Sunday, January 14, 2024

2023 Was a Very Good Year for Racing

 



"To uncover your true potential, first you must find your limits, then blow past them."- Picabo Street, Olympic Alpine Ski Gold Medalist

I had a great year of racing in 2023. The highlight of my year was my 3rd place finish in my age group at the Winter Triathlon World Championship in Norway. I finished last in the race which was a first, but the entire U.S. team met me at the finish line and cheered me in. That kind of support was wonderful.

I won three national championships in Gravel Duathlon, Winter Triathlon, and Aquathlon.  

I had also set a goal to qualify for the USAT Multi-Sport Athlete of the Year. To be considered I had to complete two sanctioned aquathlons, aqua bike, and duathlon races. I had to travel to Michigan, Arkansas, and Texas to get it done. I finished with a race in Plano, Texas on Labor Day weekend.  Now the rest is up to USAT to make the selection. Even when racing as an age group athlete I did not finish lower than 3rd in any race.  Here are my results


Tri Flake Winter Triathlon National Championship
January 21, 2023
Anchorage, Alaska
1at PC Open Division

Winter Duathlon World Championship
Norway
March 24, 2023
3rd F 65-69

Gravel Duathlon National Championship
Fayetteville, Arkansas
6/2/2023
1st F 65-69

Multisport National Championship
Irving, Texas
April 2023
Open Water Swim, 3rd F PC Open
SS Triathlon 2nd F PC Open
SS Duathlon 2nd F PC Open
Aquathlon 1 at F PC Open

Dirty Mitten Gravel Aquabike
September 24, 2023
1st F PC Open

I had a great time racing, traveling and meeting other athletes. I am looking forward to another good year in 2024. I have decided to cut back greatly on national championship races next year to travel more for fun.


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



Chris Wodke

Founder & Manager Team CMT

www.run4cmt.com

 

Chris is a triathlete Nordic skier and long-distance runner. She is a three-time participant in 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 Para triathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Para triathlon Open Division Champion.

She has won national championships as a physically challenged athlete in Aqualon, Duathlon, Aqua bike, and Winter Triathlon. She was the national champion in her age group in 2023 for gravel duathlon.

 

 In 2014 she represented the U.S. as a Para triathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.  

 

She was the 2023 Gravel Duathlon National Champion in the 65-69 age group.

 

She has won state championships as an age-group athlete in cycling and triathlon. She has represented America as an age group athlete at world championships in Chicago, Denmark, Cozumel, and Norway. She earned a bronze medal at the Winter Duathlon World Championship in 2023 in Norway.

 

In 2020 she was named a National Ski Patrol Subaru Ambassador and a USA Triathlon Foundation Ambassador.

 

She travels around the country raising awareness of CMT.

 

She is the author of the book, “Running for My Life” which details her experience as a CMT-affected athlete, and the book “Soup Sundays, A Journey Toward Healthy Eating”.

http://www.henschelhausbooks.com/catalog/memoir-biography/215-running-for-my-life-winning-for-cmt-9781595982827.html

 

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 find a cure for CMT. We currently have 257 athletes in 43 states. We also have members in Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Vietnam, Iran, Scotland, France, Turkey, Poland, Norway, Mexico, Wales, Ireland, and Sweden! If you wish to join us visit our website; 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.

 

Keywords: Running, Running and CMT, triathlon, triathlon and CMT, athlete and CMT, cycling and CMT, Para triathlon, challenged athlete, Team CMT, Running for My Life-Winning for CMT. Hereditary Neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

CMT and running, CMT and triathlon, CMT and athlete, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and running, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and triathlon, Team USA and Team CMT, Running for my life-Winning for CMT, CMT athlete, athlete, and CMT, triathlete and CMT, Boston Marathon Bombing, CMT disease, CMT and exercise, exercise and CMT, CMT, athlete, and CMT. Team CMT, CMT athlete, athlete and CMT, bike4CMT, walk4CMT,  CMTA, HNF, Tri4CMT, Walk4CMT, MDA, #kneedeepinwo


Monday, September 25, 2023

Dirty Mitten Shorty Aqua Bike-Final Piece of the Puzzle

 



"Be so good they cannot ignore you."- Steve Martin

I always do best when I have a goal. At the beginning of the season, I set the goal to qualify for the USA Triathlon (USAT) Multi-sport Athlete of the Year.

An athlete is selected every year to complete two events in three of these four disciplines; Off-road triathlon, aqua bike, aquathlon, and duathlon.

I completed the last requirement by competing in the sprint aqua bike at The Dirty Mitten gravel event in Middleville, Michigan.

I had thought on the Thursday before the race, I was not going to make it to the event. I had planned on combining the race with a few days of camping. I was looking forward to some off-road riding and hiking.

After the 5-hour drive to Michigan from Wisconsin I arrived at the campground. I had thought I had booked a site in a State park. It turned out to be a private RV campground.   The sites were full of huge RVs just a few feet apart. I have nothing against RVs. It was how close they were together. I did not see any tent sites.  The map when I booked made it look like the campground was on a lake. There was a lake, but no access from the campground. All of the access was private property. I went to the office and no one was going to be there for 2 hours.  I decided I could not stay there.

