A couple of things have happened in the “Ragen World” in the last 24 hours that have made me realize that beyond anything else, Ragen is a dangerous person who I should probably ignore. And at least for now, I simply don’t want to be a part of it any longer. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with fighting the Ragen battle. I think it is a righteous battle to wage because I think without any doubt there are a handful of people who do get the message. For me, I have spent too much time beating myself against her fallacies for too long.
Yesterday, I listened in on a teleconference hosted by a “body positivity coach” that featured Ragen as a guest. I was interested largely because it was promised they would be taking un-screened questions. Amongst other things I learned while listening is that Ragen considers herself a scientist (paraphrasing here: “…scientists like us need to be willing to admit we can be wrong…” and “…most OTHER scientists still think being thin is better than being fat…”). I also heard essentially confirmation that long held suspicions about Ragen’s partner being mostly confined to a scooter are probably true (paraphrasing again, relating to a story Ragen was telling about not being able to get theater tickets: “…you mean you won’t be able to accommodate us even though my partner does not need a seat and needs to stay in her scooter?”). In addition to all this Ragen allowed herself to be referred to as a “pro athlete,” she specifically said she’s like Galileo (again) and of course she gave no firm indication of how her Ironman training is going. Despite being an “open forum” they took one or two email questions relating to swimsuits and one “live” question from a lady who couldn’t stand her thin relatives talking about dieting.
I wanted to be polite and didn’t try to derail any of the other conversations so I saved my question for the end during the open forum and parting shots. When the host said we were all un-muted I waited a second to make sure I would not step on anyone else and asked basically “I too am training for the Tempe 70.3 and was wondering if Ragen could share specific motivators and workouts that keep her going…” In the middle of this the host asked “anyone? No questions?” and Ragen said something like “everyone is too shy.” I tried again with the same question and it was very clear the could not (or would not) hear me. So it certainly appears that they had not taken people off mute (maybe just me, we had a caller specific PIN to get into the teleconference). I checked the mute button on my phone and it was off. I can’t completely rule out that it wasn’t some sort of genuine error on the host’s part and not intentional but no one else asked any questions at the end either. So again, there were no specifics, no thumbs up/thumbs down, no mention of the open water swim class, no mention of the promised wetsuit update and absolutely no answers as to why she hasn’t registered to volunteer at IMAZ 2015 (in reality her only path to get in the 2016 race, the whole goal of Ironfat).
If you’ve been following Ragen for a while, none of the above should really surprise you.
The other thing that happened is a comment on her Facebook wall that left me truly speechless. That will have a dedicated post on here later.
But as I mentioned in the title, I want to offer a genuine thank you to Ragen herself. I have had long dreams to race long course triathlon. Simply because I wanted to prove you wrong when you said how difficult it was to register for the Tempe 70.3, I found myself in a position where I am racing not only in October but I have my volunteer spot for the full IMAZ in November which hopefully translates into a race position in 2016. I really do owe that to you Ragen. Since then I’ve run hundreds of miles, swam 10s of thousands of meters and biked… well like I mentioned the other day, I haven’t biked enough. My diet is better, I’ve certainly lost weight and I feel as good at 41 as I did when I when I was in college. My kids have stopped calling me “fat dad” and that feels pretty good (see Ragen, in the world that doesn’t consist of odd and arbitrary absolutes, fat can be a relative term). I have to admit, all of this is because of you and how easy it is to prove you wrong. In addition to all this also maintain online friendships with the other two authors of this blog who as you can tell by their entries, they are genuinely smart, dedicated and good people.
The trouble is Ragen isn’t going anywhere, she’s found her niche, she has her supporters who don’t care if she succeeds or fails (and addressing Ragen personally, don’t you see that if they don’t care if you succeed or fail… they really don’t care about you… that if you were to fall off the face of the earth today, there would be some pithy mourning but then they would be on to the next charlatan. That’s what you have to show for your existence?). Her followers don’t care if she’s right or wrong. They, like she, are simply looking for validation of what they must know is wrong. But I think Ragen has willfully deluded herself into buying and believing her own snake oil for far too long (don’t believe me, read through this blog and find the dozen+ examples of the times she misinterprets research that actually proves her dead wrong, yet willfully (gleefully even) posts it as her smoking gun proof. Wei, et. Al comes to mind immediately https://truthaboutragen.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/wei-et-al-and-ragens-deadly-health-advice/).
As for today, I’m just a little tired of beating myself against the Ragen rock. So for all the reasons above, I’m going to take a break from Ragen for a while. She’s backed herself into an incredible corner with the Tempe 70.3 and no matter how it turns out, there will be reason to comment on October 19th (if not before, when she will probably drop out). If I could bet against her finishing, I would put up my entire life savings, houses and investment portfolio along with my kid’s college money. But if she does manage to come across the finish line in time I will offer my congratulations.
If there’s still an interest, I’m happy to provide training updates on here and I will certainly post about my own Tempe 70.3 experience. As always if you have advice or questions about training, please put them in the comments.