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August's Journal
October's Journal

[18:20] And that's it, a short week done and now my last week of vacation before, well, probably Christmas. I've done a lot today, including go to another meeting about something which broke things here. As I was about to get out of my chair to go home last night we suffered the culmination of a DOS attack which had been building all day... or a thorough vulnerablity probe attack which resulted in a DOS on some of our web sites. I, along with others, fixed it within about an hour, but it was annoying for a while. Anyway, the meeting about it was today and I think it went quite well. Other than that I've just been doing the usual 1001 things which crop up to deal with when I'm the only person in the building who is responsible for the things I'm responsible for. I haven't really had time to work on anything else that I should have been progressing. Hopefully once I'm back a week on Monday and everyone else is too we'll all be able to do the jobs we're supposed to be doing, rather than covering for everyone else. Anyway, that's it from me now. A weekend of relaxation, and maybe a little bit of running shorter distances faster here and there (and some cycling too, I think). Rachel arriving on Sunday and then... well, I have no idea what I'll be doing next week, but it should involve being outdoors, reading, exercise, and sleeping.

[16:50] Not quite such a busy day today, thankfully. After yesterday's activities all I had to do was get up this morning, do morning exercises for the first time in many many months, recover from that and then get to work for about 07:40 or so. Then it was patching and rebooting four physical and three virtual servers (including numerous firmware updates, which still make me nervous), and then it was getting on with the day. I've made some real progress on a good few things and even managed to send out some emails asking other people to do things so they can give me more work. Crazy, I know.

Over lunch I risked going for a very short run (~6km) and found that I was actually less sore and more loose afterwards than before, which was nice. Of course, I clocked the slowest I've ever done that particular route since I started recording doing it some time in 2014, but that's beside the point.

I'm going to head home now, via Cormac's office to pick up a bit of kit to do hard drive duplication, and then await Rachel's arrival, which will herald an evening of awesomeness and relaxation before Friday morning's bah-inducing bah-ness. Still, I have all of next week off as the last of the vacation days I'm not allowed to carry over, so there is that.

[17:50] Sorry for the extremely sporadic journal entries at the moment. They'll settle down in a little while, once I've run out of vacation days to use up. As it is I'm in for the remainder of the week and then off all of next week. After that I'm afraid you get to see my mug every working day until some time in December when I go on a course again (the last one in quite some time I'd imagine).

Anyway, the reason I was away this time was to go and run my very first ultramarathon in the Peak District, with Rachel. We headed up there on Friday after getting sports massages locally. I don't know quite how much good mine did me, but some definite tight knots were identified and pummeled a lot. After that we went home and waited to be collected by Max and Stacey. The drive to the Peaks went perfectly fine, and we found the place easily given it was right next door to where Rachel and I had stayed three weekends before. The AirBnB apartment itself was fantastic. I can't commend it highly enough. It was everything we needed, exactly where we needed it. We'd arrived via Tesco, so we had everything we needed for the weekend for the most part, so we settled in and went to bed. On the Saturday morning Max and Stacey tried to change registration to enter the 20 mile race rather than the 50 mile one on account of them both being injured in the run up (no pun intended) to the day. They weren't allowed to, but decided to just run that distance anyway. They went for a hike for much of the day. Rachel and I walked over to the start of the course and hired mountain bikes to ride one big loop of the course in the opposite direction to all the loops we'd done in the race's direction, before coming home again before we got too tired. We had a nice meal and an early night. Neither of us slept particularly well though. In the morning we all drove to the start/race control, unpacked our transition bags and went to the toilet a few times. Then it was the countdown to the start and we were off. Having done enough long runs, the first small lap of just under 10km seemed to take no time at all, Rachel and I were running well together, although it seemed like we were losing ground on everyone ahead of us. By the time we were half way through the first big lap we'd decided not to care about placing. After finishing the first big lap, my changing of kit, and starting the second lap we'd also decided not to care too much about our stretch target goal of a finishing time of 8h30m. We just wanted to cover the distance. The second lap was hard, and made harder by the constant thought that this wasn't the last time we'd be treading the same ground. The end of the second lap was both a joy and a dread that the same again was still to come. I changed kit again (did I mention I sweat a lot running in the heat?) and off we went. A good bit more walking in this final lap, but we knew we were on the home straight, as it were. Not that there was much straight, or that it was even downhill for the most part. In any event, we managed significant chunks of running and only really walked on the harder climbs. With only 5km to go we started running for the last time after an uphill and... just kept running. In fact we managed to speed up somewhat too, which is what got us past a few people, and eventually managed to get us in under 9 hours (8h53m00s) for the course. Half way between our goal and our stretch goal, which was pleasing. I then proceeded to be a complete wimp and require a long massage (whilest shivering and generally being all pathetic), before we limped to the car and were driven back to the apartment by Max and Stacey who'd both completed the 20 mile version of the course in good times. We had a go at a cold bath followed by a hot shower, which seemed to help, and then went looking for food. Stacey'd made us some peanut butter curry which I practically inhaled (despite hating peanut butter) and then after a while we all went to bed. Neither Rachel or I slept particularly well because of aching limbs, but also because we woke in the night completely famished. Breakfast the following morning was had at the Outside cafe in Hathersage with two of Max's friends from Project Trail, which he was a part of previously. Some shopping followed, after which we headed back to the apartment and relaxed a bit more. After lunch Max and Stacey went out for a hike and Rachel and I went for what we'd planned to be a gentle walk, but ended up as a bit of a mission to climb Win Hill. Once we got to the top we then had to walk down, our legs protesting with every big step we had to take. We did make it home and ran a hot bath to sit in for a while. I think that evening we headed out to the pub opposite and had a nice meal together before coming home, attempting to watch a bit of a film and then all just kind of flaking out. In the morning we drove Rachel to the local train station so she could get a train down to London for a meeting in the afternoon, and we all drove back at a more relaxed pace, stopping off at a cafe just off the A1 for lunch and cake.

