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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Exercise as Medicine

Author and Brian Hicks at National Duathlon Championship 2014 St. Paul

Ads for prescription drugs seem to be everywhere. I can’t watch television without seeing several an hour.  These ads create a demand from the American public for quick cures.  Doctors have been quick to comply, often prescribing drugs for symptoms without ever getting to a root cause or even a cure.  The foundation of American medicine seems to be prescription drugs. 

But study results published in a December 11, 2013 New York Times article that exercise may be even more effective then medicine for some conditions.

The study looked at how well certain drugs and exercise succeeded in reducing deaths in patients with heart disease, chronic heart failure, stroke and diabetes.  Huseyin Naci a graduate student at the London School of Economics and Dr. John Ioannidis, director of the Stanford Prevention Research center conducted the study.
They examined records for 340,000 patients from 305 past experiments.  

There were 57 studies that with 14,176 volunteers that used exercise alone.  They compared mortality risks for different treatment options.
Their results showed exercise and drugs had equal effectiveness except for patients with chronic heart failure.

To quote Dr. Ioannidis “Results suggest that exercise can be quite potent in treating heart disease and other conditions, equaling the life saving benefits available from most of the commonly prescribed drugs including statins. 

Dr. Ioannidis also stated that only about 5 percent of studies analyzed exercise as an intervention to prevent disease.   He hopes for more research; “We need far more information about how exercise compares head to head with drugs in the treatment of many conditions, as well as what types and amounts confer the most benefit.”

There are many benefits to exercise including:

Aging
Regular exercise can slow the aging process and help to prevent some of the chronic illness associated with aging.  It keeps muscles, bones, lungs and heart stronger as we age.

Appearance
Regular exercise helps to maintain a healthy body weight. It can control body fat composition at a lower level. Regular workouts especially if strength training can contribute to well-toned muscles.  Muscles have better tone and definition.  Skin will be healthier due to increased circulation from exercise.
Better Blood
Exercise improves the blood lipid profile or in other words can improve your cholesterol numbers. Exercise can raise you HDLC (Good) and lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol.  Exercise increases the number of red blood cells which carry oxygen. Your bloods ability to clot also improves with exercise.

Blood Pressure
You can lower your blood pressure because exercise increases vessel size, number and elasticity reducing blood pressure.

Bones
Exercise that is weight bearing like running can help to keep bones strong. Exercise improves bone density and helps prevent bone mineral loss essential to preventing osteoporosis.

Cancer
Regular exercise is a cancer preventer. Regular exercise can lower the risk of colon, breast and reproductive cancers.

Cardiovascular
Running can help to control asthma. Exercise makes the lungs open up and flush out. Your heart is a muscle and like any muscle gets stronger and larger when it is worked. Regular exercise helps the heart to work more efficiently and effectively.

Diabetes
Blood sugar can be controlled by regular exercise.  A regular program of exercise can prevent diabetes Type II which is the result of aging.

DNA
Telomeres protect DNA and protein complexes.  They prevent damage or fraying of the DNA.  The more the DNA frays the sicker you get and the faster you age.  Lifestyle changes and exercise help preserve telomeres. A research study in California did a control group and a group with lifestyle changes to see the effect of the telomeres.  The changes included 30 minutes of moderate exercise (walking), stress management and a diet high in whole foods, high in plant based protein and low in fat.

Telomere length was measured in the control group and the group doing the lifestyle changes. Short telomere length is associated with cellular aging and is seen as a precursor to many types of cancer, stroke, dementia, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis and diabetes.
The lifestyle group showed significant increase in telomere length.

Immune System
Exercise boosts the immune system. When you exercise on a regular basis your body is better able to fight off infections and diseases like cancer.

Pregnancy
Being fit can improve pregnancy and delivery outcomes.

Sleep
Running improves sleep quality and those that exercise report they fall asleep more easily. Being tired from exercise makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

So why doesn’t everyone exercise?  Because taking a pill is so much easier than going for a walk. One of my older brothers has recently been diagnosed with diabetes. He was prescribed a pill for the diabetes.  He is also taking a statin for high blood pressure.  Both of his medications are expensive and strain his budget. I suggested that going for a walk and some exercise at the gym might get him off of both prescriptions. He refuses to even consider it.

