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My 2017 Lessons + Learnings

I’m back, like I never left (never left!). With the same great theme song, with another IM finish line in my heart and some sweet perspective on the year of 2017…
My Top 10 Lessons as a Rookie Pro
  1. Awkward firsts are a real thing. I felt like a beginner all over again this year. It would have been much more comfortable to continue racing as an amateur. Many may argue that I’m not good enough to race as a pro (i don’t disagree). I’m proud of myself for being brave enough to go for it anyway. Because when you practice being awkward long enough, you get better at being brave – and that made it worth while.
  2. The leap from Amateur racing to Pro racing is a real!deal! It feels like a very different race.  And I can confidently say that I’d rather race to chase at the bottom of pro field than ever win another amateur IM.
  3. Swim in a pack. Training on Rach’s toes made me a stronger swimmer and learning how to race in a pack made me a stronger racer. #fullstop I swam on my own once – out to sea – and vowed to never do that again! Always swim on feet.
  4. Stay present. Instead of obsessing over my “12week build”, which usually also had me obsessing over the feelings of “not being good enough”,  I became manically in love with each training session. Some sessions were horrible, yet with the same discipline I focused on them, I would let them go. When I look back on many training sessions, I logged some of my finest work this year! That is something I’m stoked about.
  5. Your biggest fears and sweetest dreams just may come true. I was worried about being the last pro across the line – and I was at my first pro race in South Africa. It also happened to be my best IM at the time (10:04), so there was indeed a lesson to be had. #noonecares// I wrote the number 9:34 all over our house. It was on sticky notes, on mirrors, set as passwords. I had no right, no evidence, no reasonable reason to believe that could be possible, but I thought if I wanted to play with the big girls, I needed to break free of my 10hr IM performances.  (Funny aside: when I was running down the line at IM Cozumel, the clock read 9:34 – like dream come true! I had manifested that sh*t! Except, it was for the pro men who started 5min ahead, so by the time I crossed the mat, the clock had changed to read 9:29. Maybe there is a lesson that it can be even better than a wild dream come true!)
  6. Sleep is King. The answer to nearly every problem, doubt or worry I had this year was solved with an afternoon power nap.
  7. Nutrition is Queen. I started working with The Core Diet crew after crossing a finish line I was utterly deflated with in July. We’ve only just begun, yet so far – so great, I’d say!
  8. Consistency remains a very sexy way of living, or at least, training! Be it gym workouts, track/ tready sessions, easy runs, long swims or longer rides – some may call it hard work, yet really, I think it was consistent work that continues to make a difference. (Note: I realize this is a massive cliche and I’m a walking motivational quote preacher – however! you can never make up for a lack of consistency, so it will forever stay as an important lesson to me.)
  9. Sponsors make a difference. Of course, I was dropped by sponsors when I told them I was taking my pro card, because why do they want to support the rookie? I also had some remarkable brands that were along for the journey, rootin’ from the online/ offline sidelines. What I’ve come to appreciate is that there is more to these relationships than an instagram post with a hashtag. I care about innovating sponsor relationships, especially with women in our sport, in a really big way. Thank you immensely to Coeur for the best outfits, Cervelo for my ride, nuun for my hydration, Eat Prima for real food, velofix for keeping me moving forward + unequivocally, B78Coaching/ Jasper Blake for still hangin’ on!
  10. The tribe is smaller, tighter and stronger than ever. As I grew to care more about exploring what was possible, I realized that I held onto my dreams a lil closer to my heart. I also held onto my very special people even closer. (Because the nay-sayers and bull sh*tters are real, yo!) It’s fair to say that Mikey, Liam + Chad made riding and running around town faster than ever before; Jojo’s wild spirit always kept me laughing and special girlfriends who have been around for every single one of these darn races are forever steadfast. My Bro will forever be the biggest believer, my sweet Husband has been more solid than a rock and Rachel Mcfreakin’Bride has been the greatest blessing. My feet may be swollen, yet my heart is most certainly full because of these people, all of whom I’ll never be able to properly thank.
In Review:
+ i spent 1.6% of 2017 on a start line. I’m convinced that I spent 93.4% of the year loving every single darn second of the work and a solid 5% was really tough.
+ i rode an IM bike course 22min faster than I did in 2016.
+ i pb’d my flat marathon by 38min; i pb’d my IM marathon by 15min! (this is a big deal for me: i’m learning how to run!).
+ overall, i finished an IM 43min faster in 2017 than 2016 (and: Cozumel was unnecessarily fast, so that is to be taken with a downhill swim grain of sand.)
“Don’t stop until you are proud.” was written on the back of every race number I wore.
So while you may see placings without podiums, I see progress; and while I wrap 2017 most definitely proud, I’m also not ready to stop! Thank you for every single note, cheer and high five this year. It has meant more to my awkward, most vulnerable self than you’ll ever know.
Big Love to your Biggest Dream — I’ll see you back here in 2018!
s.

