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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I'm Still a Scammer

" If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives, Do good anyways."  -The Paradoxical Commandments  Kent Keith.

A couple of months ago I shared with one of my co-workers I'd applied for the Mobility Impaired Division of the Boston Marathon.  He told me I was a scammer.  I was just like those people that park in handicap spaces that don't need to.  I pointed him to the Team CMT web site, hoping he would get a better understanding of CMT and the challenges some face with living with CMT.

So this week I saw this co-worker and I asked him if he had checked out the web site. He said he did and yes he still considered me a scammer.  He said I run marathons so there is nothing wrong with me.

Well a house with termites looks fine too. You would never guess there is a problem inside.  The house looks perfectly fine, but it's hiding a problem deep inside. Well my nerves are being attacked just like the wood in a termite infested house.  I feel a little frustrated for being so successful in working to over come my CMT.

My co-worker made an assumption because I look fine, I must be fine.  If he would have asked some questions and been open to learning, he might have learned a bit about what it is like to live with CMT.

When I was first diagnosed a friend of mine who is an athlete asked me "What does it mean to have CMT?"  He meant what did it mean to me personally.  It is a really good question because symptoms can vary greatly in number and severity.

Having CMT means my body does not regulate temperature well. I am almost always cold. I keep my electric blanket on my bed all year round.  My hands and feet are often like ice.  I have to wear warmers on my hands and feet  when I do my ski patrol shift and still get cold. I have to take a warm bath when I get home or I shiver for hours, even under an electric blanket and down quilt.

Having CMT means I am tired all the time. It is estimated it takes twice as much energy for a person with CMT to do daily tasks. This is due to the breakdown of the nerves. It takes the signal longer.  Plus I have had trouble falling asleep my entire life. Sometimes I am awake all night. So imagine coming home to do a 9 mile run and you are so tired you just want to sleep.  Imagine doing a marathon with little sleep and the energy that has to be expended to complete a race that takes 5 hours.

One of the symptoms of CMT is very very tight calf muscles.  I have little flexibility in my ankles. This means my feet don't have the flexibility to run to walk correctly much less run.  Plus the tight muscles set me up for injury. It is really tough to get in the training needed to be successful without getting injured.

I have a curve in my spine which is common in CMT.  My hip is also rotated up and to one side.  So sometimes it really feels like one leg is shorter when I run. I have a great chiropractor that is working on this and does his best to catch any injuries early.

The worst thing about the CMT is the progressive muscle weakness. Because the nerve signals slow the leg and arm muscles slowly die.  Any lay off for injury or an accident can see an acceleration in weakness.   I was in a bike accident some years back and saw my running time go from 7:30 to 10:00 almost overnight. So I know I am one bad accident away from not having an athletic career at all.
It may be just a matter of time, that I will be so slow it will not make sense to compete. It is tough to watch my skills go more quickly than others my age.

The muscle weakness causes foot drop.  So my foot catches causing me to trip, especially when I am tired. So I have to pay attention every time I run and even more so after a race.

I really don't have a choice about working out. If I don't I have leg pain.

CMT affects my hands as well, I am losing some of the fine motor control to do things like type.

I 'm not complaining. I know I am so so lucky to be running, much less in a race like the Boston Marathon. So many with this disease wear braces and have problems doing simple things like opening a jar or buttoning buttons.  My CMT is considered very mild and although I run marathons and look fine I have challenges.

 I didn't expect anyone to throw a parade in my honor. I'm no superhero.  I am just an ordinary person with goals and a lot of drive.  I never expected to be accused of having selfish motive.  We all have lots of work to do to educate people about living with CMT.  I  know I 've seen enormous benefits from exercise. Some of my symptoms have even gotten better. 

I hope most people will be inspired by the athletes of Team CMT. There sixteen athletes on the team with CMT. They bike, do triathlons and like me run marathons.  Like me they have drive and a love of being active.  So call us scammers if you will , but take the time to find out what a person with CMT goes through each day before you judge.

