Lessons from 2013

The 2013 season has come to a close. As all seasons seem to be, it was quite the ride. The past few months have been full of great successes, breakthroughs, best times, frustrations, mistakes, highs, lows and endless learning. This year I made the decision part way through the summer to not chase points to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas. Instead, I decided to try a few other races that were on my bucket list, or would be an way to make money so I can continue on with this journey. Ideally, a race would generate income and be an excellent experience. One such race, was Wildflower.

The one and only Wildflower triathlon was held on May 4. This race has been on my bucket list for years. It’s known as one of the toughest, but most enjoyable races you will ever do. It didn’t disappoint. I made the trek down with some friends and fellow athletes from Calgary. The organizers treated us like gold and I have rarely felt so welcome at a race. So what did I learn?

1) Always be prepared for anything. I didn’t bring down a swim skin because everything I had read said it would be a wetsuit swim. The result, I had to borrow my friend Doug’s swimskin during the race because the pro race was a non wetsuit swim. Amateur mistake

2) Be willing to change things up. My coach Jack had scheduled a long ride of the bike course just 2 days before the event. This is an abnormal preparation for me, but we thought it was imperative I get a sense of how challenging the course would be before race day. This proved to be a critical decision because I was able to ride with more confidence and break down the course into sections to maximize my performance. As Jack predicted, there was no fatigue in the legs on race day, just more knowledge and confidence in the mind.

3) Racing hurts, so persevere. I went into Wildflower with the knowledge that the course is extremely challenging and in order to finish in the top 10 in such a deep field, I would have to dig very deep. Coming off the bike I was further behind than I would have liked in 14th place. I spent most of the run suffering alone on the hot, hilly, windy, lonely run course. I didn’t see people ahead of me until about mile 9. I was running well and continued to push and ran myself into 9th place by about 10.5miles. This was also the time I started to bonk. Due to the difficult nature of the course, I hadn’t altered my nutrition plan for the extra 15-20mins the course would take me. Add to that the fact I had been throwing up for the past 5 miles and now you understand where I was at. I refused to be passed by someone I had passed and dug deeper and deeper as I approached the line.

I gave everything I had to cross that line and then collapsed. At this point in time I was conscious, but not able to move. A large gentleman came over, scooped me up and carried me like a rag doll to the med tent where I laid on ice, while the pumped me with litres of IV for over an hour. Totally worth it.

Now, you know how amazing this race is if my race ended like that and I’m still planning on racing every year. Here are a few pics to relive my experience.

If you are on Facebook, click here for my finishing video

Grant Burwash Wilflower Triathlon Finish

Grant Burwash Wilflower Triathlon Finish

Grant Burwash getting finishing medal at Wilflower Triathlon

Grant Burwash getting finishing medal at Wilflower Triathlon

Grant Burwash in the Med tent at Wilflower Triathlon

Grant Burwash in the Med tent at Wilflower Triathlon

Grant Burwash post IV, recovering post Wilflower Triathlon

Grant Burwash post IV, recovering post Wilflower Triathlon

Thanks for reading,

Grant

 

 

Last Minute Musings

I’m packed and ready to race tomorrow. The story of today was definitely the rain. It rained heavily this morning and then poured for 3+hours this afternoon. The training swim was actually cancelled and many roads are flooded with lots of debris on them. It will make the race even more interesting if there is still flooding in the morning, but right now you can’t think about that. 

I’m definitely excited about the race tomorrow and am getting into the suffer mindset for tomorrow. There is no doubt in my mind that tomorrow is really going to hurt. The difficulty of the course, the intense humidity and the heat will leave all competitors fighting for every stroke, pedal and step. Yes, tomorrow will be a sufferfest. That being said, it doesn’t mean there won’t be success or reward for your efforts, you’ll just need to work for it

The race start at 6:30am local time. You can follow live and track me at the following link;

http://live.ironmanlive.com/Event/Ironman_703_St_Croix_2

Thanks to everyone who helped me get here and I’ll talk to you after the race.

Grant

Day 2 in Mexico

I’m happy to report that today was a much better day. After a good night sleep and getting back to being fully hydrated my body has started to come around. Even though it took a while to cool down enough to sleep last night, I got slept well. The funny thing was my hotel runs out of cold water. I thought in Mexico it was hard to find hot water…oh well.

When I got back from my run I was pleasantly surprised to see Jon walking out of our room. Thankfully he arrived safe and just in time to join me for a swim. Training today was much better and the body felt a lot better than yesterday. Jon and I even had a good dinner on our balcony with his mini pot that allowed us to have quinoa, beans, avocado, tuna and salsa. It was a much better meal than last night and my stomach doesn’t nearly seem as upset.

Tomorrow it’s time to head to the race site to scout it out and do some final prep work for race day.

Good night from my ocean view in Zihuatenejo.

G-Force

Training camp and IMC

Monday night I got back into Calgary from my training camp in the Okanagan. I spent 12 days there training and had a wonderful time. It was a great mental break from the routine of Calgary and was nice to ride on different roads and run on different trails. I have to say my favorite ride I did out there was the ride up Anarchist. It is a 19-20km long climb out of Osoyoos with beautiful scenery and great roads. My body responded quite well to the large training loads, but I was ready to get back into my own bed and into a routine by time I got home.

The trip ended with a few day in Penticton at Ironman Canada. This was my first time witnessing an Ironman and all I can say is WOW. It’s quite the event to have 2700 competitors, 4000+ volunteers and half the city shut down for a triathlon. I was working with PowerBar out there and so was able to watch the race from behind the scenes. I was giving out gels in T2 as people headed out on the run, which gave a very unique perspective on what people go through. Some people are already asking for soup or coke as the head out on the marathon. For these people all I could think of was “man you’re in for a long day.” I also saw some absolutely ridiculous sights, such as people riding with their helmet on backwards, crazy bike positions and enough fluorescent spandex and wigs to make you want to party like it’s 1989. Watching this event gave me so much more respect for the Ironman distance and I would like to congratulate all the competitors at IMC. A big shout out goes to Kyle Marcotte and Scott Curry who had another year of great racing at IMC, as well as all the Talisman Centre athletes and everyone else I knew there. Congrats!

