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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Boston Marathon Weekend -Day 1

Friends Libby & Viktor Vejins



"One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives."-Euripides


I flew into Boston Friday morning just in case there were any media or fundraising things I needed to do before the marathon. Since there wasn't, I had some time to connect with a college friend from UWM engineering school.

I hadn't been to Boston in over 20 years so the last time I saw my friend Viktor was right before he got married.  We kept in touch and exchanged Christmas cards, but I hadn't seen him in ages.

Vik has always been like a big brother so I was really looking forward to catching up.

He works for a company called Nano Technology and since I once worked in the semiconductor field I wanted a tour.   His companies technology is used to make touch screens and other high tech application's. Touring the company brought back lots of memories of my work as a Chem tech and research engineer.  I have been out of the field so long I did not understand all the technical stuff I was told as part of the tour, but I think I got the high points.

Next up on the agenda was dinner with Viktor and his wife.  First though we stopped at Walden Pond and saw the Henry David Thoreau cabin. We walked along the pond and had a nice chance to catch up.  I found out both he and his daughters are certified divers, so it was fun to hear about is Caribbean experiences. He and his whole family are also skiers, which his how and he and I became friends.

Then home for dinner. It was a true pleasure meeting Libby. She has such a warm heart and an open and inviting personality. I wish I lived in Boston because I felt like we would be best friends.  She likes to hike and ski and even has her own kayak. My kind of woman. The best part was seeing how happy she makes my friend and what a wonderful family they have made. I got to meet their youngest daughter Amanda. Older daughter Alice was in Thailand doing marine research on reefs.

The evening ended much too soon and I was soon on my way back to my hotel. Thanks Libby and Viktor for a great evening. See you next year!

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Team CMT was All in for Boston


"I've learned finishing a marathon isn't just an athletic achievement. It's a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible."- John Hanc

I watched the weather reports all week before I left for Boston.  The final one I saw said 80 F on Sunday with a front moving through and temps in the 60's for race day. I remember saying to a friend what if the front doesn't move through?

Every time I logged onto Facebook through the weekend there was another update from the B.A.A. upping the temperature for race day.  Non elite runners were advised not to run.  Final forecast was for 86F.  The final temperature ended up being at least 89F.

I felt like I'd been training for this race my whole life.  Although I'd been offered a deferment I was ready to go. I'd dedicated the run to teammates Allison Moore and Joyce Kelly. It isn't much of a dedication if you don't run. I knew if they were in my place they would run.  Lots of people were following me and praying for me. I felt in my heart and soul it was the right thing to do and I would be ok. God had gotten me this far and he wasn't going to abandon me now. I was injury free and ready to do my third marathon in a year. As the signs say in every town, Team CMT was all in.

I boarded the bus on the Boston Commons at 7 am. Team CMT members Robert Kearney and Cheryl Monnat saw me off.  I was working on about 4 1/2 hours of sleep due to a snoring roommate.

I got to the athletes village at about 8 am. My wave started at 10:40 so I had lots of time to hydrate, listen to music, find some shade and think about the race.

I had trained so hard and planned on running this race in 4 hours and 41 minutes. I didn't just want to run Boston, I wanted to run well.  All thoughts of a fast time went out the window. The goal was now to survive the heat and finish. I planned on walking through every water stop and taking walking breaks as needed.

I also carried  my own fluids. I train with Accelerade and it works well for me. I was not about to change on race day.

As my wave pushed off I felt good and it was hard to hold back. I hit the first mile at around 9:52. The course is down hill and its easy to go out too fast.

Marathon officials planned for 3 cups of water at every stop. I used all three. Two on me and one in me. Staying cool was the primary mission. Running on blacktop with no shade in the upper 80's for 26.2 miles is a challenge.

The spectators were fantastic. Many came out with garden hoses and coolers of ice .Some offered to dump buckets of water over runners. Local fire departments set up showers of water or opened hydrants. I took advantage of all of them.  Entire families lined the route since Patriots Day is a state holiday. I took so many orange slices from young kids and gave countless high fives.

The half way point came and it was tough.  It felt like enough, I questioned whether I could complete the race. This always happens in the middle, that space between 13-16 miles. So much yet to go and then I hit Wellesley College.  These women are known to be the most enthusiastic fans on the course. Just when I needed a boost, there they were yelling there heads off.  As they yelled, I yelled back "Wellesley girls rock" and they would yell even louder. It was just the boost I needed. Thanks women of Wellesley!