I think it is just easier for him to take a pill. Drugs can be expensive and are not without side effects. I suspect like me he has CMT. Statins can accelerate CMT and I’ve noticed he has hand tremors which I think are due to the Statins.

I notice in the CMT community many are waiting for a cure. They want a pill to make their CMT go away.
Honestly I would like that too, but we don’t know what the side effects of a cure could be or how much the treatment might cost.

Right now exercise is our only alternative. Even if a cure is discovered, exercise may still be needed to enhance the drug.  Any CMT drugs developed may also arrest progression and not reverse damage. So staying strong to preserve function is really important.

I believe so much in exercise for CMT that I started Team CMT.  Money that we raise goes to fund the research of Dr. Robert Chetlin on the effect of exercise on CMT.

*************************
Author at PATCO Dallas 2014
Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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 and 2014 PC Open Division Duathlon National Champion. 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 author of the book, “Running for My Life” that details her experience as a CMT affected athlete.

You may visit her author page at:
http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Wodke/e/B00IJ02HX6


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; www.run4cmt.com or www.hnf-cure.org


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
http://cmtamputee.wordpress.com/

Keywords: Running, Running and CMT, triathlon, triathlon and CMT, athlete and CMT, cycling and CMT, paratriathlon, challenged athlete, Team CMT, Running for My Life-Winning for CMT. Hereditary Neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth.
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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Salad Sunday- Rotini with Basil Tomatoes and Avacado Sauce



It has been a few weeks since I posted recipes and I've not blogged much at all. I have been busy working out and doing races. I was in St. Paul last weekend at the Duathlon National Championship.

It was fun but I was not home to cook and post recipes. It has taken me a week to catch up on laundry, grocery shopping, and gardening. So I should be back to posting on a regular basis.

I really like today's salad. It is perfect for this time of year when tomatoes are starting to be ready. I grew the basil I used for this recipe.  You can add any vegetables you like or even some shrimp or chicken to make it a hearty meal.


12 ounces rotini pasta ( use whole wheat if you want a healthier salad)
2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 avocados
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup lime juice (lemon works too)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just tender.  Remove from heat and drain reserving 1 cup of cooking water*.  Set aside. In a bowl, add tomatoes, basil and olive oil. Add pasta. Toss to coat.  Set aside.
Scoop out avocado into a bowl. Mash then add garlic and lime juice.  Add reserved pasta water to create a light sauce.  Add to pasta mixture and stir until the mixture is coated with sauce.  Top with cheese and pepper.

Serves 4

* The night before I had strained some regular yogurt to make it Greek yogurt.  I used the whey mixture instead of the pasta water. That adds a bit of protein to this salad.

******************



Chris Wodke

Founder & Manager Team CMT

www.run4cmt.com

 

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 Dallas, Texas.  She is the 2014 PC Open National Duathlon Champion.

 

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:
http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Wodke/e/B00IJ02HX6




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; www.run4cmt.com or www.hnf-cure.org

 

 

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
http://cmtamputee.wordpress.com/

 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Reset Button-Pewaukee Triathlon


My triathlon friends today at Pewaukee Triathlon


"You're never too old to be bold."- Les Brown, Motivational Speaker

My triathlon season did not get off to a good start. First I had food poisoning for my triathlon in Dallas for PATCO. Then I did not pass through classification for the ITU Chicago elite race. I also learned that the new classification system now includes athletes I can never hope to beat.  That meant any thought of qualifying for paralmpics in Rio in 2016 is done.

So it has not been a good start to the 2014 season.  But I had a chance to do a re-set just like last year at the Pewaukee triathlon this morning. I originally did not have this race on my schedule.  It was a recent addition when I found out these ladies from my triathlon training group would be there. The new training group led by last year's coach Scott Stauske would also be there.  This was graduation day (first tri) for them just like it was for many of us last year.