G-Force

Where on Earth is Grant?

My life has been a little all over the map lately. After 70.3 it took me about a week before I was mentally and physically ready to get back into full training. Since then I’ve been busy trying to figure out a race plan and sink some solid hours of training in for the fall races.

As many of you know, elite nationals took place on Sunday in Kelowna and I did not take part. I had to pull out a week before hand because I didn’t feel ready to go. I know I could have raced and done descently, but I didn’t want my return to ITU to be OK, I want to do it on my terms. This decision lead to me taking a lot of flack from others, but it was my decision and I have to live with it. It was difficult being there and watching the race unfold knowing I should have been in the race. I want to congradulate Simon Whitfield on another national title and Paula Findlay hers as well. A huge shout out goes to Jon Bird, my training partner and fellow coach at Talisman Centre. He had a fantastic race and ended up 8th overall and the 5th Canadian. Watch out for this guy, he has incredible potential and you are just seeing the tip of the iceberg of the success he will have in triathlon. Congrats Jon!

As for me, I’m now in Kelowna and Penticton for 12 days doing a training camp with Jon. So far it’s been about 5 hours of training a day and loving every second of it. It’s amazing how training in the heat and on new roads revitalizeds you. My body is quite tired right now, so hopefully that turns around soon. After our training today Jon and I did a float down the river to relax and cool off the legs. Ahh, this is the life!

Grant

Inspiration videos

This past week hasn’t been going that well. My calves have really been acting up since 70.3 and I’m trying to manage everything and figure out my late season race schedule. I’m very excited for tomorrow though because I got worked on by Dave tonight, which usually means my run the next day is good. The other day I found these video’s and thought I would share them with you. I watched them the day before 70.3 and they really got me ready to hurt.

Jens Voigt has been one of my favorite riders in the pro peleton ever since I got interested in cycling. His willingness and ability to hurt is outstanding, and his attitude is so focused and vibrant. I also have great respect for Andy Potts, who has now successfully mastered all distances in triathlon.

Check out this website about Jens Voigt. Just keep hitting refresh

Enjoy,

G-Force

Calgary 70.3 Tomorrow

This week has been quite busy in preparation for the Ironman Calgary 70.3. I’m very excited about the race tomorrow and can’t wait to hear that air-horn go off at 6:10am to set me loose. My body actually feels quite tired from the massive 3 week training block I’ve been in, but hopefully the rest today will allow my legs to be sharp tomorrow. Either way, I’m excited to embark on the adventure of my first half ironman. I have many expectations and goals for tomorrow, but I’ll wait until after to tell you about them. The main goal for tomorrow is to race hard and to hurt. A hard fought race is exactly what I need to prep me for nationals in 3 weeks.

It’s going to be a very early morning for me and the rest of the competitors, but if you want to watch it doesn’t have to be that early. The best place to watch the race is North Glenmore Park. This is the location of T2, some of the run course and the finish. Expect the first Pro’s to be there just after 8:30 and the age groupers to follow for several hours. From this location, you can view your friends or loved ones 4 times. Hope to see some of you tomorrow.

G-Force

First race back, Canmore Triathlon

Yesterday I competed in the Canmore Olympic triathlon. My last post will give you a little back ground on the race and this post I’ll focus on the actual race.

Race morning my body didn’t feel that great, probably because of the flu I’d had all week. After some stretching and a good warm up things started to look up and my lungs opened up.  I just wanted to stay relaxed in the swim and not burn any matches. I got off to a good start and then settled into a pace. My swim isn’t where it needs to be, but I was happy with the effort. The entire swim I was alone, but had to pass people constantly because the womens olympic and sprint had gone ahead of us and it was a 3 lap course.

After a quick transition, I mounted my new steed, a Cervelo P3, and rode off into the rain and cold. Actually the weather wasn’t that bad, air temp and water temp were probably about 15C. The bike course was very hilly and four laps. Due to the hilly nature of the bike course, I had a hard time settling the HR down on the first lap. Each lap I got more relaxed though and tried to ride strong and smooth. My quads felt quite heavy and I started to throw up my hydration on the bike. It looks like I’ll have to do some more experimenting before the next race. I stopped drinking and took a gel with about 15mins left on the bike so everything would be digested before the run.

I entered T2 in first place and wanted to run strong for the first km and then settle into a rhythm. The run course was quite hilly and reminded me of my cross country days. My legs quickly transfered to running form and I was able to settle into a rhythm fairly quickly. Other than getting a stitch at 6km, the run was pretty uneventful. It involved a lot of hills and keeping a solid rhythm. I finished in first place and could hardly keep the smile off my face. It feels good to be back, triathlons are such a blast. More to come this summer, so stay tuned.

 1   1/4    M2024     40 Grant BURWASH                2   20:48    2 1:04:55    1   34:38 2:00:19.4
    2   2/4    M2024    266 Jeremy ROLES                 1   19:47    4 1:07:55    6   39:34 2:07:14.5
    3   1/14   M3034     12 Ivan BABIKOV                13   26:25    1 1:04:39    7   39:45 2:10:47.9
    4   1/10   M2529     62 Sean CROOKS                 27   27:10    3 1:07:36    8   39:54 2:14:37.9
    5   2/10   M2529    116 Nick HADDOW                  8   25:31    6 1:10:39    4   39:21 2:15:29.2 

Full results here

G-Force