when inspiration knocks…

…ya gotta open the door!

i’ve found myself having a very repetitive conversation with folks lately. i’ve also found my heart rate to rise, my bum to move to the edge of my seat, and naturally, my passionate stephy-squeals are in full force…when answering the question of: “what’s next?”

the crowd that asks are a sweet mixed bag — some may be genuinely curious; others anxiously await to hear i’ve given up – you know the famous “it’s time” or “it’s been alot“; and most don’t actually care either way, but it’s nice of them to inquire.

many are right — it has been alot of IM races in the last few years — like, 12 or so. especially because doing many of them were not planned, yet rather reactions to failed attempts to qualify for Kona. yet those failed attempts remain my most favorite races, because i was ALWAYS inspired to get to the next start line. in many regards, taking my pro card this year could also have been considered “a failed attempt” – not in any sort of self-deprecating way, simply a tough go. and yet again, the inspiration remains.

this time though it is a little bit different — the stakes are higher and i care more than ever. i am also acutely aware of the desire to grow a business globally and (hopefully) a family locally. i especially care about women staying in sport as examples of living whole, sweaty lives while being of enormous contribution to how companies are run, with thriving relationships. i care that we never let a dream go to waste!

all of this to say, it was a special day to have lunch with my Father-in-law who so proudly announced at our wedding that he in fact holds the Frey Family marathon record. one of my 2017 goals was to chase him down in an IM and while that didn’t quite happen, i’m very excited to focus on my run and chase this family record in my 4th marathon attempt this year!

inspiration! she just. keeps. on. knocking! what i know for sure is that inspiration is not a renewable resource. for as long as we wake up inspired, we owe it to ourselves to do something about it.

see you at the races!

My 18th Ironman Finish Line | IM Canada 2017

*oh boy! i’ve started each race report with the same first line: “I’ve struggled with where to start”…so forget it! the struggle is real yet the only thing better than starting is finishing — so without further adu, the lessons from Ironman Canada 2017!

It wasn’t my best; it wasn’t the race nor the finish that I was hoping for. Yet, it was indeed another finish line, with lots of lessons and equal parts responsibility and vulnerability for my result.

You see, after my race that didn’t go to plan — which I’m learning, is in fact more often how races go — my friends are still my friends; my training buddies haven’t ditched me;  my husband still loves me. Heck, my Bro still wants to run a business with me and my Coach sends me texts like “are you ok?”. My people love me anyway!

I took a week off after IM Canada. We hung out at the cabin and did mountain things, without watches and heart rate monitors; with friends we hadn’t seen in way too long. Unfortunately, in the pacific north west we are seriously socked in with forest fire smoke making blue bird skies appear more like a constant smoke-pit. Yet, every morning we woke up and found a new trail, a new mountain, a new adventure — that of course, would have been exceptionally better with a panoramic view, however, the journey and the company made it worth it. We woke up and we went anyway!

So this brings me back to the race — a week ago — my 18th Ironman finish line and my 3rd Ironman in the last 4months of 2017. I got progressively slower this year. I got progressively more deflated and defeated instead of fresh and feisty. I knew it wasn’t going to be my day rather early on the bike when my HR was too high, too soon. While I of course leave room for magic, it was gonna take some kinda miracle to turn it around. Guess what — Ironman Canada 2017 wasn’t my race of magic, nor miracles; it was my slog of one foot in front of the other and a finish line that made me sad and incredibly sore. And now, with some fresh life perspective after sitting in the smokey haze, but of course… I’m so glad I finished anyway! 

Ironman Canada will forever be one of my most favorite races. It was my first Ironman back in 2010, barely crackin’ 12hrs. In my craziest, wildest dreams, I never ever thought that I would return to Penticton in 2012 to snag a Kona spot. Nor did I think that 5 years later I’d start with the pro women. When I look back on the miles I have logged to get to the start lines, I’m grateful for them all. When I look back on my results as a rookie pro, heck, I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t embarrassed and ashamed of where I’ve finished. That happens. Perspective of where I’ve come from makes me grateful to be here and the dreams of that sweet smell of potential is what will motivate my alarm clock to continue to be set for that special early wake up call!

I’m insanely grateful for brands who have stuck around for this journey so far. Coeur has provided amazing tri suits/ apparel, Smith has kept my head + retinas protected, Nuun has kept me hydrated, velofix has kept my bike on the road, bicicletta/ cervelo have provided me a chariot of a bike + B78 coaching continues to elevate my heart rate! I hope I can be the enthusiastic underdog who you can count on…who keeps going for it, anyway!