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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Running Your Own Race

Boston Athletic Association
" We will win and live with it if we can't, but you will never know how far you can go unless you run."  Penny Chernrey in the movie Secretariat

Boston Training- Week 10
One of the nice things about my entry into Boston is I get regular email updates.  The picture was from a recent update.  The runner behind the pack Desiree Davila chose to run her own race and stayed behind the pack.  She ended up finishing second, just seconds behind the winner.

Wise runners learn not to go out too fast in any race especially a marathon. You have to live with the decision in the later stages. Go out to fast and you might not finish. So you learn to run for a pace you can sustain for 26.2 miles. You learn to run to your ability or run your own race.

You have to wonder what was going through her mind as she saw that pack break away. What doubts must have been going through her mind.  It takes real courage to run your own race, whether it the Boston marathon, a local 5K or a decision in your everyday life.  Sometimes it's tough to stay the course when aren't sure it's the right decision.

Almost every time I run a marathon or half, I have trouble sleeping the night before.  I often ask myself "Why I am doing this?" Then I run the race and I am always glad it did.  I love to test myself and I can't do that if I don't run. If you've finish a marathon you know the exhilaration of running the best you can to conquer the distance. As a runner with CMT I know I run a greater risk of being injured, but if I didn't push myself I would never know how far I can go. If I hadn't taken a risk, I would never have set the goal of running Boston. Yet in 49 days I will be lining up with thousands of other runners.

I'm doing quite a bit of questioning this week. Work is tough and has been exceptionally stressful.  Sometimes running my own race at work, seperates me from my peers.  I know the feeling of running alone. I know I've made the right decisions and done the right things.  Sometimes running your own race means taking a risk even when there is no pay off on the horizon. Right now I'm not sure of the outcome, but I am willing to live with the results.

Well this week the training got tough too. I fell off the music wagon this week and used the radio for my 9 mile tempo run.  I was tired and since I gave up soda for lent, there was no available caffeine and sugar boost. So I cheated a bit by listening to talk radio, but I got the workout done.  I didn't have a choice to move the run to a later day because we were expecting rain and snow the next day.

 I planned a 20 mile run for this weekend and I was determined to run it outside.  Saturday was in the 20's and cold. I was tired, so I pushed the run off until Sunday when the high was supposed to be 40F.  Well it was 28F when I got started and winds were predicted to hit 30 mph with gusts up to 45mph.  I got out as early as possible to get at least part of my almost 4 hour run done before the winds were at their worst.

The run did not start out well when the bathrooms at the Lake and in a near by park were all locked.  I had to make a pit stop at home, which messed up all my route plans.  I was tired and only finished about 90 minutes of my run. I didn't think I was going to complete the workout.  I was feeling some pain in the knee that was just like the pain I had when I got a stress fracture. My hamstrings were hurting and I was determined to get through the workout without music and did I mention the wind.  40F sounds warm until you have 40 mph wind gusts. So I told myself just run around the block and see how it goes. I wanted to be close to home in case I needed to stop.

I read a trick in a running magazine this week that I tried out as I ran the block. The article said when things get tough to take your mind off of it by repeating a phrase like left, right, left right. So as I ran around the block I counted every step.  As I ran around the block I counted; 1,2,3,4,....until I got to 100. Then I would start again.  I counted them off on my fingers until got to 1000. Then I repeated 5 times and switched to another block.  There were even a few hills.  I was so able to concentrate that I did not feel any pain. Funny how the counting pushed every other thought out of my head. I watched the minutes tick off my watch until I reached 3 hours and 50 minutes, my goal time for the workout.  Counting also helped me maintain a faster pace later in my workout.

This was a tough workout, but I made it.  Every time I run one of these long workouts I find it hard to believe on race day I will have to run another hour. I wonder if I will ever make it.

