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August's Journal
October's Journal

[17:30] Today has currently been a Good Day. Theoretically it started last night when, even though I really wasn't feeling it, my 5K test wasn't a complete disaster by any means. Sure, I was 9 seconds off my PB for the distance, but I was still faster than some people taller and potentially more muscular/heavier than me. Then I went home and prepared dinner for Rachel and myself. She arrived, we had a lovely evening, and we even managed a little time in the morning before she had to go. Then I cycled to work feeling fit and healthy and uninjured, which made me feel pretty good. After that I was able to get some useful work done, configure a UPS without any issues, get it delivered to town, deal with another UPS conking out, and then walk back to work in the sun. After that things just got better when I discovered that Rachel and I have made it into the 2016 Boston Marathon. This means I stand a good chance of doing the "Boston Marathon" double this season. For those of you who were unaware, I rowed the Boston Marathon (50K from Lincoln to Boston) in the UK just a few weekends ago. This is brilliant! Of course, I also get to hear in a day or so if I made it into the 2016 London Marathon. If I didn't, then my time for the 2015 Manchester Marathon should mean I get a good for age place in the 2017 London Marathon because I'll be old enough to have moved into a higher age-group by then...

Anyway, today has been a good day. Now all I have to do is make it through a row in the evening sun and then get home and I'll consider today something of a huge success!

[17:05] I have my 5K test this evening, and I'm really not feeling it. I have no idea how it's going to go, if I'm honest. I guess I'll just get it over with. As a reward Rachel's coming here this evening, so I've definitely got something to look forward to afterwards. I just have to get through around 18 minutes of erging, first.

I've had a pretty productive day at work, actually. I got in early to get an application updated with the developer of it sitting next to me to guide a few Apache and Tomcat changes done. Then I cycled into town with a switch and got that installed in a fairly precarious location (stepladder required) and connected up. Everything seemed to work first time, so other than a lot of waiting around for people to find keys for doors it was a pretty successful trip. Since then I've been trying to rest up for this evening, doing a lot of troubleshooting and firmware updating on a server one of my coworkers was dealing with before he went home for a few days. I guess I'll be doing more of that tomorrow, given he won't be here. I also have a UPS to swap over at some point, but I don't know if I'm going to have the transport available to get it moved. I should speak to the building management people tomorrow and see if they're going to be driving the van into town at any point.

Right, test time, I guess. Here's hoping it's not a complete disaster. I'd much rather be running.

[17:10] I really didn't want Monday to come around this morning. Not only because Rachel came over on Sunday evening, but also because I was feeling pretty tired from the weekend's activities. Saturday and Sunda morning were rowing outings, which didn't go too badly despite it not being the 4 rowers I've been used to being a part of for the last few months. The men's coach wants to switch things up a bit, so I'm not sure what's going to be happening with regard to Fours Head of the River and the vets race the following day. It'd be nice to row in the 4+ that we had for the last few races, but who knows? Anyway, after rowing on Saturday I did a fair amount of boat bay tidying and maintenance, went to Tesco, did some washing, some washing up, and a bit of weeding and hedge-trimming, and then settled down with a film for the evening. On Sunday I did pretty much the same again, only swapped the hedge work for mowing the lawn, and then went for a long run to see if I could (and also, if I'm honest, because Rachel had done a half marathon near her parents' house that morning). I was fairly pleased with the distance I did in the time I'd allocated myself, but not with the blisters I got on my feet. My achilles tendons seemed to be OK (or at least no worse than if I hadn't run) afterwards, and just as importantly, this today. I've got a physio appointment in a little while this evening so I'll discuss how I'm doing with her then. Rachel arrived in the evening, justifiably berated me for running so far and so fast, and then eventually forgave (or at least stopped being angry with) me. We had a barely-passable Indian delivery meal, and talked until we were too tired to stay up any more.

Today I've managed to arrange when I'll be installing a new switch elsewhere in the city tomorrow, have made sure the people who need to be in early with me tomorrow morning will be, and eaten a few too many chocolates. I think the blisters on my feet and how much exercise I did yesterday justify the chocolates... just.