Because what if you fail? Or what if you flop? DO! IT! ANYWAY! …this Corker is not gonna stop! (And hey, you — you too — please don’t stop! Failing or flopping is a million times better than sitting at home hoping or wishing.)

xo

PS — the crew of B78 athletes along with Jasper Blake, the redonk-rad #irontribe17, Jamie Armstrong + the Method-maniacs all made for a very special day. Their awesomeness deserves serious celebration…stay tuned! (Along with very special congrats to my friendly pros + the Ironwomen podcast for covering the day of amazing estrogen on the race course.)

 

 

 

 

 

The ROTH Report | Challenge Roth 2017

I’ve struggled to put this race onto paper, yet I realize the sooner I can wrap it in a bow, the sooner I can take my attitude adjustment to the next level — ya know, the check up from the neck up!
Because the truth is: Challenge Roth is OUT of THIS WORLD! Hands down the most amazing long distance triathlon race, ever. The Germans don’t miss one detail: everything is high quality, highly efficient, and most of all, full of serious serious amounts of enthusiasm! For the wee town of Roth to host over 5,000 athletes with 200,000 spectators (all of them were on bikes or in a beer garden, i’m certain!) and 7,000 volunteers — you do the math — the athletes were most certainly taken care of. Beyond the race logistics itself (which were all super easy, of course), the bike course was stunning and the local outdoor pool was my 2nd favorite to Vancouver’s own Kits Pool. I’ve watched this race thru social media and the internet and it was always a “bucket list” kinda race, yet what I can tell you is that it is EVEN better in real life. It is worth the 4hour line up to snag a spot or the ferocious refreshing of your register page.
Now, the unfiltered, unglorified tale of my own race was that I fell flat. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was totally disappointed.
I had a few goals coming into this race:
  1. Swim with someone other than a kayaker – heck yes!
  2. Run the marathon that I have yet to run off the bike – #fail
  3. Soak in all things Challenge Roth – check and check!
All things considered, on paper, it didn’t look like a terrible race…
I started on Daniela’s feet and had a 200m battle with Vonsy before realizing that she would tuck in on my feet while I would swim ahead to Laura Siddall who was on her own. We swam in a little pack, rather stupidly as neither of us knew whether to drop back or just hold our line. Vonsy certainly knew how to mix it up and would surge ahead – heading happily off course – yet we would follow. I lost their feet in the last 200m back to shore, yet that is about 3.6km better than my last swim. While it wasn’t a fast swim for me, at least I’m learning the tactics of swimming in a pack! (i share this because sometimes you gotta celebrate the smallest victories in these long days; sunday’s swim was a small victory for me!)
As I headed out on the bike, it didn’t take long before I felt the head wind or better said: the head games! It wasn’t 10km into the ride and my thoughts went dark. Let’s just say it was a very long 170km after that that really felt like a slog. The climb up Solar Hill was more than worth it. There is nothing like it in the world of triathlon. NOTHING! It is actually a very quick climb and before you know it, you are back on the perfectly-german-paved roads riding church town to church town. I broke the race into 5minute chunks and hung on fiiiiiivvvvvve minutes at a time.
Of course, there is always time to turn the day around. And when I put my shoes on I thought, this can be a fresh run. …and let’s just say, it didn’t quite ever turn around. I wasn’t half way and I was dragging the piano. I was walking my way through the course, even stopping on two occasions to jump into a kiddie pool on the side in an attempt to cool down. Mikey was the best — I knew when he showed up with a bottle of coke on the sidelines I was in trouble. (Because at Challenge events you can have outside support!) However, at km15 I didn’t know how on earth I was going to finish in under 13hrs and somehow I did. Perhaps THAT alone was the lesson in marching on, even when in the moment it feels completely impossible.
Beyond the numbers, it wasn’t the worst race I’ve ever done. Yet, here’s the deal: when you put in the work and fly half way around the world, you have expectations for yourself. And on Sunday I fell short. It’s part of racing — a very pure form of vulnerability — that says: I will toe this start line to be my very best. And on Sunday, what I know for sure is that I wasn’t my best. It goes beyond time goals and placing. It is the answer to the most important question: are you proud? In every single moment. And again, on Sunday, I wasn’t proud. While even a year ago I may have been properly thrilled with this result, I am not the same person/ athlete I was a year ago.
Thankfully Coach’s sage words post race were: “you put in a great training day for Ironman Canada!” — and indeed, a great training day it was. Said with a slightly bashful grin, this week of recovery has most definitely served me well. I am feeling fit and fresh and most importantly, perfectly fired up!
So, sweet Challenge Roth — thank you thank you thank you. For reminding me of my love of the sport that when I come up short; I want to come back fighting (err, running!) harder! For the gift of toeing the start line with some truly remarkable women that are rad examples of what is possible. For showing me the beauty in meeting new wonderful people like our Homestay Inge + Michael and experiencing the joy of travelling with the one + only Mikey P! And most of all, for the German way of SHOWING! UP! – with enthusiasm and spunk – and maybe a beer* on the side;)
Next up: Ironman Canada with a crew of exceptional pro women and lots of B78’ers — I can’t wait! Whistler has come to feel like our home and nothing beats racing on home turf.
*note: i actually only drank 1 pint the entire trip to germany, yet let it be known it was of course cheaper than water mit gas.

