The big day is upon us in just two days now. At the moment, Ragen should be traveling to Phoenix after her predictable travel mishap yesterday, but we have no confirmation she has arrived yet. She is coordinating with her disabled 500 pound girlfriend who is making a six hour solo drive through the desert with all her IRONMAN gear. Ragen needs to check in either today or tomorrow, and her bike needs to be checked in tomorrow. We thought it would be a good opportunity to quickly recap the highlights of Ragen’s elite training over the last year and a half.
In May 2014, Ragen announced she would be entering the LA Marathon in 2015. She was coming off her her triumphant 12:20 Seattle Marathon finish back in 2013 that made her one of the slowest finishers in the history of the event, where she forced the race volunteers to stay on the course 4 hours after the 77 year old lady before her finished. After six months of nothing, she predictably announced she was dropping out for meaningless reasons in December. In the mean time, in September she had announced she would “attempt” the 2016 IRONMAN Arizona, followed by an announcement in October she would enter IRONMAN 70.3 Austin in 2015. In March 2015, she changed her mind and registered for the 2015 IRONMAN 70.3 Arizona with a harrowing tale of waking up early and spending hours refreshing pages to ensure a spot in an event that didn’t sell out until after the summer.
In September 2014, Ragen hired the only obese triathlon trainer she could find and decided to start a separate “training” blog called IronFat to avoid triggering all her regular Dances with Fat readers with her elite training updates. Ragen’s concept of a training blog is apparently different from the rest of the world, since she doesn’t post anything about her training schedule, paces, times, distances, injuries, or anything else you would find on a normal training blog. Instead she kicked things off with ridiculous claims about death threats, then said her training information is “proprietary” and she intentionally conceals everything from “haters”. More recently she started making over the top claims about being doxxed, hacked, having maps posted to her home, and receiving graphic rape and death threats on a daily basis when she was caught posting fake training selfies. The logical conclusion was telling the media she believe she will be murdered and become a literal martyr for fat acceptance one day.
In February, Ragen wrote a post covering for the unlikely eventuality she actually lost weight during her training. That turned out to be unnecessary given recent photos show she hasn’t lost anything during her 1-1/2 years of intense marathon and IRONMAN training.
In June, Ragen confirmed she plans to crowdfund her 2016 IRONMAN entry. She also said she would sign up for “several smaller events” before her 70.3 in October 2015. In keeping with her long tradition of dropping out of athletic events, she signed up for two sprint triathlons in August and October and never showed up.
At the end of the summer, Ragen was still posting ridiculous training updates about barely being able to ride her bike. She started manufacturing a long string of excuses for any eventual failure and saying it wouldn’t be the end of the world if she didn’t finish, and that it was just a halfway test. She scheduled a speaking engagement on the opposite side of the country just days before what should be the most important day on her calendar this year, and predictably had travel troubles because she decided to fly out of a rural airport serviced by only a 2-3 10 person Cessnas every day.
At the moment we haven’t heard anything more about her progress getting to Tempe and checking in, so here is a recap of her elite training efforts in each event of the triathlon. Enjoy all the past excitement and stay tuned for further updates!
Back in September, Ragen claimed she hadn’t done any kind of swimming since the early 90s in high school, which we know is a great big lie. In November, Ragen was barely able to swim without inhaling water. In December, she graduated to swimming laps but didn’t know the difference between a lap and a length. By February, her latest problem was swimming too fast for her training plan. We also learned Ragen had hired a “total immersion” swim coach and got a truly inspirational story of fat shaming at the pool that ended with the trademark Ragen twist where everyone is inspired by her.
In April, Ragen was renting completely inappropriate men’s 3XL wet suits for an open water swim course she planned to take in May. She promised to blog about it, but nothing ever showed up on IronFat. That was it for swimming updates until Fake Selfie Sunday in September, where Ragen was caught faking swim photos in her bathroom. She has since posted more training selfies showing open water swim locations, but even some of these are clearly faked. Just a couple weeks ago she had her first open water panic attack from a minor event during a dangerous solo nighttime swim. The athlete guide for the 70.3 specifically advises competitors to get swim experience under race conditions, which Ragen could have done if she’d actually showed up for the two sprint triathlons she registered for in August and October. Somehow Ragen believes she is still prepared to start in the middle of 15 huge waves of swimmers while being kicked and jostled by thousands of athletes passing her. And that’s just the first event.
As with swimming, Ragen claimed she hadn’t ridden a bike since high school, another lie. Ragen’s preferred useless metric for biking is her elite cadence. She spent many months writing useless update after useless update about spin bike training sessions where all she mentioned was her cadence, how much higher it was than her trainer’s suggestion, and how long she spent on the bike, without bothering to mention the resistance.
