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25/08/2016
[17:55] Talk about finishing at a run, today has been a bit of a stretch, I have to say. It started well enough, with a moderately cool morning (after last night's awesome lightning storm) where I still managed to lose about 2% body weight in fluids, annoyingly. I don't know how I manage to do it, but it's happening. Anyway, after that I got to work and got some more useful Ansible stuff done. Then right around lunch time I got an emailing saying that about 12 new VMs were going to be required by the middle of next week. Given I'm on vacation from tomorrow until a week on Monday, and then on a training course (in the building, admittedly) the week after that. If I didn't do them today, they wouldn't be done until the 12th at the earliest. Cue a good hour or so of getting 12 VMs built at light speed. If I'd had time I could have probably have used Ansible to get them all built in about ten minutes (a major chunk of time was spent doing the DNS and firewall stuff, not to mention doing the initial VM creation), but sadly I'm still working on learning Ansible and converting my scripts to work within its framework/programming language. It'll happen though, and given about 70 more VMs (to begin with) are going to be required within the next few months, it can't happen too soon.

Anyway, yes, I ran 10K this morning and apparently sweated more than I thought. Rachel arrives this evening and we're going to celebrate National Burger Day at GBK and then head home. Tomorrow I'll go shopping for supplies for the weekend, and then after lunch we'll jump on the train(s) to spend the weekend running stupid amounts of miles around Ladybower Resevoir. Hopefully without getting too rained on, but definitely without getting too hot, or too dehydrated. More on that when I come back to work, which actually won't be until the 12th for real, but I might post something on the 5th (course week, day one), just to catch you all up. The week before that I'm using up some more of my accrued vacation days. Until then, here's hoping this weekend goes according to plan!

24/08/2016
[17:15] It's just too hot here. I should have left fifteen minutes ago, but I've been reading up on things I need to do tomorrow for when I do the Oracle VM Manager upgrade. Just a minor-minor point release upgrade, but it pays to be careful and have backups.

This morning I went for a run before 07:00 and still, apparently, lost over 2% of my body weight in sweat. 1.5kg. That's nuts, and just a bit worrying. Still, it gives me more data to work with in terms of how much fluid I need to carry with me per hour. After the run I headed into work by way of breakfast and a shower and settled down to do some serious regular expression hacking for the Ansible task I thought I'd finished yesterday. This ended up taking most of the morning, but I learned a lot in the process. I had then been planning on heading into town to do a psychology study based on chocolate... but the person in charge was ill, so it got rescheduled to a time and date I can't do. So instead I sweltered in the office instead. This afternoon has mainly been about patching boxes I can get away with doing as they don't need reboots and the packages that were being updated aren't used (don't ask why they're isntalled). I'm heading off now after having set up the upgrade I mentioned at the top of this post. I just have to remember not to do it until the automatic backup has finished at 09:35.

Another run tomorrow morning. Gentle, I hope. I'm still tapering slightly for the weekend, even if I am rather worried about whether or not I'll make the distance we're hoping to attempt without dehydration or heat exhaustion. I've never hated hot weather quite as much! Rachel arrives tomorrow evening though, so that'll be wonderful.

23/08/2016
[16:55] As days go this was a pretty useful one. I got in early, patched eight or so machines, two of them for firmware as well. Other than a database hanging on shutdown, which caused me to run over my maintenance window by a few minutes, everything went fine. Then I had to cycle into town to see a server I've never seen before and diagnose that, basically, it's electrically dead. It's also not under warranty, so I'm not entirely sure what happens next. Frankly, I'm a bit peeved I have to deal with it, but we'll see what happens between now and the end of the week, as I'm off next week and someone else is going to have to deal with it if the users want it back before I get back. Over lunch I did a rather nice 12K run. It was blazingly hot, so I didn't push particularly hard so as not to have another heat episode. I'm a bit paranoid about running in anything other than totally cool and unhumid weather now, I have to say. In any event, everything seemed to go OK, and I've drunk plenty since I got back in and had a shower and lunch. The last major thing I've done today is Ansible up another part of what I do on certain new servers. I'm slowly getting the hang of things now, at least when it comes to the easier tasks. We'll see what happens when I get to the more complicated things.

I'm heading off to do some strength and conditioning with Max at the boat house now, then it's an earlyish rise tomorrow morning for another 13K or so before work. Hopefully when it's a bit cooler. As Rachel and I are off doing silly miles this weekend around Ladybower, we figured this week should feature a smidgen of tapering.

