[17:15] Well, I was going to go to the cinema after an early departure from work
today... only they've severely curtailed the number of showings of it such that
there's only one at 20:00, and I really don't want to get home as late as it
would be afterwards. So, I have to hope it's still on when I get back from
holiday a week on Monday or so. So aside from that disappointment today's been
fairly OK, all told. I've managed to replace some RAM in a server (although
three deliveries of the same thing eventually turned up), go for a run with
track sprintervals which didn't completely destroy me, organise some software
upgrades for a week on Thursday which might fix another issue, and even get some
useful firmware upgrades done on a server which apparently really needed them.
I've had a little bit of time outside in the beautiful weather, and now I'm off
on holiday for a week, which is going to be lovely.
So yes, I'm off. Back in a week, after a holiday with Rachel's family, then a
10 mile road race. Stay safe.
[17:00] I made the effort to stay in bed this morning. That might sound a bit
odd, but if you've read the other posts this week you'll know that I've been
getting up early quite a lot. Anyway, once up I even made myself do some
morning exercises. It's time. I'm just a little bit too... doughy around the
middle. My arms are a lot smaller than they used to be, and my chest just isn't
as big as it was. Everything apart from the middle is to do with me not rowing
any more, but the middle was pretty good when I was too. Running should have
kept it under control, but I think (like other rowers who stopped rowing) I
never dialed back my portion sizes when I stopped burning quite so many calories
quite so often. So, far fewer snacks, feeling a little hungrier more often, and
smaller evening meals where possible. It's not like breakfast or lunch could
get massively smaller or more healthy.
That was my thought process this morning, anyway. At work I tried to solve a
few people's issues; failed completely. My replacement part from Dell didn't
show up, and UPS called to say that they have it and it's due to arrive tomorrow
evening (which is of no use whatsoever). They refused to expedite delivery now
that they've located it, which was really poor. Dell, however, have agreed to
ship out a replacement replacement for tomorrow morning, which is helpful. I
just have to make sure the broken one I swap out and the late-arriving one get
picked up on Monday by the courier coming to collect them. I won't be here, so
I'll have to leave it to Reception.
Over lunch I went for my first run since the race on Saturday. I tried to make
it a moderately hard push for five miles, with a bit of a warm down at the end.
Not the 10 miles I'll need to run a lot faster in ten days from now (I'm fully
expecting Rachel to finish well ahead of me again), but a reasonable return to
running after a few days of rest.
This afternoon I had more problems to solve, and didn't manage to. However, an
old colleague (the one who's on a year's leave/sabbatical) is back in tomorrow,
so he may have some ideas about the things I've been unable to do. For now
though I'm off to have dinner. Tomorrow's another day, probably with me
starting early, and then hopefully leaving early to go to the cinema.
[17:20] I had another morning when I just couldn't stay in bed past 06:00, so I
got up and got into work for around 07:00. This meant that by 07:20 I was
panicking over one of the two Oracle VM guests I have left which wouldn't boot.
Not only that, but I was completely unable to get any diagnostic software
running because the Oracle VM stuff is so old and crufty. Cue a variety of
attempts (all futile) to get something working so I could work out why the VM
wasn't booting. To cut a long story short, a copy of Windows, a version of
Oracle Java 1.6 (not the latest, either), and some references to various web
pages and I at least had VNC running so I could see what was wrong. Then the
Oracle VM software refused to play ball and I had to download a number of ISO
files and get to them in new and interesting ways before I was finally able,
with reference to more web pages, to get the guest booting cleanly again.
No-one seemed to care, but it was a live/production service, so not a great time
for that to happen. The other reason I got in (a V2V that didn't finish until
around 02:00 this morning) did complete, but the the cron task to keep various
bits of its filesystem in unison with another server seemed to break. Getting
that sorted took the remainder of the morning after taking a breather from the
issue above at around 10:30. After those were done (and actually while they
were going on) I had three or four other things that required my attention.
They all seemed, eventually, to work out. One thing I was supposed to be doing
today was cycling over to the furthest server room to replace a DIMM. At time
of writing that DIMM hasn't arrived, so I guess I'm doing it tomorrow.
