Breast Cancer Awareness Team Daily Rowing Diary

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Have you visited a Breast Cancer related website as a result of reading Brian's diary?

Yes, I have taken the time to become more informed about Breast Cancer thanks to Brian's efforts.
13
68%
No, I have not taken time to become more informed about Breast Cancer inspite of Brian's efforts to encourage me to do so.
6
32%
 
Total votes: 19

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Kristine Strasburger
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Posted by Brian on Monday, January 14, 2008 at 9:14 PM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:07 pm

Today...a good day. With a bit of rest from yesterday, I managed to pull my way through 175,215 meters, by far my best day ever. Actually came away from it feeling somewhat good--which may either be that I'm starting to get the nutrition just right, or that I'm passing into a kind of delirium. Done with audio classic 1, tomorrow I imagine I'll start listening to "To Kill a Mockingbird" if Sissy Spacek narrates as well as does Michael Page. 1,276,551 meters, or 39.64% done.

Posted by Brian on Monday, January 14, 2008 at 9:14 PM
☆~Kristine~☆

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Posted by Kristine on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 6:27 PM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:07 pm

Brian,
Kristine from JVC team LUNA-TICS boat here. Just checking in on you. Your blog posts are a great way for all of us who are rooting you on to vicariously "live" your experience with you in some small way. Thanks for taking the time to write about it. I hope C2 does a feature article on your row for one of their magazines to give your cause even more exposure. Keep on, brother!

Posted by Kristine on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 6:27 PM
☆~Kristine~☆

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Posted by Brian on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 9:24 PM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:08 pm

Had to work today...59,372, coming to 1,335,923. I added a time column to my spreadsheet, seems I'm at 106 hours 51 minutes, with an average pace just under 2:24/500. Thanks to all who have written. Going to put these in and do two more hours before I eat and sleep.

Posted by Brian on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 9:24 PM
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Posted by Brian on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 3:07 PM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:08 pm

A bit of good news, a bit of bad. First the bad: roughly 7 hours into today's sets, my left tibialis anterior (that's the one in the front of your lower leg that helps pull you back toward the flywheel after each stroke) decided to give up on me. I took my foot out of the stirrup and decided that I would just use that leg for a bit of pushing power, and let the other one pull me back for the rest of my set. The good news is that it wasn't my right leg, and that it was nice enough to wait until I was about 44% done before it revolted. My plan at the moment is to contemplate things further over another bowl of these noodles, and then duck the snowball of self-doubt that is headed for my face by going to sleep for a few hours and starting the process over again with some fresh mental energy. 1,428,921 or 44.37% finished.

Posted by Brian on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 3:07 PM
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Posted by Brian on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 9:22 PM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:09 pm

Woke up again and put two more hours in to finish day 16. 1,454,009...45.15% finished, with 51.61% of my time used up. Down to about 6 cases of Gatorade.

Posted by Brian on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 9:22 PM
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Posted by Brian on Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 9:22 PM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:10 pm

Tough day. +88,239 after a scant 2.5 hours of sleep, all sets under 2:20 today, with two coming in under 2:15. 17 days down: 1,542,248m. Exactly 123 hours rowed, about 7 hrs, 15 min avg daily at a pace avg. 2:23.6/500. 47.85% finished--the halfway point is in sight!

Posted by Brian on Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 9:22 PM
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Posted by Brian on Friday, January 18, 2008 at 9:19 PM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:10 pm

10 hours 48 minutes more today...the last hour of which pretty much hurt. Total for today: 140,212 meters...total pace average down to 2:23.1 for 133 hours 48 minutes. Crossed the halfway point today, and am now at 52.25% completed. First thought was "it's all downhill from here" but then remembered there is no downhill in erging...