[16:50] We'll see how my legs feel tomorrow morning, but I ran 10K at pretty much as fast as I can manage at the moment (when not racing) at lunch time today. It didn't feel terrible. Not stunning, and certainly not as fast as I've been in the past. However, I'm more of a rower at the moment, so I think that's more than acceptable for the time being. What I need to make sure is that I remain on the road to recovery. So, more runs, and taking care of myself with plenty of stretching (as I've been doing since I started seeing this physio). I'm worried about my achilles tendons, that old pain in the right side of my groin which may be glute-related, and a hotspot on the sole of my right foot which feels like it's always on the way to being a blister by the time I take my trainer and sock off. We'll have to see what being careful (to some degree), regular running to build up skin toughness, and more stretching will do for me in the coming running season. Still no word on whether I've gotten into the Boston Marathon yet. Apparently I'll find out about the London Marathon at the tail end of next week...

Work today was mainly about getting ready for the next two weeks without the guy in charge of Networks being here. All of the physical stuff (switch installations, etc.) is going to fall to me, but luckily my team leader is going to be back, so he'll hopefully handle the harder configuration side of things when I get stuck.

It was fab to have Rachel over last night. It felt like a long time since she was last at my house, but by the time she left in the morning I was already looking forward to Sunday evening when she'll be back again. Between now and then I've got double rowing outings on both weekend mornings, some food shopping to do, and if the weather stays good, maybe even a little bit of lawn mowing, hedge-trimming and weeding, if I can be bothered. I hope you have as good a weekend as me, or better. See you Monday.

[17:20] The outing last night wasn't too bad for our first one in the dark, with a new (returned from being fixed) boat, and a sub. We were a bit late pushing off, but then it was about 12km of fairly decent rowing, all at fairly low rate and firm pressure. I taped my fingers a little, but they seemed to survive the experience. This morning I did a lonely 10K erg at the boat house after my erg partner decided his hands hurt too much from the weekend's Boston Marathon. I can't say I blamed him, given the mess that row made of them. I did OK, I think. Not quite as good as I would have liked, but pretty much exactly where I wanted to do in terms of split per 500m.

It has been a pretty empty day as far as work goes. Some of the morning was spent walking over to a server room, deracking a server and a disk pack, claiming back terminals, monitors, etc., and trying to find where the brand new tools we left there have gone. Hopefully someone else brought them back, because they're not where we left them any more.

Rachel's coming over this evening, which is going to be lovely, I hope. We haven't seen each other in over a week, which is too long, I think, in the grand scheme of things. Hopefully we'll have a nice evening together. I need to go via Tesco on the way home, as well as shaving, cleaning and tidying the house a bit, and generally making the place and myself look a bit more presentable. I'm also running tomorrow for the second time this week (potentially with Max), so that should be something else I can really look forward to.

[17:00] I probably could have pushed a little harder in my UT2 ergs last night. But my reason (excuse) is that I was helping calibrate the ergs I used for the new maintenance person. I think I can get away with that.

I'm still waiting on the Boston Marathon to tell me whether or not I have a place. Hopefully I'll find out within the next few days. Then I can start planning everything else Rachel and I will hopefully be doing both before we get there, and after we've run. Also: flights, places to stay, etc. I'm sure once people have places they start booking up the hotels, Air BnB options, etc.

I've an outing tonight in a 4+ with one person from the weekend not present. We have to rig the boat first as we still haven't done that since Sunday when the trailer came back. The boat's not even in our boat house at the moment, so we'll have to row it back once we're done. It's only a few hundred meters, so it should give me a chance to see what my hands feel like gripping a blade again (last night's ergs don't count).

Tomorrow I'll be doing a 10K erg before Rachel comes over. Probably in the evening rather than first thing in the morning. I do value my lie-ins (until 07:15 or so). It'll be great to see Rachel, as we haven't seen each other since we parted ways at Kings Cross last Wednesday afternoon.

[16:55] Other than going to Tesco last night, it was a pleasurably quiet evening with just washing clothes, washing up, and making dinner. I think I even went to bed moderately early. I'm pretty sure I needed it.

It all meant that I seemed to sleep a little better last night (not waking stupidly early, just fairly early), and was able to get the morning exercises done and get to work for a reasonable time. Today has mainly been about catching up on a few things, sorting out maintenance windows and what'll happen within them next week, and having my appraisal given the internal restructuring that's been going on since we merged with another division/group. Oh, and I ran 8K at lunch time with apparently no ill effects in the achilles tendon region. We'll see how this evening's 3x20min ergs and a night in bed leave me tomorrow morning. Obviously I continue to do my physio-mandated exercises twice a day and on both sides of any running I attempt.

