Making the tough decisions

Let’s just say the past 6 weeks haven’t gone as planned. After my best winter of training with PB’s on the bike, constancy with training and a general enjoyment of what I do….life got in the way. Most likely I could have handled one or two items, but when it feels like your life completely falls apart, something has to give.

This weekend I didn’t race Wildflower as initially planned. This was a hard decision because I was coming off a win at Leadman 125 and Wildflower is one of my all time favourite races. So why did I drop out? Well, we looked at my wattages from Leadman and realized I was about 30Watts lower normalized power than I rode last year over 90km. I was tired, struggling with getting workouts done and the love of the sport wan’t there. Instead of heading to the race and having a performance I wouldn’t be happy with, we decided to stay at home, save money and try and find passion and consistency again.

When I’m training and racing well it is because I have been consistent. Each day I get up, don’t question the work I have to do that day and get it done. I’m excited by the pain and challenges of training. I’m passionate about what I do and driven to be better than I’ve been in the past and everyone else on the starting line. This is what I need to get back to. I need to find the passion, routine and love for my sport. This is why I stayed home and this is the journey I am on. The past 2 months my triathlon training has felt like a job, added to my other triathlon job of coaching. Training and racing needs to get back to why I started it in the first place….because I absolutely LOVE it.

Grant Burwash Triathlon run

Grant Burwash Triathlon run

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Longing for heat

This week, Calgary decided to invite winter over for a visit. It seems all of a sudden we had a blizzard and we are now in full on winter mode. To not sound un-Canadian, I’m not going to complain about this weather, and instead reminisce about this summer. Anyone who knows me knows that I crave the sunshine. This results in some fabulous tan lines that people laugh at out loud and don’t even wait for me to get out of earshot before they make a mockery of my neapolitan style skin. Not that I blame them, even Hillary says she would love me more if I was evenly tanned! 

So, instead of hating winter, I thought I’d post some pics of myself enjoying summer with some friends. This summer, I was very blessed to enjoy many races where I have friends and family present. For someone who travels to race as much as I do, having friends at a race is quite special. Of all the things that make you feel at home while racing, having someone to hug at the finish line is by far the most satisfying. It is very lonely crossing the finish line and having no one to talk to, celebrate with or feel disappointed with. Here are some pics of me enjoying the post race high with some friends.

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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