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 –

Grant Burwash –

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.

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.






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




And more of this:




Not my day

Just a quick post to let everyone know why I had a DNF beside my name for Ironman 70.3 St Croix. About half way through the bike today I got a flat. I tried to fix it and my pitstop didn’t work. Super frustrating, so I got a ride home in the back of a truck. I was 8th coming out of the water and was in 9th or 10th when I flatted and feeling better and better as the day went on. Very angry right now and not really sure what to do next. I feel like I wasted my fitness and time coming here because nothing worked out. I can’t let myself feel like that though and need to instead focus on the next race and transferring this anger into training.

Congrats to Andy Potts and Angela Naeth who took the wins today.


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;

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


Ironman Calgary 70.3 Lecture tomorrow night at Talisman

Ironman Lecture Series

Ironman Calgary 70.3 is fast approaching! Complete your race prep with Talisman Centre’s Ironman Lecture Series. Get expert advice and valuable training tips from our group of professional coaches and experienced triathletes to help you optimize your performance! FREE for Talisman Centre members and Ironman 70.3 Calgary competitors. $25 for non-members/non-competitors.

March 1st: Establishing Your Training Plan

Jack VanDyk will present practical tips, strategies and guidelines to help you prepare for the 2012 Calgary 70.3. Learn how to develop a sensible training schedule and identify the key periods of the season in which you will increase volume and intensity. Scared and questioning why you signed up? Do you have to train a ton to complete this event? Looking to qualify for World’s in Vegas? Come find out the practical training aspects and put your mind at ease!

March 22nd: Nutrition

Train, recovery, rest, train recovery rest – all a part of your daily schedule as you prepare for Ironman 70.3. Kelly Drager, Sport RD at Talisman Centre, will look at how to plan your nutrition needs as part of your cycle – train nutrition, recovery nutrition, and rest nutrition. If you haven’t put much thought into your nutritional needs before this session you won’t question its importance after. Your biggest support team is the food you eat.

April 18th: Race Plans and Triathlete Perspectives

Listen as Jack VanDyk, Jon Bird, Ed Rechnitzer and Grant Burwash, four of the coaches from the Talisman Centre Triathlon Club discuss their preparations leading into a race and their experiences with racing. The coaches will discuss their personal race strategies, warm-ups and race experiences with Ironman Calgary 70.3 as well as relevant info from other races. All coaches have several years of coaching and racing experience to share. Learn from their successes and mistakes during some key races.

Times, Location and How to Register

The Lectures will be held in the Riverview Room at Talisman Centre from 6:00pm – 9:00pm.

FREE for Talisman Centre members and Ironman 70.3 Calgary competitors. $25 for non-members/non-competitors.

Call 403.233.8393 or visit our Customer Service desk.

Augusta 70.3 Race report

It’s official…I’m back in Calgary, back to colder weather and back to work. It’s nice seeing some familiar faces again after 12 days alone on the road.

Augusta went much better than Cancun. I felt a little sluggish on race morning, but had a good warm up, a nice long stretch before I embarked on another race. Before the start I met a wonderful gentleman who lived near Georgia who was wearing number 911 and was a SWAT team member. Needless to say this brought some interesting conversation and jokes while I stretched. The day was warm, got just above 30C and very humid. For the most part though, the day was overcast with the sun only really coming out on the run.

The swim was fast, with the current and the wetsuit. I settled into a groove right away and found myself just off the feet of the lead pack. Nobody could swim in a straight line that day, including me. Usually I’m pretty good at going straight, but for some reason everyone wanted to slalom the course instead of straight shoot it. Getting out of the water I was already warm (water temp was 2F below wetsuit cut off), so I didn’t have much problem transitioning and settling in on the bike. Right away I knew my legs felt better than the week before.

I started the ride in 11th place and found myself passing a few guys within the first 10miles. Chris Legh went by me and I tried to hold his wheel for a while, but this was always going to be a lost cause with one of the strongest cyclists in the sport. I rode very well and the kms seemed to keep ticking away. There were even points where I totally zoned out and found myself just listening to my breathing as I watched the pavement whizz by. This is very hard to achieve in a race, but is a great experience to just enjoy the pain and excitement of racing. Nutrition wise, the bike went quite well and I got off the bike excited to run and still feeling pretty strong. Thankfully I didn’t have any flats, but did see a fairly large snake in the middle of the road (dead).