I guessed a hotel room would be about $150 a night. I did not want to have to pay for 3 nights. So I decided to drive back home.  I thought that meant I would just give up on the race. It was a long day of driving. 

When I got home I checked the USAT site to see if there were any other aqua bike races close to home I could do before the end of the season. There really were not any.  I decided to see if I could just get a room for the night before the race. Most were in the $185 range.  There were few hotels near the race site and they were booked. I found a Wyndham Hotel for $88 near the Grand Rapids airport. It was just a 30-minute drive. Since I am always up early on race morning this would be fine.

The second drive had a couple of challenges. My GPS kept insisting I drive to the ferry terminal here in Milwaukee.  It took a call to OnStar to fix the issue. Then in Michigan, the GPS completely stopped working.  It kept telling me I was off-route. It took another call to the provider to straighten that out. I also hit really bad traffic in Chicago. The drive normally takes five hours and it took seven hours. I was really tired by the time I got to the hotel.

I know September weather can be cold, especially in the morning. Because of that, I have been closely watching the weather.  The prediction was for a morning low of 68F with an afternoon high of 76F.

Well, race morning it was 50 F.  I did not have clothes for cold weather. I arrived at the race site at 6 a.m. and the transition area did not close until 8 a.m. My race started at 9 a.m.  So I spent several hours trying to stay warm. I hid out in my car with blankets I kept in the car.

Just before the pre-race meeting, I put on my wet suit, and even that did not keep me warm. I did the pre-race swim warm-up. The water temperature was 64 F but it felt warm compared to the air. I was even colder when I got out of the water and my feet were getting numb. Everyone around me was cold.

I was so glad when the race started. I felt too buoyant in my full wet suit. I had not worn one since April. The sun was really strong as well. I am glad I can breathe on either side so I can look away from the sun.  Swimming on the last leg toward shore was right into the sun. I had trouble seeing the course markers and the swim exit.

The next part was the bike. It was on gravel roads. They were very smooth with little gravel. There were a few gradual hills. I drafted off one of the other riders for a bit. It was a beautiful ride in the woods.  I also like that gravel races are closed courses. They are smaller races, so there are not fast riders constantly passing me.

I had so much fun on this ride. The volunteers on the course were great. I had a goal to finish in 2 hours and finish in 1 hour. 36 minutes and 49 seconds. I raced as a physically challenged athlete.  My finishing time was good enough 2nd overall among women.

So now the rest is up to USAT. I am not sure how they select the award winner among the athletes that qualify. I hope my performances all of my performances will make me hard to ignore. Time will tell.

While I wait, it will be time for me to take a bit of a break before starting to focus on my winter season. I will again be competing at the Winter Triathlon World Championship. The dates and times have not been announced yet.

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



 

Chris Wodke

Founder & Manager Team CMT

www.run4cmt.com

 

Chris is a triathlete Nordic skier and long-distance runner. She is a three-time participant in 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 Para Triathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Para triathlon Open Division Champion.

She has won national championships as a physically challenged athlete in Aqualon, Duathlon, Aqua Bike, and Winter Triathlon. She was the national champion in her age group in 2023 for gravel duathlon.

 

 In 2014 she represented the U.S. as a Para triathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.  

 

She was the 2023 Gravel Duathlon National Champion in the 65-69 age group.

 

She has won state championships as an age-group athlete in cycling and triathlon. She has represented America as an age group athlete at world championships in Chicago, Denmark, Cozumel, and Norway. She earned a bronze medal at the Winter Duathlon World Championship in 2023 in Norway.

 

In 2020 she was named a National Ski Patrol Subaru Ambassador and a USA Triathlon Foundation Ambassador.

 

She travels around the country raising awareness of CMT.

 

She is the author of the book, “Running for My Life” which details her experience as a CMT-affected athlete, and the book “Soup Sundays, A Journey Toward Healthy Eating”.

http://www.henschelhausbooks.com/catalog/memoir-biography/215-running-for-my-life-winning-for-cmt-9781595982827.html

 

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 find a cure for CMT. We currently have 257 athletes in 43 states. We also have members in Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Vietnam, Iran, Scotland, France, Turkey, Poland, Norway, Mexico, Wales, Ireland, and Sweden! If you wish to join us visit our website; 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.

 

Keywords: Running, Running and CMT, triathlon, triathlon and CMT, athlete and CMT, cycling and CMT, Para triathlon, challenged athlete, Team CMT, Running for My Life-Winning for CMT. Hereditary Neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

CMT and running, CMT and triathlon, CMT and athlete, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and running, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and triathlon, Team USA and Team CMT, Running for my life-Winning for CMT, CMT athlete, athlete, and CMT, triathlete and CMT, Boston Marathon Bombing, CMT disease, CMT and exercise, exercise and CMT, CMT, athlete, and CMT. Team CMT, CMT athlete, athlete and CMT, bike4CMT, walk4CMT,  CMTA, HNF, Tri4CMT, Walk4CMT, MDA, #kneedeepinwo


Friday, September 15, 2023

Blackland Aquathlon- A Piece of the Puzzle

 



"Sometimes God puts a Goliath in your life to wake up the David in you."- Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller


I kicked off CMT awareness month by racing in Plano, Texas to the Blackland Triathlon.  I would be doing the aquathlon.  I needed a second aquathlon race to qualify for the Multi-Sport Athlete of the Year award.  To qualify I have to do two races in three of the following disciplines: duathlon, aqua bike, off-road triathlon, and aquathlon. 

