Monday, July 3, 2023

Pleasant Prairie Duathlon -It's Always Something


"You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results." -Gandhi

I used to watch the TV show Saturday Night Live many years ago when it was still funny. One of the stars Gilda Radner often played a character called Rosanne Roseannadanna.  One of the things she would say was "It's always something."  

I felt like my race at the Pleasant Prairie Duathlon on June 25th matched that quote. You never know what is going to happen on race day and it always seems like something unexpected happens.

I picked this race because I needed a duathlon to try and qualify for the USA Triathlon Multi-Sport Athlete. To qualify I need two races in the following disciplines: Off-road, duathlon, aqua bike, and aquathlon.

I did a duathlon in Irving in April and needed one more. I will be doing an aqua bike in Michigan this month, and need another aquathlon.  I have a couple off-road races, but they are winter races, so I am not sure if they count.

It felt a little strange to be racing the duathlon since this race had a para-triathlon developmental category.  I remember when I was on that track, but I have different goals right now. I am slowing down as I age. I am not sure I would even be competitive with the young kids competing now.

I have found that I can still be successful if I am strategic about the races I pick.

The duathlon would be a 2.5-mile run, a 12-mile bike, and a 5 K run. All pretty easy distances.

I have been racing for 12 years now so I think I could do a race like this in my sleep. It is so routine.

The biggest challenge for me with this race is the early start time. The triathlon's first wave was scheduled for 6:15, my race at 7:15. Transition opened at 4:45. Despite a night of little sleep I was the first one in line when transition opened. I got set up, took a few pictures, and posted them to Facebook.

Run 1
I chatted with other athletes as we waited for our start. There was an hour of waves for the triathlon. There was an Olympic and Sprint waves. The duathlon start was along the shore of the lake. We had a very close view of the swim. I could see several swimmers struggling.  No one seemed to be paying attention. One of the fire fighters on duty said they would be flying drones over the swim. That was good to hear since an athlete died during the swim last year.  The duathlon start was at the race finish. There were three staff members there. They did not notice when a swimmer climbed out of the lake and climbed over the rocks at the shore. I told the staff to report the race number of the athlete. Otherwise, the race officials would think the swimmer had drowned. The start of the sprint race would have been delayed until they figured out what happened.  At 7:15 our race was off. I felt strong in the first race. Since I was wearing my Team USA kit, I would my matching red, white, and blue, Newton shoes. I felt kind of fast. I wore the uniform because all of the races I was going to do wearing the uniform were canceled due to COVID. The uniforms are different now, so this was a chance to wear them.  My goal for the race was to take it easy since I was only a few weeks out from my gravel race. I took it easy and finished in a time of 25:04.

Here is where the hitch occurred. When I got to T1 to change over to the bike, I found my bike on the ground. Someone had knocked it off the rack. There is no excuse for that. Damage to the bike derailleur could have ruined my race. I put the bike on the race to access my shoes and helmet and the entire rack collapsed. I was not hurt, but I had to dig around to find my stuff. As I biked out, I told one of the volunteers what had happened. T1 was 28:34

I lost my bike computer in Texas and have not replaced it yet.  When I do not have a computer my bike time is always slower. I only averaged 14.1 mph.  That is terrible, but I have not done much road biking. I have been riding my fat tire bike to keep in shape for this next season of Winter Triathlon. Those races have become my most important races.  I also was not pushing it. Just easy cruising and enjoying the race. Bike time of 31:20

When I got into transition, now there was a wet suit on top of my stuff. Several athletes' stuff was mixed in with mine. I had to dig around to find my running shoes and gel. I switched to my Hoka shoes. It took forever to find my stuff. T2 was 1:33. This is a race with lots of beginners and they just do not know race etiquette and how things are done. Since I was taking the easy approach to the race this did not bother me. T2

Run 2
I had forgotten to take off my bike gloves. It was a hot and humid day so I took them off and attached them to my race belt. I lost one somewhere during the race or the aftermath.  My Hoka shoes felt like running in marshmallows.  Soft, but really slow. I will keep that in mind for other races.  It was hot and humid. I was pouring water over myself at the ad stations which seemed to shock some of the volunteers.  I was much slower the second run which tells me I need to work harder in training. My second run time was 37:51 which is my slowest ever. 

My final time of 1:35:36 . Still, since I was the only athlete in my age group. I will take the first place finish. What was nice is none of the stuff that happened in the transition stressed me at all. I just dealt with it and kept racing. A good life lesson. You never know what life is going to throw at you. You just have to keep going.



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. She was the national champion in her age group in 2023 for gravel duathlon.


 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; 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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