Friend and Team CMT member Cheryl Monnat was at mile 17. My shoes were sloshing with water. A quick change of shoes and socks, some restocking of gu and I was good to good. HNF President Allison Moore was at mile 21 miles. A quick stop for pictures and I was on my way. I felt strong, but was splitting my time between walking and running.  I knew if I broke 6 hours I had a shot at 3rd in the division.

Could I have gone faster, maybe but it didn't seem worth the risk. As an athlete I have to listen to my body. It was a day that saw 252 runners go to the hospital and 2000 treated on the course.  I chose to be conservative and finish.

Before I knew it I was running down Bolyston Street. Cheryl was at 25 miles to cheer me on.
Running through the tunnel of fans to the finish is an experience I will never forget. I even was hydrated enough to shed a few tears.  Running Boston has been an emotional experience I will never forget.

I not only finished, I took 2nd in the Mobility Impaired Division. If I had pushed it a bit more,  I could have had 1st.
I am a little disappointed in my time. I ran safe, but not the great race l am capable of running.

I guess I just have something to look forward to next year.  Running a marathon is more than just conquering the distance. It's also about mastering your mind to let your body do the things it's meant to do.  Sometimes the biggest limits we have are the ones we set on ourselves. That happened a bit during this race. I know I still have a ways to go to fully push myself in a marathon.  Can't wait till the next one.

Team CMT member Trenni K also finished in 4 hr 5 minutes. Way to go Trenni!!

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Unlikely Hero's





"Lord help me to do great things as though they were little, since I do them with your power; and help me do the little things as though they were great, since I do them in your name."  Blaise Pascal

 I like biographies and stories about hero's. It is inspiring for me to hear about success against challenges and beating sometimes impossible odds.

I have two favorite hero's I'm thinking about today. One is Esther. She was a young Jewish woman chosen in a sort of beauty pageant to become the new queen when the old one angered the King.  She found out about a plot against her people and went before the king to plead when them at the risk of her life. At a time when women were told to be seen and not heard, she found her voice. Her great risk paid off since she saved her people and gained the favor of the King.

My other hero on my mind today is Joesph.  He is the brother who was sold into slavery in Egypt and rose to be second only to Pharaoh.  All along the way Joesph tried to do the right thing. He faced slavery, false accusations and prison. Though it all the Bible says; "And the Lord was with Joesph".

So I always think of that. In every circumstance God was with Joesph and he blessed everything he did. He gave him gifts he applied to succeed and he rose to the top of Egypt in time to save the nation of Israel from famine.

Sometimes God finds his hero's in the most unlikely places.  When God was looking for a new King in Israel he sent his prophet to the house of Jesse. Jesse brought out one after one of his tall, strong and handsome sons. None met approval. The last son, the shrimp of the bunch was brought forward and that was the one God wanted. This was the one that killed the giant Goliath and became king.   So whether its slaying giants, leading Egypt or taking a risk to be heard, God finds a way to get his work done using the most unlikely people. 

So tomorrow I will repeat that verse often. If the Lord was with Joesph in his challenges, he will be with me and bless my efforts. I know I will be carrying the wishes, hopes and prayers of many friends, family members and CMT community members.  Pictured above are some of the signatures I will carry behind my running number as I complete the Boston Marathon. I know I could not do this on my own, yes God does get his work done using the most unlikely people or in this case runner sometimes.

Tomorrow is going to be a challenging and long day. Temperatures are expected to climb to near 90F with a strong headwind. Even on a perfect day completing a marathon is tough and challenging work.

I know I am ready physically and mentally. I can't wait for the start tomorrow, but will be even happier when God willing I cross the finish line.

I don't know if running Boston is a big or a little thing, but run it I will and I know I won't be doing it alone.

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

Friday, April 13, 2012

Week 17 Boston Marathon Training

" A winner's strongest muscle is her heart."-Cassie Campbell

I am safely arrived in Boston and as ready as I can be for Monday. Trenni pictured here will also be wearing a Team CMT singlet in the Marathon on Monday.

All the training is done.  Now it's just 3 days until race day and I can't wait. Usually I am really nervous about running a marathon. Anything can happen on race day and with CMT I never know what part is going to hurt or if I will have enough energy to finish the race. I always wonder if the training I did was enough or the right kind of training.

I am excited because I am realizing a long held dream. I waited so long and worked so hard to get here. It is so great to be having two of us raising awareness of CMT on such a big stage.

