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June's Journal
August's Journal

[17:35] In early this morning to do some firmware patching. It all seemed to go pretty much according to plan, thankfully. Especially thankfully considering how rotten I felt this morning when I woke up. Maybe it was waking up around 05:00, maybe it was the Chinese food last night (which was pretty bland in the grand scheme of things) or maybe it was something else. In any event, I haven't felt toppermost of the knotches in a little while now, so maybe I'm sickening for something. Either that or last night's 6km erg then 3x500m sprints did for me more than I thought.

I'm off to London tomorrow to see Rachel who's back from Africa and Egypt tonight. Then there's meeting friends in London on Saturday, and then back home either Saturday night or Sunday. I'll be back in work on Monday, when hopefully the UPS I just installed under my desk will have spun down its fan.

[17:00] Mainly today I have been with a neverending flow of unimportant emails. Plus wondering how the weather is going to settle, and working out where I'll be having dinner this evening.

Not a whole lot going on here right now, which gives me a chance to spend too much time thinking about my achilles tendons, the physio I have tomorrow evening, the firmware patching I'm going to attempt to do tomorrow morning, and how long it is until Friday morning, when I get to see Rachel again.

I'm going to go and do some erging before dinner tonight, just so I feel like I'm doing something whilest I wait to find out what I can do to fix my achilles' and get up and running again.

[17:15] Firmware patching didn't go entirely to plan this morning. One of the two servers decided that it not only didn't want to patch everything, but that it would also lock up its out-of-band management hardware, too. This means I now have to come in early on Thursday to have another crack at it. Luckily, it's part of a failover pair, and is the failover, so there won't be any downtime while I try to get it working... Unless the other server breaks, which it shouldn't in the time I expect the server I'm working on to be out of action.

Last night was a bit of a mish-mash of things. I couldn't go for a run at lunch time, so I left work on time and dashed home so I could go for a run before heading to the boat house for a certain time to derig the boat that got broken last week, and then attend a meeting. As a result I might have run a lot harder than I probably should have done having not run for a while. This caused some serious achilles issues, which I now need to actually go and do something about with a local physiotherapist if I want to run again any time soon. The meeting was moderately interesting, but frankly I just wanted to get home and have dinner rather than hang around and talk.

The remainder of today after this morning's work was mainly about the meeting after lunch to discuss RHEL site licencing, and how we're going to go about getting what we want. Now I'm going to go home and go about cooking a steak how I want.

[16:55] So Friday was interesting. We didn't get caught, which is the main take away. We keep the place we moved to on Tuesday evening. Which isn't too bad considering the quality of the crew we had this year given all the changes which've gone on and how well (or not) we've done over the regatta (and to be honest the head season as well, although I wasn't there for that). It was raining the whole evening, but not terribly much when it came time for our race. We held off the crew behind until the last 800m or so, then managed to stay ahead of them enough that they were taken out of contention by the crew behind. We rowed home safe. I stayed for a bit of the party afterwards, but needed to get home not only to be rested for racing the next day, but also because I just wasn't in the mood for a huge drunken party.

Saturday morning I got to relax a bit and have a leisurely breakfast and lunch, then was picked up for the drive to the regatta. We raced in a semi-final, and won usefully, then raced in the final against a crew from our own river and beat them handsomely, which was a real pleasure for all five of us. Goblets for everyone and a nice drive to Mike's pub (he's the landlord) for a free drink and dinner, which was the perfect end to the rowing week.

Sunday I helped with the rerigging, then Tesco, some drowsy time on the sofa, then some proper hardcore relaxation and television with lots of washing of clothes in between. That was about it.

It's now the end of a Monday at work. I spent most of the morning and all of lunch time (when I should have been going for a run) helping an Oracle engineer and his trainee replace a motherboard and then deal with the resulting amber lights on the chassis. To cut a long story short, it turned out to be that the BIOS battery on the replacement motherboard was dead. Before that we did a lot of firmware updates and fiddling. Not to mention the fact that the RAID firmware on the motherboard was a lower revision than on the broken board, so there had to be a RAID resync before anything else could happen.

