Flirting with Possibility | Ironman Whistler 2016
It’s been two weeks since I crossed the finish line at Ironman Whistler as the first woman. Granted there was not a Pro Female race yet there were also no amateurs ahead of me. I was the lead girl that day! And that felt like a pretty special moment.
I’ve spent the last 14days trying to wrap my head and heart around it. Reflecting back on the many months (heck, years!) and miles it took to get there — a journey of 13 Ironman finish lines; remembering everything I had to say No to, in order to say Yes to chasing this lil dream and also facing forward to the reality that my big goal for 2016 is Ironman Hawaii. Therein lies a very fine line of how to absorb and appreciate a special moment in time and how to stay focused on what lies ahead.
I like to document the journey of this lifetime and most often, I like to share stories of Ironman along the way. So it is only fitting that before I am too forward facing, I reflect on Ironman Whistler…
The highlights of my day were plenty:
+ I attended a really sweet love party on Saturday night in Vancouver — because when best friends get married in town, you need to be there. I was love drunk going to sleep pre-race.
+ My swim reminded me to check my ego early in the day because I got passed by a pack of girls very early on and knew that trying to hang onto them was not going to get me to the finish line first. It turns out that I had a decent swim for me + they swam faster — so we were all winning.
+ I saw my Bro and the INCREDIBLE #irontribe16 early in the day and was informed that I was near the front of the race — that was a highlight, because it is still an awesome surprise for me to be up front.
+ I rode very consistently, eating constantly and very solo for 180km. That takes discipline!
+ As I rolled into T2, I saw Kyle, Mikey + Dave who drove up from the city to surprise me on the race course — and lost my marbles! SURPRISES just don’t happen enough as adults — fun, awesome, blow-your-mind surprises — we need more of them. They are so good for your heart + heart rate on race day — it sent mine thru the roof!
+ When I left T2, my new friend John from Whistler rode out beside me and said those magic words: “you are the lead female and I will be riding with you”. I turned to him and said “you are making my dreams come true. let’s do this!”
+ Again, the #irontribe were out in FULL. FORCE. Serious perks of racing locally means the Vancouver crew were out of this world. Their cheers on that run were unbelievable. Also, knowing so many remarkable athletes on course meant the community tribe vibes were hot, especially seeing my girls JoJo, Katie + Sianer gutting it out.
The lowlights were real too:
+ I got out of the swim and heard Jordan Back announce that “Steph Corker is an amateur here looking to take the overall win”. #gasp …all of a sudden my lil secret was shared with the entire crowd. (Yet guess what — no one actually cares! Only my ego that thought “what if it doesn’t happen?” Awesome lesson early in the day. Noted!)
+ There was a good dark patch in the Pemberton Flats where the wind felt strong and the head games are loud. Glad to get my head back in the game before the climb, even if the wind wanted to join us for the return trip to Whistler.
+ The marathon is really no joke. I was there to flirt with what could be possible for me in the run — and there were some good miles and lots more not so good miles. I missed getting water at a few aid stations with serious congestion because of two races taking place at the same time – a 70.3 and a full IM. That wasn’t awesome. I knew my sugar levels were low when I thru the empty cups on the ground and said out loud, “please can i get some water!” (More on this…I’m grateful for volunteers + hydration.)
And I always always always finish the race grateful:
+ to My Main Man, Davey (soon-to-be husband in T-47days!) for everything. He lives with early morning alarm clocks, attending parties solo when I’m already in bed, putting up with hungry Stephy + most of all, being the biggest believer in all of my crazy dreams.
+ to my remarkable Bro and business partner for living the life of possibility, every.darn.day. He reminds me to dream bigger and more importantly, he lives bigger as an example. He is the world’s BEST cheerleader — because he knows that everyone needs someone in their corner.
+ to my really rad roster of sponsors who make the journey of triathlon easier, faster and better looking. Thank you: Sugoi for my awesome custom kit, Smith Optics for an aero helmet and sunglasses for every part of the day, Cervelo for the unicorn on which I get to ride, bicicletta bike shop for taking care of my ride and Velofix for keeping me on the road outside of my home town.
There is one other special man who has made this journey really special and he is Coach Jasper Blake. This was my 10th IM under his watchful eye and 3rd year under his program. Earlier this year, I reminded him when he told me that “I just wasn’t in the postal code of qualifying for Kona” — and, at the time, he was right. Yet I was relentless. Together we have flirted with possibility — just one more IM in a year, just one more 800 on the track, just the perfect amount of work:rest; one more book to read, strength session in the gym, you get it! He has been steadfast in his approach — and I have only had to meet him with my relentless focus and positively committed self. What I know for sure is that this won’t be the last time that “I wasn’t in the postal code” of a goal.
I will leave you with the final words he sent me the day before the race. And the wish that we all flirt with possibility just a lil more often, in every area of your life… Mahalo, xo
Tomorrow is nothing more than an opportunity – an opportunity that we get so few of in life. Your only job is to execute the way you know how to execute. When it gets tough your job is to keep making the decision to fight because it is a decision. Your job has nothing to do with an outcome tomorrow – outcome is directing the process, yes; your job is to execute and focus on the necessary parts of that execution – the outcome will take care of itself. The execution is entirely within your control and the decision to keep driving and enduring and being tough is entirely within your control. Fall in love with the effort, fall in love with the process you will go through tomorrow – fall in love with it because in the grand scheme of life we get so few opportunities to see how good we can be and whatever happens you win when you have a deep appreciation for the journey.
You’re a champion already – so tomorrow race like a champion. – Jasper Blake