Follow by Email

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It Was All About a Boy

Crystal Ridge Ski Patrol-I'm right in the center

"Sometimes our lack of confidence keeps us from trying things we could easily master if we could summon up the courage to get started."-Tony Stoltzfus

When Tom Held interviewed me last week he asked why I started running. I told him I started running to become a better skier.  What he didn't ask was why I started skiing and it was all about a boy.

A college boy actually.  I was an 18 year old freshmen, just pledged to the Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. One of my sorority sisters was dating a member of the Engineering Fraternity Triangle. I was meeting her up in the Triangle office and as I was walking in, he was walking out. It was love at first sight.... well for me anyways,

We'll call him Mr. Triangle and  I was later to find  out was the object of most of my sorority sisters crushes.  Never mind, we had lots in common because we both worked as chem techs. He was a Chemical Engineering student and I was majoring in Chemistry. 

One day I worked up the courage to ask him to my sorority fall formal. He said no and it didn't even bother me.  I was so excited that I actually had the courage to ask him, that it didn't matter that he said no. I was thrilled I took the risk and I was so proud of myself.

It was the feeling I still get every time I take a risk. Like the time I jumped off a cliff into the ocean in Kaui.  The exileration is intoxicating.

I found out soon after he was a skier.  Several of his frat brothers were heading to a local ski hill and invited my friend Ginny and I along.  Since it was their first night skiing for the season, they dumped us on the bunny hill with no instruction..  I spent the whole night getting up and falling down, but I was hooked.  

I got a few lessons and got to ski well enough to ski many nights and quite a few vacations skiing with Mr. Triangle, his frat brothers and our mutual. friends.  Mr Triangle did everything well including skiing. If athletic grace was a term in the dictionary, his picture would be next to it.  

I have never been a natural athlete at anything. So I knew I needed to improve my skiing. Friend Lynette was a little sister of Triangle and a runner. When she invited me to go running I knew it was the ticket to improve my skiing. Just so happens Mr. Triangle was also a runner and we would just happen to work out at the University track while Mr. Triangle and his buddy were running. I thought well if he sees me, he will just be smitten.

Not so much since I looked like I was about 12 years old when I was in college. He would have been a pedophile if he had been attracted to me.

 Well he never did fall in love with me....I got over my crush and we became really good friends.  Over 30 years later I'm still running and skiing. I have been a member of the National Ski Patrol at Crystal Ridge for over 25 years.  

Volunteering as a First Aid instructor got me my start as a professional trainer.  Mr. Triangle now lives in Boston and has been married for 20 years and has two beautiful children. Hoping to connect with him in a few weeks.

So you never know what influence your  life may have on someone just by doing the things you do  or what will happen if you are brave enough to take a risk.  So be brave and take that risk, whether it's asking someone out, jumping off a cliff, pointing your skis downhill or applying to the Boston Marathon.  Think big and be brave.

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

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Week 14 Boston Training- I'm not normal

Ravine Trail Lake Park


"Our lives are fashioned by choice. First we make choices.  Then our choices make us." -Andy Andrews

This was my toughest week of training. It was the second week I had to do a 10 mile tempo run and a 20 mile run in back to back weeks.  It was foggy, rainy and 50F on Saturday and my legs were stiff.  My Chiropractor Dr. Drewicz had advised me to do my long run on Sunday to give my sore knee an extra day off. I wanted to do the run on Saturday since I have a half marathon next Saturday. Dr. Mark won this one.

Stairs Lake Park Bistro


On Sunday it was 52F and sunny when I started my run 20 mile run in Lake Park along Lake Michigan.  I needed a change to keep things fresh and wanted one last chance to run hills. That's what I did. I ran the long hill off of Kenwood, St Mary's hill and the hill by Alterra coffee all at least 5 times. The loop I ran was 5 miles but stairs hills and trail running in the part made up for 3 hours.  The ravine trail run complete with water fall is the first photo.  I finished my run with 30 minutes through some of the east side including my old flat on Shepard.  I am still running without music so that gives me plenty of time to think.

One thing I concluded is I'm not normal as I passed both Lake Park Bistro and Cafe Hollander. Seemed like the whole east side was either having brunch outside at Cafe Hollander or waiting to have brunch. I got a good whiff of breakfast food at both places.  Everyone was out golfing, roller blading, drinking coffee at Alterra, walking their dog, eating brunch or generally having a good time. There I was doing hill after hill and stairs,banging out another 20 mile run.  Still it was my choice and it was a great day for a run.    It feels good to have my last really long run done.  

