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Saturday, January 28, 2012

iPod Banned in Boston

Live a life worthy of your calling- Ephesians 4:1

The Boston Athletic Association strongly suggests runners not listen to music while running the Boston Marathon. There isn't an outright ban except for those competing for prize money.  My ban is self imposed. I will not be wearing my ipod in Boston, in fact I have stopped using it for workouts and other races as well.  For a lot of reasons it just seems like the right thing for me to do;
It's Boston
The most important reason is to honor the race. The Boston Marathon is the oldest and most prestigious marathon. It is a tremendous honor to even be running. I am one of six runners accepted into the Mobility Impaired division. We're in the very first wave to take off, even before the elite athletes. I just don't feel like I can line up in that group wearing headphones.

The first woman to run in Boston was Katherine Switzer in 1967. Officials tried to pull her off the course. She finished the race and many woman have followed in her brave footsteps.  Now 53% of marathon fields are women. When Katherine ran, it was thought long distance running was harmful to woman and they should not run anything longer than a 10K.  We athletes with CMT hear something very similar. We are told not to do anything too vigorous and many of us have been told running is harmful.  I may be the first athlete with CMT to run Boston, but I won't be the last. Team CMT has three other members with Boston qualifying times. I am going to show just how strong those of us with CMT can be and hopefully lead the way for many more Team CMT members to run Boston. I don't want to do anything that would make B.A.A. official think twice about having CMT affected athletes run.

Mental Toughness
I want to run the best possible race I can in Boston. I ran my first two marathons without music and I have not completely run one since I started using music.  I think I need to be just a bit tougher mentally to complete the Boston course without walking.  It takes lots of toughness to finish a marathon, especially on a hilly course like Boston. I am going to need every bit of mental strength. I've already stopped wearing my iPod to train and race. I did the Allen Half Marathon on New Year's Eve in Texas sans music. I am actually really enjoying it.

Walking means a longer finishing time. Because the  Mobility Impaired division is so small, I have a chance to medal. I don't want to blow that chance by walking. Because this may be the only time I run Boston, I want to have the fastest time I possibly can.

I want to concentrate on how my body is feeling. I want to experience the sites and sounds without a sound track. Sometimes a song or the volume on my iPod  causes me to loose focus.  Going without my iPod means one less thing to worry about on race day.  My first long distance race after my CMT diagnosis was the Fox Cities Half Marathon. My music wasn't working and I was pretty stressed.  I ended up being fine without it.  I also have to have a place to put my iPod for the 5 hours it takes to run a marathon.  I've gotten tried always trying to find a place to put it when I am running and I ain't going to hold onto it for 5 hours.

The focus helps me to have better workouts as well. The lack of music helps me stay in tune for how my body is feeling. Very important for effective workouts and preventing injury. Plus I get great ideas on my runs that I just don't get when I listen to music.

Some of my workouts have been outside after dark. Dark with headphones is really a bad combination for safety. I was always leary about running after dark, but have had to several times this winter.  Being able to hear traffic and other things around me is very important for safety.

Team CMT
I'm not running for myself anymore. I represent a team and we're sponsored by the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation. By the time Boston rolls around we may have additional sponsors.  I want to represent my team and sponsors well. To me that means looking like a serious athlete. You won't see an elite athlete wearing an iPod. Plus quite a few people are coming out to cheer me as I run the course (Mary, Louise, Allison, Robert, Cheryl)  I won't hear them with music playing.

Headphones sticking in my ears, just look bad. I feel like I don't look like an athlete.  I worked so hard for this I want to look good for all the photographers along the course because I plan on buying lots of pictures. It's totally vain, but I admit it.  Working on a great wardrobe for Boston as well. If you can't be good, you have to at least look good.  That Team CMT singlet will look great at Boston.

I don't is not to dis anyone wearing headphones. There have actually been some studies showing listening to music can increase performance. If it's the thing that gets you out the door to exercise, that's good as well.  I used music for years and sometimes it helped get me out the door.

For me they have become a distraction.  I want to run a race worthy of my calling to raise awareness and funds for CMT research. It is the right decision for me.

Chris Wodke
Manager & Founder 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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