The decision I made today will pay dividends when I run Boston. I know on a really tough day I was able to get through the workout. These are the small pieces that have to be in place for me to run my race.

Post workout my legs feel good.  I'm still fighting a few trouble spots and I hope new running shoes this week will help

This week is going to be even tougher as my easy days go from 4 miles to 5 miles. I also have a 9 mile tempo and another 20 + mile run.  If it gets tough, I'll count or do whatever it takes...that's what it takes to run my race.

So whatever tough choices or decision you have to make do it. You won't know how far you can go unless you do.

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

Friday, February 24, 2012

Promote Team CMT





Team CMT Yard Sign



In Wisconsin it's election season and political yard signs are everywhere. I live on a really busy street and I had this Team CMT yard sign made with our new Team CMT logo and web site names.
I had the sign made at vistaprint.com
If you want to promote the team there are lots of options. Vista print has a number of items. I did the mouse pad, notecards and notebook customized with my name.

Team CMT Mouse Pad
 
Team CMT Notebook
For the triathletes and cyclists on the team, a custom water bottle might be a good option. I had this one done at cafepress.com. They also have metal bottles with screw tops.  Check out the web sites.  If you are interested email me and I will send you the file. You upload the design, select your items and check out.  It is easy and you will have Team CMT stuff in less than a week.
Water Bottle




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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Boston Week 9- A Week of Ups & Downs

Cheryl Monnat, Robert Kearney, Chris Wodke, Kathy Stultz
Kathy Stultz and Lincoln Stultz

"It's not whether you get knocked down, its whether you get up." Vince Lombardi

To be successful as an athlete you have to be consistent in your training. That means working out even when life throws you a few curve balls.   Working out even when you don't feel like it. This week definitely had its ups and downs.

My boss is retiring and a few weeks ago I applied for her Training Manager position. On Monday the hiring manager pulled me aside to tell me I wasn't even going to get an interview.  I 've spent the last 12 years of my professional life getting ready to take this position.  To not even get an interview was really devastating.  I can honestly say I am still not completely recovered. I did not expect to get the job, but at least expected a shot at it. Not sure what the future will look like in my professional life or what will happen next. I am certain there will be some significant changes sometime soon.

Then Thursday I got the news  the Charcot-Marie-Tooth organization has decided to start an athletic team. The team was formed by one of our Team CMT members.  I can understand the desire to form a team, it was just some really negative things were said about me and inferred about our sponsor.  It was hurtful to try and divide  the CMT communitywhen we are fighting the same fight. A few members have left the team and that is sad as well. I will miss them, but wish them well. 

Honestly some days it was tough to run, but I did get through the week.  Saturday was the high point because 5 Team CMT members raced at the RACC Big Chill 10K in Pewaukee. Racing felt good after a tough week.  It is so awesome to see Kathy and Lincoln racing together. Lincoln is in 4th place in the points series for his age group.  Lincoln races for his sister Regan who has CMT.  Lincoln did not want to wear his new singlet yet because he is waiting for his mom to customize the back with "Linco is a running fool."

The day did not start well for me because I had a fall in the parking lot.LEave it to me to find the one icy patch in the parking lot.

 It was a sunny and relatively warm  28F day.  Cheryl Monnat took 2nd in her age group, just 20 seconds behind the winner. Lincoln medaled and I took 6th in my age group.  My hamstrings were hurting the whole race. Robert completed the entire race on an injured heel. Kathy finished right along side Lincoln.

 I was too sore to do my long run on Sunday, so I did a run of 2hr and 10 minutes in the pool.  I do occasionally have to substitute a pool workout when fighting an injury. It's OK, as long as it doesn't happen too often. Considering the week I had, I'll take it.

The workouts aren't going to be any easier this week. On the plan this week is a 9 mile tempo run, some speed work and a long run of 20 miles. Hopefully the rest of my life is a little calmer this week.