In just 21 days I will be lining up on the starting line in Boston and all that fun I gave up will really pay off on race day. So maybe my Sunday is not "normal" for the average person, but its par for the course for any serious athlete. It's a choice I gladly make to be ready for the biggest race I've ever run.

It was a good week. I met with Tom Held of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for an interview.  I talked so much I'm surprise he came back for the photo shoot on Thursday. Tom is a runner, skier and cyclist so it was great to meet him. He asked a number of questions that showed he'd read my blog which I really appreciated. It is a great honor to be interviewed by Tom. He has done profiles on a number of local runners, including two pieces on friend Rick Stefanovic.  I know I've arrived when I've been interviewed by Tom Held. I really appreciated his time. 

The weeks get easier now. I'm on my taper. Mileage is gradually decreased up to the race. This means all the hard work is done. Now I just have to let me body rest and repair. I love the taper which includes two days off in the days just before the race. My longest run this week will be the Trailbreaker Half Marathon next Saturday in Waukesha.  Will run it if the knee feels good.  The legs really hurt today during the run and I always wonder how I will do 26 when 20 hurts so much. Of course race day I take liberal doses of Ibuprofen. That and a little race day magic will get me to the finish.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manger 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, March 23, 2012

Follow Me on Race Day






AT&T Athlete Alert Returns to Boston!

AT&T and the Boston Marathon are proud to introduce the AT&T Athlete Alert for the 2012 Boston Marathon. Whether you want updates on top runners leading this year's race, or want to track the progress of your friends and family as they make their way from Hopkinton to Boylston Street, the AT&T Athlete Alert is the easiest way for you to stay up on the latest from the 2012 Boston Marathon.
Beginning on March 20, there will be three different ways to sign up for the AT&T Athlete Alert.

Please note that you will need an athlete’s bib number to register:
  • TEXT - Simply text the word RUNNER to 345678 using your US mobile phone. You will then receive an sms text response with instructions on how to submit a runner’s bib number. (You will be opted in to receive 4 messages during the race. Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel, Text HELP for help. This program is available on the following carriers: AT&T, Boost, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless.)
  • EMAIL - Continue to the registration page for the AT&T Athlete Alert on the race website. Sign-up using your mobile phone number for SMS text message updates, or by entering an email address for email updates. Click here to sign up now.
  • ONSITE - If you prefer to register in person or have any questions, representatives will be available in the Bib Number Pick-Up area at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo on Friday, April 13, from 2:00pm-7:00pm, and on Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15, from 9:00am-6:00pm.


You can follow me as I run the Boston Marathon.  Follow the directions. My bib number is 21,611.  I thought  I would be starting at 9 am with the Mobility Impaired runners. They will only start those needing 6-8 hours to finish. I am too “fast” to be in that group. So I am seeded in the last wave, probably with all the charity runners and others running through special programs.

I also thought there were only six runners in the Mobility Impaired Division. Well it turns out there are 30 of us.  Last year my expected finish time of 4:51 would have put me in third place in the division. Guess we will just have to wait until race day to see how I do.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt@yahoo.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, March 20, 2012

Boston Training Week 13-

Richard & Ruth Cook


"Running a marathon gave me the inner strength that changed my life....just finishing can have a profound effect on your confidence and self esteem."- Henley Gibble

This week was full of accomplishments for Team CMT members.  Virginia Team CMT member Ruth Cook finished her first marathon at the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach this weekend.  I still remember how great I felt when I finished my first marathon.  Finishing a marathon is a struggle and after crossing the finish line  I knew there was nothing in life I would't be able to accomplish.  I feel that way every time I cross the finish line. Every mile is hard won and makes the accomplishment that much sweeter.  I am glad Ruth knows what that feels like.  Only 1% of Americans have run a marathon, Ruth is now in that club and she joins Team CMT members, Katie Ayala ( who did her 2nd as a Team CMT member this weekend) Richard Cook, Mary Snauffer, Mary Louie, Kristin Crosby, Robert Kearney, Cheryl Monnat and Chris Wodke.  Congratulations also to Pat Jett for finishing the half and Katie Ayala for finishing the marathon on a day when she was sick.  Katie is trying to qualify for Boston so she can run with Richard Cook next year. Get'em next time Katie.

This was a good week for Team CMT here in Wisconsin as well. We had the 10K Luck of the Irish Run in Hartland. I was joined by team members Robert Kearney, Cheryl Monnat, Kathy Stultz and Lincoln Stultz.

