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April's Journal
June's Journal

[16:25] Lots of racing this weekend. Hopefully we'll do more than OK, and it won't result in me getting home very late on Sunday. Not that it matters all that much as Rachel won't be here owing to having other things to do, and me likely not making it back to de-trailer and re-rig everything until gone 20:00 on the Sunday night. I do want to have a little down time before Monday though.

Rachel was here last night, which was smashing. I'd managed to get the house into at least reasonable shape (although I'm still not managing to put clean washing away as quickly as I probably should), so all we had to do was enjoy the evening (check), and make some food (check again). Sadly we didn't get to take today off work so she had to head off early this morning. I had another morning of not doing morning exercises, which I'm claiming I'm doing under orders from the coach who told us not to do anything for the two days before this weekend's regatta. We'll see if it helps by the end of Sunday.

I've decided to see if I can see a showing of Mad Max: Fury Road this evening after helping with a bit more trailer packing for the regatta. I've invited Cormac along too, and hope that I have at least one free cinema ticket left (possibly two, in which case I'll cover his costs too).

So that's about it for me, for this week. Competing all day Saturday and Sunday, staying down there over night, pub table booked for ten plus people on Saturday evening, and a whole lot of clothing and food to pack into my ruck sack for a 05:30 pick up tomorrow morning. Have a good weekend and see you on Monday.

[17:05] Another evening, another outing of not quite rowing together, again. Still, this was our last outing before the weekend's racing at Dorney, so there's that. Two days of relaxation, which I hope everyone will take advantage of fully, rather than exercising on the sly. We derigged and trailered the boat last night, which meant I got home quite late, then decided to watch a two hour film when I got home. This meant a slightly later bed time than normal which, coupled with the last few days' worth of outings/exercise meant that I was very tired when I woke up this morning. As a result I actually stayed in bed until 08:00 and didn't do any morning exercises. Naturally I feel lardy and slow, and worry that I'm putting on useless weight. Rachel would say otherwise, but I don't think I'm doing my midriff any favours at the moment.

Speaking of Rachel, she's gracing me with her presence this evening, so I should head off soon and try to make the house a little more presentable, and maybe even do some washing and washing up.

[17:20] Last night's outing was a bit flat, really. The boat was canted to one side for most of the time, which was annoying. We also weren't as powerful as we were the previous night, probably because we were quite tired. Frankly I think the whole crew is still rowing as eight separate people rather than 'as one', but there isn't a huge amount I can do about that, being only one of the eight. I have no idea how we're going to do this weekend, but we have one last outing tonight (technical, rather than power, apparently), and then we're derigging and relaxing before Saturday and Sunday races/time trials.

Sorry that most of what I talk about is rowing right now. Other than that, and the odd bit of work which stands out, everything else is doing fun things outside of work with Rachel. Oh, I saw Max last night for the first time in a while. He's doing well, although slightly injured at the moment (not quite so bullet proof as he used to be). I might have convinced him to come back to rowing next season, but we'll have to see.

Right, I guess that's about it for today. Outing tonight, then derigging, steak for dinner, and hopefully a moderately early bed. Rachel's here tomorrow evening (hurrah!) so that should be a welcome change to the status quo.

