Sat in an empty Italian restaurant in Wigan, thinking of the day that had been hanging over me for months and that had got steadily heavier as the iron man drew closer. 12hrs before the start of the race I came so close to cancelling my dinner in that restaurant and catching a taxi to Dom’s house near Salford than doing the race.
Everyone had told me I didn’t have to do the iron man and they wouldn’t have thought anything less of me “chris you’ve got a lot coming up, you should rest”. Ironically, all those people who said I should probably pull out were the ones who changed my mind and made me do it.
You don’t know until you try. How hard could it be?
I will be very frank with you at every stage of the race I was mulling over ways that I could pull out of the race and save some face. Why? Because Sunday hurt.
In the swim my face went numb from the cold of the water, the cuts on my neck from the wetsuit and the four or five punches I received in the swim as some ironmen lost the plot and started lashing out. In the swim there was no reason for me to drop out so I carried on splashing away.
The cycle was awful. My ass was killing by the finish. Knees in agony. Wrist frail. Back in real pain.
Eating the most disgusting power bars through the race was a real low point. Knowing you had to eat these energy bars so you had fuel in you but not being able to swallow them because they were so rank was like torture. I just wanted some melon or maybe a bit of pineapple.
It was commented by a fellow ironman person in the cycle that I must have OCD. As she noted that I pissed in the same spots round the 3 lap course- a bit like a cat? It does seem weird thinking about it now, it just felt safer than other places.
After about 6hrs 50mins I’d finished the bike leg, it was ace seeing my mates as I headed into transition. Although I got so excited when I saw Dom, Hardy, Sim, and Coop to the point where I nearly fell off my bike..
The run, my strong point.
The nurofen that I had slip down my cycling shorts probably did more damage than it did good. The sharp plastic had managed to cut into my leg and it was stinging pretty badly. But the 4 or so tablets sorted the back and knees out.
Surprisingly my legs felt so strong along the run section and I found I was flying past a lot of people. From checking the results my marathon time was the 98th best on the day out of over 1000 people!
You could tell I was feeling good because I could even sing a few versus from “two become one” by the spice girls to the lads when I ran past them. Don’t know why I did that.
“I need some love like I never needed love before wanna….”
Got some odd looks by other runners and bolton folk when my friends carried on the singing!
“Make love to you baby, I had little love now I’m back for more…”
On the home straight it was dawning on me, about what I was about to achieve. I’d always wondered about the iron man since me and my friend andrew had a timex iron man watches at the age of about 10. I never could have dreamed to have believed that I could finish one, let alone under 12hrs and finishing 263rd!! It was a amazing. Running down the carpet I was overtaken by emotion, seeing Dom, Coop, (Sim) and everyone else cheering me on over the line. It was pretty cool hearing the “Chris Jackson is an Ironman” over the tanoy.
Rather than sap my energy sunday showed what you can do if you just stay strong, focused and have supported. I’ll be drawing on all these things when I head out to the DRC on Sunday.
Should probably stop blogging and get some sleep. I’m writing this at 6am and my eyes are burning.