New Sources of Motivation

Haters Walk on WaterI’m going to talk about my haters today. I don’t (and won’t) do it very often, but I  know that some people can find it triggering so I wanted to let you know.

Let me start by saying thank you to everyone who has sent me messages of encouragement since I announced that I’m training for an IRONMAN, I really and truly appreciate it, and the messages all help motivate me as I train.  Thank you!

Now, quick background for those of you who aren’t familiar with my other blog – I am reddit famous. There are multiple threads devoted to me literally every day, people have even created a subreddit entirely about me.  They are devoted to hating me and everything I do, including but not limited to my choice to be a fathlete, my Size Diversity activism my Health at Every Size practice and anything and everything that I’m involved in.

From simple name calling to death threats I get e-mails, Youtube, Twitter, and blog comments from them daily (though nobody else sees them because I figured out a long time ago that this is my space and I’m under no obligation to hand it over to anyone who can successfully submit a comment.)

This has been going on for years, including a campaign during which, apropos of nothing, I received 5,000 e-mails telling me to kill myself. (I even created a specific page where people can read some of my more interesting hatemail.) Still,I have never seen them whip themselves up into such a frenzy so quickly as they have over my announcement that I’m training for an IRONMAN. And I gotta tell you, it’s hilarious.

People who spell it “Iron Man” claim to be experts (despite the fact that, as my FB friend Jessica pointed out, there is a big difference between doing an IRONMAN and doing an Iron Man). So they don’t know how to spell it.  They also don’t know what the time limit is – I’ve received e-mails, comments, and FB posts telling me that it’s everything from 8  to 16 hours (it’s actually 17 hours, and an 8 hour time would have won the men’s division in the World Championships last year.) The only things that they do seem to know a lot about is name calling, indulging in stereotypes, and covering all their bases:

I don’t intend to make it to the starting line. I’ll never make it to the starting line. The IRONMAN officials will never let me start. I’ll never make the swim cut-off, I’ll never make the bike cut-off, I’ll never be able to complete the run. They don’t make equipment for me because I’m 325, 350, 375, 425, 450 pounds.  I’m delusional, I’m a narcissist, I’m a sociopath, I’m a con artist. They hope I’ll fail, they know I’ll fail, it’s impossible for me not to fail. They think I’ll die doing it, they hope I’ll die doing it, two people so far have promised to register for the 2016 Arizona IRONMAN just to drown me during the swim and let people believe that I just couldn’t make it. Blah blah blahditty blah blah.

I know lots of people who’ve announced that they were going to attempt marathons, and a couple who have announced that they are training for an IRONMAN, and literally none of them had a single person tell them they hope they die doing it.  I’ve had 11 people wish me dead since 9am this morning.

There’s a new study that may help explain why they do this, but I didn’t need a study to tell me that people who behave like this have some issues. They’ve definitely been this hateful toward me before, but I’ve never seen them be so very desperate, and I have to admit I’m enjoying it a little.

And so I’ve made a decision. In the past I’ve very specifically not used my haters as motivation.  But an IRONMAN is a massive goal and sometimes massive goals call for new approaches. So in the interest of using my haters wisely I’ve decided that, just for this, I’m might let them be motivation for me.  Regardless, it will be fun to see what they do when I finish.

If you’re looking for a little motivation but name calling and death threats don’t do it for you, here is an oldie but goodie:

And then of course there’s this fabulous piece:

More Cool Stuff:

If you have questions about my IRONMAN journey  the FAQ might help!

If you’re looking for a place to talk about fitness from a weight neutral perspective, check out the Fit Fatties Forum. and the Fit Fatties Facebook page.

If you’re looking for motivation you can check out my IM Motivation Pinterest.

If you just can’t get enough of my blogging, you can check out my main blog at

About danceswithfat

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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14 Responses to New Sources of Motivation

  1. lsstrout says:

    Loved those videos! Good luck with your training.


  2. Janine says:

    Go Ragen! As ever, inspirational, funny and brilliant .


