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July's Journal
September's Journal

[17:25] So naturally, as I didn't get to coach a boat last night I went and did an hour on the watt bike instead. And gave myself an incredibly painful case of high hamstring tendinitis in my right leg (read: buttock). It was so bad I had trouble getting dressed after my shower (and cycling home). Luckily two ibuprofen, a night's sleep, and the fact I won't be doing any major exercise for the next week (more on that below) will almost certainly see me right. Indeed, I got out of bed exceedingly gingerly this morning, only to find that I was almost perfectly fine (just a tiny, dull ache). I don't trust my body though, so I'm going to take it easy for a full seven days (well, not quite, there may be some exercise here and there, just nothing big) in an effort to try and let things recover.

Today was my last day of work until a week on Tuesday. I have next week off as well as a week on Monday, so that's rather excellent. I'm going to be spending some of it at the boat house (maintenance weekend), and some of it seeing Rachel down in London, which should be awesome. Other things to tell you include dinner with Kate next Friday, the anniversary of our boat house burning down next weekend, and the fact that it'll be September the next time I write something here. Have a great weekend, and week and weekend, and Monday, and I'll see you on Tuesday. Hopefully with all kinds of fun things to tell you.

Naturally, I didn't do much in the way of starting new projects here at work, but I did get a few things tied off, and had lunch with Anna, so that worked out quite well, I think.

[17:25] The gentle 16.4K run last night with Sarah seemed to get me close to my limit in terms of how much leg-related training I can do in a week without totally breaking myself. So, I'm only going to do a moderately fun watt bike session this evening and then go home and do things like washing up and tidying the house instead of coaching or damaging bits of my body. I'm a tad disappointed that I'm not coaching the crew had volunteered to coach, but even though it would have been nice to see them progress under me, it's probably better that the head coach does their training instead, even if they only wanted to go out as a 'fun' boat.

This morning I was due to talk to someone about the UPS in the new server room but Stuff came up and that didn't happen. Then I had bread delivered over lunch time, which was excellent. Then I had an interesting but ultimately failuretastic upgrading experience with one of the web developers. But he went away and did it all successfully on his own, which worked a whole lot better, so it was a learning experience for us in the end.

Right, better head off so I can get things done at the boat house and then home to... wash up. Joy.

[15:15] 10K run last night. Pretty sure it took about 40 minutes, and it wasn't even at full speed. Which is pretty cool. I felt strong and quite powerful, to be honest, for most of it. Of course, my legs aren't feeling awesome today, especially not with that erg the morning of the same day. I'm glad that tonight's run is going to be a lot more gentle (with Sarah and Kate) even as it's six and bit more kilometres.

Work-wise I set up another new server today. The kickstart build went flawlessly. I should get it added to the various monitoring systems and all the other hoops we jump through for new machines some time soon.

Also, I was in for 07:00 this morning, so I'm off now. Run, then lots of stretching, and then relaxation in a nice hot shower before dinner and television. Looks like a lovely day, too.

[17:15] Quick entry today. Nice long weights session last night. Terrible night's sleep for no readily apparently reason (really, nothing really on my mind at the moment). Up earlyish to get to the boat house for an excellent 1 hour erg with Max. We have the same stroke length and are roughly the same height, so eventually we are going to get out in a 2- at some point.

Work had nothing to report other than going into town this afternoon to drop off a UPS batter for tomorrow morning's early morning thingy. Now I'm off to do a gentle 10K run in my new Gore running shorts and see if they're as good as people have been saying they are. Weather looks practically perfect in every way.

[17:00] How was everyone's weekend? Good, I hope. Friday for me was going for a swim and discovering that even with goggle I seriously have no idea how to do front crawl. I can run a marathon, I can run half marathons in reasonable times, I'm not too bad at a 10K, I can even row a 2K race and still put some power down in the final 240m. But doing front crawl? I'm weirdly out of breath and unable to get my breathing right after about six strokes. I need some serious instruction on how to swim. Even my breast stroke isn't all that good. It kind of puts my hopes for doing triathlons and ironmans in a rather problematic place. Still, I've got time to learn considering I'm not going to be concentrating on much other than rowing for the next year or so. Anyway, after the tragic swimming experience I went out for drinks with a load of people to say goodbye to a rower who's leaving town. That went on far longer than I usually stay out, and in the end I left the group after the third bar, just before I had to pay money to get into a place to dance. I do not dance. In the end I'm certain it was the right decision for all kinds of reasons.

