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

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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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.

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

Interesting first day in Paradise

I arrived in St Croix late Wednesday night for the Ironman 70.3 St Croix. I have never been this far South, let alone the Caribbean, so I was excited to get off the plane and feel the warmth and the humidity of the air as it hit me. I didn’t get to my home stay until about 11, so it was straight to bed and deal with everything the next morning. 

Task number 1- when I awoke, I found out that the container and bag I had carried my PowerBar Ironman Perform drink mixture in had been punctured and the crystals were all over my bag. Thanks to the humidity, all the clothes had a sticky powder coating on them…nice. That required a trip downtown later to search out quarters for the washing machine where I proceeded to wash everything I owned, leaving me shirtless for most of the day. Thankfully it’s not cold!

Task number 2- While putting my bike together, I noticed I was missing some very essential pieces of equipment…my skewers. Not really sure what happened to them, but they were in the pocket where the lovely TSA’s “your bag has been checked” paper was. I’m assuming these were taken out to see what they were and never put back in. So, on my tour of the island with DJ in search of food and a road that didn’t rattle our bones to badly, I bought some skewers from the local bike shop.

Task number 3- Training in new places is always a treat. It’s a great way to explore and get a sense of the area and people. I started the day with a nice run that took me through Christiansted (city I’m staying in) and along most of the run course. Legs felt descent for spending 10hours in the air the day before. Later in the day I went out for a ride. When I left it was overcast, which it had been all day, but 30-40mins later I was in for a surprise. The skies opened up and the rain poured down. I can’t remember ever being in such a heavy rain storm, at least not on my bike. The road were flooding and there was water everywhere. A great thing about the Caribbean is that when it rains, it’s still warm, so I wasn’t huddled under a tree shivering like I would have been in Calgary. After some sketchy corners I came up on a deer going pretty fast. He ran on to the road, tried to stop and slipped. I slowed down to avoid him as he went down in front of me. I proceeded to go down trying to avoid him and slid along the pavement. Thankfully, there was so much water everywhere I slid along the pavement like a water slide. Bike, body and deer all left the accident site with no injuries. Phew!

Day 1 is down, I can’t wait to see what day 2 has to offer.

Grant

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.