If I heard it once, I heard it a hundred times, “Your neighbor is a nice guy.”

Hmm . . . “It’d be nice to meet this nice-guy-neighbor of mine,” I thought.

Technically, he lived about 3 blocks away, but as fate would have it, the day after Ironman Louisville 2013 I finally met him in the hallway of the Expo.  He stood in relative obscurity despite having crushed the Louisville course a day before.  First in his age group, and 10th overall.

Naturally, I had a few questions, so I introduced myself as his neighbor, then started in about my upcoming Ironman in Wisconsin.  It would be my first, and certainly he would have at least one valuable tip?  As it turned out, he gave me some of the best advice I’d ever received.

He was indeed a gracious neighbor and delivered the usual, “You’re ready,” and “You’ll do fine,” stuff, but after a few minutes I saw him dig deeper for a Zen reflection.  Then he laid it on me.

“The thing I always try to remember during an Ironman is, never put too much stake in how you feel because it will change every 20 minutes or so.”

Hmm . . . “Don’t believe how you feel?”  It sounds counter-intuitive, but on race day, it often comes down to survival and your will wears down before your body.

The ups and downs of a race are more manageable if you don’t take them literally.  Ironman is the definition of “mind game” and the minute you start believing your pain or your high, you are in dangerous territory.

It’s a battle of extremes and the goal is to stay balanced.  Once you jump in the water, your mind is in charge of your body but your soul controls the mind.  Notice, adjust, and keep moving.

Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems . . . in Ironman, and in life.

Learn more about my now ex-neighbor here

Follow me on Twitter @miketarrolly




The Best Ironman Race Advice I've Ever Received