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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Flannel 5K Race, Ups and Downs

"Success is peace of mind, knowing you have done the best you can." -John Wooden

I have never been a morning person.  It is always hard from me to get out of bed especially on race morning when it is 30F.

I really did not want to get out of my warm bed on Saturday.  I know the course was going to be icy since we had gotten freezing rain several times during the week. There were mini skating rinks everywhere because the rain became standing water that froze.

The race was at Naga-waukee Park in Hartland. The parks sits between Nagawicka and Pewaukee lakes.  I am sure it is beautiful in the summer.

The race instructions said there would be a $5 parking fee and that was almost the deal breaker. I had $10 in my wallet. I am unemployed and with no steady income, every penny counts.

This race is part of a series so I talked myself into going to get series points for the race. 
I was feeling tired, but the pre-race participant list showed only four women in my age group.

The facilities for this run were pretty spartan.  Packet-pickup was in a outdoor pavilion encased in plastic sheeting. There were no bathrooms open.  I cannot imagine how cold the seats must have been in the porta-potties.

I huddled by a heater to stay warm and chatted with a few runners.  I went out and warmed up to check out the course. Salt was being put down along the course and the distance had been shortened due to ice.  They never did give the exact distance of the race.  It was gray and windy. I debated how many layers to wear.

As I lined up at the back of the pack for the race, I decided I would use the race as a tempo run. I would go out pretty easy for the first 3/4 of a mile and then push the pace for the rest of the race.

That was going well when I spotted what looked like a women in my age group.  I tried to catch her but she seemed just a bit faster. I told myself to let her go. I know I needed to beat one women to medal.

The course started to get hilly.  This same women started walking up the hills. Lots of runners struggle on the hills. What you tell yourself as a runner has been shown to affect performance. So if you tell yourself how much you hate hills or how hard they are, it actually affects physical performance.  So when I run hills I just keeping saying "mountain goat"  I tell myself I love hills and I am strong. I have really grown to love hills and practice on them often.

So we each hill I gained on my rival.  I passed her on one and sped down the other side. Now I had an advantage.  We were nearing the end of the race and I pushed even harder because I thought I could hear her gaining.

I crossed the finish line in 26:34, just 16 seconds in front of this women who indeed was in my age group. She had beat me in the last race.    I was 42 seconds out of first. There turned out to be 9 women in the age group, so I felt good about my result and how I handled the race.

I am holding at 2nd for the series. I don't think there are enough races for me to catch my rival for 1st.  I missed a race and the points when I was in Miami.

My life has had it's ups and down lately. Running and racing has a comforting consistency. I am glad I signed up for the series and that I did the race. I am looking forward to the next race next month.


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 Championship.

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 213 members in 39 states. We also have members in Australia, England, Scotland, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland, Scotland, France, Poland, Iran, Norway 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

Follow CMT Author Chris Steinke

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