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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Own Worst Enemy

Cap Tex Tri 2012 Finisher Medal

"It's not the mountains that we conquer, but ourselves."- Sir Edmund Hilary

Sir Edmund could have been talking about me as I raced the Cap Tex Tri.  I was my own worst enemy. Inexperience, mistakes and disappointment were all demons I battled against.

It all started the day before when I did not classify into the T3 para triathlete category. I was told I was not impaired enough and too strong. Gone was any shot at the National Championship and a chance for competition at the World Championships.  I was transferred into the physically challenged open division. I had to give back my number with my name and national championship designation. That hurt.

Later in the day when I took out the rental bike for a test ride, the tire was flat and it had to be taken back to the shop.  I only got to do a short test ride on the bike since my family was waiting for me.  So I was not off to a good start. 

On race day I was denied access to the transition area.  I had racked my bike in the sprint area as directed. I did not know there was a rack in a different area for those competing in the open division. It seemed like it took forever to get a race official over and get me to the right transition area.  I felt like I barely had time to set up my gear and that added to my stress.

I also had trouble getting into the swim start until I pointed out to the official I had the same color swim cap as the athletes in the water. Once in the water my goggles were fogging despite the defog applied. Even though I rinsed the goggles, the defog was stinging my eyes. No effect on the fogging goggles. As I looked down the course the swim looked so far. I had to remind myself I have been swimming twice the distance in practice.

When you can count on one hand the number of tri's you have done, you're not a pro. I had only done 5 and only 4 had open water swims. My experience showed in the swim.  The course, had was triangular. I had seen the map and had it explained to me. The swim was going fine, I made my fancy turn around the buoy like I had learned at swim clinic. Only problem was it was the wrong turn, I was asked by one of the race Marshall's if I was OK and was informed I had missed the turn. Had to go back and redo it.  Still  I did the crawl stroke the entire way which was a big improvement over previous races. 

Then in the bike leg, my race belt must of come undone and I lost my number. I informed the race official in transition about what happened and was instructed to complete the course. I was scored, but if I had been in the National Championship, that mistake would have gotten me dis-qualified. Also missed a turn around on the bike leg. Did not miss by much, but it cost me some time.  I also hugged the right of the course to stay out of the way of all the elite athletes speeding by me. The run was the only part of the race that went smoothly, but it is also where I have the most experience.

I was also racing without a bike computer since the rental bike did not have one and I did not notice until the flat was fixed. So I was basically racing blind. I won't know my speed until race results are published.

Well I have a lot to learn and a lot of mistakes to correct for next time.  My clock time was  1 hr 45 when I crossed the finish line. I would know my time if I had remembered to start the watch I was wearing. I did beat the time of the T3 champion. Chip times have been published and I finished just a big over 1 hr 39 minutes.

 I raced like a complete moron, but still managed to win the Physically Challenged Open Division.  I even beat the time of the winner in T3 which the category I was denied entry. Looking forward to the next time and maybe just maybe a spot in the National Championship race. 

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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