Getting home at 01:15 or so meant that I was in good enough shape to get to parkrun in good time (09:00 start). I even managed to put in my fastest time of the year (18:59) despite not really having done much proper running training this year. After that I went home and caught up on stuff that needed catching up on until Rachel arrived. We met at Tesco so that I could get some actual food into the house. It's weird, as I haven't been around Tesco with someone doing a proper shop since Kris left the UK. After that there was some diary synching, dinner, and watching of Sherlock.

Sunday morning I had to be down at the boat house to do some publicity shots for our new web site. Sitting at stroke meant that I was in the foreground of most of the shots. Thankfully I didn't look too bad, so I don't feel the urge to cringe every time I see some of the sample photos that've come out on Facebook. Rachel went swimming and I got to see that she, at least, knows how to do front crawl without looking like she's drowning. I may look for swimming lessons. Lunch in town was tasty. We also got her rather decrepit bike repaired, finally. It should last a fair while longer now, at least.

After she left for Wales I watched a 3 hour documentary that's been in my to-watch pending list for months now, then the film the documentary was about. That pretty much ate up the rest of my day!

It turns out that I've got five days of leave I need to still allocate before the end of September. This is so I can carry over the remaining five days (the maximum you're allowed) into next year's allowance. I'm not sure when to take them, and what to do with them. Suggestions welcome. Tonight I'll go and do some weights (emphasis on the legs and core) and then see what I have in the fridge for dinner.

Oh, and work: yeah, built a few servers, got things set up, put out a few fires and generally made sure everything was still standing after the weekend. You know; same old, same old.

[16:30] I did a stationary bike session last night. 40km (and change) in one hour. I felt pretty good afterwards, but then again there wasn't any wind resistance (even if I did it out on the balcony), bumps, hills, etc. Got a bit distracted afterwards, which was actually more annoying than anything else as I'd been hoping for a completely free day of things like that. Today will be much better as I'm probably going to go swimming with the new goggles I got a lunch time, and teach myself the beginnings of front crawl. So that should be a great way to finish off the day before I go to a rowing person's leaving dinner and drinks. Not staying out late after that will likewise be a good thing, especially if I'm planning on a reasonable stab at parkrun tomorrow morning.

So yes, the day was going pretty quietly until I came back from setting up the BIOS/DRAC/RAID arrays on two new servers and discovered that a significant chunk of the network had gone missing. I had to cycle into town and discover that workmen had not only tripped one of the RCD-like things on the back of a UPS, they'd also then managed to break off said switch, leaving not even a nub for me to work with. Luckily a pencil sufficed and all was well again. I did get the builders to then literally nail down my racks so they don't move any more, and the chances are the fibre and the UPS won't be moved again. Well, here's hoping, anyway!

So yes, hopefully a swim tonight, parkrun and other fun tomorrow, something on Sunday, including some kind of promo work for the boat club to attract potential sponsors, and then... who knows what else! I was going to have next week off, but I'm not now; it's the week afterwards. So, I'll see you on Monday.

[17:25] All the Chinese and all the DVD watching last night. I think that's the first time I've ever ordered more than £100 of Chinese food in one go. And it all arrived, and was all correct, too. We'll be using them again for boat house Chinese food deliveries.

Got home pretty late, so have been yawning on and off today. Still, I did get to go for a run (10K) and eat Chinese food with friends without making a total fool of myself (I think, maybe I did), which is something I'm pretty sure I come close to doing every few days. Still, as far as I can tell, every day you wake up is a chance to start over and have a better go at (your) life. Which is what I basically try to do every morning. It's better in company (the waking up bit, for definite, but that doesn't happen all that often).

Anyway, I'm just wittering on here for no readily apparent reason. I'm going to go and do some watt bike exercise with my music on, then go home and write a few emails. Eight of them, I think. There might even be sausages and mash for dinner.

[16:55] Well, I survived the yesterday of being the only person across two teams at work (systems administration and networks). I wasn't going to say anything on the day in case I tempted fate. Today I was able to get up, do my exercises, and get into work safe in the knowledge that anything that went wrong today I'd have someone at my back. Well, it's the end of the day and nothing has gone wrong today either, so that's cool.

