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March's Journal

[16:00] Friday is here. The weather is hot and lovely. I've been stuck indoors all day, and I'm about to get on a train. However, then I'll be with Rachel, although not for most of Saturday, or Sunday morning. But then the remainder of Sunday, and Monday morning we will be together. Not to mention tonight, which won't be spent in a pub after all, but at home on the sofa together, instead.

On Saturday I'll be doings parkrun, then heading to London to work on a stall at the London Marathon Expo while Rachel takes her brother to a fun thing in central London. We'll probably have dinner with her family in London that evening before heading back to Croydon. On Sunday, very early, I'll be traveling with Rachel to the Championship start of the London Marathon, then waving her off and hopefully waving and cheering her on multiple times between the start and the end, when we'll hope to meet up again, see her parents one more time and then head to a lovely hotel for the remainder of the day, stepping out only to have dinner at a close by GBK (probably). I have Monday morning off work and Rachel will go in to her work late(ish), and then we're back into another working week. I have high hopes for Rachel surviving the heat on marathon day better than I would. I'll let you know how she gets on on Monday.

[17:15] Another day of patching and rebooting servers. Other than a few niggles here and there everything seems to have gone fairly well. I still have hundreds of servers to do, but I'm slowly making progress, which is good. I have a few emails to respond to tomorrow to say when I'd like to patch another couple of chunks of the server estate, but they can wait until then.

I went for a run at lunchtime today in what was probably the hottest weather of the year so far. It reminded me why I much prefer running in the cold, and why I'm very glad I did the Manchester Marathon this year rather than the London Marathon. I'm very sure I wouldn't do at all well in this weekend's forecasted temperatures. I do feel for Rachel, even if she does a lot better in the heat than I do. We'll have to see how she does though as she's pulled amazing performances out of the bag many times before.

I should head home and work out the logistics and therefore packing choices I need to make to head to Croydon directly from work tomorrow afternoon, and then travel around London cheering Rachel on, and then not go back to Croydon, but instead stay in London on Sunday night and come back to work from there on Monday morning. Not complicated, but to keep weight down when I'm following Rachel around London I need to have a think about what I leave where.

[17:45] Today has been the first day of patching all the things. There are still very very many things that remain to be patched, but I did a few today, which was good. There were one or two issues concerned with bringing servers and workstations which haven't been patched in a very long time up to current, but I believe I've 'solved' most of them. Couple that with the fact that I mowed both of my lawns yesterday, and neither of them look entirely terrible, and I've had a reasonably productive 24 hours for the first time in a while. I also managed to not go for a run today, which was probably good for me too, in another way.

For now though I'm going to go home and hope that this warm weather cools down somewhat for the weekend so that Rachel doesn't get too hot when running the London Marathon. It has a few days yet, but currently I think we're going to be due some overly 'fine' weather.

[16:50] Not a huge amount going on today. The weather has been lovely, so I did a slightly longer run over lunch time to take advantage of it, and I might even get around to mowing the back gardens when I get home this evening. Work wise not a lot is going on for me in the office right now. I'm keeping on top of things where I can, and beginning to look at the Red Hat Satellite upgrade and the yearly update of all of the servers I have some responsibility for. I've even sent out the email to 'everyone' asking them to start submitting dates for when they'd like their corner of the server estate patched and rebooted. It'll mean a succession of early Tuesday and Thursday mornings, but hopefully at least a few servers will be allowed to be patched and rebooted during normal working hours. For now though the ball is out of my court and awaiting being batted back by about twenty different people.

[18:10] I had a pretty fabulous weekend with Rachel. I got up on the Saturday morning and did the parkrun at a fairly leisurely pace, which was nice. The lack of all-outedness allowed me to dodge most of the really deep mud and puddles and make it home feeling fairly dry. After getting cleaned up and tidying the house a little I headed into town to bag a table in the Patisserie Valerie and read my book until Rachel arrived (having gone for a quick swim once she got into town to stave off tapering woes). We had food, then headed off to try and find a) collapsable cups (came away with new shoes for me) and, b) spend her voucher from coming third in her age category in a recent half marathon. Sadly we weren't able to find anything that worked, so we went a few doors down to another shop where she spent birthday/Christmas vouchers on something else instead. Then it was home to relax via Tesco, and then for Rachel to prepare dinner for the next two nights, which was amazing of her. On Sunday morning we had a very slow start to the day before Rachel headed off to do her last long run before her marathon next Sunday. I decided to stay home and work on getting all my files from my old laptop onto my new one. Both things took roughly the same amount of time, which was good. I don't recall much else happening on Sunday that I should relate to you, but suffice to to say we had a wonderful, relaxing time together.

