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[16:50] So last night's outing was actually really quite good. The kind of outing where you all get off the water and think "we might just do this", by which I mean qualify for Henley Royal Regatta on Friday. Of course, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. But if we try our best I'm pretty sure we might just give a good account of ourselves. Given I'm not in tomorrow, and on vacation all of next week (ostensibly to compete at HRR, but if we don't qualify, or if we do, when we end up getting knocked out before the end of the week I can take the rest of the week off as down time) I might not be able to tell you how we did until 8th July. So, while I know you'll all be on tenter hooks, I'm sure you'll survive. If nothing else, if you know who I actually am on Facebook you'll see some kind of update there. Otherwise, I'll let you know a week on Monday.

Between now and then I will be attempting to qualify at Henley, attending a garden party, going to a birthday party, staying a night in a hotel, rowing in someone else's boat (rerigged for bow stroking) if we qualify, running a fair amount if we don't, and probably popping down to London at least once to see Rachel.

Workwise I was in for before 07:00 this morning for network stuff, followed by cycling across town to reverse do network stuff at another server room. Then moving two servers across another side of the triangle later on in the morning before helping rebuild the network after everything somehow went to pot (no connection with the work I did).

And so, as I was in early, I'm going to leave now, go to the boat house to do some derigging and then have a lovely evening of a film, steak, carbs, and an early night. See you in a week and a bit.

[17:00] Last night's ergs went OK. It was nice not to have to push too hard. Not that I'm feeling 100% full of energy despite the early nights, sleeping in, eating lots, protein supplements, and generally not exercising quite as much this week. Hopefully whatever energy level I usually have will return for Friday. We've an outing this evening, earlier than usual, which I intend to do very well in, then go home, eat, watch some television and go to bed early again.

Tomorrow morning I'm in early for some network rejigging. Happily it's not something I've planned, I'm only there to do what I'm told, so if anything does go wrong, it won't be my fault. As it is, the two things I absolutely had to get done before I have Friday and next week off I've already got done and happily squared away, as far as I can tell. Things are actually looking quite neat and tidy at the moment in my area of expertise, aside from lots of servers needing patching at some point.

I did another pocket money psychology experiment at lunch time, preceeded by a nice sit in the gardens with a cup of tea and a chat. All in all quite a nice way to spend a lunch time and get some cash. Plus there was the cycle to and from the building as well.

Anyway, time to go. See you tomorrow.

[17:15] So the dizziness I was... suffering from yesterday seemed to vanish after a bit of exercise on the watt bike last night before the outing. I'd like to think that we had a pretty good outing, although some people thought that we (I) did better the day before. I'm not quite sure, myself. Anyway, I think that whatever was wrong with me was probably to do with me getting more sleep than I normally do, in conjunction with a huge amount of training. I certainly feel a lot better now. Onwards with the tapering for this Friday. As part of that I actually missed this morning's erg session and got a bit more time in bed. Definitely the best thing I could have done.

I built four virtual servers today. It's nice to know I have a fairly easy route to doing so now, and that they can be thrown out there pretty quickly these days. I also unboxed another two physical servers in preparation for building them tomorrow. They'll also need racking up, too. Hmmm, thinking about it, I've only got tomorrow and Thursday to get them done as I'm off on Friday and all of next week. Better get a move on with that.

Not today though, I've got an erg to do. And then home-made ratatouille to eat.

[16:55] Big weekend. Saturday started with a slightly later than usual outing (but not by much). We did quite well, even if I felt a little disconnected from things. I managed to get away, with a rucksack of stuff (having left everything rowing related at the club in a cycle pannier) and make it to an open day at the psychology place I do my paid-for experiments at for an hour or so to see what was going on there. After that I cycled to the train station to be picked up by Andy and Helen and head on over to Andrea's barbeque for the afternoon and evening. Despite the wind and it not being all that sunny we had a great time burning meat, eating it, and generally catching up. Not as much time as we would have liked, but still more than we've had in quite some months. After I'd taken the train home I managed to pop in to a curry house near the train station and meet a group of rowing friends who'd been at the capsize/swimming test drill that evening. I didn't have to go as I'd been just a few months before (and helped run it). I cycled most of the way home with someone who'd forgotten their lights and then headed home for a reasonably long sleep in. Weirdly, the row on Sunday really didn't feel all that good to me. I don't know what it is at the moment but both weekend mornings and this (Monday) morning I've felt really spaced out and dizzy/light headed. Nothing particularly serious, but it does feel like it's affecting my stroke in the boat. And being at stroke this isn't the best thing in the world. Anyway, after the outing I decided the best thing to do was only a very short jog and then to go home. I roused myself after lunch to get to Tesco and back and then spent the rest of the day on the sofa watching The West Wing. By the evening, and a loud action film I was drifting off pretty much straight after dinner, so I lasted until around 21:30 and went to bed. I did read for about forty minutes or so, but then gave in and passed out.

