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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Boston 3- Week 7 Valley Places

My Pain Cave

"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." - Theodore Rubin

Feb 2   Sunday            1 F          Run 1 hr 46 min
Feb 3   Monday          -2F          Swim 45 min, wts 30 min
Feb 4   Tuesday          10F         Run 60 minutes, bike 45 minutes
Feb 5   Wednesday     23F         Bike class 80 minutes
Feb 6   Thursday           0F         Swim 45 min, wts 30 min
Feb 7   Friday              -5F         Bike 2 hours
Feb 8   Saturday            4F         Run 2 hour 42 minutes

It has not been above freezing this winter here in Milwaukee for 25 days.  I think we have had 70 days of sub zero temperatures. Usually I get outside to ride my bike at least once a month. There is usually at least one day when the roads are dry and the temperatures are in the 40's. Not this winter. My bike has been on the trainer in my "pain cave"  since I got back from Dallas in early January. The last time I got outside to ride was New Year's Day in Dallas.

The weather has also hampered my outdoor running. I am really tired of the treadmill and the indoor track.  Not only has it been cold, but it's been windy and the sidewalks are covered in snow and ice. When it warms up a bit this winter it snows.

So mentally it's been a challenge. I heard on the radio this morning as I was driving to a meeting that SAD ( Seasonally Affected Disorder) is being reported in record numbers.  The harsh winter all across the country has caused reports of the this condition to reach record numbers. It is a mild form of depression that happens from the short daylight hours. We all seem to be suffering together this year. Several of my triathlon friends say they have not worked out much. They just don't feel like it.

This winter is definitely a valley place. I've been through a few of those in my life. I've had extended job layoffs twice. It is a tough time when you don't know when you are going to work again.  As hard as both those times were, they both had silver linings.

During the first layoff, my mom had a stroke and I was able to spend lots of time with her in the hospital as she recovered. One of my friends really stepped forward during this time as well and lifted my spirits and I still fondly remember the time we spent together.

The second time I was unemployed for 16 months. During that time I worked part time in my Aunt and Uncle's business. I did some minor office work a couple of times a month. Since the business was home based and I lived an hour away,  I would stay with them of 2 or 3 days at a time.  The best part was the time I got to spend with my Aunt. We would do crafts together, watch musicals, Packer games and drink tea and talk. I still treasure those times because I lost my Aunt this year to Cancer. I am so glad I had that time with her and it would never have been possible if I had not been out of work.

During that same time I saw an advertisement in a safety training publication looking for authors. I thought, I can do that, even though I had not done much writing in my life. I worked with them for most of my unemployment as a developer of training materials. That experience helped me land the job with my current company.

The writing experience lead to my own publishing company for training materials, blogging and finally the book I just published.

Those times were difficult. I would be the first to admit I would like to live trouble free for the rest of my life. But in those valley places I found the seeds for the accomplishments I am now realizing. I've learned to look for the growth and opportunity they present.

My diagnosis of CMT in 2010 could have been a valley place and sometimes it has had it trails. But I know from my past valleys to focus on what I can do no matter what my circumstances. Deciding to raise awareness lead to my  running the Boston Marathon, forming Team CMT,  and competing at the National and International level as a triathlete. I've also met tremendous people from all over the country as part of this journey.

I would trade it all tomorrow for treatments or a cure.  Until that happens I will continue to make the most of my situation. In the problems I have faced have been the seeds for tremendous growth that would not have been possible any other way. So while I am not glad the bad things happened, I am glad I was able to learn and grow from the experience.

National Duathlon Championship 2013

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 143 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.

Additional Link
Follow CMT affected Paratriathlete Timmy Dixon

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