It takes a big heart to run for a cause just because you were asked. So thanksTrenni!

The weekend is also exciting because I will be connected with old friends and meeting new ones.

I will be visiting with an old college friend, touring his company and having dinner with his family.
College friend Cheryl Monnat and boyfriend Robert Kearnery will be joining me to be my entourage for the weekend.

There will be a pre-event party organized by Team CMT member Duane Denny on Sunday night.  Several Team CMT members I have never met will be coming and I can't wait to meet them. President of the HNF Allison Moore will be there. So happy she will be on the course as well sharing in this event. I appreciate the support she has given me and the team though out the process.  Will also get to meet donor Gerald Lynch who is matching contributions to the run. I will also be meeting his 10 year old daughter who has CMT.

It is going to be a packed and emotional weekend. I hope I can keep it all together as I cross the finish line. I get choked up just thinking about it.  I have played over and over in my mind finishing strong and running well all day.  There is even a chance I could place within my division. Last year my time would have been good enough for third. The top two are back this year. I have played in my mind what it would be like to step up and accept my 3rd place award. I hope I make you all proud.


Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
http://www.run4cmt.com/

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

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guys in Shirts

Cheryl Monnat, Robert Kearney, Chris Wodke, Kathy Stultz


"Perseverance is just as important as talent."- Joan Rivers

I always thought it would be cool to be a sponsored athlete.  Every elite athlete seems have a copporate sponsor.  Bike racers, runners, skiers, golfers, etc. all seem to have uniforms with the logo of their sponsor companies.

Here in Milwaukee the local running stores recruit the best runners to race for them.  They get to wear the team uniform as a mark of their athletic prowess. The closest I ever got to one of these uniforms was dating a local elite runner. Not even much experience being on a team.  I played volleyball in 7th and 8th grade and sat the bench for two years.  I did not get into even one game.

In 2011 I decided to race in a local 10 K running series to help me get ready for the Madison Marathon.  Of course the local teams were all there including the team sponsoring the event, the RACC. Racers Against Childhood Cancer has a running, bike and triathlon team.  I was joined by college friend Cheryl Monnat.  I told her doing the 10 K series would help her as she prepared to train for her first marathon.  You get to the 20 mile mark and you can tell yourself, its just a 10 K now.

While I was running the course I passed several men wearing the RACC uniform.  I thought  wow, they're just guys in shirts. I'm faster then they are. We can be guys in shirts too.  So the idea for Team CMT was born.  We may not be the fasted runners, but their are things more important than talent, like running to raise awareness of CMT. What we lack in talent we make up for in determination and perseverance.

That was in January. It took a bit of time to get the logo for our first design, then there was a slight problem with the shirt order. We finally made our debut on April 30th, 2011.  Friends Cheryl Monnat, Robert Kearney and I ran the first race, a 10 K in Brown Deer Wisconsin.

We repeated the process all over again when we joined the Hereditary Neuoropathy Foundation. We really are now sponsored athletes.

It has been so much fun being part of this team and talking with athletes from all over the country. We have now grown to 80 members in 17 states. So many of them as inspiring stories as they run for family, friends or to fight their own CMT.  I am so glad to one of those guys in a shirt and so proud to be running for Team CMT.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Boston Marathon Dedication

Signiture I'll carry with me in Boston
"What a blind person needs is not a teacher, but another self."-Helen Keller

Because only 1 in 2500 people have CMT, most people don't know anyone outside their immediate family with CMT.  Sometimes family members don't even talk about CMT or act as if it doesn't exist. So it's special when you find someone that both shares this condition and is an athlete as well.

I've found my other self in the two women and will be dedicating my Boston Marathon run to them.
The first is Joyce Kelly. I wouldn't be running Boston if it wasn't for Joyce. She got through to the Boston Athletic Associaton and found out what I had to do to apply to the Mobility Impaired Division. Joyce edited my application letter, and it was much better once she was finished with it. Joyce wanted me to get accepted to Boston as much as I did and she's been truly excited for me.

When I sent out papers to sign to attach to my running bib, Joyce sent back the signiture you see pictured.  She showed the same excitement when she found our team. Joyce is also a runner and tri-athlete.  Our experiences as athletes with CMT are so similar we swear we were twins seperated at birth.  She makes me laugh when she tells me I'm fast.