Last night's 30 minute erg went well. Nothing special, but I certainly didn't feel like I'd pushed my hardest, which is nice considering we're supposed to be in the off-period at the moment. This is why my run tonight isn't going to be all that hard either. Plus I need to be back at the boat house and showered for about 19:00 so I can get my order in for Chinese food and then settle down to watch Stardust with friends for someone's birthday celebration.

Booked a swanky hotel in London for a few weeks from now as a sort-of gift to myself for doing well at rowing this season, and because I think I deserve to have a bit of pampering and fun for a day or two. Luckily I was a) able to move my vacation time and, b) get a great rate on the room. There's a pool, a gym, and lots to do while I'm there, so I don't think I'm going to be bored!

Anyway, that's about it for today. I've sent some emails (one or two I probably could have gotten away without sending), done some work, and have a good evening in prospect. It's probably time to get out of here before I tempt fate. See you tomorrow.

[16:55] I had a great weights session last night. Machines rather than free weights for the most part, and a bit of core thrown in for good measure. It wasn't anything too hard, too heavy, too long, or too strenuous. And that seemed to suit me down to the ground. Especially as it's the tail end of the season, rather than the start of the next. Although that's not long off.

It's a gentle 30 minute erg this evening (although the playlist I have is more suited to a 2K test), then home for lots and lots of washing up and a great dinner made up of yesterday's leftovers and things I didn't eat in Peterborough (which is actually really great). Oh, and more homemade smoothie courtesy of the stick blender I bought cheaply at Tesco to replace the one I stupid stupid stupidly left with my old house when I moved out. I have no idea what I was thinking. Then again at the time I was barely capable of any rational thought given what I'd been through. Dark times.

Anyway, looks like it's time to go. Out into the lightness of a summer's day afternoon. Much better times ahead, I think. I hope.

[17:25] A good weekend! I seem to be having more of those than not recently, which is nice. Saturday started early with a cycle to the boat house with all my kit for potentially two days of racing at Peterborough. The drive there wasn't too bad, and we arrived to find the trailers (two!) set up in the most prime location on the paddock at the end of the rowing lake. We rigged our boat and after a little while got on the water to do our first race, a heat. The 1km lake provides a few minutes of paddle up its length to the start, so we were able to get in some rate builds and a few racing starts. The first race went pretty well. A few issues, but we won it fairly comfortably, which was good. That advanced us to our semi-final. The other four heats didn't provide any results better than our own, so we were quitely confident given we certainly hadn't rowed our best, or hardest. The semi-final was a slightly closer affair, although we still won with what I thought was a faster time, even if the official time was 0.2 seconds slower than the heat. We had made some good changes to our stroke, so felt good about things. By the time the final rolled around we were feeling moderately happy that things would go fairly well. We had a solid start and raced well, pushed somewhat by the crew next to us until we found our rate and rhythm and settled into it. Throughout all three races I'd never felt particularly stressed or pressured, and so, as we came into the final 250m or so I was able to really put some pressure down row hard and feel everyone else in the boat doing exactly the same thing. We won, and in a rather good time, too. Two more rowing points and another pot gained, and a decision to end the season there rather than compete in the 500m sprints the following day in our new category made the weekend pretty darned excellent even before going home via the bow man's (usually me, except this season when I've been stroke) parents house for home made chilli, and then ice cream and apple pie. By the time we got home I was absolutely shattered and went straight to bed.

Sunday was all about pottering around for the morning. Repairing Rachel's flat tyre and cycling her bike to the station before running the 6km home again. I did some gardening/weeding, some housework and generally tried to make the place a little more presentable. Rachel arrived in the evening in time for me to head out to unload one of the trailers back from Sunday's rowing while she went for a run, and then it was curry, downloaded television and a lovely evening.

This morning has been mainly about catching up on the masses of correspondence I've had pending for the last five days or so. Other than a few personal ones all from the same person I've pretty much caight up, I think. Work, such as has been necessary today, has been nearly slotted in around the emails. Now, though, it's time to get out of here, go and do some weight training, and then head home via Tesco to get food for tonight's meal.

Just me in the sysadmin team in tomorrow. Here's hoping nothing I can't handle happens!