Posted by Brian on Friday, January 18, 2008 at 9:19 PM
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Posted by Brian on Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 9:09 PM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:11 pm

Managed 51,808 today, a work day with a bit of horrible Buffalo weather. Too tired to do much of anything when I got home, so I slept for 3 hours or so, then got up and put 4 in on the erg. I stop now to write this summary for day 19, but will get on for two more hours despite that it is midnight, because I haven't used the day's energy completely up yet. And so, after 19 days...1,734,268 meters in 137 hours 48 minutes. Still somewhat behind schedule, but 53.85% finished. Tomorrow (er, today) I expect will be a good day.

Posted by Brian on Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 9:09 PM
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Posted by Brian on Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 9:33 PM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:12 pm

Day 20...without knowing the man or what to expect, I decided to write to Greg of team Age Without Limits last night. I suppose in part I wondered whether some of the things that have turned over in my mind along the way have entered his as well. As I mentioned to him, this has already been quite an enlightening experience for me. His response came quickly, thoughtfully, and just in a nick of time. It is hard to describe; I see from my spreadsheet that I am on the razor's edge between finishing what I set out to do and not, that with 11 days remaining, I still have a bit over 1.3 million meters to reach my goal. My whole body aches and seems to not believe me when I keep telling it "just a little more." But in my mind I am so far into this I can only believe that to stop short of giving my best effort would be to have to look back and wonder horribly and for a very long time whether I could have done it had I just a little more heart. And so, as I said, Greg's response came just in a nick of time. On my hardest day so far, the person I had once thought a brutally tough rival proved himself the truest sportsman that I have ever met, offering good suggestions that I at once took advantage of, and that I have no doubt preserved the day for me. Greg, I sincerely thank you for your tips; you do yourself and the rowing community credit.

Posted by Brian on Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 9:33 PM
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Posted by Bob on Monday, January 21, 2008 at 8:27 PM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:13 pm

You definitely the man.
Just sorta not kidding. Wow. You really deserve any encouragement anyone can offer and I'm offering encouragement Brian. Go Cat Go! Hang on- we're thinking about you and spreading the word about what you are doing and about your cause - breast cancer.

My dear mother died last month at 89 yrs of age. She had 2 mastectomies due to breast cancer - the first in the late 1950's and she was given 6 months to live with 5 children. I was about 3 or 4 years old at the time. She had her 2nd 17 years after the 1st. She has always been an inspiration for me. She stayed active playing competitive and recreational tennis well into her eighties. I will miss her always.

Bob G.
Schuylerville, NY

Posted by Bob on Monday, January 21, 2008 at 8:27 PM
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Posted by Brian on Monday, January 21, 2008 at 9:29 PM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:13 pm

Day 21, over. Ten days left. 76,249 today and 134,780 yesterday brings me to 1,945,297. Came home from work through a horrendous amount of snow, which wasted 15 minutes of my 'free time' tonight. Pace average is just a bit under 2:22.7, 154 hours 12 minutes completed for a 7 hr 18 min average. 60.41% done with about 100 hours left to go...yikes 10 per day. Day off tomorrow, so I'll plan to put 12 in.

Posted by Brian on Monday, January 21, 2008 at 9:29 PM
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Posted by eugene on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 2:07 AM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:14 pm

hello Brian
i am from Gibraltar ,the dreaded disease is very widespread locally , it took away two of our family members and both my neighbours have had mastectomies .i applaud your commitment to the cause and you are definitely a good example to follow .
you are an inspiration to the rest of us.
YOU MUST BE AN EXCELLENT NUTRIONIST.
well done
Eugene Pons AWL

Posted by eugene on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 2:07 AM
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Posted by Brian on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 9:30 PM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:14 pm

Thanks to all for the comments and encouragement--it is questionable whether day 22 would have come off the way it did had it not been for the nods and tips. So, 12 hours as expected, plus an additional 12 minutes that came from who knows where...I had that many extra minutes before midnight so I threw them in with the rest. Longest session I ever put in without sleeping in the middle, and I doubt if I'm going to be trying that again--at least not until this month is over. Covered 153,711 meters today, hours 4 and 10 were by far the most painful, and looking back at them, I went just a scant 200-300 meters more in those hours. Which seems to mean I'm at my limit pace, all things considered, for the moment. If I had a few more minutes in the day I might have gotten the full 2,100,000...as it stands I fell 4-5 minutes short. I won't push it harder than I did today, except in the unlikely event that I need to on one of the final two days. 166 hours, 24 minutes and 6 cases of Gatorade gone.

