Ironman Calgary 70.3 2014

As my hometown race and spectacular course, Ironman Calgary 70.3 (#IMYYC) has become one of my favourite and largest races of the year. No other race carries the pressure from myself or others than this one. Once again, 2014 brought a competitive field of male pros including Olympians, World Champions, Ironman and 70.3 winners. Heading into the race I was extremely confident and the right amount of nervous.

The swim started out perfectly. I knew the course really well and the long shallow entry made it tricky for others. When the horn went, I took several running strides before a few dolphin dives and started swimming. To my surprise, I was leading Andy Potts on my left and Will Clarke on my right. This lasted maybe 100m before I got swallowed up by the pack and settled into my groove. Everyone must have taken their happy pills that morning because the swim was ridiculously gentle. I didn’t get bumped or hit once…new record. Half way through I made a tactical error and let the guy in front of me open a gap to the pack as we headed into the sun. I came out just behind the pack after swimming the rest alone…what a loner!

Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon

Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon

Running into T1 the only thing I really remember is someone yelling “You’re 3mins down on Potts!” My thought “Crap, I just swam 1900m in 23mins…thought I swam well” The bike was also very cordial for the first bit. It took me 30km to catch the guy in front of me and I couldn’t see anyone else on the road. When I caught him we proceeded to shift leads every couple minutes so we would have a carrot to chase. By this time my stomach was a little upset and I had started throwing up my nutrition. This is why I only eat liquids on race day! The ride home was super quick with a tail wind and I came into T2 in 8th place.

Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon bike

Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon bike


Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon bike

Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon bike

In T2 my coach, family and friends were all yelling at me from 2 feet behind. I’m listening for info as Jon Bird and JVD yell “No one can run like you” “It’s time to Unleash!” “Go Hunting G-Force!” I headed out of T2 like I had nothing to lose. One of my cue words for the day was “Unleash” on the run and I started with a quick tempo right away. The legs felt heavy and tired but based on the couple people I saw, I knew I was moving. At the 10km mark, I was in 6th place and 1km down on 5th. I kept the pressure on and embraced the pain of the race. I longed to see the Talisman Centre’s Aid station at the top of Weaselhead hill at 17km. Combine this with seeing Hillary, my family, Birdman and JVD and I knew I could catch 5th. The pain was there, the legs were heavy, but thankfully I had enough to move into 5th with 2km to go.

Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon run

Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon run

Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon run

Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon run


Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon run

Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon run

I finished in 5th place in 3:54:25. I had the fastest run split by 1min, clocking a 1:14:03. Overall, I’m happy with the day, but definitely need to become a better cyclist.

Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon finish

Grant Burwash triathlete Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon finish


Thanks for reading and for all the support from family, friends and sponsors, especially Paul at Centaur Subaru.

2014 Centaur Subaru Triathlon Clinics

Centaur Subaru

2014 Centaur Subaru Triathlon Clinic

Centaur Subaru – Triathlon Clinic Weekend

 

Centaur Subaru is proud to support grassroots triathlon in Calgary for the fifth straight year. Both beginner and intermediate triathletes are invited to attend a free clinic put on by Canadian professional triathetes Jon Bird and Grant Burwash. The first day will have athletes test the new Calgary 70.3 course at Auburn Bay. We will focus on skills and tips for swimming in a lake, including sighting, entering and exiting the water, swimming straight, pack swimming dynamics and wetsuit information. This course is limited to the first 35 people that RSVP. All participants are required to have an Alberta Triathlon Association membership to participate.

 

Day 1 – Swim

Auburn Bay – Saturday May 24, 2014 -8:30am
8:30am: Arrive, chat about technique, tips & swim strategy
9:00am: start swimming ~30mins
9:45am: T1 discussion and any other questions.
10:30am:   Headed home in a warm car
What to Bring:

Swim suit, goggles, wetsuit, swim cap, neoprene cap (if you have one), towel, warm clothes
Day 2 – Bike/ Run

North Glenmore Park – Sunday May 25, 2014 -9:30am

 

The second day will have athletes test out the transition area for the Calgary 70.3 course at North Glenmore Park. The bike-handling course will focus on skills and tips for bike handling, pack riding, climbing, basic bike maintenance and road safety. Following the short bike run athletes will learn quick transition tips, maximizing your run tips and some dynamic run drills that will prevent injury. This course is limited to the first 35 people that RSVP, each participant will receive a free catered lunch and some PowerBar products. All participants are required to have an Alberta Triathlon Association membership to participate..
9:00am: arrive
9:30am: clinic begins with cycling segment.
10:30am: start practicing transitions and run segment begins.

