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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I knew I could run a marathon when....

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."- Eleanor Roosevelt

Chris Wodke & Cheryl Monnat of Team CMT

I never grew up thinking I would run long distance.  I remember running relay races in grade school and being screamed at for being slow. Plus my knees were prepetually skinned from falls ( all due to the CMT).  Not a good start to a running career.

I was never athletic but always active. I played tag, football and baseball with my brothers.  We rode our bikes everywhere and as long as I didn't compare myself to anyone else I enjoyed being active.

I started running in college to become a better skier, an activity I still do every winter as a member of the Crystal Ridge Ski Patrol.  I started racing after college. I used to tag along with Team CMT member Cheryl Monnat to races. I never remember winning anything and being really slow, but it was fun.  We went often, even competing in a 10 K at Badger State Games.

The first time I won a medal was at a 5K race as part of a conference. It was a really really small race. I won my age group three years in a row and I was hooked.  I became friends with running coach John Herod and talked him into training me. He taught me how to do speed work and tempo runs. I would often place in my age group and even won the womens divison once of a 2 mile race. For the first time in my life I felt like an athlete.

One day as part of my long run, John asked me to run for an hour without my headphones. He said it was important as a runner that I listen to my body. I did it and liked it.  I thought if I can run for an hour without music, I can run a marathon.  I set my sights on running a marathon.  I completed my first marathon in 4 hours and I did it without headphones. Finishing that marathon made me feel like I could accomplish anything.   I've done 5 more and I have that same feelng of accomplishment everytime.  I know I'll get that same feeling again when I cross the finish line at Boston this April.

Finishing marathons has carried over into my whole life.  If I set a goal I know I am going to reach it, whether its running Boston, a project at work, or raising money for CMT.  Most goals are a lot easier than running a marathon without music.

So how did you know you were ready to run your first marathon?

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.

Running, triathlons, impaired athlete, paratriathlon, USAT, running and CMT

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