[17:10] It was, all things considered, a pretty good long weekend. Rachel arrived on Friday, which was great. Sadly not as early as she would have liked owing to train issues, but nevertheless, earlier than normal. I then had outings on Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon was mostly about relaxing, I think. Honestly, I'm having trouble remembering what we did... but Rachel tells me that she got a new PB at parkrun (she's faster than me now) while I was rowing, we went for new running shoes for her in the afternoon at my favourite running shop, and generally relaxed where possible. Sunday I had an outing in the morning (what I thought would be my last with M1 as I was down to row with M2 from Monday onwards due to someone recovering from injury) so Rachel went to London to have lunch with an old friend. So, after my outing I did the Tesco thing, then went and helped out with the regatta my club was running for most of the afternoon. When Rachel came back we hung out by the river for a bit and then went home. Monday was a bank holiday so I had my first sleep in of the weekend (I haven't been sleeping all that well recently, I think it's a temperature thing more than anything else), and then we went for my first run since the marathon. Other than a few old aches and pains making themselves known again things went pretty well. We put in a good 7km or so. Nothing too ambitious. Lunch in town, shopping for cereal bowls, then home for what remained of the afternoon. Owing to someone dropping out of M1 to prepare himself for World Class Start rowing training I was moved back up into M1 for an evening outing (which means I'll be going to Met. Regatta this weekend coming, rather than Peterborough) and we had a moderately good outing with bank coaching. I'm becoming more and more sure that the coach really doesn't see much positivity in me being in the boat, and especially now as I'm replacing someone 6-8" taller than me who pulls a 2K about 20seconds faster than I do. Still, that's just how it goes. I made it home in time to have another delicious dinner courtesy of Rachel's amazing cooking. This morning was a horrible return to the drag of the semi-rat race. Luckily work has been pretty quiet today with not much in the way of things to fix following the bank holiday (usually at least one piece of hardware goes wrong during a three day weekend). I've got an outing with M1 this evening, and am a little worried that there's something wrong between my neck and the edge of my shoulder which could be exacerbated by this evening's row... We'll have to see. Other than that there's not a whole lot else going on. Oh, except Rachel and I have booked a significant chunk of our 'summer' holiday, which is great news. Now I just have to get through the chunk of life between now and then intact. Surviving this evening's outing will be a good first step.

[16:45] It's the end of the working week. Owing to a security scare in London Rachel hasn't made it here yet, but she's apparently on her way, which is good. I've had a complete day off from exercise, which I think was a good idea considering the weekend's going to be pretty full-on in terms of rowing (although only one outing on Sunday, there'll be two on Saturday morning and two on Monday (morning and evening)). Not much has happened at work today. Really, it's been something of a dead week in terms of things to do. I'm still researching something to get my teeth into here, but I'm beginning to make progress, I think. No reply to my email sent yesterday morning to the men's coach about my potential position in the M1 crew. Maybe something tonight, or over the weekend, we'll have to see. Even a "you'll know when everyone else knows" would be fine. Anyway, that's that. Otherwise there'll be relaxation, possibly helping with my club's event on Sunday whilest Rachel's seeing a friend for the afternoon/evening, and then the middle of Monday to look at holiday plans and running races to enter. I've already booked a small chunk of the last quarter of the year off, so now all we have to do is work out what to do with it. I'm sure we'll think of something. Have a good weekend.

[16:45] Last night I paced someone for their 2K test so they didn't have to do it alone. The first 1K actually went better than the previous night, and if I hadn't taken the pressure off for about 500m there might have been a chance at getting a better time than 24 hours earlier. However, I did, so ended up only half a second behind him. Although my time from the night before trumps his by a few seconds I do wish I'd beaten him last night, too. After that we had a hard outing, which left me feeling pretty tired, so bed was quite early. The morning outing was something of a surprise, as it turned out I had to swap sides, something I haven't done in over a year. Still, other than some brand new blisters (which I'd managed to avoid so far) because of that, everything seemed to go reasonably well. The coach changed who was at stroke last night, but it wasn't me he put there. Instead it was the person I'd just paced for his 2K test. As I'm not entirely sure of my status in this crew I emailed the coach this morning to get some clarification, as well as to ask if there was any chance of me going at stroke. At this point I don't think I'd be too heartbroken if he said I was simply keeping a seat warm for someone else. If I end up being ejected in favour of someone else I think I'd probably stop rowing for this season and pick it up again at the beginning of next. Running, cycling, and maybe some coaching would keep me occupied, I hope. Of course, I would like to be rowing, but from what I can see, the M2 crew doesn't really have the same drive as M1.

Nothing happening at work again today other than me finding a nifty way to search for rogue MAC addresses on our network. Rachel's not coming this evening, so I've got a massive pile of washing up to keep me company this evening, then maybe some reading, or television.

