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,





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.


Talisman Centre Aquathon results


  Swim Time Run Time Total Time
10 & Under Boys 50m 200m
Thomas Armstrong :45 :37 1:22
Luke Armstrong :46 :37 1:23
Jayden Brasok :45 :39 1:24
Rylan Hillaby 1:30 :40 2:00
10 & Under Girls 50m 200m
Kristanna Neilson :46 :39 1:25
11&12 Boys 150m 800m  
Tazman Abramowicz 3:12 3:35 6:47
11&12 Girls 150m 800m
Jamie Hellard 2:17 3:18 5:35
Nikita Srivalsan 3:05 3:55 7:00
13 – 15 Boys 350m 1600m  
Stefan Daniel 4:45 6:02 10:47
Jake Armstrong 5:01 5:57 10:58
Cooper Bentley 4:45 6:38 11:23
13-15 Girls 350m 1600m  
Laurin Thorne 4:51 6:20 11:11
Justine Santama 6:05 7:31 13:05
16-18 Boys 440m 2000m  
Charlie Olmsted 6:33 7:30 14:03
Zachary Kendall 5:53 8:32 14:25
William Kemp 7:21 7:31 14:52
16 -18 Girls 440m 2000m  
Maya Soukup 5:56 9:32 15:28
Adult Men 440m 2000m  
Kyle Marcotte 5:26 6:40 12:06
James Curran 6:58 6:24 13:22
Sean Vording 6:52 6:46 13:38
Jason Dyck 7:52 7:24 15:16
David Stringer 9:09 7:29 16:38
Jeff Rodgers 12:06 13:22 25:28
Adult Women 440m 2000m  
Kelly Marcotte 5:30 7:54 13:24
Roxanne Skoreyko 6:45 8:24 15:09
Holly Higgins 6:53 8:51 15:44
Tamara Loiselle 7:43 9:49 17:32
Rabea Graepel 8:57 9:55 18:52
Jackie Hellard 10:12 9:02 19:14
Kate Charbonneau 9:32 10:30 20:02
Heather Myers 7:48 14:48 22:36

Thanks to everyone for showing up. Jon and I hope you all had a great time and will join us for our next event on April 8. It’s a great family affair for athletes of all ages and abilities.



First time for everything

Today I raced triathlon nationals in Kelowna. The race started at 2pm under some clouds and the temperature wasn’t that hot. As the day went on the sun would come out and the temperature slowly increase creating some carnage on the run. My body hasn’t been feeling 100%, but I was very excited to get the race started. The swim started out hectic as usual and in the first lap I found myself settling in at the front of a pack. After the run on the beach I started the second lap and put a solid effort to try and bridge the gap to the next pack. A few hundred meters later I found myself in no mans land and unable to bridge up. I would put in a solid effort and it wouldn’t get me any closer to the pack. I came out of the swim just behind one other athlete and about 20sec behind a large group.


Heading into T1 I really tried to bridge up but was only able to catch the 3 riders in front of me. Every time on the Knox hill the pack would attack and spread out a bit. By the second lap we ended up getting a descent group together and were working together fairly well. My energy levels were up and down on the bike. At times I felt really strong and then I would be at the back of the pack and feel like crap for a couple minutes. I really interested to see my power files from the race as this was the first race I did with a power meter on. On the 5th of 6 laps on the bike going up Knox hill, I started to feel my rear tire go flat. The pack I was in dropped me and it was just myself and one other athlete off the back. I was losing traction and sliding around corners. At the bottom of the hill I hit the train tracks and then felt my rear tire go completely flat. After that it was the long walk of shame to transition and handing in my timing chip.

Today was only my second DNF in my triathlon career and my first flat. It was a frustrating day, but there isn’t anything you can do about it. The good news is that I’m ok and didn’t crash out. Now I have 8 days in the Okanagan of training to get ready for the fall of racing. Congrats to Simon Whitfield and Kyle Jones for going 1,2 in todays race.

