This happened while an mdadm array was syncing, all access from writing a new blank file to opening a small .txt file was very slow:
[222117.312078] kjournald starting. Commit interval 5 seconds
[222117.685060] EXT3-fs (md0): using internal journal
[222117.685096] EXT3-fs (md0): mounted filesystem with ordered data mode
[222122.376847] kjournald starting. Commit interval 5 seconds
[222122.602825] EXT3-fs (md2): using internal jour........