This morning Rachel even got a slightly later train than even her normal 'late' train, which was nice. We both got to work OK and in fairly good times. My day has consisted of making sure everything survived the weekend, publishing new Red Hat content views, going for a run with a 1km 'kick' at the end to remind myself just how stupidly quick I ran for 42 of them, and then realising I should have gone home over an hour ago. So I'm going now.

[17:55] I'm at work late today because my birthday present to myself from Rachel and I (a laptop) arrived and I've been configuring it on a fast connection. It's smashing, and far, far faster than the hand-me-down/second hand laptop I've had up until now. It should work with all of my USB peripherals (like an old Canon 350D camera), I think.

For a Friday the 13th things have gone fairly well here. Other than the return of a very old running injury in my right knee, I've got my new laptop working, replaced a hard drive in an unhappy server, and even fixed my Satellite/repository issues from yesterday. I'm going to go home very shortly and so long as I get home OK I'll consider today a huge success.

Rachel arrives tomorrow at brunchtime, and we'll be meeting and eating in town before we go and buy part of something with her prize voucher from coming third in her age group in a recent half marathon. I'll hopefully already have run parkrun, showered, shaved, and been to Tesco before she arrives. We'll see. On Sunday Rachel will be doing her last long run before the London Marathon the weekend after this. If I'm feeling up to it I might go with her (and if she wants company), but I'm wary of this knee issue which seems to appear at around 5km. Other than that we fully intend not to do very much else this weekend.

[18:10] Everything was going quite swimmingly today, until I tried to do something moderately complicated. Now stuff is semi-broken (or at least wedged in a way I don't know how to deal with) so I may have to leave it alone overnight and see if things are working again in the morning. It's all to do with Red Hat Satellite and the fact that Red Hat have moved where the Oracle Java RPMs are to another repository, which you only get access to if you have the right subscription... Which you first of all need to add to your Satellite manifest and then resync. Which I thought I'd done, but it turns out I hadn't. Only now the manifest resync I initiated about forty minutes ago both reports that it completed, and also seems to have paused for no readily apparent reason such that I can't get it to continue. In the mean time I have one new server which needs access to the RPMs that the new repositories contain, and a whole load of older servers which're eventually going to have to be migrated to using the new repositories, if I can ever get them added to my Satellite, synchronised, and then swapped into the relevant content view, which will then be published. It's all quite multi-part, and I've been stymied at the first few stages.

In other, lovely, news Rachel has decided to come to me this weekend. Which is great and very nice of her. As a result I will be on my even better than best behaviour and hopefully make her time here as smashing as possible. She'll be arriving on Saturday morning after she's marshalled at her local parkrun and I've gently run mine.

Anyway, I should go home now and see if this manifest refresh finishes overnight.

