Muhammad Ali for Inspiration Friday

Since I’m doing Workout Wednesday now, I’m going to officially turn Inspiration Thursday into Inspiration Friday.  I feel like I’m finally getting a rhythm in my training, and I’m trying to get into a rhythm with my blogging about it!

I was giving an interview earlier this week and the interviewer asked me “Which do you like best – the swim, the bike, or the run.”  I hesitated, because I know that the answer to this question can make people uncomfortable, and sometimes even (inexplicably to me) angry.  Finally after an awkward pause I responded “Well…I like it when I’m done with the workouts…”

Running isn’t fun, swimming isn’t terrible and cycling is fun in theory but the distances I ride require that I cover my ladybits in goo, wear special pants, and shove food in my mouth while trying not to drop my speed or cadence (or inhale bits of endurance chews) like some sort of post-apocalyptic chase scene, which puts it squarely in the “Do Not Like” category.

I’m ok with that.  I want to cross that finish line in under 17 hours and hear them call out my name, and I want them to put that medal around my neck and when that happens this will all be worth it, so I’m doing the work. Part of the journey for me is about learning the lessons that exist in doing something that I really struggle at, and so struggling is a major component – this is what I signed up for.

Also, I really do like finishing the workouts, achieving a time goal, going farther, going faster, going farther faster. When you’re training to cover 140.6 miles in 17 hours there are lots of opportunities for PRs (Personal Records) and small daily victories and I like that aspect of it.

I was looking for stuff for my IRONMAN Pinterest board and I came across this quote from Mohammed Ali. While obviously I’m not comparing myself to him, this definitely spoke to me:

Hating Every Minute

So there it is.  Suffer now, be an IRONMAN forever. It’s my body, it’s my time, and I get to make that decision.  I’m definitely not recommending it to everyone, or anyone, else! I’m not about saying that everyone should do an IRONMAN, or that everyone should be involved in movement/fitness/athletics.  I’m saying that every body should be welcome in the fitness world, and that people should be able to set their own goals for their own reasons.

My goal is as it ever was – cross finish line, get medal. Immediately thereafter stop swimming, biking, and running over any significant distance and find a sport that has comfortable, easy to find clothes in my size, and air-conditioning. But for now, like it or not, I’m all about the swim, the bike, and the run.

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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5 Responses to Muhammad Ali for Inspiration Friday

  1. ebay313 says:

    I’m not training for any particular end goal but I recently started Krav Maga and I can related to that “I hated every minute of training”. Though saying I hated it might be a bit strong, but the last class I did I felt pretty miserable the whole class time, but then after class even despite my still not well controlled asthma I felt so great about doing it, and I felt great the next day with how sore I was from it (I’m a bit weird, I love feeling sore after workouts.) So it is interesting and something I’ve been thinking about is hating training during but loving it after.


  2. rabbiadar says:

    So true! I wish I’d known that quote my first year of rabbinical school. We spent all day 5 days a week in language school in Jerusalem. I am not an auditory learner, and Ulpan (Hebrew language school) is set up for auditory learners. I’m hard of hearing. I was the class dunce for the first time in my life. But I had not sold all my possessions at age 48 and moved to the other side of the world to quit, so I hung in there. I cried every single day. But I knew that if I could just hang in there for a year I could get to the studies I looked forward to, and that if I did those well, in 5 years I would be a rabbi. That was in 2002. No regrets. Good luck with your training, and may it pay off in ways not yet apparent to you!


  3. Stacy says:

    I love how open and honest you are with ever aspect of your journey. I see a trend when it comes to athletics for people to try and be overly positive about their training, as if admitting that one dislikes something or struggles with something that it means they are weak. It’s quite silly, particularly since training in generally usually implies a struggle – if you’re not struggling then you’re probably not training at the level you need to in order to improve. At least that’s my view on it.


  4. LBTEPA says:

    I have a sign over my desk – “training is like fighting a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired”. When my daughter used to ask whether I enjoyed my long training runs I always answered ‘it was satisfying on many levels’. Things don’t have to be enjoyable to be worthwhile!


  5. lsstrout says:

    Sometimes the point is the journey, and sometimes the point is the end of the journey. So glad to see that quote, it makes a lot of sense.


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