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Friday, September 19, 2014

Boston Marathon 2015 Yes or No?

Team CMT members Chris Wodke and CJ Charboneau - Boston 2014 participants

"You want to set a goal that is big enough that in the process of achieving it you become someone worth becoming." - John Rohn, self made millionaire and success coach

I've been sick for just about 3 weeks with a sinus infection.  It started as the worse sore throat I've even had and lasted for weeks.  The worse part of being sick for me it the fatigue. I drag myself through work and then my workouts.  I even took off a half day sick, something I have only done once or twice in my 15 year career with my current employer.

It's also been CMT awareness month and I've been working everyday sharing HNF posts and other CMT related material on facebook.  So there hasn't been any time left to blog. I didn't even post recipes this weekend. Besides being sick, I was busy packing to come to Phoenix for the Para-triathlon National Championship.

Registration for the Boston Marathon opened on September 8th and for the first time in 3 years I won't be training for Boston or really for any marathon.

It was a really tough decision. I never ever expected to run the Boston Marathon.  Boston has a strict time standard and only the very best runners have the honor of toeing the line in Boston.  You can be accepted as a charity runner, otherwise you have to run a qualifying marathon in the goal time. The time is 6 hours for athletes that have conditions like CMT that prevent them from making the standard set for age group athletes.  It is tough for most athletes with CMT to make the standard. We CMT affected athletes earn our spots.

When I was diagnosed with CMT I set the goal to run Boston to raise awareness for CMT.  I couldn't believe a condition over 155,000 Americans have could be so unknown.  I can't change the way CMT affects anyone's life, but I can at least give them the dignity of recognition of  their CMT.

When I lined up  for my Boston qualifying marathon in Madison I did not even know if my CMT would still allow me to complete a marathon or even in the needed time.  I learned that I was able to complete the training and complete a tough course under rough conditions.

Team CMT member Joyce Kelly helped me education the Boston Athletic Association about CMT and how it affects athletes. We were able to pave the way for CMT affected runners like CJ and Richard Cook.

It has meant more to me than I can ever express to see others with CMT that big things like running the Boston Marathon are possible  Setting a tough goal and achieving it has changed me in profound ways.

I know almost anything is possible and that the biggest limits I have are the ones I set for myself.

Deciding not to run Boston was really tough. Running the Boston Marathon these last three years have been the single best years of my life as an athlete.  The people of Boston treated me like an elite athlete. They cheered for me like I was Meb crossing the finish line.  The fans along the course cheer  for the last runners as hard as the first runners. The people of Boston warmly welcome you to the city they are so proud of.

I had really only planned to run Boston once.  The race my first year had temperatures around 90 F. It was a brutal experience. I came back for year two to have a good time running Boston and when the bombings happened I vowed to come back to support the people who made me feel like a rock star.

I had a great race last year. My coach had me so ready. It was probably the best time I've ever had running a marathon. I felt strong and the crowds were incredible. We took back the marathon and I'm proud I was a part of this historic race.

Both my coaches have advised me to stop running marathons. It is really hard on any runner, especially one affected by CMT. I loved the training. At heart I am a long distance runner. I love the challenge, I love the solitude of a long run. I always say whatever happens in my life, I will be OK if I can run and if I can write.

Doing the training to run Boston has changed me as a person. It has taught me if I have a dream to go after it with passion and determination.  I still have fears and doubts like anyone else, I just don't let those fears keep me from pursuing the things I want in life.  I don't listen to anyone that tells me what I can't do.

Running Boston has been great for raising awareness. We've gotten lots of media coverage. The best part have been the other CMT athletes I 've met as part of the process. It was incredible to see CJ achieve her Boston dream this year. Who ever thought anyone with CMT would run Boston?  This year we had two CMT affected athletes in the race. I am so proud of CJ, it was an honor to have her represent Team CMT.

But I reached the decision it may be time to put marathon running away at least for awhile.

 Every time I run Boston I seem to pick up another chronic injury.  Both my coaches have advised me to give up marathons.  I've decided to finally listen.  I can't argue that it's hard on my body.  You have to have passion and desire to train for a marathon. I have to honestly say I know longer have the fire and desire to run Boston this year. I don't have the desire to fight the injuries or to spend the time training for a marathon.

When I was first diagnosed I told my doctor that running long distance was getting increasingly difficult.  I told her I planned on transitioning into triathlons.   This weekend I will be lining up for my third para-triathlon National Championship.  It will be the 7th National Championship race I've done in triathlon and duathlon. So I guess my transition is complete. I never ever thought I would compete at a National Championship. This year there will be two of us with CMT in the race.  I am so proud of Team CMT teammate Alyson OConnor. She will be competing with me in the PC Open division.

So while I am saying no to Boston, I am saying yes to making a serious run at triathlon. I want to see just how good I can get. I'm looking forward to the journey. By the end of this season I will have qualified for World Championships in Duathlon and Aquathon.  I can't pursue these and make another run at Boston. There is just not the time and money to do all three.

I'll still continue to build CMT, write about my experiences as a CMT affected athlete and continue to raise awareness of CMT. It is why I started all of this. I had retired from competition prior to my diagnosis. My CMT has given a purpose to my competition.  So no to Boston, but more time for triathlon and CMT related work.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Chris is a triathlete and long distance runner. She is a three 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 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 DallasTexas.

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 154 members in 30 states. We also have members inAustraliaScotlandCanadaVietnamTurkeyFinland 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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