  3. Katherine K says:

    I cannot for the life of me fathom why people would wish you were dead. It goes so far beyond my level of basic humanity that I struggle with the malice involved in not only feeling that way, but taking the time to email it, post it on a blog, reddit it, etc. etc. People like that are just total shit, with total shit lives that are so meaningless that they have to attempt to make others feel like shit. I can’t come up with any other explanation! As for your Ironwoman training, I have no doubt you will give it all ya got. I’m wishing you much success and joy from the experience. Namaste.


  4. You are an inspiration. You will be amazing. I second Katherine’s comments. These people (loose term) are scum. Keep fighting the good fight. There are more people standing with you in your corner, than against you. Blessings.


  5. agentdanni says:

    I look forward to reading about how you rocked the IRONMAN! Go you!


  6. preacherjean says:

    You SO rock! While you’re out there using your haters as motivation and enjoying their despair, you might want to consider (actually, I’m sure you already have) reporting the two who promise to drown you to the police. Last I heard, death threats are illegal in most states, and maybe even a felony (coersion, terroristic threats, etc). It might be amusing to see how much Internet access they have from jail. I can’t wait to see you at the finish line!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Simon J says:

      I second this Ragen, please let the police in Arizona know. This is a serious threat to your safety and life. We are so proud of you for taking this endeavor on but, dear God, none of us want to see you hurt!


  7. Wow, that’s incredible! Not that you are doing an Ironman (because if you want to do it, go you! That’s great) but that others are so obsessed about it! Just remember not many people become great without great resistance. Celebrate it! You are a powerful woman, I think this response from others is just evidence of that.


  8. parentheticalstatement says:

    Good for you for turning those a-holes into inspiration. I’ve done two Ironmans and I can’t imagine layering all of that jackassery on top of what is already a difficult endeavor. Between the exhaustion from training and the fear that I wasn’t going to be able to do this crazy thing, I was a mess! I’ve seen ALL shapes, sizes, ages and stages out on that race course. (One of my favorite sights was a shredded hardcore dude staggering along like a zombie on the run course while a chubby forty-something jogged right by him with a big smile on her face, having a great day.) Ironman is for anyone that can get themselves to the start line and then across that finish line in 16:59.

    If you’d like a supportive resource to ask triathlon-related questions, I can highly recommend this forum:; (Main forum, less supportive, but lots of good info.)

    Like Agentdanni, I look forward to reading your race report. Go get ’em, tiger!


  9. Kelly Varner says:

    Ragen, I want to be on your support team for this. I can’t help with the run, but I can help with the bike a bit, and I can seriously assist with the swim. Whatever you need, I got your back. You rock!


  10. lsstrout says:

    I now have “Thank you Hater” stuck in my brain.


  11. Maggie says:

    Ragen you are so awesome! I loved the video 🙂 I did my first triathlon last year (a sprint) and did an Olympic distance race this year. My goal is to do two half Iron distances next summer and then IRONMAN 2016! Can’t wait to follow along your journey. One thing that was super helpful for me was finding an awesome group to train with. In my town I’m lucky enough to have a women’s tri team that encompasses a broad ranges of ages, athletic backgrounds, and body size/shape. It has been incredible to have the support of these women to make workouts more fun and get guidances from our coaches on technique, training plans, logistics, etc. You are going to rock this. I was thinking of doing IRONMAN AZ so maybe I will see you there 🙂


  12. lsstrout says:

    One other motivation I’d like to throw at you, if I may. One of my good friends fell in love with triathlons, and she is also fat. She loved the support and the challenge.

    Sadly, she has crappy knees. She was forced to give up triathlons because of it.

    So, if you are willing, think about all the folks who can’t do these, even though they want to, and maybe put on a little burst of speed on their behalf.


  13. Jody says:

    You are amazing. I’m excited to follow you on your journey. I’m at a total loss for words about the haters. I didn’t even know that people could be that cruel. I suppose the anonymity of the internet makes people stupid and brave. You’ll kill it despite them – I’m cheering for you!


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