This race was also the State Championship for the Wisconsin Senior Olympics. Team CMT member Louise Gerhardt had already qualified for tennis. So I thought I would give it a shot to see if I can join her next July in Minneapolis.

I cannot tell you how much fun it is to go to a race now and see these ladies. They just have fun with no worries about their finish time.  In addition to Tri Wisconsin, I also belonged to a local para-triathlon group out of Chicago. I never really felt welcome by them and most of their members barely talked to me at races. It is so fun to go to races and know I will have friends there.

That is unusual because I find most triathletes to be extremely friendly and I will talk to just about anyone.

So it was great to see Mary, Phedra, Ann and Del Lynn today.  We got a chance to chat and share our race nerves before the race and celebrate another successful triathlon. We also got to congratulate the new class.
Tri Wisconsin Tri Newbie Class of 2014
 It seems like just yesterday we were posing for this picture. I've gotten to meet many of them at swim practices on Monday nights and at some group trainings. Congratulations to them and I hope they had a great experience and made some friends, just like I did.

I had a good race today and it was just what I needed. The swim was really choppy due to wind. This race attracts lots of beginners because it is only a 400 meter swim. Thanks to a swim practice that was even rougher I was OK. Lots of swimmers were breast stroking, side stroking and hanging on to the kayaks. It is tough to swim through that if you are not used to it. My swim time was slower than I wanted, but I felt strong.

The bike course was really hilly and very windy. I'd had a new bike computer installed the day before. It worked for about 2 minutes and I had no data the rest of the ride. I ended up at right around 15 mph. Not great but OK for the conditions.

The run had a couple of really big hills, but it was over quick.

Wisconsin Senior Games Medal and Finisher Medal

I finished 6th in my age group just out of the event medals, but I placed first in the Senior Olympics since that was scored separately.  I think I was the only one in my age group. But I will take it and I will be headed to Minneapolis next July for the National Senior games.  It is as close as I am ever going to get to the Olympics.

More important I had a really good time doing the race and especially seeing so many of my old friends and new friends. Last year this Tri Newbie group saved my season. Today the class of 2013 as we now call ourselves helped me hit my re-set button. I can tell it is going to be a great season!

**********************
Author competing for Team USA Dallas 2014


Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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 Dallas, Texas.

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:
http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Wodke/e/B00IJ02HX6


Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 151 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; www.run4cmt.com or www.hnf-cure.org


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
http://cmtamputee.wordpress.com/

Keywords: Running, Running and CMT, triathlon, triathlon and CMT, athlete and CMT, cycling and CMT, paratriathlon, challenged athlete, Team CMT, Running for My Life-Winning for CMT. Hereditary Neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

CMT and running, CMT and triathlon, CMT and athlete, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and running, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and triathlon, Team USA and Team CMT, Running for my life-Winning for CMT

Friday, July 11, 2014

Disappointment in Chicago



It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” -  Whitney Young Jr. Civil Rights Leader

Did you ever have a performance review or a meeting with your boss that you knew was not going to go well?  Remember that awful sinking feeling in your gut as you made your way to the meeting?  That is how I felt as I walked to my ITU classification appointment in Chicago recently.

The classification system was finally ready. It was re-done in preparation for para-triathlon being an included sport in Rio in 2016. The last two years I was promised by USAT officials  the new system would improve the classification of athletes with neuromuscular conditions like CMT.

I had signed up to compete as an elite para-triathete for the ITU race in Chicago. Elite athletes and para-triatletes would race on Saturday. Age group athletes including a Physically Challenged (PC) Open division would race on Sunday.  Because I am a member of a Chicago based para-triathlon group, I knew most of the elite para-triathletes that would be racing in Chicago. My coach and a number of her athletes would be racing in the Age Group races on Sunday.

I had raced provisionally at PATCO in Dallas because they could not fit me on the classification schedule. So I knew what it was like to race for the U.S. Team as an elite para-triathlete. Although I was the slowest in the field I was looking forward to working hard to close the gap.