This morning I had been planning on going to the boat house for an erg. But the fact that we need to taper this week, and the more pressing situation that I was just plain old exhausted meant that I didn't actually get out of bed until 08:00. I've spent a significant portion of the day with a vague feeling of physical dizziness/disconnectedness which I hope doesn't last into this evening's outing. Nothing mental/emotional at all. Just a feeling like I'm floating/I have heavy limbs. Of course, the hypochondriac in me is thinking anything from Weil's Disease, to food poisoning, to something from all the swan shit on the hardstanding outside of the boat houses. But maybe I just need a bit more rest. I'll be taking it easy in tonight's outing, and not doing tomorrow's erg. If I still feel rest is necessary, I won't do the evening erg either (was going to be an outing, but we'd have to make do with too many subs for it to be worth it). Also Rachel is here this evening, and I want to make sure I am good value for money, as it were.

Mostly today though I've been setting up two more physical servers in preparation for one of them (and one I set up previously) being taken over to the other server room and both of them filled with virtual servers until they're fit to bursting. That's the plan for tomorrow, anyway. Tonight I just want to get through the outing and get home for a nice evening of food and company and then get an early night. I'll see how I feel in the morning. Better, I hope!

[16:35] Didn't do the 10K this lunch time on account of being totally and utterly blown away by last night's outing. 2x2km pieces at full race rate. The good thing is that our head coach was "encouraged". Which for him means we actually do stand a reasonable chance of not disgracing ourselves at the Henley Qualifiers next Friday. Just a week from now I'll be rowing on the Henley course for the first time in my life. I just hope my abs don't ache by then. I certainly don't aim on doing anything as hard next week as I have done this week.

So yes, last night's outing was a monster. Two 2km pieces at full on race rate. And we not only survived, I think we motored through quite well. Definite improvements all round. I was glad when each of them finished, though! As was everyone else in the boat. If we can do that, and a bit better I think we might be in good shape.

Today has been more machine configuration, including setting up a new KVM guest, which didn't go well until I rebooted the host box and turned back on the virtualisation extensions which someone had disabled. I was actually ten minutes late for work this morning, which was rare. But then getting out of bed this morning really wasn't something I wanted to do.

Gentle erg tonight, then home for some food. Then I might drag myself out to the pub for some socialising before an earlyish bed. Both weekend morning outings are at the unheard of time of 09:30, so that's rather weird. I may have to do some gentle cardio on the stationary bike instead. Or just try to sleep in a bit. I've Andrea's barbeque on Saturday (which will be great) and some usual housework/grocery stuff to do on the Sunday, then it's Monday all over again. Have a good weekend.

Oh, and it turns out the new head I got for my shower is part of the reason the shower popped its safety valve. Hopefully I won't be asked for a contribution for a new shower by my landladies.

[16:55] As much as I didn't want to leave the house and especially get out of bed this morning, I had to for an outing. And while my mind wasn't completely 'in the boat' due to various things, it was a good outing. Not perfect, but I think everyone was on the ball, for the most part. We've got another outing this evening with the proper crew, which should be interesting. Not only because we'll have the full Henley crew back again, not only because we'll not only a coach, but also the head coach on the bank, no not only that, but also that we'll be doing two 2K pieces, at full race rate. Given how achesome I am after last night's weights session (which was excellent to be doing again, by the way, thanks for asking), this could mean tonight is one of those times when I stick to the Stroke's Maxim: stroke sets the rhythm, stroke doesn't always move the boat. Plus I need to retain a little bit of energy for the remainder of the night.