[17:00] So the 2K test didn't go exactly as I'd hoped. It wasn't a complete failure, but the time wasn't anything to be happy about. Unless something remarkable happens, the chances are I'll have posted a time faster than at least two others in the current crew. We'll see whether that's the case when I pace one of them for his 2K this evening at 17:30 (before our outing). One's a stroke sider, the other a bow, so I've no idea what that'll mean for crew selection. Especially not while the coach still has the infatuation with the strong-but-dumb strokesider who is currently injured but seems to be assured his seat back (possibly even without doing a 2K) as soon as he's fit again. Anyway, it's done. My cadio was fine for it, but I just didn't have the strength in my legs to keep the 500m split I was hoping for. Such is life. If I make the M1 crew there's a leg exercise regimen/regime I can do that should build some leg strength quite quickly, I hope. We'll just have to see, and it won't help with transitioning back to running again afterwards terribly quick and easy.

So that's that. There's not much else going on at the moment, I have to say. Even work is quiet right now. I replaced a drive this morning, shipped the failed one back to Oracle via an overly complicated call to the shipping company. Otherwise... that's about it, really. Other than the fact I broke a cereal bowl this morning, despite thinking at the exactly moment I broke it that it would be silly to break it right then.

[16:00] Over the weekend I raced at Nottingham Regatta. We didn't do very well, sadly. Not abysmally, but certainly not amazingly well, either. It was nice to have gone there on the Friday and stayed over night rather than having to drive there early on the Saturday morning, though. Two heats (different categories), no finals. We're just not that good. I got a lift back on Saturday afternoon and was home in good time to have a relaxing evening. On Sunday I met Rachel in London for a train to Sutton Coldfield. This was a bit fraught at one point as the Underground line I was due to use was closed where I needed it, so I had to wait for a replacement bus instead, which then got caught in slow-moving traffic. Everything worked out in the end, though. The hotel in Sutton Coldfield was lovely, and I was even able to fit in one more set of erg sprints on the Sunday evening, although I think it wiped me out for the rest of the day. It's possible that those, mixed with an overly rich dinner contributed to me having a rather disturbed beginning to the night. Then in the morning there was an annoying electrical whine which woke us around 06:45. It got dealt with, eventually, but it was a bit bothersome. After breakfast we checked out and relaxed in the pool/steam room/sauna, before walking to the train station in what turned out to be quite a heavy downpour. Luckily our waterproofs were, mostly, so we survived and dried out on the trains home. Rachel came back with me for the evening, which was lovely. Tesco for the week, then relaxation. What really set me off-kilter was finding out I was supposed to be in an outing last night, when I'd set myself as not available many weeks previously. Even though a sub was found quickly the whole situation/episode pushed me into a mini-depression which I had a bit of a hard time with. Having Rachel around certainly helped, though. She's good like that. This morning she headed off back down to London and I made my way to work. The weather out of my window has been extraordinarily changeable all day. But so long as I don't get drenched on my way to the boat house this evening I'll be happy. Well, as happy as someone can be when faced with a 2K test. I still have no real idea how it's going to go, but I seem to have come to terms with the fact that if I don't do well the chances are I won't get into the M1 crew. In which case the pressure will be off and I can have a bit more of a life between now and Henley. I'll still try my best tonight, and for whatever boat I get into after that, but given how much less I'm 'feeling it' in terms of rowing this year (almost certainly due to only having come back to it until after my marathon this year, as well as two previous years of full-on rowing) I don't think it would be too upsetting not to be in M1 this time around. Of course, given how much the test has been on my mind, and how it has affected my digestion in the last week or so I'd say I'm still pretty keyed up about it. We'll see how it goes.

[16:40] No outing after all last night, as one of the people down to row has quit and decided that this was retroactive even for the outings he was already down to do. This meant I and a few others were able to get on with derigging earlier, and then I could get home to see Rachel. In the end I actually got home before her and was able to get the washing up done before she arrived, which will make this evening much less busy as I get ready to leave for Nottingham Regatta tonight. I'm racing a minumum of twice tomorrow, and possibly as many as four times depending on whether we get through to the final in each heat. Once in M1, once in M2. A few of us are staying in the hotel on the edge of the lake, so we won't need to go very far in the morning, which is even better.

