Monday, September 12, 2022

Tri Faster Aquathlon-Last Call


"You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might wish to have." Donald Rumsfeld, Former Secretary of Defense

I was really excited when I was looking for a sanctioned aquathlon to find one only 30 miles from home in Menomonee Falls.  The race was put on by local training group Tri Faster with World Champion Age Group athlete Lauren Jansen McGuiness as the race director.

The race was the last one that I needed to qualify for the USA Triathlon Multi-sport athlete of the year award. To qualify I had to do two aqua bike, duathlons, and aquathlons.  When this award was originally announced I thought there would be an award for each age group and one for physically challenged athletes. It was announced earlier this year there will be one male and one female award with a couple of honorable mentions.  The award will be based on race times. I am not going to be competitive, but it has been fun to do the races. It has been an incentive for me to sign up for races. It made it fun to have something to shoot for, even if it is out of reach.

The race venue was Menomonee Park. There was a group that used to run an aquathlon series in the park, so I was really familiar with the swim course. The run for this race would be a bit different.

This was a small race. There was an open water swim competition and kids splash and dash in addition to the 1000 meter swim, 5 K run aquathlon.  There were only about 50 adult athletes.

Because of the small size, it was a very laid-back race.  The transition was laid out with cones. I met my friend Mary Joy Hubbs in transition. Mary Joy just moved up to the next age group which was good for me since she is a much better athlete than me.

The entry to the lake was marked with a couple of cones to avoid the worst rock ledges.

The swim would be two 500-meter loops. The water temperature was 68 F and I went with my lava pants because they worked so well for my last race. They are just warm enough yet easy to get off after the swim.

I lined up just behind the middle of the pack for the swim.  It proved a good move since I was able to draft off another swimmer for most of the race. I have never done that in more than 10 years of racing.

I was so excited that I told the athlete when we got to transition and thanked her.  I came out of the water with three other women.  I was 2nd out of transition.

The run was partially on trails in the park and then onto a bike path. It was in the '80s so the shaded course was really welcome.

I felt good on the run. I saw the woman that beat me out of transition and decided to see if I could catch her.  We said hellos after I passed. I decided to kick it up a notch since I felt good. I wanted to put enough distance between us so that she could not catch me.

We met after and I thanked her for pushing me. We had a nice conversation. It turns out she was in my age group. I placed 2nd at 1 hr 11 minutes.

When I do these races I always wish I was stronger and faster. But I have come to realize that I have to compete with the hand I have been dealt and be grateful for every race I complete, no matter the result.

It was a good close to my triathlon season. After a bit of a break, I will start training for the Nordic race season. I already have a nordic clinic planned for early December in Breckinridge Colorado.


Chris Wodke

Founder & Manager Team CMT


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.

In 2014 she was the PC Open Champion at the Duathlon National Championship and at the Aqua bike National Championship in 2016. She represented Team USA at the Aquathon ITU World Championship in Chicago in 2015i, Cozumel in 2016, and Denmark in 2018. In 2018 finishing 5th in the 60 to 64 age group.


 In 2014 she represented the U.S. as a Para triathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.  She has won state championships in cycling and triathlon as a senior Olympian. In 2017 she placed 2nd in her age group at the Winter Triathlon National Championship, earning a spot on Team USA for the World Championship.


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”.


You may visit her author page at:


Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and find a cure for CMT. We currently have 250 athletes in 42 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; or


CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.


Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance, and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.


Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.


Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.


Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties, and hearing loss.


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