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Saturday, September 20, 2014

National Championship-Just Du it!

"But I realize that winning doesn't always mean getting first place; it means getting the best out of yourself." -Meb Keflezghi,  New York and Boston marathon champion

When I talked to my current coach Heather Haviland about coaching me, she asked me about my goals and as I planned my season the Para-triathlon National Championship was circled on my race calendar as my "A" race.

I had hoped with the new classification system to be be racing in one of the 6 classified paratriathlon divisions. I continue to be shut out and will once again race in the PC Open division.  It is ironic to me that everyone with CMT that can make it through classification cannot make the time standard. You need to do a sprint triathlon in 1 hr 46 minutes. I can easily make the time standard, but I'm told I'm too strong.

No matter, I've trained and raced all season to be ready for the race tomorrow. It's been a frustrating season for me. Even though I placed well in races, my bike times have been slower all season by 10 minutes or more. I was frustrated because I was not getting the best out of myself.  I did not want to be one of those athletes that blamed equipment, but I was struggling on the bike. I felt the bike was fighting me and I was slow. Just to be sure the problem was not with me I had blood tests. Iron and all other measures were OK.

So I had my bike re-fitted by local triathlete and Olympic medal winning cyclist Brent Emery.  Several hundred dollars later, I was ready to test my bike out in a local bike race for the Wisconsin Senior Olympics. Brent was on the sidelines coaching his wife Julie at the race.

In the 10 K time trial and 20 K road race I averaged 17.7 mph and I qualified for the National Senior games next year. Even better, I felt fast and fantastic on the bike. After a season of bike struggles, I had sorted it all out before my most important race of the year.

I was supposed to write out my race plan for my coach this morning, but I am not sure what race I will be doing tomorrow.  Due to recent rains and floods Tempe Town lake may not be safe for swimming. The E- coli level yesterday was 10 times the allowable rate. As you see from the picture, the green scum, dead fish and debris make it unappealing for swimming.

We will know today at the mandatory race meeting if this will be a triathlon or converted to a duathlon.  Whatever race it is, I will do my absolute best. I had a short bike ride today and was easily hitting 18 mph on an easy cruise. I'm ready to have fun  and put my best out on the course. It doesn't matter where I finish.

Anyone can be put in the PC Open division. It is hard for a CMT affected athlete to compete against tandem riders or those using hand cycles or racing wheelchairs on the run. I cannot control that. I did what was under my control all season but completing the training my coach planned for me. I even got through most of it the last three weeks as I fought a sinus infection.

I do know I've done everything I need to do to get ready and bring out my best racing self.  Even better is I will be racing with Team CMT member Alyson O Connor. I'm rested and ready. See you at the finish.

hris 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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