Amazingly, the work I did yesterday on getting my problematic server to identify its punctured/bad blocks seems to have resulted in either a very unhappy RAID controller which isn't logging any errors any more... or a very happy one where it seems like everything is fixed. I remain doubtful, but will check again on Tuesday when I'm back from the weekend and a Monday off with Rachel. It's racing on Saturday, then home quite late, off to a smashing hotel with Rachel on Sunday, and back home again on Monday afternoon to relax before Tuesday's day of work and momentous 2K test in the evening.

[17:00] I was due to have an outing in M1 last night, but they couldn't find a sub for M2, so I went back to M2 and the coach went in as me in M1. We had a moderately OK outing, other than being fairly unbalanced. M1 had an OK one. I didn't get home until quite late, but made dinner in double-quick time before settling in for some quality television before bed.

I was up early this morning for a rather good outing with M1. The sun was shining and there was no wind, which is probably nothing like it's going to be in Nottingham, never mind tonight with M2. Rachel arrives this evening soon after I get in the boat, so I'm hoping to get away as quickly as I can, even though there's derigging and trailer loading to do for the weekend. I'll have to see what I can do as quickly as possible without leaving people in the lurch.

Today I've been trying to deal with the bad/punctured blocks issue on my 'pet' server and having perhaps a little bit of success, or perhaps none at all. I'm not entirely sure. At one point it was stuck in a fsck/reboot cycle, and I had to break it out of that with some judicious editing of grub. Basically, I think the things I was given suggestions to try and fix, didn't fix anything, but didn't make anything worse either... I don't think. I'll take another look tomorrow. For now though, it's rowing, in the rain, then home to Rachel.

[17:15] Last night's erg went well, considering I was vaguely worried about my back. Either the ibuprofen or my technique meant that nothing hurt terribly much, which was good. I don't think I pulled as hard as I could/should, which did me no favours for next week's 2K test, but I did my bit. I was certainly suffering from that whole body tiredness (not aching) this morning when I woke up. I think "drained" might be the best description. In any event, that feeling, plus my upper back niggle from yesterday morning being quite painful meant that I decided not to do sprint ergs at lunch time today. Given I have an outing tonight, and one tomorrow morning and evening I think I'm getting enough exercise for the time being. I can still do sprints on Friday if I feel like it.

Workwise I'm starting to make progress on how to deal with the "punctured bad blocks" on my troublesome server. Even with all the disks replaced its still suffering from the effects of a failed disk, and issues even before that. What someone on the web is proposing is a bit... risky and complicated, but it might solve my issue. I'll think about it some more tomorrow after tonight's and tomorrow morning's outings with M1. Tomorrow evening's being with M2. The weather's lovely this evening, and the forecast is for sun tomorrow morning but not tomorrow evening, so that should be just about tolerable. Anyway, we're rerigging tonight before this outing, so I should head off. Must remember to go via Tesco on the way home tonight for Saturday's regatta food.

[16:55] Owing to an injury in the M1 boat, I got to row with them last night, and it appears that I'll be in the crew for the regatta this weekend. Which is nice. However, the coach has made it plain that as soon as the injured person is well again they have a place in the boat. Unless I really pull something awesome out of my 2K test next Tuesday that'll be it for me attempting to get into M1 for Henley this year. The small lower back twinge I gave myself yesterday lunch time doing sprint ergs didn't seem to affect my rowing last night, but the upper back twinge I gave myself doing my usual morning exercises this morning may put paid to my erg this evening with the squad. I'm going to head down as soon as I can after work and see what happens when I try to pull on the rowing machine. If it's painful I'll stop and go home and be better in time for tomorrow evening's outing. Otherwise I'll hang around and wait for other people to arrive so we can all do it together. The rest of the week now consists of an M1 outing on Wednesday evening, an M1 outing on Thursday morning, and an M2 outing on Thursday evening. On top of that I may try some more sprint ergs tomorrow and Friday lunch times. Hopefully these back aches will vanish in short order. After all of that I imagine racing with M1 as well as M2 on Saturday will feel like just another day of training. Anyway, that's what's happening outside of work. Inside of work... nothing is happening. Other than me replacing two disks in a RAID5 set and coming to the conclusion that it's not the disks that're at fault, but either the backplane or the RAID controller itself. But anyway, more tomorrow.