11:30- Lunch and discussion
What you need to bring:

Bike, Helmet, warm clothing, towel, toque, gloves, riding jacket, running shoes

 

 

Jon Bird – jonbird@shaw.ca

Grant Burwash – grantburwash@gmail.com

Cost – FREE * requires a ATA license and signing a waiver

To register for this course please submit the following online form. If the form is no longer active the clinic has filled up.

 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1LJDy_phxtCwR2as-W3dzjEclNpznl-iKURoq5ItjyXE/viewform

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

GB Cycling kits

Hello Friends,

This year I created a “Grant Burwash” cycling kit. This kit is being sold to support my racing goals for the upcoming season. All funds raised will go directly towards entry fees, travel, and racing equipment. As good friends and avid cyclists, I am sharing with you my 2014 racing kit. You are welcome to pass this on to any friends or colleagues that may also be interested.

If you are interested in purchasing a kit or any component of it, please send me an email with your sizing. Payment can be made via e-transfer, cash or cheque.

All orders must be place by Friday February 14.

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The pricing options are laid out below.

 

ITEM

SIZES

PRICE

MEN’S

 

 

Performance Pro Jersey (pro cut or elite cut)

XS – XXL

$80

Elite Power Bib

XS – XXL

$110

The Works (Jersey, Bibs, Arm Warmers, Glasses)

$450

 

 

 

WOMEN’S

 

 

Performance Pro Jersey

XS – XL

$80

Elite Power Short

XS – XL

$100

The Works (Jersey, Shorts, Arm Warmers, Glasses)

$440

 

 

 

Arm Warmers

XS -XL

$30

Custom Oakley Radarlock Sunglasses (with 2 lenses, hard case)

$250

Louis Garneau Cycling size Chart 

http://custom.louisgarneau.com/media/pdf/sizingchart/sizingchart_en.pdf

 

All clothing is made by Louis Garneau. The shorts and bibs have been upgraded to a 4-motion chamois for extra comfort. The jersey is very lightweight and breathable with a full zip front.

 

Oakley Sunglasses retail for $325 and come with a black iridium lens for sunny days and g30 lens for low light conditions.

 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Orders are due by Friday February 14.

 

Thank you in advance for the support.

Wishing you a great 2014 season.

 

Grant

grantburwash at gmail.com

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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Hello Intensity!

For the past couple months I’ve been meandering through my off season. This year I’ve been struggling with some issues like motivation, feeling fatigued and struggling to figure out how to make next year happen. I’m looking at where I want to be next year and I’m now putting in the work to make that happen. 

A couple weeks ago, my coach Jack VanDyk, put in a great race at Ironman Arizona. Not only was I ecstatic to watch my coach race, but it also meant I was now getting back into the routine of training. No sooner was he back from Arizona than we got to work. Last week started with the worst run lactate test I’ve ever done. I’m not being dramatic about this, I’ve seriously done better in first year university. I picked myself up and had a very descent bike test later on that week. Mild sense of redemption here, but mostly a pummelling in the face with a bag of bricks. 

I trust Jack and he saw the need to add some stimulus to my training apart from the miles we’ve been putting in. After just a week of doing intensity on the swim, bike and run I’m already feeling more activated and motivated. Nothing has been so hard to leave me wandering around the hurt locker looking desperately for the exit. The intervals have been achievable and I’ve surprised myself with how my body has responded. I guess coach knows best! Sometimes you just need to change it up and add some intensity. 

My future holds less of this

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And more of this:

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Coaching highs and lows

Anyone who has ever coached an athlete knows the coach goes through the highs and lows with an athlete. It is very stressful to watch athletes compete and know you can do nothing to help them, except cheer if you happen to be on course. Sitting at home following them online can be euphoric or agonizing, that is if there is online tracking.

Around race day, I tend to do another analysis of their past several weeks and months and really analyze how the preparation went. Are they ready? What went well? What could we have done differently? What uncontrollable circumstances occurred that may affect the outcome? This doesn’t mean a coach isn’t confident, but rather they are willing to critically look at themselves and the athlete to determine what could be done better and to make a educated estimation of performance. Yesterday was a perfect example.

