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June's Journal
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[16:45] It was a mixed weekend, if I'm honest. It started off with me being on a bit of a downer on Friday evening, then got worse when I was roundly beaten by Rachel at parkrun on the Saturday morning. This was 100% entirely down to me wrapping too much of my self-worth up in how fast I can run (compared to her). She's just better than me these days and it's unlikely that tide is ever going to change again given my age. Unfortunately there's a significant part of me that isn't happy about this, and that is something I need to work on. Suffice it to say I've been trying, but that on top of still being in something of a slump depression-wise this last week or two meant I wasn't awesome company for most of the weekend. Luckily Rachel is amazing, wonderful, and lovely and somehow doesn't seem to mind. Or at least that what she says and shows. I don't quite know how she manages to be like that, but there it is. Anyway, after parkrun we headed home, showered and then went right back out to get on a train to see her parents for the afternoon close by. We had a nice time, and I was sociable and approachable and everything. It was probably the best thing for me, to be honest. I was around people I couldn't wallow in my depression with, and I was interacting and stuff. Eventually we went our separate ways and headed home. On Sunday morning we were again a bit under pressure for time so we dashed out to get our 1.5 hour run done, then showered and headed to London and Putney to marshal a chunk of the Prudential Ride 100 course. Not my choice of afternoon entertainment, but given all the races I've run it was nice to be able to give back. After that was done, rather than head all the way back to my place we took two trains back to Croydon for the evening instead. That meant I was on trains this morning to get to work, which all went according to timetable and I've been at my desk for a respectable time and conducting the business of Monday without any significant issues, including the server I was worried about not spouting any ECC memory errors whatsoever, oddly. I'm still going to be cold power cycling it tomorrow morning, but unless I'm very unlucky (don't get me started) that shouldn't lead to anything untoward. But we'll see.

I think I might start doing a little more speed work these next few weeks, as much as I dislike it. I want some of my sprint strength back. I'd like to start at least matching Rachel and a few other friends at parkrun again.

[16:40] Hurrah for rest days. Not only did I get up later than I have all of this week, I also got to shave and generally make myself a better person for running and being around. The latter being especially good as Rachel is turning up earlier than we'd thought this evening, which is great. Over the weekend we'll be doing parkrun I'd imagine, seeing her parents just up the railway (next but one stop, really), doing various other things here, and then going to marshal at the Pru London cycle race on Sunday. We thought we'd be commuting from here to there and back as Rachel was going to be working from (my) home on Monday, but she can't, so it seems likely we'll just go back to her place in Croydon on Sunday evening and I'll head to work from there on Monday. For once it'll be a reasonable division of our time between our two houses (rather than it all being at mine and her doing all the long journeys).

Work today has been mildly frustrating as a Dell engineer hasn't believed my logs that I've got ECC issues with a server and is instead choosing to believe the other logs I sent him which I don't think show the necessary information to give a diagnosis. As a result it's possible a rather important server might crash over the weekend (taking down its three guest servers). I've got an auditable trail of accountability, so all I'll have to do on Monday is pick up any pieces, if necessary.

That's probably it, I think.

[17:45] I ended up going to bed before 22:00 last night. I wasn't all that tired, but figured as I needed to be up early this morning I may as well get my head down (and read a bit before going to sleep). I think it helped as I was fairly awake when I got out of bed at 05:50. I was running by 06:00 and home exactly 50 minutes later as per my training plan. I don't know if it was the jabs I had yesterday, or something more positive, but my heart rate was consistently lower for the perceived effort I was putting in, I thought. I headed to work to do the very little I needed to be at my desk for at 08:00, and then got on with the rest of my day. The major things I did today was cobble together a few new Ansible roles and throw them at three new servers I was suddenly asked to create at the tail end of yesterday. They're pretty much ready to go other than a few new things that've cropped up at the tail end of today. I'll do those things (via Ansible) tomorrow.

Tomorrow's also a rest day, which is nice. I might even not get up until gone 07:00. Oh, and I've been following Rachel's menu/meal plan all week whilest she's been away. It has lead to some nice food, but more washing up that I usually generate when I'm on my own.

