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.

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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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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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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

Introducing Tri-It

This year I am very excited to announce a new partnership with Tri-It Multisport. Rose, Richelle, Brian and the whole team at Tri-It have a passion for triathlon that takes them to a whole new level of customer service. Their bright, well stocked store has many of your triathlon needs from wetsuits, swimsuits, training and racing apparel, and nutrition, to the latest gadgets to improve performance. Recently, they just launched an online store that will ship directly to your doorstep.

For the past half a dozen years, Tri-It has been heavily involved in the community. Together, we share a passion for growing the sport of triathlon in Canada and bringing the sport to all ages and abilities. Tri-it supports many clubs and races around the Calgary area and strives to make everyone feel welcome in this great sport of triathlon. I’m very excited about this partnership because I our values and philosophies match well. As their half ironman athlete, I will represent them at all my competitions this year as well as work with them on many local projects to bring information to those who seek it. Tri-It will be supporting me this year to help me achieve success as I aim to compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September.

Thank you to Tri-It for bringing me on to your team, and I look forward to embarking on a journey together.

Tri it

G-Force

A quote from Bill Nye

Yesterday morning I ran my spin class through time trials. We use these to set baselines for people and to determine wattage training zones specific to the athlete. I have been known to get quite into these testing sessions and get the occasional noise complaint. Even though the class was small, there was a great energy in it on Monday.

One gentlemen in the class named Ted, was doing his first TT in over a year and not really looking forward to it. Now, there are a few things you  need to know about Ted. First, he is always smiling and in a great mood. He loves joking around and poking fun at others an himself. He started asking me about the seniors discount at the Talisman Centre before he was even a senior and is one of the most chipper guys you will meet. The most important thing about Ted, is that he is Bill Nye…that’s right, the science guy.

He isn’t actually Bill Nye, but he looks surprisingly similar, is a chemist and is always pointing his fingers like Bill in this picture. Jon and I started calling him Bill and even chanting (from the song) Bill, Bill, Bill during training sessions or races.

Needless to say, Ted is a pretty cool cat and usually has something to say that makes me laugh. After his TT yesterday though, which left him speechless for a while, he said something to me that I won’t forget. It may have been one of the best comments someone has given me and couldn’t have come from a better person.

How many Grant’s does it take to change a light bulb?

The answer will be posted tomorrow.

Grant

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

http://finisherpix.com/search.html

 

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

Till next post,

Grant

Cancun Chronicles

The first part of this journey is over…travelling to Cancun. I arrived safely last night with myself and my gear all intact. Everything went smoothly, although everything seemed to take a long time. Once at the hotel, I walked down and bought 20L of water, put together my bike, ate a quick meal and went to bed just after 10. Quite an exhausting day actually.

Today I went out to swim in the ocean at 7am (race time). Cancun is absolutely stunning. The water is crystal clear blue and the sand is soft and white. On the beach this morning I was greeted by red flags, indicating the waves are high, so don’t swim. Needless to say, I ignored that and went swimming. The waves weren’t that big, but they don’t stop after the main breaking point, so the swim on Sunday is going to be slow and hard. What an experience to be able to swim in this place. After I went for a run and came back absolutely soaked. The humidity and heat here are extreme, but by the end of the run I was feeling much better.

After my jolly jaunt, I headed out on the bike around noon to pick up my race package. I’m number 12 for Sunday, but didn’t really get any more info. It made me laugh that instead of a race shirt, they gave us a jacket as race clothing. I feel ready to go and the legs wanted to hammer on the bike today, probably the lower altitude. I’ll update again tomorrow, but for now, here are some pics of my trip so far.

My hotel

My hotel from the street

View of the ocean and the hotel pool

View of the ocean and the hotel pool

Grant Burwash triathlon Cancun 70.3

Grant Burwash soaking up some rays in Cancun

Grant

Pics from Wasa Lake Triathlon

Here are some shots from Wasa Lake Triathlon 2011.

G-Force Wasa triathlon 2011 Grant Burwash run

Grant Burwash on run at 2011 Wasa Lake Triathlon.

Grant Burwash and Talisman Centre Triathlon Club

Grant Burwash and Talisman Centre Triathlon Club

Wasa Lake triathlon 2011

For once I wasn't the one that ended up in the med tent. Instead, I got to take care of these two

Grant Burwash Wasa lake triathlon 2011

Grant Burwash Wasa lake triathlon 2011. Saying a big thanks to Charlie and all the volunteers, another great race.

Grant Burwash 2011 Wasa lake triathlon

Holly, Hillary and Grant Burwash all happy after the Wasa Lake triathlon.