"Be who you are and be that well, be who God made you to be and be that well." - St. Francis Desales
When I signed up for Leon's triathlon, I did so because it was a para-triathlon development race. That means there were points towards Paralympic qualification. The current Paralympic champion is a 22 year old stellar athlete. She is the current gold medalist from Rio. Five years ago the single leg amputee and neuromuscular categories were combined. Since then I have had no route to the elite competition in triathlon. There is no way anyone with a neuro impairment can keep up with someone with a single impairment.
I know I have no hope of qualifying, but I wanted to keep competing with the hope of going through classification. If I am classified as having an impairment by USA Triathlon, I can compete as a para-athlete at a World Championship. I've already qualified as an age group athlete for two races in Townsville, Australia in 2022.
I am really tired of being locked out of a system that is supposed to include athletes like me with neurological impairments. To even go to classification I have to meet a time standard of about 1:34 for a sprint triathlon. By luck last year I qualified at Leon's. That meant I can if I want, I can go to the Para-triathlon National Championship in Long Beach in July. I would be able to go through classification.
There are two problems with that option. One I am now retired and living off of savings until I start to tap retirement investments. When I added up the expenses of going to Long Beach it was about $4000. It did not seem worth it for a classification I might not make it through. So I decided not to go to Long Beach.
A few weeks before Leon's it was announced that the Pan American Triathlon Championship (PATCO) would be coming to the Pleasant Prairie triathlon. That is only 30 minutes from home. There would be classification offered. I got in all my paperwork and took the Safe Sport training module. I had just two hoops to jump through, a neurologist visit and some tests. I asked for a couple day extension from USAT. I was turned down. I had not done it earlier because the cost of the doctor visit and tests would have been close to $1000. So I had been unwilling to take that gamble along with expenses of going to Long Beach. It is doubtful I will make the time standard going forward. So dream of competing in para-triathlon at the elite level is done for now. That is the bad news at least for now. There is no telling what might unfold in the future.
It did not make sense any longer to do a para-developmental race. I was also only a month out from my car accident. I had not been able to swim much. I decided to drop down to the PC open sprint race which had a 500 meter swim instead of the 750 meter swim.
The race itself was pretty routine. I like this course because both the bike and swim are really flat. The swim is in a small lake and is usually really calm. It was a really hot and humid day. So while the race was uneventful, it was still a tough event. I used my triathlon bike and my back was still sore from the auto accident. On the run I passed a young lady running in braces. I asked if she had CMT and she said she was still being diagnosed.
After the race I met fellow ambassador Kimee Armour and Sue Reynolds. I had talked with both many times on-line and it was nice to see them in person. The best part of triathlon is meeting old friends and making new ones.
The one hitch in the day came at the awards ceremony. The last time I did Leon's I took 2nd in the PC division and did not stay for the awards. I sat and waited for the awards in the hot sun. It seemed to take forever. Then once they got to the awards, the announcement was made for my category and they mentioned one athlete but not me. I went up to the stage and was told by the volunteer if we did not read your name you did not win. They were almost rude about it. I was directed to the room off stage where the timing and results were located. The timer could not find me based on my number and then could find my name but no results. It took almost 90 minutes to clear it up. Then I found out after all that there was no medal for the age group and PC Open athletes. To say the least I was not happy. I got no medal, and no chance to stand on the podium. I think I got a bit ugly with the timing guy. That fighter in me that helps me such a good athlete, showed itself in not the best way. I am not exactly proud of it. So Leon's and the events leading up to it were a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. This time I was the source of the ugly and will have to do better next time.
I finished with a time of 1:38 which is 4 minutes over the current standard.
This weekend I will be competing at Pleasant Prairie. I have decided to not do the PC Open race here either during PATCO. I felt better by changing over to Duathlon. I need three races to qualify for All American status. I just would not have felt good not being able to race at PATCO since I have done so in the past. Even if I had gotten my medical records together, most likely I would not have passed through qualification. I am looking forward to the race. Swimming is the one activity that still really bothers my back. So Duathlon will be a nice alternative to the triathlon for many reasons.
Founder & Manager Team CMT
a triathlete and long distance runner. She is a three time participant of the
Boston Marathon. In 2012 she finished
appeared three times at the Paratriathlon National Triathlon Sprint
Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Paratriathlon Open
In 2014 she was the PC Open Champion at the Duathlon National Championship and at the Aqua bike National Championship in 2016. She represented Team
In 2014 she represented the
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” that details her experience as a CMT affected athlete and the book “Soup Sundays, A Journey Toward Healthy Eating”.
visit her author page at:
Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMTWe currently have 239 athletes in 41 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 web site; www.run4cmt.com or www.hnf-cure.org
CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS). It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.
Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.
Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.
Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.
Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.
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