Posted by Brian on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 9:30 PM
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Posted by Kristine on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 10:06 A

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:15 pm

Brian,
Kristine from the LUNA-TICS just checking in on you. You are sooooooo close. Keep going!

Two summers ago I took all the kids in the extended family on a hike every Monday. We pushed it a little farther every week. Our goal was to hike to the top of the trail - the top of the highest mountain here in our area - and every week we got closer to that goal. But by August we still had not made it to the top.

It was our final hike before school started, and the hikes were over for the year. We took a vote, and it was unanimous - everyone wanted to go for it, and finish the goal we set out to accomplish.

These kids amazed me over the next few hours. We made it to our previous farthest turnaround point in record time, and enthusiasm was high. We kept on going, up, up, up the mountain. We had no real way to gauge our progress as the woods were thick, and only offered an occasional glimpse through as to our elevation gain. None of us had hiked this trail all the way to the top before. All we knew was that it came out at the top of the mountain on a gravel logging road, and that it was a popular trail for full day hikes. Nobody knew exactly how far away the end was - yet we knew it was there.

I kept my eye on my watch, calculating time hiked against the coming darkness, and weighing the intelligence of our decision to start this hike so late in the day. Every time I suggested that we probably should think about turning back the kids couldn't bear the idea. They kept on saying, "Yeah, but the end of the trail might be right around the next corner. What if we quit, and we were almost there!" This was the driving thought that prevailed for the duration of the hike, and gave them the energy and strength to keep going.

Finally, we reached the point in our hike where we had to make a choice - either turn back so we could make it back to the car before darkness, or call a ride in to meet us at the top and hope we were at least half-way there. Nobody wanted to turn back, and end the summer not having reached our goal, so I made a call and arranged a ride for us (thankfully the cell phone caught a signal- at lower elevations in this spot there is no reception.)

As it turned out, we were not yet at the half-way point. A storm rolled in, and although the trees kept most of the rain off us, the temperature dropped considerably. The kids kept going - nobody even complained - they were so focused on reaching the goal that getting to the top was all that mattered. I was really surprised and inspired by them all, being the only adult in the group, and the kids really assuming a leadership of their own. It was THEIR goal they were pursuing, and they did it! The oldest of the kids was only 13 and the youngest was 8. Although the trail was well developed, the climb was steep, and this was definitely a challenging hike for us all.

Now, every time we go to town the kids see this mountain - the highest one in the area - and they can look at it with pride instead of a sense of defeat. There is no question in their head about how far up the mountain they made it - they made it to the top!

YOU CAN MAKE IT!

Posted by Kristine on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 10:06 AM
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Posted by Brian on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 9:34 PM

Post by Kristine Strasburger » January 24th, 2008, 12:17 pm

Day 23...I wouldn't recommend waking up 4 hours after a 12+ hour erg day and trying to do a split session of 80K the next, with work sandwiched in the middle. At some point approximately 4 hours into such an attempt, I realized that it was either spit it out or get ready to give the universal choking sign, because it was NOT going down. I passed the 66.66% mark though, and so with that done I decided to play my final discretion card. Turned in just 56,225 instead of the 80 I anticipated, and believe it or not, it peeved me something awful. There will be no more whining, however. I played that out in my head; failure starts with whining. You start to tell yourself how badly something hurts, then you start to believe it, and then it becomes (at least in your mind) legitimate in some way. The best approach is to view yourself with detachment, in my opinion. Like an out-of-body experience, maybe. Well here is the objective analysis:

