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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Snow Kiting - Wilcox Bowl

I've been interested in kite boarding for a few years. In September of 2015, I took a lesson in Malpeque Bay, Prince Edward Island ... with a fierce determination that I would learn. That day I kited 50 km ... and the passion began.

I have yet to water kite in Alberta. I never thought I would.  Kiting to me was just going to be something I do, while on vacation.  However, while my son Jacob was home from school in Victoria at Christmas,  we discovered snow kiting on Weed Lake, East of Calgary.

On Saturday, March 25/17 ... Patrice, Ian, Michael and Ryan and I traveled to Wilcox Pass in the Columbia Icefields near Jasper.

After a 3.5 hour drive, we ski toured up about 50 minutes before reaching the less steep entrance to Wilcox Pass.   (Feeling we were quite 'out there' it was a bit of a surprise to discover two Adirondack Chairs placed and steering out into the Valley.) Jasper National Park Red Chair Program

As we were about to Launch our kites at about noon ... the wind died.
It didn't matter ... it was amazing just to be in this location.

I struggled trying to launch my kite ... then rested taking in the sites for an hour or more.
Finally, at about 3:30pm ... the wind picked up and grew a bit more consistent.

We kited until 5:30, before packing up, and skiing down to the car ... we were all in bliss.

Bryon Howard & Michal Hrk Snow Kiting, Wilcox Pass with Mount Athabasca in back ground, Jasper National Park, Alberta. Pic by Ian Graham

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

I Won! - a race report - Calgary IM 70.3

It's Tuesday - but I'm still hoping the weekend won't end.
Pre-Race Meal at my house w Liz Lyles, Jarod Shoemaker & my wife Shirley. So fun.
A few weeks ago - somehow through facebook, I learned that the organizers of Calgary 70.3 were looking for host homes for the professional athletes.
I immediately said "Yes" ... and asked for two.

Talented Mom Liz Lyles and Past World Champion and Olympian Jarod Shoemaker were our pro athletes for the weekend!

I'm shocked at what these athletes eat. They simply are flexible. Jared arrived first on Friday. We had food in the house ... but he told us he would stop prior to arriving at home to get some snacks for the weekend. I was curious what 'snacks' were.
I was delighted to arrive home.
He had fucking chips in the house!
... I LOVE chips.
 Liz assured us ... all she needed was coffee in the morning.

Well this is my fucking race report - so screw off Liz and Jarred.
I was fucking fast. (In my standards).
Actually - the guy in front of me was fast.
I followed fast feet.
At one point, some crazy prick ... actually stopped swimming and pushed me TOWARDS the finish line. He was pissed at me as we rounded a buoy and were slapping each other. Shit happens.

It was unmemorable - other than seeing Jason Pohl pass me ... and me thinking I was happy to beat him on the swim. I thought I could hold him ... and was disappointed I could not. (25 year old punk.)

I ran.
Jarod Shoemaker was 5th and Liz Lyles was 4th at Calgary 70.3 Ironman, July 2016
At the finish line, I ran into Jarred who is somehow a mysterious silent partner at Speed Theory and probably also the owner of this race.
He said, "It was funny ... you looked like shit going out ... and coming in ... but you were moving."
That is pretty much how I felt.  Yes ... I could move in a forward direction ... but I had no spirit - and simply no spring.

Results: I WON!
I'm 49 years old ... and I'll be 50 in November.
For all those years in elementary school and junior high school - when I was the last picked for every fucking sport ... Fuck You!

My birthday is in November.
I'll be 50 in November.
This week, I raced in 50-54. I'm 49 - but in this fucking devision.
I beat all those fucking bastards.
Dan on the left & Winner of the day -  Josh Amberger in 3hours 40min - a freaking course record! - me on the right. Dan will be joining Josh at World Championships in Aussie in 5 weeks. Josh didn't seem worried about the competition.  

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

How Training and Racing is like Selling Real Estate

Sunday, July 3, 2016 was my first triathlon of this year - The Great White North in Edmonton - a half distance Iron Man. This is the year I age group "up" ... so it is the year I do Ironman.  I think of Ironman as a 5 year health check up. I've been doing it about every 5 years since my first one in 2001. This is a tune-up race to get prepared for my "A" goal race this year -  Ironman Arizona in November.

Swim - 2km - 29 min 08 seconds
I like swimming. Yeah ... it can be boring ... but swimming well has great advantages.  I feel that because I swim, I don't have to go to the gym and do weights. (This is probably not correct thinking.) Most awesome about weekly swimming ... is when on vacation in cool places ... you can hit the ocean, lake or river and really feel comfortable and experience the awesomeness of nature.
Currently I'm the slowest in my Tuesday and Thursday 6am swim group. However, when I put on a wet suit ... I get tremendous advantage. Possibly through years of playing Rugby, I also do pretty well in the 'smash up' of the triathlon swim. I don't mind the thrashing of arms and kicking of feet. I look for a heavier faster athlete and just hang by their feet in their bubbles, enjoying a draft - which apparently can have a 37% advantage!
On this race day - I was able to beat my friend Faizel, the fastest in our lane, by a minute!