My plan was to run it easy to test what my marathon pace would be.  The 10K race was just the first part of a 20 mile day.  The course was 3 loops with 2 big hills on each loop.  Everyone looked pretty tired and complained about the course.  I went and ran the loop again, just to get the hill work in and add a little mental toughness.  I finished in 1:00.  Just good enough to give me the chance of running a 4:41 in Boston.

Cheryl Monnat and Chris Wodke


It was a good day for the Team,  Cheryl took 4th for her age group for the race and won her age group for the series.  On a day when I took it easy, I placed 9th.  Lincoln took 4th in his age group.

Racing is fun and makes all the hard workouts worthwhile.  I went home, took a nap and ran 11 more later in the day. The knee is still hurting, but so far I am getting through the workouts.

Up this week is an interview with Tom Held of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I have felt like I have really arrived as a runner.

This is my toughest week and my last week of long runs. This will be the second week in a row of a 10 mile tempo run and a 20 mile run. After this week, its a taper to the finish.  Boston is getting close.  Almost there.

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, March 18, 2012

Boston Training Week 12-Almost Famous


Barb Vonada, Courtney Hollett, Kim Farren


The Emperor Hadrian once said while building the Roman Empire, "Brick by Brick my citizens, brick by brick."

Roman wasn't built in a day and training for a marathon is not an overnight process either.Training for any marathon is a long process. You get ready work out by workout.   It takes 18 weeks to build the stamina and endurance to cover 26 miles.  This week I got a break because it was an easy week.  The mileage builds for 2 weeks and is cut back in the third week to give the body a chance to rest.

So my long run was only 12 miles.  Seemed easy since it only took 2 hrs and 12 minues.  That was half the time of my longest run.  Still fighiting a couple of injuries but hanging in there.

It as a busy and eventful week for Team CMT.  My interview with WTMJ here in Milwaukee aired through out the day on March 8th.  I had complete strangers come up to me in the gym and tell me they had seen it and people have been asking lots of questions.  Someone even told me they were inspired.  Hope he is inspired to work out.  I haven't watched the video.  I don't like to see myself in pictures or like the sound of my voice.  Besides I was there so I kind of already know.

This week also brought some tremendous news.  System Seven in Boston is going to match donations for the Marathon run up to $10,000.  I remember laying in bed last Sunday night and thinking about the fact I had committed to HNF to raise $10,000 and I was not even close yet. So I laid it on God and asked about the $10,000.  Well Thursday was when we got the sponsorship.  I guess in the future I should think bigger.

The nice thing is, if I raise $10,000 and it is matched, I will have doubled the money I've invested.  Not a bad return.

So bit by bit, we grow this team, raise money for research and get ready for Boston.
This week I have a 10 K race with Team CMT members, an interview with Boston radio and a 20 mile long run.  Just one more brick in the road to Boston.

Chris Wodke
Founder and 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, March 10, 2012

Running for My Life

" The miracle isn't that I finished."  " The miracle is that I had the courage to start."-  John Bingham

I have several vivid memories from grade school.  The first one is I spent most of my grade school life with perpetually skinned knees. I was always falling which is part of the CMT.  Good thing pants for girls were not allowed expect to wear under your dress as you walked to school in winter. What a nice look that was.

The second memory was running relay races. We were split into groups of 5-6 kids, lined up and when the whistle blew, you ran to some point, turned around and ran back, tagged the next person on your team and repeated.  The first team to get all their runner through won. I have vivid memories of being screamed at because "I was so slow". One kid would get right up in my face and scream at me.  I still hear him and use it to motivate me when I run. I bet he is sitting on a sofa somewhere with a beer in one hand and a remote in the other. He would have to catch me now to yell at me. It's a miracle I ran  another step after that gym class activity.

As if that trauma wasn't enough there was the game "Run for Your Life".  I think it was the particular invention of Mr. Oyler.  I loved and feared him.  I liked him so much I had him for 4th, 6th and 7th grade.  In my kid memories he was huge. Red hair, red  beard, and a big stocky guy who look like he played foot ball in college.  He had a yard stick wrapped in blue tape he used to wield discipline.  He once cracked that stick on his glass desk top and shattered it.   He thought nothing about grabbing a kid out of line, lifting him off the ground, putting him at eye level, and loudly ask them "What are you doing".   This was the 60's and private school.  Not the kind of wimpy education kids get today.

