Coming Out of My Slump

Bad DaysSo I took a bit of a break from blogging.  Part of that was because I was working on closing out 2015, and part of that is because, honestly, I haven’t been in the best place. (Fair warning, the rest of this blog is going to be mostly me whining.  If that’s not your cup of tea I totally understand, tomorrow we’ll be doing Inspiration Thursday so check back then!)

The thought of another year of this (“this” being doing long workouts of stuff that I’m not good at and don’t enjoy because I set a goal that I want to achieve) that ends with an IRONMAN, especially after failing at the 70.3, is…daunting and difficult physically and psychologically.  I can handle all of that, but it made it difficult to handle it when the trifecta of crap happened:

Crap 1: I wrecked my bike

A combination of the holidays and an issue getting the part meant that my bike was in the shop for a month. And since my Frankenbike was created to accommodate my body I can’t just borrow someone else’s bike.  So I could (and did) use a spinning bike, but it’s not the same and the longer I waited for my bike the more freaked out I got about missing training.  But I could still run and swim.

Crap 2: I injured my foot

I was doing speedwork, and at the end of a sprint I felt a pain shoot through my foot.  I tried to walk it off, but no luck.  I limped home and starting stretching and icing.  At first I thought it was tendon or ligament, but it ached so much over the next two days that I was afraid it was a stress fracture.  Luckily it turns out that it was just a ligament injury. I took a week off during which I increased my endurance for having my foot in a bowl of ice and did endless rehab exercises. That left me with swimming.

Crap 3:  Chlorine sensitivity

I was on lap 13 of 60 when I first broke out into full body hives. My sensitive skin has become a constant joke with my IM support team. It’s hive-a-palooza over here: sunscreens, anti-chaffe lotions, bath soaks, the new soap at my gym, whatever.  Chlorine has always made me itchy after swimming but this was not that, this was big welts all over my body.  I finished the swim, showered and took some medicine and they went away. The next swim the hives came just a few laps in, and over a mile of laps later, I realized in the gym mirror that I was bleeding where the plastic hook on the back of my suit was rubbing against the hives.

None of these things are massive tragedies, they are minor setbacks and entirely manageable. But having these three things layered together with the pressure of a ticking clock and it put me in a downhill slide.  I’ve managed to complete my workouts (and the rehab) but I let everything else, including blogging, training notes etc., slide.

Things are turning around. I got my bike back.  I ran on Monday and my foot was fine.  I got two new swimsuits (with no plastic hooks!) and started researching – it turns out that by applying tons of lotion before the swim, and rinsing off with vitamin c powder dissolved in water after, I can control the hives.  Plus it actually makes me look forward to swimming in the ocean again – I might get attacked by a bird, but at least I won’t be itchy when it happens.

So I’m still plugging along, still on track for my goal, my motto is still “cross finish line, get medal.”  And I’m working to pull up out of this slump, and I’ll get that done to.  I was promised that this journey would contain “ups and downs” and so this is just the fulfillment of that promise.

In the meantime, if you have something that helps pull you out of a slump – a quote, a video, a movie, a song whatever –  I would love it if you would share it in the comments.  And I’ll see you tomorrow for Inspiration Thursday!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff!

IRONMAN Sale:  I’m having an ongoing sale on my books,  DVDs and downloads to help pay for my IM – you get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! To check it out, you can go to No money?  No problem!  If you feel like it, you can leave a comment or send me an e-mail ( saying something encouraging, that’s incredibly helpful as well!

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.

Book Me!  I’m a professional speaker and I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

About danceswithfat

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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20 Responses to Coming Out of My Slump

  1. Karen Williams says:

    I am really glad that you are pursuing your goal. I know you can do it. The swim thing is annoying. I have a suggestion (but a pricey one). I bought something called a Vasa Ergometer when I lived in the middle of nowhere and had no access to a swimming pool to train. It is a dryland trainer for swimming. It is harder than swimming in a pull by about 25% . I love following your story and you are not whining.


