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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Race Around the World Race Report

Age Group Award International Institute 5K Run Around the World

"Use what you love, to fight what you hate."- Will Harris, Trainer and International Consultant

My new coach Heather Haviland wanted me to run a 5K as a time trial. My race time would be used to design my workouts.

I haven't run a 5 K for two years. The last 10 K I did was just a few weeks before the Boston Marathon last year.   I picked the International Institute for a number of reasons. First I knew it would be a small race and I like small races. The RACC race in Waukesha drew 1300 runners the same day.  This run a few hundred.
Small runs mean easy parking, easy packet pick up and no big crowd at the start.

I could have waited to do a run on Thanksgiving day, but I had very personal reasons for running this race.
The International Institute helps new emigrants get a start in Milwaukee. Their big fundraiser is Folk Fair.  All the area ethnic groups put on an indoor festival of food, exhibits, marketplace and dancing.

I made my first trip to Folk Fair as a young girl with my parents and grandparents. I still have the tiny jewelry box I bought from the Japanese booth.  My mom sister and I went every year on Sunday to Folk Fair right after Church. We would hit the International Cafe with all the food booths, then shop, see the cultural booths and go to the dance shows. I always admired the dancers and wanted to perform with them so badly.

Well one day I got my wish and I first joined the Slovak Tatra dance group then the Czech Slovak group.

Here I am in one of the costumes I used to perform. It is my personal costume and was restored by my dance director Sonka Tostrud. It is from the same region as my great grandparents.  I was so proud to represent my heritage every year. I would often think of the sacrifices they made to come to this country to make a better life for their family. They left behind all their family and friends. I am so proud of them and of being part Slovak!

Folk Fair was at one time a really big event. As many as 8000 people could be in attendance when we danced our main show in the arena.  People would come in by the bus load from all over the Midwest.There was also a huge beer garden which held several thousand.  It was so much fun. I danced for over 10 years. Even though it was some times stressful I loved it.

The venue ended up being moved to its present local a few years ago due to cost. The event has gotten smaller and smaller. I got busy with graduate school and other things so I have not danced in a number of years. I don't think I could fit it into my schedule now anyways.

Still the race was a chance for me to be part of the event again. Race entry included admission to Folk Fair. The race was also one of a number of races around the world run at 9 am on Sunday. Venues included Finland, South Africa and Cyprus.

It was 10F at the start and if I had not promised my coach a race time I probably would have stayed home. It was also windy. The kind of wind that cuts right through you.

I did my warm up  and was ready when the gun went off. The gun shot was done by two Folk Fair performers in Colonial army uniforms.  The course was flat but the pavement was not in the best shape and really uneven. Not good for me since my ankles turn easily on uneven surfaces.

One of the fun things about the race was it was run on the race track of the Milwaukee mile.  It was over quickly and I had a time of 31:04. Much slower than I would like. Every race is just a reminder of how slow I am getting the the toll the CMT is taking. Still I know I am lucky to be running at all.  I have realized you don't have to be good at something to really love it. I am using running and triathlon to fight the thing I hate;CMT.

The scoring was super fast. Two screens were set up for race results. I typed in my bib number and found out I was 2nd in my age group. I thought they were only giving awards for the top runner so I did not plan to stay for the awards.  While they were figuring out awards I took a trip through the international cafe. I had a wonderful piece of apple strudel and some Serbian bread. I strolled around and looked at all the bakery. I went through the cultural exhibits. Such good memories. I wandered back to the coffee house were the awards were to be held. I thought I would hang out and watch since I was not ready for the cold walk back to my car. To my surprise they were making awards to the top three places. The towel in the picture was my 2nd place age group award. I think I was supposed to get a coffee mug. I am OK with the towel since I can use it in Computrainer class.
Well I did my time trial and I survived the almost single digit temperatures. All in all a good day.


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 137 members in 27 states. We also have members in Australia, 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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