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29/07/2016
[16:30] Happily, I just got notification that I'm heading for my very first proper Red Hat course in the middle of next month. Couple that with the VMWare course I have next week (so won't be posting, sorry), and I'm finally getting some training to help me do my job a little better. Of course, the logistics of being away from home for a week when I need to be training for the ultra are going to make things a little complicated, but Rachel seems to be on the ball in that regard. Some days I'll be going home, others back to Croydon with her. We'll be able to run in to central London from her place at least twice in the week, which should keep me from getting too out of shape. So yes, VMWare next week, Red Hat Satellite in three weeks, and then some more Windows 2012R2 training in September. Then hopefully one more Windows course in December and that'll probably be it for the next nine years again.

Rachel was here last night and it was wonderful to have her around. I still managed to get a training session in at the boat house with Max before meeting her at the train station, so that was good too. Neither of us wanted to get up this morning, so it was good that she didn't have to get too early a train. I got to work in plenty of time to do a good morning's worth of clearing up stuff and handing over jobs and assignments to other people. I had thought I might be running over lunch, but I had a meeting and Max wasn't doing it, so I thought a proper rest day might be a plan considering Rachel wants to do 24 miles tomorrow and 15ish on Sunday. I'm hoping for cooler weather than last weekend when I faded away at 13.5 miles.

I think that's it for this week. I'm away next, so see you one week into August with probably a lot of work pending. I'm off now to get Rachel's new eBay purchased phone, then a quiet evening, running tomorrow, physio for me and Rachel getting her expensive waterproof looked at, and then... I don't know, something fun.

28/07/2016
[16:40] No early morning run today, thankfully. The weather was apparently quite nice, but I certainly gained some benefit from staying in bed. Rachel ran, but got to work so early her office building was still locked and she had to go elsewhere for a second breakfast.

Here at work today I've been rebooting VMs and resizing their disks. Seventeen in total. After some initial panic about why something wasn't working everything seems to have gone perfectly. Since then I've managed to rescue another server I actually knew nothing about and get the service on it running again. I've even set up monitoring on it, so this kind of thing won't happen in the future. Setting a root password that someone actually knew was a big plus, too.

Rachel's arriving shortly, I hope. I'm off to do another strength and conditioning session and then go home and tidy up for her arrival.

27/07/2016
[16:50] S&C last night might have been what caused me to feel really leaden-legged this morning on my early morning run. I did manage it. Just a shade under 19km, just twenty seconds over on the way back, but it was hard work. I sometimes feel like I'm in a slump, running-wise, and I just don't seem to be coming up the other side. Maybe this is just me getting old and not as able to recover as quickly as I used to, or just getting slower generally. Either way it makes me worried for longer runs, and the ultra I'm doing in September (not to mention the trail marathon two weekend from now, and London next year). I've spent the day learning more about Ansible and Git, getting SSH keys set up, sending lots of emails about lots of things (basically buck-passing) and realising that I'm actually on a VMWare course next week where I'll have to wear trousers (smart-casual dress code for the building, apparently). Also, it's likely I'll be spending a few nights at Rachel's rather than coming back to my home, so shopping this weekend's going to be a bit confusing, too.

Otherwise, that's about it, really. Lots to do, not a lot of time to do it all. I've a few meetings tomorrow to discuss VMWare guest disk image resizing (the logistics and timing of the reboots, rather than the actual technical aspect), potential hill reps with Max at lunch time, and maybe even replying to a few personal email if I get a moment here and there). Oh, also I had a WebEx session with someone this morning to get our Cisco Collector/Prime thing up and running again. Happily it was nice and easy as I'd done a lot of groundwork beforehand. It's just a shame the desktop sharing thing didn't work from my linux box and I had to decamp to another desk with a Windows one on it to get things going. No great loss though.

