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Monday, June 15, 2015

Week 5 & 6 World Championship Prep- National Para-triathlon Championship

"Always do your best, what you plant now, you will harvest later." Og Mandino

Week 5
Sun   5/17     Bike 1 hour, weights 30 min
Mon  5/18    Swim 63 min, run 32 min
Tue   5/19    Yoga 60 min, bike 45 min
Wed  5/20    Brick 1 hr 19 min
Thur  5/21   Weights 30 min, Swim 55 min
Fri     5/22    Rest
Sat     5/23    Run 40 min, bike 42 min

Week 6
Sun    5/24     Rest
Mon   5/25    Cap Tex Tri, 1 hr 35 min,
Tue    5/26     Run 70 minutes
Wed   5/27    Walk 30 min, bike 60 min, wt 30 min
Thur   5/28     Swim 60, run 50 min
Fri      5/29     Bike 75 min, walk 30 min
Sat      5/30     Run 1 hr 15 min, Walk 30 minutes
Sun     5/31     Walk 30 minutes, bike 45 minutes, weights 30 minutes.

My first outdoor triathlon was held on Memorial Day in Austin, Texas.  The Cap Tex Triathlon is the National Paratriathlon Championship. Winners would compete in Chicago in September for spots on the US team for the paralympics in Rio.

 I was not eligible to race in the Championship Division, but I was racing in the Physically Challenged Open. I will be competing at the World Championships as an age group athlete in aquathlon for Team USA.
 I've had a good run in the open division of the National Championships.

 I'd placed 1st or 2nd in the previous three years. Austin has always been a good race for me. The course is fast and flat.
Chris Wodke and Joy Von Werder in Austin 

My former coach and Team CMT member Joy Von Werder was going to be in Austin. Joy just finished an assistant physical therapy program. She was in Austin to train with USA triathlon to be a para-triathlon assessor.  Joy joined my family for dinner on Saturday night. When Joy was my coach we talked by email pretty much every week day.  We found out we are both members of the same national sorority.  Joy really feels like a sister and I was so excited to meet her. Joy came out and watched me race on Sunday. She was there with my family cheering me on the bike course.

We had terrible storms in Austin on both Saturday and Sunday.  There were tornado warnings and lots of flooding.  Our hotel overlooked Ladybird lake and this is what the river looked like on Saturday afternoon.
 There was lots of debris, in fact so much that birds were landing on these debris fields. The bacteria count was high enough the swim was cancelled.  Good thing since when the floods come, snakes are common in the rivers. I am deathly afraid of snakes and I am sure I would panic if I found I saw one on the swim.

The race  was changed to a bike and run. The bike would have a time trial start followed by the run. This is a common brick workout for me, so  I was not nervous at all.

Transition on race day was fun. I got to see some of my other tri buddies like Mike Wong out of Chicago and Zach Young who is a Midwestern triathlete. I met Zach at the regional championship in Omaha two years ago. Zach is now a two time national champion. Larry Hicks the men's duathlon PC Open Champ was there.  It was great to see everyone again.

Right before I went to the start line Team CMT member Joey Work stopped by to wish me luck.
 It was great to meet her. I got to talk to her a bit after the race and get this picture. Her relay team took first place that day. Cap Tex is one of the biggest triathlons in the country so taking 1st is a huge accomplishment.

In transition I met one of the other PC Open athletes. Rachael is visually impaired and an Iron Man finisher from the east coast. Visually impaired athletes race with a guide. I am no match for two riders and they passed me a few miles into the race.

I thought I would keep it as close as I could, maybe I could catch them on the run. Cap Tex is a two loop course, fast and flat.  I saw Joy and my family on the bike course. I was having a great race, all that riding and work this winter was paying off.  I passed Larry Hicks the duathlon National Champion. I was 7 seconds behind him last year.  I left him far behind.

I as out 3 miles out from the finish when disaster struck.  There was some concrete debris on the right side of the course, about the size of a coffee saucer.  My front tire literally blew up.  I almost lost control of my bike. I had huge bruises the next day on each side of my knees from where the bike frame hit me.

I knew my race was over as far as a podium finish.  I just wanted to finish. I could not get the front wheel off, so I started running, figuring I could run the rest of the way.  Two other racers got a flat in the same spot. Good thing I insisted on a repair kit with my rental bike.

Some course volunteers asked if I needed help,they asked me to stay that they would get a bike mechanic. I made another try at the front wheel and got it off. I started changing the tire and a volunteer came over to help.  Neither of us could get the tire off. Once the bike mechanic got there he got it off. I race my hand over the tire to make sure there was no debris left.

The mechanic said the bike shop did not set me up with a very good bike on my rental bike. He was not sure I would make it back to transition. He let some air out of the tires and told me not to run over anything and I might just make it back.

I did make it back into transition and I had a decent run all things considered. I finished with a smile on my face.

Chris Wodke finishing National Paratriathlon Championship Austin 2015

How can I not smile. Even world class triathlete Gwen Jorgensen got a flat in the London Olympics.  She was favored to win a gold medal and a flat pushed her to 38th place. 

I finished 4th, but I finished.  My guess is I would have finished in about 1:14 without the  flat. That would have put me in 2nd place. I'd raced a 1:14 in a similar race in Tuscon. Tuscon was hilly and windy.  It just was not my day, but I had a blast meeting the other athletes, Joy and Joey. Joey has such a infectious smile, you cannot be around her and not smile. 

I know how blessed I am to be racing at such a big event. I am privileged to be representing Team CMT at such an big venue. I was disappointed I did not have a good race on a day when I wanted to make a case for the inclusion for those of us with CMT. I was disappointed to come so close to having a great race.

I've been a bit snake bit the last year. Last year at this time of year at PATCO I got food poisioning while racing for Team USA. I am due for an awesome race.

I will be back next year. I'll work hard to be ready and I know I'll have a better result. On to the next race!

Chris Wodke racing for Team USA at PATCO Dallas 2014

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 165 members in 32 states. We also have members in Australia, Scotland, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland, England 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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