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Friday, January 22, 2016

Cultivating Positive Thoughts

Medal from my first nordic ski race this season

 "Most people are as happy or unhappy as they wish themselves to be."- Unknown

The mental side of training is one many athletes ignore.  One of the things I have been working on this last season was having a consistently positive outlook and only working on things I can control.

So I may doing some sharing on my blog about some of the reading I have been doing and actions I have been taking to work on my mental game.

Like most people I have days when I’m not positive. It can be easy to let a few set-backs put me in a negative frame of mine.  Winter seems to be an especially hard time.  Endless cold gray days and working out inside can put a damper on even the brightest of spirits.
I like to think I’ve gotten pretty resilient. If I get in a down mood, I don’t stay there long. There are a number of things I do to cultivate a positive attitude:


I plan out my race calendar for most of the year in January. Of course I make change as the year goes on. The reason I plan so early is that race plan helps motivate me through tough winter workouts. I know I have to get to the gym or pool every day to be race ready. It helps to have a small accomplishment every day. My workouts are planned out for the week by my coach based on the race calendar I develop. Every workout I finish is a mini victory. Sometimes it isn’t always easy, but it feels good every day I have a little victory. That success helps me to keep moving toward my race goals.  The positive planning leads to positive accomplishment fueling a positive state of mind.

Mental Food

Everything you see and read has an effect on your mood and attitude. Feed yourself good stuff if you want to be positive. If you struggle with having a positive outlook this can be a challenge. It may take a bit of time to turn around your thinking. Read motivational tapes and read inspirational stories. I like to read biographies of successful people especially athletes. Their stories inspire me to action.
I’ve found some nights I have to limit my Facebook time and what I watch on TV. Some weeks the news is so depressing I can’t stand it anymore. I turn off the news and watch episodes of Big Bang Theory I’ve recorded. Laughing is a great medicine for enhancing your mood. I had a co-worker whose wife got cancer. Her doctor told her to watch funny movies because laughing would help keep her positive.
Lately  I’ve also limited my time in the CMT related groups.  So many of the members use the space to complain about life with CMT.  In some instances those trying to help are denigrated.  Venting is fine and connecting with others that share your condition can be helpful, but sometimes I just need a break from it. I would rather go out and live my life than be focused on my CMT.

Inspiration Wall

I have one in my home and my work office. When I got diagnosed I started a board with all my race numbers and medals. I put up race goals and media I’ve appeared in. I look at both boards every day. I do it to keep me motivated and to recall all the fun I had doing the events.
I used to put up picture from my vacations at work and home. I would look at them and remember the great things I’d seen and the wonderful people I’d met. I would think and plan the next trip. Having a trip or a race to look forward too is great for my outlook.
If you are an artist you could put something you created up on your own board or a piece of music that inspired you.  Make your board about the things that energize you. Then when you look at it you can have a positive flow of energy.

Creating and sustaining a positive outlook on life can take some effort. It is a bit of work, but if you choose to work at it every day you can cultivate a positive attitude.


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 175 members in 31 states. We also have members in Australia, Scotland, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland, Scotland, France 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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