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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Finding My Mojo

Mojo ready or a run

"Running is the greatest metaphor for life because you get out of it, what you put into it'"- Oprah Winfrey

I normally don't have a running partner. When I visit my family in Dallas, that all changes because I get to run with my favorite running buddy Mojo. Mojo, my nephew Dan's dog is an Australian Shepard, Chocolate lab mix. He is three years old and has not lost his puppy excitement for life. Australian Shepards were bred to herd sheep and Labs to work the fishing boats in Canada. Both breeds love to work and to be outside.

All I have to do is say the words, "walk" or "outside" and he is at the door, tail wagging and ready to go. If I put on my running shoes he gets excited.  One day I was all ready to run and stopped to send out a few emails on my laptop. Mojo stood at the back door wagging his tail. I knew what he wanted. My nephew told me to stop teasing the dog and making him wait to go out.

I wish I could bottle his energy and excitement. I would love to capture it for some of those days when I am just dragging at the end of the day.  Running is as natural to him as breathing. He is born to run. He is fast and his stride is smooth. I struggle to keep up and he trots along. It is a joy to run beside him and take part in his enjoyment of the experience.

As we run or walk I keep up a constant stream of chatter. I tell him he is a running dog, that he is a good boy and stuff like that.  Just adds a bit to the fun and the bonding. I thought maybe it was kind of weird since no one else walking their dogs were talking to them. Then one day I saw an older man with a black Lab talking up a storm as he walked. So maybe it is just a Lab thing.

He has tan markings around his mouth and  it makes him look like he is smiling when he runs. Or maybe he is laughing at how I run or the silly chatter I insist on inflicting on him. Or just maybe he is as caught up in the fun of running and the excitement of being outdoors on a gorgeous day.

Mojo does not seem to get tired, or if he does he doesn't let on. I had a two hour run one of the days and took him home after 90 minutes. I did not want him to get hurt, so I finished on my own.  When I got back he still had energy to play fetch with the ball and swim in the pool for a half an hour.

All that exercise makes for a mellow and well behaved dog at the end of the day. A couple of times he climbed the stairs to go to sleep well before anyone else went to bed. But that kind of tired is a good tired. I know exactly how he feels. Still next day he was ready to go, tail wagging for another outdoor adventure.

Back in Milwaukee I had my own Mojo moment this afternoon. It has been double digits below zero all week. Today it got up to  24 F and light snow was falling. After two days of intense run and bike workouts I had an easy 35  minute run on my schedule.

It felt so good to just go out and run. No intervals, no tempo run, no counting cadence, no splits, no laps, no setting on the treadmill. Just me in the outdoors running in the softly falling snow. It was beautiful and it felt like playing. Days like this are the reason I run. It just feels so good.  I know my running buddy Mojo would understand.


Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Chris is a triathlete and long distance runner. She is a two time participant of the Boston Marathon.  She was the 2012  National Champion Paratriathlon Open Division. In 2013 she qualified as a member of the Team USA Duathlon Team. She will compete in 2014 at the Age Group World Duathlon Sprint Championship in Pontevedre Spain.

She is the author of the book, “Running for My Life” that details her experience as a CMT affected athlete. 

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 142 members in 28 states. We also have members in Australia, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland and Iran. If you wish to join us visit our web site; or

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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