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


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

CMT is Our Mountain


Tenzig Norgay was a member of the first team to reach the summit of Mount Everest.  He said about climbing mountains; “When people are going to a mountain they should forget the mole hills. When they are involved in a big thing, they should have big hearts to go with it.”
  He and Edmund Hilary were the first to me reach the top of Everest in 1953.  No one knew if it was even possible, since many had tried and failed.
After their feat, reporters wanted to know “Who got there first?”
Tenzing later wrote about the question; “Mountaineers realize there is no sense in such a question.”  “That two men are on the same rope, and that is all there is to it.”  He further said “All the way up and all the way down we helped each other and were helped by each other and that was way it should be.” He explained.  “We were not leader and led, we were partners.”
We are partners as well and in a sense on the same rope.  All through my training I have been helped by many of you with advice and encouragement.   Many of us with CMT know it takes a big heart to do what we do and I could not run Boston without the support and encouragement of my team.    CMT is the mountain we climb together.
As of today there is a second group to raise awareness of CMT. The CMTA has decided to start a team. Some in the CMT community have been upset Team CMT is sponsored by HNF. We had at one time been loosely affiliated to the CMTA.
  I am a CMTA member.  I support their mission and wish this new team well.  If I see their athletes at an event I will cheer them on and salute them as I pass them on the race course. I’ll be happy to take a picture with them and even sign an autograph or two. Just kidding.
I refuse to engage in battle with them. I personally have spent over $10,000 dollars to raise awareness of CMT. I have CMT and have seen the effects in my own family and in the families of team members.  The athletes on this team understand that CMT steals a piece of us every day.  I am committed with my heart and soul to this cause. I am committed to each and every member of this team.
I welcome anyone wishing to climb this mountain with us. We are in the same battle and we are on the same rope. It doesn’t matter who gets there first, who raises the most money or has the biggest team.   I’m in competition against CMT, not another team with the same goal. When we find treatments or a cure for CMT we’ll all be winners.
I am thankful for each of the members of this team. You all mean so much to me. I value each and every one of you. It means more than I can say, especially as I prepare for Boston.
Thank you so much for your encouragement, interest and support of Team CMT and our mission to raise awareness of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disorder.
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

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chris Wodke and Trenni Kusnierek


"Its a dream until you write it down, then its a goal."- unknown

Week 8- Boston Training

Boston is 62 days away. That sounds so close.  Last year I wrote the date April 16th, 2012 on a piece of paper and put it on my bulletin board.  April 16th is the day of the Boston Marathon.  I don't remember the exact day I put up that goal, but I know it was soon after I was diagnosed with CMT. I put up that goal even before I ran my qualifying marathon in Madison.  I knew somehow I was going to be there.  It is hard to believe my goal is so close.  I've now replaced that goal on my board with my Boston acceptance letter.

I achieved another goal of sorts this week when I sat down for a TV interview with Trenni Kusnierek of WTMJ.  I chose Boston because as a high profile event, I knew it would garner interest to raise awareness of CMT. 

I have to admit I was a bit nervous before the interview. It was my first ever TV interview. You can see from the picture why Trenni is paid to be in front of a camera and why I'm not.  Trenni put me at ease right away. She is running Boston for the 2nd time and had some great advise to share with me.

It will be marathon number 7 for both of us. It was so much fun to talk about training and races with her.  Thanks to my publicist Gail Sideman for arranging the interview. I also gave Trenni a Team CMT singlet and she promised to wear it.  I hope to see her as I run Boston.  Because I am starting in the first wave we may finish at about the same time. 

 Trenni actually hurt her Achilles tendon and was not able to run for 3 weeks.  She is back to running so I wish her well and a good run at Boston. 