Setting up two more machines today, as I think I said I would be. The RAID5 volumes finished building a few minutes ago, so I should be able to kickstart them both in the morning. Had lunch with Anna today rather than tomorrow as I hope to be doing a fun 10K run tomorrow with some friends from a research institute down the road. More on that tomorrow.

[16:40] Last night's sprint erg interval thing was actually a whole load of fun once everyone settled down into it. Given I'd already done a moderately hard weights session beforehand (I arrived early) I was certainly ready to get it done, shower, and head off. I did, but went via the tow path so I could see how some of the crews we had out this evening were getting on. Not too bad would be my opinion. And we still have time before they need to be race-ready, too. Which is good.

I had a big meal, sat around to let it go down and then went to bed fairly early last night. This meant that getting up this morning to head down to the boat house when I didn't have to wasn't actually all that bad. I did what could probably be described as a core session more than anything else, with one of the women rowers (doing an erg) for company. I think we both benefited from having someone else around.

Work today has been rather a nonentity, really. I've done a few things, but nothing I can hang my hat on, really. Tomorrow will be better. I've machines to build and stuff. Also outings morning and evening (which is going to be annoying at both ends of the day given other things I have going on) but I guess them's the breaks when you're preparing for Henley Qualifiers. For now though, I'm off to the boat house to do some pre-weights weights, eat some more and then do the weights, go home, have a lovely evening and get a very early night. I'm hoping to try and up my protein intake over the next few weeks, we'll see how that goes. I think my freezer is already prestocked with meat, I just need to keep remembering to get it out to defrost the night before I want to eat it.

[16:55] This morning's outing went a whole lot better than last night's. This was almost certainly due to me ignoring (for the most part) what the person who's now sitting behind me at 7 was saying. Not that he's not an incredibly skillful and knowledgable rower. He just doesn't row our stroke quite yet. I need to be a lot more confident and forceful about the stroke I want to row and think the boat as a whole should be rowing. This stroke seat malarky really is a lot more involved than sitting up at the front of the boat. So, yes, two outings since last we spoke. And a pretty hard erg to come this evening. I'm actually already looking forward to the shower afterwards.

Set up two new servers at work today. There were only two more to go, then another two arrived which will need setting up as KVM hosts shortly. I think I'll start on them tomorrow. For now though, I think I'm going to head off and get to the boat house before the rain which has been threatening all day starts coming down. Tomorrow's another day, with no morning outing (a rarity these days). I might even sleep in past 04:30.

Oh, one final thing, I've entered a casual 10K race on Friday lunch time. Not really anything other than a good lunch time lung-stretcher, but it should be enjoyable. Other than that, I intend to have a quiet evening at home tonight, post erg. And might even get to bed before 23:00, which would be good for me, I feel.

[17:00] A full and fun-packed weekend! Let's get right into it. Friday was supposed to be a rest day, so obviously in the evening I went down to the boat house, got the watt bike out on the balcony and knocked out 40 minutes of high intensity exercise. It would have been an hour but I got a call from someone for dinner (who'd been due to ring later, but was ahead of schedule). We had a nice dinner and then I headed on home for a moderately early night. Saturday was a good day. It started off with an outing in the 8+ which seemed to go really quite well. This was probably due to the subs we had in the boat who're really quite good. Not that we're not good with the normal people, but these guys are great. After that a few people had to go, so the remaining crew did 4x1km race pieces on the sliders. That was really very tiring. However, once that was done I had a shower and some food and then went for a nice gentle 11km or so run with Andrea. The route wasn't great, with lots of people here and there. And the temperature was a bit hot (I was fine but she suffered a little). Otherwise it was a good run. Shower, then helping Jonno with the last bit of work on the new blades (which we'll be using tonight) and then over to Tesco to get some picnic food, meet someone else and wander down to watch the last day of races on the river. The clouds chose that moment to open, so we ended up having the food on a blanket under a motorway bridge as all of the rowers came by and looked like drowned rats. For the last race we wandered over the river to a key corner of the course and saw some excellent rowing right in front of us. After that it was time to just go home, have some food and put my feet up. On Sunday there was a bit of a lack of coxes and rowers, so we split down into small boats and I cycled along as a bank party until I got a puncture. Then I ran instead. Eventually I pushed the bike home and repaired it in time to get back to the boat house at the same time as the 4- crew. Clean and presentable we packed two blades with towels and walked them through town to a local museum where most of the active rowers in the club had gathered to take photos for a sponsorship drive and new web site. After some photos on the steps we went to a hotel across town and did some shots in front of a big ornate wooden fireplace. Once that was done I went home, then realised that I'd lost a clip off my pannier and that I had someone's anti-histamine tablets. So as I was heading to Tesco anyway I cycled back into town, couldn't find the pannier clip, delivered the tablets, had a cup of tea, then went to Tesco. Rachel arrived just after I'd had a good clean of the house and settled down to watch a little online video, and the evening was then complete. We ended up watching a terrible film, eating lots of really nice food and generally catching up, which was great.