[17:15] It wasn't raining this morning, but it turned out to be more humid than it felt like. So the run was harder than I was expecting. Unless it was yesterday's hard session which had some effect. Probably. It was nice that I didn't have to push it this morning in any event, and I even got to slow down a little to keep my heart rate below 150bpm, which I managed for the most part. At work I've been fielding VM requests and trying to sort out what it is that is required (and what isn't). Tomorrow may be another busy day in that regard. It'll also be another early start as I want to get my run done before getting in to work just before 06:00 for more network reconfigurations. I think that's everything, other than the fact that I got in to work a little later this morning as I was having Typhoid and Yellow Fever jabs this morning to prepare for Kenya in a few months from now. My left shoulder has been aching on and off since it happened. Maybe I should have had one in each.

[17:05] Today was... I guess it was a useful day. If only to show that I can run reasonble sprintervals when I'm supposed to. Although I can't guarantee that as my GPS watch went crazy in the middle of my run and put me over a mile away from where I actually was for a while before snapping back about ten minutes later. So, that was annoying as now I have a whole set of new 'records' for distances in times I can never hope to even come close to, which messes up Strava and Endomondo, etc. Oh well. That's about it, really. Some stuff done at work, new VMs, configuration changes, general... stuff. This is probably how it'll be for a little while until something new and big comes down the pipe. Useful on one score as I'm mentally a bit unsettled by the house purchase/impending move stuff.

[17:10] I have to say, I'm enjoying this new marathon training programme I'm on for the one in Kenya. It may not have me ready for the Vanguard Way Marathon in a few weeks from now, but it's certainly not as hard as other programmes I've done/concocted myself. Today was only a 25 minute (I did 30 just because I wasn't close to the finish point when 25 minutes rolled around) run at an easy pace. I pushed it up to the top end of aerobic, which still meant I made it back to the office without having sweated all that much. That's been the highlight of my day, really. Nothing much else has gone on. The weekend was good, though. I ran to, did, and ran back from parkrun, which was good. I didn't push too hard at parkrun (although I'm thinking I will start to from now on to make it my 'fast' session of the week), so that was nice too. Back home I cleaned and tidied the house a little bit so I wouldn't feel too embarrassed when my landladies showed round their next prospective tenant. I then headed into town to meet Rachel for lunch, which was wonderful. We went to Waterstones afterwards to read books and things, then headed home via Tesco. Unfortunately I then had a dose of the downs, for the first time in a while. Or at least the first time in a while I've been hit so hard by them. Rachel was, of course, a wonderful partner to have around while I was in the pit, and I think that's a major contributory factor to me finding that I was rising back out of it without even realising. She's amazing and special like that. She also made us a fantastic dinner as we settled in for the evening. On Sunday neither of us wanted to get out of bed, so we didn't until close to midday, which was marvellous. By the time we were ready to go for our run the heavens had opened and we elected not to get soaked to the bone and instead wait for an hour or so before the rain stopped. Once it had we headed out and did a 1h 40m run at a moderately steady pace. By the time we got back and clean we were famished, so had a very late lunch. The remainder of the afternoon passed by quite quickly, and I don't really remember much about it other than Rachel again making a delicious evening meal and us catching up on House of Cards. Neither of us slept all that well last night, and I for one was extremely groggy until well after I arrived at work this morning. I'm looking forward to going home (hopefully without getting soaked from the thighs downwards (great waterproof) and definitely getting an early night tonight.

[16:20] Well, we decided to go out last night and really smash the row. And as a result we did what we set out to do, which was awesome. However, with one shout I managed to very slightly strain my throat/vocal chords, leading me to sound a tiny bit hoarse for the remainder of the evening. Still, a great result, made all the sweeter by coming around onto the final bend of the course to find that our other two crews above us had also done great things. We all rowed back as a fleet of three feeling very pleased with ourselves.

Tonight is now the last day of racing this week. I have no idea how well we'll do this evening, but I have high hopes given last night's performance. Disappointingly, I not only forgot to start my GPS watch before the cannon went off, but the person in bow didn't start the camera, so we have no video of the row either. Hopefully tonight will be an opportunity to remedy both of those issues, maybe with a reminder from Max to start my watch.

I got up semi-early this morning to do a nice sub-150bpm run to the lock and back again, then headed to work and did... basically a day's worth of work stuff. Nothing important, really. No-one cares.