There will always be another race and it will go better than today did. This wasn’t what I wanted, but racing is all about highs and lows. Today was a low, but highs are to come. Thanks to everyone for your support. It means the world to know people are out there cheering me on.


Banff race report

This weekend was the inaugural Subaru Banff International Triathlon. Jon and I headed out Friday morning in our Subaru WRX STI to test out the waters and get prepped for the race. After a quick bike ride of the beautiful bike course and a quick dip in the frigid water, it was time to relax with some friends and prep for the day that was ahead. Before I get any further, I want to deeply thank Paul at Centaur Subaru, and Subaru for the support they showed me this weekend. It was truly a positive experience I had that left me feeling like a superstar. Everything was taken care of and lots of fun was had by all.

Saturday morning turned out to be a little hectic trying to get things ready for the race. Due to the transport of good between two transitions and the cold weather, my warm up was a little shorter than I would have liked. When the gun finally went off I tried hard to get into a rhythm quickly. The cold water (11*C) turned my face, feet and hands numb almost immediately, but by 500m I found myself in 2nd place behind Jon. The air temp was about 5*C and sprinkling, but I had decided to only race in arm warmers and to put gloves on in T1. The gloves didn’t actually happen though. When I got to my bike I tried to put my hands in my gloves and failed miserably the first time because I couldn’t manipulate my hands. So, I scraped the gloves and headed out on the bike.

The first 15km of the bike were actually ok. I was riding descent, settled into a groove and wasn’t that cold. The entire bike course was actually quite sketchy and I was weaving in and out of people the entire time. I kept thinking this was crazy, but then remembered Jon was ahead of me. I kept telling myself “Jon is even crazier than I am, so I need to be aggressive.” When I hit about 15km on the bike I started to really shiver and soon was shivering uncontrollably. My hands were no longer working to drink or eat anything and I was having a hard time controlling my bike with all the shivering. The final portion of the bike was really cool. You shot into town riding down Banff Ave and then headed to T2 at the end of the street. During the entire bike I really tried to push the pace, but my body was already shutting down. My legs didn’t want to work and my knees were aching.

Once in T2 I was really excited to get off the bike and hopefully start warming up. As I entered T2 I saw Jon leaving and though “Yes, I can do this.” However, my second transition was the longest of my life. For the life of me I couldn’t get my shoes on. Everything was numb and I was completely helpless. Thankfully there was a wonderful girl in T2 who helped me put my shoes on. What a sweet heart and race saver! It’s pretty embarrassing when a pro athlete needs help to put their slip on running shoes on…yikes! The first 5-7km of the run were brutal. I tried to find a fast rhythm, but my legs wouldn’t go. I knew my pace was slow and that I wasn’t catching Jon and this frustrated me to no end. Finally my legs started to warm up and I began catching Jon. Unfortunately this was to little to late and I crossed the finish line in second. For the third straight time this year I had the fastest run split and set the run course record.

Congrats to Jon for a very impressive win. Typically I don’t mind racing in tough conditions because I can suffer through it, but this weekend go the best of me. My legs felt completely fine the next day, probably because I wasn’t physically able to dig deep enough to hurt them. I am glad that I raced though and did have a good time this weekend. Every race is a unique journey and experience and I’m happy to have had this one.

Full Results

1 Jon Bird       Calgary     AB  1 1:43:56   1  7:17  0:59  1  1:35    1  8:52    4 0:57:52  39.4    1 1:06:43   73  1:55    1 1:08:37    2 0:35:19  3:32    1 1:43:56
2 Grant Burwash  Calgary     AB  2 1:44:31   2  8:07  1:05  2  1:57    2 10:04    5 0:58:08  39.2    2 1:08:12   50  1:40    2 1:09:51    1 0:34:40  3:28    2 1:44:31
3 Luke Gillmer   Northmead   AU  3 1:53:18   5  8:31  1:09  3  2:32    3 11:03   11 1:02:11  36.7    4 1:13:14    5  1:07    4 1:14:21    7 0:38:57  3:54    3 1:53:18


Where on Earth is Grant?

