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Monday, February 18, 2013

Week 10- The Long Goodbye

Crystal Ridge Ski Patrol-I'm in the middle of the first row.

"Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist, but the ability to start over."- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Training for marathon doesn't happen in a vacuum. The training program is 18 weeks.  Lots can happen in those 18 weeks that can help or hinder training. Unless you are a professional athlete, and I am not, there are lots in life that can help or get in the way.   

At the very least I have to work my training program around the other events in my life. These last few weeks have included two milestones that included two long good-byes.  

It has been a long month of goodbyes for my three client work groups and three going away parties.
I spent the last month training my replacement and tying up work projects.  Part of that process was saying goodbye to a work area where I’d spent the last 10 years.  I was a supervisor of training for Electric Distribution operations at a utility in Milwaukee Wisconsin for 9 years, until my change back to the training department last year.  I had worked in training for 5 years before becoming a supervisor.

So for the last month I've been saying good-by to all my work groups and friends.  I hired many of the people that work in our electric dispatch group and was part of groups that wrote over 125 procedures. I worked all kinds of days, nights, holidays and weekends putting customers back into service after storms.  I really felt like I was part of a family. I am proud of the work we did together.

Still it was time to move on to a new challenge. Over the next few months I will be learning the power generation side of our business and helping to write procedures as the Manager of Business Process Improvement. For the first time in 15 years I have an office and feel like I have arrived as a professional.

The 2nd good bye came earlier in the month. I‘ve been a member of the National Ski Patrol at Crystal Ridge for 23 years. They became the Rock Ski area earlier this year.  I expected it to be a learning experience for the new hill management. We had new Patrol leadership as well.  The new patrol leadership has made decisions I felt put both patients and patroller's at risk.  I expressed my concerns and did not see any effort to resolve the issues.

When I found myself the only Ski Patrol member on a Saturday night shift with no safe way to transport a patient I knew it was time for a change. I am in the process of looking for a new patrol home.  A tough decision to leave behind so many great people.  I let both hill and patrol management know the reasons for my leaving. Hopefully my departure will be a catalyst to improve safety especially of the patrol operations. You never know, I just might be back.  So it has been a season of change and adaptability.  Two key skills for an athlete.

Change can be good, exciting and difficult all at the same time.  It brings new challenges and you have to let go as well. Change comes as part of the marathon training program as the mileage build and workouts get more challenging. I am just getting to the point in my training program where the workouts are almost more than I can handle.  The tough workouts help prepare a runner for marathon day.  The increase in workload changes the body so an athlete is ready. Change in our lives prepares us for what is ahead. Change is not always easy, but it is necessary.  I believe the things that happen to us in life prepare us for the next bend in the road, just like workouts prepare an athlete for a race or game day.

My workouts this week included an 8 mile tempo run, a long run of 19 miles, a race and a bike time trial.
Everything went well until Saturday night when I woke up at 12:30 a.m. wide awake.  I immediately knew there was no way I was going to do a race and my long run on the same day. I had planned on making the 6 mile race part of my 19 mile run.

I cancelled any thought of doing the race so I could sleep in a couple of more hours.  When I got up at 8 am the temperature was 9F.  It was supposed to get up to 28 F. My run was going to take 4 hours, if I waited until it warmed up would I get my run in before dark?  So it was off to the treadmill.  I made a bargain with myself I would do half inside and half outside.  I got started and while I was in the gym I went ahead and did the entire workout on the treadmill. That is 4 hours on a treadmill with no TV, just the radio. Yes it is as boring as it sounds. By my reckoning this should be about 19 miles.  At least I am hoping it is.

That workout completed my training for the week. One more week closer to Boston. One week closer to spring and hopefully warmer temperatures. I'm not sure I can handle many more weeks of 4 hour treadmill workouts.   The key to change whether in a workout plan or in life is to stay flexible , work your plan and to be confident you will be ready and prepared for the next bend in the road. 

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 119 members in 25 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.

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