Past Races

11/07/2020 IRONMAN Florida
10/18/2020 70.3 Ironman Waco
05/31/2020 Ironman Tulsa
04/05/2020 IRONMAN 70.3 Texas

Ryan Scharnell

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Primary Discipline(s) Triathlon
Bucket List RaceKona
Post-Race DrinkCurrently water with Precision Hydration 1500 tab and chocolate milk

If my friends and colleagues were asked to describe me in one word it would be “competitive.” As an identical twin, I have been competing since birth. I believe some form of competition is healthy as it pushes you to want to do better. Whether it was playing high school sports, or lacrosse and volleyball in college, I have always had an outlet to compete. Growing up, I loved watching Kona on NBC thinking I could do that, but my time was spoken for with baseball, football and basketball. No one in my family had ever done a triathlon, so I was out of luck.
In college, me and my friends decided to do a sprint triathlon in Austin, Texas. We all thought we were in good shape and didn’t train as hard as we should. The swim almost killed us, but we survived – and we’re hooked. We did that same race every year for 3 years, improving our times each race.
After graduating, the real-world hit, and racing stopped for a few years. However, when my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I just Team in Training and raised money to compete in an Olympic distance triathlon (St. Anthony’s in St. Petersburg, Fl). This was the first time I had a coach help with my workouts. My dad passed away the day before my first race which made it hard, but I finished. I did 3-4 races a year – and went back to Florida for that race 3 years in row. Then life struck again in the form of law school.
While in law school almost all physical activity stopped. I competed off the field now, with other students for first in class. After law school I went to work for a law firm in Oklahoma and put in long weeks. Kids came soon after. Before I knew it I was 240 pounds, and my doctor was about to put me on blood pressure medication. I made the decision in January 2017 that I would take care of myself.
I was at the gym almost every day for months, lifting weights and doing cardio until I had dropped 50 pounds. In July 2018 a college friend called and asked if I wanted to do a Half-Ironman in 3-months. Why not? I had not done a half-ironman since Lubbock in 2008, or a triathlon since 2009, but I signed up and got a coach. I broke 6-hours which was my goal.
After the race, my buddies were done with racing, but I felt like I was just getting started, so I signed up for IM Texas in 2019. My first full Ironman. I followed the advice of my coach for months and finished IM Texas, but realized I still needed work on the 4th discipline – nutrition. Crossing the line my stomach was in knots, I tried drinking and immediately throw it up. On the way home I was starving, but couldn’t keep anything down. My wife took my to the ER were my blood work showed elevated CPK which they called “Rhabdomyolysis.” Five hours and six IVs later, I was released where it was strongly suggested I not race that distance again.
Recovering from that race took several weeks before my body felt normal, but I could not keep my heart rate in check on easy runs afterward. My coach thought I had done a lot of damage during the race, and it would take time. I deferred from Lubbock 70.3, and raced an Olympic distance race in September where I had a great race (placed first in my age group), despite horrible conditions – wind and rain that cancelled the swim. My running legs are coming back and next year I am set to attack Galveston 70.3; IM Tulsa, Lubbock 70.3, Redman (Olympic distance in Oklahoma City), and Waco 70.3 with a few sprints thrown in for workouts. I feel teaming up with Infinit would be beneficial for me and the brand – I can help me with the nutrition end, and in return, I can share my story of Rhabdo at IM Texas to finishing strong at other races due to my change in nutrition.
It doesn’t look like I’ll ever qualify for Kona (IM Texas was 13 hours after the horrible run and Rahbdo), but I was on pace for a sub-12 hours. Having Kona dangling out there as a carrot keeps my drive alive as I compete against myself and the clock.