[17:15] We loaded the trailer last night after a moderately OK outing. Not much going on there to talk about. Got up this morning and did morning exercises, got to work, did a morning of work. Not much there. Had lunch with Anna, exchanged blackberries for cheese. That was a highlight. The afternoon has been pretty quite all things considered. I should go home via Tesco for food for tomorrow and then... I don't know what. I'm not quite sure what to do with my evening. There was a suggestion of doing something non-rowing related on the river, but I'm not sure I have the energy.

Anyway, there's rowing tomorrow, all day, sort of, then a meal in the evening and potentially rowing on Sunday too, depending on what happens on Saturday. Otherwise Sunday could be kinda cool for other reasons. I'll fill you in on what goes on (for the most part) on Monday.

[17:10] Full day today. Started off with a 7km run with Sarah at 05:50 (I know, right?), then heading into work to start off a few things, a cycle to the hospital for my 'hernias' surgical consultation. I'm putting that in inverted commas now as it's not certain I actually have them. Long story short I'm getting an MRI (eventually) to see what might be going on, sports physiotheraphy, and only surgery as a last resort. I think this is probably a good thing. Also, I followup appointment with the surgeon in three months to see what's what. After that I pootled into town to do a psychology research thing and then had lunch with a friend, which was nice. Also the soup was, too (carrot, coconut, and chilli). After that it was into work to find that pretty much nothing was going on, which was good.

Last night's outing was cut a little short after it turned out our cox had drunk a little too much chocolate milk with her dinner and was, in fact, about ready to vomit in the boat. You know those team-building exercises where you have to get a fresh egg over an obstacle course intact? We had to row back to the boat house in such a way that she didn't throw up. We managed it. It was probably some of our smoothest, most "check"-free rowing ever.

Had a bit of a wobbly tum all day today. I wonder if I'm intolerant of pizza, or the toppings on the pizza last night. Or maybe my body needs a few more vegetables in it.

[17:15] Swimming last night. Without distractions I was able to get 10 lengths (it's a long pool, seriously) done in about 40 minutes. Given this was breast stroke, and I'm a terribl swimming this wasn't all that bad (really honestly, this is a long pool). I'm really glad I went, as it was a chance to start to get back into swimming and concentrate on making my stroke as efficient as possible. Of course, I should be doing front crawl, but with my contacts in I really need goggles if I'm going to manage that without having them washed right off my eyes.

I got a call this afternoon to say that my surgical consultation for my hernias (hernae?) has been moved up to tomorrow morning. This makes tomorrow a pretty busy day all things considered. We'll have to see if I can fit all the things I've got planned in, without missing anything.

Off for an outing in the 4+ now. Which, given it's at 18:00 I really should leave for now. May not make it into work before the afternoon tomorrow...

[17:15] Last night's outing was incredible. It hammered down with rain and we had a brilliant time. There were two other crews out on the water and two sculls. This meant we could do everything we wanted without having to stop when we didn't want. After ten strokes we were completely and utterly soaked, so could forget about trying to stay dry and just concentrate on the rowing. As a result we had a pretty great outing all in all. I even stayed behind and cleaned the entire kitchen. Not necessarily for the right reasons, but I got it all done, anyway. Oh, and it turns out our Mx8+ race has been cancelled, which is very sad as I was really looking forward to it, and the training too.

Today's work has been quite productive. I went over and reseated all the cables in the server which wouldn't boot yesterday and was rewarded with a properly-booting system. Even the filesystem corruption vanished, which was brilliant. Hurrah for me.

Rather than go and sit on an erg this evening I think I'm going to go for a swim instead. Possibly a bad idea for more than just my shoulder, but dammit, I want to. Then I'm going to have a really huge meal, as I'm already pretty hungry.

[17:15] First weekend of August already over and done with. This year (as I aways say) seems to be zipping by. However more for good reasons than bad, as I'm sure I said about last year. It's well over a year since the divorce was "absolute" and I'm... well, I'm still here and still doing fairly well. Those people I occasionally tell my recent life story to, and even some friends who I have known for many years tell me that I'm doing "amazingly well", etc. To which I respond that I'm not sure there's any other way I could really be, other than to be a ball of whatever curled up in a corner. I could talk some more about how I feel these days, what my thoughts and emotions are doing, but I don't think it's really something you want to know about, so we'll move on to the more prosaic stuff I know you all crave.

