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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Snakes in a Race- USAT Age Group Championships

Banner on race course here in Milwaukee

" Win or lose, you will never regret working hard, making sacrifices, being disciplined or focusing too much. Success is measured by what we have done to prepare for competition."- Jon Smith

It isn't unusual for me to be a little nervous before a race. I  always a worry a bit even before a tiny local triathlon.  I knew I was in trouble when I had not one but two dreams on Tuesday night.

I don't dream often, but when I do they are in color and a little weird. During the first one I was in transition on race day and discovered I had forgotten to pick up my race packet.  I don't know how I got into transition without it, but there I was. I could not believe I could not get my packet and was begging race officials to give it to me.  They were immovable , no race packet, no race. I was done.

My coach laughed when I told her about that one. She said she could totally  see me doing this. She has coached me long enough to know I forget things and almost every race make some kind of dumb mistake.
I had to do an entire bike course without water in really hot weather because I forgot my water bottle. I never seem to remember to start my watch.  Lots of dumb stuff.

She also reminded me I was trained, well prepared and ready! If discipline and focus make me ready then she is right!

The second dream was the weird one. I was biking on a paved bike trail when I ran into a bush, which I have actually done. Then this giant snake came out of the bush and parked himself on top of me.. I can still see it. It was metallic silver with black markings. It was huge, like one of those giant pythons they keep finding in Florida.   I hate snakes and am terrified of them. In the dream I grabbed it and threw it off of me. I think that snake represents all the things that can go wrong on race day and come back to bite me.  Two weeks ago I had a flat tire coming out of transition in a triathlon, major snake bite. It always seems to be something, usually of my own making.

So I knew my mind was nervous about this race.  I ve found preparation is the key to fighting my nerves. I go over as many details as I can. So I decided to bike, and run the race course on Wednesday night. I also wanted to get a look at the swim course.

            Swim entry and mid point on swim course- Milwaukee 

This is the entry to the swim course and the narrow bridge I am worried about.  The exit is a very steep ramp. So on Friday morning I am going to swim the course during practice and get used to all of it.

I also biked the parts of the  course I had access too. Part of course is on an interstate, only open on race day. I drive it several times a week. No problem there and I've run the bike course many times training for Boston.

Finally after my look at the swim course and biking the course, I did a three mile run on the course including looking at transition.

                                     Run course for sprint race 

The race course is flat and scenic.  The first picture is looking back from the start. The second picture is coming out of transition. One thing I did find out that the Newtons I bought in Boston were making my feet hurt and I went to a running store and got a new pair. Just one more thing to take care of.  I was really glad I took the time to check out the course and work out little issues like my shoes before the race.

I also picked up my race packet on Thursday afternoon, so cross that off the list of things to go wrong. I am almost done organizing everything I need for the race. All part of calming the nerves.  Will there be a snake that pops up to bite me on race day?  Knowing my history, probably. But I will handle them like I do in any race. Being late, no water bottle, wrong turn on swim course, missing turn off on the bike course, not starting my watch, losing my race number. Yep I have been snake bit in every race, but I always manage to finish. Anything can happen on race day, and I will deal with any and all of it. See you at the finish!


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. We also have members in Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland and Iran. 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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