Victoria 70.3 | a race for the character bank

At some point in time it is less about the race report and more about the race lessons. It was a year ago at a dinner after Hawaii 70.3 that I was introduced to the “race high/ race low/ what did you learn” table conversation. 

RACE HIGH |Home (Canadian!) turf with Jasper + his crew of athletes makes for a special day. A race weekend with Mikey means we are well fed, my bike is clean + friendly banter ensues — perfection! And the swim…I swam in a straight line-ish, I swam with some girls and I swam with intent all the way to the beach. (That is a win when my previous swim was an ocean-perimeter journey on my own, so…progress!)

Full disclosure: I’m truly obsessed with the mental game of sport. I play mind tricks with myself the entire day to see if I can go just a lil bit faster, a lil bit harder for a lil bit longer. And when it gets tough, my secret is deep deep gratitude. Truly. I remind myself of all of the things I’m insanely grateful for. I start at the bottom and work up….#1 is always to have 10toes, #2 is no broken feet (because when you have broken a foot, you never want a broken foot ever again!), #3 is the comfortable socks on my healthy feet (because I always race in a fresh pair of socks!) and on it goes — I think about my childhood swim coach, I think about how lucky I was to have parents who drove me to swim practice — I’m grateful for My Man + My Bro, I’m stoked to see friends on the course and often pray Mikey won’t catch me! I try to get to 100, but I usually get to 10 and then repeat the very same 10. I have no problem sharing this secret with you because this secret takes as much effort as nailing your training plan. It deserves the same respect in my opinion. 

And when the race is finished, I usually run thru another list of gratitude: for sunshine, for clean water, for aid stations, for friends on the course and a coach I adore, for an announcer who knows my name, for volunteers who make it possible. I’m grateful for the best outfit in the business from Coeur, for sunglasses and helmets from Smith, for a bike that I am sad to hop off of and running shoes that I’m stoked to put on. I’m grateful for hydration from Nuun, fuel from Prima and of course, bike support from Velofix. 

All of these things make for a great day, regardless of the outcome. I think that is very important, especially in longer races that we never forget the small moments that get us to the finish line. So for all of that…thank you thank you thank you!

RACE LOW | I got my first penalty – a dunk in the sin bin. (i know i know..it happens.) I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that upon finishing the race, I was friggen disappointed. And mostly with myself — and my brain, who let the penalty linger for too long on the bike and take up too much mental space for at least 10km of the run. (9.9km too long!)

What sucks is that I wanted a fair race. I want a ref who will break up the pack of age group dudes drafting before they give me a penalty for passing them back too quickly. Because, alert to the age group dudes: if you are passing me in a train, you better keep that train rolling all the way up the climb. But when you pass me and then slow down, sit up and proceed to ride your bike all over the road — I’m gonna be pissed! Hold your line. Hold your pace. Or better yet, I beg of you, freakin’ accelerate and get out of my way. 

The lesson is clear: I know I can be a stronger rider and hopefully ride my way out of these situations. And if I haven’t been inspired to do that yet, trust me you, the fire is stoked! 

However, I think it goes beyond my lessons and learnings and speaks to a much greater issue called: females in sport. Let us have a fair race. In case you weren’t aware, the pro race is a completely different beast than the amateur game. I promise I’m not doing any of this for my ego but rather for the future of sport that says together, we can jump up, jump in and fight these battles. I’ll happily be at the back of the pro race and banking lessons — I think they will translate into life very well.

I sat on my bike in the penalty tent, while the ref tried to figure out how to re-set her watch (and I almost got another penalty for using inappropriate language in asking her to hit the start button!). The lactic acid streamed into my legs like a cement truck and I tried, oh I tried, to start counting my blessings. I mean, come on Stephy, you are on your bike after all. What I realized was that if I was drafting, put me in the sin bin. If I didn’t let another pro female pass me, into jail I go. But a penalty for getting mixed up in a group of men and refusing to slow down to let them pass me? NO WAY! Break up those dudes. Teach them how to climb. I’d ride much faster if I was on someone else’s wheel too.