[16:40] I can remember more about today, and this weekend just gone. Saturday was supposed to be a two-outing morning rowing-wise. The first went reasonably well, I suppose. However the second one never happened as some of the crew just... wandered off. Definitely not professional, and one of the reasons why I want out of that boat and into M1. In the end I coached the women's Henley 4+ and felt like I made some kind of contribution there, instead. After that I went home, had some lunch, went to Tesco, and tidied the house a bit for Rachel coming the following day. Sunday morning was always planned to be a single outing. As a result it felt like people actually put their backs into it a little bit more and I thought that it wasn't too shabby an outing, for the crew as it stood that day. Afterwards I went home and did some more housework before heading out to meet Rachel at the train station when she arrived at around 12:40 or so. The afternoon was fabulous. It was great to have her back from her week in India, and we celebrated it being a weekend. Later on there was large amounts of sausage and mash, and some downloaded television. I didn't sleep terribly well after around 04:00. This was probably due to not having closed the curtains. I'll try to remember to fix that tonight. However, once we were up and about at around 07:00 I got Rachel on her way and did my morning exercises. Work today has been, as ever, the usual mix of small things, as well as get my team leader caught up on everything that happened last week. At lunch time I went to the boat house to do some more sprint ergs and managed to twinge my lower back in a way I haven't done in years (the other times were rowing-related, too). As I've been asked to sub into M1 this evening I'm loathe to go back on my already-accepted offer, so we'll have to see how I survive the outing. I was doing 4x 750m sprints this time, and having already felt a bit weak before starting them I guess I let my body get out of position and paid the price. They weren't going particularly well anyway. Ibuprofen an hour or so before the outing should see me right, so long as I don't row with bad technique. I'm sure I'll tell you tomorrow how it went.

Did I not do an entry for Friday? I was sure that I did. I'm not entirely sure I remember anything of note which happened. It was a friend's last day at work, I did erg sprints at lunch time, and I probably left work at a reasonable time. For the life of me I can't remember anything else of note about the day, though.

[16:40] The weather last night was grim. Really wet, and very windy. Perfect conditions to practice in, really. The boat went better than I expected, to be honest. I was in at 7 behind stroke, so was able to control things a bit more, which was good. I'm not sure if that's somewhere I'll get to stay, but I might suggest it for future outings. Hopefully I'll eventually get out of that crew and into M1, but there are no guarantees. Home afterwards (and later than I'd like) I made myself a huge curry, then went to bed with the minimum amount of digestion time.

This morning was a standard morning, both before work and in it. For most of the day I've been working on my own as both of my two co-workers who're 'in' have been out, or gone to do personal/family emergency things. Luckily, all of the issues which've come up (some of which weren't mentioned by my team leader before he went on holiday for the week) have been solvable, so it hasn't been too bad, and has given me a modicum of self-worth that I'm actually doing a useful job here (something I've been feeling very doubtful of for a while now).

I'm off shortly to do my second session of erg sprints in preparation for my potentially-make-or-break 2K test on the 19th. I might have company tonight, which may help me concentrate. Or it may not. I'll let you know tomorrow. Then I'm bank partying because apparently I'm one of the few experienced people who can do it, despite there being masses of other people who've almost never bank partied, but would still be just as good as me. Anyway, whinge over. Ergs soon, then a snack, then a slow cycle on my bike. Hopefully it won't rain.

