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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Race Against Time

"Let us run with perserverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

Last month I fell when doing a cool down run after a 10K race. I've never fallen before, during or after a race.  I had just seen an ex two years after a particularly nasty breakup.  So maybe I was a bit distracted.  You see I have to concentrate on every step when I run.  If I don't a fall or stumble is likely.

In the last couple of years an occasional stumble when my right foot caught was not unusual. Sometimes I would even fall. Falls are nothing new either. I spent most of my life with skinned knees. I always joke that even though I fall  a lot God gave me rubber bones.

In the last year my left foot has started to catch as well as the right. The catch is part of the foot drop I have due to my CMT.   The stumbles are even worse when I am tired.  This week I stumbled half a dozen times in the hours following my run. I had left on my running shoes and the thick soles may be more than my tired legs could handle.

The race marked out for me is the 2012 Boston Marathon. To get there I must finish the Madison Marathon in 6 hours.  Getting to the starting line is an enormous accomplishment in itself.  To get there I had to train for 16 weeks.  For me it meant 4 runs of 20 miles or more.  A May marathon means starting training in late January.  Most of my miles were spent on the treadmill. I got tired of slippery sidewalks and climbing up and down snow banks. I had to work out after a day of work, even when bone tired.. I juggled workouts with visits to the hospital to visit my mom.  I only missed two days the entire time, one for sickness and one the day my mom died. It takes real perserverance to just get through the training.

An injury can happen at any time. Getting to the starting line healthy is a feat, especially for someone with CMT. I  have little flexibility in my legs and diminishing padding on my feet.  Although I have wonderful ability to point my toes, my feet don't bend so well needed in the direction to run. Falls are possible at any time and sometimes when least expected.  A fall can spell the end of training.   Early in my training,  I had returned from the grocery store. It was snowy so I piled my groceries in the hall leading to my kitchen.   Going into the kitchen my toe got caught on one of the bag handles. My toe held in place while the rest of my lunged forward.  I can still remember the pain. But I was able to keep training and I am ready for Madison. Any rock, crack in the sidewalk or uneven surface can mean an ankle roll or fall. I know a slip or trip at any time could have resulted in missed training, an injury and possibly a missed race.

 I read in Fitness Magazine last year that only 1% of Americans have ever finished a marathon. Madison will be my 5th and if I do Boston it may be my last.  My CMT is progressing to the point where I may have no choice. I hope I can hold off time long enough.   Running Boston is my hope for the visability it can bring for CMT. If perseverance has anything to do with it I will be there. Perserverance and God's providence.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have almost 100 members in 17 states. If you wish to join us visit our web site.

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

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