[17:05] Certainly a busy - and tiring - weekend. Friday evening I had my physio appointment, where I was thankful to have my lower back dealt with as much as my achilles tendons, given the pull I'd given it in the morning during my squats session. That meant that I was able to row without any noticable problems in the long outing we had on Saturday before we loaded the boat onto a trailer. The remainder of the day was spent trying to track down my heart rate monitor strap, which seems to have go walkies. I think it might have fallen out of my pannier at some point. But for the life of me I can't think when. After cycling all over town to try and find it (boat house, work), and then going into a half dozen shops to see how much a replacement would cost, I managed to borrow one (and potentially buy it) from my friend Dave (who co-incidentally sold me my previous one, too). Sunday was then an early rise and a drive to Lincoln for the start of what I hope will be my first of two Boston Marathon events this season. This one was the rowing one. We rowed for ~31 miles (~50km). As far as I can tell we did pretty well, and even won our category, which was pretty cool. Definitely not as hard as a running marathon, although definitely worse on the hands (I have a number of blisters which today are drying out on schedule, I think). Definitely no exercise today/this evening (it would have been weights, which would have been a bad idea), but I will have to try and hold a washing up brush to deal with the dishes once I get home from a quick Tesco trip. Although, I think I'll get my application in for the Boston Marathon (running, in the USA) in first. I'd have done it at work today, but I didn't bring my credit card, annoyingly.

[16:35] Not the stunningest day today. Set my alarm to get up for 06:00. Made it to the boat house for 06:30 to find the outing had been cancelled via Facebook after I'd gone home from work. One of the evenings when I chose not to turn on a computer in the evening, and that's the evening decisions are made without someone texting me. So, I decided to do a bit of weights instead... and managed to slightly tweak my very lower back (practically glutes) muscles. Cycle to work and do the working morning. Go for a consolatory run at lunch time. Not quite 6km of running in one go though, as my achilles still aren't 100%, so I made myself walk the first two minutes of it. I have to hope the physio notes some improvement in about half an hour or I'm going to start getting very annoyed with my body. I really, really want to be running normally again soon. I feel tubby, out of shape, and definitely not ready for a 10K, let alone the half marathon I'm signed up for in November. I still can't enter the Boston Marathon as I was 46 seconds off a qualifying time bracket, so I have to wait until Monday. Rachel will be entering then, when she's pretty much certain to get in as she bettered her qualifying time by almost 28 minutes and could have entered on day one. I'm off for the weekend now, and will be doing the other Boston Marathon this Sunday (rowing from Lincoln to Boston). 31 miles of rowing, in a 4+. It's going to be epic. And possible kill all four of us (but probably not the cox). I'll tell you all about it on Monday.

[17:55] I'm back from Italy. It was great! Three and a bit days in Venice, a few more than that in Intra, on the shore of Lake Maggiore. Rachel and I had a wonderful time exploring Venice, and then doing lots of cycling, a little less running than we would have liked, and plenty of hard hiking up and down Mottarone (the cable car was closed). We had one day when we stayed indoors because it was raining so hard (although we still went for a bit of a cycle later in the day), and managed to cycle the whole 100 miles around the lake's edge over two days on pretty mediocre bikes (rather than the racers I hoped we'd be able to rent). I was very impressed with Rachel, who really wasn't a cyclist before we left England. We did everything by train, which meant a return via Geneva on the way home. Such a horribly expensive place for somewhere that really isn't all that impressive. Also, I ate something there which has left me with a horrible low-grade stomach ache for the last 36 hours or so. In all though, I had a wonderful holiday with a wonderful person, and I'm so glad we went and saw a country I've never seen before. Not to mention doing my first cross-border cycle (Italy/Switzerland, Switzerland/Italy) the first half of the lake circumnavigation. I'll stick the photos up as soon as I've gone through them, and also put together the panoramas with Hugin.

I got home last night in the pouring rain having slept badly the night before in Geneva and waking with both a stomach ache and a badly pulled shoulder/neck from sleeping oddly. This meant that this morning's 30min AT erg (done on my own) wasn't much of a success. I feel (relative to how I am when I'm training properly and uninjured) fat, flat (in terms of energy), and unfit. I'm a little worried about the rowing marathon I'm doing in the 4+ this weekend, given how I'm feeling at the moment. Perhaps once my stomach settles down (not sure why it hasn't already) I'll feel better. I just wish I could run more, then I'd lose the excess I feel like I've gained since the Manchester Marathon, and my cardio would be on the up again.