I fell asleep on the sofa watching television last night, and it wasn't even
that late. I have a feeling I might end up doing the same thing tonight if I'm
not careful. I'm going to go home, do the washing up, and put away some of
Rachel's presents, which arrived today. Then have some food, collapse on the
sofa, and try to remember to go to bed before my eyes close. I do like being
busy, just not quite so stressed and busy at the same time.
[17:45] Rachel arrived last night, and there was much rejoicing. We had a
lovely evening, with some smashing food. This morning we left with the larks
and I was at work in time to start the other two V2V conversions on my list. I
had assumed they'd take about seven hours for the pair of them, but here I am,
about nine hours later and only one is done. The other still claims to have
another nine hours and change to go, which is disappointing to say the least.
Still, everything should be OK when I get in tomorrow morning. I'm coming in
earlyish then too to reboot another VM which has consistent but random errors to
do with GLIBC, or something (honestly I'm not sure).
Otherwise today I've mainly held the fort, tried to remember to drink (my lips
are still incredibly dry and split), and been grateful that I shouldn't run for
another few days. Oh, and organised some more of Rachel's birthday presents,
which has been a lot of fun. Now I'm off home to get some minimal groceries for
the week and then see just how much relaxing I can do before bed time.
[17:45] And here I am, back again! So, first things first, we ran the South
Downs Way 50, and survived. Rachel, being awesome, came in about 14 minutes
ahead of me, but I still managed to complete my second goal of the year and made
it safely under the nine hour target I'd set myself. I achieved a 1 hour 15
minute improvement on last year, which is pretty darned good, I think. I have
to say a good proportion of the plaudits should go to my coach for setting me a
training programme that worked. I do wish I'd been able to keep up with Rachel,
but she's in a class of her own this year. On either side of the race there was
travel, relaxation, lovely food, and generally all the things that go towards
making the preparation and decompression after a hard race go as well as
possible. I don't think things could have gone better, really. About the only
issue was that it was a bit too hot for me on the day, but with careful
hydration and electrolyte management I did OK.
I came in to work from Croydon this morning and, having got the earlier train
for the first time in a while was well placed to begin two V2V KVM to VMWare
conversions, restart four VMs with lowered CPU allocations, and get on top of my
email. When everything was under control I also managed to do most of the
logistics for Rachel's birthday (presents), which has made me feel pretty great,
too. Now I'm off home with a very heavy rucksack to watch the last Game of
Thrones episode before Rachel arrives for a happy evening together. Tomorrow
morning I'm in even earlier to do two more V2V conversions, but this time on
ones with very large disks, which means it's going to take about 7 hours or so.
[17:40] It was such a lovely morning when I woke at around 06:15 today, that I
just decided to get up and get on with things. This meant that I arrived at
work some time around about 07:20. I don't really know why. As it was I ended
up getting a lot of things sorted out before around 09:00 when I headed over to
the furthest-away server room to attempt to kickstart three servers. Three or
so hours later and none of them were installed and I was feeling pretty peeved.
I headed back to the office and got someone nice in Networks to make some
changes to the FEX port profiles so that things might go a little better. As it
was pretty much lunch time by that point I went out and ran comfortably for an
hour as my last run before the NDW50 this weekend. Obviously my legs felt a
little tired, and even when I wasn't swallowing flies I still coughed somewhat.
We'll just have to see how Saturday goes. But anyway, back at the office I had
a shower, ate my lunch, and then cycled back out to the server room to attempt
the installs again. While the servers didn't install with the configuration I'd
specified, they did at least install, so I was then able to do the actual
network configuration I wanted them to have after the fact. It's unlikely these
servers will ever be reinstalled as they are now, so it doesn't matter all that
much, but it's still tremendously annoying that they wouldn't do what I wanted.
One day I'm going to have to get more support from Red Hat to make it happen.
But anyway, the OS is installed, they have the right LACP-style network
configuration and they're ready for me to do things with on Monday next week
once I've started some V2V operations from KVM to VMWare for one of our other
teams. I said I'd do it on Monday, so I'm going to have to get the early train
back from Croydon in the morning, which is going to be disappointing. Hopefully
I'll be recovered enough from the race not to mind too much.