Anyway, I'm going home now, running as quickly as I can before I get down to the boat house and help derig our broken boat before the season wrap-up meeting.

[17:00] Last night went almost according to plan. But we were incredibly lucky to not be caught pretty much on the line by the crew behind us. It was only due to the stroke man and the cox communicating right at the right moment that meant we didn't lose our place. Otherwise, the rest of the row went as well as we could manage, I think. Our start was excellent, which hopefully will stand us in good stead again for tonight's race. If we can hang on for at least 1km there's a good chance that the crew chasing us will get caught by the up and coming crew behind them, and we'll have a much easier time of things. It's also raining quite heavily here right now, and is due to continue wet all evening and I'd rather not struggle through the rain with a slippery blade.

Plus, I'm in a 4+ racing at a regatta tomorrow evening and it would be nice to retain some energy for that. As a result I won't be drinking tonight (I wasn't going to be even if I wasn't rowing tomorrow) and will be in bed before 01:00 if at all possible. Our races aren't until late in the afternoon, which leaves the morning for Tesco shopping (unless I do that on Sunday), and a potential lie-in, which would be nice.

More downloading and updating with regard to kickstart areas today, as well as some updating of the network monitoring software we use, a result of me OCD'edly watching the upgrade and rediscovery process of which allowed me to discover a rogue wireless access point in one of our buildings which was serving out IPs on the inside of our firewall. Which was nice.

So anyway, that's everything for the week. I'll be back on Monday.

[17:00] The second night of racing went a little more to plan, inasmuch as we didn't get caught, nor did we catch anyone. We all turned up to rerig the boat we're borrowing after totalling our usual boat on Tuesday, then once that was done in record time, relaxed and tried to get used to rowing it. Rowing up to the start seemed to go fairly well, as did the practice start we did. While I thought it was OK, the actual race start that we did wasn't quite as good as the previous day's one, but sufficed to keep us in contention with the boats around us. We were slowly caught by the one behind and had to keep the pressure on all the way to the finish line, which was a little closer than I'd been expecting, which was nice. This means I can calibrate my effort a little more sensibly tonight when it comes to the final push that I'm expecting will be required to keep us from getting caught.

Workwise I've been dealing with Oracle, solving network issues due to excessive bandwith piss-taking, and updating kickstart locations with new versions of RHEL and Oracle Linux. It's all so exciting. Oh, and coming to the conclusion there's something weird going on with my KDE setup since I rebooted it into the new versions of everything.

[17:00] Well, last night didn't go according to plan, at all. Not only did we get caught, we got rammed into the bank and crushed the bow off our boat. About two feet of it no longer exists. Disappointing on many levels! Especially as we felt we had a really good start. We've managed to secure another boat for tonight (and hopefully the following two nights). We'll have to see how we do against new opposition tonight!

Nothing to tell you on the work front today, other than the fact that RHEL6.7 has caused some bugs with my workstation, and I've got a randomly rebooting Oracle server to deal with.

[16:55] Moderately gentle 20 minute erg last night, followed by a short crew chat as preparation for the races which start tonight and go on until Friday. Once I got home from that it was time for a big meal of pasta, and then bed. I'm sleeping moderately well at the moment, which is good. Although I think I should go back to closing my curtains again to give me more of a chance of sleeping an hour or so more without waking in between times.

Morning exercises, breakfast, cycle to work. Work has been pretty steady today. Nothing noteworthy, really. I'm about to leave and have a very early dinner so that I'm ready to row at 20:00 tonight. Updates throughout the week, of course. For now though I'm off to eat, relax, and then row as hard and well as I can for potentially a little more than 2km. Current guess on how it'll go: OK if we row together, badly if we don't.

[16:55] The weekend had some real ups and downs, I have to say. Saturday started with what I thought was going to be a long outing and a short one. What we ended up with was one short one when we broke another of our M1 rowers. This is both disappointing and worrying. We're now really beginning to scrape the bottom of our barrel of even vaguely available rowers of a high enough calibre (which admittedly isn't all that high this year) to row in M1 for the races which start tomorrow. After the outing a few of us went to the pub for some food, and then I went home. I went into town to meet Rachel later in the day and we did some shopping for nice things before heading home. Pizza and an evening of relaxation with other food followed, with a slightly later night owing to the fact I didn't have any outings planned for Sunday morning.