I was not hopeful as I made my way to the classification room. I had been turned down twice before at classification before the National Para-triathlon Championships. The assessments were both cursory and the assessors were not interested in any documentation to prove my CMT or my degree of impairment. It was all based on strength and the assessor used minimal strength to assess me. I walked away feeling discounted as a CMT impaired athlete. I was treated like a scammer.

I had offered experts to help with the new classification system. Both my neurologist Dr. Konersman at the MDA clinic here in Milwaukee and Dr. Robert Chetlin offered to work with ITU to assess those of us with neuromuscular conditions like CMT. Dr. Chetlin does research into the effect of exercise on CMT. Neither was contacted.

This assessment was not much different. It is still mostly a strength based test.  It is like any exam you get from a physical therapist if you are injured.  The assessor will ask you to push your foot or hand against their hand and the athlete is given a score from 1 to 5.  They tested range of motion.  What was different is they did watch me run and ride my bike. 

I was asked my age and I wonder what difference it makes. Am I being screened out due to age? They asked how long I had been doing the sport and how many races I did last year. They did not want to see my performance resume. So why even ask?  No chance to provide tests that show my impairment or prove my CMT.

I love it when they ask me how CMT affects the three disciplines in triathlon. I think you are the professionals don’t you know. I love it when I tell them I have CMT and they say is that all?  Believe me CMT provides plenty of challenges for not only being an athlete, but for daily living.

They tested range of motion but told me they believe it has no effect on performance. I doubt they have much experience with CMT impaired athletes.  My physical therapist told me you lose about 5% of performance for every degree of mobility (flexability) lost.   The average person can move their ankle about 6 degrees toward their leg. I am minus on both legs.

They made me go all the way back to my car to get my bike, running shoes and a compression sleeve I use for a brace. As I was walking back I wondered why they were making me do this because I already knew what the outcome would be.

After the tests, they dismissed me from the room so they could confer. I was brought back a short time later and told I had missed the cut off by ten points.

I got a chance to ask questions and I did. I asked how I can be too strong and why someone that can run a 21 minute 5K is not. They asked who I was talking about and I mentioned the current world champion. They told me she did not get in and I later found out 3 out of the 7 athletes on the start list did not get in.

I don’t cry easily, but I felt so dismissed and discounted, I was in tears by the time I left. I was offered the chance to race in the PC Open on Sunday and turned it down. I was too humiliated to face all my friends that would be racing with my failure. It seems the assessors still do not understand the basics of Charcot-Marie-Tooth and how it affects an athlete. I don't think they care about learning either.

Another athlete with CMT did get in which is a bit of progress. I shared with the assessors the reason I am so strong is I work out 2 hours a day under the direction of a coach. This is what I’ve had to do to be ready to compete at the elite level.

The athlete with CMT that got in, by her own admission barely worked out this winter. I worked hard to be ready and told them I felt like I was being punished for the things an elite athlete needs to do. If you don’t work out you lose strength and if you do work out you can get stronger. So the system rewards an athlete that does very little to prepare. At least this is the case for neuro-muscular conditions like CMT.

I think it is by design.  In order to make the U.S. team for funding or to make the Paralympic team for Rio, you have to accumulate points at ITU races like Chicago, PATCO or the National Championship. Top scoring athletes will be invited to the qualification race for Rio next year in Chicago. If you do not score within 5% of the time of the top finisher you get no points. So that means no access to funding or a spot on the U.S. Team.

The reason this matters is single leg amputee’s are now part of the PT4 class where those with neuromuscular conditions are placed. I knew I was in trouble when I saw Grace Norman’s name on the start list for Chicago. It meant she was now in our group.

Norman is a high school cross country runner from Ohio and a talented athlete. She is a lovely young woman with an awesome family. I spent quite a bit of time talking to her dad at two events last year.

Last year at the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon the para-triathletes were split into wheel chair and ambulatory. So I raced against Grace. Even though I took a wrong turn on the course that cost me several minutes I beat Grace by three minutes. Her time for a sprint triathlon was 1 hr 46 minutes.  Two months later Grace and I raced again in Chicago. This race had all six paratriathlon categories so under the old system we were in different classes. Grace now had a racing prosthesis and turned in a time of 1 hr 28 minutes. What difference equipment can make. Her time would have made her one of the top finishers in the race.

