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September's Journal
November's Journal

[17:15] All in all, it was an OK weekend. Saturday morning I took Stacey along to her first ever parkrun. She'd already swum and cycled quite a bit beforehand, so it was a good brick session for her. I got caught behind one or two people during the run, so was two seconds slower than the previous week. I'd like to think I would have done as well or a smidgen better if I'd had a clearer run. After parkrun the day sort of wound down a bit and I ended up not bothering with Tesco and simply ate what I had in the house and did washing and things. On Sunday morning I went running with the triathlon club. It was a nice route that took us out of the city and back in again via one or two paths I hadn't seen before, which was nice. I managed to hang around for a little while afterwards and socialise in the cafe near the start/finish before heading home to shower and then go to Tesco before I lost the will to get off any sofa I sat on. Then that was about it other than some computer fiddling and then some more television catch-up. After Sunday morning's socialising, along with seeing Sarah and co. on Friday evening after work to celebrate her new job I actually did more social/interacting with people stuff than I have in ages. It was probably good for me, especially as Rachel's away and I could very easily become totally inward-turned until she gets back.

Even before I got to work this morning I was getting texts asking if I knew how to fix something moderately serious that'd gone wrong. Sadly, I didn't, but I flailed about a bit with everyone else once I was in work until Sam arrived and didn't so much fix things as work around them, which apparently eventually fixed things anyway. Whilest that was going on I still had my work to do (patching and rebooting four servers), and then a trip over to a server room to replace a stick of RAM. Dell had told me to replace a particular one, but the slot I was given turned out not to actually have any RAM in it. In the end I figured it out by trying to boot the server, at which point it complained about the right (broken) stick of RAM, which I then duly replaced. After that I've mostly spent the day catching up on all the work emails that'd piled up, as well as the important ones from Rachel, given she can't text me from Tanzania at the moment, and probably won't be able to from Uganda either.

[15:50] In an effort to try and not stay too late today, I'm actually leaving half an hour early instead. I'm owed a bit of time off in lieu considering how many times I've been in early or stayed late these last two weeks or so. I'm going to go home, and make a very concerted effort to get out and run moderately long, even if it's fairly slow. Then there'll be parkrun tomorrow and I'll see about doing something active on Sunday. These last few weeks of less training have been nice, but also felt a bit weird in terms of how my body/mind have felt. Slower and lethargic would be one way to describe it. I think it's time to make a concerted effort to Get Back To It.

Work-wise today has been fairly dull. A server reboot, the last little bits of getting my workstation 'right', and a call opened with Dell for a recurring ECC error which has been bugging us for months. That's about it, really. In other news Rachel appears to have landed safely in Kenya with her group of people she's taking, and I'm missing her.

Right, I think I'm going to go. Have a good weekend, and see you on Monday.

[18:40] After a few more false starts and dead ends it looks like I have everything barring KAlarm set up on my new installation the same as on my old one. This is intensely gratifying and makes me feel a whole lot more settled mentally about it all. And the bug I submitted for KAlarm to Red Hat's bugzilla even got a response from a developer saying that it might be included in a later release of it. That would be excellent.

What isn't excellent is that Rachel left for Kenya and Uganda at lunch time today. She arrived pretty late last night and we slept in a little bit this morning before heading out for a very gentle 10K run. On the way back we ran into (more "caught up with") Stacey and ran home with her. Which was nice. She and Max have a new life plan and while it would mean them moving away, it sounds like it's a good direction for them to be going in (both literally and mentally). Anyway, once Rachel and I were home we got cleaned up and then headed into town to have brunch at a Patisserie Valerie. Then all that remained was for us to head to the train station and me seeing her off at the ticket barriers. Her flight just took off, and I'm just about to head home. Tomorrow's Friday, and I have to decide if I'm going to go for a run before or after work (or at all). Anything to distract me from the fact Rachel won't be back for 12 days or so.

[18:35] I planned to get out of bed this morning early enough to run a half marathon distance before work. In the end I barely got up in time to get to work on time. Now I've left it pretty much too late to do that kind of distance after work before having dinner and Rachel arriving. It seems like I just don't want to run all that much at the moment. I may go home and see if I can squeeze in something reasonable before I settle in for the evening as Rachel isn't due until after 21:00.

