Workout Wednesday – 270 Days to Go

The Month of Momentum has been amazing, things are really going well and I’ll be a little sorry to see it go.  I still have a few days to decide what the theme for March is going to be, I’m taking suggestions in the comments if you have any great ideas.  For now, here are this week’s workouts.




Bike Speedwork

This went well, I can really tell that I’m getting stronger – even though we added 1.5 minutes to each interval I was able to maintain the highest rpm in the goal range using the middle gear. I’m excited to see how this will affect my long bike ride.

Speed Swim

Wow did I want to skip this swim, I was so tired I could barely drag myself out the door.  But once I got there it went really well.  Faster than last week and then my fastest interval ever at four minutes flat.


Oh day off, how I love thee.


Long Run

This was time based with the goal of going farther than last week, which I did successfully. Got a late start and sadly it wasn’t foggy like last week so did the whole thing in full sun, which is not my friend. I was also pissed because I found that out that there was a 5k/10k/half at the trail I run, so this long run could have come with a shiny medal 😦


Mixed Swim

This went ok – breathing was a huge issue, I kept coughing (I even had to stop a couple of times) I’m not sure what that was about.  By the end my stroke complete fell apart and I felt like I was just flailing around (and from the time I put up, that’s exactly what was happening.) Still, got through it ok and I feel like doing the longer swims is good.  We’ve been really focused on speedwork so it’s always nice to do some steady work.


Had a long swim planned for today but my day got out of control and I missed it.  I was planning to make it up on Wednesday, but then my coach added a different swim to Wednesday so this is just a workout that won’t happen.


Bike Speedwork

Added another minute to each interval, worked on using the hardest gear in the range at the bottom of the RPM range.  It was really tough – I was pouring sweat, my legs were like jello when I got off the bike, but I was able to do it.


Short speedwalk

This was incredibly tough.  The only instructions for this are “go as hard as you can” and “go farther than last time.”  These are the same instructions that I always have for this workout, but normally I don’t do over an hour of hard intervals training on the bike trainer less than 12 hours before this walk/run (and yes I know that soon enough I’ll be going much farther after doing a 112 mile bike ride, but today I whine!)  I hauled myself out of bed after not nearly enough sleep and applied my various goo.

I had to get this run in, take a shower, and then give a guest lecture to a college class by skype, so I was so focused on hurrying out the door that I forgot about my workout the night before.  As soon as I hit start on my watch and took the first two strides though, I remembered.  My legs were tired!  It doesn’t help that the first third of the big loop that I do is entirely uphill. I reflected that it was still better than having to run intervals, and went as hard as I could.  The first loop went ok, last week I was faster at the beginning and died at the end, this week I thought if I could just keep the pace I was at, I could go farther than last week.

I rounded the corner and ran smack into the sun.  I usually do this run at night, when it is cool and dark (which has the added benefit of mimicking what is likely for my IRONMAN.) The sun (and the heat it brings) are my sworn enemies, especially on the walk/run.  It doesn’t seem to bother my swim, and the slowdown on the bike isn’t that noticeable, but the heat just kills my walk/run.  So I tried the trick of visualizing that I absorb energy from the sun to power my walk.  (Laugh if you want, it helps, and I have no shame when it comes to getting through this.)

My loop takes me out of my neighborhood onto a slightly busier street which was bustling at 8 in the morning with people going to work and kids going to school, the bus stops were packed and that always means a great chance of dealing with some bullshit fat hate, I walk with one earph0ne on and one off so I had no trouble hearing when one junior high-aged kid moo’d but I didn’t have time to slow down so I rolled my eyes at him and moved on, and I was very pleased when I heard his friend say “What’s wrong with you?  You don’t treat people like that.”

