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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.

Ironman#15 | Kona 2016

It’s been a week now since the big dance! There have been heaps of posts on people’s amazing days, moments of bonking, precious finish line shots and of course, the Ironman hang over that ensues. So consider this my band-wagon post of the tale that was my 3rd Ironman Hawaii (and 15th IM!) finish line…

I woke up yesterday morning — in rainy, chilly Vancouver, BC and realized that it was but one week ago that I was walking my bike down the red carpet for check-in. Racking my bike, hanging my transition gear bags and returning to the condo for one final night of sleep before the day that I had been dreaming (and scheming, training, sweating!) about for the past year.

The following morning, race morning, I awoke to Mikey + Kyle asleep on the lanai, Chad and Bro mulling about as they do in the kitchen and Davey getting his cheering speedo on! #thebest Mikey and I found a soft seat in the corner for a moment of meditation – when we were done, we opened our eyes and he said “whatever happens today, remember that you always have your breathe.” Sage advice, I didn’t realize how soon I would need.

To cut to the chase: we gathered bags and bottles and I got dropped off not far from the finish line – which meant a short walk into transition for tattoos, etc. And as I entered transition, with bags and bottles, I realized I had no phone nor any bike nutrition. I had left it all at home on the counter. #SCREEEEEECH! Where is my breathe now? With my nutrition of course! I looked at my watch and tried to calculate who I could call/ who would have time to run home/ grab my fuel/ run back? Was this even possible? And with only 30min to the gun going off, I realized that the reality of this successfully happening was so low that I would in fact only inject worry into my amazing IronTribe. Instead, I opted that this would be a no-excuse race and I’d figure it out! I put my one and only Gu Espresso Gel in my bento box (usually breakfast before the swim!), loaded my one bottle of water + one bottle of scratch labs onto my bike and thought — heck, travel light, fly fast…or something like that, right?! I’d asked the volunteers (who are all amazing!) if anyone had extra nutrition; nope. Any extra salt by chance? Nope. But they had sunscreen!

The swim was uneventful though my error was that I spent the whole swim thinking about how I was going to make it thru the bike. Gah! I know better than this. Lesson #1: Relentless Focus — When you are swimming, only focus on swimming! At any rate, it might have actually been my best Kona swim time. The surf was relatively calm and I was able to find clean water quite quickly.

The bike was seriously eventful! The packs were large and the winds were mighty. I thought, ride conservatively for the first 2hrs – get in as much nutrition as you can – and do whatever it takes to get home. As it turned out, I was able to grab water and gatorade thru transitions…and nothing else. [editors note: i could have stopped at the first aid station for bananas and gels; the trouble is that unfortunately i don’t have an iron-stomach and i knew that those weren’t gonna go down well. so i opted for liquid calories in hopes that would suffice.] When the head wind really hit, I felt totally empty. When the packs flew by, I felt like I was moving backward. And by the time I hit the turn around, my game plan for the ride home became just.stay.on.your.bike. My disappointment was not in timing or placing, yet rather my very honest mistake that cost me at least 80miles of riding ugly. Without salt and in the heat, I was able to consume 2bottles of gatorade from the course and about half a bottle of coke. I calculated that I got in about 320 calories and approx 800mg of sodium — over the entire bike course. (To put this into perspective, I was planning on consuming closer to 2800-3000 calories and 5000mg of sodium!) Alas, that was just how my cookie crumbled. Lesson #2: Get over yourself — when I dropped my bike off in T2, I wanted to drop the negative feelings too. It took a few miles into the run before that happened.

The run was ugly! I was heart-broken; I was seriously depleted; I so so badly wanted to turn the day around and I just didn’t know how to do so. Thank the Heavens, I saw the IronTribe as soon as I left T2 and I seriously thought — these amazing human beings are going to fuel the rest of my day. I then saw Trav, Foxxy and Kevin from Nuun — normally Trav just serves me tough love, but instead he was really really encouraging — I knew that meant that it was some kinda fugly. Coach Jazzy was out on his bike telling me to keep moving and sometimes those are the only words I could hang onto. I also saw another B78’er on the sidelines — she has gone thru a total life transformation and I know that she has a goal to race in Kona one day. Seeing her really helped put into perspective the honour it was to be out on this course. My goal going into the race was to run the back 16miles well because in years previously, that is where my day had indeed gone sideways. So very quickly, those final miles became the only miles that mattered. I knew I was going to see the IronTribe at least 3more times and instead of dreading them seeing me in my failure state, I SO looked forward to their energy, their cheers, their saucy lil bums in speedos cheering for everyone. You know, it was only my ego that didn’t want to see them — yet they really don’t care where I finished. Lesson #3: Drop your ego and do your best. So for this year, the biggest moment of joy was in knowing that I turned the corner onto the Queen K  and didn’t look back! I looked ahead and saw awesome friends having amazing races — Fawner was right up at the front of the race, prancing like she does; Robyn was cruising right along; Hailey was hanging tough for the podium. Lesson #4: Only ever grateful to race on the Big Island with such remarkable human beings. Really, an honour to toe the line with them all. 

2016 has been nothing short of truly magical! I won my first OA amateur 70.3 and full Ironman, yet best of all, I won myself a Golden Husband. #thebestwinofall I’ve also experienced a new relationship with my Bro — we have run a business full-on, he stood up at our wedding as my Man of Honour and planned the most epic IronTribe adventure (his 15th IM too!). By Matt Corker being oh-so-perfectly Matt Corker, he created space for so many amazing people to celebrate love and sweat. #dreamcometrue So what I know for sure — between Ironmans and Wedding Love Parties — the only fuel that actually matters is the vibe from the tribe. Thank you for your cheers along the way.