Grace is now setting American records on the track. If I was Grace I would use the equipment as well. There is nothing wrong with using the available tools. It puts her on even footing with other single leg amputees.  It just gives her an advantage over someone like me with a neuromuscular condition with 4 impaired limbs.

 Let me make really clear I admire Grace as an athlete, I think like any athlete she has worked very hard to succeed. I just think athlets that have neuromuscular issues should not be in the same category as single leg amputees. If it was not Grace it will be someone else. We can't compete with them, our impairments are different. The whole classification system is supposed to put those of like impairments together. That is not the case the way the current system stands.  

 That is true whether assessors recognize it or not. Racing braces for someone like me cost between $15 K to $20K.  If I wore braces I would probably get in. I don’t need them to walk, but the injuries from working out are getting tougher to manage. I wonder if braces would help, but have no idea how I would pay for them.  I am not even sure if braces would help me to the extent adaptive equipment have helped someone like Grace.

So no one with a condition like MS, CMT or CP will be competitive with any single leg amputee using allowed adaptions.  Last year the National Champion in the TRI 3 category won with a time of  1 hr 35 minutes and I through a lot of work this winter I had closed that gap and looked to be competitive at Nationals in September. 

Grace turned in a time of 1 hr 17 minutes at ITU in Chicago.  To qualify for points or U.S. Team funding an athlete would have to be within 5% of that time.  So someone with a condition like CMT would have to have a time of 1 hr 24 minutes.  I know of no American athlete with a neuro condition that can do that. That time would take many age group categories among able bodied women.  

If I could race a time like that I would qualify for the U.S. team as an age group athlete.  My condition prevents that. So even if I classified in and took second to Grace at Nationals I would get no points or opportunity for USAT funding.

So at least right now even if an athlete with a neuromuscular condition does classify in, it is impossible as the category is configured to be competitive.  I think this was done deliberately.

Last year after the Chicago Triathlon,a coordinator for the Chicago paratriathlon club asked if anyone had good pictures from the race for the web site. They were offering to pay the event photographer for them.  I e-mailed the founder and said I would purchase my pictures for them and they could use whatever they wanted. I got no reply back and it dawned on me that my pictures were not wanted. I don’t look disabled. I look perfectly normal in a photo. So I was not wanted. I get it we are not good PR, we are not good for fundraising.  In a race earlier in the year while I was in the water waiting for the start of the para-triathlon race, another para-triathlete turned to me and said this area is for para-triathletes only. Meaning “you don’t belong”. I believe the USAT and ITU are telling those like myself the same thing. They are trying to grow the sport and we don’t look impaired. So I think they do not want us at ITU events.  We don’t garner sympathy, we don’t look heroic. They think we are not inspiring.

A CMT affected athlete that competes in another para-sport has told me other athletes have come up to him and told him there is nothing wrong with him and he should not be competing as a para-athlete. So I know the attitude is out there for not just me but others as well.

Other organizations pay lip service to helping athetes with neuromuscular challenges. The Challenged Athletes Foundation holds clinics for paratriathletes. When I asked about going, I was told they help athletes except those with neuromuscular conditions.  They also hand out grants, but if you have CMT you pretty much don't get a grant unless you are an amputee. That is not just my observation, I've talked to other CMT affected athletes.  There was a clinic last year for paratriathletes, when I asked about going I was told it was sponsored by a prothesis maker and would not be able to attend. So it is not a stretch based on my experience to feel the decisions on classifcation by the ITU are meant to exclude those of use with neuromuscular conditions.

I also wonder about how even the standard of impairment is. In Dallas while I was waiting to enter the swim, I was standing next to a visually impaired Canadian athlete. She was texting on her cell phone.  I think she had a depth perception issue. I do not dispute her being visually impaired status or dispute her having challenges. I just wonder about the impairment standard. She can see well enough to text on a pretty small cell phone, but I am too strong? I don’t know where I belong anymore either. My coach is always bugging me to do group rides and workouts. It gets old getting lapped on the track by normal athletes or always being the slowest one on a ride. Among para-triathletes I was among the best. I think I belong.

