Monday, October 17, 2022

Panther Prowl 5 K Run-When Life Gets in the Way


  "In battle, we do not rise to our expectations, we fall to the level of our training."- Archilochus Greek Poet

On October 8th, I raced here in Milwaukee at the UWM Alumni association 5K Panther Prowl run.  

UWM is where I went for my undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering. When training for marathons I often train on campus and in the surrounding neighborhood.  It is a beautiful campus and the surrounding area is filled with wonderful homes.  I love running in the area. The race is a fundraiser for student scholarships. A course I liked and a good cause made me choose the race. Plus they were giving away a neck gaiter for all runners. Those come in very handy during ski season.

I have only done one 5K stand-alone race since COVID.  I had gotten out of the habit. I like running races because they help improve my running times for triathlons. The races I pick are usually local so it does not require a big time commitment.

I could tell fall had arrived when I checked the outside temperature. It was 36F with an expected race temperature of around 40F.  When a season changes it is always a challenge for me to get layering right for a race. I hate being cold so I usually err on the side of being overdressed.  I had to dress warm enough to wait around outside for the race to start, yet not be too hot during the race.

I did a 10-minute warm-up run and my warm-up dynamic stretches.  I follow the same race day routine every time.  I took an energy gel 15 minutes before the start.

As I stood at the starting line, I chatted with the woman next to me about the Senior Olympics. I love the social aspects of running.  I had removed my top layer jacket. That turned out to be a great decision.

My race plan was to treat the race as a tempo workout. For me, that means pushing my effort at about 70% the whole race. That means exerting myself but not to exhaustion.

I was not sure how well the race would go. I had spent the previous two weeks on a basement waterproofing project. The surface prep included lots of hand sanding. I also had to wash the area multiple times. The floors I did on my hands and knees.  It was just hard physical work and I was pretty sore after days of really hard physical effort.

When the gun went off I put my race plan into place. When I tried to kick into gear, I just had little energy. I love the feeling on race day when I dig deep and have lots of energy. This race was not one of those days.  I pushed it as much as I could and settled in to enjoy the race.  There were lots of parents running with kids. It was so great to see them sharing that experience. Some of the kids were struggling, and some were complaining. I would give a word of encouragement if I passed or when they passed me.

My goal for the race was 34:00 since I was a bit race rusty. I ended up finishing in 33:03. Last year that would have been good enough for 3rd in my age group.  I finished 5th. The woman in 3rd ran the race in 28:00.  I have some work to do to catch that.

I had a great time and exceeded my modest goal. I am sure I will be out racing soon. I've signed up for the Winter Triathlon National Championship in January in Anchorage. I need to be ready for the run portion.  Having a goal keeps me running!  Looking forward to more racing very soon!


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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