Tuesday, June 13, 2023

2023 Multi-Sport National Championship Irving, Texas- Lessons Learned


" The one thing that seems to separate winners from losers more than anything is winners take action." -Jack Canfield

I raced at the Multi-sport National Championship in Irving, Texas April 19th -23.  My writing is a bit out of order since I already posted a story about the national gravel championship race that I did the first weekend in June.

This race was pretty routine.  My focus had been on training for Winter Worlds in Norway. I was only 3 weeks out from that race. Plus with such an early season race, I had done little road cycling.

A race in Irving meant a chance to visit my Texas family. The races are a bit of an afterthought which makes for a generally stress-free experience.

The last year I have had a pretty unstructured training program in regards to triathlon. I have been keeping workouts to under an hour. I had no long races scheduled and would take my training day by day. I would do what I felt like doing.  So how did that work out?  

Open Water Swim-750 Meters
This was the first event. Texas can get windy in the afternoon. This day was no different. As I waited for the race to start I could see what looked like current. Plus the water temperature was only 68F.
I thought about not doing the race. It really does not mean much, but it is a good primer for the rest of the week.

It seems like every year, more physically challenged athletes are showing up for this race. There were three women this year. The course was windy, but nothing too terrible. I was worried for no reason.

I finished 2nd out of 3 with a time of 23:21.  When I took off my wet suit, the 1st place athlete shared she had CMT. That was a nice bonding moment. She shared with me her four-year journey to get through classification. She is in a wheelchair and it took her many attempts to be classified.  Her goal now is the Paralympics. She is very talented and I am sure she will do great things.

Super Sprint Triathlon

Again there were three female athletes in this race. Same athletes same result. I finished 2nd with a time of 34:54. I finished just ahead of athlete Whitney Bennefield in this race and the open water swim.
My bike time is slower than it has ever been. I really need to do longer sessions and work a bit harder.

Super Sprint Duathlon

This time it was just Whitney and me in this race. I had her on the first run and relaxed. I was surprised when she was at the finish line when I finished. She had a spot right by the bike and run out. She beat me right there. My transition spot was much farther away on the opposite end. She was racked with the other PC athletes. I was told there was no PC area. This gave her the advantage. Next year, I will fix that. My run is also slower than I would like. I have been struggling with my weight and the extra pounds have really slowed me down.  I really need to get that fixed before next year.

Aquathlon (1000 meter Swim, 5 K run)

I was the only PC female athlete in this race. Caleb the other athlete in the race, races with his mom as a guide.  It was not planned, but we swam together the whole race. It was nice to have some company for once. All I had to do was finish and I was a national championship. It was really an easy race for me.

The lack of competition shows me I need to go longer. I had signed up for the aqua bike but felt I did not have the training for a 24-mile bike and 1600-meter swim.

My medal haul was three 2nd places and one national championship. Not too bad for the little training I was able to do.

Once I got back to Milwaukee I started doing longer workouts to be ready for longer distance duathlon and aqua bike races next year. This also should make me more competitive in the shorter races. It was fun having some competition. It made me work header during the race and is going to make me train harder and longer the rest of the year. Lesson learned!

The races were fun. I got a chance to visit with family and make some new triathlon friends. I cannot wait for next year. Next year's race will be in Omaha in early June!


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.

She has won national championships as a physically challenged athlete in Aqualon, Duathlon, Aqua bike, and Winter Triathlon.


 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”.



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 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.


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