My Personal Rain Cloud

Triathlon raincloudI feel like the three years that I’ve spent training for a IM have had a bit of a little rain cloud over them. There are little things – just recently my dog chewed up the charger to my heart rate monitor, I went to put on my wetsuit and it ripped, ongoing issues finding gear and kit that actually fit me, blah blah blah.

But there have also been much bigger challenges as well – I’ve gotten  sick at the worst possible times, had frustrating injuries, a really unexpected DNF out of the water at a half IRONMAN attempt, and though I’ve worked really hard I just haven’t gotten better as fast as I thought I would.

This torn ligament has put me firmly under the cloud.  First, I tore it. Then it was re-injured when a lady stepped on it with all her weight, now it’s getting better (again!) but all the stuff I did to heal it has aggravated my achilles.  I went to the doctor to get more x-rays and I have a heel spur.  It’s possible that I’ve had it for a long time since I had been managing achilles pain for a while, but now it’s not just at the beginning of activity, it’s all the time.  So all of my physical therapy activities are switching to managing that.

My doctor thinks I can avoid surgery (which is great since he says that would be five months with basically no training) and get it back under control with PT and icing and such and get back to running in 2-3 weeks. At this point I’ll be fine to do the shorter races on my schedule (I may have to walk the run, but I can definitely finish them) but while lord knows I’ve been aqua jogging my ass off, I’m ridiculously behind in my run training and once again in serious danger of not being able to complete the Ironman. Which blows.  And I want to be clear that any successes are shared with Coach Steve and any failures are mine alone.

So I’ll have to decide whether or not to try this year (provided my doctor even thinks it’s a good idea) But then there’s the bigger question – do I turn this two year project into a four year project and try again in 2018. I’ve certainly come a very long way since not being able to swim 10 laps without feeling like I was dying, and falling down almost every time I stopped my bike. My last really long run was super promising and made me feel like I could definitely get it done this year – until I found out that I had torn a ligament doing it.

My friends and family and especially Julianne are incredibly supportive of me – and also remind me that I’m a good and worthy person whether or not I ever cross and IM finish line. I know that’s true, and it’s reassuring, but I also believe that I can cross the finish line and I really want to. I took on this challenge knowing that I wasn’t going to be good at it, I just didn’t know how right I was! So for right now I’m going to worry about getting my ankle healthy (the good news is that I have a super common injury so the path to getting better is clear) and focusing on the short distance triathlons I have coming up, and then I’ll make a decision about the IM next year.


About danceswithfat

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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8 Responses to My Personal Rain Cloud

  1. Having torn an achilles tendon and broken a shoulder the week before a half iron (after training for five months), I feel your pain! Empathy empathy, sympathy sympathy, as my PhD advisor used to say haha


  2. gsantollo says:

    The shorter races are more fun. Don’t get me wrong this is something incredible and indescribable about finishing an ironman. But it’s only one small part of the sport, the sport it self is incredible at any distance… the short races are so fun for so many reasons! I signed up for my first ironman in 09 and did not even start it. It wasn’t till 2015 that I signed up and attempted the ironman…


  3. Ironman is hard. A large portion of uninjured people don’t finish. I think I would use Arizona 2017 as a practice try. Swim and Bike and start walking. You may not finish. SO WHAT! I may not finish either. I tried 3 Ironmans in the ’90s and didn’t finish any of them. I have done 2 since and finished but not under the cutoff. A LOT OF PEOPLE DON”T FINISH. It is the journey that is the joy. And the joy is the journey. It is ok to be afraid. That is part of this journey. I love you Ragen. It is your choice. Don’t let failure to finish dictate the direction you decide to go.


  4. Heidi says:

    Some good wisdom here! I’d love to hear more about your shorter events and how it weaves into your training, but I understand why you wouldn’t want to, as well. Blessings on whatever you decide.


  5. Denny says:

    Did you here that they had to cancle the swim at the Long Beach triathlon because they did’t secure the venue? My grand daughter wants to get you some stickers for your bike with either your bike or your bikes name on them This is the web sight if you look bike name she wants to get some for your bike with the name of you are your bike. I told him that i don’t do not know how we sent them but I figured id at least bike name stickers.


  6. lsstrout says:

    *HUGS* Injuries suck. Whether you do the iron man this year or not, I know you got a lot out of the training and challenges to your comfort zone.


  7. You have *really* been a super trooper, putting in all the training and effort WHILE maintaining your eleventeen other jobs and commitments. Maybe taking time off and reducing the pressure to get the IM done as soon as possible will help alleviate some of the other pressures and facilitate complete healing of mind, body and spirit.

    It was terribly exciting for me to track my friend this summer as she completed her first IM, but it was basically her full-time job this past year. So much goes into the preparation for this event and I’m just an outsider with a glimpse into that world. I can’t begin to imagine how much mental preparation and emotional regulation has to be achieved, in addition to all the physical work that goes into this.

    The IM will always be there for you when you’re ready. Whatever you decide to do, your fans and followers will support you.


  8. Bernie says:

    I care that you keep on trying so I can continue to be inspired for the next TEN years. This journey you are on doesn’t need a big splashy ending. (although I m sure you would like one) it is my daily dose of fat lives matter and while I bemoan my torn ligaments and sore plantar faciwhatyahmahcallits, I keep on trying because my hero keeps on trying. Knowing that exercise clothing doesn’t fit other and bikes don’t naturally fit everyone makes a world of difference. I m so proud of you every single day. I wish I had the right words. Thank you seems so insufficient. Please know that your efforts and dedication has been truly valued. Finish or Don’t finish either way I will still follow you and be PROUD. hugs


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