight, then home to eat lots, maybe have a hot drink and have a moderately early night, hopefully uninterrupted by a runny nose and/or painful swallowing. Tomorrow I may or may not run, depending, and then I've got a social thing happening in the evening which will lead to me getting back to the train station some time gone midnight on Saturday morning. Thank goodness I don't have any rowing that day (although I may go running if I feel up to it).

05/11/2014
[17:20] The outing was cut short last night as bits of the boat disintergrated underneath two of the rowers. This allowed me to get home before Rachel in the end as she missed two trains. We had delivery food and counted ourselves lucky that we had the finances to be able to do that on a whim (when cooking at that time of night just wasn't going to be any fun). Wonderful extra time in bed this morning made me realise how much I'm going to dislike getting up early tomorrow morning for a 30min AT erg that I'm fairly certain no-one else is going to be there for. Still, it adds another line of data to my spreadsheet tab, so I'm going to be pleased about that. Rachel came to work at lunch time today so we could go for a run together. Rather than sprintervals we ended up doing a fairly steady, fairly quick 8K instead. Just the usual aches and discomforts for me, so I count it as a win.

I'm about to head off, get some food from Tesco to last me the rest of the week and then head home. After that we'll go down to the boat house to watch the fireworks, before going home for some dinner and getting warm. As for work today... not much really, some fighting with online discussion forums so that I can ask questions about APIs, but other than that just the usual daily sysadmin grind.

04/11/2014
[17:20] Happy November! I'm sure it will be, in places. It started off OK, at least. I was in the North Yorks. Moors this weekend, celebrating my grandmother's 100th birthday, seeing my parents, and meeting my brother's newly-adopted and about-to-turn two years old son. That was interesting. I'm desperately not small-child-friendly, so it was a bit of an effort. Apparently though I did quite well out of the experience, so I'm sure Christmas is going to be far less stressful that I initially thought. Anyway, aside from new additions to the family I also got to meet much of the extended family that I haven't seen or spoken to in over twenty years. That was mildly interesting too. One or two were just as they'd been described to me, a few surprised me, and a few remained as unknown to me as they'd always been. My grandmother had a wonderful day though, so I'm told, so that's all that matters, really. I arrived at my parents' on the Friday, very very late (cheap train tickets rule), managed to squeeze in a fairly uncomfortable 17K run on the Saturday, then headed to my brother's place on the Sunday. Monday was the actual party thing, and then I was dropped off at the train station to make my own way home again. Naturally one of my trains was delayed the crucial five minutes, so I had to alter my journey, and got home a little later than planned.

That didn't stop me having my usual semi-interrupted night's sleep (although I blame some of the weirder dreams and broken sleep on eating a pizza just minutes before going to bed), or getting up to do my two UT2 ergs this morning. Work followed and has been fairly uneventful, aside from discovering I'd made a few omissions to last week's DNS software upgrade (happily fixed by others in the team). Not as flawless a finished article as I'd been hoping for. Although at least next time we'll have a list of things to check post-upgrade.

As the Fours Head took place this weekend I now get the chance to get back in a boat, just as the weather turns a bit chilly. I should head off to that, if for no other reason than I'll be early, so hopefully if everyone else is we can get the outing done and I can get home to Rachel before it's too late in the evening. Tomorrow's Wednesday, Rachel's working from (my) home, so we might even be able to squeeze in a run together at some point, too!