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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Remembering My "Why"

Adapted by Angel Graham

Your off season will decide who wins the race months from now.” – Meb
It's been a couple of weeks since I've done a blog posting.  It's been a tough month or so.  My race season has already started.
I did the Winter Wonderland Triathlon in Verona on February 22nd. I raced as a para triathlete with hopes of a qualifying time for the national championship in Austin in May.
So I didn't mind that I was lapped by the swimmer next to me in the pool or that I was the last one in  my wave on the bike and the run. I kept telling myself "Run your own race". So I did and with a  1hr 30 minute finish time I once again had a qualifying time for Austin.
I spent the better part of one evening putting together the race resume required to apply to race. I turned it in and within minutes was notified that I could not be seen by a medical classifier in Austin.
Because I was rejected by a ITU (International Triathlon Union) assessor in Chicago, I could not be seen by the USAT assessor in Austin. Since I started the process with the ITU I would have to finish with the ITU. I asked if they could assess me at the ITU World Championship in Chicago. It's only 90 miles from home and I qualified for Team USA as an age group athlete for Aquathon.  The answer was no again.
So my only option is to race at the ITU event in Detroit in August.  My lack of qualification shuts me out of lots of opportunities for financial support as well.  So I'm signed up for the Detroit race. I was close to being accepted in Chicago, so once again I will submit myself to the process. 
My CMT has advanced to the point where I may not be able to be a member of my local ski patrol any longer. I was told by the toboggan tester he really should not have passed me this year.  That conversation hit me hard, since I've been a member of the National Ski Patrol for 27 years. Skiing is what got me started as an athlete.
 My CMT has progressed. Has it progressed enough to pass the medical classification?  I guess I'll find out in Detroit.
While all this was happening I opened Facebook one day to see two Team CMT members featured on this months issue of the CMT Athlete fundraising calender.   I was really disappointed. Once again the CMTA has chosen to use members we have recruited for their own purposes. All done at the same time our efforts are disparaged by CMTA members in blogs and some Facebook posts.
I don't blame our members, they don't know some of the things that have been said or done by CMTA members. The CMTA should know better. Some of their members think their organization is the best chance for a cure so any behavior is OK.  It is easy to see who belongs to our team. Every one of them is posted on my website.  They copied our idea of having a team. The least they could do is recruit their own members.
I was really discouraged and I stopped writing for a bit, because I was not really sure if anyone even reads this blog or really even cares about the work we are trying to do.  
In the middle of winter in the Midwest it is easy to get low. Days are cold and dark. We can go days without the sun shining.  I have to admit I was motivation challenged when it came to working out.
Despite that I got in the pool, rode my bike and logged every run on my workout plan. My coach often tells me to remember why I work out.  The why has never changed. I workout to stay strong and to be a good example to those in the CMT community.
I workout to be ready for race day, because I know the hard work done during the long cold winter will have me ready to race. I know that doing high profile events, writing about it and getting media attention puts a face to this disease that so few know about.  I want to show others that while you may not be an athlete, you can live a full life with CMT. You can accomplish much despite the obstacles that having CMT presents.
I know that the work that Team CMT does has been and will continue to be important.  We've raised thousands for CMT research. I've seen the conversations change in the CMT community from we shouldn't exercise to what kind of exercise can we do. I've seen those that had kept their CMT secret decide to be open about talking about their CMT.
So even when the work gets difficult, even on those days when I really don't feel like it, even if it seems like no one is paying attention, it all prepares me and those of us with CMT for the challenges ahead.  Hopefully one day soon we will have the treatments and cure we are currently working so hard to achieve.


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 160 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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