Bike - 90km - 2hours 49 min
On Sunday, I got three flat tires.
Prior to my first flat ... I actually thought to myself ... "I'm feeling GREAT and will hammer this bike and to try to get the fastest amateur bike split of the day."  (After looking at the results and the speed of the cyclist that day ... I realize I am completely in la-la land. I had no chance of getting the fastest bike split of the day! It's fun to be an optimist.)
Why did I get three Flats?  Poor Preparation. There were two holes in my back tire! These tires were old.
The night prior to the race, I decided to change my wheel set. I looked at the tires quickly ... and thought they were fine. I wasn't surprised by getting the first flat, the second ... or the third!

Run - 21km - 1hour 35 min
The course was nice, interesting. While I was already out of the race, I was able to comfortably run - not pushing too hard. It was fun to see old and new friends on the double loop course at various times.

How is Racing like Selling Real Estate?
You have options.  What you decide to do with those options, will have a direct relationship to your results.  You can choose to prepare or not to prepare. In either case, if I do the preparation - I have a shot at "the win".  If I don't prepare, If I don't show up on time ... yes - I'm at the game ... but I don't have a chance at the prize.

In the early years of my career in selling real estate - I had average results.  I was frustrated by this.  It wasn't until I added the principles of how I participate in sport to how I conduct myself in my real estate job - that I began to have success as a realtor.

Selling Real Estate is not Rocket Science. Neither is showing up at the Start line of a Race.  While success can come and go depending on motivation and goals, I find that when I put myself on the line and expose myself to the unknown, I learn things about myself which add tremendous value to my role a Real Estate Sales Professional.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

WNJ - That means Wednesday Night Jam

Roll out at 6pm was relatively small this evening compared to past weeks.
No doubt because rain was in the forecast coupled with a wee bit of bad feelings after last weeks crash.
I'm not sure when I first heard about the Wednesday Night Jam ... but 2015 was my first year attending the occasional ride.
I've been road racing since 2009, and last year I even surprised myself by winning enuff ABA points to move up to Cat 1/2.  I haven't really raced there - I'm sort of scared of that level. I'm happy to take my masters downgrade to Cat 3.

Tonight ... I finished my first ever WNJ with the leaders. (It was a small group - and they were particularly kind and waited at 22X and at the top of Cochrane Hill.)
As normal Sean Bunin was beasting it ... and he's so nice & probably was leading the 'wait'.  It's not surprising he's from Saskatchewan is it? Those folks from Saskatchewan.

The wind was brutal ... and can you believe the leaders broke away from us on the downhill just after the bridge - prior to the first hill on Airport Road.  Jessie did a great deal of the work - taking our 2nd group to 22X.

At 22X someone reminded us of the 9 riders who were hit in Michigan last night - suggesting we take it easy to Cochrane. 4 seriously injured and 5 dead.

I guess we will all die.  I appreciate the thoughts of knowing about those riders who lose their lives last night. Thanks for bring it up ... perhaps it was Brett.?  I rode - with them in mind ... gritting my teeth in anguish -  and really enjoying what I was doing at the same time.

Totally awesome ride tonight. I'm basking in the glory of endorphins ... and beer.

See you next week at the WNJ.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

WNJ - Wednesday Night Jam

I look forward to the Wednesday Night Jam. I begin thinking about it on Tuesday ... I remember not to get up too early Wednesday morning. I restrain myself from going for a run. I think about what I'm going to eat ... how I can best fuel my body so I'm ready for the 6pm bell at the top of Edworthy.
Early today Bill Quinney said he could not make it tonight due to a school council meeting. (I was tempted to make a snide remark about working in education - but thought I'm not really that witty.) Teachers work so freaking hard - and are so under appreciated by many. I miss Bill. He's my age ... and we're about equally fast. (I'm refrain from saying slow - as I'm told 'mindset' is everything.)
Hanging on Rob's Wheel
About 5:20pm ... I felt really good. I quickly donned my kit, swapped out my wheels from my TT bike on to my road steed. Riding to the top of Edworthy from Marda Loop, I ran into Warren Muir... who made me scream Spruce Cliff Drive as I asked him questions about training (I pretended that I was going my normal pace). He will do Bikes on Broadway this weekend, so was doing his own solo preparation for that event.
Ryan Robinson rang the bell at 6pm & away we went.
Nervous energy ... people began to settle into where they fit in the group.
I found myself at the front ... which is not a good thing. The older I get, the longer it takes me to warm-up.
The pace was significantly slower than pass weeks at the normal - first separation on Springbank Road. It was still slow on the downhill and curvy curves. (Dang, those are fun.)
Ryan and I found ourselves with a big gap on the group descending the hill prior to the first hill on Airport Road. Well, I was feeling good ... I thought I could ride up that hill prior to the group ... and hang on at least to the Airport.
Wrong. I was left quickly. Everybody was gone except Ryan and I ... way off the back. I took a 2nd look ... thinking that at least the only girl Kailee Boyle in our group of about 20 or 25 would be back there somewhere. WRONG. I worked quite hard - thinking I would catch the group ... as they disappeared.
Soon Ryan circled back to Calgary. I had ambitious thoughts of riding solo to Cochrane - perhaps I would catch some straglers at 22X. (Nope - looks like everyone stayed together.?) However, these days I hate riding solo.
I settled into an aerobic pace in TT position ... and was just riding along enjoying myself when Robert Crane appeared from behind. I stuck his wheel ... and we had a super ride to 22X then back to Calgary.
It was fun.
Next week will be better. I'm going to get up that first hill in Springbank with the group.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Calgary Police Half Marathon - a race report leading upto IM - experimenting w diet