My left tibialis anterior is still causing me some grief, as I don't know whether it is actually getting ready to tear, or just trying to aggravate me into stopping. I switched my left foot position to hole 3 (instead of hole 4, like my right) and that brings some relief. My left IT band is experiencing some excessive use signs; the IT band syndrome that came upon me from running on the track too much in one direction this past fall is coming back--although at the moment in mild degree. My right leg is still pushing just fine, but the return is suffering a bit due to an old hamstring pull suffered in the days of playing rugby (flanker, as I'm sure someone will be curious.) The remaining pain lies in my right and left hip flexors (the outer ones, I don't remember the name), and trapezius muscle, especially on the right side as it fans out over the top/back of my right shoulder. This I attribute to the glory days of rugby, as well. Oh, and the fingers--index and middle fingers on both hands, especially the left, really do not like to straighten in the morning. Warm water generally helps quite a bit.

Having said all of this, it may seem to some that I ought to stop while I'm ahead. One person has suggested this outside of my family, and I thank each of those people for looking out for what appears to be my best interest. However, when the possibility of throwing in the towel has entered my mind, I reflect on all that I have gained from the experience thus far, that I feel like a very different person already (which is not solely--or even mainly--due to the fact that I've lost almost 5% of my body weight), and that people who suffer from cancer suffer a lot worse than I may be suffering. I find it easy to imagine that I am not suffering at all; that I sit there with a world of thoughts flowing through my head, and that you can only truly suffer when you decide to sit on your hands with a paintbrush and empty canvas in front of you, and a beautiful picture trapped in your mind.
Going to work today, I spoke to a patient in the medical intensive care unit of the hospital I work for. She had tubes running into her nose, and was barely conscious when I came to see her. I was only there to find out what she wanted to eat, but as it often happens, I found some other things as well. I called her name and she opened her eyes just enough to see me. I talked to her about the food she might like for Thursday, and she was struggling just to tell me what she wanted. It was right then that I reflected that none of us is any different. I had known ‘the theory’ before, but this was the proof. We all simply struggle with different things. What is hard for me is easy for you, and vice versa. It is funny then, that when I sat almost completely silent at lunch, how many things I took in that I don’t usually take in. How much different it was when, after all but one of my coworkers had left the table, I really listened to the last—with some other intent than just to figure out where I could interject something clever, as I too often have done. It is also funny to me that, after spending the bulk of my life as an attention-seeker, I finally discover that the best approach so far is to earnestly give all of your own away. As I have been striving all the more to do as I receive thoughtful comments from anywhere and everywhere.
Needing sleep for tomorrow’s mileage, I will end this with two more notes, and then the day’s summary. First, I will acknowledge one point, alluded to above, that combined with a few other things, helped goad me into attempting this in the first place. This is the thing that is hard—perhaps hardest—for me. It is that there are times when I feel so small that I want to somehow prove myself. A craving for ‘the limelight’ which does nothing but speak of a lack of inner confidence, and which I’ve recently begun to view as sickeningly Narcissistic. But on the point of thinking that I might physically be able to handle such a challenge, I was—believe it or not—stopped by that very thing that prompted me about it in the first place. I don’t always know the difference between right and wrong, but I did about that. Don’t seek attention unless you have something you truly believe is important to say, Brian. And there is that. At least 99.95% of it. The second point is, after the 99.95% is done, the last 0.05% I will reserve for myself. The final mile is for me, and the point of it—for me—will remain locked in my mind like the picture unless the first 2000 miles get done. This may all seem very cryptic, but suffice to say that as I imagine things, I am not suffering now at all. It will only be if I don’t finish the last mile that I suffer, and that only until next year, when I will try yet again.
Tomorrow, my mother is bringing me a five inch thick piece of foam for the seat and a piece of filet mignon tomorrow. We’re not wealthy, but she loves me.
+56,225 to 2,155,233 (66.92%). Average pace: 2:22.65/500. Hrs/day: 7.43. Mileage to go: 1,065,187 (33.08%). Approximate calories: 110,000—roughly 31 pounds worth of fat equivalent.

Posted by Brian on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 9:34 PM
☆~Kristine~☆

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