That ended up not being the case when I checked my phone at 09:55 the following morning to find that an outing in a 4+ for St. Neots Regatta had been organised the previous night. I left Rachel to go for a run on her own (very disappointing) and after snatching a quick breakfast headed down to the boat house. After some faff the 4+ set out for what turned out to be an extremely fun outing. One which bodes reasonably well for next Saturday's regatta. I ended up at the pub again with most of the crew, where we learned that the rower who broke yesterday almost certainly won't be in the boat for this week's races. This required an overly large Sunday roast to soften the blow, after which I went home and got the Tesco shopping done before I succumbed to the inevitable food coma. Once I was back from the grocery shopping I had serious trouble staying awake (I think more due to the 4+ being so good that I put down more effort that I initially realised), so had a two hour doze. This lead to me feeling moderately logey for the rest of the day. But as there wasn't much day left this wasn't a problem.

Morning exercises this morning, then a cycle to work via the bike shop to get my daily commuter bike's brakes (hydraulic disc) services. That meant cycling with my station bike to there, then leaving on it. It turns out that the discs were almost completely worn through. I'd been told that they lasted for years, but apparently not. Maybe it's the weather in the last few months that's ground them down. Or maybe I'm cycling faster these days, so need more braking to slow down. Anyway, after a day of bits and bobs I'm off for a gentle erg this evening with whatever crew is still able to row in M1, then home for washing up and a moderately early night.

[16:55] Last evening's 30min erg after work was just as hot and sweaty as I thought it would be, but saving something for this morning by not pushing 100% was definitely the best thing to do. However, there was an astonishing storm over night, so neither Rachel or I got a whole night's sleep. Lots of rain, even more thunder and lightning, and a fairly large dash of hail just to keep everyone happy. Definitely no sleep between around 02:00 and 03:00. Getting up at 05:30 for a 06:00 outing turned out to not be intolerable, which was helpful. The outing wasn't abysmal, but improved somewhat over the course of it.

At work it turned out that we lost connectivity to the internet as a result of the storm, so the entire morning consisted of reading text books and catching up on internal emails. By the time the net was back there wasn't all that much left to do, so I've just been clearing up things for the weekend and getting ready to go home.

This weekend there's lots of rowing on Saturday morning, Rachel and shopping in the afternoon, and Rachel in the evening. Sunday has no rowing, but perhaps some running with Rachel in the morning, a nice brunch with rowing people late morning and early afternoon whilest Rachel heads to Heathrow for close on two weeks in east Africa and Egypt. I guess later in the afternoon is when I'll be doing the Tesco shopping and things of that nature. Then it's Monday again.

[16:30] Last night's outing went really well. Surprisingly. I mean, there's every chance that we're way too slow, relative to the crews around us, but at least we were all together and had a good platform to work off. This meant I got home in a pretty good mood and found that Rachel had arrived made the evening's dinner (and the following, tonight's, dinner) and then gone for a run, meaning that she arrived after I did, as it were. In any event, as she'd also done the washing up (strange woman), I had nothing to do but rehydrate a bit and get ready to do the last bits of dinner preparation. Which was nice.

Today I've mainly been concerned with preconfiguring the network card in a new UPS for one of our major switches, going to two different server rooms to reinitialise the RAID hardware (blank them, in effect) in two Google Search Appliances, and help the Networks person rack up another Nexus switch. There's no outing tonight, so obviously I'm going to go to the boat house and do a 30min erg instead. Rachel will arrive late in the evening and we can eat together then. I've got an outing tomorrow morning at 06:00 which I won't be half an hour late for this time (as I was on Monday, but not the last to arrive, thankfully).