And that's about it, really. Our first ultra completed without too many issues, me home and unpacked and back to work today, and both of us thinking about when we might start running again.

Today's been pretty hectic work-wise. We had a bit of an issue this morning with a server which my team should be covering now, but none of us who're in knew how to diagnose or deal with it. There was a no-blame meeting after lunch to try and ascertain how to Do Things Better in this regard. I think it was useful. On top of that was all the work that'd been pending whilest I'd been away (most of which I think I've managed to get done, or get a handle on), the servers to prepare for tomorrow morning's patching (which I've also done, and I think will go OK, so long as nothing untoward happens), and... just the usual general stuff that fills my day.

I'm heading home now, and thence to Tesco to get food for the remainder of the week. Rachel will be with me tomorrow evening, thank goodness. I've missed her quite a lot since Tuesday morning, and it'll be really wonderful to see her again. We both woke separately, repeatedly, last night expecting the other to be there, and for the room to be the room in the apartment, so we were doubly disappointed. Especially as the landscape is a lot more beautiful than where we're currently living.

[17:15] And just like that I'm off again. Two days of solid, wall-to-wall work, and then I'm off on hollibobs until next Wednesday. Not that you might call running an ultra on Sunday to be holidaying or relaxing, but I'm not in work, so it counts.

Before I got to go home today though I was in early to do patching and rebooting on a live tier one service. That went without a hitch, which was fantastic. Then I had a whole day of dealing with all kinds of issues, including heading stupidity off at the pass, creating and configuring two VMs (one on very very short notice) and handling a server with ECC errors so severe that every time I tried to diagnose them the thing rebooted. There's new RAM coming out for it tomorrow, but obviously I won't be here, so I've given my new team leader very very precise instructions on how he's supposed to get access to and then fix said server. Sending back the old DIMMs has sort of been left as "an exercise for the reader". We'll see how that goes when I get back on Wednesday next week. Here's hoping the whole place doesn't fall down around everyone's ears whilest I'm away. It just might.

[17:20] Hello again. Sorry, its been a little while since I last wrote something. This was due to a combination of needing to use-or-lose some vacation time (still a bit more to go, too) and another training course. It may seem like I'm going on a lot of training courses recently. This is because I have been. This time is was the second in a series of three Windows 2012 R2 ones. It wasn't terribly useful, but is is rounding out my knowledge of Windows and filling in some gaps which had widened since I stopped being a Windows administrator back in 2002 or so. Before that I'd had a week off, ending with a rather lovely time in Bath with Rachel for the weekend. We did some running, and walking, and getting drenched in the rain, and generally had a fantastic time. Frankly we've been having a lot of fantastic times recently, which is pretty wonderful. Then again, she is all kinds of awesome.

This week I'm only in today (catching up on email, conference calls, updating linux VM images, generally making sure everything hasn't fallen apart in my absence) and tomorrow (early morning patching of a live tier one service, more of the same, building a bespoke VM for someone, handing over a few things). Then between Wednesday and next Tuesday I'll be getting ready for and then heading off to do my very first official ultra running race. This'll be 51 or so miles in the Peak District. Hopefully I'll come back with a tale of having done it, and bemoaning my increased aches and pains, rather than being upset about anything other than finishing the whole thing. Rachel and I will be driving up with Max and Stacey who are now not doing the whole thing (there's a 20 mile option) or not doing it at all (in the case of Max who's got even worse achilles tendons issues than I have). Hopefully they'll both be able to run, and do the full fat version, but I'm not holding out much hope at this point, which is extremely disappointing for all of us. Still, the AirBnB place we're staying looks fantastic, and it's literally across the road from the pub/inn Rachel and I stayed in a few weekends ago, so that's going to be lovely regardless.

Anyway, other than that today I've been on a moderately useful conference call which might result in some movement on some servers I can patch, got a whole load of servers ready for patching early tomorrow morning, send a lot of emails, read and filed/deleted a lot of emails, and generally got back up to speed in most places. So now I'm going to go home and eat, because for some reason I'm absolutely famished. Maybe my body's preparing itself for Sunday's ultra.