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Lebanon's own Ironman completes grueling competition
Nov 07, 2012 12:00 am
To someone who would only run if being chased by the Gestapo, hearing about someone who can run 26.2 miles, after biking 112 and swimming 2.4 miles, is a bit shocking.
Chris Bain of Lebanon did just that when he completed a recent Ironman Triathlon in Panama City, Fla., while his proud family cheered him on.
"It was a long day, that's for sure," Bain said in a classic understatement. "It's still kind of sinking in. The winning time was about 8 hours and 6 minutes. I finished in 12 hours 55 minutes. I'll take that for my first one."
While he completed the competition, he did have to fight the pain and stay mentally tough to reach the finish line.
"I was fighting cramps for most of the run. I didn't know what to expect, and my salt intake wasn't what it needed to be, so I was having cramps," he said. "It was a big learning experience."
He had his moments of doubt, but he stuck to his plan.
"On the run, I took it easy because I didn't know what to expect. As I got toward the last five or six miles, I picked it up and jogged the rest of the way," said Bain. "I had energy left; I never hit the wall. The cramps were there, but I was able to hold them off. I felt it the last mile-and-a-half, but I said to myself 'I've come too far to give up,' so I jogged the rest of the way in. No cramp was going to stop me."
He said he heard the internal voices telling him he had done enough and that it would be OK to quit.
"There wouldn't be any pride in quitting," Bain said. "There was a sign on the course that said 'pain is temporary, but quitting is forever.'"
He also credits his family with helping him pull through and finish.
"The support was incredible," he said. "I had family stretched out along the course, and that helped a whole lot. The marathon was a double loop, and on the second loop I was like, 'I got this.' It wasn't even a question then, it was just a matter of getting it done."
Bain impressed even himself with his perseverance.
"There is a lot of mental toughness involved," he said. "Physically, you've got to be tough, but the mental part—it's hard to prepare for that. You try to turn off your head, and you try to block it out and just try to get from one mile marker to the next."
He noted that setting incremental goals is the key to not getting overwhelmed over the long haul.
"I would run for four minutes and walk for a minute," Bain said, adding that it also helped that he was motivated by more than pride.
"I was raising money for the Alpha One Foundation. My mother was diagnosed with Alpha One lung disease about a year ago," he explained. "In the race you can designate your own charity, and I was raising money all summer. That made it more special."
Bain began running to lose weight and found his calling.
"Four or five years ago, I couldn't imagine doing this," he added. "I'm good now, but I used to be real heavy."
His dedication took him from being overweight to being in world-class form. Not only does he feel better, he accomplished an even more important goal - setting a good example for his 5-year-old son, Keaton, who is following in his father's footsteps.
"He loves getting out and running. He's done a couple triathlons himself; he's all about it," Bain said with obvious pride. "It's a healthy lifestyle, and I love doing it and showing him that hard work pays off."
He added that he is also showing his son that you don't give up, even when it hurts.
"Growing up, you have people you look up to, and I want to be that for him," Bain said. "My son said 'I want to be just like you.' You can't beat that. It's great."
Evidently, the desire to excel is catching, and Bain plans to compete in another Ironman competition someday.
"I'll do another one sometime," he said. "My brother-in-law has aspirations to do one. I told him I'd do one with him."
Meanwhile, Bain plans to take it easy by running another marathon.
"I have a marathon in two weeks, the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon," he said. "I feel good, my legs are a little sore, but all-in-all I couldn't ask for more than how I feel."
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 45 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.