Hurrah for not having to get up early tomorrow as I usually would (because of the hill reps session at lunch, rather than another morning run), and for Rachel turning up tomorrow evening to make the week a whole lot more wonderful. Now I just have to go home via Cormac's to change the bottom bracket on my bike, which seems to have given up the ghost - what feels like - quite quickly since I last replaced it. Or maybe it has been a few years. In any event; bike work, home, relaxation, bed.

26/07/2016
[16:45] Got home last night to find Rachel was still there. Which was smashing. After two minutes of discussion we headed out to the boat house and did about an hour's worth of core and leg weights before showering and coming home again for a delicious evening meal, finished off with fruit crumble including blackberries from the back garden. The crop doesn't look to be as amazing as last year, but there's still more than enough to make some nice things every few days. I slept absolutely atrociously, though. This was probably due to having fizzy drink too close to bed time, as well as eating perhaps a little too much in the way of rich food. In any event I didn't feel all that awesome this morning when I got up, a good half an hour after Rachel left for London. This feeling continued all the way through the morning at work as I dealt with VM-proliferation, Ansible configuration files... oh, damn, I haven't finished that, and organising not doing hill reps at lunchtime, but instead doing 10K.

Then it was lunchtime and a nice, gentle run with Max, which turned out to be the best thing for me. I had a great run, felt incredibly strong, and wanted to go further (but didn't). This afternoon I've sent a couple of very useful emails, built a RHEL7 VM for someone with MariaDB installed, and done some other useful stuff. I'm about to head off for a strength and conditioning session at the boat house, then home for food and an early night in preparation for tomorrow morning's 1.5 hour run at whatever speed feels right.

25/07/2016
[16:25] Well, the final night of rowing went well. More video was taken and published, and we only had to row at full power for about three to four minutes. This was good as the week had pretty much worn me out, what with it being a different form of exercise. Rachel came and watched from the bank, which was awesome, too. She was impressed with how fast we got the boat up to speed, and, having seen a shot of us from the bank, so am I. We didn't stay long at the after-race party, and got home to bed in preparation for a run on Saturday. We did this with Max, and a copious amount of heat. As a result we went with a rather enjoyable 16K or so run, mostly off-road. Following getting cleaned up we headed into town and had a rather nice lunch with Max and Stacey before having an icecream in the blazing sun. After that Rachel had to head back to Croydon to be with her house guests, so I went to read in Waterstones for a while before heading home to have a pleasant 1 hour cycle with Max and Stacey again before heading to Tesco and settling in at home for the evening. Didn't sleep all that well in the heat, which meant that combined with the exertions of the week I wasn't able to keep up with Rachel for her hoped-for 20 miles on Sunday, after she arrived back with me following a very early rise, and had to head home for a paltry half marathon-ish distance instead. She managed abount 19 miles. The rest of the day was mostly about seeing friends in a nearby park with their newborn twins (three months), and then a bit of napping to try and recover from the exertions of the morning (very hot, again).

Rachel's working from (my) home today, so I'm going to be leaving shortly after a day of starting to get to grips with Ansible and troubleshooting multipath issues on a server I rebuilt recently. However, on the way home I'll be taking a diversion with Max to look at some hills for doing hill reps tomorrow lunch time. Then this evening should be resonably relaxing, I hope!

22/07/2016
[16:35] And this time last night's row went pretty much exactly according to plan, if we'd actually had one. In any event we only needed to race for about three minutes, which was brilliant. Our push at the end was something to behold. Now all we have is tonight's race and it's all over for another year. We're looking forward to it, even as we don't know what the evening is going to bring. It'll be the coolest day of the week thus far, and it may even rain, which would be annoying for the celebrations following. We'll have to see how things go. In any event I'll be hoping we'll be heading back to the boat house fairly quickly so that more food can be eaten.

At work I've had a day of doing more fiddling with small things, making logs not fill quite so much with false positives again, and a few phone calls to apologise for people's old, outdated versions of software not working any more, and pointing them at new, shiny, versions instead. That and dealing with all the issues that cropped up today that my ex-coworkers would have dealt with had they been in today.

