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[17:10] Looks like I probably won't be coaching the women in their run up to Henley. They've gone with the boyfriend of one of the rowers instead. He probably had the inside track by dint of that connection, as well as being more proactive about offering his services. He's also got actual coach qualifications, so that probably helps too. What it does mean is I have one fewer reason not to get back into boats again after my marathon is over. What I have to work out is whether or not I go to a few days of the rowing training camp the end of the week before Rachel's marathon (and only four days after my own) or not. Right now I'm torn.

What isn't torn, thankfully, is any skin or muscles after today's tempo run in the wind. Luckily the weather was only windy (which in itself was a problem), but it's starting to be wet here too now, which is a problem. Cycling in wasn't pleasant. However I think I might have a bit more of the wind with me on the way home this evening. The run was only 6.5km, but it was hard work. Thankfully, my training seems to be paying off a little and I was able to make up the woeful into-the-wind pace with some rather speedy other direction running, leaving me only 1 second/km off the pace I should have been aiming for. Which is good, I think.

No co-workers again this morning, but some other cover in the afternoon. Thankfully nothing really went on today, so I was able to deal with everything that came up without too much issue.

[16:55] I really need a haircut. Luckily it should be happening on Thursday lunch time. I don't think I've been this bushy in a long time. I'm not saying that's what made my 20 mile run on Saturday so hard, but I'm grasping at straws a little at this point. I managed it, but it honestly didn't feel like I was running well at all. Especially considering all I'd done the day before was some sprints and Rachel (who kept with me the whole way) had run 16 miles. Sure, it was really windy, but I felt I should have been better at this point in my marathon training. Anyway, we both had various niggles, aches, pains, blisters, etc. at the end, so after getting cleaned up, fed, etc. we did the whole Tesco thing and then settled in for the day. Sunday I was up and down at the boat house for a reunion row with a few people I haven't seen since Henley last year. We rowed to the lock and back in a 4+ and a single and then headed home again. The weather wasn't awesome, but despite everything we still managed to have a good time. After that there was, obviously, a trip into town for a huge brunch. Rachel headed in shortly afterwards and we had a nice little snacky-brunchy thing with two of her friends before I headed home to relax and Rachel arrived a few hours later after having some catchup time with them. All things considered it really was a pretty great weekend, even with the poor running (as far as I'm concerned). Hopefully the foot issues we both have won't get in the way of the running we have planned between now and the end of our marathon paths.

Today I was a little later getting into work than I wanted. Especially after it turned out that it was just me holding down the fort for the day, rather than just the half a day I'd been expecting. I solved a few problems I wouldn't normally have gotten to do (creating and then solving another one in the process, though) and generally kept things ticking over for the most part, I think. I'll have some company tomorrow, thankfully, but just a few more minutes and I can get out of here for some evening weights in the knowledge that nothing exploded on my watch.

[17:40] Even at this end of the day I still don't know if it's safe to feel relieved that my shins don't hurt after this morning's sprintervals session. I think they've begun to ache more throughout the day, rather than hurting immediately afterwards and then healing. A bit strange. Here's hoping tomorrow's long run is a tolerable and actually enjoyable affair. I guess I'll see. I'm making sure it's off-road, rather than on, so that should help a little. I'm also making a series of out and backs at 12.5km or so per 'lap', with the easy ability to make the last one shorter if necessary. That should help with any injuries, potential gastro-intestinal distress, or just feeling like it's time to stop. Anyway, that's tomorrow. This morning's run was... OK, I think. Certainly not a bad run, but I can't deny I would have liked to have had higher and flatter tops to my 'on' parts of the resulting GPS timing graph.

The PDU which failed last night got fixed before I got in to work this morning (because I ran before work, from home), which was good. Apparently one server didn't manage to fire up a PSU that was connected to it once things were up and running again. Unfortunately, while a very old server, it's one we'd still like to keep using for a while... which is a bit of a problem as it's way out of support these days. I'm not sure what we're doing about getting a replacement PSU, but it might have to be eBay at this point.