The major thing I've done today is get my workstation reinstalled with RHEL7. This is a big jump for me as it means I'm not only now on 64-bit, but I can also run a whole slew of applications which only work on newer versions of linux (and 64-bit). This includes the later versions of Chrome, and the management application for the new Dell SAN we have. As a result of doing the complete upgrade/reinstall I've got craploads of stuff to copy back to my workstation, and everything looks just a little different due to fonts and versions of things being newer. I'm sure I'll get used to it in time, but for the moment everything just seems a little off. There's also functionality missing, which is a bit of a surprise given I've upgraded. So I'm going to need to find replacements for one or two things that were built in before.

But anyway, it's far too late now, and I should go home. I'm not in tomorrow morning as Rachel's here until she heads off to Kenya for two weeks at lunch time. We'll go for a nice run, I think, then have brunch, then I'll see her off to the airport. Then an afternoon of getting my workstation completely right.

[18:45] I've spent far too long at work today. I think it was some kind of reaction to not wanting to run this evening. Despite bringing my kit to run at lunch time I didn't as I was waiting from a call from my dentist to tell me which wisdom tooth was vertical in my jaw and which was horizontal. It turns out it's the more easily accessible vertical one which is coming out, which is good. I've booked an appointment to have it looked at and possibly even taken out in early December (the options were tomorrow or then, and I didn't want to spoil my last evening with Rachel before she heads off to east Africa again). I'm really not looking forward to it, but that's how it has to be. Anyway, before that telephone tag game I was in both the server rooms helping get test servers connected to the new SAN and test volumes created. Everything seems to be working properly there other than some odd fibre channel path issues which the Dell engineer is apparently going to sort out. This afternoon I got started on building two database servers, and then learning how to set up Ucarp and master/master replication with MariaDB 10.1. Both things I've sort of seen other people do before, but never done myself. And now I have... after a good few false starts and mistakes. All of that's taken me to 18:45, and I'm definitely not in any mood to go running now. I'll see how I feel tomorrow morning, but chances are it'll be tomorrow lunch time, and only 10K, rather than the longer distances I 'should' be doing in preparation for whichever race I end up doing with Rachel at the end of November. Currently we're contemplating selling our St. Neots Half Marathon places for something more exciting...

[17:00] The cold I started showing symptoms of on Friday is still in full effect on Monday afternoon. I've had three nights of unpleasantly broken sleep, ammeliorated only by Rachel being around to make everything a whole lot nicer/better. My family arrived on Friday evening and we had a lovely time having dinner, putting my nephew to bed (I read him a story), and generally catching up. On Saturday morning me, my brother, and my father all ran the local parkrun 'together'. I certainly got my fastest time this year, my brother got a new PB I think, and my father did pretty brilliantly for being 75. That effort (even for just a shade under twenty minutes) depleted my reserves for dealing with my cold and I was fairly useless for the remainder of Saturday and Sunday in terms of tolerance and energy for Stuff. In the end Saturday was mostly then just about going to Tesco (by car!), and letting my nephew try some of the park equipment down by the river. Luckily, Rachel arrived in the evening of Saturday and was the light and soul of the house when I wasn't able to be. She also brought an amazing dinner, which was scoffed by all. On Sunday morning we mainly just prepared for having a main meal at lunch time and ate it. While my parents took my nephew to another park my brother made the food (it was delicious), and Rachel and I relaxed a little bit. Then it was all about packing everything back up again and away my family went, leaving Rachel and I to decompress, Rachel to go for a gentle run, and me to continue sniffing, sneezing, and using up tissues at an incredible rate. We ended up heading to bed at a moderately sensible time, both quite shattered from our respective and then joint weekends of activity.

Rachel's working from (my) home again today, so I'm desperate to get out of here as soon as I can. Given I've patched a lot of servers today over lunch time, and I've got to be in early tomorrow morning to patch a whole load more (including three big servers coming back from firmware updates as well as OS ones) I think I deserve to get out of here just as soon as I can. I don't know yet if it's going to be a good idea to go to circuits this evening. We'll have to see how I feel when the time comes.

[16:45] Back at the coalface today and doing lots of things that've been pending whilest I was on my course. Most this was a load of patching and rebooting at lunchtime and catching up on all the things I'd been asked to do via email, but couldn't as I wasn't at my desk and only had VPN access from the course.