This race was unusual in that they had a triathlon, aqua bike, and aquathlon. The closest aquathlon to my home was a nine-hour drive.  So I decided to make a visit to my Texas family. The Plano race was a 45-minute drive. Thanks to my brother for driving me so early in the morning.

I know my chances are earning the award are slim, but it gives me a goal to work for. Having races on my schedule gives me motivation to keep working out.  It is so important to stay active with CMT to retain function. Awareness month gives me even more incentive as I continue to fight to raise awareness and be a role model.

The race itself was pretty easy. It would be a  300-meter pool swim and a 5K run. The only challenge would be the forecasted triple-digit heat.

There was a kid's race before the adult event. It was really fun to see the kids and their parents racing. I also got to catch up with a few triathlon friends from the area.

The race organizers could not have been nicer. There was no drop-down box to choose Physically Challenged when I registered. I contacted them since this was a USA Triathlon-sanctioned race. They are required to offer this.  I was asked for my 300-meter race time and where I wanted to be placed in the swim order.  We would be lined up in pace order from fastest to slowest with one athlete in the water every few seconds.  I told the race director to place me anywhere in the field that they liked.

I was surprised to see I was assigned the first starting position. I have lots of questions about it. I might have been intimidated if I had less experience.  We would be swimming up the right side of each line for six lanes. The left side was for passing. I told the young and fast guys behind me I would keep tight to the right and leave plenty of room to pass.

I was passed by many swimmers which is what I expected. The great thing about being first in was that I would be out on the run early. The earlier the better to avoid some of the heat.

The short swim was over fast. It was a run up the stairs and a long path to the far side of the transition to get to my spot to get ready for the run.

The 5K run was well marked. I so appreciate that.   Ice water-soaked towels were given out at the two aid stations. They were dry by the time I got to the next aid station.  I carried a water bottle with me and used it to hydrate and stay cool.  

I felt strong on the run on the very flat course. I am not a fan of hills although I am strong on hills. 

I finished the race in about 48 minutes. If I had been doing the full race, my pace would have probably put me in second place.

Still, there are some things I can keep working on. I have one more race to complete my requirements for the award. That race will be a gravel aqua bike in Michigan at the end of September.

This was such a great event. I hope to come back another time. Now on to Michigan


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

Cheryl Kearney and Chris Wodke


 

Chris Wodke

Founder & Manager Team CMT

www.run4cmt.com

 

Chris is a triathlete Nordic skier and long-distance runner. She is a three-time participant in 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 Para Triathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Para triathlon Open Division Champion.

She has won national championships as a physically challenged athlete in Aqualon, Duathlon, Aqua Bike, and Winter Triathlon. She was the national champion in her age group in 2023 for gravel duathlon.

 

 In 2014 she represented the U.S. as a Para triathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.  

 

She was the 2023 Gravel Duathlon National Champion in the 65-69 age group.

 

She has won state championships as an age-group athlete in cycling and triathlon. She has represented America as an age group athlete at world championships in Chicago, Denmark, Cozumel, and Norway. She earned a bronze medal at the Winter Duathlon World Championship in 2023 in Norway.

 

In 2020 she was named a National Ski Patrol Subaru Ambassador and a USA Triathlon Foundation Ambassador.

 

She travels around the country raising awareness of CMT.

 

She is the author of the book, “Running for My Life” which details her experience as a CMT-affected athlete, and the book “Soup Sundays, A Journey Toward Healthy Eating”.

http://www.henschelhausbooks.com/catalog/memoir-biography/215-running-for-my-life-winning-for-cmt-9781595982827.html

 

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 find a cure for CMT. We currently have 257 athletes in 43 states. We also have members in Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Vietnam, Iran, Scotland, France, Turkey, Poland, Norway, Mexico, Wales, Ireland, and Sweden! If you wish to join us visit our website; 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.

 

Keywords: Running, Running and CMT, triathlon, triathlon and CMT, athlete and CMT, cycling and CMT, Para triathlon, challenged athlete, Team CMT, Running for My Life-Winning for CMT. Hereditary Neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

CMT and running, CMT and triathlon, CMT and athlete, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and running, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and triathlon, Team USA and Team CMT, Running for my life-Winning for CMT, CMT athlete, athlete, and CMT, triathlete and CMT, Boston Marathon Bombing, CMT disease, CMT and exercise, exercise and CMT, CMT, athlete, and CMT. Team CMT, CMT athlete, athlete and CMT, bike4CMT, walk4CMT,  CMTA, HNF, Tri4CMT, Walk4CMT, MDA, #kneedeepinwo


Saturday, August 19, 2023

Ugly Dog Gravel Race-Racing Strategically

 



                      "Do not let your happiness depend on something you may lose." -C.S. Lewis


On July 24th, I did the Ugly Dog Gravel race in Grass Lake Michigan.  This race is part of USA Triathlon's gravel series.  Gravel races are off-road races and are relatively new at least for me.

The swim, bike, and run format is s a bit different from a traditional triathlon. The bike and run are on trails. The bike portion is on gravel roads and the run is on hiking trails.