Rachel's on her way from London as I write this, so should arrive some time this evening, which is fab. We're running tomorrow, I'm doing a small bit of rowing on Sunday and then joining her and two of her friends in the afternoon, and then I guess there'll be some more relaxing going on. It's a long run tomorrow, and I'm mostly looking forward to it, I think. For now though, it's the end of the working week, I've survived intact, so it's time to go home. Have a good weekend, if you haven't already gone.

[17:35] They're redoing the floors in the showers at work over the weekend. So that means no showering tomorrow so that the floors are dry. This means I may have to do my sprintervals tomorrow morning from home, which is doable, but means a bit of an early rise and pain even before breakfast. Unless I do them after work instead. But that then means less time to recover before Saturday's long run with Rachel. I guess I'll see how I feel tomorrow morning.

Oh damn, here's what happens when you don't leave work on time: a PDU has gone pfut in our remote data centre. Because I'm still at work I feel I have to go and see what's wrong. Hopefully won't take too long!

[17:05] Not much going on today. Really, something of an empty day. Especially with no running before work or at lunch time. I'm heading to do some core/upper body weights this evening before dinner with Kate, but otherwise that's about it for things to mention today. I do have a few early morning things to do tomorrow though. Five servers to patch, two servers to upgrade the load balancer software on. Stuff like that. Should hopefully all go without a hitch, and my shins might ache less tomorrow as well. That would be nice.

[17:30] Weights last night, then a moderately early night. Up this morning for morning exercises, work, stuff. Did a 10K run at lunchtime, which I really tried to make about drifting over the ground and not about speed. I think I managed about 50-60% of what I was aiming for. I can't guarantee I didn't try to push it a little too much towards the end. It was, on average, faster than I'm going to be going in the marathon, so I can afford to back of the pace a little more. What I'm mostly concerned about is a definite point on at least one shin, if not both of them, that seems to get pretty sore after running. I just hope things last long enough for me to get to and finish the marathon. I'll be happy to take a break from running after that, I promise. I guess I won't run tomorrow, but will go and do some weights before dinner with Kate.

That's about it for me today. Not a lot going on, really. Just some worrisome running niggles and a need to go home and dry some things off from running in the hail today. That and humorously failing to convince Rachel to come and see me this evening.

[16:55] Back to work, back to running. The weekend went as weekends usually do. A few minor differences in that I went to the pub to see people on Friday evening. Something I have done in a long time. It was pretty nice, but I do seem to be very much out of practice at social situations. I lasted until around 20:00 and then just had to get out and go home. I don't think I'm terribly good at fighting my introvert impulses sometimes. I was at my best when I was telling stories and fully engaged with people. Otherwise, not so much. Saturday I went for my long run. Not as far as I would have liked, but the plan said 24.2km, so I stopped at around 25.4km, which I guess wasn't too bad, really. I'm still on and off again concerned about my new shoes giving me blisters. I'm going to have to keep trying different socks until I find a pair that work for me. After the run I had a reasonable lunch and afternoon, but really didn't feel all that hungry. Maybe it was something to do with taking water and a gel on during my run. I forced myself to head out for a bit in the afternoon to watch the England rugby game at the boat club with other people. Again, I managed to stay for a bit (the first half) but then headed home again at half time. Sunday was different. I managed to stay in bed until almost 09:00, then got up, did a bit of house work and went to Tesco. After that I'm sorry to say I did very little, having initially expected Rachel to arrive early afternoon after her incredibly long run. Sadly she had a meeting and then missed the train she wanted to get, so didn't arrive until well past 18:00. We still managed to have a very enjoyable evening, and dinner, together though.

This morning I didn't get out of bed until almost too late to do my morning exercises, but I managed to squeeze them in anyway. I made it to my desk before 09:00, but needn't have worried as no-one else arrived much before 09:20. I've done some useful things today, but not a huge amount. I ran at lunch time. For the first time in a while, shin aches notwithstanding I felt like I was going into the run feeling pretty good. However, while it was just as good as previous recent runs at this distance and pace (8.1K+, race-ish pace), it wasn't any better. Such is life; at least I'm consistent. Consistency is what I want come race day in Manchester. I'll head to the boat house for a little bit of weights this evening, then home for a relaxing evening. I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow in terms of exercise, yet.

