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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

World Championship Preparation Week 9, Will Work for Pie

" The most important attribute a player must have is mental toughness."  - Mia Ham, Team USA                                                                                                           soccer player
6/14  Sun     Swim 70 min, run 60 min
6/15  Mon    Rest
6/16  Tue      Run 20 min, bike 80 min
6/17  Wed     Bike 40 min
6/18  Thur     Aquathlon Race,  1000 meter swim, 5 K run
6/19  Fri        Rest
6/20  Sat       Pie Ride 32 mile bike ride, Janesville, Wisconsin

I am still catching up from being away followed by company.  I think I am still catching up on rest as well.  I often don't sleep well on Sunday nights.  The Sunday of this training week I had about 4 hours of sleep.

That meant an un-intended rest day on Monday. I could barely stay awake on the drive home and it was straight to bed for a couple hour nap. I was just too tired out.  I've always struggled to fall asleep and sleep problems are common with CMT. It is so frustrating to lay awake in bed knowing my workout the next day is going to be ruined. I had an open water swim scheduled and there was no way I was going to fight wind and waves on no sleep.

I still got a chance to swim later in the week. There is a local Aquathlon race series. I did not want to go. I was tired and feeling kind of down. It was a 45 minute drive through traffic. I thought I had better show up or my coach was going to disown me.

It was a low key event. Maybe 125 athletes. You have to be pretty hard core to show up to race at 7:15 on a Friday night. So even though the field was small it was fast.  The air temp had dropped from 85 F that afternoon to  61 F. The air was cool but the water was warm when I dipped my toe in.

I skipped the pre-race workout because I was tired and did not want to get cold from being wet. So I chatted up a few of the other racers.  There were quite a few inexperienced woman racers and they were nervous. So what happened at the swim start should not have been a surprise.

The swim was a mass start of men and women.  I am kind of used to small para-triathlon starts or at least women only age groups.  I hung back a bit to stay away from the fasties. I did not want to get run over.  I was not thrilled I would be doing two laps on the course, I had never done that. One lap looked far enough.

I wadded in and as I hit the water all I saw was black like the color of mud.  I am so used to pool swims that was a shock.  I tried to settle in, but swimmers all around me were panicking. There was lots of thrashing and swimmers failing all around me. It was the worst start I had ever been in. With all the panic around me I started to freak out a bit as well.  My wet suit was so tight, I felt like I couldn't breath. I had thoughts of quitting and "This is so not worth it."

Then I thought,  "What do you think the world championship is going to be like?"  "If you want to represent the U.S., you better not bail out.  So I started using my swim mantra.  Pretty soon I was able to settle into a rhythm. I stopped to loosen up my collar of my wet suit. Soon my heart rate calmed down and I could breath.
I took it one buoy at a time.  I saw swimmers doing the breast stroke and sped up because I was not going to let someone breast stroking beat me.  I made it around twice and even beat a couple of pretty fit looking guys.  It was a slow swim for me, but I survived.

As I came out of transition the lead runner was just finishing. Those two guys that I beat in the swim passed me in the run in the last quarter mile. Still I finished and I got some practice in mental toughness.  There are three more races this summer and they will be good practice in the run up to my World Championship race in Chicago in September.

One of my goals this year is to improve my bike time and that means getting in more long rides. I 've been doing some fun long events to get in the miles. This week was the Rotary Club pie ride in Janesville, Wisconsin.  I've been wanting to do this ride for several years.  It goes through the rolling farm country around Janesville.  The course was nice rolling hills.

We always say corn should be knee high by the 4th of July. This crop looks like it is well on its way.
I was on my new bike and it performed well. I am already thinking about upgrading with some new wheels.  The best part was a wonderful cherry pie was waiting for me.

It was a nice reward for a day's work. It was a good week and I earned a treat.  I had a tough start to my race but I pushed through it.    Even if I have a rough patch in a race or in life, I know the mental toughness I've worked so hard on will be there to help me get through any challenges.


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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