So, yes, the race is on Saturday (most of it). I'm taking tomorrow off so I can
get everything ready, head to Croydon to meet Rachel and drop off a few things
at her house, and then head to the South Downs to meet my 'Aunt' Evelyn for an
evening meal and her very gracious offer of accommodation, not to mention her
giving us a lift to race control early the next morning. Then it's 9-10
(hopefully no more!) of racing on Saturday, a taxi back to Croydon from the
finish line, and then nothing at all on Sunday other than maybe a gentle walk
and some Netflix. Then I'll be back here again on Monday for more of the usual.
It's going to be a hard race on Saturday. I won't be fully over the
cold, and Rachel is on very good form at the moment, so it's unlikely I'll be
finishing next to her this time. Still, I've done almost all my training, I'm
probably (maybe?) fitter than I was this time last year, and I'm hopefully
determined enough to Just Keep Going when the tiredness builds. We'll see...
[17:10] Woke up extremely hot this morning, following a very strange dream I'm
again having any success at recalling more than vague memories of once awake.
Nothing too traumatic though, just odd. Anyway, at work I did some useful
patching before 09:00, then got down to a morning of sorting out various bits of
stuff. I would have gone over to the server room that has three servers just
primed for installation, but I had meetings right in the middle of the morning,
so that put paid to that. I have blocked out a big chunk of tomorrow morning to
go and do things though, so that should enable me to do it all then. Of course
there'll be a few attempts unless (amazingly) I've got all three kickstart files
right first time (which'll be amazing as all three of them are being installed
with LACP teamed interfaces). No running today, which is good as I've been
coughing quite a lot, and blowing my nose quite a lot too. Hopefully the fact
that even though I've been drinking water most of the day my nose is not
currently running means that maybe, perhaps, I'm already getting over it
somewhat... But I doubt it. Still, one more gentle run tomorrow lunch time and
then nothing until early Saturday morning, and most of the day. We had a
meeting just now about a new piece of software my whole team is going to have to
get to grips with. It seems pretty great, but quite complicated and there's
going to have to be real buy-in from everyone to ensure we get the best out of
it. Whether that happens remains to be seen.
But anyway, that's today done and dusted. I'm off home, after another sunny day
that I saw very little of from my desk too far from the windows.
[17:25] My cold is now fully in effect. This means a runny nose, a vaguely sore
(but certainly very dry and scratchy when running) throat, and not quite as much
energy as I would like (and likely not enough). I did run at lunch time. A
hill reps session too, if you can credit it. And things... weren't terrible. I
still feel very much that one hour of moderate running does not a nine-to-ten
hour ultramarathon make, so there's every chance (and I would/do even when I'm
in better health) I'll come unstuck on Saturday. It all boils down to just how
much, and how much walking I end up doing rather than (slow) running. I'm
trying to adjust my mindset/goals to "finish" and "finish somewhere close to
last year's time", rather than "sub-9 hours" and "finish with Rachel", which is
what I had for the last race. Unless something amazing happens, they aren't.
Anyway, today has been another busy day. It started off with me patching and
rebooting five servers for one of our "Tier 1" services. I did it so quickly I
actually forgot to reduce the CPU and RAM allocations (they're VMs). Still,
everything went smoothly otherwise. Over the course of the morning I got three
servers at one of the server rooms fully connected in terms of out-of-band
management interfaces and normal network interfaces, which is great. I might
even go over there tomorrow (after patching again tomorrow morning) and try to
install them. It could be interesting as I'm sure there'll be issues with the
adapter teaming, etc. Over lunch I did my run, which I've already mentioned,
then this afternoon it was all about keeping things going, reading up on the new
version of Red Hat Satellite which was just released, and having a good go at
clearing down my inbox a bit. Now it's time to go home, before 17:30 for once!
[18:15] I'm so busy at the moment, and I really wish I wasn't. This is because
I appear to be coming down with the first stages of a very bad cold. Over the
weekend, when I was running (although not as amazingly as Rachel, who got a new
5K PB at my local parkrun) I felt quite slow and unfit. By Sunday it was
evident I had a very sore throat and a runny nose. We'll have to see how things
develop, but if I have some kind of infection I could be in dire straites for
the weekend's race. My coach got an infection just recently, tried to race a 5K
and ended up having a cardiac arrest. I really don't want that to happen. He's
OK, obviously, but it's certainly given me food for thought.
