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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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!

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.

Grant

Heat training

When the weather outside gets hot, I like to get outside.

There aren’t many days in Calgary where it gets above 25C, so I try and ensure that I am training in the heat of the day when these treats come together. Yesterday was absolutely beautiful and I took full advantage. After a morning of coaching and swimming, I enjoyed a 110min run. What made this so special was that it was with some old friends. Long runs in the heat, shirts off with a bunch of friends are one of my favorite training moments. After a quick nap I spent a couple hours on the bike enjoying the sunshine and working on my tan lines.

Heat training is essential to my success when trying to compete internationally. As a Calgarian, I have the advantage of altitude training, but can get beat by the heat when the temperatures push 40C. Even though I will never see 35 degrees in Calgary, this doesn’t mean I have to fail when racing in the heat. Days like yesterday are all part of the preparation of making sure I succeed not matter what the conditions. In my opinion, the harsher the conditions you train in, the better prepared for racing you will be.

G-Force

736!

The number 736 may not mean anything to you, but right now it means everything to me. 736 days ago I crossed the finish line in what was arguably one of the worst races of my life. I collapsed, ended up in emergency and started a long battle with adrenal fatigue, hormone fluctuations, depression, a stress fracture and other minor injuries. For the past 736 days I have been waiting for today, planning for today and chomping at the bit for today. You see, today I raced again, for the first time in  736 days.

Over the past 736 days, you would not believe the emotions that I have felt. I have had my lowest lows, but also some highs as I discovered new friendships, new passions, new limits and the power of the incredible support team I have around me. I never expected my comeback to take so long. I never expected it to be so painful and demoralizing. I never expected that I would be reduced to nothing, and then as soon as I thought things were turning around, to get knocked down another peg. At this time, I must thank everyone who has supported me over the past 736 days. You know who you are, and thank you. Those of you that told me I would never come back, and told me to give up the sport and get a real job…..you better hope you don’t race me!

The best part about today was that all the emotions came back that I loved. There was the joy of racing, the excitement and anxiety before the race. There was joking around with friends before the race and silent times for prayer, planning and contemplation of the pain to come. There was the pain, the uncertainty and the fear of failure. However, the most prominent emotion today was joy! I absolutely love this sport. I can’t believe that I’m finally getting back into it and thank God for my second chance. As I was racing today, my number one goal was to have fun and enjoy the experience, no matter what happened. Mission accomplished.

Today I raced with the number 736 written on my hand to remind me of the road I traveled to get to the start line. This is my journey and my motivation. It is not a path that I wish anyone else to have to travel, but it is my life and has made me who I am. Now, what does the next 736 have in store?

G-Force

Walk/run becomes Run/Walk!

Yesterday was a big day for me. My progression back into running made a big step and now the running exceed the walking on my run/walk program. Yesterday I did 30mins of 3min running and 2 min walking. I have been feeling great on the runs lately and finally feel like I have some legs again. Before nothing seemed to be firing correctly and I was very inefficient and not even strong enough to run with proper technique. This past week I also added back in running school and drills after runs to try and bring technique back. In the past this has been key to my success as a runner along with strides and plyometrics/bounding. I’m excited to get stronger and build these back into my program.

This week I also decided to hop back in the pool and start water running. It was a tough decision to make because I was glad to not be water running any more, but I think this is the only way I’ll be runnable come the summer. The mileage on the run just wasn’t there with the walk/run and now it’s time to make sure all the ducks are in a row for the summer of racing.

G-Force