[17:40] Well. So, that was the weekend, and two days off work, and my birthday, and lots of time with my most favourite person. Also, I ran the Manchester Marathon in a time of 3:04:07, which is somewhat incredible, and a huge new personal best for me. I'm very pleased, even if I'm still having a bit of trouble processing it. Rachel and I headed to Euston on the Friday evening after a nice quick burger at a close-by GBK, just in time to see that all trains out of Euston were delayed indefinitely due to a major fire next to the tracks just outside of the Wembley area. We hung around for a little while and then decided to use the magic of the internet to book a hotel room for the night and buggered off for a decent night's sleep. We got back to the station early the next morning and boarded a train with our pre-existing tickets and managed to make it to Manchester and be picked up by my parents to head to Bradford to see my brother and his son only 30 minutes later than we would if we'd arrived the previous night and stayed with them. From Bradford we drove north east again and went to see my 102 year old grandmother for a short afternoon before coming back to Bradford for dinner, and then a drive back to Manchester again. I got a moderately good night's sleep before another early rise to get the Metrolink from Sale to Old Trafford to run the marathon. To cut a long race report short, I wasn't sure what to expect, and thought I might not have done enough long runs. But it turned out that the training I did was pretty much right on the money and I was able to maintain half the marathon at a little faster than I needed to, and the second half just a little slower than I needed to. This balanced out to a PB, and about 53 seconds faster than I'd been hoping for. All credit to my coach for coaching me to the result, and to me for trusting the process and not doing more than I was told to do. I think that's also why I didn't get a major injury over the course of this training cycle, too. After the race, which Rachel managed to see me at least six times at various places on the course, we headed back to my parents' house and I collapsed on the sofa for the rest of the day. On Monday Rachel went for a good long run (she still has her marathon to do) and I spent some time getting my parents' computers and broadband working better and generally relaxing a lot. In the evening we all went for a rather delicious meal at a vegetarian restaraunt, which I think was a nice change for Rachel. Tuesday was my birthday, most of it was spent traveling home from Manchester. The trains were flawless, but it still took a significant part of the day. As we were bringing back a few things Rachel took them from the station to the house in a taxi, while I cycled home. She then did her day's run running back to the station to collect her bike for this morning's cycle to the train station. After that she went all out to make my birthday special by making us a carrot cake, not letting me pay for the Indian take away we had, and even going to Tesco for the things I need to get through the week. On top of that she forced me to look for and buy a new laptop so that she could pay for half of it. Happily I was able to find a good one which I managed to get £180 off via various means. This meant she didn't have to spend as much, which was nice for me. We went to bed happy and content and really didn't want to return to real life and work this morning. As a result Rachel got a later train, which was nicer for us both. I cycled in to work via the bank to pay in a cheque, only to remember as I arrived at the bank on the dot of 09:00 that they open at 09:30 on a Wednesday. I'll have to do it tomorrow instead. I've spent the day catching up on everything that went on over the weekend and during the first two days of the week, reporting a failed disk to Dell just before the end of the working day, and preparing for all the things I've been handed to do tomorrow. On top of that RHEL 7.5 was released while I was away, so I need to do things with that as well. For now though I'm going to go home and try to reclaim some of the relaxed sense/feeling I had after finishing the marathon and realising I didn't have it waiting for me to do. Then it's Thursday.

[16:10] A nice, if short, evening with Rachel last night. I think we were both a bit tired for different reasons, so didn't make it to the end of the film we were watching. That's OK though as we should be able to pick up where we left off on the train to Manchester this evening. The day for me has consisted of being baffled by quite how I managed to fix a hardware issue on a server that was only complaining in one specific manner, and then making a manful attempt to clear down various minor flashing lights on our monitoring system. The former required me to cycle over to the furthest server room and do a lot of hardware fettling, the latter a lot of sitting at my desk and doing a fair amount of typing and thinking. Neither was particularly hard, which was nice. I even managed to drink 750ml of water. Not much, but more than I normally do. I should have a little more before I leave for the train station. Whether or not I get to London to meet Rachel for dinner is another matter as there appears to be an issue with the overhead electrical wires near my station, which may not be fixed for a little while. We'll see.

Anyway, trains willing I'm off to Manchester tonight, seeing my grandmother on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors on Saturday and then running the Manchester Marathon on Sunday. Monday I'll be relaxing with my family, and Tuesday traveling home. Tuesday's also my birthday.

I'll catch you up on everything that went on when I'm back in work on Wednesday.

[17:45] Well, not counting a potential "leg loosener" on Saturday, I did my last run before the marathon at lunch time today. I can't tell you if it gave me confidence, a reason to panic, or just an opportunity to test out some nipple protectors. In any event, I did it, and it's done.

I fully intended to go over to the furthest server room this afternoon and work on the server with the "fan/cooling fault" that only ipmitool seems to be able to see, but I got a request to create three new VMs and frankly I had a preference for sitting down rather than standing up in a noise data center, so now I'll have to go and do that tomorrow. Morning, probably.

Rachel's coming to see me tonight (hurrah!) although I haven't heard a thing from her all day. Hopefully she's just busy and we'll be in touch later.