So tonight is racing, after that is as much socialising as I can manage before I slip away and go to bed while people are still winding up to peak party levels. Saturday morning I'll probably do a moderately gentle parkrun, then clean and tidy the house a bit before meeting Rachel in town for a nice lunch together. We'll go to a bookshop or two, then to Tesco, then home. Chances are she might go straight to the hospital to visit a friend who's in after a car accident a little while ago and I might come too rather than be home while my landladies show someone around the house (which is why I'll be cleaning and tidying it a bit). Sunday... I don't know, it's empty at the moment, which is nice. There'll probably be some kind of longish run happening. Then it'll be Monday again, unfortunately.

[17:10] A slightly easier row last night. Although we had one rower who was touch-and-go as to whether he'd be able to get in the boat or not we still put in the same crew and came away with an excellent start and then an ability to take it easy after about three fifths of the course owing to crews around us getting taken out of the race. That was helpful as I think we're going to try to really go for it this evening.

I headed home as soon as I could after we'd returned to the boat house, downloaded the video from the camera, had some crumble and went to bed. This meant that I could sleep through most of the torrential downpour overnight, get up doubly early to do a sub-150bpm run to the lock and back and still get to work before 08:00 to do a PHP upgrade and be on hand to say if servers moved from old to new Cisco networking equipment came back or not. One whole rack did not, so we had to return them to the old switch until someone in Networks gets the configuration right for the new FEX ports. Otherwise today I've been trying to relax as much as possible, get out of my chair to keep my muscles loose, and work on some quite helpful Ansible stuff for future builds of Drupal/Aegir servers.

Now I'm off home to have another early dinner and then it's off to the river to row.

[16:45] Well, the first night of racing went as expected. We had a great start, then made no ground on the crew in front (who were also from our club). Then again we also weren't caught by the crew behind either. After the race we headed back to the boat house, then I cycled back with Max and Stacey who were walking back to my house to collect their car. The video of the night's row wasn't all that interesting, so I haven't bothered to publish it. Unfortunately, one of my crew has complained of a neck/back issue today, so we've been looking at potential subs for tonight's row. Thus far we don't seem to have had much success. Additionally I had to pop a very deep blister at the base of one of my fingers this morning and it's only going to get worse over the next three nights. I think it might be quite uncomfortable this evening, especially considering how hard I was finding it to feather and square last night by the latter part of the race.

I did make time this morning to go out for a gentle 7km-ish gentle run before work. It was hellishly humid, even if it wasn't all that hot. I was still rather damp by the time I got home again. Workwise nothing of import has happened today. Tomorrow morning I'll be in early to do some PHP upgrades and also make sure that servers being moved from old Cisco switches to shiny new FEXes are still contactable afterwards. Other than that, the day is full of promise, rather than scheduled work.

Anyway, I have to head off now to have an even earlier dinner than normal so I can get out on the towpath and be a race marshal before doing my own race.

[16:55] Not a stunning night's sleep last night, if I'm honest. Couldn't tell you why either. In the end I got up at roughly the right time, did some morning exercises, and went to work. At work I've done plenty of useful things for most of the day, as well as somehow regaining access to a web site that wasn't accessible for all of yesterday. I'm off home shortly to have a very early dinner (the first of the week, and for the next three days after this) so that it has been reasonably well digested by the time I get to the boat house to race this evening. I have no idea how things are going to go tonight/this week, but I'll keep you informed as the event progresses. I'll also be mounting my GoPro knockoff on the bow canvas again, just to see if it does any kind of OK job of getting image and sound in approximate sync.

[17:15] A smashing weekend again, thanks for asking. I went and ran to and from parkrun on Saturday morning after breaking and deciding on pizza on Friday night (I convinced myself it was carb-loading for this week's rowing). The parkrun was fun, but I made myself not go flat out as that's not what the training programme said I should do. Once home I got cleaned up and did the Tesco thing, making sure I had all the things Rachel needed me to get for meals for the remainder of the weekend. She arrived later on on Saturday evening and we got down to making both dinner and the dinner for the Sunday night as well (although in all honesty Rachel did most of the heavy lifting). Then we just settled in for the night. On Sunday we decided that it was at least a morning of rest (if not a day of rest). This meant we didn't actually get up to do our run much before midday. This therefore meant that it was quite hot and humid by the time we got out there. I came back drenched, as I always do in hot weather. Running duty done for the day we were able to sit back, do other things, and not think about much else for the rest of the day. That's about it, really. Quite nice and peaceful. I even got to call my parents.