[17:10] Wonderful to have Rachel over last night. Not only did I get to eat a pretty decent meal, it was a relaxing, stress-free, quiet evening. Just what I needed. As a result I think I slept reasonably well. Other than waking some time around 03:00, I think because I needed to go to the loo. I honestly don't remember.

I've started doing morning exercises again. I think they're something I should really try to do as many mornings as possible, perhaps even on the weekend (which I never used to do before). I can't swear to it, but I think it does me more good than simply getting my muscles going in the morning. I think there's a mental aspect to it, but I can't quite pin down quite what it is. Anyway, I got to work on time after them and a shower and breakfast and making my lunch.

I really wasn't feeling the desire to go for a run at lunch time. Especially as Fridays are sprinterval day. This week's session was 12x400m. Normally I'd put a 400m recovery slow jog between each sprint, but that would have made the distance annoying, so I shortened it to 200m. I can't swear to the goodness of this idea, but the GPS graph I got out of Endomondo/Strava after uploading seems to indicate that it wasn't as bad as I thought it might have been. I can't say I'm on track to get the marathon time that I'd like - because you can never tell on race day how you're going to feel - but other than the blister and the potential shin splints I think I'm doing OK.

I'm off to have an actual sociable evening with people as soon as I leave here. Not quite sure how well that's going to go given I'm not particularly good at social things, but it's about time, and one of the other reasons I stopped rowing for a little while; to try and reconnect with a few people I really don't see often enough these days.

The weekend will consist of a long run (15 miles), no rowing coaching, Tesco, and eventually a moderate amount of Rachel. Not quite enough of the latter, but she has her own things to do. Hopefully blisters, shin splints, or any other injuries won't rear their heads this weekend. News of that and more on Monday.

[17:55] Disappointingly, about 7km into my (hoped for) 21km run last night the tape came off the drained blister on my little toe. For that reason more than anything else I stopped my run at 16km. It seemed more sensible than aggravating it any more than 9km already had done. I have to hope that the time off it has had since last night will mean that tomorrow's sprintervals won't be too unpleasant for it, and me. Not to mention this weekend's proper long run, or future ones.

Rachel's here this evening. That's why I'm still at work. She's due around about 19:00, so I guess I should leave work shortly and go and tidy the house a bit. It'll be smashing to get to share the evening with her, even if I am unreasonably envious of her having run much more than me this week already. That's definitely something I should work on, especially as she's rightly told me that my runs were faster than her ones were, and the jury is still out on distance being more important than speed... or not.

So anyway, mostly work today has consisted of upgrading PHP and MySQL on a variety of servers to provide support for a new version of Moodle we're moving to shortly. Today was the test servers, next week we do the live ones. We seem to have had a good day today, so I'm going home.

[17:00] A useful day today, but more for non-work reasons than work ones. Not much I can tell you, really. I'm doing a longish run this evening from the boat house, and then will be attempting to tidy the house a bit for Rachel arriving tomorrow evening, but otherwise that's about it, really.

Hmmm, what else? I went into town at lunch time and got some more gels for my longer runs/the marathon. Hopefully the type I got (which are the same as the ones I used on the weekend) will work for me and and not do a number on my digestive system. I'll be trying them again this weekend, even though it'll only be ~25km or so.

Really, that's about it at the moment. Quiet day. Cold one, too. This evening's run should be interesting.

[17:40] Today's mid rate tempo run was actually faster than I was supposed to go. Which was good, considering I couldn't have easily gone any faster and survived the experience. Only eight and a bit kilometres. I don't think it made the huge blister on my right little toe any worse, but I think this evening is when I'm going to drain it. It's just too large. Anyway, that was the run over and done with at lunch time. I went to do a quick weights session last night and was pleased to see I'm still in the ballpark of strength compared to those who're rowing at the moment. At least when it comes to things like squats and deadlifts and things. We did some other non-rowing exercises (like bench press) and I'm doing OK compared to most in that area, too. So that's pleasing.