When I visited Dallas last year, I contacted Joyce to have lunch. That was not good enough. She insisted I compete in the Denton Sprint Triathlon.  She even arranged for a bike.  Even though I had no plans to do the event, I qualified for the Paratriathlon National Championship in Austin.  My only regret is Joyce will not be in Boston or Austin. 

Injuries and life have kept Joyce from realizing her athletic dreams.  Sista I hope to see you qualify for Boston if I have to come to Dallas and run beside you.  Joyce you may love me ,but the feeling is mutual. Thanks for being my better self.

My other sister self is Allison Moore.  Allison is the President of the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation and our Team CMT sponsor.  She has provided much needed financial and moral support for the team.

Allison was training for the New York Marathon when cancer treatments brought on severe and immediate onset of her CMT.  From the moment I first talked with Allison I knew we shared the same goal for raising awareness about CMT through athletic events. Allison is a women of rare vision and energy. After I talked to her on the phone, I flew out east to meet her.  I knew once I met her that it was the right move for Team CMT to join with the HNF.  I felt when I talked with Allison that we'd been best friends for years. 

Allison understands the significance of the Boston Marathon run. She has been with me every step of the way. When I get stressed out she's been there to talk me off the ledge. I know she understands the drive and commitment it takes to run an event like Boston. 

Allison is working hard to be able to run again. I hope the money we raise will bring us just a bit closer to making that happen..  In Boston I run for he, the athletes of Team CMT  and everyone struggling with this conditon.  Allison will be there to cheer me on with several other Team CMT members. Allison I cannot possibly express what your friendship and support has meant. I am looking forward to all the great things we will do together in the future. My part is small. I just run.

Thanks Joyce and Allison, I will be thinking of you throughout the race and remembering the impact and influence you have had on me as an athlete.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com



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

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It takes a team

"Win or lose, you will never regret working hard, making sacrifices, being disciplined or focusing too much. Success is measure by what we have done to prepare for competition."  Jon Smith

It takes a team to get to the marathon starting line healthy and ready to race.  Last year I read 20% of those registered for the New York marathon got injured and didn't make it to the starting line. Hard work and dedication only gets you so far.

Keeping an athlete with CMT healthy is quite a challenge and I have a great team of medical professionals helping me. I wanted to thank them since I will be be healthy and ready to go Monday morning in Boston.

Chiropractic Associates
Dr. Mark Drewicz of Chiropractic associates is my chiropractor.  He works with many local runners and triathletes.  He is great at treating all my running injuries before they get out of hand. I swear he has magic hands.  He's also well connected in the running and triathlon community. When I need a recommendation on a coach, getting a tri bike or anything else Dr. Mark is always helpful. His assistants Patti and Andrea take good care of me as well. Their friendly faces always greet me at the front desk. I've gotten to know them since they do my treatments before I see Dr. Mark. It is largely due to their efforts I'll be ready on race day.

Dr. Robert Chetlin PhD
Bob is an exercise physiologist at the University of West Virginia Medical School.  He helped me put together my training program for both Boston and the  Sprint Nationals in Austin in May.  He's also given me good advise on diet as well. Bob has worked with several athletes on the team with CMT to develop training programs.  He is an expert on the effects of exercise on CMT. The money I raise with my Boston run will go to fund his work.

Dr. Greg  Barczak
Dr. Barczak is a former All American long distance runner. He was a fixture on the local running circuit for years.  He made the orthodics I have used in my running shoes for over 10 years.   Because of the CMT I am really prone to injury.  A good set of orthodics are key to staying healthy. The first time I had  orthodics made by another doctor, it felt like I was running in high heels.  Because of his running background Dr. Barczak works with many local runners.

Thanks everyone for your help in all three of my marathons this year. I couldn't do it without you.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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

Monday, April 9, 2012

I'm not a Scammer Anymore

" Don't let what you cannot do, interfere with what you can do."- John  Wooden

I posted the on-line version of my article by Journal Sentinel reporter Tom Held on by cubicle bulletin board.  Randy the guy that called me a scammer  calls it my " I love me" board.  I used to keep my finisher medals and numbers there until I moved them to my home office.  Now the only thing on the board are the article and the paper with the Boston Marathon date.

So Randy was walking by my cubicle and the article caught his eye. So he stopped to read it.  I pointed out he was the one the reported discussed calling me a scammer.  Called me a scammer twice actually.

Randy read it and said he doesn't think I'm a scammer anymore, that he has now been educated.  He even said he was going to make a donation.