Unfortunately I felt absolutely terrible when I got up this morning. I don't know if I overate, or ate something that didn't agree with me, didn't get enough sleep, or simply over-exerted myself over the previous day or so. Either way I was really shattered this morning. I'm doing a little better as the day's gone on, but after this evening's outing (thank goodness I didn't have anything on this morning) I think I'm going to eat a lot and go to bed just as soon as is sensible. Especially with an early morning outing tomorrow that could be pretty hard (and wet, I think it's going to rain). Anyway, I should head off and go and replace wheels on seats and a rudder cable.

[16:30] There's nothing quite like a UT2 erg to remind you just how gentle rowing off full pressure is. We were strictly told not to break (get below) 2:00/500m splits last night. So the person I was doing them with and I sat on 2:00/500m dead for three 6km ergs. Doing it on sliders I was reminded just how useful it is to do so with someone who's your height and whose legs and trunk are in the same ratio as your own. It was a good session. Getting home and enjoying the evening was even better though, even if I seem to have lost a knack for something I thought I was getting the hang of recently. Here's hoping I get the chance to practice some more soon.

Lots of rowing going on at the moment, as I said. Tons of it this weekend, along with a run, hopefully, at some point. Some photography too, for Henley and perhaps for some sponsorship stuff for the club. But that's something I might tell you more about another time.

For now though, I'm off to Homebase for some bits and bobs for blade-painting and then do a quick spin on the watt bike. After that it's dinner with a friend who's in town at the end of a cycling holiday, and then I finally get to go home and relax.

[16:35] Windy days are always a bit more tiring than usual. Maybe being up late last night after being down by the river to watch some rowing, then going to the pub to talk rowing all evening until just before midnight wasn't the best idea if I was going to be up at 05:50 this morning for an outing. I was fairly awake when I got up, but it was hellishly windy when we were out on the water. I don't think I got the right rhythm going in the boat today, either, which I'm sure traveled down the boat and made sure the outing was more of a holding rather than improving one. Such is life. Last night was fun though, even if, again, I should have left the 'party' early and gone home. Still, I did get to see my new local, which is pretty nice.

Work has mainly been me doing things which needed doing. Getting my problem with the server I was trying to install sorted was a good thing. Mostly though I'm looking forward to the end of the day, getting down to the boat house, getting my 2x or 3x 6km of ergs, and going home to enjoy my evening as fully as I can. Tomorrow morning I may even go for an early morning run, depending on the weather, and how worthwhile it is getting out of bed. Right now, I'm thinking not very much at all.

[17:00] Good outing last night. I'd like to think we're bedding in the new stroke style a little bit now. Especially with two people in the boat who weren't in on Sunday. Got home late though, ate food which tasted vaguely off (even though it couldn't have been), went to bed. Got up early this morning and did the outing feeling initially like my body hadn't quite gotten out of the blocks quite properly. Still, seemed to go pretty well then, too. We're keeping the rating up a lot better than we used to. Felt jazzed enough after the outing to do 30 minutes on the watt bike, which felt really good in lieu of the lower body weight training I'm not getting to do at the moment. This could be the perfect stand-in.

Work today has been a bit frustrating, given that there was bread mould on my sandwich, a standard build operation isn't happening, probably due to something as low-tech as a baud mismatch, and... stuff. Anyway, I'd much rather just get out of here. Which is what I'm going to do as there are races on the river this evening and there's Pimms to be drunk in a paddock next to the river. I even get to put on smart clothes!

