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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cozumel World Championship Race

Aquahlon Age Group World Championship Cozumel 2016

"Believe you can and you are halfway there." -Theodore Rooseveldt

It would be the 2nd race in just a few days. I had done the Age Group open Sprint Triathlon in Cozumel as a PC Open athlete.

I did not have a great race, but it was good practice for the Aquathlon race.  I knew doing two races so close together was a risk, but it really helped to have a chance to do a practice race.

I was easily able to do the 750 meter open water swim without a wet suit. So I was going into the race feeling relaxed and confident. I am not competitive as an age group athlete. I don't have to stress about being in top three. I can just relax and enjoy the experience.

Another race meant another pre-dawn wake up call. This time I knew there was no parking. No worries, friend Cheryl Kearney had arrived in Cozumel after her husband Robert's Ironman Wisconsin race.  She would be my driver.

While waiting for her in the lobby I noticed another American athlete and asked if he needed a ride to the race. Since his ride had not showed up, he took me up on my offer.  Peter was from California and we had a nice visit talking about races and training. One of the best parts of going to event like this is all the great people  I meet.

I got to transition and it was mass confusion.  Transition is always a little busy. A race nerves can be even worse for a World Championship race.  Again just wanting to finish and not worrying about placement helps me to stay calm.  The ITU officials were not helping. We were provided small baskets to place our race gear. One offical came by and said everything had to be outside of the basket. Another came through and said everything had to be in the basket.

I put everything in my numbered basket and headed to the start line to chill out for the next two hours.   I found some shade and sipped the water I had brought along.  The men's elite race was about to start and Alastair Brownlee appeared mere feet from me doing his pre-race warm-ups. Brownlee is the reigning Men's Olympic Triathlon Gold Medalist.

He looked my way, nodded and smiled. I nodded back. Just one athlete to another. I got to watch as Brownlee beat out the American to claim the Aquathlon World Championship.

My group was in last wave.  We split into two groups. The fast and serious athletes in the front and the rest of us in the back. We all agreed to have a good time and stay out of the way of the fast ladies. There were high five's all around.

The race would be a 2.5 K run, followed by a 1000 meter open water swim with no wet suit followed by a 2.5 K run.

I was a little worried about how the race would flow. Every Aquathlon I have ever done has been a swim followed by a run.

The first run was hot and humid.  I got into transition and the ITU official followed me and pointed to my basket and told me everything had to go in the basket.  I complied and hurried out of transition to the swim.

I loved the format because the field spread out in the first run. Usually the swim start is like a washing machine. There was no commotion making the swim really easy. The water was clear. I could see fish and coral on the bottom of the marina where we were swimming.  I remember waving to a rescue diver sitting on the bottom under one of the race buoy's.

My friend told me I was in a group of about five athletes. I remember drafting for the first time in any race. Athletes have their age written on their calve. I could see she was in my age group. I was sure it was a race to stay out of last place. We traded the lead back and forth and I she was just ahead of me out of the water.   This picture was taken at the swim exit and although I always look like hell coming out of the water, this picture really captures the moment.

Run 2
I got out of transition as quick as I could. I passed the other athlete and put her away on the run. The 2nd run was comfortable because it was short and I was wet, keeping me cool. My friend from work Mary Joy, called out my name from the sidelines. Her sprint race would be the next day.

Before I knew it I was headed down the ITU blue carpet to the finish. I was handed an American flag by the Team USA manager and I waved it proudly.

I finished 17th out of 19th in my age group, but it was a lots of fun. I am building my experience for World Championships. If I ever get to go to a World Championship as a paratriathlete I will be ready.


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 207 members in 38 states. We also have members in Australia, England,Scotland, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland, Scotland, France, Poland,Iran and Sweden. 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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