Saturday, July 6, 2024

Not the Race I Planned- Pleasant Prairie Duathlon

 



" Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground."  Rosa Parks


Sometimes the biggest drama happens well before the actual race, making race day a bit anticlimactic. I signed up for the 2024 Paratriathlon National Championship for two reasons.

First, it was being held in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin a 35-minute drive from my house. There would be little travel or expense to complete.  I've done this event in Texas and Arizona winning the Physically Challenged (PC) division multiple times.

Second I was hoping to finally be classified so  I can compete as a PC athlete at an age group world championship. I first started this process in my first year at the National Championship in 2012 in Austin.

I believe the system really does not know how to access those with conditions like mine. An athlete is examined by two accessors.  I do not know how we are graded. It is not a very transparent process. The exam is similar to the one given by my neurologist. I have never been successful always being told I am too strong.

I applied to get a classification appointment. The problem is I no longer have a qualifying race time.  I need to complete a qualifying triathlon in about 1 hour 22 minutes. That is not possible at my age and with my condition.  Divisions in parat-triathlon are arranged by impairment.  There used to be a division just for those with neuromuscular conditions.  We are now grouped with single-limb impairment amputees and have the fastest requirement time. I could make the qualifying time from any of the other groups.

I applied for an appointment and at first was accepted. Then an email exchange started. I was told I could not get an appointment for classification.  This happened twice. I explained my goals and that I was not trying to break into the elite ranks.

There are a limited number of appointments, but I hoped for an exception due to my goals and my years in the sport.  I also requested the appointment to make USAT aware of my situation and to push for change.  I am hoping the neuromuscular category will be restored to promote the inclusion of my athletes with neuromuscular conditions.

I have been a good soldier and competed in the open division for years.  I decided not to do that this time because I feel it supports a system that excludes athletes like me. I appreciate the progress made in the sport and the support I have gotten from USAT.  There is still work to be done.  I was told USAT is asking for a PC open division at age group World Championships. That would be wonderful, but I have heard this before. 

So instead I transferred to the duathlon.  I asked to be scored as a para-athlete.  Instead, I was placed in an age group division. Racing in the duathlon would help me reach some of my goals this year.

The race itself was pretty routine since I have raced at this venue almost a dozen times.  I decided to use the event and training and just have fun.  

I was able to have a mistake-free race and had a good time visiting with the other athletes at the start.  Because I took it easy my time of 2:08: 30 was not great.  I did not stay for the award ceremony since I had a meeting I needed to attend.

I ended up finishing 1st out of 4 women in my age group. I finished 50 minutes faster than the 2nd place woman.  So not the race I wanted, but still a good result.  I will continue to work for the great inclusion of athletes like myself in para-triathlon.  It is so important for both physical and mental health with my condition to stay active. Racing keeps me motivated to do the training needed to race.

Next up in the Pan American Master's Game duathlon in Cleveland where I will be racing as a para-athlete.

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



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, April 20, 2024

2024 Season Schedule-Doing My Best

 



"The answer to the big questions in running is the same answer to the big questions in life. Do the best you can with what you've got."

As I plan out my races for 2024, I realize more than ever how privileged I am to be racing.  With having CMT, no race, much less racing for a season is guaranteed.  Each race is a blessing.

As I have gotten older and my CMT has progressed, I see my finish times get slower and my ability to compete decrease.  That makes me treasure every race because I know someday I will no longer have that privilege. I try to appreciate every race experience.

I vowed to cut back on racing this year due to some changes that may be coming from the USA Triathlon with the pricing structure for going to a World Championship.  For me, that will mean more local and regional races. 

Another unexpected development was the announcement the Paratriathlon National Championship will be held 30 minutes from my home.  I have asked to go through the classification process.  It has been about 10 years since my last attempt to be classified. If I can be classified, then I will be able to compete as a para-athlete at the Winter Triathlon World Championship next year.

Much of my race schedule is not off-road events.  I like the races because they are small and low-key.  The bike leg of the race is on forest roads.  Because the races are small I do not have a constant stream of racers passing me at high speed.  The courses also have no traffic, making them safer.  Plus they are just fun.  

This is my multi-sport racing schedule. As the season progresses I will be adding some local road and trail running races. They helped me to train for the races already scheduled.