Happily, being back at work has only meant deleting 19,000 plus emails, solving a few disk space issues, and catching up on everything that's gone on in the last ten working days or so. And tomorrow's Friday, too, which is even better. I do have an outing tomorrow morning, so I need to be up pretty early in the morning, but so long as the weather's nice and my stomach is behaving itself it should be a good return to rowing. We'll have to see...

[16:10] And so to Friday. Hurrah! I'm away for the next week and a bit, so there'll be no scintillating journal updates for a while. I'm sure you'll cope. There's just time enough to tell you that last night's physio session went fairly well, and I'm allowed to up my running distances and shorten my walking distances (or times) gradually over the next two weeks or so. I celebrated by doing close on 3km at lunch time today, and other than the first five minutes of walking, the majority of the remaining time/distance was run. I wouldn't say I'm out of shape (as I hope this evening's 30min rate 20 erg will show), but running and rowing or cycling aren't the same thing, and my body knows it. I just hope that I can continue to slowly up the distances in time for a 10K in October (I've decided to probably not do the one in September) and the half marathon in November.

Anyway, obviously I haven't started anything new today work-wise. That would just be silly. Instead I've been clearing down lots of things, getting my inboxes in order, printing a few maps, and generally marking time until the end of the day. It's now pretty much the end of the day, so I'm going to get a few more things squared away and head off the to boat house. See you later.

[16:25] I can heartily disrecommend 60min ergs. Not because they're hard (they are), but mostly because of how dull they are. Still, one done, just a shade under 15km. After that I ate a large pizza in the boat house while being in the start of season meeting, and then hanging around for the AGM afterwards.

I wasn't all that tired when I got up this morning, but I think I might be more so than my body is letting on. I've had a day of nibbles of work, and printing out lots of maps for hopeful cycling trips I'll be doing on holiday. And now in a few minutes I'll be leaving for a physio appointment and then deciding whether or not to go to circuit training at the boat house at 19:00.

[17:05]fo Last night was the first night of the new season of rowing (training). I have to admit, I did pretty well compared to most other people. They probably weren't trying quite as hard as I was, but I also wasn't as slow to recover as some of them, either. 3x 20min at rate 18, trying to keep a split of as far below 2:00min/500m as maintainable. I haven't had that much of a sweat on in a few months, given I haven't been able to run much, and cycling has more wind to keep you cool due to the speed you're going. Anyway, it was a good workout. I'm not sure how well tonight's 60min without a break is going to go, but we'll see.

Today I spent quite a bit of time in work lulls looking at Google Streetviews of routes I hope we get to cycle on holiday... so long as they're not dangerous. I need Rachel's opinion before we do go ahead. We also had some rather extreme weather when a storm system came over. Hail, torrential rain, high winds. It is now a beautiful day outside, which should mean that the boat house is nice and hot for my erg session, and the following double meeting. I must get something to eat between the erg and the meetings...

[16:55] For not being able to run, I got a fair amount of exercise this long weekend just gone. On Saturday morning I went out for a ride with rowing and ex-rowing friends and after getting a bit lost managed to clock up about 67km of ride. Then after that I headed down to the boat house burning barbeque and won an actual (flower) pot in the couples mixed doubles with Keith (don't ask). Rachel arrived late into the evening after I'd been to Tesco and the next day we went for a nice long cycle (around 63km) when I almost managed to get us lost (although I was always fairly sure I knew where we were at all times). Couple that with the poxy amount of walk/run/walk/etc. I'm allowed to do, which I did on Monday after Rachel and I had spent most of the day in town buying phrase books and clothes and reading and drinking hot chocolate and eating cake and stuff and by this morning I was still quite tired when I got up to do my morning exercises. I'm really hoping that my achilles start to feel a bit better soon. Yesterday's 'run' gave some inkling that perhaps they'll settle down a bit more if I run for longer distances, but I still have to see the physio again on Thursday evening to tell me what the prognosis is. For the moment I have lots of cycling and the return to rowing training to occupy me, the latter of which starts this evening.