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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Racing-Back to Basics

Cheryl Kearney and Chris Wodke at Firecracker 4 race

"The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit."- Moliere

I started my life as a competitive athlete doing local runs.  My friend Cheryl Kearney got me into racing when we were roommates after college. Years later I returned the favor when I got here doing triathlons.

I have pretty much transitioned into doing only multi-sport events. The last time I did a running race was a 5K two years ago.  When I looked at the time for my run in my latest triathlon, I knew there was room for improvement. I used to be able to run a 5K in about 23 minutes. My recent run time for my last triathlon was over 31 minutes.

My running has taken a back seat to swim and biking as I trained for a 1/2 iron distance aqua bike.
So I decided it was time to race into better racing shape.  I signed up for two races, a 4 mile race on July 4th and a Beer Garden 5K a few days later.

Firecracker 4 Mile-Hales Corners
This race is run by the local running club. So it is a huge race. I would use it for training,
My goal was to finish in under 40 minutes. I hit the first mile marker at 9 minutes. I was really excited.   I just kept rolling along and enjoying the scenery. The race winds through the local sub-divisions and I even saw someone from my former ski patrol. Lots of the residents put out sprinklers for the runners to run through. I had a blast. I forgot how much run a run race can be. It is so nice to come all dressed and ready to go. No swim or bike gear and no transition to get ready.  I crossed the finish line in 38 minutes 30 seconds, well below my goal. My friend Cheryl took 4th place. I am not sure where I finished, but I was happy with my result

Beer Garden Run- Grant Park
This race was just two days later and I decided to run intervals during the race just like I do in training. Being in a race, pushes me much more than I would do on my own.

I loved this race venue. It was in a local park pretty close to home. There is a traveling beer garden that spends 2 weeks at different parks over the summer. There has been a race series following the traveling beer garden and this week in was in Grant Park. I got there early to snag a good parking spot and used the time to go for a short bike ride.  It was a great way to warm up. I did a short run warm up and lined up with 1000 other runners.

I did my intervals and was hanging strong until the last half mile. I did one less interval than planned.   I finished in 28:48, just 12 seconds out of 3rd place.  I felt good about that because there were about 30 women in my age group.  The finish line was right by the entrance to the beer garden. Every runner got a pint glass filled with beer or root beer.  I shared a table with a few locals while I waited for results.

So both races were lots of fun. I have a 10K scheduled on August 13th for the Senior Olympics.  After these races I will be adding more running races to my schedule.  I am looking forward to racing back in shape and improving my running times.  I will really need that as I compete at the Aquathlon World Championship in Cozumel in September.


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 represented Team USA at the Aquathon ITU World Championship in Chicago in 2015 and will represent the US at the World championship in Cozumel in 2016.

 In 2014 she represented  the U.S. as a paratriathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.  She has won state championships in cycling and triathlon.

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 196 members in 37 states. We also have members in Australia, England,Scotland, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland, Scotland, France, Poland 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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