So what now? I was recently reading a book by Lisa Nichols called “No Matter What”. She said you should always try to find the blessing in every situation. I have to admit I can’t see it, at least not right now. I  have a plaque at home on my wall that says “ When God closes a door, he opens a window.”  I am not sure what is next for me. I feel a bit like I have failed the CMT community.  I have to admit I am mad at God for continuing to give me the desire to do this and not providing the means. I’ve done my part and worked hard and feel let down. The USAT let me down. I was promised a more inclusive system and we got just the opposite.
I wanted to reach the elite levels for my own personal goals I will admit that.  I know to retain the ability to function fully I need to keep working out. I am trying to stay out of braces. Working for opportunity to be on the U.S. team and compete in Rio drove me. Maybe it was a silly dream, but it was my dream. I was ready and prepared to begin that journey in Chicago.

But there is a bigger issue here.  Those of us with invisible conditions need to be recognized as athletes too. I wanted to show people with CMT what is possible.  That you can live a full life even with this condition. That you can have CMT but it does not have to have you. I want people to set big goals and go after them.  I want them to be proud of who they are and not hide their CMT.   Exercise is so important and many with CMT still believe it is harmful. I want to continue to be a role model to show them the benefits of being active. I wanted to show them nothing is impossible, that even a 56 year old athlete with CMT had the chance to be in Rio in 2016.

The USAT and ITU are missing a big opportunity. There are over 300,000 Americans that have either MS or CMT. There are many Americans with invisible conditions. What a great thing it would be for athletes with CMT, MS, CP and other neurological conditions to compete at the highest levels.   A Team CMT member that ran Boston this year as a Mobility Impaired runner told me she did not know it was possible until she saw me do it.  That example is so important and it is an opportunity that is largely being missed.
I am not sure what my competitive future holds. I know I cannot continue to travel to races across the country without financial help. My first year competing at the National level cost me $12,000.  Funding from the USAT that will now be available to elite triathletes would make a huge difference. Under the current system there is no way we will qualify.

I will continue to compete as a runner and triathlete, just not sure whether it will be para-triathlon at some point or as an age group athlete.  Because of my CMT I am not competitive, but it may be my only option if the ITU does not change it's system.

Here is the summary of the very confusing new sport classes. I missed out on qualifying for PT4 by 10 points.

This is a summary of the International Triathlon (ITU) Classification Categories

  • PT1 - Wheelchair users. Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to:  muscle power, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis that prevent the ability to safely ride a conventional bike and run. Through classification assessment, athletes must have a score of up to 640,0 points. Athletes must use a recumbent handcycle on the bike course and a racing wheelchair on the run segment.

  • PT2 - Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement that through classification assessment have a score of up to 454,9 points. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices.

  • PT3 - Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement that through classification assessment have a score from 455,0 to 494,9 points. In both bike and run segments, the athlete may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices.

  • PT4 - Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement that through classification assessment have a score from 495,0 to 557,0 points included. In both bike and run segments, the athlete may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices.

  • PT5 - Total or Partial visual Impairment (IBSA/IPC defined sub-classes B1, B2, and B3): Includes athletes who are totally blind, from no light perception in either eye, to some light perception but unable to recognize the shape of a hand at any distance or in any direction (B1) and partially sighted athletes with a visual acuity of less than 6/60 vision or visual field less than 20 degrees with best corrective vision (B2-B3). A guide from the same nationality and gender is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment. 
************************
Author competing at PATCO Dallas 2014

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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 Dallas, Texas.