[17:20] Lots happened over the weekend, as per. Let me see if I can remember the salient details. My parents didn't make it here because there were some problems. So instead I spent four nights in my own bed, rather than on the futon. I'd have preferred to see them, but there were other benefits to be had. So yes, Friday there wasn't anything going on rowing-wise, which was great. Saturday morning though there was going to be two outings, but instead we had two outings in the 8+ instead. Definitely good stuff achieved there. I did end up being at the boat house until well past 13:00, but I offset this by going into town afterwards to Waterstones and ended up having a coffee with a friend (who talked at great length about their academic work, which was quite interesting). The evening was much more fun though. And there was delivery curry. Sunday morning I had been down to do some coaching, but instead we had a mammoth 8+ outing with the head coach putting in an appearance and causing us to do a whole lot of work. After that though I felt so energised I thought about going for a run with some company, but didn't as I needed to get photographed for the club's new website/publicity/sponsorship drive, and go to Tesco, etc. After that though, I did go, and ended up doing a fairly long run ending in pretty much exactly 2km of full on sprint as I tried to catch up with a friend on a bike with their iPod on loud. I managed it, which I think was a good thing. They talked about academic work, but that was OK, as I like to stay informed, as it were. Given they were talking about it I'd like to think they thought I was both interested and able to understand what was being said. I was, to both. Just. Still, getting home and enjoying the remainder of the day was much better. Especially with pizza. Monday was a rare and special day off. Bed wasn't even left until well past 09:30, which is practically unheard of for me. Then there was time for a smashing breakfast of duck egg scrambled egg, toast and sausages. A film was watched and then a cinema trip to watch a sequel in the middle of the afternoon. With only eight other people in the cinema it was a pretty great way to enjoy the day. No rowing at either end of it, either. So that was pretty cool too. Although there was a run/cycle thing that went on in the evening, which meant there was sight of a boat from my rowing club down on the river. Not quite as I'd planned. But then I didn't quite know what I was planning. The evening was all about reading and relaxing.

This morning it was pretty difficult to get out of bed, but I managed it. The fact that there was a monster erg planned might have helped. Something of a sprinterval, erg-style, awaited. I can't say our technique was perfect, but everyone put the effort in, that's for certain.

Work-wise I ungraded both load balancers to the latest release. No problems there. Then dealt with 1001 tiny little issues throughout the day which amounted to... not really very much at all, to be frank. I had to go over to the other server room twice to open and then lock it after the air-con people, but that was probably the highlight of my day. The weather's been a bit meh today, so I haven't felt too bad about not being outside at lunch time. Now though, it's the evening and an outing where the usual guy behind me is back in the boat. He's going to have to catch up on what we did on Sunday. Which is going to be a bit of a shock/disruptive initially, I think...

[16:35] You know what I'm going to be doing this evening? No, not going out for dinner with a beautiful woman. Not rowing. Not running. No, I'll be mowing (well, strimmering) the front lawn. I don't have a rear lawn, but I thought I'd be specific. My parents would have been arriving around about now but there's been a half-way-between-minor-and-major hospital diversion which means they won't be coming this weekend. Still, hopefully I'll see them soon. This does mean that my weekend is now wide open. There's a very good chance the afternoons and evenings of both days should be filled with exciting and fun things, the mornings with rowing and the lunchtimes/early afternoons with, well, stuff that I sort of have to do, like grocery shopping and cleaning the house. If the weather's good I may go outside for a bit here and there.

Last night's outing was pretty good, all things considered. What was of note was that a) it turns out that stroke is much better for the boat if he's all about setting the stroke, rather than trying to move the boat and, b) some people really don't think about other people quite as much as you thought they might. Not so much rudeness as simply... not on their radar. Sad.

In more pleasant news, it was day two of sprintervals with Sarah this morning at 06:15. I may hate the first few moments of getting up early, but once I'm out and about in the summer dawn it really is lovely to be out and about and using my body. I hope I'm always able to be fit and healthy. I'm very lucky to be so at the moment despite the aches, pains and bits of damage I have caused my body thus far.