Rachel's just arrived at home and is heading out for a run, so I'll see her when she comes back and before I head to the boat house for the evening. She'll be following us on the bank tonight, so hopefully we'll give her something to cheer about. Hopefully it won't rain again today.

Over the weekend I'm hoping to get back into long runs again, do grocery shopping, possibly head to Croydon for the night, then be back on Sunday to see Dunk and his new family (twins) when they come to town to see everyone. Then it's Monday again, disappointingly.

21/07/2016
[17:15] Last night's row didn't quite go according to plan. We were never in danger of getting caught, even with a poor start, but neither did we catch the boat we were hoping to, and therefore had to row the full course. Hopefully that won't happen tonight and we'll give the crowd and ourselves something to cheer about. More on that tomorrow.

Otherwise I did another run this morning, which was hot, but not as hot as yesterday. Then at work I've done tons of small things which've taken me away from learning more about Ansible, disappointingly. Not that I feel like facing the steep learning curve that that's going to be. Anyway, other than that I've been for a physio session (which loosened up my left ankle joint nicely), replaced a PSU, and done a good bit of script tidying to lower logging of false positives, as well as making our monitoring page a little more green and a little less red. So that's good too.

20/07/2016
[17:05] Well, the first race is complete and we did well. Only 530m of required rowing, which was good. Sadly I didn't log it on my Garmin, which was a touch annoying. However I did get it on the knock-off GoPro, so that's been uploaded. Tonight's race will be somewhat more challenging, I think. We'll have to see how it goes, again. I think every night's going to be like this, this year.

Other than that I got up semi-early this morning to do a short 8km run before the day got too hot. It's certainly not as hot as it was yesterday, but still pretty toasty. In work I've begun the uphill struggle of learning both git and ansible at the same time due to the way my new team leader uses it and the New World Order of things here. Baby steps/micro-movements are the way to go, I think. For now though I'm going to head home for an early dinner and then off to the boat house to hopefully not have to worry about our boat coming back from a lower division in time, and that boat and blades not being damaged.

19/07/2016
[16:50] And so this is it, the first day of racing. I'll mumble something briefly about it tomorrow, but for now I got up late, haven't run today, and I'll be marshaling an earlier division before mine goes off. Mostly today has been about getting my hair cut without melting in the heat getting there, back, or sitting under a piece of black nylon whilest in the chair. That and sorting out a few of the long-outstanding monitoring issues we've had here. Not that it seems to have done much good; a whole slew of other issues have cropped up today. I need to start learning how Ansible works fairly shortly as I've been told about eighty new RHEL7 VMs will be being required some time soon, and I'm damned if I'm going to do all of them by hand, even if all I have to do is paste everything into a terminal each time.

Anyway, I'm off home for a quick dinner, the out until late. With some rowing later.

18/07/2016
[17:40] As weekends go, that one was pretty great. Rachel arrived on Friday, which meant we could get things done, like going to Tesco, as soon as I got home. Saturday morning was a row, while Rachel went back to Croydon to (wo)man an Amnesty stall for the day. After I'd done my row, Max and Stacey and I went for a 2 hour trail run. Stacey didn't quite manage it due to tiredness, but Max and I did, even if it nearly caused me some issues due to the heat. Yes, I drank enough. Saturday afternoon was therefore a time for getting a nap before dinner. Sunday morning I had our last outing pre-racing, and then once Rachel arrived, a 40 min run with her and Max (although she carried on for another hour or so after we'd finished). The there really wasn't anything else to do with the day other than eat, bake, relax, have fun, enjoy the weather, and drink nice drinks. We watched some television in the evening with a fabulous dinner and then headed to bed.

This morning Rachel didn't have to leave town particularly early, so I didn't get going all that quickly either. Once in work I got on with the OS reinstall/upgrade I'd had planned and happily had it go off without a hitch (hurrah for pre-planning and preparation). Rebuilding all the other fiddly bits was the work of a few hours with help from my coworker and the head DBA and then it was on to one of the other myriad things which cropped up today. Seriously busy is what it's been. One slight issue was down to a combination of a mistake I made and an annoying Puppet/Ansible script that one of the DBAs ran, but with some help from a friend on IRC I was able to rescue things, which was nice.