As always, the first km of the run felt terrible. My legs were shaky, I was running awkwardly, but slowly settled into a rhythm. A wonderful gentlemen kept giving me my placing, so I knew I came off the bike in 9th place. Quickly I found myself settled into a pace that should have been sustainable, but was not blistering by any stretch of the imagination. My first 10km was around 36:30. I had worked myself into 6th place, was closing in on 5th and was still feeling ok. Then, with about 5 miles to go I totally hit the wall. Within a kilometer I went from competing and looking ahead, to just trying to survive and not get passed. I lost about 10mins in the last 8km and faded to 8th. The finish line couldn’t come soon enough and I started throwing up every couple hundred meters. It really hurts to watch guys go by you that you have already passed, but I did finish. That finish line looked so sweet when I got there…always a reward. I finished in 8th place in 4:02:41.

Once I crossed the finish line, they immediately took me to the med tent and gave me an IV along with a long lecture about why I shouldn’t race after I’ve been sick during the week. After some time with the docs, a nice massage and a large amount of fluids I was feeling much better and rode my bike home while cheering on the back half of the field.

I’m quite happy with my swim and bike on the race and just need to figure out the back half of the run. Thanks to everyone for the support and if you want to check out some pics from the weekend, you can do so here


Now it’s back to training before Rev3 half in Anderson SC Oct 9.

Till next post,


Augusta 70.3 tomorrow

Well, even though this week has been light training wise, my body feels exhausted from the illness. This is evident in the fact that the past 2 nights I have got a solid 10hours of sleep. This is far above my average, so it’s great to be sleeping so well leading into a race.

My training went much better today. I actually felt a little spark on the run and swim and the body seemed to loosen out a bit. I got my 4th flat in 3 days on the ride today, which doubles my yearly total. I felt like an idiot this morning when I went for my swim. I planned to do my ride, then jump in the lake and head to package pick up. This plan worked flawlessly by taking my swim trunks and everything I’d need for the training, except I forgot my goggles. My faith in humanity was restored when the first person I asked generously leant me his goggles… lovely chap. I didn’t want to mention that I was a pro, but he asked, which was a little embarrassing, but gave us a good laugh.

I quickly zipped through the expo, picked up some pit stop for tomorrow, and now I’m killing some time before my race meeting at 4. I’m looking forward to a relaxing evening tonight and having a good race tomorrow. I have no idea what my body or the weather will do tomorrow, so I’m going to race my heart out. Results never come unless you put yourself in a position of greatness and see what happens. Thanks for all the support and emails while I’ve been gone. If you want to follow the race tomorrow, you can at.


Things are different down South

I have been in Augusta Georgia since Monday night and it has been….interesting to say the least. If I do this double again, I would spend the time in Cancun because the training and weather is actually better there. It’s hot here (high 20’s-30), but has been cloudy and rainy every day. I’m actually a little worried I’m losing my tan! Once you get out of the city, the riding here is actually descent. That being said, I’ve had 3 flat tires and torn through 2 tires and 3 tubes in the process. I keep getting shards of glass or metal that slice the tire, let’s hope I’m over that for race day.

Right now my body feels pretty crappy. I had the stomach flu for 36 hours. Pretty much I started loosing all my fluids and foods on Wednesday night and didn’t eat anything for over 24 hours. The stomach problems continued today, but I was able to get my training in early afternoon when my stomach finally calmed down. I still feel bloated, sore and all around fatigued, but there is still a day to get rid of that. Tomorrow it’s time to make sure I’m hydrated, sharpen up the muscles and get some calories back in me. I’m always hungry (as per usual), but I’m wary not to eat to much so I don’t bloat up and get heavy for Sunday. I’m not sure what caused it, but I’m thinking either food poisoning, or swallowing to much river water. We are swimming in the Savannah river, which is actually a disgusting body of water with weeds, dirty water, boats and patches that seem like they have oil in them. Thankfully I only have 2 swims left in it before I get to stop.

Tomorrow I have the pro meeting and will do a final preparatory swim, bike and run. Then it’s time to get phsyched for Sunday. The pro field looks deep, so it should be an exciting hard day. Sleep tight.