22/08/2016
[17:30] I'm back with a bit of a bang. I'll tell you about today, first. It started off sleepily, with me really not wanting to get back to work. Rachel leaving first thing to get back to London helped hoist me out of bed and soon enough I was back at my desk feeling like I'd not had a week away. First up was getting my email under control, which only took about an hour in the end. Quite surprising, really. After that I got down to the task of clearing as many amber and red lights off our monitor system as humanly possible, to give me something to work with that wasn't a complete mess. Then there was a load of work to do on some of the servers I'm patching and rebooting tomorrow morning. Mainly to do with moving from one Dell repository for OMSA and firmware updates, to another one. Hopefully I have it all scripted now so I can do it much more quickly on any other servers I do in the future. That ate up the remainder of the morning so that I ended up having to do a rapid cycle over to the sports center to have my physio session, then back again to eat lunch while I quickly prepped another applications server for the tier one service we run which is rapidly developing a severe case of VM sprawl (just as I anticipated it would). That lead back to working on my Ansible knowledge and learning a lot more about the basics of it. By the end of today I've managed to get some pretty useful stuff going so that in the future provisioning new VMs is going to get faster and faster. Still a lot more work to do, though.

Now, about last week. I was on a training course back down in London again, this time doing something Red Hat related. It was quite a disappointing course, I have to say. For a linux/Red Hat course, and a RH4xx stream one I was hoping for something a bit more meaty, a bit more "use your head", and definitely on the most current version, which it wasn't. Everyone was a bit put out about that I have to say. Hopefully someone from Red Hat will get back to me about the feedback I submitted, but I'm not holding my breath. Anyway, on top of that I was at Rachel's for a few of the nights of last week, which was nice. We also had a few runs here and there, as well as some big runs both this weekend gone, and the weekend before.

Anyway, I'm off home now as tomorrow morning I'm in early for patching and stuff, not to mention hopefully running at lunchtime, if it's not too hot. I'm really not doing well in hot weather at the moment when it comes to physical exertion over longer periods of time.

12/08/2016
[17:45] Today has been quite a good day, I think. It started off with Rachel, which is always a good way to start a day. Then I got to work and made some good (but admittedly small) progress with Ansible learning. I still haven't actually run any playbooks yet, but I think when I do everything will work first time (ho ho). There was a lot of other small things to do today which kept taking me away from my main task, but I think I got everything done, including firing up another server for one of our tier one applications which was being load tested today and overly stressed. Other than that I learned some things about Red Hat Software Collections, got all kinds of new packages installed and configured in ways I haven't done before.

I'm now off for the weekend to do running and cycling and things like that, hopefully without heat exhaustion this time around. Then all of next week I'm back down in London doing a Red Hat Satellite training course and staying with Rachel. So see you a week on Monday.

11/08/2016
[18:00] A much better run this morning. Maybe it was something to do with going to bed at about 09:30 last night. I can't believe it didn't any harm at any rate. Getting up at 05:20 for a 06:05 start at the boat house still wasn't all that fun, but also only eating a cereal bar beforehand meant that I didn't have any gastrointestinal issues either. Also, it was cool. Almost cold, given it was mizzling/spitting for the whole time I was out. In any event, not my fastest 1.5 hour run, but by no means my slowest. I'll take it.

All of last night and all of this morning on the run my mind was preoccupied by the fact I had to bite the bullet and really get my teeth into Ansible today. To cut a long story short, after a lot of getting my head around how our Git repository is laid out, how Ansible directories work, and how my team leader does things, I was able to start Ansiblising some of the things I do on every new server I create. It turns out doing the simple things is... pretty simple in Ansible. I'm sure it's going to get more complicated, but at present it's certainly not quite as steep a learning curve as I was anticipating. Which is nice.

I'm going to head home now via Tesco for dinner for Rachel and I, and then have a lovely evening with her before Friday happens and we have to go back to our respective workplaces again. For me it'll be another 'last day before a week away' so I'll have to make sure I don't start anything that requires my presence on Monday. More on everything else tomorrow, maybe.

10/08/2016
[17:15] I cycled to collect my replacement trainers last night, then ended up with a puncture on the way home. This meant that I was still in Tesco when I got a text from Rachel saying she was coming to see me for the night on a whim. This was, of course, completely awesome. By the time I'd got home, unpacked the food, made some dinner, and just finished swallowing the last mouthful she'd arrived, which was fantastic. We had a nice, quiet evening of catching up on the last two days or so of work since we'd seen each other, and then went to bed. We got up fairly early so we could both get a run in (different lengths, Rachel had to get a train to London), mine being punctuated twice by the fallout from a bad pre-run breakfast decision (no pun intended). Still, I got a good ten miles done without over-heating again (thank goodness for cool mornings), and then got to work on time. Today I've managed to get enough caught up to date that I can actually get back on with learning Ansible stuff tomorrow (and hopefully Friday as well). This is good as my team leader's getting a bit antsy that I haven't managed to devote much time to it as yet. On the subject of over-heating and therefore potential electrolytes loss on longer runs I've just ordered some electrolyte tablets online which, in combination with my electrolyte drink tablets, should hopefully keep my levels up when I start to get very hot and sweaty. I guess we'll see.