  2. You’ve probably seen this, but how can it not help? Way to hang in there, Ragen!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Abby says:

    Wow…you’re absolutely amazing and totally not whining!!! The fact that all of those issues made you double down and keep working instead of quitting is completely and totally fantastic. I’ve been meaning to leave a comment for a while now but have never gotten around to it – but it looks like you could use some compliments for this week so here are some, liberally sprinkled with exclamation points because exclamation points!!! make everything!!!! better:

    -Your perseverance is stellar!
    -You’re an inspiration to a lot of people, myself included, on both Dances with Fat and this blog!!
    -Training for an Ironman, blogging, speaking at events, doing fat activism and spending time with family, friends, and dog? You must have mad time management skills and a metric crap-ton of motivation!!
    -I love seeing your selfies!!!!!
    -I won’t be in Arizona to cheer you on in person, but know that I (and a LOT of other people) will be cheering you on and sending as many long-distance good vibes as we can!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As for inspiration, I’m not good at being super-inspirational, but I’ll try. For quotes, I’ve always been partial to Samuel Beckett’s “Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” (I usually just shorten it to – FAIL BETTER)

    As far as songs I find inspirational, I really enjoy Superchick’s songs. They are a Christian band, but the ones I enjoy don’t make any mention of religion, just of girl power!! which I can always get behind. My favorites are “Anthem,” “Rock What You Got,” and “One More.”

    I hope this helps; rock on!


  4. Libbie says:

    My go-to when I need to be brave or get my booty going.


  5. Val Medina says:

    “Everyone thinks that courage is about facing death without flinching. But almost anyone can do that. Almost anyone can hold their breath and not scream for as long as it takes to die.

    True courage is about facing life without flinching. I don’t mean the times when the right path is hard, but glorious at the end. I’m talking about enduring the boredom, the messiness, and the inconvenience of doing what is right.
    ― Robin Hobb, The Mad Ship

    This may not apply to your situation exactly, but this quote helps me everytime I need to hold it together and move on, so maybe it can help you a little too =)


  6. Stacy says:

    You’re such an inspiration, Ragen! I know when it comes to things like that, one set back after another, trudging through the pain, that it’s easy to want to give up. I’m so so proud of you for pushing though! You are awesome!


  7. I like to watch animal videos, they are great for pick-me-ups. This one is about an elephant who is friends with a dog. There is another one about an elephant’s birthday cake, on a post called Shirley. Feel better soon, you are wonderful.


  8. I’ve been meaning to join a gym because I don’t feel like going out in the cold lately (wimp). I jumped/fell off a horse five weeks ago and broke my tailbone, so haven’t been doing any exercise whatsoever because everything except standing up straight hurt. Thanks for the blog post, I will now stop acting like a whiny baby and get my ass in gear. 🙂


  9. foodinspiredlife says:

    Your continued perseverance is inspiring! You are awesome!


  10. Moniqa Aylin says:

    Keep it up! My motivational quotes: “A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but its persistence.” “To be the runner you want to be, you first have to be the runner you are right now.” “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”


  11. Louise says:

    This Matthew Wilder song from the 80a, Break My Stride, works for me when something gets in my way. Hope it works for you!

    Ain’t nothin’ gonna to break my stride
    Nobody’s gonna slow me down, oh-no
    I got to keep on movin’
    Ain’t nothin’ gonna break my stride
    I’m running and I won’t touch ground
    Oh-no, I got to keep on movin’


  12. gsantollo says:

    Nice work, a lot of times in my ironman training I think of myself as a metronome tick toc tick toc, there will be good days there will be bad days there will be good weeks there will be bad weeks. It’s and endurance sport it’s about enduring it all you got this.


  13. gsantollo says:

    Also I swim in a pool with saline I love it but now I am super sensitive to chlorine pools, maybe you can find a gym with a saline pool and make the switch.


  14. Have you looked up saline pools in your area? They use much less chlorine and are generally easier on the skin than traditional pools. Added bonus: Extra buoyancy (always reminds me of swimming with a wetsuit).

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jody says:

    You kick ass! Have you ever heard if Derma Swim? It’s a lotion you out on before your swim to help with chlorine sensitivity. Worked wonders for me. Good luck – you continue to be an inspiration!!


  16. lypscratch says:

    Hello Amazin Ragen!!

    When I’m in a slump, I remind myself of past accomplishments and progress. Then, at least my brain can’t tell me I’ve never done anything, and this is all pointless and won’t work anyway, which I can sometimes counter and succeed and sometimes not. Also, I text people I’m absolutely sure will give me love and encouragement no matter what, and ask them to give me love and encouragement.

    Then, I remember a quote someone gave me a sign of: “When you want to quit, think about why you started.”

    And finally, I remember Amazin Ragen and other fat women who inspire me, reminding me that it’s OK to be in a slump and not try to do anything to get out of it.

    If I were you (and you’re like me), I would expect more of myself than I do of others. After all, I’m training for an Ironman! I’m a fat activist! I’m inspiring others! I can’t let them down! At least, part of my secret brain would be saying those things, and I would be reluctant to admit it.

    Great idea and nice going asking us for tips! Whole greater than the sum of its parts and all that.

    Yr buddie


  17. cbecker53 says:

    Good heavens. Talk about 3 strikes!–but you’re not out! You go, girl!


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