//end rant.

As Pitbull says, everyday above ground is a good day, remember that! And every day with a start line and a finish line is a grateful day; I’ll always remember that too!

Onward to Challenge Roth…

Keep Calm + (ONLY!) Carry On.

In preparation for IM South Africa, I was admittedly most nervous about the 30hr plan journey. What to pack? What to eat? THIRTY hours(#bleeeeeeek)! And despite my ferocious googling, no one said: put this in your carry-on and keep calm. (I wish they did!)

So, if you are planning a long-haul-adventure, perhaps to a start line, may this help in your packing pursuits…or in the very least, it will remind me of just how little is actually required. My travel mantra is always: pack light, fly fast!

In my most favorite Smith pack (because: big deep main section, perfectly placed pockets + ease of transporting helmet!):

Emerites in-flight bags (the best! useful for a million reasons at home!)// Coeur travel wallet (perfect for a bike ride + international travel)// turkish towel (basically a multi-tool for a woman who gets colds and craves picnics!)// my favorite pencil case (i always bring a pen, a sharpie, headphones + a few other lil goodies – it’s a desk on the road)// a card holder (it holds just the special ones)// SAJE (!!! basically: airplane requirements.)// lucas’ papaw ointment (it’s perfect for dry hands, chapped lips + chaffed race parts)// wet wipes (especially for cleaning down the seat and table in the germ-infested-travelbox!)// nuun (one canister for the plane + one canister holds my vitamins and melatonin!)// always bring a massage ball for feet, neck, shoulders// water bottle (1per hour, when awake!)// a reusable grocery bag (or just-in-case-carry-on overflows)// airplane snacks (featuring south african treasures here!)// a new book (i haven’t gotten into e-readers and i always buy a new read at the airport!)// computer (#obvi) and…my Smith TT helmet.

What’s missing from this pic:

Compression socks (already in the washer!)// aloha-neck-pillow (i actually don’t get on a plane without it, ever.)// Passport + Nexus, because you should never leave home without…nexus and your neck pillow:)

#proof!

My pack along with a carry-on rolly had everything I needed for 2weeks on the other side of the world, confirming that if you can pack for an Ironman with carry on only, you can indeed pack for most adventures without checking a bag! (Bike bag not included, of course.) And the travel secrets that I searched high and low for were in fact quite simple: bring your own food – eat it often; drink water; move your body when you can (including feet up the wall!)….and sleeeeeeeep your flight away.

Zoom Zoom! We’re 12weeks away to the next long-haul-adventure!

The Rookie Report | Ironman South Africa

Theme Song: I bless the rain down in Africa/ Gonna take some time to do the things we never had!

Disclaimer: I haven’t updated my blog very diligently lately. I have had a story that the internet is already crowded enough and who cares about these updates if they are longer than an IG post? We also have been sharing content from #TeamCorker over here and it felt more important to crowd the internet with more meaningful words, than my silly sweat tales.

This recent trip to South Africa has changed that for me, for many reasons. Being on the other side of the world, meeting new people from all over the world – some who spoke english and many who did not – reminded me that there is indeed a great big globe of colourful, beautiful people. And we’ve all got a story to share. I will (unapologetically) share mine with you and I hope you do too! Subscribe here for updates from The Corker Co or here for the upcoming Stephy Reports. 

Now — IRONMAN SOUTH AFRICA! 

The seed for this race was planted by my good buddy Rachel McBride during the final 1000m of a January 10km swim set. She was committing to big-point races en route to the Big Island and I was easily convinced being such a naive, rookie pro. Everything sounds like a great idea …in January! 

But here is what actually happened leading into this start line:

+ a rained-out LA training camp// a mentally-tough Kona training camp (chasing sunshine!)// more hours than i’d like to admit riding and running inside – which didn’t leave me feeling overly confident about hour6 onward on race day// a solid bout of “i’m not good enough for this; i’m too fat; i think i’d rather stay in bed” #reallife// a change of plans for Rachel which meant she wouldn’t be racing.

GAH! Do I still go? Is it worth it? Surely I don’t have the fitness but more importantly: do I even have the mental guts to finish an IM? A month out, I had 3 days completely off and was under Coaches orders to nail a few key workouts or we were pulling the pin. Because: there is always another day he tells me, another start line…some day….

And that killed me. I’m deathly allergic to “somedays”.  I could get injured, life circumstances could change and I wasn’t prepared to wait for another day or another year.