[17:15] I nearly managed to brick my television PC last night by making a mistake as to which plug to pull to let it install 17 updates while I went to bed. In the end I had to stay up and nurse it back to life and get the remaining patches installed and confirm that it'd be OK the next time I turned it on. So, no bed before midnight, which I learned a good while ago now means not feeling awesome in the morning if I've done a lot of exercise. Luckily there was no exercise for me this morning, other than morning exercises (decided not to do the erg), so I slept in a bit and felt all the better for doing so. At work today it was mostly all about clearing up the fallout from yesterday's Nessus scans (that no-one was expecting, having a huge email catchup session, and trying not to overhead as the building did. Rachel had some train station issues, so is currently on her way here without a bike. That's going to be an inconvenience for her this evening and tomorrow morning, but hopefully not too much of one. I've got an outing to head to in a few minutes, then I'll try to get home as quickly as I can afterwards to have the remainder of the evening in pleasant company. We really need a good outing tonight (which may or may not happen given we've got subs, again), otherwise we're all going to start feeling rather worried about next week's racing. Nothing happening exercise-wise tomorrow, so I think I might got for a run at lunch time. Nothing hard, just something to keep the body aware that it can run, too.

[18:10] After a reasonably positive and hopeful outing last night, this morning's was a bit of a let-down. Maybe it was due to the other sub we had in the boat, maybe everyone was just a bit tired, or not mentally switched on. Whatever it was, it meant the outing didn't go terribly well. Still, the rest of the day has. I got to work, got all my Nessus scans done and sent off to the relevant people, swapped hard drives, did a reinstall and set up on a server, helped rack a switch, and managed to squeeze in lunch and even a smidgen of chatting with Rachel. Now I'm off home before it rains again to have a relaxing evening with steak and chips. I also need to decide if I'm going to get up early tomorrow for an erg, or stay in bed for an hour or so longer and be ready for the evening's outing instead.

[16:45] Stuff happened this weekend. It was two days. Saturday started off with me feeling extremely tired when I got up to go and row. This proved to be a bit of a waste of time as it turned out I wasn't in the boat after all. I decided that as I was up I'd coach the crew I thought I was going to be in, but a regular coach came along, so I shifted to the W1 crew instead. We got a couple of 2K pieces done and then whilest they rested between outings I did three quarters of the erg that the rest of my crew had done during the week. The second outing with the W1 crew went reasonably, I think. I'm a little worried about trying to work on too much with them as I'm not their official coach at the moment. After going home I ended up in a bit of a slump regarding various aspects of my life, and even after heading into town to help out for a short time with my rowing club's erg taster session thing I ended up coming home and getting inside my head a little too much. On Sunday morning, with no outings planned I purposefully stayed in bed until late, then went to Tesco to fill up a bit more of the day. I got a late invitation to a barbeque early afternoon so headed to that for a bit, had some food cooked by other people (really should have taken something to share), watched some tennis and then came home in time to welcome a very hot and tired Rachel from her weekend's worth of train travel and socialising of her own. We settled in for the evening eventually, and made a nice dinner (which I have leftovers of to eat tonight).

This morning I dragged myself out of bed (where I'd had only an OK night's sleep) to do the Monday morning erg with a few others. After feeling like it wasn't going to be all that enjoyable, it turned out to be. Rachel got to work OK after I'd gone, so that was good too. At work I've been preparing for tomorrow's Nessus scans of our entire server infrastructure, as well as the server rebuild I'll be doing whilest that's going on. I've already got all the build scripts ready, so it should be nice and straightforward.

Outing tonight, and tomorrow morning. Hopefully the weather will at least be dry, if not calm.

[17:20] Rachel ran a really strong race last night and came second woman overall, first in her new "Veteran 35" age group, and 22nd in a field of 189. I came 36th, 54 seconds behind. I really am not as run-fit as her at the moment. She's really motoring at the moment, and I've got a lot to do to catch up with her, I think. Still, it was a fun evening despite the flies, and the heat. The cycle there was a bit of a rush so that we'd be there on time (plenty of time, in the end). The cycle back was a lot more relaxed. We stopped off at Tesco to get some dinner and ended up going to bed a little later than perhaps we should. Still, the sun has shone all day, I got a fairly good 8.2K of recovery run in at lunch time, and I've got nothing to do this evening but eat and relax.

