Road to Arizona 2017 – Monday Recap 2

monday-recapAnother week of our swim and strength rotation and it went really well.

11/28/16 – Short Swim

This was faster than last week.  My coach sent me a video about turn technique that really helped my turns to be much smoother and far less like drowning than last week. In the pool I used before, the two ends were shallow and the middle was deep so when I turned I basically stopped and then pushed lightly off the floor – not ideal for training but if I did a proper push off I would end up gliding way too much of my swim because the pool was so short, so while I worked a bit on open turns I never really mastered it. In the new pool the water is shallow at one end and deep at the other – too deep for me to touch the floor easily – which I found out on my first lap last week when I found myself unexpectedly underwater.  This was followed by a series of graceless and very slow turns. Now I feel like I’m getting a handle on a proper open turn and my laps were consistently faster than last week.

11/29/16 – Strength

Aka: Squatapalooza

11/30/16 – Hard Swim

Testing my theory that last year I mistook misery for working as hard as I could, I pushed harder than I ever have on this swim.  It totally whooped my ass and it felt great.  And even though I pushed so hard that my stroke went to total shit about 2/3 of the way through, it was still faster than last week.


Strength Workout

Squats, Lunges, and Step Ups, (and planks, and resistance band work, and sumo walks…)oh my!

Sanctioned Dance Class

So of course I told my coach about my unsanctioned class last week. Benevolent dictator that he is, he agreed to let me do one of these classes a week…”for now.”

This week I joined my friend Jessica at her gym.  It was pretty spectacular  – it is a huge former office space converted into a gym, and there is a massive fountain that I can only describe as… well, I’ll let you decide for yourself from the picture below … in the middle of the gym. The class instructor was awesome – remembered me by name from last time, the women from the class were really cool to talk to, I got another brief reminder that I’m athletically competent.  Yay!

12/2/16 Day off

12/3/16 – Strength Workout

Is all this squatting and lunging boring?  Yes. Is it still, like, 1000 times better than running? You betcha!

12/4/16 – Long Steady Swim

Quite a bit faster than last week at a longer distance. I swam a Half IRONMAN distance at last year’s IM goal speed. No drop off in speed at the end, finished strong and felt like I could absolutely have done another 1.2 miles.

I did have a funny moment at the end.  Currently I only breathe on the right.  This is a combination of the fact that breathing on the left irritates a neck injury from a few years ago, and the fact that it’s just worked for me to breathe to the right and I had bigger problems to worry about than bilateral breathing during the swim.  But since I have another year ahead of me I decided that I would like to be able to breathe on either side just in case, so I’ve been working on neck PT to protect my neck and now I’m trying to breathe on the left.  It’s… well, let’s just say it’s a struggle. So I did my last few laps today alternating breathing every three strokes.  It went something like this:

stroke, stroke, glide gracefully while I breathe on the right
stroke, stroke, hold position with a patient lead hand and breathe

The last lap it finally got a little better – it’s a process and I’ll get it. All in all I’m feeling pretty great about things this week.

Here are this week’s selfies, assisted selfies, and gym fountain pictures!



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 Road to Arizona 2017 – Monday Recap 2

  1. Denny says:

    Very good Job Ragen


  2. lsstrout says:

    Hooray for swim improvements! I never have learned to breathe properly while swimming, probably because I’ve never trained for a race. 🙂

    Glad you are ‘allowed’ to have your dance class.


  3. fasterfastest says:

    I love reading these posts! They keep me inspired as I’m working on staying motivated while recovering from a major injury. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, and hooray for being reminded that you are athletically competent!


  4. Mari says:

    I found this blog a few days ago and have now read the entire archives. I’m selfishly so happy I get to follow you for another year, this blog is such an inspiration and so are you!

    I’m training for my first triathlon next summer, with shorter-than-sprint distances and the swimming happening in a pool, and though I really like my training I can also relate to all you’re going through. I’m also fat, and though my coach does understand that I’m not in it to lose weight, he seems to think that my being fat makes me more fragile or something. I can’t wait to show him this blog!

    Thank you for doing this!


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