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Monday, January 19, 2015

Race Report Trail Assail- 5K Nordic Race

Race Report
Trail Assail 5 K Nordic Classic Race
Minoka Park, Waukesha Wisconsin
1st place Woman overall
The task before you is never greater, than the energy within you”. – Quote posted at race site
I signed up for this race to get some race experience because I’ve signed up for the USAT Winter Triathlon National Championship in Boise in February. That race is a 5 k run, 12K mountain bike and a 5K Nordic ski race.

I am not sure I am even going to go to Boise. I have 13 other races scheduled and up until today I’ve not done a Nordic ski race.  I needed to try this race to make a decision on whether or not I should go to Boise. Not sure I want to spend the money and not sure it is a good idea with my lack of winter race experience.

I’ve been a Nordic skier for years, but I’ve struggled on hills. Nordic classic skis do not have metal skis like Alpine skis. I downhill ski every week on pretty steep hills.  It is easy to turn using the metal edges and shifting your weight.

Nordic skate skis have an edge which is why I ordered a pair in November and planned to practice on them before this race.  The skis arrived on Friday and the bindings have to be mounted. So no skate skis at least for this race.

The temps were in the 40’s the last few days. It drizzled yesterday, so I would not have been surprised if they race was cancelled. There are lots of bare patches in the parks around Milwaukee.

But since most of the course was in the woods, the race was on.  I did my patrol shift the day before and did not get to bed until midnight. So I knew I would not have my full energy.

The routine for this race was pretty much like any run or triathlon. Packet pick up starting at 7:30, then a little way to the picnic area where the race would be staged.

There were only 60 racers signed up between the 5 K and 10 K races. The division would be split into skate and classic racers.  I saw very few women in the start area. That came in handy for my four pre-race trips to the bathroom. There was no line at all.

The first part of the race was a loop around an open field. I did a lap around the field for a warm-up. The snow was thin, icy and slick. The skate skiers seemed to be doing fine. It was not good conditions for classic skis. My skies were sliding around.  There were also lots of bare patches.  Race temperature was 35 F and overcast. A great day otherwise for racing.

We lined up and were off. There were only 3 or 4 classic skiers. I was soon left well behind.    The race director told me it was not a hilly course. Well it was at least for me.
I fell three times on the first big down hill.  A volunteer ran up to see if I was ok. I’ve had lots of practice falling in my life and I am pretty good at it. Just one of the benefits of CMT.

I finally figured out side slipping down the steep hills did the trick.  The next hill went well until I saw the ditch I had to go through before crossing the road.  After a fall, I got down the hill. I knew it was a sharp icy turn so I took the run out.  I then proceeded to the icy turn we had been warned about at the start. It was glare ice, another fall.

Now a couple of up hills which I am great at, I breezed through those. The faster racers from the 10 K field doing two laps pass me.  That is ok, they are on skate skis which are really fast.

Then a problem, a fork in the trail, no volunteers and no signs or marks.  I am direction impaired so if there is a wrong way to go, I am going to take it. Today was no different.

I kind of knew I was going the wrong way. The trail bordered a dog park and I asked someone if he had seen any racers. He said no, but I was committed. I hoped the trail would loop back around it didn’t.  I found a trail sign and discovered I had taken the wrong turn and had to re-trace my steps.

I got on the right trail this time and I had been pretty close to the finish. I figure my little detour  cost me about 15 minutes.  Just before the finish, my skis once again slipped on the ice on perfectly flat ground.  I did a face plant right onto my cheek bone. I may have a nice shiner from that.

I finished. I figured there would be some rough patches since I am just learning. I fell about 6 times, but I was able to do some minor hills, so I’ve made progress.
My goal was to finish in less than an hour and I did the course in 48 minutes. Take away the 15-20 minutes for the detour and I would have had a respectable time.

I hung around talking to people thinking maybe I had won my age group. Turns out I won the 5K classic overall. I am thinking I must have been the only woman.

Despite the falls and challenges, it was a lot of fun. The woods were beautiful.  I  hear next weeks race is much flatter course. So I am going to have another go.

I met my goal of getting some experience racing and I am getting better at the hills. I hope to master skate skiing soon and give that a try. I don’t think I am quite ready for Nationals. That race may have to wait until next year.


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 finished 2nd at Boston in the Mobility Impaired Division. She was on the course in 2013 when the bombs exploded.

She has appeared three times at the Paratriathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Paratriathlon Open Division Champion.

In 2014 she was the PC Open Champion at the Duathlon National Championship. She has qualified to represent Team USA at the Aquathon ITU World Championship in Chicago in 2015.  

 In 2014 she represented  the U.S. as a paratriathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.

She travels around the country raising awareness of CMT.

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 159 members in 32 states. We also have members in Australia, Scotland, 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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