[17:35] A replacement fan that the supplier swore had been addressed to me turned out to have been addressed to my colleague instead, which is why I didn't get it yesterday. Still, I have it now. I've also spent the day fighting a losing battle with our status systems to reduce the number of red light we have flashing away. For a while there I was winning quite well, but there has been a resurgence in the late afternoon. I took a break over lunch time to do a very nicely gentle 30 minute recovery run (potentially my last before the marathon on Sunday), had lunch, and fought with two printers instead for a change of pace.

I'm about to head off with Cormac to do some reracking of servers at his other job, then go home and relax for the evening. This also involves creating a bootable USB stick from a CentOS ISO, which is proving to take a whole lot longer than actually downloading the thing.

[17:10] I had a great Easter break, thanks for asking. It started slowly and a bit grumpily for all concerned, but got better and better as the days went by. I don't really know why we were so down to begin with, but I don't think it's anything to particularly worry about. On Thursday evening I had a nice quiet night in and then tried to get a good night's sleep, which I didn't manage. On Friday, to get it out of the way as much as anything else I did my run around 09:30, which then gave me plenty of time to get cleaned up, have a second breakfast, and then head over to Cormac's to change the cassette on my bike. After that I don't recall doing much else of interest. Saturday was a different matter in that I got up very early so I could get my run done, get clean, and then jump on trains to get to Croydon in time to have lunch with Rachel. Happily it was simply a 30min recovery run so I didn't have to get up all that early, really. We met at her house and then headed out to her favourite close-by food place to eat and catch up on the runs we'd done (hers on the NDW, and very wet and boggy). Pretty soon after that we grabbed some swimming kit and headed to a hotel near the train station for a quick swim/use of the gym, and then rather great strong massage. On the way back to Rachel's house we popped via the local Curry's to pick up a replacement Garmin GPS watch for the one she thinks was probably stolen from her workplace a few days previously. Sunday morning I did my long run for the week (my last before the marathon) and Rachel her second, but shorter, long run of the Easter weekend. Mine was a 1h30m fairly quick one, hers 2h30m or so. My GPS watch went a bit crazy towards the end, but I think still recorded the paces of the kilometers fairly correctly. Then it was time to jump on two trains down to Winchester to stay in the Hotel du Vin there for a night. I'd tried to call the hotel to sneakily get the room upgraded, but Rachel had already made sure we were in one of the best ones, so I had to settle for asking for some chocolates in the room and booking dinner (with the intention of paying for that). Sadly, there weren't any chocolates, but they'd given us a free bottle of prosecco instead which we just about managed to finish as we waited for dinner to come to the table. So that was pretty cool, as was my getting us moved to the better of the three 'principle rooms' in the hotel after having a problem with a persistent buzz in the first one we were allocated. We popped out to attend evensong at the cathedral right next door and then came back to the room to relax for a bit. After a lovely, lovely evening using the facilities, and then dinner, we just about managed to stay awake to relax in the room for a bit before admitting defeat and going to sleep. We'd purposefully not packed running stuff for our planned Monday run, so luxuriated in sleeping in until breakfast, then making our way out of the hotel on the dot of 11:00 to amble to the train station and head further south west to see two of Rachel's friends, their new house, and their dog. A pub lunch was first on the agenda, so we ate lightly owing to barely having digested breakfast. After a sit and chat and tea/coffee at the house we headed back to the train station and got two trains back to Croydon, and cycled home.

This morning was the usual two trains back to my bike and a cycle to work. Over the course of the day I've tried to drink more to stave off whatever's happening in my left sinus, done my second to last marathon paced intervals session, tried to stop my nipples from getting too sore (they've decided to be sensitive and thin-skinned for some reason), and done the usual Monday-but-really-Tuesday start-the-week work. A chassis fan for a server has apparently been delivered for me, but seems to be missing, whilest still inside the building. We'll have to see if the person who signed for it and then left for the day can tell me where it is. I'm off home now to do a small Tesco shop to get me through the short week and then I'll relax for a bit. Tomorrow, at some point, someone's going to come and look at the extension to the house with a view to quoting for cavity wall insulation (did I mention the belt and braces approach I'm taking to that bit of the house?), but apparently I don't need to be there for that. Oh, and happy April.