Not much happening for me at work right now. So I'm taking the time to consolidate a few things I've been working on and planning out a server reinstallation down the road (the server with the weird virtual disk issue I mentioned a while back). If my feet feel OK tomorrow (there're some hot spots still from these new shoes, and the toe thing, obviously) then I may do a longish run tomorrow evening, but otherwise it'll just be a normal day tomorrow. Perhaps I'll even stay in bed until almost 08:00. Seriously, how exciting is my life?

[17:05] I spent the whole weekend in Croydon (and London). Headed down there on Friday evening and made it to Kings Cross in time to meet Rachel. That meant we could sit on the platform at St Pancras and catch up from there all they way home. Friday evening was then a quiet affair with pizza and relaxation given Rachel'd only just gotten off a red-eye flight from Kenya that morning, then put in a full day's work. Disappointingly I had a shocking night's sleep, and then had to get up fairly early to head back into London to watch my women's crew race in WeHoRR. They passed under my vantage point on Hammersmith Bridge right on time, and then I was able to help them get out at Furnival Gardens afterwards. We all went to a nearby pub afterwards before I got a train back down to Croydon again, arriving before Rachel got back from her hockey match. We had a smashing evening in, and then went to bed having decided on a route for our 20 mile/32.2km run the next day. Another poor night's sleep meant that we stayed in bed rather longer than we intended and didn't actually start our run much before 11:40. 2h33m later we were done. And in a fairly respectable time, I have to say. I didn't think I'd done myself any damage, other than some aches and pains during the run which amazingly seemed to go away again after a while, plus my breathing seemed to be pretty good. However, when I got to work this morning I found a huge blister on my right little toe. Everything else on my feet appears to be fine (amazingly). Anyway, we finished the run, collapsed for a while, had some food, and then didn't really move from the sofa for the rest of the day, other than for Rachel to make a rather delicious meal.

This morning I had to get up early (luckily, after a slightly better night's sleep (in my recovery socks)), but had an uneventful journey to work to be at my desk in good time. Today I've fixed that power issue in one of the servers that I mentioned last week, I think. I've also caught up on a lot of correspondence, planned out my week (mostly), and avoided making any major mistakes, as far as I can tell. I'm going to head to the boat house for some weights (nothing huge), then head home, swap bikes, grab my panniers, and do the postponed weekend Tesco trip.

[16:20] Ups and downs again today. Ups in that I did my 4x1600m sprintervals today and they weren't shockingly abysmal, also that nothing broke terribly at work and I'm able to get out of here on time and hopefully meet Rachel this evening before going to her place for the weekend. Other ups include a 16km run last night that went pretty well, dinner with most of the women's crew I've been coaching (for some value of coaching) for WeHoRR this weekend, and a nice card and some presents (chocolate, belgian buns) from them. Downs that I'm so very very close to getting a blister on the bottom of one foot from these new trainers (possibly due to too much running/hard running too close together, too soon), logistics for Saturday if I want to see my crew row mean that I don't get much of a lie in on my day off, and that I'm now worried about the 20 mile run I have planned for Sunday if I'm going to end up blistered.

Otherwise, the weather has been lovely today (not much use when I only got to be out in it at lunch time), I've got a good few things done, and it's Friday. I hope you all have a lovely weekend doing whatever. I'll be back on Monday.

[17:05] Terry Pratchett died today. He was in some ways my favourite author, although I hadn't read anything by him in a good few years. He is the only major author I've not only met, but had conversations with, herded into rooms, received bottles of champagne from (along with a lot of other people at the same time), but also told explicitly to call by his first name (this was long before he was knighted). He was the author I first started to chain-read, and was the first author I read when I was first allowed to travel to the local public library on my own to check out books. He'll be missed for many reasons.

Otherwise, today has been pretty normal. I'm still trying to break in my new trainers, and will be going for a slower, slightly longer, run this evening in the hope that this too helps my feet get used to them. I still have some weird pulled/strained muscle thing in the right hand side of my back/neck, but I think that's starting to subside. Workwise I've had a few issues with Apache modules and hardware beginning to misbehave, but I think everything's pretty much in hand for those things. The hardware issues particularly I've been told to ignore until Monday as we have more power work happening this weekend.