 It is really easy to over train when getting ready for a marathon. I am especially vulnerable to injury because of my CMT.  I walk a fine line always between training enough to prepare and over training and being injured.
At week 8 I am getting into the meat of the training program. I had a couple of nights this week when I woke up at midnight and couldn't fall back asleep so finishing all the training this week was a challenge.  I got in my speed work and 8 mile tempo run before it snowed and turned nasty cold. On Saturday morning it was 8F with wind chills of -5F so it was off to the treadmill.

I did 3 hours and 24 minutes with hill repeats the entire time to simulate the hilly course at Boston. I won't bore you with the exact details. The steepest segments felt really good. My heart was going and I was breathing a bit hard and it felt good.  I loved the challenge of the hill work and it made the time go by fast.  I did a ski patrol shift on Saturday night and Sunday I was only a little sore. That 3 hour plus treadmill session is about the same as an 18 mile run.

So training is still going well. I have a bit of a tender area around by right knee. I always have a bit of a problem with the muscle just left and below the right knee cap. It just needs stretching and some bio-freeze.  I have trained for enough marathons I know how to adjust my training and take of small problems as they pop up.  Twice monthly visits to my sports medicine Chiropractor Dr Drweiz also keep me healthy.

This week is going to seem easy since it is a rest week. The mile builds for two weeks and then is cut back on the third week to give my body a chance to recover.  This week I have a race 10K race with Team CMT members Kathy Stultz, Robert Kearney and Cheryl Monnat. I also have a speed workout and a long run of 12 miles. After  my treadmill session this week, 12 miles sounds easy.

Not sure when the interview will air. Once I know I will let everyone know and will upload it to the web site etc.  I do not plan to watch it. I think as so as the camera came on I lost all ability to speak rationally.  Pros like Trenni really earn their money. Thanks Trenni and Gail for helping me to bring awareness about CMT and the activities of Team CMT!


Chris Wodke
Manager & Founder 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, February 9, 2012

Fueled by Caffine & Sugar

"Running is a big question mark that there each and every day. It asks you 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"- unknown

Well today I was strong, but I really wanted to be a wimp.  I had a job interview today and a media interview yesterday so it's been a busy and important week. Last night I woke up at mid-night and it was hours before I was back asleep.

So I started the day tired and had 2 hours of grilling by a panel of 4 interviewers. So a bit of stress on top of being tired. Plus the interview was during lunch so my whole schedule was off.

On the training plan today was a 8 mile tempo run. I was really supposed to run that yesterday, but had to work late to make up for the time I was away from work to do my TV interview. By the time I got home, the sun was setting. I didn't want to finish my workout in the cold and dark.  I was really really tired today, but tomorrow the wind chill is supposed to be 0F, so it had to be today.

So I fueled up with a Pepsi. I bribed myself that if I didn't feel better I could always do a treadmill workout tomorrow. That caffeine, sugar and the prospect of a treadmill workout was just enough to get me out the door.  Being successful as an athlete takes discipline and consistency.  Sometimes the key to working out consistently are the mental tricks I have to use to keep me working out on my worst days.
For me the training for a marathon is mental as well as physical.

Tempo runs are always the toughest runs for me.  They start with a warm-up of ten minutes of easy running and end with 10 minutes of easy running to cool down. In between is running at a 10K race pace. Tough mentally to hold for 6 miles or a little over an hour. Plus I was doing hills because I am conditioning myself for the hilly Boston course.

I won't lie, this workout was tough. I was tired and I did the same hill over and over. I ran in the park just across the street, so keeping the workout close made it mentally easier.

Plus I kept telling myself I am going to be really tired as I near the end of the Boston Marathon and running when really tired is both good mental and physical training for the end of the race.  This is one workout I will store away. I was not a wimp today.  I made the 8 mile goal or 1 hr and 18 minutes which should be pretty close to 8 miles. I feel good about overcoming the mental and physical challenge I had in getting out the door this afternoon.

Running strong and finishing workouts like these will make me strong both for my Boston race and all the workouts I have to do until then....even on days when I am really really tired.

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

If I buy a new bike, will I be too tired to ride it?