This morning we both felt quite lethargic when we arose, Rachel to head off to London and me to work after morning exercises. Today I've done some useful VM creation and configuration, sent some useful emails, fiddled with this and that, here and there, and looked forward to going home, reading, and then cycling to a race marshal meeting at a local venue to prepare for the one shift I have as a race marshal this week (Wednesday evening, I think). And now it's well past home time, so off I go.

[16:30] Rachel was with me last night, and it was wonderful to just be able to relax together. I went and got us some nice food for dinner on the way home, so for once she/we didn't have to throw ideas around before getting something. I should do that more often, I think. This morning neither of us wanted to get out of bed, but we managed it eventually and went on our respective ways to work. At work I tore down one VM, created another, did some useful stuff here and there, and tried not to look at houses which have come on the market recently which might be better than the one I'm in the process of buying. I should stop doing that.

Tonight I might finally mow the front lawn again before the mower can't cope with it any more. Maybe some hedge-trimming too, although I might do that over the weekend instead while I wait for Rachel to come back. I'll do parkrun tomorrow morning, I think. Nothing too fast as that's not what my training plan has down. A longer run on Sunday than I've been doing recently though, I think... Ah no, only 1 hour and 20 minutes, so nothing too out of the ordinary. Rachel and I should have Saturday evening and all of Sunday together, unless something crops up. See you on Monday.

[17:10] No run this morning. Got to work early, did work, went for a run at lunch time (day 1 of a new marathon training plan), did some more work, about to go home. Rachel will be arriving at some point (sooner rather that later, I hope) and then all will be well. Tomorrow will be Friday, thank goodness. Allegedly a long-running and well past sell-by date application will be decomissioned then. This will rid me of seven RHEL5 server instances, six of them virtual, three of those Xen, and one physical server. Hurrah. Of course, this may not happen if everyone else hasn't got their duck in a row. We'll see.

[17:15] I planned on getting up early to run before work this morning. However, after last night's torrential rain, which I thought might still be going this morning, as well as going to bed a little later than I'd planned (for no particular reason), I just turned off the alarm and stayed in bed until around 08:00. I'm getting up early tomorrow morning anyway to be in work in time to ensure all servers having their network ports attached to new switches come back and are visible following the move. That means if I run tomorrow then it'll be at lunchtime. Much as I ended up doing today, actually. Although perhaps not as far. Max went running mid-morning, and his route looked fun enough that I thought I'd do it myself. It was fun, although I worried a few times if I was going to turn my ankle (I didn't). I didn't push too hard, but with the heat and the climbs (a surprising number for this neck of the woods) it ended up being a reasonable workout.

I've been given a bank party role for the racing next week, as well as being asked to find bank parties for our boat when we're rowing. I definitely won't be doing the boat organisation this time next year; it's just more effort than I want to be bothered with. However, I think I've got it in hand, maybe.

Erm, I think that's probably it for today. Tomorrow's all about making sure servers are responding, doing some other stuff, then Rachel arriving in the evening, yay!

[17:20] Quiet day today. Not a lot going on. What did go on was a run at lunch time before the rain came down this afternoon. That was with Max, and went well (steady, nothing broke). Otherwise the day was about maintaining the status quo. Before work I went into the bank to make sure I can get easy access to all of the funds I'm going to need to buy the house (effectively cleaning me out, but there you go). Turns out everything should be straightforward. However, I am going to get my financial ducks lined up in a row a good 3-4 days before I need to do some major CHAPS transfers.

Last night's final outing before next week's races went reasonably well. Everyone was, I think, a little less switched on than on Sunday morning, but it was still a fairly promising example of what rowers who haven't rowed in quite some time can do. Bits of me ache a bit today, but I don't think there's anything we need to be particularly worried about... other than other crews being faster than us. And maybe that none of us have all that much in the way of rowing stamina if we have to keep going for a while. We'll see. Eight days of recovery (from rowing, anyway) now.