Randy continued to read the article and noticed my goal time for Boston was 4:41.  He asked me "Can't you run faster than that."  That's only a 10:00 mile. I told him that I would race him and though he might be faster I could outlast him

I had to explain that no, I'm running as fast as I can. That fast as I can it getting slower pretty quickly.
So I'm not a scammer anymore, maybe just a slacker for only running 26.2 miles at a 10 min pace.

It shows the power of the media.  A newspaper article and a TV interview and he's educated.
I hope the media exposure has the same effect many times over.

Well I don't have control over over the effect of the media  what  anyone else thinks. I let them have their opinion and don't worry about it. It's really freeing not to be the slave of anyone else's opinion. I do what I think is right and let all the rest go.  I'm not going to get tied in knots because thinks I'm a scammer or a slacker or even if they think some kind of hero. A feel stories or TV interviews does not mean I am anything special.

Well I can't run the marathon pace I used to run when I could run a 4 hour marathon.  It's hard to watch others my age run the times I used to be able to run.  I have to concentrate not what I have lost to CMT, but what I still have and what I can still do.

God willing at this time next week I will be celebrating a Boston finish. So I may not be able to finish in four hours anymore, just finishing will have to be enough.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Boston Training-Week 16- A Near Miss

"It's not whether you get knocked down; it's whether you get up."  Vince Lombardi

I told Allison early this week I was healthy and injury free. I would be at the starting line healthy unless I had a fall or an accident. 

I did have a fall and I came closer than I would like to being hit by a car.  I was bike shopping on the east side of Milwaukee.  Parking is tight on the east side so I had to park across from the bike shop. They weren't open and I had to cross the street a second time to get back to my car.  The east side is a busy place and there is always lots of traffic on Locust where the shop was located.  I looked at the traffic and guessed I could dash across before the next car arrived.

I did and suddenly ended up on my hands and knees right in the middle of the street with a car coming at me. I didn't account for falling time in my calculations.  I'm not sure why the driver never got close enough to hit me. They must have slowed enough, because despite how much it hurt I got up quickly and finished my trip across the street.

I have a bump on each knee and a nice red spot. The palms of my hands are pretty tender as well. Later in the afternoon theright knee got pretty stiff and I had trouble walking.  A little ice and it was good as new.

I don't seem any worse for the wear. I always joke, that I fall a lot, but God blessed me with rubber bones.
So a near miss but I'm still on track for Boston. It's only 8 days away.

Training was pretty quiet this week. I did my last long run today of 8 miles. It seemed easy. It was 54F and windy. A perfect day for a run. I often do errands on my long runs. It gets me out the door. Today it was a trip to the post office to mail bills and a trip to the ATM to deposit a couple of checks. Nice to combine the two. The time went by quickly. No music on this run. In fact except for one workout, the music ban has held up. I still plan on running Boston iPod free.

The workouts this week are pretty easy, nothing longer than a 4 mile run. Friday and Saturday are off days, and Sunday is a three mile run.  I leave for Boston on Friday.

Let's hope for a safer and fall free week this week. No more near misses, even though I am good at getting up when I fall.  I guess one of the keys in life is getting back up when you fall whether its a set back at work,  a failed  romance, or literally hitting the street with a car bearing down on you.

I'm ready for Boston physically and emotionally. Can't wait to get to Boston and meet our Team CMT members there. I'm excited and as the race gets closer I'll be a little nervous.  Really looking forward to the fundraiser and running the race.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
http://www.run4cmt.com/

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


Saturday, April 7, 2012

I'm Committed



"Until one is committed
There is hesitancy, the chance to draw back
Always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation)
There is one elementary truth
The ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans;

That the moment that one definitely commits ones self
Then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help on
That would never have otherwise occurred.

A whole steam of events issues from the decision
Raising in one's favor all manner
Of unforeseen incidents and meetings
And material substance
Which no one could have dreamt
Would have come your way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

Goethe


When I was diagnosed in 2010 I set the goal of running the Boston Marathon to raise awareness and money for CMT research.  Never mind that I'd given up competitive running, that I hadn't run a marathon in over 10 years and my CMT had left me far short of the qualifying time.  Oh and I am a slow middle age woman with a neurological disease that makes running a challenge.

I wrote the date April 16, 2012 on a piece of paper and pinned it to my bulletin board at work. I told everyone I was going to Boston. I was committed.  I didn't want to just run Boston, I wanted to represent those with CMT by wearing a Team CMT uniform.  And I was going to tell the world about it, if they would listen.