Earlier in the year, I did the gravel national championship in Arkansas. It was the physically toughest race I have ever done.  I had done the Ugly Dog the year before and knew it was an easier course. I would be doing the aqua bike, which was half the distance with no run.

The strategy was one of the reasons I chose this race.  I am working on qualifying for the USAT multi-sport Athlete of the Year award.

Two qualify for this award I need two races in three disciplines of each of the following race:

  • Duathlon
  • Aquathlon
  • Aqua bike
  • Off-road
This race would be my first aqua bike, I will do my second and last race of the season in September at the Dirty Mitten race in Michigan.

I have triathlon friends that race almost every weekend. Even not racing that often, I was getting burned out on traditional triathlons. Doing off-road and winter triathlons have kept things fresh for me. Winter triathlon has become my focus for my training since I will again be competing at the World Championships.  I have been riding my fat tire bike all summer.  Doing off-road races will help me get ready for my winter races.

I had lots of strategic reasons for doing this race. It is also just fun and my college friend has a family with a house on the race venue lake. He uses as the race as an excuse for a family reunion weekend. 
I love the swim at this lake. The lake is always like glass in the morning.

This water was so warm I did not need a wet suit. I just wore neoprene Capri pants.  The swim was routine and I beat my friend Cheryl who was doing the full triathlon and the other woman in my age group out of the water.

They both passed me on the bike. The out-and-back course was really well-marked. The 12-mile ride was cool and shady. It was a beautiful ride and so much fun. Since there is no run with an aqua-bike my day was done when I finished the bike ride.

I raced as an age group athlete and finished 5th since all the aqua bike athletes are scored together regardless of age.  Next year I will make sure I check that PC athlete box.

My friend Cheryl took 2nd place in her age group in the triathlon. It was a really fun day and I look forward to racing again next year.  

I need just two more races to complete my qualification. Next up is an Aquathlon in Texas and then Dirty Mitten at the end of September to complete my season.

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




Chris Wodke

Founder & Manager Team CMT

www.run4cmt.com

 

Chris is a triathlete Nordic skier and long-distance runner. She is a three-time participant in 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 Para triathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Para triathlon Open Division Champion.

She has won national championships as a physically challenged athlete in Aqualon, Duathlon, Aqua bike, and Winter Triathlon. She was the national champion in her age group in 2023 for gravel duathlon.

 

 In 2014 she represented the U.S. as a Para triathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.  

 

She was the 2023 Gravel Duathlon National Champion in the 65-69 age group.

 

She has won state championships as an age-group athlete in cycling and triathlon. She has represented America as an age group athlete at world championships in Chicago, Denmark, Cozumel, and Norway. She earned a bronze medal at the Winter Duathlon World Championship in 2023 in Norway.

 

In 2020 she was named a National Ski Patrol Subaru Ambassador and a USA Triathlon Foundation Ambassador.

 

She travels around the country raising awareness of CMT.

 

She is the author of the book, “Running for My Life” which details her experience as a CMT-affected athlete, and the book “Soup Sundays, A Journey Toward Healthy Eating”.

http://www.henschelhausbooks.com/catalog/memoir-biography/215-running-for-my-life-winning-for-cmt-9781595982827.html

 

You may visit her author page at:
http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Wodke/e/B00IJ02HX6

 


Monday, July 3, 2023

Pleasant Prairie Duathlon -It's Always Something

 


"You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results." -Gandhi

I used to watch the TV show Saturday Night Live many years ago when it was still funny. One of the stars Gilda Radner often played a character called Rosanne Roseannadanna.  One of the things she would say was "It's always something."  

I felt like my race at the Pleasant Prairie Duathlon on June 25th matched that quote. You never know what is going to happen on race day and it always seems like something unexpected happens.

I picked this race because I needed a duathlon to try and qualify for the USA Triathlon Multi-Sport Athlete. To qualify I need two races in the following disciplines: Off-road, duathlon, aqua bike, and aquathlon.

I did a duathlon in Irving in April and needed one more. I will be doing an aqua bike in Michigan this month, and need another aquathlon.  I have a couple off-road races, but they are winter races, so I am not sure if they count.

It felt a little strange to be racing the duathlon since this race had a para-triathlon developmental category.  I remember when I was on that track, but I have different goals right now. I am slowing down as I age. I am not sure I would even be competitive with the young kids competing now.

I have found that I can still be successful if I am strategic about the races I pick.

The duathlon would be a 2.5-mile run, a 12-mile bike, and a 5 K run. All pretty easy distances.

I have been racing for 12 years now so I think I could do a race like this in my sleep. It is so routine.

The biggest challenge for me with this race is the early start time. The triathlon's first wave was scheduled for 6:15, my race at 7:15. Transition opened at 4:45. Despite a night of little sleep I was the first one in line when transition opened. I got set up, took a few pictures, and posted them to Facebook.

