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Thursday, October 12, 2017

National Aquathlon Championship Austin

"A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying."-  B.F. Skinner

 On October 1st I races at the Austin Splash and Dash which served as the USAT Aquathlon National Championship. This was my 10th National Championship race, not including the PC Open races I did at the Paratriathlon National Championship.

This is my 3rd time racing at the Aquathlon National Championship. I've represented the U.S. twice
in this event at the World Championships. 

I was really looking forward to this event because I have family in Dallas. They always come with me to Austin and we make a fun weekend of it.  I normally have no support at my races, so it is really great to have my family with me.

I have done enough of these races, I did not really have any pre race nerves. I was a little worried about the open water swim. The water temperature was 86 F so the race was not wet suit legal. I did reminded myself I had done the 1000 meter distance in Mexico last year at the World Championship.

This race would be a 3 K run, followed by the swim and finishing with a 3 K run. The runs were 3 laps around the Austin quarry where the swim would take place.

I never sleep the night before a race, so I am usually up and at transition when it opens. I did not sleep the night before due to my brother snoring, but I did not want to make my family get up any earlier than needed. Transition was set up on a long boat ramp going down to the quarry.  I found the sign that marked my age group area. All the spots along the ramp were taken, so I started a second row. I walked down everything and did a warm up run.

The race was a time trial start with women first and we self seeded.  I lined up in the back. The plan was not to push too much. I wanted energy for the swim. I just cruised easy and passed quite a few people I heard someone call out my name among the other runners. That was fun. I know quite a few of the athletes now.

This was a great course for spectators since we came around the start three times. I saw my family on several laps. I was quickly in transition.  The stones on the ramp really hurt my feet. I was almost to the water when I realized I still had on my race number. So I had to run over the painful stones another time.

The swim was really uneventful. The great thing about this format is everyone is spread out on the swim. The swim was really pretty easy. I was out of the water before I knew it.

It was just three quick laps around the quarry and the race was done. I finished 10th in my age group with a time of 1:11:22.

Sometimes I get discouraged about how slow I am compared to the other athletes. I had asked to be scored as a PC athlete and even contacted the race director ahead of time.  I work really hard all season to be ready for these events. I am going as fast as I can. I just wish the result was a bit better.

I did have lots of fun, it was a beautiful day with a nice course, a well run race and I felt grace. I know I am so blessed to be able to do an event like this.

I also had a great time in Austin visiting the LBJ Presidential Library, a Texas Honky Tonk and the Salt Lick restaurant for some real Texas barbecue.  Next year the race will be in Miami. I will get a preview of the course when I travel to Miami next month for the aqua bike and long distance triathlon national championships. I hope I have as much fun as I did in Austin.


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 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:

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; 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

Follow CMT Author Chris Steinke

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