So with a proper taper week in Cape Town before hand (I don’t do too well in the IM buzz pre-race, so prefer to stay outta dodge), we headed over to Port Elizabeth on Thursday. Coach Jazzy sent me a text that simply read: “at peace?” My response: “Yep!” And with that, it was time to jump into the buzz head first.  My first pro meeting was definitely legit — a room of some seriously stacked talent (that I only know from the internet, let’s be honest!) with more Euro rules than us North Americans are used to.

Speaking of talent – the one thing everyone in the room did have in common was a group of sponsors that stood behind them. Many with logos across their chests, I’d be so remiss to not start this post with gratitude:

+ for Kebby, Hailey and the girls at Coeur Sports. You will see their beautiful product on heaps of athletes — yet what you might not know is that this is a female led, US-made, huge-hearted crew! These gals have brought over 140 ladies together for TeamCoeur2017 and I’m so grateful to be flying the Coeur flag this season. (The other kicker is that their product is seriously comfortable and fit for dare I say…a queen!)

+ for SMITH, who sponsor only the best — the top of the podiums, the winners. I’ve been so fortunate to be apart of SMITH for several years and sporting their newest aero helmets and every pair of sunglasses I can possibly find. I’m so grateful they took a chance on me, even if I don’t fit the #winner criteria. Their newest chromapop everything actually will have you seeing the world thru rose-tinted glasses.

+ for my local favorites – the Canadian-founded velofix. You may see trucks on road and I get to see these guys in the community, on their bikes, super committed to partnering with brands who will make it easier for more people in this world to ride bikes. Undeniably, as a female, I’m reallyreally stoked when the big red truck pulls up to take care of…everything, where ever I am racing. #sametimeridemore

+ speaking of Canadian, for the rad athlete team behind Cervelo. Like SMITH, who took a flying freakin’ chance on me so early on. Their local YVR crew is awesome and I’m super honoured to be on my 3rd cervelo stead!

+ for endless canisters of Nuun. I had nuun on the airplane, nuun for breakfast, nuun at the pool, nuun on race morning. And like every other brand, the people of the product make the nuun experience really special. #hydrateordie!

+ and lastly and never ever least, for B78 Coaching and my main man Jasper Blake. Of course, you can hire a coach to write you a program or you can work with a coach to change your relationship with winning/ losing/ suffering/ celebrating. Most of all, I’m grateful for Jazzy‘s impeccable commitment to creating simple and highly effective programs for life – mind, body, spirit — and somehow, we keep crossing the line faster;)

So the question is: should you purchase/ use these brands/ products/ services? Yes! Not only because they are the best, yet because in a world with so many options, they are committed to bring their best and supporting us all in the human race to finish lines!

Speaking of finish lines, here is how my race went down:

SWIM | We walked onto the beach to an African Drum circle which might have been the coolest! I lined up right at the front, determined to get on someone’s feet. The gun went off and we ran into the water — I think I lost the run into the water, but did find a group…only to be quickly dropped and swimming solo. Such a #rookiemistake! I ended up swimming the entire permitter of the ocean, with kayaks pushing me back on course. When I ran into transition there were 2 bikes left racked; so I wasn’t last but barely.

*Spoiler: my greatest fear of taking my pro card was finishing last. Would that be just awful? An embarrassment? Who wants to support a loser?*

BIKE | I jump on my bike and immediately realize that this pro field means  pretty quiet roads. No one was around! I settled into my numbers and thought I’d take the first loop conservatively and see what was happening on the second loop. That I did. We had a stellar head wind coming back into town and the loop meant I could see where the rest of the girls were at. I also knew that going too hard for me on the bike was not setting myself up to run. When I started the second loop, I broke it into 10km chucks — I was going to fuel every 10km and stay really focused 10km at a time. It worked — like 9x10km efforts on the trainer! Mikey and I have done these — I can do this. Overall, I think I rode very conservatively and that was what was needed for my mental game. 

RUN | This might be the most unique way to run 42.2km — 4×10.5km figure eight style loops — meaning 2.5km out/ 2.5km back in/ 2.5km out the other direction — up a hill/ down a hill – 2.5km back in….FOUR TIMES! As the day went on the loops got progressively more congested. It was awesome to be a witness to the men’s race and of course, watch the women running around me in circles as well. If my confidence was going to be tested, it was going to be on the back half of the marathon and despite it being an early season race, I’m proud of holding myself together as best as I could for that last 15km. (Kudos to Jenny Fletcher who just wouldn’t let me catch up!)

On Sunday, I was the last pro to finish. Unfortunately, there was a significant group of gals who dropped out for various reasons – so I guess you can say I was the last pro who didn’t drop out! (I’ve got nothing but respect – I know these ladies wanna get to Kona!) Regardless, IM South Africa was a new pb (10:04) for me and the marathon that tells me there is still room to improve — I crossed the line absolutely elated!

