Selfie Sunday with Bonus Workouts – 140 Days to Go

It’s been pretty rough around here, and when things get hard and I get stressed, this blog is one of the first things to go, so I’ll catch you up today.

First of all, it’s been like “another day, another setback” around here.  Garmin breaking, wetsuit ripping, bike issues that have had me at the shop four times in two weeks, an irrational fear of sharks messing with my swims, blisterpocalypse 2016, and a map mistake in a 5k that my trolls are desperately, feverishly trying to turn into some huge scandal.

Some of these issues have caused some missed or shortened workouts, and I had to change an entire week of training for the blister debacle.  I’m still not as fast as I need to be with my walk/run and I’ve been plateaued at my current speed for a while, and my IRONMAN is less than five months away, which seems basically like tomorrow. I’ve been oscillating between freaking out and being really down.

In order to try to deal with my fear of not finishing I made the decision that if I don’t finish this year, I’ll try at least one more time.  Don’t get me wrong, I really want to finish this year, I really don’t want to do another year of this, but I also don’t want to give up  this dream after one try and I need to find a way to manage my anxiety around not finishing. I immediately felt better after making this decision and now I can set that aside and focus all my attention on getting across the finish line this year and being done with this.

So for the sake of catching up, here are the last two weeks of workouts (including my “5k scandal” on 6/45-6/26) and Selfies


Long Swim

It was so crowded out there.  I usually swim on weekday afternoons, plus it’s getting to be summer and tourist season. Dodging kids, paddleboarders and kayakers in the swim area made me a bit little slower than normal but it didn’t go too badly.  I’m having trouble shaking this whole shark fear thing.  I know it’s irrational but that doesn’t help the anxiety in the water.


Long Bike

Got a few miles into it and my seat became really unstable.  Took it in to the shop the next day and they tightened it up.  They also think the bottom bracket needs to be fixed sooner than they had anticipated, parts have been ordered.


Short open water swim

Coaches instructions “hard, out of breath, get comfortable with being uncomfortable”

Yay, more discomfort, just what I was hoping for.  This went pretty well, I’ve been working drills hard and I think it’s paying off – I think that I’m getting more propulsion with each stroke, so yay. The beach is now officially full of people, so now there’s a lot more dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodget.

Strength Workout

Done!  Still my favorite.

Short run

This went horribly, I had time goals for each mile and I blew them all. A facebook message to my coach pretty clears shows my state of mind: “How is it possible that I’m actually getting slower. This is like some kind of nightmare I was faster walking up the inclines than I was running down them.  What the actual fuck is going on?”


Mid-distance Bike

Got a half mile in and my seat slid to a much more “nose up” position and wouldn’t go back.  The instability I had been feeling was that the grooves that hold the seat in place at the desired angle had worn and so the seat was actually rocking.  One of them finally gave way.  I took the bike home in defeat. Back to the shop.  Got a new seatpost (actually a loaner while they order one for me.)


Bike/run Brick

Holy fuckballs I actually finished a bike ride.  The new seatpost was amazing and the bike finally feels stable again.  This ride was hard.  I felt like I hadn’t ridden in a year.  I have my new watch, which is set for the intervals and target speeds.  Unfortunately the beeping for this one is different than the beeping of the other one- the other one would beep constantly if I was under or over my target speed, this one stopped beeping, but that didn’t necessarily mean I was going fast enough and I so missed some of my targets.

Even though it was 1am,  there was a wedding, and a pot-fueled, very cool sounding drum circle on the trail (oh Southern California…) hence some weird route choices were made.

The run off the bike actually went pretty well, I slightly miscalculated the time and so I got to listen to a (different, but also awesome) drum circle as I did parking lot laps.

