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Monday, May 30, 2011

They don't get any tougher

"That was without a doubt the hardest physical thing I've ever done"  Lance Armstrong, after finishing the New York Marathon.

Lance Armstrong won  7 straight Tour de France races that included numerous stage races in the mountains, yet the marathon was the toughest race he ever faced.

After running the Madison Marathon yesterday I couldn't agree more.  I had to fighter harder for this finisher medal than I did for any of the other four marathons I've completed.

I've been fighting some kind of virsus all month with sore throat, headache and ear pain. I woke up with nausea and couldn't eat more than half a protein bar for breakfast.

I did not sleep much the night before which is pretty common if the conversations at the starting line were the average experience.

I knew standing at the starting line it was going to be a long day and there was a good possablity I wouldn't finish.  I also knew this was my one shot this year and maybe ever to qualify to run the Boston Marathon.

Sometimes you feel kind of tired at the start of a race, but your training takes over and you get into a rythmn. That didn't happen.  This race was tough from the start and every mile was a struggle.

The course was one hill after another.  I finished the first 6 miles in about an hour.  I felt like I was finished at 13 miles and promised myself I would walk if I made it to 20 miles.  I hit the 20 mile mark at 3:30 so if I could have held on I would have finished in 4:30.  As I hit the 20 mile mark it started to rain. I ran the last 6 miles in the rain.

I just wasn't physically or mentally tough enough to keep going. I walked the next mile and then did a combination of running and walking to complete the race in 4:51:28.  I was lucky to finish on a day when physically it just wasn't happening.  I was totally wrecked at the end. The whole race was run on guts,determination and a lot of prayer.

Still the finish put me at 15 out of 24 women in my age group. Wonder where I would have placed with that 4:30 finish.  I finished well under the 6 hours needed to qualify as a mobility impaired runner for Boston. I know I will do better next time.

Whether I am accepted to run the Boston Marathon in 2012 is now in the hands of the Boston Athletic Association. Like any other runner I will apply when registration opens and hope for the best.

I can't help but reflect the marathon I did previous to this just 10 years ago I walked the last six miles and still finished at 4:20. That is how much I have lost in strength and speed. Every year I lose more as the CMT progresses. This really might be my last shot to run Boston.

After a brief rest I will be back to training in July for my next marathon; Marine Corp Marathon in Washington D.C. on October 29th.  No pressure to qualify with this one.  Running purely for the visability for CMT.  The course is lined with 100,000 spectators and two Team CMT members will be running.  Can't wait.

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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