"The question isn't who is going to let me, it's who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand
I could not interest any of my friends in traveling with me to a winter race in Norway. Because of that the challenges started well before the race.
There were lots of logistics to figure out. Rent a car or public transit? Where to stay the first night. How would I get to my hotel with a large ski bag? Would that fit in a taxi? Should I spend any time in Oslo? Should I stay up at the race venue or in Lillehammer? What would I do about a bike?
I worked it all out. I stayed at a hotel right at the airport for the first and last nights. I rented a car right from the airport. I stayed in Lillehammer at a small hostel right at the train station.
There was no public transit to the race venue so I had to rent a car. The next problem would be navigation. My cell phone does not work overseas. I ordered a card to put in my phone on arrival that was supposed to make it work in Europe. I was counting on it to have google maps for navigation.
Well, the phone never did work, despite numerous exchanges with the card company.
I had also purchased a Garmin navigation device that promised to have maps of Europe. That never worked either. After watching several YouTube videos I determined that the device I was sold had only North American maps. So strike two. The car I rented had a navigation system, but it only spoke Norwegian to me.
I finally figured out that if I connected to the hotel WiFi I could load directions for the 50-minute drive to the host hotel. The GPS never did locate the race venue which was about a 5-minute drive from the host hotel. So when I wanted to go home, I connected to the WiFi at the host hotel and loaded my directions to go home. That went well until I made a wrong term on the way back to my hotel. The phone kept trying to connect but could not. I got lost in Lillehammer. It took several stops to try and connect to an open WiFi which I was never able to do. I finally got directions from a clerk at 711. Thankfully my hotel was at the train station. Everyone always seems to know where that is. Three right turns and I was back to my hotel. That episode made me decide to just race one of the two races. I was afraid of losing a signal up in the mountains. There really were just a few houses and farms on the route. No there to ask for directions.
All that challenge navigating was exhausting, Before I took the rental car back, I was supposed to fill it with gas. I could not get the gas cap open. I was really concerned I was going to run out of gas going back to Oslo. So it was probably good, that I skipped the second race since that saved on gas.
The biggest disappointment was that I was not allowed to compete as a physically challenged athlete.
USA Triathlon promised me that I would be able to do so. When it was time to register, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) turned down the request. I have not been classified by the ITU or USAT. I never seem to pass the screening. It was disappointing to be excluded by a system that is supposed to include me. There was a male PC athlete from Romania. I was forced to compete as an age-group athlete.
It was a bit of a stressful trip. Hopefully, I can convince a friend to come along next year to help with navigation. I am already qualified for next year's race. Not sure where it will be, but I plan on being there. I also plan to keep pursuing the opportunity to race as a PC athlete.
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 2023 she was the PC Open National Champion for Winter Triathlon in Anchorage and will represent the U.S. 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”.
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; 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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