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Thursday, August 7, 2014

2014 Age Group Nationals

I’m not a good runner, but I’m better than someone who doesn’t do it at all.”-  Sully Sullenberger

I'm not the best triathlete,but I guess I'm better than someone who does not do it at all. It just does not matter because this weekend the USAT Age Group Triathlon Nationals will be here in Milwaukee.

I actually qualified for the Olympic race, by being the top finisher in a indoor sprint triathlon in Verona, Wisconsin.  It was not much of a victory since I was the only one in my age group.  Even though it was a sprint I qualified for the Olympic race in the National Championship.  That is the way it works for this event, finish in the top percent of any qualifying USAT race and punch your ticket to Nationals.  The top 18 in each age group qualify for the World Championships next year in Chicago.

My coached asked if I would do the Olympic race and I said the same thing I say to everyone that tries to convince me to do longer races;  "I'm a sprint specialist."    I'll keep doing sprints as long as the distance at Paratriathlon Nationals is a sprint. Every sprint race I do is a warm-up for that race even if I have to compete in the PC Open Division.

The way the system works now for those of us with CMT is that I can make the qualification time, but am told I am too strong and not impaired enough. Those deemed "impaired" enough by the classification system so far cannot make the time standard needed to participate in the race. The current time standard is around 1 hr 46 minutes, a time I beat by five minutes last year with my race here at Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee.

I've been working hard with my coach on all three triathlon disciplines.  I 've worked on my mental game and I've consistently trained for the last year. This race will be a good compairson of any progress I've made. I plan on using this race to qualify for next year's Paratriathlon National Championship. Pretty ironic l am using a race where I need no qualifying time to get into a race where I do.

I was in downtown Milwaukee this afternoon and was close to the race venue. I could not wait to pick up my race packet and see what race goodies USAT would have packed in our bags. We got a nice jacket, a USAT cap and all the usual race stuff. I love wearing the race tats. I feel like an elite athlete.

The finish line was being set up as I left the expo. I am so excited because we are expecting 5700 athletes to Milwaukee. This is the second year we've hosted the race and we were named the "Best Urban Race" last year.

I am so proud of my city and I am excited to be welcoming athletes from all 50 states.  I will be working on Friday night as a volunteer at the pre-race pasta party and Saturday at the finish line.

There are 60 women in my age group and my goal is to break the top 40.  Last year I finished 32 out of 44 women and I felt like I had the perfect race. I had fun from start to finish and had a mistake free race on a home course. I qualified for para-triathlon Nationals and I got to meet athletes from all around the country.
The weather looks to be perfect.

Team CMT will also represent at this event. Cheryl Kearney will race the Olympic distance and myself and Kevin Klein will race in the sprint.  Lots of triathlon friends from P3 where I train and my tri training group from last year will be racing.   The weather looks to be perfect and I think it is shaping up to be another perfect race.

Cheryl Kearney and Author at 2013 Boston Marathon

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Chris is a triathlete and long distance runner. She is a three time participant of the Boston Marathon. In 2012 she placed 2nd in the Mobility Impaired Division. She was the 2012 National Champion Paratriathlon Open Division. In 2013 she qualified as a member of the Team USA Duathlon Team and was eligible to compete in 2014 at the Age Group World Duathlon Sprint Championship in Pontevedre Spain.  She chose instead to represent the U.S. as a paratriathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas. She is the 2014 PC Open Division National Duathon Champion and is eligible to represent Team USA in Australia in 2015.

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

You may visit her author page at:

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 152 members in 30 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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