I also appear to have suddenly developed my first cold of the year, just in time for my family arriving this evening. I think it's probably because my body has discovered that I'm not running as much at the moment, and that therefore I have time to have a cold. A clearer indicator that I shouldn't stop exercising I couldn't have planned.

I'm off home now to see my family, run parkrun with my brother and father tomorrow morning, and then add Rachel into the mix on Saturday evening and Sunday. It's going to be a full house.

[17:45] I really should have gone home hours ago. I should have done the exam once, passed it, and just gone home. Instead I failed it the first time (by one question), had to do it again, then got into a discussion about office moves, then got into a big long thing about patching I'm going to be doing. Suffice it to say, I'm just now getting around to packing up and getting ready to go home. Home, where I won't be going for a run as I just can't be bothered, and I'm feeling remarkably drained by half a day of learning without doing, and half a day of taking and retaking an exam to get some qualification it really doesn't matter if I didn't get.

I'm tired, annoyed, and I've come back to my desk to find lots of annoying other things going on which I'm going to have to schedule carefully, and I'm sure something of it is going to go horribly wrong and cause me loads more work. I'm going to send an email to my parents and Rachel about food allergies and then go home. Hopefully to eat something which won't give my cavity any more issues (I'm trying to eat less sugar these days) and mean that I don't have to worry about me not using my new electric toothbrush quite as well as I think I'm supposed to be.

No Rachel this evening as she was here last night (which was really wonderful).

[17:15] Another day, another morning and half an afternoon of trying to absorb more information about our new SAN (which I wish was being demonstrated with the VMWare integration rather than just plain old Windows), and then the remainder of the working day spent doing all the labs bundled up together. I think I like this way of doing things as it means there's a concentrated period of time when we're doing practical things. Final day of the course tomorrow, and then there's an actual exam (50 questions, multiple choice) before we can leave. I'm a smidgen concerned about that as I haven't done an exam in many years.

Rachel's new BlackBerry arrived at work yesterday, so I spent a good chunk of last night trying to restore what I had available as backup from her initial and first replacement to it. I think I've restored what I can, but there doesn't seem to be a way to get her Whatsapp application working, even though support isn't slated to be removed until the end of the calendar year. Frustrating. We'll see if I've got everything else working when she arrives with her SIM (in one of my old Nokias) this evening after giving a seminar. She might be a smidgen frazzled, we'll see.

In between being on the course I've managed to get another server updated to a slightly less archaic version of PHP, installed the OCI8 extension that works with it, and generally done a few other small house-keeping tasks. All I really need to do now is work out what we're having for dinner. I had planned on going for a run when I got home this evening, before Rachel arrived, but I really don't feel like it. So I'm going to get us something nice for dinner instead and then put my feet up.

[16:45] I meant to leave work about an hour ago, but there were new toys (software) to play with, which kept me here. I've been in the course all day, but the whole afternoon was the labs/practicals for the day and we could leave as soon as we finished... And I finished really quickly. Rachel's new phone arrived this morning (she dropped her nearly new second hand one down the toilet a few days ago) so I charged that while I worked today. It'll be ready for her to use when she arrives tomorrow evening, I hope. We may need to do a restore from the backup I hopefully took when we did this the last time, we'll have to see. Then again, she still has her old, old phone, which I should be able to use in extremis for an older version of everything.

Anyway, after killer circuits last night I'm off for a run this evening. Back tomorrow.

[16:40] Straight after work on Friday I headed home and then jumped on a train to Croydon to see Rachel. We had a lovely, quiet, evening together. Saturday morning saw us up in time for parkrun, where she marshalled and I ran. A new PB for that course, which is far harder than my local one. Then after heading back to shower, I met Rachel at a local greasy spoon for a large, unhealthy brunch and then a tram ride together to watch her play hockey. Sadly, her team lost (I may be a bad luck charm), but we still got to walk back to the tram together and then back to the point at which she got another tram home and I picked up one of her bikes and cycled to the train station. Back home I decided not to go to Tesco and instead just slobbed out for the rest of the day, doing a little cleaning and tidying and generally not doing all that much other than contemplating doing a 10K race the next morning.