Saturday morning was pretty awesome. I paced someone for a half marathon distance. Nothing official, just the half marathon distance I've done once before down by the river. It was a bit more overgrown than the last time I did it, but we still chugged round in a moderately respectable time. Bits of me ached afterwards, which was a bit distressing. But they seem to be almost all better by today. The bits are the ones which just may not have healed after previous injuries. I guess I'm getting older, and less elastic than I used to be. This is mildly distressing.

After the run I did some stuff at home and then wandered into town via the boat house to do some stretching, etc. Having gone home first I walked in so as to be able to walk back with Rachel once she arrived. The walk in darn near wiped me out, so I think I might have made a mistake in my post-run nutrition. Rachel was feeling in a quiet mood anyway so it was a gentle amble home later on. Chinese food followed, out the back on the garden furniture.

Sunday morning was mostly about getting the house in a bit of order, cutting the front lawn again with the strimmer (after discovering that the lawn mower didn't have any blades left), getting the groceries in and then collapsing for a bit. In the end I decided that I had to do something active with the main part of the day and went for a swim in the outdoor pool. Turns out I just missed someone I knew there (their bike was there when I went in, but they must have left while I was changing). After a good long swim (I'm so out of practice, my shoulders got a bit of a shock) of breaststroke (I need goggles to do crawl unless I take my contacts out, rather than lose them when I open my eyes) I went to the boat house and relaxed on a sofa and read until the evening outing. We were out in a mixed 8+ boat that we're putting in for fun at Peterborough Regatta next weekend. Although from what I can see I don't think we've got a race. Which is a real shame. Anyway, after the outing we ordered Mexican food again, settled in to watch Top Gear, then went home afterwards.

This morning was one of those 'pick up the pieces' mornings. Followed by a relatively (compared to last week) short visit to the other server room to watch another engineer fit another motherboard replacement. Everything went really well, except that the server had additionally thrown a disk (four disk RAID5 set) and corrupted its filesystem as well. So I have to go over there tomorrow and reseat all the cables on the assumption that that's the issue before Oracle will ship me another disk. Life goes on.

Off to the boat house now to fix the cox support in our boat, and then we're on the water in a 4+, in what looks like truly awful weather that I should have brought more clothes to deal with. It may be a cold one tonight.

[17:25] I just spent 11:00-17:00 in a freezing, noisy server room watching an Oracle engineer fail repeatedly (not his fault). ILOMSs died on three servers. One still BIOS-through-to-OS booted, other two didn't do anything.

Replaced motherboard on working one, machine boots. Update ILOM/BIOS firmware. ILOM boots, BIOS doesn't. Downgrade firmwares. ILOM boots, BIOS doesn't. Replace motherboard again, don't update firmware, machine boots but firmware revision is very low.

On to second machine (one of two that don't boot or have working ILOMs). Replace motherboard. ILOM boots, BIOS-to-OS boots, motherboard shows warning light. ILOM event log shows voltage problem. Manual states firmware update will fix it. Update firmware. ILOM boots, BIOS doesn't. Downgrade firmwares. ILOM boots, BIOS doesn't. Downgrade firmwares again (below what came on the board). ILOM boots, BIOS boots through to running OS. Leave machine alone on very very low firmware revision.

No more motherboards left for third machine. Leave server room. Get back to office 30 minutes after the end of the working day. Have lunch. Leave.

[16:45] Everything exploded this morning. Well, not everything, and it didn't really explode. But we did have an end-to-end generator test while I was out doing a morning run (planned), and while everything worked as it should, a whole load of rack jumper switches jumped and we lost about three racks full of Big Important Servers. I've spent most of the morning and afternoon with colleagues bringing everything back online. The run, by the way, was lovely. Hottest day of the year (probably) and I got the run done before it heated up over much. And then I've been in an air-conditioned office for the rest of the day. We have an outing this evening though, that's going to be a bit warmer.

Last night's outing in a bowside bucket-rigged 4+ was interesting. Something I did gave me a pain in my left shoulder top/front, near the collarbone, in the muscle. But otherwise there's definite potential there. Another outing tonight should help us build on things. I just hope it doesn't exacerbate my injury. It shouldn't. Plus there's no rigging going on this evening, so I should get out of there in plenty of time to get home and make dinner for Rachel coming over.

Wow, I'm suddenly really tired. I should get out of here now and get things in order for tonight. This includes taking some ibuprofen.