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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Running 4 CMT and September Awareness Month




"Expect the best; convert problems into opportunities; be dissatisfied with the status quo; focus on where you want to go, instead of where you're coming from; most importantly decide to be happy knowing it's an attitude, a habit gained from daily practice and not a result or a payoff."  - Dr. Denis Waitley

There was a time when I ran but I didn't race.  I had been a competitive runner for years. I got a coach and worked hard at it. The pay off was big. I was able to run a 7:30 mile and would often finish at the top of my age group.  I even won the entire division of a women's race once.

Then I had a bike accident and after surgery to repair an injured shoulder I could suddenly manage only a 10:30 mile.  I remember the race where I quit running. My feet were burning and it wasn't fun anymore.  But I never stopped running because I loved it so much. I would still do a couple of speed workouts and a long run every week. In the back of my mind I wanted to be ready to compete again someday.

That someone day happened 5 years ago when I was diagnosed with CMT.  When I learned about CMT I realized how lucky I was to even be able to run when so many with CMT struggle to walk.
I knew right then that I had a gift, a gift of being able to run. I decided to dedicate that gift to raising awareness of CMT. I could not believe that I had never heard of CMT and that most medical professionals were not even aware of it despite the fact it affects 160,000 Americans.    I knew that had to change if there was any hope for a cure for me, my affected family members and everyone else living with this condition.

Racing during CMT awareness month in September is always special for me. It helps me to remember what all the hard work is all about. I did two 5 K races recently, the Milwaukee River Challenge on September 14th and the Wurst Beer Biathlon on September 24th.

Milwaukee River Challenge 5K
This 5 K race is a kick off event for a rowing regatta held here in Milwaukee. I was a member of Milwaukee Rowing Club the host of the event for many years.  As I warmed up for the race I ran along the River Walk and past the rowing club. I got to see crews out practicing. It brought back lots of memories because not only did I row, but I was a coxswain and trained crews. It was really my first experience at really intense training and competition.  I did 6 miles before the race even started because 9 miles was on the training plan. The race was pretty uneventful.  There were several long hills and I remember just feeling really strong despite the heat.  I cruised into the finish and jumped in my car and drove to swim practice.  I placed 2nd in my age group, but have not gotten the medal yet.

Wurst Beer Biathlon 5K
The race is called a Biathlon because it combines beer and running. I am not a beer drinker but the race organizer puts on a nice race. This race would be run in Frame Park in Waukesha along the Fox River. We would do two loops of the river course. It was completely flat. I did a one hour bike ride before the race because a 45 mile bike ride was on the training plan for the day.  That means 3 1/2 hours of riding. The temperature was expected to climb into the high 90's so I wanted to get in at least part of the ride in the cooler part of the day. When the race started the temperature was in about 84 F and really humid. The plan was to do an easy job, since I had a long bike ride to do and a 12 mile run to do the next day. I stuck to my plan. I took a water bottle along so I could stay hydrated and pour water over myself to stay cool. The course was beautiful and it was quickly over.  My time was not great, but I was trying to keep it easy. It was good enough for 2nd place in my age group. After a series of 4th place finishes early in the season, I have been on a good run.  A few months ago I made a few changes in my training and it has really paid off.

Of course I wore my Team CMT kit to help raise awareness.  The team continues to grow. We've reached 217 members in 36 states.  The members of Team CMT turned their challenge into an opportunity. Now 5 years later we have made great progress. There were currently two drugs in clinical trails. So while there has been no treatment or cure, we now have great hope. I and our team members will keep racing for our cure.

**************************

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT
www.run4cmt.com

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 and at the Aqua bike National Championship in 2016. She represented Team USA at the Aquathon ITU World Championship in Chicago in 2015 and 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 as a senior Olympian. In 2017 she placed 2nd in her age group at the Winter Triathlon National Championship, earning a spot on Team USA for the World Champsionship.

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:
http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Wodke/e/B00IJ02HX6

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 217 members in 38 states. We also have members in Australia, England, Scotland, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland, Scotland, France, Poland, Iran, Norway, Sweden and Ireland. If you wish to join us visit our web site; www.run4cmt.com or www.hnf-cure.org

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
http://cmtamputee.wordpress.com/

Follow CMT Author Chris Steinke
https://cmtandmesite.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/what-is-charcot-marie-tooth-disease/


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