A Slow Fall Into Soft Dirt

First, I’m going to take a moment to truly appreciate my partner, Julianne. She has been unendingly supportive of this journey in every possible way, many of which were drawn into sharp relief when she took an extended trip to vist her best friend out of state.

I’m well aware of what she deals with generally, and on a daily basis – filling our home with enough gear to make it look like a survivalist lives here, creating a truly shocking amount of laundry, requesting early morning help with getting sunscreen on my back, and being just, generally surly a lot of the time.

Then there are our dogs – Bu (named by the people Julianne rescued him from) and ChadShannel Royale (named by us after rescuing him, he is named after three of our favorite drag queens)

Baby Bu!
He’s actually happy in this picture, Bu has RSF (Resting Sad Face)
ChadShannel Royale
He is my grumpy little man

Julianne takes care of feeding them, and holding them so they don’t bum rush the door when I’m trying to get my bike out. And, critically, normally during 4th of July season (which, for our former and current neighbors means setting off fireworks from about 2pm – 2am every day starting the week before and ending sometime in August) she comforts them and keeps them from stroking out at all the loud noise. With her gone, I ended up missing a bunch of swims because I needed to be home with them. Not ideal, but not as bad as missing bikes and runs. I am delighted that she and her Bestie got time together, and suffice it to say that while I would be thrilled to have her home regardless, I am also eternally grateful for everything she does to support me in this ridiculousness.

Let’s catch up on workouts:


Long Bike

I had a great long bike ride last Tuesday. It was cloudy for most of the ride and cool outside which was lovely. There was enough wind to be a challenge but not so much that I was cursing my life. The new trail I found was working great, and I found little games that I could play with myself to both help keep my cadence up and keep me from getting bored which is a huge help to my mental game. I get bored so easily and then my attitude (which, let’s face can be marginal on a good day) goes to total shit.

I have changed fuel which has also helped. And when I say that I’ve changed fuel, I mean that my IRONMAN race has changed from Clif Bars to BASE bars (I wonder if it’s because of all caps solidarity?) While there are certainly people who load up their bike with their fuel of choice (sometimes looking like they are pedaling out to set up an aid station at an ultramarathon) it’s about a million times easier to just use the course support (so that if you drop your bag or whatever you’re not stuck without nutrition/trying something new on race day which is one of the biggest no-no’s in triathlon.

Anywho, I got a variety pack of BASE bars and they have been a lot better for me. Clif bars are not a great fuel for me – they seem to work great for a lot of people but for me they are dense and tough to digest. Also, I don’t love most of the flavors. The BASE bars are easier to digest and the flavors I’ve tried so far has been good (though I’ve not yet summoned the courage to try Cranberry Lime) but they are also less calorie and carb dense so I have to eat more. They are also more melty, which I learned the hard way.

To preface this, there are people who can make a sandwich, mix a fresh berry protein shake, and groom a matted Pomeranian all while keeping their cadence at 90rpms. I am not one of these people (if there is some aspect at triathlon at which I particularly excel, I have yet to find it.) I can do basic things with my hand(s) of the bars – get a drink of water, reach into my back pocket for stuff, shake out my hands and arms etc. My bike frame isn’t really set up to hold bottles so I hydrate using a backpack. I keep my bars – which I cut precisely so that I can control the amount of nutrition I’m getting – in the front pocket on the strap of that back pack. In order to get to the food I unzip the pocket, pull out the number fo pieces I need and then rezip it.

As I reached in I found that my precisely cut bar pieces had melted together. Now instead of a precise amount of calories and carbs, I was just getting whatever I could grab in between my thumb and index finger. Sigh.

Finally the ride was over and it was time to go back to my car. The exit from the trail to the parking lot is a 90 degree turn and then immediately through a narrow gate, made narrower by a pole in the middle, then up right up a little hill. This isn’t remotely a big deal, except at the very end of the ride I was going downhill with the wind at my back so I had the bike in a pretty hard gear, pedaling hard (like I could significantly change the average speed of an hours-long ride in the last 10 minutes – ever the optimist.)

As I went through the gate a group of skateboarders went through the other side so I got nervous and I stopped pedaling, hit the brakes, and slowed almost to a standstill. As I started up the hill I went to pedal and realized that I wasn’t going to be able to do it in this gear. I could have just dropped the seat and put my feet on the ground but in my panic I thought that since I was on a hill I could just tip the bike sideways and catch myself with my foot. Friends, I was incorrect. What followed was a slow motion fall from an almost standstill into soft dirt (which assured that, while I wasn’t injured in any way, I was covered in dirt as I walked to my car.) Honestly, this is 100% “on brand” for my triathlon experience. I’m thinking maybe I should have named this blog DisasterTriathlete!

The skateboarders had come back and asked me if I was ok. I told them that I was fine and the scars were all emotional. One of them (they were probably 14-16 years old) said “I totally feel you!” and told me about how he had wiped out earlier in the day and “a bunch of moms ran up to check on me, it was mad embarrassing!” They were really sweet. I got back to my car without further incident other than the slightly concerned stares of little league parents.


Run/Walk Intervals

These are still very frustrating because I’m limited by the issues with my calf so I feel like I’m not getting done what I need to get done, so I’m just trying to go hard whenever I can.


Bike Trainer Intervals

The dogs don’t love me doing this in general but they like it WAY less when Julianne isn’t there to snuggle them while it’s happening.


Day off workouts!


Bike – Tempo Intervals Outside

Got some good work in (the new trail is much better for this workout!) and didn’t fall down so bonus points for me!


Long walk/run

Not terrible, not great. We’re trying some new stuff to try to deal with the cramping and pain including a longer warmup and changing some intervals to fast walk instead of run. It made a bit of a difference but it was still absolutely a slog.


Run/Walk Intervals

Absolutely terrible, started cramping almost immediately and never stopped I think doing back to back walk/runs exacerbated the issue.


Long bike ride. It was (felt?) windier than my last long ride but I was able to keep a good cadence and push through.


Run/Walk Intervals

These went better. Less cramping and pain, more hard work. Yay.


Bike Trainer Intervals

I got a late start (which is to say that I slept in late) and so just as my poor dogs were done being upset about this, the neighborhood fireworks started.


Day off workouts


Long run – I felt like I finally got some decent work in. The new strategy seems to be working.

What’s next…

About Ragen Chastain

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be Iron-distance triathlete, Activist, Fat Person.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Slow Fall Into Soft Dirt

  1. Good job Ragen. I have a similar story of falling. I had just installed clipless pedals on my bike and went for a ride up a hill. A big hill! I got to the top of this thing exhausted and traveling about 2 miles an hour and could not twist my foot out of a pedal to stop. Slow sideways fall to the pavement in a parking lot full of people. Ride On!


    • Ouch! Thanks for sharing my pain 🙂 I’ve definitely heard about the clipless pedal slow-mo falls – when we decided to go with the wide-base pedals instead of the clipless I thought this was at least one triathlon humiliation I might avoid 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lsstrout says:

    I’m so glad the skateboarders were there for you!

    I had no idea your dogs were so neurotic. I have a neurotic cat who would love it if I did nothing but cuddle him. He meows pathetically when I do pointless stuff like cook or use the computer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s