Today's a complete rest day in preparation for tomorrow's first day of racing. As such I'm heading home now to relax, eat, drink, and get a moderately early night. I've also got a haircut tomorrow morning which I need to make sure I remember. I'm also marshaling a previous division in the evening before my race, but as it's very close to where I live that shouldn't be an issue. I just have to get home from work in time to have dinner before doing that, and then going to the boathouse.

15/07/2016
[17:00] Disappointingly, the one night I wanted to get home sooner we were missing someone for the boat, so didn't get on the water until later than planned. The outing was reasonably OK, given that we had a sub in the boat. In any event I got home to find a very tired and grumpy Rachel waiting for me. I believe I managed to do a reasonable job of helping her out of the hole she was in, but what would really help is a few days of good sleep, lowered workload, and relaxation. Some of those are feasible, some not so much. We'll have to see how things go. For my part I hope to make her time with me here as enjoyable as possible.

Phase one of that was us getting up pretty late this morning, even though it was a "school morning" as it were. I still managed to get in to work for a sensible time, and have had a day of doing useful things, making good decisions (for the most part) and answering emails way outside of my comfort zone and usual area of expertise and responsibility.

Now I'm off to Tesco with Rachel, followed by a quiet night in. Saturday and Sunday mornings are our last two rowing outings before the racing next week. I'm not sure whether I'll run at all this weekend, given I should be saving my legs for the rowing and racing, but we'll see if I can't sneak in some short 13K runs in here and there. Rachel'll be around for much of the weekend, when she's not (wom)manning an Amnesty stall back in London.

14/07/2016
[16:40] I actually managed to get up and run this morning. This was something of an achievement considering how tired I was yesterday. As a result, the pace was extremely slow, and the distance short. But I did it, and I don't seem to be any more injured than I was beforehand. Add in tonight's gentle strength and conditioning session before an outing and I might just pull today off without overtraining.

In other news, I've laid lots of groundwork for things I'll be doing next week, including a database server OS reinstallation (will required me to actually go on site, for the first time in a while), including IP and VLAN change, and five more RHEL7 VMs for one of our tier one applications. That's for next week. Between now and then I get to go and do stuff at the boat house and on the river, and then go home and hopefully find Rachel waiting for me. We haven't seen each other since last Monday morning when I blearily got out of bed and took two trains to work, so we're long overdue some time together. It's entirely possible I might not get to work until 08:59 tomorrow.

13/07/2016
[17:55] Despite a reasonably early night last night (with no Rachel, sadly), I still felt absolutely shattered this morning. I even had the weird feeling in my right quad that gives the impression there's a gap halfway down it, like someone's split it horizontally. That was probably down to the weights session last night, and the sprintervals at lunch time. Anyway, the run wasn't all that impressive and I bailed out at 18km, rather than doing the full 20km. Then I wobbled to work on my bike and settled in for a day of doing stuff and things. Nothing particularly interesting, but some stuff was achieved, which is always useful. I'm going to attempt another run tomorrow morning, but it may by necessity be somewhat shorter so that I have some energy for tomorrow evening's outing in the 8+, and then the remains of the day with Rachel (who will actually be able to make it). She'll actually be getting home before I will, due to the lateness of the outing, but I hope we'll still have a smidgen of the evening together.

Now I just have to get home via Tesco before the clouds open again.

12/07/2016
[16:45] Last night's outing wasn't too bad, even with two subs in. We managed some reasonable starts, but as I'm sitting in the seven seat I can't see how well we're holding the timing together behind me. I'd like to think it's not too bad considering we were hitting a moderately stable 42spm off a few starts. There's a cant down to stroke side, but I'm sure that'll go away with a few changes of personnel. I ate about 1000 calories when I got home afterwards, then got a reasonably early night. My body seems to be getting more used to the rowing again, but I seriously don't have the energy and strength for longer pieces that I used to have.