[17:00] Very full weekend in passing! On Saturday Rachel and I got up early and onto the first of ten trains of the day to get to Manchester via Doncaster (where we'd been going to meet Rachel's parents before driving to the Peak District to meet my parents). Once in Manchester (trains were flawless) we spent lunchtime with my parents catching up and making sure they were both OK. Then it was back to the train station and on trains back home again. A long day, but very much worth it. We ended up getting takeaway curry once we were home as it was just easier. On Sunday morning I was pleased to find that my back was feeling pretty much fine, so it was was great pleasure that I headed to the boat house and had a rather good outing with the eight other people I'll be rowing with in races next week. Once I got back from that Rachel went for a long, hot run, whilest I went to Tesco for us. When everyone was home again we were able to have a lovely lunch in the garden, then catch up on this and that before settling down for a lazy afternoon and evening.

We decided to get up earlier than we needed to this morning and have a gentle recovery run to the lock and back before Rachel had to head to London. This proved to be a little bit of an issue for me as it woke something unhappy in my right hamstring which I hope will calm down in time for this evening's outing (the last before a week on Tuesday when we race for the first time). Since then I've been at work doing Monday work things and worrying that something I couldn't handle might come up with everyone else in my team being on holiday today. Right now I've just finished booking a hotel for two nights for the tail end of our big trip to Kenya later in the year, and now I'm off to help a colleague move a piano before he drops me off in time to get to the boat house for a row. It doesn't seem to have thunder and lightninged today as it was 'supposed' to, so here's hoping it doesn't do it in the next four hours or so!

[16:50] Somehow I've managed to tweak my back again. And I did while warming up to do exercise at the boat house this morning. Stupid. I have no idea how/why it happened. It started in the bottom of my right lat. and seems to have moved across to the middle/spinal area. I'm glad I'm not rowing tomorrow, but I will be on Sunday morning and Monday evening, so I hope things have settled down by then. I'll take an Ibuprofen or two over the next 40 hours or so, which should help.

In other news, Rachel and her friend from Kenya arrived last night, we had dinner, perspired in the evening heat, chatted a bit, then went to bed. This morning I left Rachel to go for a run and then do her day's activities with her friend while I went to the boat house and did strength and conditioning with Max before cycling to work. At work I've done a few useful things, and been to have a very interesting and useful meeting with my conveyancer, which has resulted in an email to the house seller and an appointment with an account manager at my bank so that I know what state my money is in (i.e. how to get access to it when I need it). Now I'm off for the weekend. Tonight Rachel will arrive after seeing her friend off on the next stage of her visit to the UK, then on Saturday we head to see my parents for a flying visit by many trains. We'll arrive home at a fairly sensible time, but then need to be in bed so that I can get up and to the boat house on Sunday morning. After the outing on Sunday (during which time I imagine Rachel will go for a nice long run) we'll... do some other stuff. I don't really know what at the moment, but I'm sure Tesco will be involved, also relaxing, eating, and decompressing from the previous six days of everything.

Right, I'm off home to do some washing up, read, and drink lots of cool drinks (as well as take an anti-inflammatory).

[17:00] Investments continue to be lower than I'd hoped. Maybe they're like a watched kettle and I should just look away for a week or two. Stupid governmental and financial upheavals. Couldn't they have waited a few more months?

In other news I got up early for another run this morning. Not as long as yesterday morning's, but still hot and difficult. According to my records, also the slowest I've ever run the route I did since 2012. That's very disappointing. I really do seem to be getting slower and slower. I wonder if it truly is the low-carbohydrate food plan I'm on at the moment. If it is I really will have to change back in a few weeks otherwise I may not make it through some of the races I have coming up between now and the end of the year.

At work I've opened up a few cans of worms for myself in terms of things to do given that I don't have much on my plate at the moment and it's better to be occupied than just sitting at my desk watching things on the internet. Nothing particularly hard (just in case something critical comes up that I have to deal with) but things that should keep me occupied for a while.

Lastly, I've had the results of the secondary survey of the house I'm hoping to buy. The damp issue in the shower room isn't something I need to worry about, apparently (although I am going to invest in another course or two of tiles once I move in). What I do have to look into is getting timber treatment for some woodworm in the loft/roof timbers. Nothing too serious, but it's going to cost a small chunk of change to get done. I've sent a suitably-worded (I hope) email to the house sellers asking if the costs can be taken out of money I'm going to owe them for various things they're selling me, or that they can get the work done themselves before I move in and give me a certificate attesting to that. I'll see what they say, probably before the end of the day.

