Marathon Update: The Big Reason

So since I announced that I’m doing a second marathon people have been asking why.  Especially since I was so very, very miserable training and doing the first one.  I’ve just been saying “for reasons” which many of you found to be an unsatisfying answer – and I can’t blame you.  A big part of that was making sure that the main reason is actually something that I want to do.  And I’ve decided that it is and it’s time to tell everyone.

This marathon isn’t just another goal, it’s actually a small part of a bigger goal.- 114.4 miles bigger to be exact.

I’m going to attempt IRONMAN Arizona in November of 2016.  I haven’t really swum since I was in high school which is also the last time I rode a bike so I’m giving myself a little over 2 years to get it done with plenty of events in between.

The first question most people ask is What is an IRONMAN exactly?  It’s a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run, done consecutively in less than 17 hours.

The next question is typically “Why?”  The answer is complicated. Part of it is just because it’s there and if you finish it this guy named Mike Reilly says [Your name] YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! over a loudspeaker as you cross the finish line (and also, they give you a medal.)

Part of it is an extension of why I did the first marathon – to push myself out of my comfort zone (in this case way, way, way out of my comfort zone), do things at which I’m not naturally talented and see what lessons live out there.  Part of it is about my constant mission of insisting that fat people have a place in the fitness conversation – both so that we can have and be role models for others who are lied to about what is possible with a fat body, and because we can use the position of being athletes (and the privilege we get that we can’t give away) to speak out against the good fatty/bad fatty dichotomy.

Part of it is just because a few months ago I was listening to a book about a guy who completed an IRONMAN and the thought jumped into my head (completely uninvited) “I wonder if I could do that?” and that thought just kept bouncing around in there, until I really wanted to know the answer.

So here I am, training for this thing. The next question is, how am I going to talk about it?  I decided to give it its own blog because  I really want to record my IM journey and I want to do it in a way that doesn’t take over this space (I know that a lot of people who read this blog get triggered when I talk about athletics and fitness and such so I want to keep it just to the Sunday Marathon updates.)

So if you want to follow my IRONMAN journey I invite you to!

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13 thoughts on “Marathon Update: The Big Reason

  1. Wow! I love the ferocity with which you tackle your goals! Good luck!
    I’m working up the courage to get back to biking. Running is out thanks to my bum ankle, but I’ve gotten to a point with my back that I’m very keen to notice any pain creeping in and should be able to keep it manageable. I would love to get back to distance biking! Might eventually have to try the recumbent thingies, but I’d be happy to be able to manage a mountain bike for more than a half mile at a time. 🙂

  2. Good luck! I couldn’t even imagine doing a marathon myself 😦 The fact that you finished your last marathon is a million times better than what most people could do 🙂

  3. Good luck! I used to want to do a marathon and an ironman eventually. I think I am no longer interested in trying. Turns out, I kind of hate running for long periods. I love weight lifting, sprints/interval work, but long periods of just running…. not for me.
    But that is very cool you are doing your thing and training for one!

  4. My first thought: Girl you sooooo crazy!

    But seriously, good for you Ragen. You continue inspire us every day. I don’t think I would ever attempt to do such a thing but you entering such a grueling race will inspire a lot of us to do things that we might find challenging.

    There’s a lot of us who live fairly close to Phoenix (I assume right?) can we organize a Ragen Chastain cheering section for race day?

    love you girl…


  5. I just realized that I am constantly hiding posts on my Facebook feed about people’s exercise and yet I actually voluntarily read your marathon posts. I became aware that there is an entire rhetorical strategy to presenting your discussion in a way that doesn’t read bragging or assigning moral value, which must be a pretty narrow path in the loaded environment we’re living in. Ironman or not, you are one heck of a rhetorician! Thank you for using your powers for good.

  6. I. Am. In. Awe. It takes a lot of courage to go back and do something that made you miserable the first time, but that kind of discipline and guts is what makes people Ironmen, I guess. You’re amazing! Keep it up! I will be following your further exploits with bated breath. You rock. You so rock!

  7. To all the people who ever told you “you can’t” since you were 5 years old. You always proved them wrong and I have absolutely no doubt that you will do it again! You have all my love and support. You were born absolutely amazing.

  8. Wow that’s amazing. I gotta say, Ragen, you’re amazing in many ways, but this…well the marathon thing is inspiring me to get back on the treadmill – I managed 10mins at 3mph yesterday before my hip starting moaning at me. I’ve a long way to go, but I am intent on getting to the house mark……

    The Ironman thing – wow, that’s just amazing. And I agree with the poster above – I too avoid most ‘exercise’ posts on FB and elsewhere but yours are different. And it’s great!

  9. Oh wow, the Ironman? You, madam, are a badass.

    The funky thing is, have the haters who’re doubtless cluttering your inbox right now seen any triathalon coverage? I watched a feature on the Hawaiian Ironman on NBC Sports a while back. One of the fellows they followed was an amputee (both legs below the knee). Another was a blind grandfather who completed the course tethered to a sighted guide. Many of the people who finished weren’t the stereotype of fitness, but they’re all [bleep]in’ Ironmen.

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