June 9, 2024
Triona Aquabike
Winona, MN

or July 6 Fort Wayne Aquabike

June 23, 2024
Paratriathlon National Championship
Pleasant Prairie, WI

July 14, 2924
Pan American Duathlon Championship
Cleveland, OH

July 20, 2024
The Forge Gravel Aquabike
Lemont, IL

July 27, 2024
Ugly Dog Gravel Triathlon
Grass Lake, Michigan

August 11,2024
Wisconsin Women's Duathlon
Pleasant Prairie, WI

September 22, 2024
The Dirty Mitten Gravel Triathlon National Championship
Middleville, MI

I've already completed the Winter Duathlon National Championship in February taking first in the PC division.  It was a great kick-off for the 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

 

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, March 11, 2024

Winter Duathlon National Championship-Breckinridge Colorado

 



"Sometimes what seems like a push backward can actually be a leap forward."- Janice Kaplan

I did my first race of the season on February 22nd in Breckinridge, Colorado.  I participated in the Winter Duathlon National Championship. The race was a 4 K run and a 4-mile Nordic ski

Right from the start this race was a challenge due to the lack of snow in Southeastern Wisconsin.  The only place I had to ski was a loop with manmade snow in a State Park.  

My original plan was to head to Northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Michigan if needed to travel and maybe take a few lessons.  No one in the Midwest had snow on the ground.  Snow had to be trucked in for the annual Birkebeiner race this year which is the biggest race on the North American calendar.

So I was stuck training on a circle loop. There is one hill on the loop and it was often icy or rutted. Often I did not want to risk injury skiing it.  So I had to be content lap after lap in a circle. It honestly got boring. I would have trained longer if I had trails to ski.

I had signed up for all three races on the weekend; a ski half marathon of 9 miles and a winter triathlon race.  Even before I left for the race I had decided I had not trained enough to do the ski half marathon.

Breckinridge is at 9,600 feet. Last year when I went to Breckinridge for a ski camp I had trouble breathing and headaches. It got so bad I almost left early to go back to Denver. I did not feel better until I got some oxygen.

I tried to prepare by wearing an altitude training mask during my weight training. Perhaps I started too late because it did not seem to make much difference. training  I purchased a can of oxygen at one of the local stores and used it often during my stay. It seemed to help with headaches but not with shortness of breath. I drank lots of water with electrolytes. That did not help enough either.

I decided to check out the race course the day before the race. A couple of inches of new snow had fallen.  The race venue was the Gold Run Nordic Center. It is a golf course in the Summer.  The venue was closed to set up for the race, but we were allowed to ski the course. 

High-altitude snow is often dry snow. My skis would not glide. I fell on my face trying to skate. I ran into this once before at ski camp.  Classic style seemed to work a bit better and my plan was to use that on race day if needed.  There was a ski shop on site and I took my skis there and explained the problem.  The skis would be ready for pick-up on race morning.

Race day dawned with 12 F temperatures. All week the weather report had been for temperatures in the mid 30's.  I did not bring clothes for colder temperatures. It was a short race, but I do hate being cold during a race.

I attempted to do a pre-race run warm-up and knew I would be in trouble. My body did not want to run. I could not breathe and had no energy.  Good thing the run was only 2 miles.

As the race took off everyone around me struggled to run. I had not seen so many walkers since I did the first Boston Marathon in the 90F heat.  I finished the race with a combination of a little running a mostly walking.

The 4-mile ski was next.  I had only one fall when I tried to skate up a hill right at the start and slipped.  The course was rolling, but not technical at all. I have come a long way with my skiing.  I remember when I was a classic skier, I could not go down most hills without falling.

The was on my skis was perfect and I thanked the shop guys after the race. The course was beautiful with the mountains in the background. I was out of breath on the ski portion. I had to stop many times.

I finished in 1:32:44 for 1st in the adaptive division. I would have been 3rd in my age group. I earned a spot on Team USA for the World Championship next year.

I skipped the Sunday race because of breathing issues. I struggled to breathe even lying in bed. I felt like a fish out of water.  By finishing one race I qualified for all races at the World Championship.  I accomplished my goal and did not need the race.

I have lots to learn and I have made lots of progress in the sport. I like the challenge of working on skills. Having a winter race keeps me working out.  I am hoping for more snow next year so that I can properly train.

I am also excited about going back to the World Championships. This year I could not attend because they were on the same weekend as the National Championship.

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



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


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