Here is what I know to be true:

+ I’d rather be the last pro than the first amateur. (And I’m so glad I didn’t wait for someday to experience this!)

+ I’m SO passionate about women showing up to the races! Only 20% of the amateur race was female and less than 20 female pros finished. The spread may be large, yet the only way to bridge the gaps is: by showing up! #hightides #riseallships

+ I may never be the fastest, skinniest, fiercest woman on the course — and I may be last — yet I will never ever give up. If this isn’t a lesson for IM and for some other chapter in my life, I’m so grateful for it all.  It will never be lost on me that failed goals keep me hungry and big goals keep me motivated; I’m grateful that I’ve become unattached to results in a way that I can be proud of really showing up with my biggest heart + sponsors who are really awesome human beings, first and foremost. (Because after all: isn’t this simply a human experience wrapped in spandex?!)

The Road to (Challenge) Roth is on the other side of recovery…

[Next post: the tourist report of Cape Town/ Port Elizabeth because IM South Africa just might be a bucket list kinda race — a trip of a lifetime for you to consider in 2018!]

Big Vertical Bike Camp | Would You Rather…

The question was batted around at #bigverticalbikecamp: would you rather have a full time chef or a full time masseuse? My roomies both declared a chef. Our friends at dinner in fact also wished for their food to be prepared. Yet by the end of the trip, I decided that even though I do not travel all that frequently, the number of hours I’ve wasted searching for the best priced flights/ shortest connector/ lowest bike fees/ best airbnb has me wishing for a full time travel agent! (I’ll happily cook my meals and book my massages with the busiest-massage-therapist-in-Vancouver, Barb! cause she is so worth it.)

Every January, when I don’t feel especially fit, I pack my bike for B78 Coaching + Human Powered Racing’s annual training camp in Thousand Oaks, CA. It feels too early in the season and the fear of “not being ready” is what drives me to book my ticket regardless of my fitness. This year, the weather forecast had been looking especially sub-fabulous, yet we never seem to really trust the weather forecast….

Would you rather stay home where the schedule is predictable or head to LA where the weather is questionable?

We arrived to torrential downpour and a re-gigged scheduled pending the hourly rainfall warnings. Less than ideal when travelling with a bike and hoping to be climbing for hours every day; however, Coaches Jazzy + Mike really made the best of it. We had double run days, new trail days, awesome outdoor pool swim sessions and a couple of awesome rides. (Our room also had core o’clock dialled — Cogger brought the tunes and JoJo brought her six pack — the burn was real!)

Would you rather hang onto the wheel in front for deeeeeear life or give in to the burning sensation in your legs just for one hot second that has you dropped off the back of the pack and soft pedalling solo for the duration of the ride?*

Of course, you hang on! Grateful for the speedy boys + our local tour guide Andrew, not one moment on the bike was ever boring!

Would you rather take the 8AM or the 8PM flight home? 

Always fly home to sleep in your own bed, yet stay long enough to maximize every business hour! An extra day in the city meant for an awesome visit to our sponsor Coeur who got us properly race-ready (women run businesses: THE! BEST!) as well as a fully loaded afternoon running between meetings. I was the last person to board the last flight outta LAX en route to: home.

What this trip taught me, yet again, is that LA is a beautiful spot for beautiful riding — especially with speedy friends. It has reminded me that I might not be race-ready in January, yet I’m training-ready! It gave me excellent perspective that the training routine we have settled into at home, while it may appear monotonous to some, is in fact excellent. And mornings at Method are indeed (almost) as excellent at the mountains of Malibu. 

I’d say until next year…but the truth is, until next month cause I think we need a do-over of that camp! And 2018, we’re comin’ for ya! Big Love to Jazz, Mikey Neil + their rad crew that make this possible.

*Highlight of camp was my terrible sense of direction that had us miss nearly every turn and made for longer ride options. I’ll never cut a ride short. Yet the best part for 2018 is that not only do I know the routes, but I know the long way home too!

Going Pro

“Nobody wants to show you the hours and hours of becoming.

They’d rather show you the highlight of what they’ve become.” – Angela Duckworth, Author of GRIT

The internet is a funny thing; social media so easily allows us to share our lives under filters and misunderstood hashtags. Unfortunately, it has also created a platform that beats any form of high school gossip and allows news to travel and judgements to fly faster than you could ever write a note and pass it to a friend in between classes.