Run 1
I chatted with other athletes as we waited for our start. There was an hour of waves for the triathlon. There was an Olympic and Sprint waves. The duathlon start was along the shore of the lake. We had a very close view of the swim. I could see several swimmers struggling.  No one seemed to be paying attention. One of the fire fighters on duty said they would be flying drones over the swim. That was good to hear since an athlete died during the swim last year.  The duathlon start was at the race finish. There were three staff members there. They did not notice when a swimmer climbed out of the lake and climbed over the rocks at the shore. I told the staff to report the race number of the athlete. Otherwise, the race officials would think the swimmer had drowned. The start of the sprint race would have been delayed until they figured out what happened.  At 7:15 our race was off. I felt strong in the first race. Since I was wearing my Team USA kit, I would my matching red, white, and blue, Newton shoes. I felt kind of fast. I wore the uniform because all of the races I was going to do wearing the uniform were canceled due to COVID. The uniforms are different now, so this was a chance to wear them.  My goal for the race was to take it easy since I was only a few weeks out from my gravel race. I took it easy and finished in a time of 25:04.

T-1
Here is where the hitch occurred. When I got to T1 to change over to the bike, I found my bike on the ground. Someone had knocked it off the rack. There is no excuse for that. Damage to the bike derailleur could have ruined my race. I put the bike on the race to access my shoes and helmet and the entire rack collapsed. I was not hurt, but I had to dig around to find my stuff. As I biked out, I told one of the volunteers what had happened. T1 was 28:34

Bike
I lost my bike computer in Texas and have not replaced it yet.  When I do not have a computer my bike time is always slower. I only averaged 14.1 mph.  That is terrible, but I have not done much road biking. I have been riding my fat tire bike to keep in shape for this next season of Winter Triathlon. Those races have become my most important races.  I also was not pushing it. Just easy cruising and enjoying the race. Bike time of 31:20

T2
When I got into transition, now there was a wet suit on top of my stuff. Several athletes' stuff was mixed in with mine. I had to dig around to find my running shoes and gel. I switched to my Hoka shoes. It took forever to find my stuff. T2 was 1:33. This is a race with lots of beginners and they just do not know race etiquette and how things are done. Since I was taking the easy approach to the race this did not bother me. T2

Run 2
I had forgotten to take off my bike gloves. It was a hot and humid day so I took them off and attached them to my race belt. I lost one somewhere during the race or the aftermath.  My Hoka shoes felt like running in marshmallows.  Soft, but really slow. I will keep that in mind for other races.  It was hot and humid. I was pouring water over myself at the ad stations which seemed to shock some of the volunteers.  I was much slower the second run which tells me I need to work harder in training. My second run time was 37:51 which is my slowest ever. 

My final time of 1:35:36 . Still, since I was the only athlete in my age group. I will take the first place finish. What was nice is none of the stuff that happened in the transition stressed me at all. I just dealt with it and kept racing. A good life lesson. You never know what life is going to throw at you. You just have to keep going.


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

 




Chris Wodke

Founder & Manager Team CMT

www.run4cmt.com

 

Chris is a triathlete Nordic skier and long-distance runner. She is a three-time participant in 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 Para triathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Para triathlon Open Division Champion.

She has won national championships as a physically challenged athlete in Aqualon, Duathlon, Aqua bike, and Winter Triathlon. She was the national champion in her age group in 2023 for gravel duathlon.

 

 In 2014 she represented the U.S. as a Para triathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.  

 

She was the 2023 Gravel Duathlon National Champion in the 65-69 age group.

 

She has won state championships as an age-group athlete in cycling and triathlon. She has represented America as an age group athlete at world championships in Chicago, Denmark, Cozumel, and Norway. She earned a bronze medal at the Winter Duathlon World Championship in 2023 in Norway.

 

In 2020 she was named a National Ski Patrol Subaru Ambassador and a USA Triathlon Foundation Ambassador.

 

She travels around the country raising awareness of CMT.

 

She is the author of the book, “Running for My Life” which details her experience as a CMT-affected athlete, and the book “Soup Sundays, A Journey Toward Healthy Eating”.

http://www.henschelhausbooks.com/catalog/memoir-biography/215-running-for-my-life-winning-for-cmt-9781595982827.html

 

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 find a cure for CMT. We currently have 257 athletes in 43 states. We also have members in Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Vietnam, Iran, Scotland, France, Turkey, Poland, Norway, Mexico, Wales, Ireland, and Sweden! If you wish to join us visit our website; 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.

 

Keywords: Running, Running and CMT, triathlon, triathlon and CMT, athlete and CMT, cycling and CMT, Para triathlon, challenged athlete, Team CMT, Running for My Life-Winning for CMT. Hereditary Neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

CMT and running, CMT and triathlon, CMT and athlete, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and running, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and triathlon, Team USA and Team CMT, Running for my life-Winning for CMT, CMT athlete, athlete, and CMT, triathlete and CMT, Boston Marathon Bombing, CMT disease, CMT and exercise, exercise and CMT, CMT, athlete, and CMT. Team CMT, CMT athlete, athlete and CMT, bike4CMT, walk4CMT,  CMTA, HNF, Tri4CMT, Walk4CMT, MDA, #kneedeepinwo



Tuesday, June 13, 2023

2023 Multi-Sport National Championship Irving, Texas- Lessons Learned

 




" The one thing that seems to separate winners from losers more than anything is winners take action." -Jack Canfield


I raced at the Multi-sport National Championship in Irving, Texas April 19th -23.  My writing is a bit out of order since I already posted a story about the national gravel championship race that I did the first weekend in June.

