Road to Tempe 2016: IronFat updates and Ragen’s second 5K

In exactly 255 days, Ragen Chastain plans to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full marathon, all in under 17 hours at IRONMAN Arizona in Tempe, AZ on November 20, 2016. To date, her major athletic achievements include a 1:09:50 5K PR, gaming the rules at the 2013 Seattle Marathon to receive a medal for a 12:20 finish, registering and not showing up for two short local super sprint triathlons, and failing to complete even the generous first segment at IRONMAN 70.3 Arizona in October 2015.

Since our last update a few months ago, things have picked up again on IronFat. Ragen has continued with her “Selfie Sunday” tradition, being extremely careful to strip all image metadata and take close cropped photos that reveal nothing about her training, to avoid a repeat of the multiple times she was caught faking training selfies last year.

In February, Ragen also added “Workout Wednesday” to her repertoire, a weekly feature where she puts a huge amount of effort into writing detailed posts about her training without revealing a single useful training metric or anything meaningful about her performance. We have the usual claims of vague pace improvements without any mention of her original pace, her elite bike cadence, 4+ hour bike rides, “speedwork” and “long runs”, and so on. In an extremely interesting development, in her March 3 update she appears to finally concede she is not actually running during her training. “Speedwork” has become “speedwalk”, “long run” has become “long walk”, and “run/walk” has simply become “walk”. It would appear that Ragen is slowly lowering expectations for what is almost certain to be a repeat of last year’s dismal failure in Tempe.

There have been the usual excuses. In early December, Ragen “wrecked” her bike and posted a blurry photo for Selfie Sunday. It turned out to be a broken derailleur, a minor inconvenience easily solved with a quick trip one of the hundreds of bike shops in LA. For Ragen, it somehow became month-long ordeal where was forced to use a spin bike and blog about her elite cadence. She also managed to injure her foot doing “speedwork” (totally unrelated to her weight), and developed a chlorine sensitivity she has somehow overcome since then. She also posted some extremely inspirational material about slow athletes where she does her usual technique of conflating large animal breeds with morbid obesity, followed by a bonus humblebrag that there are supposedly athletes even slower than her.

IronFat wouldn’t be a Ragen Chastain blog without the usual tales of fat shaming from random strangers. The most prominent one was “the pelaton of pricks”, a gripping story about a horde of bicyclists riding five abreast on narrow bike path, and the conversation Ragen had with them as they blew past and forced her to the side. That was the day after her first big bike wreck, the subject of an upcoming post.

As usual, IronFat is a “training blog” about making excuses and overcoming manufactured adversity rather than actually achieving athletic results. Ragen invents a minor problem, Ragen blogs about her heroic attempts to overcome it, and Ragen finally moves on to her next problem. This is perfectly demonstrated by the “month of momentum” where she didn’t actually achieve anything athletically, but managed to overcome the difficult problem of ordering a derailleur on The most significant piece of information Ragen has revealed in this entire year may actually be when she decided to name her swim cap “Wilson”.

Saving the best for last, this is the update you’ve been waiting for: today Ragen announced on Facebook she will be competing in the 5K section of the 2016 Oakland Running Festival on March 20. She deleted the post as soon as her “trolls” on Reddit noticed, so it remains to be seen whether she will actually show up. We can confirm she is registered for the event, but that is fairly meaningless given her lifelong habit of registering for events and not showing up.


Assuming Ragen shows up, this race will provide the first real indication of how much her two years of intense daily marathon and IRONMAN training with four professional coaches has increased her performance since her race entries in 2013. As it stands, her 5K PR is 1:09:50, which is around the baseline performance for the average newbie octogenarian, according to age grading estimates. Coming in under an hour would be an important milestone for Ragen, demonstrating she is actually able to maintain the average human walking speed of about 3.1 mph (5 km/h). Of course, an elite fathlete who has been training for so long should presumably be able to do a bit better. This event has live tracking, and Dances with Facts will be covering it to the best of our abilities. Stay tuned for further updates!


19 thoughts on “Road to Tempe 2016: IronFat updates and Ragen’s second 5K

    • Everytime a new post comes up, I actually get excited to see the next picture of the train wreck that is this ordeal.

    • Agreed! So well written. Thorough, lighthearted, no embellishment, just the facts with unforgiving accuracy. I smiled the whole time I read it. Oh and I do hope she shows up to that 5k!

    • Exactly!

      And the oft-repeated “Stalkers were everywhere. I was afraid for my life!” plaint.

