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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Boston Marathon Weekend-Race Day

Athletes Village-Boston Marathon

"Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration."-Thomas Edison

I was strangely calm on race day.  Usually I'm really nervous before a marathon. I've run enough of them to know what waits on the course.  Maybe it was the signatures and good wishes written on papers I had pinned to my numbers, maybe it was all the prayers and good wishes or the fact that I felt like I had been training for this race my whole life.  I know I had trained harder for Boston than any marathon I've ever prepared for. I was calm and confident as I boarded the bus at 7 a.m. in Boston Commons for the ride to the race start in Hopkinton.

I had only slept about 4 1/2 hours since one of my roommates snoring kept me up from 1:30 a.m. until I got up at 5 a.m.  I felt lucky to get that. Most of my marathons I don't sleep at all the night before. I had worked hard I couldn't wait for the start.

Although I had banned my iPod from the race, I used it on the bus and in the athletes village. I arrived in the athletes village at 8 a.m.  My wave started at 10:40. So I had over 2 hours to rest,  find some shade and try to relax. Music helped to center me and mentally prepare for the day ahead.

As I made my way to my corral in wave 3 I mentally went over my plan for the day.  Gone was the goal of  4:41 and even finishing in the top 3 in my division. I just wanted to finish. So many people were tracking me or had donated to me, I couldn't let them down. I knew on a day when the temperatures were expected to be near 90F it would be a battle and a victory just to finish. I planned on walking a bit through every water stop.

Just as I got to my corral the race started and I was off.  I hit the first mile at  tabout 9:00.  Way faster than I expected. I slowed down knowing a fast pace early on would take its toll later.

My most vivid memory of this race will be the crowd support. So many families with garden hoses, buckets of water and ice to cool down runners. I took advantage of everyone of them.
 So many offers of orange slices, twizzlers, pretzels, and countless other food items.  So many high fives all along the course.  So many families with young kids, all cheering us on like we were ellite athletes.

The B.A.A. planned 3 cups of water for each runner at every water stop. I used all three. One in me and two on me.    It was a struggle to try and stay cool. I carried my own sports drink so I could keep my electrolytes balanced.

I was really starting to drag at the half way point. I was starting to doubt if I could finish. This is the tough middle of the race. Then I met the girls of Wellesley College. They are famous for being the loudest fans on the course.  They were screaming their heads off. When I yelled back "Wellesley Girls Rock" they screamed louder. We went back and forth and by the time I was past them I was ready to rock and roll.  I felt great.

Mile 17

I 've never had support on the course when I've run a marathon. So it was a real treat to have Cheryl Monnat waiting at mile 17.  I think I looked pretty good although I was struggling.I had so much water in my shoes it was sloshing around. Time for a quick stop for dry shoes and socks. I also got a full bottle of sports drink and GU.  I was off and then met Allison Moore and friend Valarie at mile 21. Stop for a quick picture, hug and encouragement.  By the time I hit mile 20 I know I going to finish. At this point I was splitting my time between walking and running.  Almost everyone was and they looked like walking wounded.

I saw runners down and lots in the first aid tents. There was a runner collapsed in the last .2 miles. Imagine getting that far and not be able to finish.  It was no time at all before I was headed down Bolyston street. I don't know how she did it by Cheryl was at mile 25 as well. I cannot tell you how much the support helped.    I came down Bolyston lined with a sea of people all cheering like I was the first runner they were seeing.  I was so excited and happy to finish and yes I cried a bit. Not too much because I think I was pretty dehydrated.

Now all that was left to do was get my finisher medal, pick up luggage and meet Cheryl.  While I waited I propped my feet up against a building wall.  I got a couple of killer leg cramps so I think I finished just in time.  My time was terrible 5:27, but I finished and even won 2nd in the Mobility Impaired Division. I was thrilled since I have never placed in the top three in any race over 10K. I didn't find out until the next day when results were posted.

I was not the only one that struggled. My elite runner acquaintance was 40 minutes slower than usual. Last year's top men's and women's runners did not finish.  All in all it was a good day.  One I will always remember.

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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