This race was pretty routine.  My focus had been on training for Winter Worlds in Norway. I was only 3 weeks out from that race. Plus with such an early season race, I had done little road cycling.

A race in Irving meant a chance to visit my Texas family. The races are a bit of an afterthought which makes for a generally stress-free experience.

The last year I have had a pretty unstructured training program in regards to triathlon. I have been keeping workouts to under an hour. I had no long races scheduled and would take my training day by day. I would do what I felt like doing.  So how did that work out?  

Open Water Swim-750 Meters
This was the first event. Texas can get windy in the afternoon. This day was no different. As I waited for the race to start I could see what looked like current. Plus the water temperature was only 68F.
I thought about not doing the race. It really does not mean much, but it is a good primer for the rest of the week.

It seems like every year, more physically challenged athletes are showing up for this race. There were three women this year. The course was windy, but nothing too terrible. I was worried for no reason.

I finished 2nd out of 3 with a time of 23:21.  When I took off my wet suit, the 1st place athlete shared she had CMT. That was a nice bonding moment. She shared with me her four-year journey to get through classification. She is in a wheelchair and it took her many attempts to be classified.  Her goal now is the Paralympics. She is very talented and I am sure she will do great things.

Super Sprint Triathlon

Again there were three female athletes in this race. Same athletes same result. I finished 2nd with a time of 34:54. I finished just ahead of athlete Whitney Bennefield in this race and the open water swim.
My bike time is slower than it has ever been. I really need to do longer sessions and work a bit harder.

Super Sprint Duathlon

This time it was just Whitney and me in this race. I had her on the first run and relaxed. I was surprised when she was at the finish line when I finished. She had a spot right by the bike and run out. She beat me right there. My transition spot was much farther away on the opposite end. She was racked with the other PC athletes. I was told there was no PC area. This gave her the advantage. Next year, I will fix that. My run is also slower than I would like. I have been struggling with my weight and the extra pounds have really slowed me down.  I really need to get that fixed before next year.

Aquathlon (1000 meter Swim, 5 K run)

I was the only PC female athlete in this race. Caleb the other athlete in the race, races with his mom as a guide.  It was not planned, but we swam together the whole race. It was nice to have some company for once. All I had to do was finish and I was a national championship. It was really an easy race for me.

The lack of competition shows me I need to go longer. I had signed up for the aqua bike but felt I did not have the training for a 24-mile bike and 1600-meter swim.

My medal haul was three 2nd places and one national championship. Not too bad for the little training I was able to do.

Once I got back to Milwaukee I started doing longer workouts to be ready for longer distance duathlon and aqua bike races next year. This also should make me more competitive in the shorter races. It was fun having some competition. It made me work header during the race and is going to make me train harder and longer the rest of the year. Lesson learned!

The races were fun. I got a chance to visit with family and make some new triathlon friends. I cannot wait for next year. Next year's race will be in Omaha in early June!

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



Chris Wodke

Founder & Manager Team CMT

www.run4cmt.com

 

Chris is a triathlete Nordic skier and long-distance runner. She is a three-time participant in 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 Para triathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Para triathlon Open Division Champion.

She has won national championships as a physically challenged athlete in Aqualon, Duathlon, Aqua bike, and Winter Triathlon.

 

 In 2014 she represented the U.S. as a Para triathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.  

 

She was the 2023 Gravel Duathlon National Champion in the 65-69 age group.

 

She has won state championships as an age-group athlete in cycling and triathlon. She has represented America as an age group athlete at world championships in Chicago, Denmark, Cozumel, and Norway. She earned a bronze medal at the Winter Duathlon World Championship in 2023 in Norway.

 

In 2020 she was named a National Ski Patrol Subaru Ambassador and a USA Triathlon Foundation Ambassador.

 

She travels around the country raising awareness of CMT.

 

She is the author of the book, “Running for My Life” which details her experience as a CMT-affected athlete, and the book “Soup Sundays, A Journey Toward Healthy Eating”.

http://www.henschelhausbooks.com/catalog/memoir-biography/215-running-for-my-life-winning-for-cmt-9781595982827.html

 

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 find a cure for CMT. We currently have 257 athletes in 43 states. We also have members in Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Vietnam, Iran, Scotland, France, Turkey, Poland, Norway, Mexico, Wales, Ireland, and Sweden! If you wish to join us visit our website; 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.

 

Keywords: Running, Running and CMT, triathlon, triathlon and CMT, athlete and CMT, cycling and CMT, Para triathlon, challenged athlete, Team CMT, Running for My Life-Winning for CMT. Hereditary Neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

CMT and running, CMT and triathlon, CMT and athlete, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and running, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and triathlon, Team USA and Team CMT, Running for my life-Winning for CMT, CMT athlete, athlete, and CMT, triathlete and CMT, Boston Marathon Bombing, CMT disease, CMT and exercise, exercise and CMT, CMT, athlete, and CMT. Team CMT, CMT athlete, athlete and CMT, bike4CMT, walk4CMT,  CMTA, HNF, Tri4CMT, Walk4CMT, MDA, #kneedeepinwo


Sunday, June 4, 2023

Gravel Duathlon National Championship-Getting By with a Little Help from My Friends

 



"The only sin a writer can make is not to write." -Ray Helminiak, Author


I love this quote and I've actually met this author. He is the dad of a very good friend of mine that is also an author. It makes me think the only sin an athlete can make is not to complete. Anyone that is an athlete understands the need to compete. For me, it is also about testing myself and seeing how much I can push against the limitations of my CMT. I got a chance to do both as  I raced at the Gravel Duathlon National Championship in Fayetteville Arkansas on June 2nd.