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:
http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Wodke/e/B00IJ02HX6


Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 151 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; www.run4cmt.com or www.hnf-cure.org


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
http://cmtamputee.wordpress.com/

Keywords: Running, Running and CMT, triathlon, triathlon and CMT, athlete and CMT, cycling and CMT, paratriathlon, challenged athlete, Team CMT, Running for My Life-Winning for CMT. Hereditary Neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth.
CMT and running, CMT and triathlon, CMT and athlete, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and running, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and triathlon, Team USA and Team CMT, Running for my life-Winning for CMT

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Review, One a Runner


I've loaded up with running related books for my summer reading. I think reading about running is a great way for me to be excited about running. Being excited about running helps me get all my workouts done as a triathlete. It is fun to share another runners experiences or thoughts about running. First book up for review is running classic, "Once a Runner"  by John L. Parker Jr.
John L. Parker Jr is a former elite runner, capturing the Southeastern Conference mile championship three times and was the United States Track and Field Federation National Steeplechase Champion.
So when he weaves a story about elite miler Quenton Cassidy it feels authentic.  Once a Runner follows the story of Cassidy as running slowly takes over his life in the quest to become the very best. 
The story begins in the mid 60’s as he trains with his college track team.  Parker gives us a glimpse of the friendship and pranks involved in a college track team and the unique personalities that make up each track discipline.
He meets and is mentored by Olympic Champion Bruce Denton. He and his best friend are the only two runners that can handle the rigorous workouts that Denton does. Denton takes an interest in Cassidy’s training.
When Cassidy is suspended from the track team for his involvement with a petition protesting the athletic department dress and conduct code, his training begins to take over his life.
Under the direction of his mentor, he drops out of school, gives up his girlfriend and moves to the country where he can concentrate on his training.
Because the author trained with elite champions and Olympic runners he provides a unique insight into the training it takes to succeed in the elite world. He also takes us inside the mind of an elite runner. 
It is a fascinating to read about his single-minded pursuit of his and his thoughts as he prepares for the biggest race of his life, one that he hopes to take him to the elite level. It is a glimpse on the physical and mental effort it takes to achieve excellence.


This book was originally self-published and sold at road races out of the author’s car. It has become a classic among runners and  reading this book is a rite of passage for many track teams.  Hope you add it to your sunmmer reading list.

************
Author racing for the U.S. at PATCO Dallas 2014


Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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 Dallas, Texas.

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:
http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Wodke/e/B00IJ02HX6


Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 151 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; www.run4cmt.com or www.hnf-cure.org


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
http://cmtamputee.wordpress.com/

Keywords: Running, Running and CMT, triathlon, triathlon and CMT, athlete and CMT, cycling and CMT, paratriathlon, challenged athlete, Team CMT, Running for My Life-Winning for CMT. Hereditary Neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth.
CMT and running, CMT and triathlon, CMT and athlete, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and running, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and triathlon, Team USA and Team CMT, Running for my life-Winning for CMT


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Salad Sunday- Strawberry Chicken Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Summer is a great time for salad.  Summer fruits like strawberries are great to pair with greens for a healthy meal. You can put this together with left over chicken and you will not have to heat up the kitchen when it's hot. I used lemon pepper chicken I made on the grill the night before. You can make the dressing listed here or buy bottled dressing. I like to make my own because I know there is not a lot of sugar or artificial ingredients.  Feel free to change up the ingredients on the dressing or the salad to make it your own.

Strawberry Chicken Salad


2 grilled chicken thighs, removed from bone and thinly sliced.
1 bag 50/50 Spinach & Spring Mix Greens
1 lb fresh strawberries sliced; reserve 3
3 stalks celery chopped finely
¼ cup slivered almonds

Poppy Seed Dressing
½ cup salad oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Reserved strawberries from above
½ teaspoon orange extract
1 tablespoon poppy seeds


Put chicken, salad greens, celery, and strawberries in a bowl.  Set aside. Put all ingredients for dressing in blender and blend on high for 20 seconds.    Pour dressing on top and toss salad. Top with slivered almonds.  Yields 4 dinner size servings

**********

Author competing for Team USA in Dallas 2014

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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 Dallas, Texas.

