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

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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