The race was a 5K trail run, a 19-mile gravel trail ride, and a 10 K trail run. I knew the distance alone was going to be a challenge. This is a longer race than I've done in recent years.

I was really worried about the trail runs.  The rocks, roots, and uneven surfaces would be risky. Because I have little forward foot flex, my ankles can collapse sideways on uneven surfaces. It happens more when I am tired. I also have a foot drop as well, making roots and rocks a great place to catch my foot and trip.  Even running on a normal day I have to pay attention to every step.  I have not done much trail running. I have to drive about 30 minutes to get to a trail, so I do not get a chance to practice. 

Pre-race
I got a text from fellow athlete Sheri when I was on the road. She was signed up for the off-road race on Saturday. She asked if I was racing para.  I was racing as a physically challenged athlete. I knew the question meant she was thinking of also doing the same gravel race I was doing. I originally signed up for the gravel triathlon.

I had some intuition despite the fact I sent an email to the race direction that I was a physically challenged athlete, they would score me in my age group. Since Sheri is the same age group she did not want to interfere with my winning a national championship. That was really nice of her. I decided to switch to the duathlon.  I was pretty sure I would not sleep the night before.  Because the swim would not be wet-suit legal, the 1500-meter distance seemed far on no sleep.

I ended up not sleeping even one minute the night before the race. I could not even relax, My mind and body were fully alert. I think both my brain and body had some inkling of what I was going to put them through. I got up at 3:30 and was at the venue by 5:00 am

That gave me plenty of time to catch up with friends also doing the race.

1st Run-5K

About a dozen women lined up at the duathlon starting line. I lined up in the back and there was some talk about some of us staying together.  I hear that often and then everyone takes off and I am left alone.  My plan was to run at an easy pace. I did not want to burn up too much energy in the first run. As I ran, fellow USAT ambassador Susan Felicissimo was running at the exact same pace.  

We chatted, well mostly I talked and the time went by really fast. I remember Susan telling me about three bears that almost kept her from finishing her race at Toughman triathlon. I told her I had been to the Northwoods of Wisconsin, Alaska, and Yellowstone and had not seen a bear.  We laughed about the brother who traveled with me to Yellowstone being terrified of bears and finding a grizzly bear faintly visible in the tall grass of a picture he took.

We walked a few of the dodgy spots. Almost took a wrong turn at the waterfall, but were saved by three people ahead of us. One of them Ruth Albright would become my friend later in the race.  I heard about half of the gravel triathletes took a wrong turn on this same course. Some ran more than 6 extra miles.  

No falls and it was a fun 5K that went by pretty quick thanks to Susan. I finished the run at 47:10 which was about 10 minutes faster than I had hoped.

T1
Nothing much here. I was in and out in 1 minute and 24 seconds. For the run, I used regular running shoes and would keep them on for the bike. I have trail shoes but really have not had a chance to run trails. My mantra is nothing new on race day. Shoes are so important and a wrong choice of footwear makes for a miserable day. 

Bike 19 miles Gravel

I beat Susan out of T1, but she caught me on the bike. She was gone quickly so there would be no second run with her.

I saw the woman that helped us on the run and decided to catch her. Since drafting is legal, I pulled up behind her and asked if it was ok to draft. I drafted off of her for a bit. 

I had done one other gravel race. This surface was much rougher, with lots of soft patches, and golf ball size rocks.  I just was not sure it was safe to draft. It was too likely I would not see a pothole or other issues.  In some spots, the sand made the back wheel of my mountain bike slip. 

So I pulled beside the rider and we started talking. Ruth and I rode together for over an hour. The first part of the ride was not too bad. The hills kept getting steeper and I lost Ruth on one of the hills. 

I passed a rider carrying her bike because she had a flat. The sharp stones can cause flats on narrow tires. No problem with my mountain bike. It rolls over everything.  The gravel was loose because it was dry. Dry meant lots of dust. My whole bike was covered.  I also had a bike bottle with a sports drink. It was also covered in dust every time I took a drink.

Now I am the last rider and I am by myself. The roads were in the woods and really beautiful. The shade was nice because it was hot and humid.  I wore a hydration pack and was using some of the water to splash on my face.

The woods were all starting to look the same and it seemed I would never finish. I remember as I rode wondering if there were bears in Arkansas. I thought I would google it when I got back to the hotel.

As I finished that thought I saw a large dark object in the distance. It looked like a bear but almost did not seem real. I thought it might be a decoy for hunters. It was staring at me and it was really big. Then it moved and ran across the road.  I did not expect to see a bear during the race. It was at most 40 yards away. That was a bit scary. That is what happens when you are last. You risk being eaten.....lol.

I had expected the bike let to take 2 hours and I finished in 1 hr and 55 minutes. I had to walk up a couple of hills because my thighs were burning.  Next time I need to be better conditioned.  The running shoes were not a good choice. The ball of my left foot hurt and I could feel a couple of blisters. I had not gotten blisters since I was running long distances.