The proud and confident folks online seem to boast the ‘ttude of #ZFG – thank goodness! And then there are others that want to show you a piece of their heart yet fear the judgement. Because 140 characters used to be the lines at cocktail parties until instagram stories took over — and your selfie became a video, sprayed across the world wide web.  And all of this to be said — the good and the not so good — unequivocally the internet has indeed create a platform for news to be shared. #duh

It has created a safe place for this post from inner voice to go live. (I’d really appreciate it if you’d click that link cause I’m battling out head to head with the triathlon legend Jesse Thomas right now! Seriously. Please. Click it!) What you may not know about that post is that it was written the week leading up to Ironman Canada — and despite still feeling like a sausage in my tri suit, I had a deeper desire that went beyond the size of my quads — I was going to start that race to win that race. And that is indeed what happened. I share this because July 25th taught me a very sweet lesson in the fine line of falling hostage to self-doubt or flirting with self-belief.

Every day since then, I dance the same fine line — it comes up in business, in relationships, in sport — having radical courage to tell the truth, to apologize first, to stay relentlessly focused, to show up on purpose, 100% of the time. While self-doubt holds me back because the what if’s are big and usually come with a high price tag measured in a kick to the confidence, the self-belief alwaysalwaysalways says…GO FOR IT! Make the call! Jump in first! You’ll figure it out!

So with my dancing shoes on, flirting with possibility, I am so stoked to share that my pro card has arrived and 2017 will be the year that I have the sweet opportunity to race triathlon with the big girls — the speedy girls — with a P on our calves.

And I’m sharing this now — in the hours of becoming, when I still struggle with inner voices (#click!) that say women in our 30’s should be doing other things (note: we’ve got time for that!), that entrepreneurs needs to focus (btw: I’ll show you focus!) or that let’s be honest, I’m the underdog who is still a lil husky! I’m sharing this because I’m so grateful to have a new radical line up of sponsors that have said “we want to support you for being you!” – Thank you! Because I am the girl who once ran a 4:30 marathon and who has never been to the olympics for steeple chase, btw. I’m sharing this because I am the most perfect example of a very ordinary human who has relentlessly flirted with getting better…and every darn day has been so worth it.

As we get ready to cross the finish line of 2016, I hope you too will flirt with what could be possible…as an underdog or the top dog….just be the best dog!

Here’s to the hours and hours still remaining to become what once, not that long ago, was indeed but a wild, crazy dream!

A Start Line that Matters

Being a self-proclaimed endurance junkie, who had found great joy in chasing Ironman finish lines over the last several years, I feel confident in discussing the power of a Start Line. (The finish lines are simply a bonus on race day — the start line is what motivates us every other day of the year.)

Inspired by a chat with Charlie Judy from WORKxo, he so aptly stated, “You know, you’d never show up to a start line of a race under-trained or ill-prepared*. Yet why do we let people cross the start lines for chapters in their careers without the same training?” Ummm. To which I quickly replied, “Right! And then 3months in wonder if they are going to make it. Question if they are the right person for the role after all?” It is synonymous to asking someone to do an Ironman, yet only after completing the swim do  you tell them that they need to get on their bike and ride 180km. That’s a long bike ride if you didn’t know what you were signing up for. Similarly, it is a long road – sometimes quite emotional and usually quite energetically-loaded to lead teams without ever knowing how to do so.

The fact of the matter is that there are lots of remarkable business leaders who drive great results – they are rewarded and promoted for their efforts. Perhaps even with titles that have the coveted VP or Chief of Something Awesome; yet what is missing is the training around how to manage yourself and your team/ projects/ work to be high performing, resilient and remarkable assets to your organization.

Like a solid Ironman build that spans 12weeks, The Manager Start Line (MSL) is also a 12week training program. The difference between an Ironman build and a MSL build — there will be no recovery weeks and on the other side of the start line, there may in fact not be a finish line for a long while; yet both programs are indeed designed to change your life.

And like training for Ironman — it only works when your life works. One of my favorite People leaders once said it best: work works when your life works. She was spot on.

So why not start training for your best (work) life? Flex your courageous conversation muscle. Learn how to restore yourself and take care of your mental well-being so you can have the stamina to stay in the tough conversations in the board room. The marathon really begins at mile20 on race day — so where ever you are in your career, be it mile1 or mile22, there is still time to make a difference before the proverbial finish line known as “the end of your career.”

It has been months of ruthless focus, insane team work, copious emails across global time zones to present this training program to you. Curated by the one and only, Matt Corker and developed by local e-learning engine, Learnkit. This start line will go down as a dent in our universe, because it has made a difference. And most of all, if you lead people/ teams/ countries (Trump, I’m calling you!) — I hope you will toe the line with us to make a dent in your universe too!

Here’s to being The Best Boss in 2017. It’s time.

Big Love from #TeamCorker

*note: under-trained and ill-prepared are totally avoidable! it is much more fun to be ready to race. please check out B78 Coaching to toe sweaty start lines with proper preparation.