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:
http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Wodke/e/B00IJ02HX6


Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 151 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; www.run4cmt.com or www.hnf-cure.org


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
http://cmtamputee.wordpress.com/

Keywords: Running, Running and CMT, triathlon, triathlon and CMT, athlete and CMT, cycling and CMT, paratriathlon, challenged athlete, Team CMT, Running for My Life-Winning for CMT. Hereditary Neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth.
CMT and running, CMT and triathlon, CMT and athlete, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and running, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and triathlon, Team USA and Team CMT, Running for my life-Winning for CMT



Saturday, July 5, 2014

Super Food Saturday- Yogurt Blueberry Muffins



1 ½ cups oat bran cereal
¼ cup raw sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
Grated lemon peel from one lemon
½ cup slivered almonds
1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
½ cup skim milk
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 egg
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon canola oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 F
Combine the oat bran, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, flax seed, poppy seeds, lemon peel and almonds in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.  Gently fold in the blueberries to the other dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl mix together the milk, yogurt, egg, honey and canola oil.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients.  Mix until ingredients combined. Be careful not to over mix.

Line muffin tins with cupcake papers. Fill each with about 2 heaping tablespoon of mixture. Should be a bit over the top of each cup.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 18 muffins

Today’s Super Foods

Oat bran cereal
Oat bran cereal is made completely from bran. It helps to reduce cholesterol, manage constipation. It helps to manage weight loss and maintenance and to manage cholesterol.  They are also high in fiber promoting digestive health and lowering cancer risk.

Blueberries
Blueberries, they are high in anti-oxidants which help to improve memory, slow the aging process and boost the immune system.

Ground Flaxseed
High in fiber, two tablespoons contain as much fiber as 1 ½ cups of cooked oatmeal.  They are high in lignans preventing the growth of unhealthy cells. Flaxseed has 75 times more lignans than any other plant.  Two tablespoons of ground flaxseed has more lignans than 30 cups of broccoli.  They contain alpha-linolenic acid which is the plant version of omega-3.


Almonds
Reduce heart attack risk. They have the same healthy fat found in olive oil. They are rich in potassium which is important for nerve transmission and brain function. They are high in magnesium improving blood flow and blood vessel health.  Almonds lower cholesterol and lower heart attack risk.  They build strong bones and teeth, help to maintain weight. Almonds help to manage blood sugar level and insulin after meals. They also alkalize the body which promotes immune system, boosting energy and lowering the risk of osteoporosis.


*************************
Author competing for Team USA Pan American Cup Dallas 2014

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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:
http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Wodke/e/B00IJ02HX6


Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 151 members in 30 states. We also have members in AustraliaCanadaVietnamTurkeyFinland and Iran. If you wish to join us visit our web site; www.run4cmt.com or www.hnf-cure.org


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
http://cmtamputee.wordpress.com/

Keywords: Running, Running and CMT, triathlon, triathlon and CMT, athlete and CMT, cycling and CMT, paratriathlon, challenged athlete, Team CMT, Running for My Life-Winning for CMT. Hereditary Neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth.
CMT and running, CMT and triathlon, CMT and athlete, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and running, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and triathlon, Team USA and Team CMT, Running for my life-Winning for CMT




Thursday, July 3, 2014

Radio Interview




In April right before I went to Boston, I did an interview with success radio. They did air it, but forgot to let me know, so they are going to rerun the interview this weekend.

The interview will  re-air the show on Saturday,7/5 
at 6:30pm and Sunday 7/6 at 10:00am.

The show will b broadcast on 1340am,98.3fm hd2 and on www.joy1340.com (just click the listen live button) and it will start streaming.

I got a chance to promote the book and the fact that $6 from every book sale goes to the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation.


************************************

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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 Dallas, Texas.

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: http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Wodke/e/B00IJ02HX6
Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 150 members in 29 states. We also have members in Australia, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland and Iran. If you wish to join us visit our web site; www.run4cmt.com or www.hnf-cure.org


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 http://cmtamputee.wordpress.com/

Keywords: Running, Running and CMT, triathlon, triathlon and CMT, athlete and CMT, cycling and CMT, paratriathlon, challenged athlete, Team CMT, Running for My Life-Winning for CMT. Hereditary Neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth.
CMT and running, CMT and triathlon, CMT and athlete, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and running, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and triathlon, Team USA and Team CMT, Running for my life-Winning for CMT