When I am tired and bored during a race I start to make bargains with myself. I told myself that maybe I would just quit after the bike part. I had lost both Susan and Ruth and was not sure I wanted to do a 10 K trail run after almost three hours of racing.

Run 2-10K trail run

As I got into transition, I saw Ruth was just leaving. So she had not been far ahead of me on the bike. I know from talking to her during the bike, she has some limits that make doing a trail run a bit risky. So I decided I would get out of transition and turn to catch her.

The run felt good and I caught up with Ruth who was walking. I asked if she wanted company.  

Talking for me makes time go faster. I asked what she did for a living and found out we were both chemical engineers. So we had lots to talk about. I was so glad to have her company.

So by this time, my legs are getting tired. First, my foot caught and I fell hard face first on my right elbow. My feet were hurting from the blister. Then a bit later my left ankle collapsed.

I fell face first again. It hurt so bad, I just paused for a second. I know from experience that while it hurts, I will be ok. I had at least one more fall.  So I was concentrating really hard at this point to keep from falling again. Other than that I felt like I had good energy.

Ruth was struggling from the dust and I think was getting a little dehydrated.  She wanted to stop and rest a few times. I did not mind a break either.

Two volunteers on mountain bikes were sweeping the course. They would follow us and check on us until the end of the race.  They also offered us water and Gatorade.  

We finally finished with a run time of 2:08:58.  If I had run a 10 K on the road it would have taken at about about 70 minutes. So we kept up a good pace walking.

It felt so good to be done. I ended up as the National Champion in the 65-69 group. I was supposed to be scored as a PC athlete, but the medal is the same.  No big deal.  So good thing I had switched to the duathlon. 

It was the most physically challenging race I have done. That includes the 10 marathons I've completed including three Boston marathons.

Post Race

Thanks to the first aid people that cleaned up my scrapes and gave me ice for my ankle. They also brought me food. I am used to being the one giving first aid. It is the first time I've ever been given first aid.

When I came off the course I thought I would never do another trail run because of the falls.  After the race, I talked to one of the guys. He is an experienced trail runner and thought the course was pretty tough. I think with trail running shoes and some additional practice I would do better. I also found out other athletes fell on the trail. I felt better about my efforts after that.

Recovery

I was sore and exhausted after the race. I pretty much laid around the rest of the day and watched videos. Just like after doing a marathon.

I drove home the day after and was pretty stiff every time I got out of the car. It took a few extra Tylenol to get me to sleep. I heal pretty fast.  My ankles were so sore on Sunday I had trouble walking when I got out of bed. Then I discovered wearing PR soles or trail running shoes made a world of difference.  I could walk fine with just a slight soreness in one ankle. Biofreeze and BenGay have also helped.  Guess I should have used the trail shoes at least on the bike portion.

This race has shown me once again just what a great community we have in triathlon. I had help and company from friends during this race and it made the difference. Thanks to trail sweepers, aid station people, first aid helps, and on-course friends. You each had a part in my success!!!


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



Chris Wodke

Founder & Manager Team CMT

www.run4cmt.com

 

Chris is a triathlete Nordic skier and long-distance runner. She is a three-time participant in 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 Para triathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Para triathlon Open Division Champion.

She has won national championships as a physically challenged athlete in Aqualon, Duathlon, Aqua bike, and Winter Triathlon.

 

 In 2014 she represented the U.S. as a Para triathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.  

 

She has won state championship as an age group athlete in cycling and triathlon . She has represented America as an age group athlete at world championships in Chicago, Denmark, Cozumel, and Norway. She earned a bronze medal at the Winter Duathlon World Championship in 2023 in Norway.

 

In 2020 she was named a National Ski Patrol Subaru Ambassador and a USA Triathlon Foundation Ambassador.

 

She travels around the country raising awareness of CMT.

 

She is the author of the book, “Running for My Life” which details her experience as a CMT-affected athlete, and the book “Soup Sundays, A Journey Toward Healthy Eating”.

http://www.henschelhausbooks.com/catalog/memoir-biography/215-running-for-my-life-winning-for-cmt-9781595982827.html

 

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 find a cure for CMT. We currently have 257 athletes in 43 states. We also have members in Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Vietnam, Iran, Scotland, France, Turkey, Poland, Norway, Mexico, Wales, Ireland, and Sweden! If you wish to join us visit our website; 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.

 

Keywords: Running, Running and CMT, triathlon, triathlon and CMT, athlete and CMT, cycling and CMT, Para triathlon, challenged athlete, Team CMT, Running for My Life-Winning for CMT. Hereditary Neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

CMT and running, CMT and triathlon, CMT and athlete, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and running, Charcot-Marie-Tooth and triathlon, Team USA and Team CMT, Running for my life-Winning for CMT, CMT athlete, athlete, and CMT, triathlete and CMT, Boston Marathon Bombing, CMT disease, CMT and exercise, exercise and CMT, CMT, athlete, and CMT. Team CMT, CMT athlete, athlete and CMT, bike4CMT, walk4CMT,  CMTA, HNF, Tri4CMT, Walk4CMT, MDA, #kneedeepinwo