In more positive news, I did sprintervals with Max at lunch time on the track next to where I work. 4x200m, 2x400m, 1x800m and then back down the other side of the pyramid. I think we did quite well, with Max pipping me to the finish line during the final 100m of the last 200m interval. I think his being 13 years younger pays off after a hard session.

I'm extremely hopeful Rachel can come and see me this evening, but there's no guarantee as yet. For the time being I'm going to head off for a strength and conditioning session at the boat house, then go home and see if I get a surprise visitor later in the evening (or a call/text telling me either way, beforehand).

Work has been mostly about getting Logwatch to do what I want (I'm still not sure it will), dealing with a few network switch issues, and proving that the load balancer isn't responsible for other problems.

11/07/2016
[16:10] A pretty full and rather good weekend, I think. I managed an 18.6 mile run on the Saturday, which I'd hoped would be 20 miles, but just couldn't face the final section. Then on Sunday I went out in a 2- with Max first thing before then getting back into an 8+ with some old friends for our first (of five) outing in preparation for the races we'll be doing in a few weeks. Then in the evening Max came over (he lives just around the corner these days) and we did what was supposed to be a 'recovery run' but was more like a nice steady reasonably speedy run instead, for an hour. For the first time in a few weeks it felt good to be able to go that fast without feeling like I was killing myself to do so. It wasn't super speedy, but neither was it >5:00/km pace.

Sadly,Rachel couldn't come to see me this weekend owing to important hosting things she was doing, but there's a chance she'll be able to make it tomorrow evening, and definitely on Thursday evening. So that'll be excellent. I'm off to the doctor now to find out if there's anything I can do about this lower abdominal/groin thing. I've even dug out the letter I got from the consultant about my groin MRI from 2013. Here's hoping it's nothing serious and just a strain or something that'll eventually heal. Then I'm rowing again at 19:00.

08/07/2016
[16:30] Well, I definitely needed the extra hours of sleep I got this morning. I don't think I woke up until gone 07:00. Actually after my radio came on. It was probably something annoying about politics that finally pulled me up from the deep. In the end it wasn't much before 08:00 until I got up. That made doing morning exercises, making lunch, having breakfast, and getting to work a smidgen more rushed than I would have liked, but I still managed it well before 09:00. Today I have installed a RHEL6 VMWare server (thankfully with very little post-installation configuration required), and caught up on a ton of other small things. I also heard that a friend passed his Ph.D viva with only minor corrections, which is fantastic. We should be going out to celebrate a little this evening, I hope. I'm off in a few minutes to do a short weights session, and will then head home until it's time.

This weekend I hope to be going to a barbeque for a little time on the Saturday, unless I get caught up doing maintenance work at the boat house, or go for a long run instead. On Sunday I've potentially got two rowing outings! The first should be a nice gentle row in a 2- with Max, and then we'll take our places in the 8+ we should be in for the races the week after next. Then there'll definitely be some maintenance stuff going on. There's a chance that Rachel may be able to come and see me for a few precious hours at some point over the weekend. Possibly not though as she's hosting someone and has a lot of stuff to do. I sort of hope she doesn't come as it's a lot of travel for very little reward (unless I'm very good), but it'd be smashing to see her.

07/07/2016
[17:10] I definitely wasn't feeling it this morning when I started my run. And this was reflected in the outcome of a 1.5 hour run at close to my slowest in a while. Nothing special by any means. Still, I wasn't totally destroyed by the end and I was pleased that all my niggles and injuries weren't any worse. After the physio last night I'm a little less worried that my lower abdominal thing is probably more of a strain or micro-tear rather than another inguinal hernia scare, but I'll still be looking to get an appointment with a doctor at some point to confirm.

At work today I've mainly been concerned with making sure we don't start on the slippery slope to VM proliferation. I think I've managed to nip it in the bud, but sometimes it's much harder to talk to someone who's working from home via email than it is in person. Especially when there's much more of a chance of offending them. Or at least them taking offence.