In the end it was raining when I woke up on Sunday, so I just stayed in bed and bore in mind that I had nothing to prove and didn't need to run, even just for training (let alone racing). Instead I had a quiet morning, went to Tesco, and then read/watched television until Rachel arrived in the early evening. More relaxation and food was had before a moderately early night for us both.

This morning Rachel decided to get a head start on the day, which meant an earlier than normal rise. I stayed in bed, but didn't really do more than doze until I had to get up. At work it was day one of the course for our new Dell/Compellent SAN. Not terribly exciting/hands on, but it's only the first day. I'm off shortly to have an early dinner before the second week of Monday night strength and conditioning (circuits by another name). Entries for a favourite half marathon open tomorrow, so I'm going to be a little late for my training course as I need to enter that at 09:00 first.

Oh, and my new/first electric toothbrush arrived today. And Rachel's replacement-replacement phone shipped today, so that should hopefully arrive tomorrow or Wednesday, too.

[16:30] A 50/50 day today. The positives were Rachel (obviously), getting a VM built using more and more Ansible to automate things (not to mention hopefully fixing another bug), having a Dell engineer turn up (albeit late) and fix a server with a motherboardectomy. I also managed to squeeze in a run. The negatives were that I had to cut the run short as I didn't know when the engineer was going to arrive until too late (he was late in the end, so I needn't have done so), and that the rest of the day was a bit... empty of things to do. I didn't mind too much as I've still been fairly productive.

I'm off home now, and then to London to see Rachel tonight and until after brunch-following-parkrun tomorrow morning. Then she's seeing relatives, I'll come home and have some quiet time until Sunday afternoonish, and then she'll come and see me until Monday morning. Hurrah.

Next week I'm on a four day course for the new SAN we've just had installed. It's being held in the building, so that won't be too much of a problem. See you Monday.

[15:45] I've had a really productive day today. Mostly with regard to Ansible stuff. It started off pretty annoyingly with a server which wouldn't bring its out-of-band management card back to life (I'm going to have to deal with an engineer and a motherboard replacement tomorrow morning), but then got progressively more useful as a day as I got more and more stuff Ansibleised, and built four new servers completely only using Ansible. It's the way ahead, it really is. I also learned a lot of good new stuff today, too. There was some confusion over something Oracle-related, but we got that fixed, as well as me getting a server installed with a new PHP extension which had been bugging me for about half a day.

Couple that with the pocket money I earned yesterday afternoon doing a psychology experiment, and Rachel's helpful suggestion of going for a run after work last night and I'm feeling a little bit more chipper than I was yesterday afternoon. I'm off to the doctor now to talk about why I feel like I'm falling apart a bit, but then after that I'll be going home to either run again, or just relax before Rachel gets here for the evening. Maybe just a short run...

[17:35] So I went to the dentist yesterday. It all started out so well with the dentist saying that the black spot on my tooth was just a bit of staining. Then there were some routine X-rays as I hadn't been in a while and... suddenly there's a cavity on the back of the same tooth I was worried about, that I never could have dealt with as the impacted wisdom tooth next to it blocks any attempt I could ever have made to brush that part. Only they can't go filling that cavity until I've been to hospital for surgery to extract that deeply, deeply impacted wisdom tooth. Then I have to go back and have a filling done after that. It hasn't really sunk in at this point. I'm just numb (and not from any injections). Aside from the money I've already paid for the dentist visit and the referral, finally getting around to buying an electric toothbrush, and the money I'll have to pay for the filling in the future, I don't know when the operation's going to be, how unpleasant it's going to be, and how it's going to affect my marathon training given I'll likely be out of action for at least a week, if not more. Not great.

In work news, our new office is nearly ready for occupation. Still no idea when we'll be moving, but you'll see something new on the camera when I do. Work-wise I've been doing lots with PHP extensions today, as well as talking with developers about VMs they want for load testing, and more stuff like that.

I really wanted to get up and go for a run this morning (as I can't tomorrow morning owing to needing to be in work at 08:00 to physically powercycle a server whose out-of-band management card has locked up), but I just couldn't. I had aches and pains that worried me a lot (thankfully I'm heading to the doctor again tomorrow afternoon) and frankly I was just really tired. I'm a bit worried that I'm not getting as much running done as I'd like to in the lead up to my half marathon at the tail end of November (which I don't have transport to either, at the moment). I'll have to see what I can fit in tomorrow at some point, maybe after the doctor appointment and before Rachel arrives for the evening. Everything just feels a bit poo at the moment, like I'm falling apart.