      Curious as to why the authorities are not brought in when this happens. I mean, life-threatening and all…

      • Ragen claims she receives potentially credible death threats on almost a daily basis, but the Long Beach PD refuse to investigate or assist her in any way unless someone actually tries to kill her.

    • 5K. Lol. Training prep for IMAZ. Her pace should be a min. of 9:45. Which is what she’ll need in AZ (assuming she maintains dead last pace for swim and run).

      If she finishes 5K in more than 30 mins she’s already off pace and didnt swim or bike.

      Math doesn’t lie, fathletes do.

  1. She’s already removed the post from Facebook. I bet she doesn’t show up, continuing her long string of DNS events.

    If she did show, I wonder if she can beat her previous pr of 1:09 something?

  2. hey, I have a question… what’s up with all that EATING ON the bike? do other people do that? I mean, I ride my bike for hours strait and it never occured to me to eat while doing it… drink, of course, but EAT? does her “sugar drop”? is she afraid she might starve if she doesnt eat for half an hour (I don’t think anyone can seriously believe she rides a bike non-stop for much longer than that)? is she afraid she might possibly lose some weight (oh the horror!) if she skipped one of her billion snacks a day? can someone be so kind and explain it to me please?

    • This is a real thing that real triathletes do. Eating on the bike is something that people training for Ironman races need to spend a lot of time figuring out. I usually take fuel for anything over 1.5 or 2 hours. Of course, that doesn’t mean Ragen isn’t lying about stuff. But fueling on the bike is, indeed, something that triathletes discuss a lot.

      • oh, I see… thanks! but again, Ragen is not really a thriathlete, now is she? so I guess she eats because… well, that’s what she does the best 😦

    • Oh yes. I can go on rides for up to about 1.5 hours without eating, but much longer than that I need some high energy snacks else I’ll end my ride with a voracious hunger or just lose steam (bonking). For longer rides, I do some century rides (100 mi), it’s best to start eating right away and eat often to avoid bonking.

      • thanks for your reply 🙂
        I am by no means a triathlete, or any kind of an athlete for that matter, but I seriously enjoy long bike rides and during spring and summer I ride almost daily for up to 100 km at a time and I never ever eat on my bike… so I guess I’m doing it wrong? 😦
        or maybe my body works differently because my diet is basically carb-free for last 15 years or so? I mean, I eat a ton of veggies, but I never eat sugars or breads or pastas or rice or even potatoes… ok, I’ll go and do some serious googl… I mean, “research” 😀

    • I see that you said you eat low carb. Which is why you don’t feel drained on your long bike rides, since your body has the ability to run on fats it wont bonk when it runs out of glucose. Check out primal endurance, its a pretty good book.

      • thank you so much, it makes so much more sense now, and I’ll definitely check that book out!
        the thing is, I’ve never actually did any real research about nutrition and stuff, it’s just that I never liked eating simple carbs because they all feel like mud in my mouth 😦 so once I started living on my own and prepairing my own food, I just stopped eating them altogether. imagine my surprise when not so long ago I discovered low-carbing was actually *a thing*, lol… it’s just perfectly natural to me…
        anyway, thanks again, all you guys are so nice! 🙂

    • My dad will eat out on his bike on a ride, mainly because he dislikes stopping, clipless pedals can actually make it more awkward to stop. Usually it’ll be easier to just down half an energy bar at the top of a hill on the bike while still riding then down it with some water. But that is usually for long rides or ones which are rather hilly. Also ones which may not have cafe stops (my dad loves his cafe stops on any given riding day).

      For a half hour jolt on the bike though I could not see needing any food and just a small bottle of water. Hell I couldn’t imagine only going out on the bike for half an hour, since once you get started with it, the rides can just fly by really.

  3. I hope it was a suitably elite bike part. Otherwise it might break again and while she’s stuck valiantly battling Amazon’s search engine and triumphing over it’s hatred of fat people, she’ll have to miss the upcoming 5K!


    I’m a fat person with a bad joint that had to be rebuilt after I had a bone tumor in highschool. But even I managed a 5K in less time than that. So what the hell??

  4. Reading the post of hers about the crash made me giggle. I have never been skinny, I have been fat my whole life, and I love food too much right now to fuss about it. All the same as a kid I did used to love going out on my mountain bike with my dad since we live in a nice hilly and wooded area. That graze is so adorable, the fuss she made over it just made me laugh, especially since she claims to have nearly gone head over handlebars on an uphill.

    Still I guess each to their own on pain tolerance.

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