Anyway, I think I managed to mollify them by admitting my ignorance, which always helps. Now I just have to decide if I'm going to go and do a core workout, or just go home. I think maybe the latter as I do feel quite tired.

06/07/2016
[17:00] Happily, this morning's run went pretty well, considering. I had to hustle a bit on the way back to make the time I wanted to for the distance I did, but even in a Skins T-shirt to prevent some more chafing (so therefore getting quite hot, even in the early morning coolness) I felt pretty good. I did manage to inhale what felt like an incredibly large fly, the coughing and heaving which followed giving me serious worries about the pull/re-appearance of the proto-hernia I have going on down at the inside top of my right leg. I'll mention it to the physio in about half an hour from now and see if she has any suggestions as to what I can potentially do to strengthen the area.

At work it has been a bit of another nonentity of a day. I've started to really catch up with a lot of things which have been hanging over me for a while on my todo list, but it would be really nice if something new and interesting would come down the pipe. I'll make some enquiries tomorrow, or ask if there's anything I should be learning, like Ansible or Puppet or something. Probably the former, now I think about.

Anyway, for now it's physio time, then Tesco, then home. Tomorrow morning's another early one for a run (not sure if I'll run for distance or time), and then it's back to work, as per usual.

05/07/2016
[16:30] I've had a hell of a long weekend. Mainly because it was with Rachel, and we did lots of running. It started on Saturday, when I did a nice run with Max, which he then carried on with whilest I went home to save myself a little for the runs Rachel would want to do. A long shower and a long-overdue shave later and I was ready to get trains south to Croydon. I arrived, in the end, only about twenty minutes before she got home from Heathrow, which was pretty great. Sunday was then all about sleeping in really quite late, then hoping to run 20 miles and ending up getting a train home at 11 miles or so because we were both pretty tired. After that it was mostly about finishing up the last few episodes of Person of Interest and getting very upset that it was all over. We both had some pretty odd dreams, but slept reasonably well. However, given we both had yesterday off it was certainly another late morning before we got out of bed for another go at a 20 mile run. This time we made it to about 17 miles before we just got too tired and hot to carry on. It didn't really matter though as we pushed past our tiredness barrier a bit, plus Rachel got to try out her new Salomon ultra vest that was one of the presents I got her for her belated birthday. We both feel - for different reasons - like we're losing fitness and strength at the moment. Plus I'm having a chafing issue under my arms which is really annoying and deeply uncomfortable. Hopefully thing will improve... I'm just not sure how to help that improvement along.

Back at work today I've been part of the two-person job of changing all the root passwords across all of our servers in all the different groups. That and a mass of small tasks that tend to start appearing after three days away from work. I'm heading off to do the Tuesday evening strength and conditioning session with Max shortly, and then will head home and then back out to do the Tesco shop. Tomorrow morning I'm apparently running moderately long before work. We'll have to see how that pans out...

01/07/2016
[16:45] Friday! That means Rachel comes home tomorrow (evening). I'll be heading to see her, hopefully to arrive just about the same time she does. Then I'm off work on Monday to celebrate her birthday. I'm hoping she doesn't want to do too much running as I'm feeling pretty tired still. We'll see. Anyway, between now and then there's me heading home via the boat house to do a few pullups and collect my kit for washing, dinner this evening might be a delivery pizza as a treat, and then a good night's sleep before I decide whether or not to run at all tomorrow morning. We'll have to see how my achilles feel and my energy levels are. Theoretically, in sympathy with Rachel, I shouldn't run at all... So I've got that excuse going for me. Otherwise I'll be heading there with all of her birthday presents from me, and the last episodes of Person of Interest for us to watch. I did run from work back to the boat house, do weights, and then jog home with Max, so I haven't been totally recovering.

Mostly today, around work, I've been watching the Henley Royal Regatta racing and remembering just what it was like when I rowed there. Not in a few years, but two years in a row, and we even won one day, too. Anyway, I'm off now, and I'll see you on Tuesday.