"There is a difference between interest and commitment. When your interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstances permit. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results". Art Turock

I was at the Multi Sport Expo on January 29th and of course we had to visit the Emery's Cycle booth to look at bikes.  My teammate Cheryl found some great deal on bike clothes.  So, while I was waiting for her to checkout, I had the one of the salesman bring a Trek Madone 5.9 off of the rack. Just to look at mind you.

The frame was a small so it was a pretty good fit.  It had a gorgeous silver and blue paint job and although it was not the women's specific model it fit pretty well. The women's model is a not so sharp pastel mint green.

This bike has electronic shifting and a carbon frame. I could lift it with one finger.  The price tag is anything but light, coming in around $5300.  Still I am looking to upgrade my road bike.

After I finish the Boston Marathon, I plan on doing the RACC duathlon series and several triathlons this summer. I will be attempting to qualify as a para triathlete for the national championships. Still trying to figure out what races and how the process all works.

Sometimes I wonder if I am worth the investment in such an expensive bike. I wonder if I am a good enough athlete to justify the expense of a fancy new bike and I wonder if I will be able to use it.

 On Sunday night I was exhausted and in bed by 6 pm. Of course I was still awake hours later. My legs were jumpy like they were being shocked. These nights are long, I took melatonin, Tylenol PM and another over the counter sleep aid.

 It was after 3 am before I fell asleep and the alarm went off at 5 am. I was so exhausted on Monday after work I couldn't work out.  I was in bed again at 6 pm. It finally took a prescription sleeping pill to get some rest.  The prescription pill is one I resort to only when I am really desperate, since they can be habit forming. I wish I could tell you I woke up feeling well rested.

It is hard to explain how my tired is different from the tiredness everyone feels. When we had storms in Milwaukee,  I often had to stay up all night at work as part of my job as a Supervisor in the Control Center at We Energies.  That kind of stay up all night tired is how I feel when I have one of these days.  I call it profound tiredness. It feels like I need to lay down and go to sleep and my body aches. It is above the normal tired I feel almost every day. 

I never miss work, in fact I haven't called in sick in almost 10 years.  But after work there are some days when it is a struggle to do anything after work, much less work out. Monday I was lucky I had an off day scheduled during the week. So I switched my off day to cover the day I couldn't work out.
This takes an emotional toll as well. I was so low emotionally on Monday night I was in tears as I struggled to sleep.

So when I get this tired, I wonder if this is the future I can look forward to. As my CMT progresses will I be too tired to ride my bike or run or do the other things I love to do?

 Right now I am still able to work out most days, even on the days I am really really tired.  So will I get a new bike?  Probably.  Will it be a Trek Madone 5.9?  Probably not, but I will get something to help me reach my next goal and I will continue to battle the CMT to be the best athlete I can be.  Will I be too tired to ride it? The answer will be yes, some days....but there are still more good days than bad days. I will cherish those good days and fight though the not so good days. That for me is what it means to be an athlete. 

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

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes

" No matter how bad you feel, there is always someone out there who feels worse and is still moving". Unknown

Week 7 Boston Training
Well Saturday was a perfect day for my long run. The first picture is how it looked when I got back from my run. It was 39F and I had a gorgeous run along the lake and even did over an hour of hill work by running up and down a couple of hills on the route. 

Last year on ground hog day which fell during this week, we got 22 inches of snow and this is how the same area looked.


We got so much snow and it was so windy that my back door was drifted shut.