Outings both mornings over the weekend. Which are going to be interesting as our strongest (but not best) rower is probably going to be out of action for the races in two weeks from now due to a back injury. It's looking more and more likely that this year we're going to go down at least one place, if not more. Anyway, not something I need to think about until/unless it happens. For now it's the end of the week, time to go home, relax, eat, drink, read, and sleep. Over the weekend I might try to do a little house work, maybe cycle if the weather's nice, catch up with friends if at all possible, and see Rachel on Sunday, hurrah!

[17:20] Suddenly, out of nowhere, we're going to be using LXC/containers here. This means I have to push learning a bit more about them up to the top of my to do list. This is good as it means I have something concrete to work on for the first time in a while. I've also got a reinstall of a server to do in the next week or so, but really it's still not a whole lot going on.

What's more on my mind at the moment is a 5K race with Rachel (also racing, not just against her) this evening. For such a small event I'm feeling more nervous physically than I should be. Hopefully the cycle home this evening will get rid of the butterflies in my stomach. Then it's home with her afterwards, which is the really good bit of the day/evening. Add that to it being Friday tomorrow and we're potentially on to a winner.

[18:10] Last night's outing was nowhere near as good as the morning one was. It got me worrying about how we're going to do two weeks from now. Hopefully, once we lose the most negative member of the crew (who can't do one of the nights, so can't be in the boat for any of them) things might improve, at least mood-wise, in the boat. We'll have to see.

I ran 10K with Max at lunch time today. Fairly close to as fast as I could. Which was a bit worrying considering the time I ended up doing it in. This could mean tomorrow's fairly unimportant 5K race is going to be somewhat slower than I'd like, and almost certainly slower than the amazing Rachel, who might do quite well, and potentially win a prize for her age group (she's a veteran woman for the very first time), if not placing highly for both men and women in the overall rankings. She's pretty great, and definitely faster than me at the moment, no matter how much she thinks she isn't. Then again, I'm a better rower than her... although she's picking up sculling fairly quickly!

I should go home before it gets too late. I'm not erging this evening as I ran at lunch time, and I've got that 5K tomorrow.

[16:30] We didn't make it to Henley. Although we all felt we had a decent row for the Qualifying Races, we ended up being at least nine seconds off the slowest qualifying crew, which was a bit upsetting. Still, that meant that I had all of last week off to do other things, rather than worrying about racing on the Thames. Mostly, this consisted of seeing Rachel either here or in Croydon. A fair number of longish cycles, a bit of erging, and some parkruns. Sadly, neither of the parkruns were anywhere near my previous times/PB, but at least I can still run fairly well. I'm definitely way off my best. In other news it turns out my time for the Manchester Marathon doesn't mean I can apply in the good for age ballot for the Boston or London Marathons taking place next year. I've looked at the stats though, and it seems like I might have a semi-reasonable chance at getting into Boston anyway, though. Rachel, of course, is hugely, massively, inside the best possible windows for both marathons' ballots with her incredible time at London this year. We'll know who's able to get into what when we come back from our long holiday in September, plus a few days after entering. If I don't make Boston or London then we'll probably look at somewhere else for the both of us. Perhaps even San Francisco, or somewhere on the continent.

I'm back at work a day early, actually. I was going to have today off, but after finding out that I was going to be rowing morning and evening I decided the day was top and tailed enough that I may as well just come in, and use the day elsewhere in the year instead. Especially as Rachel didn't have the day off. This morning's outing wasn't too bad, either. We had about three spots of rain, and some moderately OK paddling (although we need to get the ratio of recovery to drive back a lot more), as well as some passable start sequences. We definitely need to move on from here though, before the races in a few weeks from now. That's about it, to be honest. There's apparently nothing going on at work, as far as I've been told. There's a lot happening managerially and institutionally, which it's looking more and more likely I might need to at least get up to speed on, if not involved with if I don't want to be "left behind" on anything important, but otherwise it's quiet.

As I think I said above; another outing this evening. Then I'm home to relax and try to catch up on downloaded television, tidy the house a bit, and remember to go via Tesco in the next 36 hours or so.