Time, I hope, for an uneventful run.

[16:30] It's a good news/bad news (no connection) kind of a day today. In good news I managed to sleep through all the way until 06:00 this morning, incredibly. I also did a reasonably good 13K tempo run last night (right on the money, pace-wise), fitted in a last coached outing with the women before they go to WeHoRR this weekend coming, and this morning I replaced that DIMM without anything apparently having gone wrong. In bad news, possibly just because I haven't worn them in yet (in both senses of the word "worn") my new trainers gave me two 'sensitive' spots on the bottom of my feet right where I tend to place my feet when I run (in the middle of the main pad of flesh at the top of the foot). Hopefully me wearing them as day to day shoes for a little while will break them in somewhat, but I don't remember having to do this with my last pair, disturbingly. This worries me rather a lot for all of my runs to come (not to mention the marathon itself in something just over a month away).

Anyway, that's that. I was in early today so I'm heading off. Possibly to do some light weights, or maybe just go home and deal with the mountain of washing up. Perhaps both.

[16:10] Early start this morning to get some patching done. Sadly, although the patching went perfectly, none of the services on any of the machines shut down cleanly. This is mainly Oracle's fault, because WebLogic is a horrible piece of software. Anyway, not my responsibility. Had a burrito with Cormac at lunch time rather than go for a run. This has given me a little more time to recover from Sunday's race, and try and work out why I have almost zero enthusiasm for running at the moment. Really, I don't feel like it at all, and I have this horrible feeling that running in my new shoes, as well as feeling as tired and drained and unenthusiastic as I do is going to be bad. Maybe I just need to start running again and it'll turn out that everything's OK. I'm leaving work in a few minutes to head to the boat house and get my run in before I coach the women for their last outing before WeHoRR this weekend (which I won't be going to watch as I'm heading to Croydon to welcome Rachel back from Kenya (she gets back on Thursday)). Then I'm going to go home and see if I can actually get a proper night's sleep. I've had really bad, broken sleep for the last four nights, and it's starting to get old. I'm in early again tomorrow for a RAM DIMM module swap out over at the other data centre, so hopefully that'll mean another early trip out of the office tomorrow afternoon.

[17:10] So the coaching session on Saturday went really well, I thought. The women responded well, despite already having done hard work in the first session (that I wasn't there for). I think they're as close to being ready for WeHoRR as they're going to be given the amount of time they have left (it's this weekend coming). I was going to be there for their erg session this evening, but I'm just going to do a light weights session and go home instead.

I had contemplated doing a run today. 13km, not too fast. However, after the half marathon yesterday, and Rachel's wise words, I decided not to. The race was... well, I was stupid. I tried to go off as fast as last year, and suffered even more than this time last year. In fact I suffered so much I was not only slower than last year's time, I was slower than St. Neots in November, despite all of the training I've done since then. Really very disappointing. I pushed so hard towards the end of the race I was weaving after the finish line and felt it was much more sensible to lie on the ground for a few minutes afterwards. I had trouble finishing my lunch in the pub, and felt both a little bit sick and very tired later on in the day, despite refueling as sensibly as I could. I also slept very badly last night, although thanks to the wonderful gift of some recovery socks from Rachel my legs don't feel too bad at all today. As a result I'm going to do those light weights and then look forward to a bit of a gentle run tomorrow, unless the weather is atrocious.

Workwise today I've caught up on all the little bits of work I had pending, swapped over a hard drive in a RAID1 set, done research on which DIMM I need to pull and replace in another server on Wednesday morning, and prodded various people about other bits of work where the ball is in their court, not mine.

[16:45] I'm beginning to get nervous about the weekend now. Sunday, of course, being the half marathon. I'm as ready as I can' be at this point, I think. No more training is going to be a help at this point. In fact more training would take energy away from my muscles. I've got a quiet night this evening with Rachel, some coaching tomorrow morning at 10:00 while Rachel heads back to Croydon and from there to Kenya for the next week or so (she's very disappointed to be missing the half marathon, and the opportunity to follow her training schedule), and then on Sunday it's the half marathon. Somewhere in there will be a Tesco trip, potentially a good bit of stretching, a pub trip (after the race), and relaxation, where possible. My marathon training continues unabated on Monday, allegedly!

