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.


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




And more of this:




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!



Speaking at Calgary Marathon Expo

Are you racing this Sunday in one of the races for the 48th annual Calgary Marathon? I’m speaking at the expo on Friday at 4:30 on Motivation and Mindset. I’ll be discussing how to get through and approach a race mentally, as well as strategies for achieving your best results on and away from race day.


Centaur Subaru Clinics 2012


Centaur Subaru – Triathlon Clinic Weekend

Day 1 – Swim & Bike

Cottage Country -Ghost Lake – Saturday June 2, 2012 – 10:00am


Centaur Subaru is proud to support grassroots triathlon in Calgary for the third straight year with day one. 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 part of the morning will have us test out Ghost lake. 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. Following the swim we will dry off and warm up with some goodies from fresh kitchen then hope on the bike. The bike-handling course will focus on skills and tips for bike handling, pack riding, climbing, basic bike maintenance and road safety.  This course is limited to the first 35 people that RSVP, each participant will receive a free catered lunch, water bottle and some PowerBar products. All participants are required to have an Alberta Triathlon Association membership to participate.



10:00am: Arrival and get into your wetsuit

10:00 – 10:15: Brief chat from Grant and Jon about what to expect

10:15 – 10:45: Swim for as long as you can comfortably

10:45 – 11:30: Warm up and get changed – ‘ what to expect on the bike’

11:30 – 1:00: work on drafting bike handling and gearing

1:00 pm: lunch and PowerBar samples and talk on bike mechanics by Speed Theory


What you need to bring:

Bike, Helmet, warm clothing, wetsuit, towel, toque, gloves, riding jacket

View Centaur Subaru Clinic Day 1 in a larger mapiew Centaur Subaru Clinic Day 1 in a larger map


Centaur Subaru – Triathlon Clinic Weekend

Day 2 – Run Clinic

North Glenmore Park – Sunday June 3, 2012 – 10:00am


Centaur Subaru is proud to support grassroots triathlon in Calgary with the second day of our weekend triathlon clinic. Both beginner and intermediate and advanced triathletes are invited to attend a free clinic put on by Jon Bird and Grant Burwash of Talisman Centre’s Endurance Training Systems. This run clinic will focus on skills and tips for Calgary 70.3 including race nutrition, staying cool, fast transitions, running form and a preview of the 70.3 run course. This course is limited to the first 35 people that RSVP, each participant will receive a free catered lunch, water bottle and some PowerBar products. All participants are required to have an Alberta Triathlon Association membership to participate.



9:45am: Arrival and light warm up

10:00am: Begin 21 km run preview of 70.3 course (you don’t have to run the full 21km)

11:45 – 12:00: Running school with focus on technical running form

12:00 – 12:15: lunch and talk on transitions and nutrition


What you need to bring:

Running shoes, appropriate running gear, warm down gear for post run


View Centaur Run Clinic in a larger map


Grant Burwash –

Cost – FREE * requires a ATA license

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.


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.



Season is officially over

That’s a wrap for the 2011 season. It has been a year of highs and lows, but now the race season has come to a close. After racing in Georgia, I found my body and mind very tired. With little juice to hurt through 2 more half ironmans, I decided to call my race season quits. It is sometimes tough as an athlete to know when to pull the plug on a season, but I had many telling signs. First off, I wasn’t excited to race anymore. I was not motivated to hurt through the workouts, let alone suffer the way I needed to in order to have a good result at the races. My main motivation during the days was to sleep, eat and not think about triathlon. My body had some issues, like bruised hip and a vertebrae out of place, that needed to get fixed. One of my main motivations though, was the desire to take time off quickly, so I could start full training again in mid October. This would allow me more time to work over the winter and race earlier.

After looking at these signs and talking it over with my coach Jack and my family, my race season ended. In one of my next posts, I’ll analyze my year, but today is not that day. I’m now getting back into the swing of things at Talisman Centre and slowly finding a rhythm with coaching again. The past couple weeks of minimal training and a lot of good food has been food for my mind and soul. I now am looking outside and feel an urge to run, bike and swim. Let’s let the off season training begin.


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


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

Till next post,


Augusta 70.3 tomorrow

Well, even though this week has been light training wise, my body feels exhausted from the illness. This is evident in the fact that the past 2 nights I have got a solid 10hours of sleep. This is far above my average, so it’s great to be sleeping so well leading into a race.

My training went much better today. I actually felt a little spark on the run and swim and the body seemed to loosen out a bit. I got my 4th flat in 3 days on the ride today, which doubles my yearly total. I felt like an idiot this morning when I went for my swim. I planned to do my ride, then jump in the lake and head to package pick up. This plan worked flawlessly by taking my swim trunks and everything I’d need for the training, except I forgot my goggles. My faith in humanity was restored when the first person I asked generously leant me his goggles… lovely chap. I didn’t want to mention that I was a pro, but he asked, which was a little embarrassing, but gave us a good laugh.

I quickly zipped through the expo, picked up some pit stop for tomorrow, and now I’m killing some time before my race meeting at 4. I’m looking forward to a relaxing evening tonight and having a good race tomorrow. I have no idea what my body or the weather will do tomorrow, so I’m going to race my heart out. Results never come unless you put yourself in a position of greatness and see what happens. Thanks for all the support and emails while I’ve been gone. If you want to follow the race tomorrow, you can at.