Strength Workout



Day Off


Long Run

I was supposed to do this early because I had a 5k on Sunday morning (which will be filed under “it seemed like a good idea at the time.”) We had decided that I would do this entire run without looking at my watch, I had also downloaded some motivational speeches to listen to (y’all know I love me some cheesy inspirational speeches.)  Mentally it went pretty well. I was definitely bored throughout but I wasn’t constantly looking at my watch and getting disappointed and frustrated which was nice.  Speedwise it was not as fast as I wanted to be, but it was ok.  Physically it was a bit problematic.  About three miles in I started to get hot spots (spots that feel hot and are precursors to blister) on the balls of both my feet. I have had  problems with blisters in the past, but it hasn’t happened for quite some time so I didn’t have my mini blister hospital in my race belt, just some aquaphor.  So I slathered that on and kept re-applying but by the end it was pretty bad. I also got a very late start so I ended up finishing this at 4:30am and I had to be back to basically the same spot at 7:30 am to meet the group that I had organized for the 5k. So I drove home, took a quick shower, checked my feet which seemed to be ok, made the decision not use anti-chaffe stuff instead of moleskin (I’m allergic to the adhesive in moleskin so it’s an ok emergency fix but it causes problems for a couple of days after) or blister plasters (I love the compeed blister plasters but if I workout in them the first day that I put them on they tend to roll and make the blisters worse.) I got dressed and headed back out, feeling pretty zombi-esque.


Almost a 5k

I was running a bit late, and as I fast- walked the block from where the Uber dropped me off  it became clear that I was in blister territory and I should have done more than the Body Glide. Both of my feet were hurting. At that point I should have decided to sit it out -that it wasn’t worth messing up my training to do a 5k for fun, but I had organized it and I wanted to hang out with the cool group of people, and it’s only 3 miles so I decided just to do it.  I hadn’t seen a map of the course yet and was planning to check it at registration but I decided to sit and rest my feet instead – it appeared to be a simple out and back with good signage.

A half mile in, my feet were on fire.  My friends were doing their very best to keep me entertained and distracted, and they did an awesome job, but it was bad. At some point I realized that though I had worn my GPS watch, I hadn’t turned it on so I wouldn’t even have the info for my coach. Sigh. After what seemed like an eternity we finally completed the loop and got to the finish line.  A volunteer gave me a medal as I crossed it, my friend took a picture of me and we went to find some breakfast in the shade.  (Someday I want to live in a place where you can’t get a sunburn at 8 o’clock in the morning, but that’s a subject for another time.)

I found out later that I had made a mistake.  The actual course passed by the finish line, did a short loop, and then we were meant to cross the finish line in the same direction that we crossed it to start.  If I had remembered to turn on my watch I would have realized the mistake.  If the volunteer who gave me the medal had told me that I was going the wrong way I would have realized the mistake.  But I didn’t and she didn’t (and it’s not her fault, it’s entirely  mine for not looking at the map) and now it was too late. Knowing that my trolls show up at events I go to, I also bet one of my friends that this would end up on my troll sites.  If she had been foolish enough to take the bet, I would have won.

I e-mailed the timing company as I was directed to let them know that I made a mistake and hadn’t finished and should be DNF’s or DQ’d or whatever, and moved on with my life. For anyone else this would be a simple mistake, no big deal. But most people, happily, don’t have internet forums and websites devoted to hating them. So I get to deal with people trying to make this into some kind of huge scandal – claiming that I cheated on purpose (I guess so that I could get the prize money and sweet, sweet, accolades that come with getting 178th place in a local 5k?) So I woke up to it being posted in the comments of every Facebook post I had made in the previous week, and on twitter. It seems they also messaged the race director, timing company and, oddly, my Best Friend, and lord only knows who else.

Obviously I didn’t purposefully cheat (though I definitely made a mistake, it was absolutely irresponsible not to know the course ahead of time.) For the record though, if I was going to cheat I wouldn’t do it by going through the finish line backwards when I knew that it was being photographed and filmed. So that’s fun, and I do appreciate the extra blog traffic (though whoever sent the Facebook message to my Best Friend – that’s just weird, maybe rethink how you spend your free time…) Keep it classy y’all:

5k mistake

Bike Speed Work

I was scheduled to do a bike ride Sunday night but it didn’t happen.  I got home from the 5k to find a decent sized blister on my left foot.  And the largest blister I’ve ever had on the ball of my right foot – worse than what I had after the marathon. I put a compeed plaster over it – these things are awesome, they form a second skin and stay on for days, cushioning the blister, keeping it clean, and letting your feet heel. Unfortunately the blister continued to expand under the plaster which was excruciating, and then another blister popped up beside it.  I was now having to walk on the outside edge of my right foot.  The 5k had turned out to be a huge mistake that was now affecting my training.  Live and learn.