[15:25] Rachel and I had an early dinner last night (a delicious pasta and Stuff that she knocked up in about ten minutes) and then we went to do an hour or so's strength & conditioning with a group of people we'd never met before. I'll certainly be going back, even at a fiver a go, but Rachel can only when she's in town, obviously. Anyway, once we got back from that there was just time for dessert, a mint tea, and an episode of Top Gear before bed.

It must have tired me out more than I realised as I slept quite deeply and still wasn't totally in the mood for getting up this morning after Rachel had headed back to Cambridge. However, to work I made it where I've spent the day dealing with the fallout of production servers not being backed up, network issues, seating plan arguments for our new office space (hopefully by being a bit decisive I might have made the best of a bad situation and achieved a desk location I can live with), and the usual work woes. I also got out in what looks like being the best of the day's weather to do a reasonably swift 8km run. All that remains to challenge me today is a dentist appointment. Apparently I hadn't been since 2013 (surely not?), but now I've seen something on a tooth I'm not too happy about, so I've been able to snag a rapid appointment which will either set my mind at ease, or hopefully mean less work than if I'd just ignored it for longer than I think I might have. Either way it's either going to be expensive, or very expensive. More on that tomorrow.

[17:00] All told it was a pretty good weekend, thanks for asking. Saturday was the opportunity for a moderately-paced parkrun (which I still managed in a pretty good time), then the usual weekend stuff before Rachel arrived. Sunday morning was then all about the 10K race we'd entered. Cycling to it was fine, and the weather was almost perfect. We both went out strongly, with me trailing her pretty much the whole way around by a step or two. We were shadowed by another woman who we were both concerned (it turns out afterwards) would pass us in the closing stages. We became especially worried when it turned out Rachel and she were first and second women on the course. In the final 500m or so I completely misjudged where the finish straight was and pushed far, far too early, leaving Rachel to time hers correctly and outstrip both the other woman and I to beat me by a good five seconds (and claim first woman). She's awesome. As we were getting ready to go after the prize-giving ceremony it began to rain, and neither of us had waterproofs, but we decided to just cycle home anyway. Luckily the rain didn't last too long. After that it was home, shower, food, relaxation, and generally not doing too much at all. Rachel is working from (my) home today, so I'm leaving as soon as I finish this so we can have the evening together to eat, digest, and then go to an hour of strength and conditioning training.

Tomorrow is another day of work, but with a dentist appointment in the afternoon. It turns out I haven't been since 2013, and I'm a little concerned about a dark spot on one of my teeth, and an ache. I really hope it's nothing serious. Anyway, time to go.

[17:10] A fantastic evening with Rachel was marred only slightly by probably the free food I ate at work yesterday afternoon. Not a great way to spend the late evening and night. I still slept through most of the night, but it wasn't as comfortable as I would have liked. Rachel made it and this morning a whole lot nicer, though. I cycled to work via the boat house to drop Keith's climbing harness back off on his peg, even though I still haven't got around to taking Rachel climbing yet. Hopefully some time soon that'll happen. After that it was onwards to work to reboot two VMs that I built without ticking the hot-add CPU and hot-add memory tickyboxes. That's now done, as well as doubling their RAM, which they sorely needed. Then the remainder of the day has been all about trying to clear some red lights off the monitoring system, little bits and bobs here and there, meetings about setting up Red Hat Satellite, the application firewall add-on we have for our load balancers, and going for a short run (6km) at lunch time to keep from sitting in my chair all day. The stretching I did beforehand might have helped keep the lower abdominal aches at bay a bit, so I may have to ensure I continue doing them in the future.

I'm off home very shortly to have a nice relaxing evening, then tomorrow might just be a parkrun, followed by Tesco shopping and probably then just chilling out for the remainder of the day until Rachel arrives with "dinner sorted", apparently. Sunday morning we cycle out of town for a 10K race, then probably either home for a shower or then straight into town to have brunch with Max and Stacey, depending on circumstances. I'd imagine the remainder of Sunday will very likely involve the sofa, and books/television/snacking. Rachel's working from (my) home on Monday, so I'll probably be dashing home as quickly as I can then, as well as most likely not leaving for work all that early in the morning. Have a good weekend, and see you on Monday.

