Ironman Arizona 20th Nov
Ironman Arizona 20th Nov
I firstly want to honour Sally Meyerhoff, Sally was an Arizonian local, elite marathon runner & XTERRA Trail World Champion who tragically died in a car accident recently whilst training on her bike. I had never met Sally but it’s always saddening to hear of anyone passing in our sport so young. Most of the pro’s, myself & the community she touched, honoured her this past weekend by wearing a pink band in the race with the words “Think relentlessly positive”. Little did i know how often I & others would be drawn to reading this throughout our race.
Ironman Arizona has in the past drawn some great names & Champions, but I don’t think any Ironman race outside of kona has drawn a field with such depth & strength.106 professional men & women towed the start line! & Im sure this has to be an Ironman record of sorts, seeing that the Hawaii Ironman World Championship has been capped at 80…
After my 9th place finish at the ITU Long Distance World Championship, I felt I had recovered well and was eager to finish the season on a high. I had picked up a cold post race in Henderson and I concentrated mostly returning to full health and then my Physio rehabilitation thanks to Roy at Pinnacle Elite Physiotherapy in Kelowna & Suzanne Koller. My training miles were banked before the race in Henderson so I knew the fitness was there, my only concern was maybe racing 2 big races so close together. I was feeling good, relaxed & excited to race. It was a stacked field but i believed with a great day, without any nutritional problems & a well executed strategy I could maybe podium & get under my 8:17 Scottish Ironman record pb.
The race started at 6:45am, so I set the alarm for 4.15am. After my first bathroom visit I got dressed, firstly putting on my Compressport compression quads & calf’s to help the blood circulation into my legs & then my Fusion race kit, followed by body tattoo’s & breakfast.
Breakfast is light after getting a good feed the night before. I aim to have breaky about 2 hours before the race start.
Powerbar/Neovite recovery shake with rice milk, a banana & some carrot cake & Powerbar Perform energy drink to sip on until race start
The Swim: 3.8km – 51.37
Pre-race was awesome, a sell out race, a huge pro field with lots of big names. My mum & girlfriend Lisa came to support me on a surprise visit, I had local support from my awesome home stay hosts Carl & Tabitha Jones, and their local triple sports triathlon club & crew, I couldn’t wait to start.
The start line felt crowded & I made sure that I placed myself hard on on the right hand side to stay out of trouble from the go. I hit the start hard & for the most part stayed trouble free of the frenzied washing machine & flying fists. I got clubbed a couple of times but I got a clean start all the same.
The first 500m or so the pack didn’t really take a normal formation & I found myself on the right with 5 or so lead swimmers side by side. I moved & positioned myself in behind the feet of the front line & all seemed great until a few hundred meters before the turn round bouy the pack changed direction quite erratically & the pace hiked to what felt like sub 1:10 pace! I couldn’t tell what line group was taking as changed 2 or 3 times, I tried hanging on but the burn in my biceps got the better of me & I lost the main group & found myself isolated.
I was swimming reasonably fast but soon my stroke quickly felt sloppy & dashed. Initially I thought I could hold a what looked like a 20 sec deficit at the half way turn round bouy, but the group soon swam out of sight & left me on a long lonely return leg. I span round a couple of times to see where the next pack was but i thought it was too risky to sit up & wait. The swim felt terrible Its not often I don’t go sub 50 but today It was just a grind to go under 52. This was not the start I’m used to. I made it shore & got through T1 as quickly as i could & hopped onto my Blue Triad SL armed with my Rolf TT58/Disc , Rotor 3D Cranks & Q-Rings + my newly sponsored areo helmet courtesy of HH Global that adhered to the US CPSC bike safety legislation.
The Bike: 180km – 4:32.15
The bike course was 3 x 60km laps. For the most part flat with a couple of undulations heading toward the turn around point – A head wind out & a tail wind back. The bike fire power in the mens pro field was sonic. First Kienle passed early in the first lap & then latterly by Weiss. I passed Rafael early on & found myself riding with Zmentez & Abel until Victor punctured on the shoulder heading back into town. Checking my Garmin at lap 1 read – 1:28 so I was on sub 4:30 pace & guesstimating the guys up front must be going around 4:20-25 pace. I would obviously have loved to be with the front guys but checking the speedo i was sure that some would burn there matches at some point, whether it be on the bike or marathon.