I'm heading home now to clean and tidy the house as Rachel's here tonight with a friend from Kenya. It's going to be a bit odd, but I'm sure it'll be fine. In the morning I'll be up earlyish to head to the boat house to do some strength and conditioning work with Max. Then it'll be a trip to my conveyancer at lunch time to talk about all things house purchase.

[16:50] I'm a little concerned about my investments. For the first time in a good few months they've started to go down in value a little. I'm desperately hoping they don't continue to sink between now and the beginning of September when I'll actually want to cash them in. It would be... annoying if they'd continued to rise for the last five and a bit years, only to crash right when I needed them. I say "annoying", I mean potentially catastrophic. But we'll see, I guess.

Speaking of catastrophic, that's almost how this morning's run went. I got up "nice" and early to get a good 24km in, and barely survived 20km before it even got all that warm. It wasn't all that fast (but neither was it slow), and while I think I could have kept going, it didn't feel all that good. I'm committing to this lower carbohydrate intake thing for the time being, but it may be that it just isn't working for me. A few more weeks, I think. Maybe a couple of months.

I was thinking I'd pop to the boat house this evening for some weights, but I'm not sure that would work well with the run I want to do tomorrow morning, given this morning's demi-debacle.

[17:00] I cycled home last night via the bike shop to get my good commuter bike back, and then wobbled it and the other bike to the boat house to do an hour or so of weights (being careful of my back, which I tweaked exactly a week previously) before wobbling both bikes back to the house. Everything went safely, thankfully. We'll just have to see how long these new pads last. I had a complete brain fail on what to cook for dinner, so had to break out the emergency frozen pizza, which was a bit disappointing.

Sleep came quickly, and I had a pretty good night's sleep, which was nice. Although I'm sure I had some odd dreams, I can't remember any of them. I cycled into work this morning, happy to be back on my good bike again, and also fairly achilles tendenitis free, which was also a pleasant change. I can sometimes tell how good/unaffected I'm going to be by how they feel walking from the cycle corral to the front door of my building. Over lunch I decided to push a little harder than normal, and do the reverse of the route I've been doing fairly regularly on a Tuesday morning. I'd like to think I could go a lot faster, but apparently not at the moment. I'm still quite disappointed in how I'm doing relative to Rachel's increasing power and speed, but perhaps I just need to bite the bullet and get on with doing some proper sprintervals/speedwork. That might start tomorrow morning. Maybe.

I'm off home now, possibly to read all evening as I've got nothing to watch and I've restarted a good book series. Dinner should be a little more interesting than last night, I hope. It'll probably involve chicken. Oh, and I've still to hear anything from the company who did my secondary survey on the house. If I don't hear anything by lunchtime tomorrow I might give them a nudge.

[16:45] We did masses this weekend, and it all started on Thursday evening when I took the train to Rachel's. We met on the train heading south out of London and took the tram home as that's where both of her bikes were. We had a fab evening and even got to sleep in a little on the Friday morning. After a bit we ended up going for a run around the local park (cutting short what we might have done), and then after a shower went for a great bit of lunch at her favourite close-by cafe. Once we'd cycled to the train station and taken trains back to my place we settled in for a bit of present-opening before wandering out a little later on to do the Tesco shop and later after that to get Indian takeaway. Saturday morning was something of a triumph for Rachel as we cycled to the local parkrun and she got herself a new 5K PB, totally demolishing her previous time (and my PB). This called for going home and having a rather nice lunch. Which we did. After relaxing afternoon, during which time I think I managed to correctly organise getting the secondary survey of my potential house purchase organised for just after lunchtime today, Dunk arrived and once the last bits of Rachel's baking were done we headed over to Keith's second shed party. A good time was had by all, and we even managed to stay until well past 22:30 before heading home again. I think Dunk came back to spend the night some time around midnight. In the morning he left early to get back to his wife and children, so Rachel and I got up and pottered around. To cut a long story short we had a chilled out day, went for a 26 mile cycle in the evening, watched a good bit of television and had nice food.

This morning I left for work with two bikes so I could get my good one repaired (the disc brakes are acting up, again). I've done a fair bit of useful work today, but hope to get something more substantial done tomorrow. I'm about to go and collect my bike, then do some weights at the boat house.