A few years ago, along with friend Greg, we decided we would do an Ironman distance triathlon every 5 years.  I think we both think of it as a bit of a health check up.  2011 was my last Ironman ... so this is Ironman Year - the goal race being Ironman Arizona on Nov 20.

One of the reasons I like this 5 year Ironman plan ... is every 5 years ... I'm forced to get real efficient with my time, and because of all the training ... I am forced to take a serious look at my health and habits.  Currently, as I ramp up my training and research - I am a bit amazed at all the new supposed 'hacks' - at how to get fitter and faster.

For the past 6 weeks, I've been experimenting with a Ketogenic Diet (High Fat and Low Carbs). I began down this rabbit hole by Listening to a pod cast by Tim Ferris as he interviewed Dr. Peter Atilla & later Dom D'Augustino. Since then, I've listened/read other proponents of this 'way' ... Mark Sisson and Ben Greenfield.

Proponents of training and racing in a Ketogenic State (as I understand it) - suggest that you should not need to fuel your body until after 3, 4 and even 5 hours of training/racing.  Your body will burn more efficiently on fat (versus what we all mostly believe - which you must use Carbs).

Since January 1, I have run 36 hours. That is approximately 2.5 hours per week. At the same time, I've been skiing, cycling and swimming ... gaining fitness.
Since early in March, I've been waking in the morning ... drinking bullet coffee ... and getting on with my day of a morning swim or run, then working ... often having the first low carb meal at noon. (This is to practice becoming a fat burning machine.)

Sunday, April 24/16 - Calgary Police Half Marathon - Time to test the training & diet
I woke 2 hours prior to the 8am start, I drank a bullet coffee (adding butter and cream). I weighed in at 160.2 lbs - which is about 5 pounds off my standard 'natural want to be weight' of 166 pounds.
15 Minutes prior to the race start, I drank some Ketoforce (It contains 55 calories with Sodium & Potassium Beta Hydroxybutyrate ... supposed to help me be a 'fat burning beast'.)

Prior to the race, I decided I would try to run sub 1 hour 30 min ... which is a pace of 4 min 15" per km. (I did similar pace in November.) I felt great at the start of the race, running the first 8 km's between 3:52 and 4:07. To see on Strava, click here.

Somewhere between 9 and 11 km, my legs felt VERY heavy. (I wondered ... do I have enough miles of running in these legs.)

1 hour into the race, against the strong proponents of this diet, I had a gel. I was told if I did this ... it would be like rocket fuel and I'd fly the last 30 minutes.  Nothing. (I wished there was a telephone booth near, so I could get my Superman cape out.)
In the last kilometer, I had another gel. I got pasted by two runners.

I had no kick - no fight to truly race.

My average heart rate was 163, max bursting to 188. This may suggest that I was going as hard as possible ... as my threshold is around 163 (from my own self testing).

I ran 1 hour 30 min and 30 seconds - a pace of 4min 17". I finished 25th overall and 6th in my age group. According to Strava, the course was a little long.

What did I learn:
  • I'm enjoying the diet
  • I should try the next event with a fat filled breakfast (eggs fried in coconut oil/butter & spinach)
  • I should run more than 2.5 hours per week

Saturday, 20 February 2016

family in the dominican republic

Celebrating Margaret Howard's 80th Birthday, Las Galeras
Last day of my Mom's 80th birthday vacation. A group of 24, our ages ranged from 12 years to 80 years. What a special week.

My mom pointed out last night that it was a poignant time to have a large family vacation. (The grand children are pretty much all adults, and there are no great grand children yet.)
We did yoga most every morning with my healthy and active Mom.

Individually we spent many hours sitting on our varanda's watching the coconut trees sway in the wind and the waves break on the shore. Together we enjoyed walks, swims, and meals.

Yoga each morning with my 80 year old Mom in Las Galeras, Dominican Republic 

A hike to Playa Madama

Buying Chicken in Las Galeras