[15:20] For an early-start day things have gone surprisingly well. I was up in time to be in work for just before 07:00. Patching started immediately, but the last server wasn't finished before 09:05. No-one seemed to notice the five minute overrun, mostly because it was development servers and a lot of the developers get in late. Anyway, since then I've been tidying up the stuff that fell out of the bottom of that shakeup, going for my last run before the half marathon this Sunday, and catching up on emails. The run went pretty well. I tried not to push too hard, which meant I and my foot feel fairly OK this afternoon. The foot's not perfect, but I think it might just survive the race without getting too blistery and damaged. Here's hoping anyway.

Rachel should be getting close to home about now (she had the day off, and is working from (my) home tomorrow), and as I was in early this morning I'm off. See you tomorrow.

[17:55] Wow, the day managed to drag quite effectively, then speed up in the last 45 minutes. Not much to tell, really. I did a moderately fast 10K last night to see how my foot felt. Bottom line seems to be that it's OK for a bit, then it's almost certainly going to blister quite badly by the end of a half marathon. Hopefully between the half and Manchester it'll sort itself out a bit more. After that I went home and had a better than average night's sleep.

Today's working day was interesting only for the email from management towards the end of the day which has sparked a lot of very interesting discussion with regard to payment for out of hours work. Tomorrow could be quite interesting in that regard. I've already sent my email to my two immediate line managers about it. I've also prepared as much as I can for tomorrow morning's patching and rebooting. It's going to be interesting in that I have two extra KVM hosts and associated guests to reboot over the ones I'm patching tomorrow owing to how slowly those two patched on Tuesday morning. I might have to get in a little earlier to make sure the ones I'm patching are patched and rebooted before the 09:00 deadline.

Given how annoyed I am at the emails which have gone out already trying to walk back the management email I'm going home now.

[16:50] Extended weekend! I had Monday off, and I really needed it. After Thursday's panic and woe about my foot I took Saturday and Sunday off running, with a plan to run my 8.1km tempo run on Monday (missing this weekend gone's 29km long run, disappointingly). Therefore on Saturday I was free to coach the women's rowing crew (moderately well, I thought), and then go and do Tesco-related things before relaxing for the rest of the day. Rachel had left in the morning early for hockey, so I had the evening to myself. Disappointingly, having not done any exercise with the day, I had no real appetite for the evening meal. Sunday my crew was in London racing on Tideway in Hammersmith Head, so I went down and was bank party for a lower men's crew racing locally. Rachel was running a half marathon with a friend, who then made her dinner, so wasn't able to come back until very late in the evening. We were able to sleep in somewhat on Monday morning though, which was fabulous. Then have some breakfast in bed, then go and do weights at the boat house. Following that there was an overly swift brunch, where I left Rachel to cycle to a podiatrist appointment. Over the weekend I'd managed to 'drain' whatever was causing the majority of my pain and discomfort in my right foot, and things looked like they were healing much more cleanly than previously. The podiatrist seemed to think I was doing all the right things, so I pretty much have permission to start running again. I had considered doing my run on Monday afternoon (after meeting Rachel at Tesco to shop for our evening meal), but we decided that a day off was actually supposed to be a day off and just went home to catch up on downloaded episodes of things instead. While dinner was being prepared in the evening I took the time to sort out the servers I'd be patching this morning.

Unfortunately, even with an early start, and all the preparation work last night, this morning's patching overran due to very very slow servers (astonishingly the slowest servers were the newest ones). I now have many more servers to reboot on Thursday morning (still one by one for failover reasons). I've spent the rest of the day fixing RAID hardware, catching up on all kinds of things, having lunch with Max and Stacey (who passed her Ph.D viva this morning), upgrading PHP and MySQL on various servers, and beginning the preparation for Thursday morning's work. I'll be getting out of here in ten minutes to see if I still remember how to run fast.