[17:00] Turns out I'm not subbing into M1 at all this week. And I'm still out of M2 tomorrow and bank partying for a lower crew. All of which is more than a little disappointing. I'm beginning to think I'm not going to get into M1 in time for any of the major regattas, and Henley. Last night was Men's erg night. It didn't go terribly, but I can see that I have a lot of short twitch/sprint muscle to get back. Marathon training does not build that kind of thing. Definitely more muscle mass required in general.

I got up a little later than yesterday this morning. Still got the morning exercises done and was in work on time. The wind has been howling outside all day, which is going to make this evening's outing rather interesting, I think. I cycled in it at lunch time to do the first of what I hope to be a regular lunchtime erg session to prepare me for my last/best chance to get into the M1 boat; a 2K erg test on the 19th of this month. Today was 'only' 4x 500m with a minute's rest between each one. I need to bump it up to 6x 500m, and have them all be a little faster than the average 1:38.8ish over all four that I just about managed to achieve today. The next time I try is probably tomorrow (as I'm bank partying rather than rowing) after work, with another session on Friday at lunchtime.

The afternoon has been pretty quiet, and enabled me to get some email correspondence done, as well as clearing down some of the errors and warnings on our monitoring system. In a few minutes I'll head down to the boat house and get ready for this evening's outing. I'm trying not to anticipate it being poor, compared to Monday evening's, but it's difficult. I'd really like to be rowing with people more of my skill level.

[17:10] Interesting extended weekend. Early Saturday morning I had my third outing with my M2 crew before the regatta the following day. We mainly did starts and I came to understand that we definitely weren't going to do terribly well when racing. I revised my estimates downwards some more and went home after coordinating much of the trailer loading. Sunday I didn't have to be up too early, but was because I couldn't sleep. It was hammering down with rain, which made me feel sorry for those racing in the first half of the day. After a cramped lift to the regatta we raced in our heat and were a couple of dozen seconds off the back of the second to last placed boat. More than a little embarrassing, but nothing I really cared about. Our M1 boat faired a little better, and the M1 4+ boats weren't much better either. We derigged and came home again. An expensive trip in terms of time and money for a little under seven and a half minutes of rowing. Such is life. Monday was a bank holiday so I wasn't in work. Instead I had a lazy day (mostly) involving doing washing, washing up, watching television and mowing the lawn. In the evening I subbed into the M1 boat and we did a nice long and strong UT2 outing over the lock and back. I'd like to think I did myself no harm in front of the current men's head coach, but we'll have to see how things go, and how my 2K test goes in a few weeks from now.

This morning I had been told I needed to be in work before 08:00, so arranged my previous evening and morning of as necessary. In the end I had to contact people at 08:10 and ask when I might be called upon to do the work I needed to. This didn't bother me all that much as I was quite tired from last night's outing and having a reason to get up got me going and doing my morning exercises when I might have stayed in bed until 08:00 otherwise. The wind has really come up over the course of the day, so cycling to the boat house for this evening's erg session is going to be interesting. I'm rather glad I'm not rowing today, evening if the weather's pretty warm and sunny otherwise. Apparently I may be subbing into the M1 boat a little more over the course of this week, in addition to being in the M2 boat, and bank party duties. We'll have to see how all that fits together. Rachel's in India until the end of the week, so at least nothing gets in the way of her visiting.

[16:30] Another day with very little going on. Other than this afternoon when I and the Networks person had to go over to another building and work some magic with a UPS and some extension gangs. For the most part though it was about tracking down a missing hard drive, installing it, finding that another disk was more than likely on its way out, and the usual general maintenance and stuff.

Last night was my second outing with the M2 boat. I'm still not all that sure how well we're going at the moment. My instinct says that we're really not doing very well at all, which means this weekend's going to be interesting, as I think I said previously. We have an outing horribly early tomorrow morning, and then we're down to a regatta on Sunday. If things go well on the water then I won't get home until horribly late on Sunday night. However I think that's highly unlikely, so it might be a bit earlier. Monday's a bank holiday so I won't be in work, instead I'll not be running (sadly, as my shin really isn't any better), but I might go for a cycle or do an erg or something instead. Rachel's in India from Sunday for a week or so, so I'll have to amuse myself.