Anyway "Run for Your Life" was a game Mr. Olyer made us play in gym class and it went like this.  The massive Mr. Olyer would stand at center court of our gym basketball court. In his massive hands he held a red rubber playground ball. The four corners of the gym were "safe" zones. The whole class started at the corner that was the gym entrance.  When he blew his whistle, you were fair game. You had to run to the next safe zone.  As you passed he would try and pick you off with the red rubber play ground ball. When you were hit you were out. He seemed to take sadistic pleasure in picking us off one by one. The last one standing won.  

We were like gazelles being hunted. He was the prediator and we were the prey.  The weak and the slow were picked off first. Let me tell you I think I still have sting marks and can still feel the terror of the whistle blowing.  The strategy was to try and be in the crowd for protection.  It is amazing I ever ran a step after being subjected to running for my life. The game has now been banned except to torture terrorists.

I played the game many times over 4 years because in addition to being a grade level teacher, Mr. Olyer was also the gym teacher.  I had gym at least 3 times per week. Never knew when "Run for Your Life"  or some similar torture was on the agenda. It's no wonder when I had a choice in high school I dropped gym. It is a miracle I ever ran again.

That gym was also the source of my best memory. We also played wiffle ball. Plastic ball, plastic bat and set up inside the same gym. I was no better at wiffle ball than anything else athletic. But one day I hit a home run off of Mr. Oyler.  Yup, hit the corner doors which was an automatic home run. I got to touch'em all.

So sometimes life is like that. Sometimes you feel like you're running for your life. Sometimes you feel the sting of getting hit. Other times you're rounding third and headed for home. You just have to stay in there and keep swinging.

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, March 4, 2012

Boston Training Week 11-My new best friends.

" There is no satisfaction without a struggle first."- Marty Liquori

This was most definitely a week of struggle. After my Sunday long run of 20+ miles, I couldn't walk without pain on Monday.  My right achillches was so tight it hurt and no amount of stretching fixed it.  I also had pain in both knees.  There is a muscle right next to the knee cap, just to the inside of the legs. That muscle on my right leg often gives me problems. Well now both legs had muscle pain.  The good news it it isn't a stress fracture. I got one training for my first marathon. Since the pain was on both sides and got better with biofreeze  I knew it was in the muscle.

So this week biofreeze and ibuprofen became my new best friends. Both are good for pain and inflammation from over use.  I also made two visits to my awesome chiropractor Dr. Mark Drewicz. Treatment included ultrasound, muscle stimulation and adjustments, all done twice.  Dr. Mark treats many of the local long distance runners and tri-athletes. I was referred to him by local long distance runner Rick Stefanovic. 

Dr. Mark has also been very supportive of Team CMT. He has given out dozens of promotional pens with the Team CMT web site address and he is letting me put out fundraising fliers.

I had to adjust my workouts a bit due to the injuries as well. I reduced my speed workout by 10 minutes and changed my 9 mile tempo run to a 9 mile easy run.

The right knee was still a little sore after a night of skiing on Saturday. I went to bed with an ice pack, an application of biofreeze and a couple of ibuprofen.

Sunday I work up and it was 28F and snowing. We got 4 inches of wet snow on Friday night. I did not want to take a chance on slipping on the ice or of my injury getting worse. I decided to do a treadmill workout so I could stop if the knee got too bad.

I took a few ibuprofen and a couple of applications of biofreeze to get through the workout. I even did hill intervals to simulate the Boston course.  1.5 hours flat, 1.5 hours of increasing incline to stimulate the 10 miles of rolling hills and 6 minutes of high incline to simulate heartbreak hill.  The workout was finished in 4 hrs and 20 minutes.  I feel good with no pain. I guess tomorrow will be the real test.

It's tough when you're fighting an injury.   There is a fine line between trying to work through injury and over training. I've learned how to adapt my workouts to keep going when these injuries pop up.  This week I had to move my rest day from Friday to Wednesday to help me heal.  I don't think I have ever gotten through an entire 18 week training program without fighting a couple of injuries. Still it's tough mentally when an injury threatens to put you out of the race. Looks like this time I may have beaten it.

This week also saw the debut of the Team CMT page on the HNF site. Allison and her team did a really great job.  Be sure to check it out.     You can also set up your own profile and fundraising page.

Well up this week is an easy week. That's a relative term.  An easy week at this point is a 6 mile tempo run, a 12 mile long run and 5 miles on the other days. I get a rest day as well.  I'll also be meeting my new coach this week. He will be helping me to get ready for Nationals in Austin at the end of May.

All in all I feel satisfied and tired. But a good and satisfied tired.  I'm one week closer to Boston and feeling strong.  I know I'll be ready.

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