The snow was so deep, I had to put on snow shoes to get to my back door to get my shovel out of the garage. It took me six hours to dig out. After I was done digging out I went running.. It's really fun to run in the snow.  The challenge comes after the storm when every street has snow banks three or more feet high. It got to the point I was worried about getting hurt climbing up and  down the banks every block. Plus the sidewalks get really icy from the freezing and thawing and salt everyone uses. So most of last February I spent using the treadmill.
Saturday the long run planned was somewhere between 16- 18 miles.  My goal was to run for 3 hours and 6 minutes making for 18 miles based on my last half marathon time.  I tried wearing a GPS watch last year. It is supposed to measure distance based on satellite reads. It was wildly off so I gave up on it and resold it on Amazon.  I don't seem to have very good luck with watches.  It doesn't matter how expensive, they never seem to last long on my wrist. They simply stop working.  My latest watch casualty was one I inherited from my mom.  It lasted about 4 days on my wrist before it stopped working. 

16 miles was on the training plan, but I am trying to extend each of my long runs by a couple of miles. Hoping that will make me a bit stronger so I can hold my pace throughout the marathon. That meant a run of 3 hours and 6 minutes to reach 18 miles based on my last half marathon time.  Too bad my last half time was the slowest I have run all year.

For me the toughest part of the long run is getting out the door.  Whether I think of the long run as the 18 miles I wanted to do or the 3 hr and 6 minutes I knew it would take, it just sounds really far. It can be tough to get motivated to get started. I had some letters to mail, so the first step was running to the post office and to just keep going.    My plan was to find a hill or two and do repeats. I ended up down along the lake and had a great run.

The week did not start off well. I was in bed by 6 pm both Sunday and Monday. In fact Monday I was so tired I couldn't work out. I had a rest day in the plan this week, that I moved from Friday to Monday. I was able to get in all my other workouts including an 8 mile tempo run. It is no big deal to miss a work out or two over  the training program. I find I can miss a workout or two and still have a good race. The key for me is to get in the three runs I need to do every week and move around the off day as needed.

Well this week my long run will be 17-19 miles. I also have a TV interview with the one of the  sportscaster's from WTMJ.  Trenni is also doing the Boston Marathon, so she is interested in my story.

It is hard for me to believe the changes since last year. A year ago I was training for the Madison Marathon, not knowing if I could even run a marathon again.  A year ago I was having trouble getting media attention. Now I have a publicist and several interviews pending.  A year ago Team CMT was just in the idea stage. I had no idea we would grow so fast or that I would find so many athletes with CMT or so many others interested in helping with our cause.  What a difference a year has made.  Now I am on my way to Boston and the most important race I may ever run for Team CMT.  I can't wait for a year from now.  I think amazing things are going to happen over the next year. I hope it is as good as this year has been.

It is also supposed to continue to be warm and dry this week. All good news for me as I continue getting ready for Boston!

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, February 2, 2012

The Best Advice I Ever Got

"The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have."  Vince Lombardi

I was once asked during a job interview the best advise I was ever given.  It's a great question and an easy one for me to answer.

 It was during engineering graduate school. I was taking a class in thermodynamics and we were using math to prove the basic thermodynamic laws. I spent endless hours working out the equations. I especially remember one Friday night when I was sitting in the kitchen doing my homework and my roommates were headed to the bars to have some fun.

 I remember it took hours and many pages of mathematical equations to prove the theorems.  Sometimes I never did solve the equation assigned.

Part of the course requirements was meeting with the professor to go over the homework.  My professor had some unpronounceable Iranian names so we'll just call him Professor K. 

One day when going over my assignment Professor K said to me; "Christine, you get so close to solving the problem and then you stop".   I have always remembered that feedback. If I had just worked a little harder and stuck with it a little longer I would have solved the problem.

I remembered his words as I ran my first marathon. I wanted to quite many times during that race. My thighs burned and I had blisters so bad, my feet bled all the way through my shoes.  But I was no quitter.
I finished that first marathon in 4 hours and have finished five since then. I'll finish number seven when I line up for the Boston Marathon in April.

I know no matter how tough it gets in a race, not to quit too soon.  I've carried that same attitude into my entire life whether it's a race, a project at work, or finding a treatment for the condition I share with so many others.  I know not to quite anything too soon, before that problem is solved, the project finished and the finish line crossed.

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