I've got Monday off next week to have some fun in what I hope will still be the sun we're enjoying at the moment. The company will be pretty enjoyable too. So, see you Tuesday.

[16:55] Morning erg today was pretty hard. But I was still ahead of two of my peers, so that's OK. Work has been... dull. But there've been a few highlights here and there. The weather's perked up since this morning too, so it should be another hot and sunny outing this evening. I'm either running tomorrow morning or staying in bed. Not sure which yet. When I know, you might.

[17:15] Last night's outing was pretty poo, even if the weather was almost perfect. I don't know what it was. Maybe I shouldn't have run at lunch time, maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind, maybe it wasn't just me, but everyone else as well. Either way, I'm going to try and make sure we have a better one this evening. Especially as it seems like our head coach has decided that rather than send the other 4+ (I was under no illusions that my 4+ would be going) to Henley, we're sending the 8+ instead. With, at least until I hear differently (which I almost expect to do any time) me stroking it and trying not to mess up. I watched what videos we have of me rowing at Peterborough this weekend. I have a lot to work on. It's true what they say about you needing to be twice as good at stroke to deal with the degredation of your technique due to the seat you're in and the responsibility you have. And if they don't say it, they should, because it's true. Or is in my case, anyway.

Anyway, the weather's also improved from the warm, overcastness of this morning when I went for a run with Sarah and did some intervals, then some steady state stuff, to the previous day or two's almost completely clear blue skies with lightish winds. If we can't get a good outing of this evening I may consider giving up and handing in my blade.

I can't think of anything more I want to write about today.

[17:10] No erging this morning. I was far happier to stay in bed and recoup some of the energy I expended the previous day. Or maybe it was the massive amounts of baked potato, cheese, and baked beans I had for dinner last night. Who knows? Either way, even with the sun streaming in through the windows I almost didn't get out of bed at all. But I did, and cycled into work in the gorgeous sunshine and have spent the day working on stuff, things, and generally holding the fort. I even managed to squeeze in a 10K run at lunch time in the sun, which was really rather excellent, even if the time wasn't anything to write home about.

I'll be off shortly to collect what could be a huge stack of post from my old house (probably most of it'll be for Kris), and then head down to the boat house for an outing in the 8+. Following that, if possible, I'll try not to be late for this month's Dinner Club dinner with Kate. Maybe at some point I might even get the chance to see the Game of Thrones episode. But probably not tonight. Although mowing the front jungle (it's no longer classifiable as a lawn) may take precidence.

Intervals again early tomorrow morning, with Sarah, no less. Hope she can keep up.

[09:00 - 04/06/2013] Lots happened over the weekend. So much that I had to wait until Tuesday to write this and then retroactively publish it. Let's pretend it's still the end of Monday, shall we?

So Friday evening was all about boat loading and getting the trailer away to Peterborough. Then I went home and went to bed. Bed was required. Luckily I packed first, so when I got up on Saturday morning all I needed to do was pull on my rucksacks and walk to the boat house. The drive to the regatta was fine and our boat was even already rigged as the women had been using it in an early race. Long story short, we won our heat easily. Then came a reasonable third behind our other four and another crew in the final. In the afternoon we won our eights final very, very easily with a great row, moving up from IM3 to IM2 for the next day. This meant we only had one race on Sunday, at 18:16! After making the boats safe for the night we drove to one of the rower's parents' house and settled down for the night. With nothing to do for almost the whole day on Sunday we got up late, pootled around and then drove back to the regatta to watch other people row and stay in the shade as the weather was really lovely. Again, long story short, we went for a pretty good outing in the middle of the day, then raced in the IM2 final. Sadly, we were beaten into second place after a far less impressive row than the previous day. We have plenty of reasons why this might have been the case. But at the end of the day, we lost. We weren't last though. We had a crew chat, derigged and slung all of the boats and drove home. Detrailering and rerigging the entire fleet was quite enjoyable given the fact we had 40+ people helping get everything done. After a lift home and some food I went straight to bed.

Monday was mostly about catching up on everything that went by the wayside over the weekend. I started it with a great early morning run in the sun down by the river doing intervals. Work was mostly about tiding things up after two days of being away from doing preventative maintenance and getting a server ready for a patch and reboot Tuesday morning.