As I was moving along I started to feel a familiar pull in the side of my calf, it’s a bit hard to explain but it feels kind of like a cramp and it happens when I don’t stretch enough, when I don’t adequately warm up, and when I skip physical therapy all three of which were the case during this walk.  It’s been a problem since I was a kid and once it starts the only solution is to stop for a minute or two and take all pressure off the foot, otherwise it gets so tight that I’m unable to flex my foot which really doesn’t improve my speed.  I was planning to walk past the bus stop and then rest in the shade.  Then some man at the crowded bus stop said “GOOD FOR YOU, AT LEAST YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.”

Perfect. I can combine resting my leg with a teachable moment…

*pause watch* (some of you have asked about my choice to pause my watch when I stop.  I do this during time-based efforts because the idea is to work hard for the entire time, not to reproduce or mimic race conditions, it doesn’t help my training to do less work because I have to pee or stretch or whatever.)
*shift all weight to left foot*
*pull off headphones*
*commence wide-eyed look of confusion*
*remove sunglasses to reveal wide-eyed look of confusion*

“Do something about what?”

“Well…you know.”

“I have no idea – if you mean doing something about the environment you should know that I have a car, I’m just doing this as part of training for an event.”

(now exasperated) “No…Not…not the environment.  You know what I mean!”

“I really don’t, but I’ve got to get back to my training. Maybe it’s best just not to yell things at strangers.”

“Fuck you fat bitch”

(cheerily) “You too!”

*put sunglasses back on*
*put headphone back on*
*start watch*
*walk away*

Fueled by my ragefire things went better for the next 10 minutes but then I just ran out of steam and my pace started dropping, 5 seconds slower per mile, then 10 even though I was working as hard as I could.  Damn it.

I became laser focused on my form – arms up and pumping but not too high, using all the right muscles, slight body tilt forward, core engaged. Now 5 seconds faster per mile but still a little slower than I had been going, but I was pushing as hard as I could with five minutes left to go.  At that moment my ipod shuffled to perhaps the cheesiest song on my list (which is saying something) which was perfect:

I finished .2 miles short of last week completely exhausted and bitterly disappointed.  My first thought was that I could have done the extra .2 miles if I had pushed harder, but the truth was that I don’t think I could have pushed harder. I’m proud of this workout.

Speed Swim

Finished my  guest lecture (shout out to Syracuse University!) and headed to the pool. Boom! Beat my best ever time (4 minutes flat) by 11 seconds on the first interval.  At that point I decided to see if I could do all of the intervals under 4 minutes. Success – I did every interval below my best ever time.  I have no explanation for this as I was dog tired from the speedwork on the trainer last night and the run this morning but I did the first one in 3:49 (I had to stop and think to see if missed a length or something.) and then I decided to see if I could do them all in under 4 minutes.  I only had two seconds to spare on the last set but I did it.  I felt a little better about not being able to go farther than last week on the run this morning.

I don’t want to jinx it or anything (and I have a feeling that my long bike ride tomorrow morning is going to be really rough,) but I’ve got the Big Mo!

Body Love Obstacle Course (BLOC) – Registration is Now Open!

I am so excited about this! I have been working hard with Jeanette DePatie and 7 other experts on the BLOC  – a 10 week, proven, step-by-step program that will give you the coaching from nine amazing experts, the tools, and the community you need to create a rock solid foundation of self-esteem and body love, and teach you the strategies and skills you’ll need to leverage that to create the life you’ve always wanted no matter what obstacles the world puts in your way.

Our relationships with our bodies don’t happen in a vacuum, so just learning to see our beauty or love our bodies isn’t enough.  On our journey to body love and amazing lives, the world throws obstacles in our way – obstacles that aren’t our fault, but become our problem. We’ll teach you practical, realistic, proven strategies to go above, around, and through the obstacles that the world puts in front of you, to get to the life you’ve always wanted.

Get all the details register (and get lots of free information from our four preview videos) at  Early bird pricing ends at midnight on February 25th.

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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4 Responses to Workout Wednesday – 270 Days to Go

  1. Heidi says:

    People. But you’re showing them!


  2. Maintaining momentum in March


  3. Rebecca says:

    Month of Triumphs – small, big, whatever needs celebrating!


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