My sweaty journey would not be possible without: sugoi, smith, cervelo, bicicletta, velofix and of course, b78 coaching. Forever grateful!

It’s time for an off season (or dare I say a strength season), because I’m not done yet! And I’m gonna be back stronger for it.

That was 32; This is 33.

32 was amazing! Top 10 highlights of the most special year of my life to date…

1. Davey asked me to marry him. #bestyesever

2. Together with our amazing parents (and especially hard-working Mama’s!), we hosted the wedding weekend of our dreams. #campfrey

3. The Corker Co was born – Bro and I joined forces in business. The rest will be, as they say, history.

4. We purchased our first cabin in Whistler, BC.

5. Winning Ironman Canada! (This was so much more than a win — it was a team effort including lots of gym sessions at Better Bodies + lots of love from Coach Jasper along the way. It was also super special to share the course with my girls JoJo, Sianer + KatieC.)

6. My sweet bestie, DLP  took me away on her weekend with Oprah. (D is my version of O!)

7. Seth Godin jammed with Bro + I over his favourite hummus (and our business plans) in NYC.

8. The morning crew at Method Indoor Cycling – heck, I owe my bike fitness to the relentless and awesome sweaty people who packed that place!

9. Matt’s *SURPRISE* 30th Birthday – it was a family effort and perhaps the only surprise I will ever keep from him, like ever.

10. New Friends. New Clients. New Communities. If I learned only one thing last year it is the power of your tribe; community truly is our greatest currency. And as adults, I think we become creatures of habit and close to home. Meeting new friends (like real friends!), creating new communities and rockin’ out with clients across North America who are insanely inspiring were a highlight indeed.

Dear 33,
We’re going to some new places — let’s call it “next level”.
Love,
Stephy

Pack Light; Fly Fast; Always Bring Family.

For the last 5 years, the only piece of luggage that I have checked at the airport is my bike. Otherwise, I am all carry on, all the time. I learned this from my sweet friend JoJo who used to travel for work on the regular. Mind you, she was travelling with luon, yet she told me she could make it two weeks with her wee rollie. #sageadvice I haven’t looked back since.

Here is what is packed in my personal bag:

+ my herschel go-to toiletry bag (inclusive of extra razor blades, my own bar of soap, a wide tooth comb, always a tube of papaw and rodan+fields face products).

+ laptop and chargers; moleskin and my favourite pen

+ at least one book or magazine for tarmac time (currently reading Meredith Kessler’s book + Brian Wong’s latest!)

+ an (empty) water bottle

+ vega protein powder, an energy bar, a pack of gum (golden rule: never go hungry!)

+ a collection of my favorite Saje products — currently travelling with an immune roller, pain release + pepperming halo.

+ currency of where ever i’m landing #cashisking

+ compression socks (hidden under my pants – #nerdalert – i’m okay with it!) and a vinyasa scarf (because air con sucks..the life right outta me!)

And I won’t leave home without:

+ my running shoes – specifically my Saucony Kinvaras and a running outfit – be it indoors or outdoors, whenever i get anywhere, i wanna run!

+ bikini + flip flops — cause, i’m aloha-ready regardless of destination

+ usually my own shampoo and condition

In my bike bag, along with the obvious (my bike!), goes:

+ racing/ training nutrition

+ water bottles

+ bike shoes/ outfits

+ all things bike: spare tubes, tools, helmet, etc.

(*Note: this will serve me as a reminder of what to pack in future travels. Perhaps it will help you too.)

What I know for sure is that we do not need extra baggage, extra weight on this Journey. Travel light and fly fast, by land or air my friends!  Because really really, having friends and family along for the adventure is all you need to pack! TeamClarker + TeamFrey are all together now…let the #ironmoon (really) begin. XO

2016 Mantra | Believe it gets Better

When I was 13 years old, my swim coach told me to never miss a swim practice. What that meant was that I learned how to plan my life, thrive with routine and find joy in what might otherwise feel mundane: chasing the black line.

What I wish my swim coach would have told me than is that he was training me for life, not for swimming. To never miss a day! To always show up.

When I was swimming in my final year at University – fat and totally out of shape, I remember my swim coach saying “you will get whatever you want in life because the heart always gets what the heart wants – as long as the heart knows what it wants.”

What I wish my swim coach would have told me than is that figuring out what you want (like really really want!) is actually the secret. Cause once you know, then you chase the proverbial black line for it!

When I started working with Coach Jasper 3 years ago, it was almost as though my swimming journey was coming full circle. Because of all of the many things Coach Jazzy has taught me, the best secret he’s got is consistency. It’s not in the fancy stuff, it’s in the consistent hard work.

What I wish he would have told me than was that I didn’t have to wait to start believing in myself – consistently – either. To take the risk. To ditch the bad energy and find the flow. 

My mantra for 2016 is to “believe it gets better” — this was inspired by sprint finish lines in 2015 along with late nights and full nights to pull off work projects. I decided that this year, even when things were 100% awesome, I was going to leave room in my heart for them to just.keep.getting.better!

And, to put it very mildly…I think it is working! 4 days ago I married the man of my dreams. 10 days from now, I will tow my 3rd Ironman Hawaii start line. Both of these dreams were but a vision board picture back in 2011. Our wedding weekend was the best weekend of my life and I will never need to top it. However, the finish line on Oct 8th can happily jump in as the second best weekend of my life…because I still believe there is room to make this year even better.

What I know for sure is that when you practice consistently being your best — you get to experience lots of bests — best friends, best weekends, best times, best memories. And I never want to miss a day of it, just like my first swim coach taught me.

Follow along — I’ve got stories and tales from the lanai in the lead up to the second best weekend of 2016!