09/08/2016
[17:15] Today has been a better day, all things considered. I managed to get a pretty great night's sleep, even if I did want to stay in bed well past 08:00 this morning. I didn't, and got to work in good time. At work I managed to fix a whole slew of things, get a VM up and running, sort out some other stuff, get a handle on my email backlog somewhat, got for a pretty good lunchtime run (with water/electrolyte) and not die, and even get my vacation days sorted for the remainder of the vacation year. Suffice it to say I've got a lot of days off coming in the next month and a half, not to mention the weeks here and there when I'm on training courses (both in the building and in London).

I'm off now to get my new replacement trainers, and then head home to maybe do some lawn mowing before an early night. Although I also have to go to Tesco, so maybe the lawn mowing will be tomorrow night instead. I also need to remember to pop over to Max and Stacey's towards the end of the week to water their plants whilest they're away. Max gave me a spare key at lunch time. Anyway, time to go. Long run in the morning. Hopefully before it gets hot.

08/08/2016
[16:40] Well, welcome to August, a week later, due to me having been on a VMWare course in London all of last week. It was a good course, and I think I learned a lot, not all of which will be applicable in my workplace, but definitely enough to make me a more useful member of the team I'm now in. Travel to and from there, home, and Rachel's place in Croydon, wasn't too bad although I've gained a fresh hatred of commuting in London and its outer boroughs. It's definitely not something I want to do if I can help it. The weekend before last's runs were pretty good. It was hot, but I didn't do too badly, I thought. Not quick, but certainly tolerable times. Then Rachel and I did some runs during the week I was away. 18.5K into London one day, hill sprints the next night, and then just 9.2K or so on the Thursday. All good, I thought. Then it was Saturday and we tried an afternoon "run 5K, walk 500m while refueling" 24 miles (38.5K) and the wheels came off something fierce for me. I had desperate trouble doing anything more than a shuffle towards the end, and indeed walked significant parts of the last 18K or so. By the time we got home I was dizzy, shivering uncontrollably once I'd taken my sodden kit off, had to sit down in the shower, vomited after one mouthful of food, and felt very grim. After a while though everything seemed to perk up and I finished a reasonable meal. We think it must have been heat exhaustion. I think probably due to overheating and losing too much in the way of fluids and salts. I went to bed not feeling too bad, though. In the morning I still didn't feel all that bad as we packed ready for the Vanguard Way Marathon, although it was getting sunny and warm outside. My friend Fi rocked up to run with us at what I thought would be a nice slow pace, but by only 6 miles in I was sweating far more than I should have been, and probably (like the previous day) losing too many electrolytes/salts. Additionally, like the Saturday, my heart rate and breathing were all over the place compared to how steady I've been able to keep them previously. And the weather and terrain was only going to get tougher. So, for the very first time I elected to DNF, which still bothers me today, and I'm sure will for a good few weeks and months to come. I turned around and ran/walked the 6 or so miles back to the start, and sat for two hours or so until Rachel and Fi crossed the finish line in a very creditable time.

I'm extremely concerned that this is the first summer I've run through (in previous years I've transitioned back to rowing by this time), and that I currently don't have a good way to ensure I maintain a good hydration and electrolyte balance in my system when the weather's hot. I seem to sweat a huge amount (really, far more than you), and this is having an extremely detrimental effect on my pace, heart rate, and general bodily health over runs longer than two hours or so.

So, a disappointing weekend all around on the running front at least, saved only by the fact that Rachel is fantastic in every way and has run the gammut from looking after me, all the way to being just the best person ever in all kinds of other ways. When I wasn't shattered from running and running out of bodily resources we had a wonderful time and already wish it was Thursday and she was back with me again. We did go to a fancy hotel last night to help us get over what we thought was going to be a 50 mile weekend for us both, but only one of us got a medal yesterday, and she wasn't even that broken by the exertion. Truly, right now she's a much better distance runner than I am.

In other news I'm back at work today after a late arrival following the night in the hotel and the small matter of having a nice relaxed breakfast (not to mention some issues with problems on the trains). It has been pretty hectic today with me having to catch up on a significant amount of issues, try to even think about starting work on learning Ansible from the ground up (something that's been pending for many many weeks now), and running up and down stairs trying to get other purchase orders sorted for subscription feed renewals and training courses.

As Max is away for the rest of the week I'm going to do a gentle strength and conditioning session tonight, then have a quiet evening and see what tomorrow brings, when hopefully work will be a little more settled, I can get a 10K run done at lunchtime without melting, and life will return somewhat to normal, maybe.