[16:50] As I had to be in work for patching again this morning I didn't run before work. I also didn't run at lunch time, which I think in retrospect was a bad idea as it has meant I've sat at my desk for pretty much the whole day. I doubt that is what contriubuted to the huge nose bleed I had whilest in the middle of a support call, but I suppose it might have. In any event it feels odd to not have run today, so I might tomorrow lunchtime instead (I'm in early again tomorrow morning to up some RAM allocations on some VMs that weren't built with the hot-add option enabled, so they'll need bouncing).

Anyway, other than some Ansible stuff that's about it for today, so I'm off home via a strength and conditioning session with Max. After that, Rachel arrives!

[17:50] I set the alarm for 06:00 this morning in the hope I'd get up and out of bed in time to do a reasonable run before work. Initially I'd planned on the standard 05:20 get up and a run from the boat house by 06:05, but quickly downgraded that when my lack of enthusiasm kicked in just before bed. As it was getting up by 06:15 was pretty hard and I only just made it out of the house by the time I'd planned on. I've got something very uncomfortable happening on both side of my lower abdominal muscles now and I have to say it's worrying me somewhat. Maybe something I did previously has exacerbated some kind of congenital weakness around the inguinal area, but I have to say it doesn't feel great a lot of the time when I'm running or otherwise coughing or exercising. Anyway, I managed to get a reasonably good 13km or so in, which kept the mental wolf from the door for another day. After that I headed to work and have had a reasonable day of work. Not really much to report on that score, frankly. I'm doing one last bit of patching and then heading home for the day. I may or may not run tomorrow morning. Rachel's mentioned that this is, theoretically, the point in the year when we have a bit of downtime from (marathon) training, so perhaps I can afford to take it a bit more easily, even if I do have a race this weekend.

[17:30] Thankfully this morning's patching went without a hitch. A minor issue in that one of the Dell servers wouldn't show me its serial console output, but otherwise all was well. After that I was able to get on with a chunk of other good work, patch a few more servers, do a significant amount of knowledge-sharing, sidestep a frozen VM host issue by dint of not knowing anything about it, and generally get on with a day of useful things. I even had time to upgrade the PHP and MySQL on my Observium host for no real reason other than higher version numbers are better. I'll be really tempting fate tomorrow by doing some firmware upgrade on the same server, too. I'm not silly enough to start them off before I go home for the evening. That would just be the wrong side of crazy. Oh, and I had time to do a fairly quick 10K run over lunchtime, too. I have no idea how I ever did twice that distance and another kilometer even faster than I ran today, but apparently I did. We'll have to see how I do this weekend in my first 10K race in getting on for a year, and the St. Neots Half Marathon in a few months from now. Somehow I get the feeling my PB days are behind me.

[17:20] Back again! And this time I'm back for a considerable amount of time before I'm off on any training courses, vacation, or aything like that. This means I can/have to get my teeth into a few big things which have been pending for a while now. Notably the final bits of the Ansible stuff I've been doing for the last few months, and perhaps even getting the Red Hat Satellite infrastructure up and running. There's some other stuff, but I really can't be bothered to list it all given it has gone 17:00 on my first day back at work after a week away. I'm sure I'll get to mentioning them as and when they happen.

But my week away was good. Mostly I didn't do much other than some faster than recently runs, some moderately long cycles (where it turns out I'm not as good a cyclist as many others), and some house cleaning and tidying. I also spent a little time in Croydon while I had the time off, so that Rachel didn't have to come here for once. Honestly though, it was all about downtime, relaxation, and only reading my work email at most twice a day. I've also managed to run parkrun for the last two Saturday mornings, in semi-reasonable times. And this weekend just gone was my 50th one, which was a long time coming given I started running it in 2013. I blame rowing.

I guess that's about it for today. I'm going to head home and take a load off and be ready for an early start tomorrow to do a rather large amount of patching and rebooting of servers (most of them virtual, thankfully, but on Oracle VM, which I'm much less happy about touching).