One of my athletes, who has been with me the longest, was racing Ironman Lake Tahoe. Her preparation heading into the race was spectacular. No injuries, consistent training and high motivation, had brought her to the start line in the best shape she has ever been in and well prepped for a PB. So, what happened?….Weather. Snow, frigid temperatures and all around misery for the athletes lead to over 1100 dnf’s or dns’s (about 40% attrition). Throughout the day, as I watched times get slower and slower, I knew the PB was not going to happen. When I saw she had finished though and stuck out a brutal day of racing, that made me very proud.

No, this race didn’t lead to the time we were hoping of. Yes, there were things that could have gone better on race day. However, there are still some major positives to take away. First, she made it to the start line. This is one of the greatest feats because it requires a commitment to a lifestyle and preparation. Anyone can sign up for a race, show up and compete. It take a lot more to meticulously prepare for this race and to alter your lifestyle to a healthy, active one. Second, nothing is more gratifying for a coach than to see their athlete fight for what they want. Starting that race, she knew the time was going to be slow, but that didn’t mean it couldn’t be a positive experience. I love a fighter. Third, set goals and be willing to throw them out the window on race day. The night before during our discussion, I was blown away at the relaxed, calm athlete on the other end of the line. When life throws you a major loop, make sure you’re willing to go with the flow. Preparation and routine are great, but you need to have fun and be flexible to.

At the end of the day racing is fun. Yes, it’s incredibly painful and nerve racking, but totally worth it. Whatever or wherever your next race is. Embrace the highs and lows that go along with it and have a blast. A happy athlete is a fast athlete!

 

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My many hats

As the season ends and fall rolls into Calgary, there is a shift in the air for me. The training has become less focused on intensity and more focused on aerobic base and general fitness. For the first time in months, I’m not obsessing about my weight and watching everything meticulously that enters my mouth. Finally I have some time to catch up with friends and family and don’t have to leave at 8:30pm for bed. Yes, the training and racing aspect has calmed down, even if it is just for a few weeks.

However, this doesn’t mean I’m not busy. No, this is the time of year where I wish I went to business school and took marketing.  This, is sponsorship season. As a professional athlete, I have many jobs. There is the obvious one of making sure my body is in immaculate condition and that I perform at my highest level on race day. I also coach several athletes and run multiple programs out of the Talisman Centre to support myself and to give back to the triathlon community. Not to mention I enjoy it! My other jobs include finding funds to support this job as well as marketing myself to maintain my influence in the sport. Finding  sponsorships is a long, arduous, enjoyable, frustration and rewarding experience. You have some companies that you interact with for months and they never call you back or answer phone call, just stop talking to you or string you along and then drop you or don’t come trough on promises. The, you have other companies where you just click. Some of my good friends were introduced to me in a sponsorship setting and I’m eternally grateful for those people.

So, what does this involve? Well, there is the sending out of resume’s, constant contact and phone calls, investigating companies and making connections. I am quite picky on who I deal with and only work with companies I truly believe I can form a mutually beneficial relationship with. In the past couple years I have grown a fondness for business and do enjoy certain aspects of this challenge. I have been so blessed to have so many mentors around me. People who have guided me on my path and provided me with more world knowledge that I ever got from U of C. To those dear friends of mine, I say thank you.

No one teaches you how to get sponsors. Over the past 10 years, I have made many mistakes, learned a lot and progressed as an athlete, business man and person. I have a dream, and that dream requires adequate funding to fulfil. My reality is that every day I wake up in the morning and want nothing more than to train to be the best triathlete in the world. Following  this passion has been rewarding so far and will hopefully continue for many more years to come. I can’t think of any better job than following my passion.

Grant Burwash & Hillary Higgins Ironman Calgary 70.3

Grant Burwash & Hillary Higgins Ironman Calgary 70.3

Grant

Tour of Alberta

I know what you’re thinking….”Everyone is posting pictures and comments on social media from the Tour of Alberta.” Well, that is exactly what I want to talk about. This weekend I was so encouraged to go and watch the Tour of AB’s final stage finish in Calgary. The racing was obviously spectacular to watch, but I was more impressed by what was going on on the other side of the barriers.

For the final stage, I heard rumours of over 100,000 people lining downtown. The streets were closed, the crowds were massive and the noise and atmosphere was crazy. It was inspiring to see so many people out for a sporting event. This reiterates my belief that Calgary is an active city. I’m hoping this event excites people to pursue health and fitness, whether that is biking, hiking, yoga, etc. 

Tour of Alberta…Please come back next year!

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