So anyway, Rachel was with me at home all weekend, which was truly marvellous.
I really needed a weekend of just being in the house and not doing all that
much. We ran, Rachel baked (and cooked, sometimes with my help) we went to
Tesco, and generally did things relaxedly. She headed off for London this
At work today I was on top of things for a while, coughing, trying not to worry
about my throat, and getting things done. Then a mass of complicated things
happened at at once and, although I've managed to get out of the far side of
them with everything working (I think!), it's now well past 18:00 and I should
have gone home over an hour ago. Luckily, I don't have to do tomorrow morning's
patching before 08:00, so I'll get in at a sensible time and do it around 09:00
instead. In the meantime I need to drink a lot, and eat sensibly. Not to
mention get plenty of rest. Right now I have no idea how I'm going to do on
Saturday, but my goals are currently "finish" and "not too much worse than last
year", rather than "keep up with Rachel" and "get under nine hours".
[17:25] It doesn't feel like it, but today has actually been really productive.
I spent the morning going back and forward between my desk and a server room,
but eventually managed to get the three NetBackup servers there installed. I
ended up not going the EFI route, which is a bit disappointing, but never mind.
I'll spare you the details, but it required port changes, firewall changes, and
lots of fiddling with the Kickstart profiles. At the end of all of that the
USB key seemed to give up the ghost somewhat and went read-only. This lead to
an 'entertaining' half an hour or so while I worked out how to make a USB stick
do what I needed it to do with regard to being bootable and stuff. Whether or
not this new stick is EFI-bootable or not I guess I'll find out in the future.
In any case, I did a lot of work, tried not to get too stressed about some
developers not quite 'getting it' with regard to the shift to OpenJDK from
Oracle's JDK and just how out of date some of their older software is, and
generally kept the place running. I'm off for the weekend now. Just a regular
one, although for the first time in a while I'll be at home rather than
elsewhere, and Rachel will be here too, which is lovely. Tomorrow I'll run, do
parkrun with Rachel (by which I mean she'll race it at maximum pace and I won't
see her after the first corner), and then run for another half an hour. Then on
Sunday I'll be doing a three hour run, probably without Rachel as it's not on
her plan. Other than that I think we might pop into town for some Waterstones
reading and hot drinks/cakes, and... some other stuff that might appeal to us if
we have the inclination. Obviously at some point we'll head to Tesco too. See
you on Monday.
[18:00] I didn't have to get in early this morning, which was nice. What was
even nicer was being able to cycle in on my proper bike as, on the way home last
night to collect my bike lock, I was able to collect my wheel as well as it'd
been fixed earlier than expected. That meant cycling home with it in the rain,
which was a bit hairy in places with the bad motor vehicle drivers, but
ultimately successful, and great for this morning's commute to work. I got the
patching and rebooting done (I do like VMs for not having to worry about
firmware and boxes full of various kinds of devices), and then popped over to
the closest server room to work out why one of my new physical servers (although
I say new, they've been languishing in boxes and then in the rack for months
waiting for me to do something with them) wasn't talking on the management
network. It turned out that I'd had the ports on the FEX reported incorrectly
to me, so Networks had given them the wrong port profiles. That sorted I turned
my attention to the kickstarting process and hoped that I could get them
kickstarted via EFI rather than legacy-BIOS methods. This turned out to be a
wishful thought as I've spent the rest of the day fighting with my USB boot
stick and EFI. It may be that I just can't do it over the DRAC and virtual
media (it has to be presented as an ISO connected as a virtual optical drive
rather than a USB hard drive) so I'm going to go back over there again tomorrow
morning and see if I can't get the things (three servers in total) booted via me
being there in person.
For now though I'm just going to go home and wait for Rachel to arrive so we can
have a nice, quiet evening together.
