Mental Shifts and The Disaster Run

mental-shifts-and-the-disaster-runI’m definitely out of the dumps and feeling better about things since last we spoke, which was tested (but not broken) by my ridiculous disaster of a run on Wednesday, which included everything from drinking what I’m pretty sure was battery acid, to slipping socks, chaffing panties, and a security guard with a memory issues.  There’s a Marie Osmond quote that says “If you’re going to look back and laugh, you might as well laugh now” and that’s what we’ll be doing in today’s vlog… Enjoy!



When last we left our heroine… I was coming out of a really bad place – I had come as close as I have ever come to quitting the IRONMAN. Since then things have been a lot better.  And, to be sure this training has had its roller coaster ups and down and I’ve definitely talked about that, but this feels, I don’t know different somehow.  I feel like there’s been mental shift.

The runs are still hard and the cramping is still super frustrating but, for now at least,  it’s just something that I deal with rather than something that constantly tempts me to quit, and that feels much better.

There is another shift that’s happening and it’s kind of freaking me out – normally when I would wake up on run day – and even more so on LONG run day – I would wake up with a vague sense of dread that would get progressively more dread-y until I finally started on the run.

Now, I wake with that same sense of dread, but as the run gets closer, I feel less dread and more – dare I say – excitement about it?  Before this, I’ve never understood people who love to run – people who run because it somehow makes them feel less stressed – people who would run even if there were no shiny medal at the end – and I still don’t understand those people, but I am happy for the dread inversion I am experiencing.

That was tested mightily during last night’s, what I’m officially calling a, disaster run.  For context, there is a show I love called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.  It’s an Aaron Sorkin show about life backstage at a Saturday Night Life type sketch show.  My favorite episode of the show is called “The Disaster Show” In it, there one major thing that goes wrong, and then a whole bunch of little things pile on. And I thought of a lot during my run last night.

Let’s start with the big thing that went wrong:

Because I’ve been talking about my calf cramp drama, a lot of people recommended stuff that helped them deal with their cramps. And one of them is this 2-ish ounce drink that you down 15-30 minutes before your workout.  I checked out their website and things looked good, lots of people swear by this stuff.  I was super excited, and honestly, a run without cramps right now sounds like a vacation to me.

I decided to take it right before leaving the house for my run since with the drive and the pre-run warmup it would be 15-30 minutes before.  As I was leaving the house I realized I hadn’t taken it yet so I grabbed it and brought it with me to the car.  I guess I thought it was going to smell bad but I opened it and it just smelled kind of vaguely citrusy.


So I drank it.

Mother BEEEEEPer!

What followed was a battle between my body – which wanted to correct the mistake of drinking it, and my mind, which wanted me to not vomit in my car.  My mind won, but by the narrowest of margins.   And it was at that point I remembered there’s a warning on the bottle to not to take dairy before or after you took this.  And I remember thinking  they should put that  warning bigger, because had there been a dairly product anywhere near me I would have consumed it.  It was like drinking vaguely citrus flavored battery acid.  Honestly, I’m not sure if it helps with cramps, or if people just don’t care about the cramps anymore because they are worried about the hole that’s burning through their esophagus.

When I googled later, which I should have done before,  I saw people who said that it reminded them of doing shots of Jagermeister, and I realized that the fact that I’ve never really done shots of alcohol probably bit me in the ass here. Sorry college friends who tried to get me to do shots, you really tried to help me out and I didn’t even know it and I squandered it so, apologies.


I got to the beach and it was cold. Luckily I had brought my long sleeve shirt so I geared up, I warmed up, and headed out.  It had been a long day and I was feeling pretty tired so I was ready to get this done.  My throat and mouth were still burning from the anti-cramping drink of doom. I did my walking warmup and then took off on my first run interval. Aaaaaand there were the calf dramps.  Sonofa It wasn’t even worth it.

But I wanted to get it done so I did my walk intervals, and run intervals and stretched when I needed to. And that’s when little stuff started to go wrong.  First my stomach started hurting, followed by vaguely citrus flavored battery acid burps, it was like the gift that keeps on giving.

Then my right sock started to slip down and bunch in my shoe.  I would pull it out and it would slip down and bunch again.  And this was really weird because .this was a new pair of the brand of socks I’ve been waring for over three years without ever having this issue. Then, my long sleeve shirt, which I’ve run in lots of times, started chaffing me, which it has never done.  Then my underwear (and I know some people go commando when they run but that does not work for me) started chaffing me.  Then my stomach started to get genuinely upset which is a problem since there’s only oen bathroom open this late on the trail and I was a half mile away from it. But I made it.

I finally finished, I took a less than enthusiastic post-workout selfie that you’ll see on Monday, and got in my car and I was just ready to go basicallyin search of some dairy products.

All of a sudden this super bright light was shining in my car, and I was just waiting for whoever was rocking their high beams in the parking lot to roll by, but it didn’t happen. it took me a minute to realize it was a police car.  I rolled down my window and said “Can I help you?”  A bodiless male voice (I couldn’t see anything with the spotlight shining in my face) asked “are you a guest of the hotel?” I was like  “No, I was just out for a run.”  So he turned off the spotlight, I saw that it was a private security SUV and not a police car, and that it was a guy I had met before.  He said “This is a private parking lot at night, you can’t park here.”  That is news to me, people park there all the time, every day.

So I finally said “I’ve been running down here for years and nobody has ever said anything.”  And he said “Well I’ve been working here for two years and I’ve never seen you.”

That was inaccurate because one time when a sympathetic marina boat owner let me into the locked bathroom, he had seen it happen and when I came out of the bathroom he was standing there to give me a hard time. But I felt like this was not the time to jog his memory, so I just let it go and I just said “Oh, well, maybe I’ll see you around.” He looked confused but he drove away.  To be clear I absolutely understand that my privileges were coming into play here, this could have gone much differently were I not a  as a white cisgender, hetero-passing, woman.

Nonetheless, it was the “perfect” ending to a highly imperfect run, so I took my burning throat, and my slipping socks, and chaffed everything home and drank some milk.

That’s it for this week, remember that you can subscribe using this button right here so you never miss a vlog and you can also always follow my journey at


About danceswithfat

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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3 Responses to Mental Shifts and The Disaster Run

  1. lsstrout says:

    Glad you are no longer totally dreading the runs! What a weird and sucky experience with the drink and the guard.


  2. Denny says:

    I’ve had great success a topical homepathic gel that my daughters wife got at trader joes called Arnicare. She’s a physician and she loves it for me because I can use it all the time and I have to say it really


  3. Denny says:

    Really great one Ragen!


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