At the end of November, Ragen made a cryptic reference to bike jail. In January, Ragen claimed she was gifted a hybrid bike that belonged to a friend’s deceased husband at some point, but it was stolen from her home and confiscated by the police, who refused to give it back to her. At the end of January, she apparently got it back, named it “Clyde”, and spent more than a month having a bike shop modify it as much as humanly possible so she could ride it. In March, Ragen completed her first and only ride on “Clyde”, managing two hours connected to a bike trainer, again at an unknown resistance. Because her midsection is so large, she was unable to pedal the bike in any position without kneeing herself in the gut on every stroke. She went back to the spin bike and never rode Clyde again.
On March 10, Ragen secretly had a used road bike delivered. After several months with no bike training updates, she finally announced it on May 17. She didn’t mention it before because she was physically incapable of riding it in the original configuration. It took her three months and three separate bike shops to find one that would ruin it to her specifications and turn it into a bizarre and dangerous combination of a road bike and hybrid bike. On May 16, she took her first ride in the parking lot of the bike shop and promptly fell off and injured herself because she couldn’t brake properly. A couple weeks later she started begging for donations because her equipment costs were starting to run up.
At the end of May, almost three months after ordering her road bike, Ragen took what was apparently her first real bike ride in over 20 years. She managed 4 miles at a very slow pace, refused to bike in traffic, and fell off her bike attempting to stop it. In June she was still learning to stop her bike, falling off more than 70% of the time she attempted to brake. Due to her central obesity and the modifications to extend the handlebar stem beyond the safe limit, she is unable to straddle the main tube during stops, and must instead perform a complicated maneuver where he throws herself over the bike and lays it on the ground. She described the maneuver in her post.
I can’t touch the ground with my feet while in the saddle, and I don’t fit comfortably between the seat and the stem so I can’t just hop off and straddle the top tube. So there’s a specific technique that’s involved wherein I have to slow to a near stop, throw my leg out far enough that I don’t trip myself when I lay the bike to the side whilst pushing it backward.
Ragen’s idea of a successful training session at this point was managing to stop her bike three times in a row without falling off.
In August, after a long IronFat hiatus, Ragen went for a short trail ride with some friends. She walked her bike up and down a small hill because she was still unable to shift and brake properly. Her friends taught her to use her brakes to ride down a hill without wiping out. She rode in circles on an outdoor basketball court and finally managed to do a few figure eights. The highlight of the day was riding two blocks in traffic.
In Fake Selfie Sunday 2.0 in September, Ragen suddenly claimed she had gone from barely being able to ride her bike to completing a 50 mile training ride over the course of a few weeks. She provided no evidence whatsoever other than a photo showing her holding up five fingers, despite the fact she was clearly wearing a GPS watch. In the span of a few weeks, Ragen had supposedly gone from 11 months of barely being able to ride her bike to doing half-century training rides. She followed up the next weekend with a 56 mile training ride with another trademark gripping tale of haters and admirers and strangers being inspired by her. As usual she doesn’t mention she only bikes on a perfectly flat beachfront or give any meaningful times or speeds.
The Arizona 70.3 bike course is a long, crowded, twisting ride with a number of loops. At this point Ragen still has no experience riding in crowds, despite her supposed elite overnight distance improvements. She also presumably still can’t brake without throwing herself over the bike frame and laying it down. Braking tends to be a useful skill in an IRONMAN.
Ragen has a long history of claiming she hates running and is unable to run. This is the same person who claims she loves “speedwork” and can do 30 minute sessions of high intensity interval training at 95% HRmax, and is an elite professional athlete “in the top 5% of the country in strength, stamina, flexibility, and all medical markers of health”. Hilariously, she actually claimed she planned to run the 2013 Seattle Marathon, but decided to walk it (in over 12 hours) because of her commitment to More Cabaret, her failed fat dancing performance business.
Before Ragen quit the LA Marathon, she was giving weekly “marathon updates” on Dances with Fat where she reported anecdotes like restraining herself from punching a fat shaming priest, excuses for slow
“runners”, and her intuitive running plan. In general, she almost never gives meaningful updates about running. By December, she was doing 5 minute/2 minute run/walk intervals at a mystery pace. Over the next few months, she made a few posts about shaving various amounts of time off her mystery pace, and her “long runs” of undefined length (note that Ragen is tricky with language and likes to refer to long walks as “long runs”). She also talked about her ridiculous method for pacing using the timer app on her iPod rather than the Garmin GPS watch her girlfriend gave her last year that is clearly visible in her fake selfies. She promptly fell and broke the iPod, no doubt a side effect of her elite proprioception.
In April, Ragen wrote a nice post about being a raging bitch to the mere mortals at the race track who dared to offer advice to an elite athlete like her. By June, Ragen was showing her mastery of geometry by talking about designing loops with “equal parts up and down”, but still nothing about her actual pace.
In July, we finally got a small clue about Ragen’s running pace in a brief Facebook update where she confirmed she averages around normal walking speed. We also learned she hired a new running coach and then paid him to ignore a major component of the running method he teaches. She also wrote a long rambling IronFat post about her “long runs” where she made the absurd implication that she now “runs” up to 24 miles at a time (8 hours at her walking pace average). That was the last we heard about Ragen’s running.