My first Half Ironman Victory….and broken toe

First off, I would like to thank Mike Bock and all the others involved with the Chinook Half Ironman this weekend. Through the race, Mike has supported my athletic pursuits financially and so on Thursday I decided one of the best ways I could show my gratitude was to compete in his race. Thank you Mike.

Heading into Saturday, my legs were still tired from the week of training and I had a specific game plan to swim and bike hard and then try and cruise the run. I have been feeling quite strong lately, so I was excited to see how the body would feel over a longer race. My swim went quite well and I came out of the water with a sizable lead. The water was about 16*C so my hands and feet were a little chilly, but I was doing fine. My first transition was a little slow trying to get out of my suit, but I was quite relaxed and excited to start riding.

Grant Burwash Chinook Half Ironman triathlon 2011

Grant Burwash Chinook Half Ironman triathlon 2011

Grant Burwash Chinook Half Ironman triathlon 2011

Grant Burwash Chinook Half Ironman triathlon 2011

The bike headed out 22x into a head wind. The ride out seemed to take forever, but I tried to stay in aero as long as possible. I could really notice the lack of time on the TT bike and felt like I wasn’t riding that fast. I tried to just keep riding tempo and stand up on the hills to stretch the legs out. After about an hour my legs started waking up and I even said “hello legs” at one point. The irony is that not 10mins after I mentioned this I hit a huge head wind section and my legs decided to leave me again. The way home I just flew with the tail wind. I got much more comfortable and realized I was riding time into my biggest rival, Kyle Marcotte (multiple top 5 finisher at Ironman Canada).  On the way home I tried to just relax and even shared some words with Darcy and Doug in one of the Centaur Subaru mechanic vehicles. I was bugging them that they were getting beat by a two piston engine as they tried to snap some pics of me. By the time I hit T2 at 96km I was ready to get off my bike and start running…this is where the race got interesting.

For my second transition, I always take my cycling shoes off while riding. When I jumped off my bike and was running it to my transition the front wheel skipped on some gravel and the bike fell infront of me. I proceeded to trip over my bike and fell over my bike. While falling down I cut off the bottom of my left big toe and put a nice puncture wound between the big toe and second toe with my chainring. Then, I landed and on the same toe and ended up breaking it. Right away I knew something was wrong, but was not about to stop.

Grant Burwash Chinook Half Ironman triathlon 2011

the big cut, you can see the swelling starting to set in as my joint becomes huge

As I headed out for the run I looked down at my toe to see if it was bleeding through my white shoes. The blood was just starting to flow, but the pain only got worse. As the half marathon progressed, I became more and more uncomfortable and my gait got worse and worse as I was unable to put as much weight through the foot. I knew something serious was wrong, but was to stubborn to stop and figure it out. I cruised through the first of two laps cheering people on and talking to my lead bike. The second lap started in the same manner and then I really started to hurt. My foot was getting the better of me and I had to slow down. I still ended up running a new course record 1:16 half marathon at the end, and was happy with that. As I cruised to the finish line I realized I was going to win my first ever Half Ironman. The glory was short lived as I needed a medic immediately, but I was absolutely stoked to win this long Half Ironman race in 4:09. My fitness is really starting to come around and I am excited for the rest of the summer. Congrats to everyone else that raced and thanks to all the volunteers and others that came out to support me.

Grant Burwash Chinook Half Ironman triathlon 2011

Grant Burwash Chinook Half Ironman triathlon 2011



6 thoughts on “My first Half Ironman Victory….and broken toe

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