Some truly amazing things have happened since I wrote down that goal. 
  • When I couldn't get a CMT based charity certified, I was poking around the Boston Marathon web site and stumbled onto the Mobility Impaired program. It's for athletes with conditions that keep them from making the time standard. While the B.A.A. had never heard of CMT, it qualified.. Team CMT member Joyce Kelly helped me through the process.
  • Team CMT was founded in April of 2011 and we now have 78 members in 17 states.  We've run dozens of events both in the United States and Europe. I know soon we'll reach my goal of over 100 members.
  • Despite hearing from several medical professionals that people with CMT shouldn't do anything do strenuous, we have 16 athletes on the team with CMT. They amaze and inspire me.
  • This year I'll represent Team CMT in Boston. Next year we have three members with qualifying times that will allow them to apply to the Boston Marathon.
  • I was introduced to Allison Moore of the Hereditary Neuoropathy Foundation when I saw a Facebook post from her sister Kim about running the Richmond Marathon for CMT.  Team CMT and HNF both share the same mission of raising awareness of CMT through athletic events.  Team CMT is going to explode under the partnership with HNF. The energy Allison brings to this cause amazes me every time I talk to her. I can't wait to see her again in Boston.
  • I met and hired sports publicist Gail Sideman to get the word out in the media. It was Gail that arranged the TV,  and print media interviews.  So many people now know about CMT that have never heard of it due to her efforts.
  • Duane Denny stepped forward to help raise money for the Boston run. Duane is a promotions professional and fitness trainer. He ar rangedthe Boston radio interviewand a fundraiser at the John Harvard Brew Pub. It is going to be an annual event.
  • I have met or emailed with athletes from all over the country. Some of them are going to be in Boston to cheer me on and come to the fundraising event. Mary Louie, Megan Seebeck, Duane Denny, Louise Gehardt I can't wait to meet you. I am more excited about that , than running the race.
  • Gerry Lynch and his family, adopted a ten year old girl from China last year. His daughter has CMT. He has stepped forward to pledge $10,000 to match funds raised as part of the Boston effort.  I remember thinking one night I did not know how I would ever reach the $10,000 goal I set. I remember telling God it was in his hands.  That week Gerry stepped forward. I originally had $50,000 in mind. I need think bigger and bolder.  Really looking forward to meeting them and thanking them in person.
I'm not sure where this will all lead or what will happen as I run the marathon.  It can be a little scary to be so public about a goal. There is big opportunity to crash and burn. So many people know about this effort and it could be embarrsing if I fail.  I'm trusting that God has got me this far, he's going to get me the rest of the way.

It has been an amazing journey so far and I think it's just the beginning. What will you commit to?  Think big and be bold and then commit to it.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
http://www.run4cmt.com/

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

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Breaking Barriers


"Act as if what you does makes  a difference, it does."-William James

Forty Five years ago Katherine Switzer did something no other woman had ever done before. She registered and ran the Boston Marathon.  Officials tried to pull her off the course because women were not allowed.  It was thought at one time that running anything more than 10K was dangerous for women. Woman were thought to be too fragile to run a marathon.

Women lobbied the Amateur Athletic Union and in 1972 women were allowed to enter the Boston Marathon,but they had to meet the same time standard as men.  Now the Boston Marathon is almost half women.  I was in 8th grade the first year women were allowed in.  In high school there was no woman's cross country team. The first woman on the team was in 1976 the year I graduated and it was considered an oddity. Katherine's run inspired other women to take up the sport and sparked a fitness and running revolution.  She gave other woman the chance to put one foot in front of the other and run a race of their own.  Every woman toeing the line in Boston or any marathon owes her an enormous debt.

I've been busy breaking barriers of my own. I am an engineer by education.  When I graduated less than 5% of engineers were woman.  Even still I think the number is less than 10%. So like Katherine I'm in a man's world.

Often in my career I am the only woman at the table during meetings.  I know the feeling of someone trying to pull me off the course.  Sometimes it's tough trying to break into the old boys club.  I know all about doing things no one expects and exceeding expectations.

I'm breaking barriers for CMT as well. When I went to the Sports Medicine Clinic at Froedert the head of Physical Therapy told my therapist she did not know of any treatments for runners with CMT because people with CMT can't run. People with CMT have been told n the past not to exercise too hard.  Especially not running.  Well we can and we do run.  While I may not be the first person with CMT to run Boston, I may be the first one to do it so publicly.

I've had several people tell me they have invisible disabilities like Lupus and Crohns. They feel someone is running for them and inspiring them. This team is already making a difference.

 I hope by giving a face to CMT to spark a revolution of our own. No one should carry a disease on one has ever heard of.  No one should told they shouldn't or can't be active. Many of us live with conditions no one can see, but present challenges every day.  We each choose how to react to our conditions.  I am not even sure what all this will mean or if it will make a difference. I bet Katherine didn't know when she ran her race the impact she would have either.  Here's to Katherine and here's to breaking barriers.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Self Inflicted Injury

"The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will and the other comes from a strong won't."  Henry Ward Beecher

It takes a strong will to prepare for a marathon. Whether the goal is to run well or finish, you have to be consistent in your training. You have to run when tired, had a bad day at work or when fighting injuries.

While training for Boston I fought a number of injures, first to my Achilles in both legs and then my knees. The knee injury was on the muscle on the medial part of the knee and it was on both knees.  Really unusual because all my injuries always happen on my right leg. It's where I got the stress fracture training for my first marathon. It is the Achilles tendon that is always tight and hurts.

So it was surprising when both knees had a problem.  I was still able to keep training, but it was puzzling that they were not only not getting better, but a bit worse.  One day Dr. Mark was asking me all kinds of questions about my shoes and my orthodics.  I had changed shoes but was using the same model.  I had only been running on them for a month.

I know my orthodics were good. They were designed by Dr. Barczak who is a former All American runner.

All the questions made me pull out my running shoes when I got home.  I have inserts that are specially built to go into my shoes to put my feet in neutral position. Lots of runners have them because they help prevent injury. They are critical because of the CMT.

I pulled out the inserts to look at them and discovered I had them in the wrong shoes. The right one in left shoe and vice versa.

You would think I would be able to feel that, but I couldn't. There is s test the neurologist does at my yearly appointment. They take a needle and prick the skin starting at the foot and go to the knee.  I know a pin is pricking me but  I can barely feel it. So no I can't tell when my inserts are in the wrong shoe.

The knee injury was self inflicted.  Once I got my running shoes set up correctly, the knee problem went away.

This is not the first time I have done something like this. Twice this year while on ski patrol, I put my boots on the wrong feet. The sensation a normal person has to tell them that is wrong, is just not working for me anymore.  Embarrassing because the second time it happened one of my fellow patroller's saw it. We had a good laugh about.

I laughed about it too because it is funny, but it is also serious as well. It could have cost me a chance to run at Boston if I had not corrected the problem. It is also a reminder that my disease is marching on. There is no running away from that no matter how much I train.

Right now the strong will is still winning and the strong won't is helping to find a solution to every problem CMT presents. It won't stop me from running Boston at least not this time.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Heros and Hounds

"Success without adversity is not only empty...it is not possible."  H. Norman Schwarzkoff

There is a traditional running game called Hare and Hounds.  The Hare leaves a trail and the runners or hounds follow. Bit of my own version going on in Boston.

I 've had a finish line fantasy for quite some time.  I always dreamed my significant other would meet me as I complete those final tough miles or at least at the finish line.  There won't be any hero in Boston.  No significant other in my life at the moment.  I 've only had spectators at one marathon. My brother and his girlfriend were at the Madison finish line and friend Cheryl cheered me on from our hotel steps in Madison.

No finish line hero in Boston, but I do have a hound. I thought he'd be my finish line hero. He'll be in Boston running in the elite wave. He has run Boston more than 20 times and is well known in local running circles. He won Lakefront Marathon numerous times.  He helped me get ready for my first marathon when I ran my best time.

We were friends for more than 10 years before we started dating.  He helped me get through being unemployed and was always a source of advise on running and injuries. He was always able to give me a referral for a doctor, message therapist or chiropractor. We would talk for hours.   I was ready when he suggested we start dating.

We dated off and on for 10 years.  He was my light bulb boyfriend, off then on then off, always at his whim.
I took him back because when you get over 40 it's pretty tough to find a decent guy and well I was in love.
I knew I wasn't the love of his life, but thought if I just worked hard enough, was understanding enough and a good enough girlfriend I would win him over. I thought if I hung in there long enough things would work out and I waited so long to date him, I didn't want to give up too soon.

When he told me four years ago he had broken up with a girlfriend we were back on.  We did not see each other as much as I would have liked. But two demanding careers, sick parents and training schedules all seemed like logical explanations.  We saw each other pretty often all things considered.

Two years later on fall Sunday afternoon, I got an email that changed my life from the girl friend he had never broken up with.  Seeing both of us....actually living with her, making me the other woman.  I think she was trying to tell me to stay away from her man. Too bad I didn't know she was still in the picture.

From piecing things together I figured out this was not the first time he had shall we say double booked himself. He did it to us before.  He was dating me when he met her.

Well I haven't talked with him since that fall afternoon. Do see him occasionally at runs.  His name kept being mentioned to me a lot lately.  My chiropractor is friends with him and mentions him most visits, the reporter interviewing me brought up his name.  My hair stylists asked if that runner dude was still with that woman.  Well so a little poking around on the internet..yes and he is engaged to the woman.

It hit me a bit hard, because I didn't get much sleep this weekend.  I got 3 hours of sleep Friday night. It happens quite often because of the CMT.  Usually I could just run off the bad news, but I'm on a taper.

Doesn't seem fair this hound gets to be happy.  He lied to me, took advantage of my feelings for him and used me to hurt someone else.  She was so anxious to warn me away from her man she didn't care that she hurt me.  Did not seem to mind he had double dipped before. She invaded my privacy emailing me and even calling my house. I lost what I thought was my best friend that afternoon.   I lost all my hopes and dreams for things working out with him.

Maybe they both deserve each other, cause honey if you're reading his work and personal emails you don't trust him. If you don't trust him you have no business making a lifelong commitment.  He won't change because he put a ring on your finger. If he cheated during the bloom of love, an engagement or even a marriage won't change that.  You can't build a happy life on the ashes of someone else's.  And yes in this case he will cheat again. In fact at a run last year he was flirting up a storm with a little red haired girl.  So I don't think he a changed man or has learned anything from the experience.

So after a good nights sleep and a run I'm doing OK.  This hound hopefully gets me one step closer to that finish line hero I'm still looking for.  With CMT and being over 50, it's a lot to hope for, but I'm a hopeful romantic.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Week 15 Boston Training-Tapering is Tough

Boston Participant Booklet
"God moves mountains to create the opportunity of his choosing, It is up to you to be ready to move yourself." - Andy Andrews

It's starting to get real now, because my participant packet arrived on Friday afternoon.  Just 2 weeks from Monday and I will be lining up with over 20,000 runners.  I wish it was here already, because the waiting is tough. Too much time to think about the race.

I'm now in the taper phase of my training.  After weeks of intense speed work and long runs, the workouts are drastically cut back.  This gives the body time to rest and repair to be ready for the rigors of racing 26.2 miles.

While the reduction in mileage is nice, it can be a mental adjustment when you are used to the tough workouts. Now the mental second guessing starts.  Did I run enough and am I ready for the hills in Boston?  Did I do the right things to be ready for the initial stretch of 10 miles downhill?  How will I feel on race day?
Can I fight the pain and fatigue to finish?  Will people be disappointed in me?

I had lots of time to think about it Friday night. Friday was one of those nights where I struggled all night to fall asleep.  Fight is a good word for it.  After 2 hours I got up and took 2 tylenol PM, then 2 over the counter sleep tablets and hour later.  I repeated this with more sleep aid and tylenol at various times.  At 3:45 a.m I gave in and took a prescription sleeping pill. Why did I wait so long?  I try to save them for when I am really desperate since you can build up a tolerance for them.  It was a tough night because my whole body was jumpy and felt like it was on fire. So I am pretty sure this is CMT related.
    I turned off the alarm that was supposed to wake me up for the half marathon race I had scheduled in Waukesha.  If I would have really had to I could have run. I have only had a good nights sleep once before a marathon and once before a half. I know I can run on little sleep, I just didn't think it was a good idea so close to Boston.
So I got about 4 hours of sleep Friday night.  The toll is mental as well as physical.  It's a bit depressing to struggle so hard to sleep and have so little to show for it. I've struggled with sleeping my entire life, but it's really getting old.

I bounced back Sunday and got my 12 mile run in on the treadmill since it was 42F and rainy. It felt so good I didn't want to stop. It is a big temptation during the taper to do just a big more to get ready.  The rest before is just as important as all the tough workouts.

Another bright spot this week was the article that appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Tom Held.   Tom actually got a decent picture of me which is quite a feat.

I know despite the doubts I have prepared harder for this race than I have for any of my previous six marathons.  I know I ve done my best, despite the doubts. We'll just have to wait until race day to see if it was enough.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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