[16:40] Another day of getting up early. I think I slept a little better last
night, but not amazingly so. I was awake (and had been for some time) when my
alarm went off at 06:30, so I got up straight away. This meant that I ended up
in work for around 07:20. I didn't need to have been as the five VMs I was
patching and rebooted did so in about eight or so minutes. And five of those
were the OS waiting to kill some processes which didn't get shut down due to
some script issue. That left the remainder of the morning for me to head over
to one of the remote server rooms and ensure that the MAC addresses I'd been
quoted were the correct ones for the DRACs in two or three servers. They were,
but after I'd done some BIOS and DRAC and PERC configuration on the spot, none
of the servers was getting a DHCP-allocated IP address. Back in the office it
turned out that not only did I not have the right incantation to run the Ansible
to add the MAC addresses to the DHCP server, but I had to get to grips with my
first ever experience of GPG and get the ports on the FEX assigned to
the correct VLAN. And even then only one of the two DRACs seems to be
responding. I'm going to have to go back over there tomorrow and see if there's
a duff cable or something causing the issues. Since then I've been dealing with
a mass of the usual day-to-day requests that now come into my inbox, gone for a
run in the pouring rain (although I don't think the rain is the reason the run
today was so hard), and carefully put off dealing with a few things that I just
don't have the mental head space to deal with at the moment. In good news
though, I don't have to be in early tomorrow morning as the request has come out
to do my patching and rebooting at 09:00, not 'early'. So that's nice. I'm
going to go home now, a little early, so I can pop by the bike shop and retrieve
the lock I used to lock the wheel I left with them.
[17:50] That's it for bank holidays for a little bit now, I think. Actually no,
we have another one in three weeks, don't we? So yes, that was another long
weekend. And I'm glad we had it. On Friday I headed to Croydon and met Rachel
on the train there, which was nice. We even got to sit together despite it
being crowded. We had a nice quiet evening together on the sofa. On Saturday
she headed off into London to meet her sister-in-law while I ran out onto the
Vanguard Way for an hour, turned around and ran home again. I have to say, it
was a really good run. It's so nice to be able to run again without worrying
about my (still not yet completely healed) foot. After I'd done that I did some
work around the house (rehung some curtains and added blackout curtains), went
shopping for food and a replacement lightbulb (fitted that, too), washed up, and
even did a smidgen of weeding. When it was time I got the train into London and
had dinner with Rachel and her brother's family (tasty burger in a place just
off Piccadilly Circus). The food and the company pretty much made up for being
in London on a Saturday evening and ending up in one of the most crowded parts
of the Tube network as well as above ground. On Sunday morning Rachel and I
took her nephew to Thorpe Park. I'm sorry to report that I didn't go on any of
the roller coasters, but I did at least go on some of the water rides (although
none of the truly wet ones). I just wasn't feeling the urge. I'm sure the
nephew had a great time, although I think I lost some coolness points for not
joining him and Rachel on the more speedy rides. We met up with his parents in
Kings Cross that evening for a bit of food before I headed home, Rachel headed
off to do an overnight run with someone she's going to be pacing for a 100 mile
run in a few months, and Rachel's brother's family went back up north. I made
it home in good time, but managed to break a spoke on my rear wheel in the
process, which was frustrating. On Monday, after waiting for the gardener to
arrive and begin mowing the jungle/lawn (I'm going to be retaining him, I think)
I went out for another run, and despite it being on the flat (as opposed to the
up and down of the Vanguard Way) didn't manage to do quite as much as I had
before, and felt quite tired. I guess that was the accumulated tiredness from
the day before. In any event, once that was done I did some housework and was
then out at Tesco when Rachel arrived, full of yawns. I let her sleep for an
hour or so in the afternoon, then took her for a walk to keep her awake for the
rest of the day/evening. She managed about half of a Top Gear (old presenters)
before falling asleep on the sofa, so we went to bed.
This morning I was quite grumpy when the alarm went off as I'd had another bad
night's sleep. Rachel managed to cheer me up before she left, because she's
amazing. I needed to be in work early for patching, so cycled past the bike
shop with my wheel and locked it to the fence outside before cycling off. After
I'd finished the morning's patching and rebooting (which didn't go well
initially; the server wouldn't boot afterwards until I'd nearly given up trying
things, then it did) I called the bike shop and hopefully they've unlocked the
wheel and taken it in. Disappointingly, they won't be able to fix it until
Saturday, so I'm stuck riding my backup/station bike for the remainder of this
I've had an incredibly busy day today. Although the afternoon was less so, I
spent the morning feeling like I've been bounced from pillar to post without
respite. I have managed to do some useful stuff for people (DNS fixes, building
VMs, writing Ansible roles, etc.), but still had to put someone off until next
week with regard to something which is currently intermittently broken. Now
though, it's home time.