Blister Tip!  I kept trying to pop the blisters and they kept filling right back up.  Julianne found a tip from a military guy that ended up working great (though check with your doctor or whatever, this could increase the risk of getting an infection and it’s kind of gruesome): thread a needed and dip the thread and the needle in alcohol to sterilize.  Push the needle through the blister, drawing the thread through.  Leave the thread going through the blister with both ends out.  Leave overnight and the thread will act as a wick to keep the blister draining. It took only one night for the smaller blister to be entirely dried out. It took three nights for the larger blister. So worth it.


Long Bike Ride

Still couldn’t walk, and pedaling – unless I use my heels which is not recommended – was just too painful. This was originally scheduled to be a run-heavy week but my coach and I made the decision to flip it with the following week, which was swim-heavy.


Long Open Water Swim

I have never been happier to be swimming in my entire life.  Getting to the water and out of the water sucked mightily, but being in the water I was finally pain free and moving forward with my training.  I had a pretty good swim. The water seems to be getting warmer which is nice.


Pool Work

Same thing as last time, drills and then short sets alternating between easy and hard.  I was a bit slower since I couldn’t push off the sides and for some reason this workout seemed to take forever and a day but I completed it.  I tried to focus on a different part of the stroke on each of the reps I felt strong, if super bored.

I forgot to take a bunch of Selfies but here’s what I’ve got in random order (included bonus blister picture!)







About danceswithfat

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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9 Responses to Selfie Sunday with Bonus Workouts – 140 Days to Go

  1. DennyTriMoney says:

    Such an awesome update Ragen. So proud of you. I’ve been doing triathlon for just over a decade, I enter 2 races a year so that’s around 20 races I’ve done. I’ve actually crossed the finish line in 4 of them and only two in the actual time limit of the race. I don’t feel bad about it all and I dare someone to tell me I’m not a triathlete. It’s the process that counts and that’s what you are doing and that is what I find so amazing about you and your journey. If you finish the race in 2016, 2017 or 2089 it doesn’t matter. All that matters to all of the people who love and support you is that you are out there doing your best and giving us “portly and trying” hope that we can do anything we want. No screw that I’m FAT and I can do anything I want.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. gsantollo says:

    Just keep racing fuck the haters go do a spring you will have fun and you will build confidence

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wendydirks says:

    Wow, you are amazing! That blister looks horrifying. I really admire your perseverance.


  4. Brooke says:

    That’s one big blister! Ouch. I dunno what kind of socks you use but I’ve found socks that have wicking properties help a lot (esp for longer walks/runs, and DEFINITELY on the run portion of a tri when your feet might still be damp from the swim). Might be worth the investment! Extra bonus: you can get ones in cool colors and patterns and make them “lucky socks”. I use high quality socks even for sprint distance tris to keep my feet as happy as the can be (though my feet are still calloused and nasty looking…sigh. Sorry to anyone who has to give me a pedicure in the future!).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Heidi says:

    I’m so sorry about the trolls.


  6. lsstrout says:

    That blister is horrible! Glad you found a way to drain it AND didn’t get an infection. Bet those trolls couldn’t handle all this.

    *TRI MOJO*


  7. Rebecca says:

    Just wanted to say that even if you don’t finish your ironman, you are still a worthy and awesome human being who has done amazing things. Just so you know xx

    OMG those blisters!! I periodically get blisters on my arches, which I always thought were really impressive (sometimes I even get one form on top of another), but yours win!


  8. Cicci says:

    God why are people so FUCKING creepy?
    Like… I seriously seriously worry that they will hurt you (you seem to take your safety seriously but you shouldn’t have to.) but they’re just that outrageous. It makes me SO angry and so… GOD PEOPLE.

    You are amazing.


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