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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pewaukee Lake Triathlon- Never an Easy Day

"Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better, Don't wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don't wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom."- Pope John Paul I

I participated in the Pewaukee Lake Sprint Triathlon on Sunday with my Newbie Triathlon training group. I will post the picture if coach Scott Stauske gets them up on the web.  The toughest part of any of these races for me is the early wake up call. My wave went off at 6:17 so I was up at 3:45 a.m. The early start is needed before it gets too hot.

Training in a group was really fun. It was so much fun to watch first time triathletes cross the finish line. We trained together for the last 10 weeks and I think I've made some great friends.  Here is a picture of the group before the race.

I was more prepared for this triathlon course then any I 've ever done.  Local coaching firm P3 set up a 1/4 mile swim course on the lake every Monday night.  Race officials also required all first timers to pass a swim test and go through a clinic. This is the first time this has been done on a USAT sanctioned race.

I wish I had that kind of training before my first race, it would have made for a much better experience.  I went through one of the beginner clinics and coach Anita made it fun and I picked up some good tips.

I'd been swimming the course every Monday night since early June and then biking the course after. So I was really ready for this race.

I asked for a Paratriathon wave. Every USAT sanctioned race must now offer this option if asked. Most race directors are not aware of this, so as a para-athlete I have to ask for what I want and need.  I asked to be scored separately to build by race resume and to build awareness for the sport.

I asked the race director for an in water start, which is where things got interesting. Usually I just ask race directors to start my age group last, but running down the beach is starting to get a bit dicey with my foot drop.  The race director gave me an in water start with the elite woman. It was not a big wave, but the wave right behind us were the 20-29 year old men. There was about a 2 minute gap and I knew that would be trouble.

I stood in the back of the wave and gave the ladies a few seconds before I followed to stay out of there way. I went way wide and I mean way wide of the buoy.  In a few minutes I could see the men's wave coming at me like a freight train. Many of them missed me, but the rest surrounded me. I was grabbed on the feet and hit in the side.  An elbow here and there helped keep most of them far enough away. Soon things thinned out.

The rest of the swim was uneventful.  It was a really long run all the way around transition to get to the elite rack where I was racked.  Earlier in the day one of the elite women insisted my bike was facing the wrong way, even though the bike on the other side of hers was racked like mine. No matter, I changed my bike and rearranged all my stuff, making sure to take up as little space as possible for my gear. A few minutes later she grabbed my bike ( a huge no no) and shoved it down the rack. I pointed out to her, one more person needed to fit in the race and we needed to leave room. All said very nicely. She had no right to tough my bike, she was acting like a princess.   Right before I left for a group photo with my Newbie group, I checked both bike tires. Both hard as a rock. I had my pump in my car just in case. I am really paranoid about a flat since a flat could end my race.

So the swim done, I grabbed my bike and headed out to the course. If you ride enough miles you know exactly how your bike should sound. I knew immediately my front tire was flat. I got off and checked it and it was completely flat.  There was no way I was quitting this race with all my friends racing.  My mind raced about what to do. I had a hunch there was nothing wrong with the tire. I got out my CO2 cartridge, attached it to the tire stem and it inflated. It was great the rest of the race. In fact it is still rock hard. So did someone mess with my tire in transition. It is possible, I hate to think someone would do that. Some of these athletes are so competitive they might do something like this. A 2 minute delay is quite a lot in a short race. The funny thing is I was not competing against anyone but myself.

The bike course was hilly, but really fun for me. I kept an average speed f 15..8 even with the 2 minute delay to pump up my tire.

The race course was really hilly as well, but before it was over I was done. Because I was in the first wave I got to watch most of my Tri Newbie group finish. I finished in first place, but I was the only one in the para category. I was 6 out of 10 in my age group. I had a finishing time of 1 hr 41 minutes.  Puts me right in there with National Championship time.

At the end of the race coach Scott was waiting with champagne and team member Del Lynn had Bloody Mary's as well. It was fun to celebrate and relive the race with my fellow Tri Newbie members.  I wish every race ended that way. Here we are celebrating after the race.

Sprint triathlons are so much fun, a couple of my new tri friends are talking about doing an Olympic distance and maybe a half Iron Man next year. I keep telling people I'm a sprint specialist.  The distance is just long enough to be a challenge and just short enough to be fun.

The race had some challenges, but I didn't let a flat tire beat me.  Glad I was able to hang in there and finish. Next up are Regional Championships in Omaha.  I know every race I do makes me a better and more prepared athlete. Every challenge I overcome just boost my confidence.  I am ready for anything except a real flat tire. Someday I'll meet that challenge as well.

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 127 members in 27 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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