[16:15] Just a quick one to tell you about today and the weekend. Nothing much
happened today. I'm actually kidding; tons happened. I was basically either in
meetings, running around trying to find and talk to people at their desks, or
fixing things at my desk. I'm just a bit whirled around by today. I'm glad
it's over, and the week, too.
I'm now off to Croydon to see Rachel. I'll be at her house on Saturday while
she's out with her sister-in-law and her brother and nephew ride the rails
around London's Underground network. Then I'll be meeting them all in London in
the evening for a meal. In the meantime I'll be running for two hours, probably
on the Vanguard Way a bit. On Sunday Rachel and I take the nephew to Thorpe
Park for the day. Hopefully the weather will be nice. Then I head home on the
Sunday evening so I'm home for the gardener who's coming to appraise the garden
and mow the overgrown lawn for me. Rachel should arrive some time on the Monday
afternoon. Then it'll be Tuesday, and an early start for patching and
[15:05] I had some weird dreams this morning, but I don't really remember them
any more. I think they had a theme, but I'm damned if I can remember what that
was either. Anyway, I slept fairly well, so getting up at 06:30 wasn't too much
of a chore. After some brief exercising, shower, making my lunch, breakfast,
etc. I headed out of the door and got to work in time to do all the patching I
had scheduled for this morning. Everything went perfectly apart from one
physical server which refused to boot, and one virtual server which repeatedly
got stuck when finishing its boot. The physical server I fixed by flipping a
few bits in the BIOS (it'd had a BIOS update), and the virtual server I fixed by
going into single user mode and getting rid of a very, very stale NFS mount it
still had in its settings. After that the day settled down into one of doing
all the usual things that need doing, although I did have to spend about ten
minutes with someone from the Networks team getting printing to certain printers
working again. I think by doing that early in the morning I saved him a lot of
stress and emails from other people when they found they couldn't print either.
Over lunch I went for another run and found my foot to be almost OK, although it
did feel fairly uncomfortable when I was walking back from the shower to my desk
with just my trainers on and no socks. Still, it's improving a little bit every
day otherwise. Hopefully training can get back to normal and I'll be as ready
as I can be for the race itself.
I'm off now as I've been early and stayed late a good few times in the last week
or so. Avengers: Endgame is on the cards, I think.
[17:00] I ran this morning! I actually honest-to-goodness got up early and ran
for an hour before work. This was great for a variety of running-related
reasons, but also because it meant I had a shower to wash out all of the hair
that'd not come out after I had my hair cut yesterday after leaving work early.
I meant to have one when I got home, but as soon as I got back I decided to get
on with weeding the front area of the house and expected to be hot and sweaty
after that and kill two birds with one stone. Only I didn't get hot and/or
sweaty, so forgot to have a shower. Only a little bit of shorn hair on my
pillow this morning, which was easily gotten rid of with a shake. The run
though, the run went... fairly well. I am still favouring the foot and running
more on the outside edge of it, rather than planting it properly. This will
almost certainly mean left ankle discomfort, and probably right hip discomfort
as I land more heavily on that side. Hopefully as the cut heals more and
doesn't give me as much discomfort when I press/land on it my gait will return
to 'normal' (I doubt it has ever been 100% correct). So yes, running again. I
can do at least an hour, and especially if it's not on the road. Whether or not
I can manage an ultra run over 9+ hours remains to be seen. But that's also 17
days of further healing (and getting back up to training peak again) away. So I
guess we'll see what we see. I'll run again tomorrow lunch time (I hope), and
then again on Friday. That should give my foot a good chance to see what it has
to put up with.
At work today I've been constantly out of my chair in mini-meetings, or looking
for people to ask questions of (or give information to). Luckily there hasn't
been all that much to do, other than one thing I keep trying to brace my boss
about, but he hasn't been free. I'm going to try and see him now before I head
home. I'm in early tomorrow morning to patch many, many servers. Hopefully
that'll all go without a hitch.