My life has been a little all over the map lately. After 70.3 it took me about a week before I was mentally and physically ready to get back into full training. Since then I’ve been busy trying to figure out a race plan and sink some solid hours of training in for the fall races.

As many of you know, elite nationals took place on Sunday in Kelowna and I did not take part. I had to pull out a week before hand because I didn’t feel ready to go. I know I could have raced and done descently, but I didn’t want my return to ITU to be OK, I want to do it on my terms. This decision lead to me taking a lot of flack from others, but it was my decision and I have to live with it. It was difficult being there and watching the race unfold knowing I should have been in the race. I want to congradulate Simon Whitfield on another national title and Paula Findlay hers as well. A huge shout out goes to Jon Bird, my training partner and fellow coach at Talisman Centre. He had a fantastic race and ended up 8th overall and the 5th Canadian. Watch out for this guy, he has incredible potential and you are just seeing the tip of the iceberg of the success he will have in triathlon. Congrats Jon!

As for me, I’m now in Kelowna and Penticton for 12 days doing a training camp with Jon. So far it’s been about 5 hours of training a day and loving every second of it. It’s amazing how training in the heat and on new roads revitalizeds you. My body is quite tired right now, so hopefully that turns around soon. After our training today Jon and I did a float down the river to relax and cool off the legs. Ahh, this is the life!


Calgary 70.3 in the news and photos

A full race report will come soon. Here is a link to the results from slowtwitch.


Here is a link to some pictures from the Calgary Herald. Apparently photos of the local boy collapsing are in high demand.


Grant Burwash Calgary Ironman 70.3

It was nice to have my family and friends there to support me. Notice my beautiful parents on my right as I enter transition.

Grant Burwash Ironman Calgary 70.3 triathlon

Thanks to Adam Redmond and Speed Matrix for my bike fit.



First race back, Canmore Triathlon

Yesterday I competed in the Canmore Olympic triathlon. My last post will give you a little back ground on the race and this post I’ll focus on the actual race.

Race morning my body didn’t feel that great, probably because of the flu I’d had all week. After some stretching and a good warm up things started to look up and my lungs opened up.  I just wanted to stay relaxed in the swim and not burn any matches. I got off to a good start and then settled into a pace. My swim isn’t where it needs to be, but I was happy with the effort. The entire swim I was alone, but had to pass people constantly because the womens olympic and sprint had gone ahead of us and it was a 3 lap course.

After a quick transition, I mounted my new steed, a Cervelo P3, and rode off into the rain and cold. Actually the weather wasn’t that bad, air temp and water temp were probably about 15C. The bike course was very hilly and four laps. Due to the hilly nature of the bike course, I had a hard time settling the HR down on the first lap. Each lap I got more relaxed though and tried to ride strong and smooth. My quads felt quite heavy and I started to throw up my hydration on the bike. It looks like I’ll have to do some more experimenting before the next race. I stopped drinking and took a gel with about 15mins left on the bike so everything would be digested before the run.

I entered T2 in first place and wanted to run strong for the first km and then settle into a rhythm. The run course was quite hilly and reminded me of my cross country days. My legs quickly transfered to running form and I was able to settle into a rhythm fairly quickly. Other than getting a stitch at 6km, the run was pretty uneventful. It involved a lot of hills and keeping a solid rhythm. I finished in first place and could hardly keep the smile off my face. It feels good to be back, triathlons are such a blast. More to come this summer, so stay tuned.

 1   1/4    M2024     40 Grant BURWASH                2   20:48    2 1:04:55    1   34:38 2:00:19.4
    2   2/4    M2024    266 Jeremy ROLES                 1   19:47    4 1:07:55    6   39:34 2:07:14.5
    3   1/14   M3034     12 Ivan BABIKOV                13   26:25    1 1:04:39    7   39:45 2:10:47.9
    4   1/10   M2529     62 Sean CROOKS                 27   27:10    3 1:07:36    8   39:54 2:14:37.9
    5   2/10   M2529    116 Nick HADDOW                  8   25:31    6 1:10:39    4   39:21 2:15:29.2 

Full results here