Heading out onto the 2nd lap Rapp passed with Bastie closely behind & a few others in chase. The 2nd lap seemed go through quickly much like the first lap, a head wind out, tail wind back. Another time time check – 2hrs 57 almost even splitting. At this point I figured a sub 4:30 bike & good marathon would still see in the race.
On the 3rd lap, as hoped for racers ahead began to dwindle & suffer from the early high wattage pushed. I too went through bad patches digging in hard up to the turn around thinking that I’ll get a tail wind home on the final stretch… I wish! The wind picked up & it was a head wind back into town… ahh
Most of the guys I had caught up to had slipped off the pace. Jordan had pulled out with what looked like major gastric problems & Bastie had surged, gaining some time heading back into town.
The Marathon: 42.2km – 3:01.07
It was 3 loop run course in which you passed T2 twice per lap so it was very spectator friendly. I was so out of touch in my own world of pain that I didn’t notice until lap 3 that some of the aid stations were themed as Pirates or Cops & Robbers!
Onto the run, where I normally go sub-3 & move up through the field, just didn’t materialise… I whipped on my springy ON surfer runners & got quickly into a rhythm exiting T2 but by mile 2 I just felt plain horrible. I was passed by 3 or more athletes by mile 10 firstly Abel, Zyemtsev then Wurtele. I’m not used to going backwards & I was wasn’t the most positive of athletes on the course & thought this could be the day I have dreaded and have to walk home … I was maybe in 16th or 17th position. Finishing Lap 1 I ditched my Nathan fuel belt, normally my saviour but I felt instantly free around my hip flexors. I felt a second wind as I consciously kept reading my pink bracelet “Think relentlessly positive”. I concentrated on getting my cadence back up & set myself the simple task getting round. I went through some major rough patches & it was gratifying to see the Scottish & Union Jack flags out there inspiring me to dig in. No sooner I got through lap 2, I was on my final lap & I began passing athletes once more. Seeing my mum, Lisa Tabitha, Carl & other newly made friends this past week really got me through my big lull. I may not have acknowledged it at the time but they really helped pull me to that finish line.
My swim & run legs weren’t playing ball as normal, it wasn’t a podium, nor a top 10 but still a victory when you don’t think you’ll make the finish line. I placed 11th in my 3rd fastest Ironman time 9:29.03 on a really rough day.
I’ve always said whether your first or last hitting the Ironman finish chute, it’s still one the best feelings in the World.
Race Finish Video:
Thanks to all my great, supporters, my mum & Lisa that came on a surprise visit, Tabitha & Carl my awesome homestays, my friends and Sponsors – Urban Hotel Group, Dr Forrest Dentistry, HH Global, UK Multisport, Blue Competition Cycles, Fusiion Clothing, ON run shoes, Rolf Wheels, Rotor Engineering, Ekoi eye ware & helmets, Powerbar, Neovite, Compressport, Computrainer, Keywin pedals, iMac Images, Aberdeen Sport Therapy, MacinTosh plant Hire, Pinnacle Physiotherapy, EliteSportz, Cyclemania, OMSC, RGU Sport. Without you all I don’t think I could of made the finish
Scott Neyedli Race Splits:
Race Nutrition Plan:
Night before: 12 hr before race start
– Pasta in light red sauce with small chopped tomatoes & chopped lean steak
30 mins before the race start
– 1 non-caffeine Powerbar gel.
I carry my own sports nutrition
– 2 Powerbar non-caffeine gels/ hour with water from the aid stations.
– 1 Powebar Perform energy sports drink at the beginning of the bike
– a 2nd Powebar Perform energy sports drink If I think I need it at the special needs station.
– If I think I need any electrolytes I drop tablets into my Areofill bidden depending on heat of the day
I tend to go on feel in this part of the race as my gut tends to be more sensitive.
– 1 or 2 Powerbar gels / hour an hr
– with coke & water at most aid stations
The Race Equipment: