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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

The 5 Things I’ve Given Up in 2016 | Victoria 70.3

1. I gave up the story I wasn’t a runner. The story that I wasn’t built like a runner (cause i’m not!) was too heavy — it was time to lighten up!

2. I gave up waiting for a start line to be my very best. I chased the boys around the track every Thursday like it was a race (i think they knew it too!). Some days were better than others, yet every day was my best.

3. I gave up the excuse that I didn’t have time for a proper strength program, because, life is full ya know! Yet, gym workouts with my Man twice a week and our rad trainer Dylan make ALL the difference. Dave lifts heavy weights and I do squats. It works for everyone. (Dylan! If you are in Vancouver — you want…DYLAN!)

4.  I gave up pretending like body weight didn’t matter. Because carrying an extra 10pounds for 10hours is alotta work! I stopped drinking alcohol in December (yet champagne moments require…champagne!) and I stopped rewarding hard work or a long ride with a cookie. I stopped pretending like “eating anything you want because you’ve exercised today” was an appropriate strategy. (And if i could go on a tangent — I wish everyone would realize that Sleep is King and Calories are Queen. Food and libations that leave you feeling bloated, hung over, or crappy are hardly something to celebrate. And dropping weight/ managing body weight is a real thing. See #1: lighten the load, yo!)

5. I gave up sharing my goals out loud. I’ve kept them closer to my heart, for only my sweet inner tribe. Because gravity is a real thing. People like to judge and egos like to pull.things.doooooown. What if past results don’t always need to dictate the outcome of future dreams? (Note: I’m always on TeamYes if you wanna share the goal/dream/idea!)

I gave them all up … and then I won my first Overall Amateur 70.3! On home turf in Victoria, BC. With best friends on the race course, Team B78 in full force and Coach Jasper Blake at the finish line. I’m tucking this one into my heart cause first times only happen once!

…and back to work. Next stop: Ironman Whistler in 5weeks.

It Takes a Village | Hawaii 70.3

Is this blog going to turn into race stories? Perhaps! Stories of start lines and finish lines; stories of Saturday morning long rides and Thursday night speedy runs? Well, yes. Because these experiences are simply personified examples of how I live my life, how we run our business and how we chase goals beyond the bottom line. To me, those are worth sharing!

Hawaii 70.3 made the race calendar this year mostly because I wanted to practice feeling nervous on the big island before the big dance in October. My biggest goal of the year relates to running down Ali’i Drive and yet I didn’t want my whole year to wait for that one special finish line — I wanted to practice managing nervous butterflies; I wanted to embrace that Kona heat; I wanted to go for it! And that I did.

My race execution was rather uneventful, if I can say so myself. I had a rather mediocre swim, as I heard the announcer say “the top 5 women are out of the water”, which meant I wasn’t in the lead pack. I had a solid, steady bike – consistency for the win. And I was just waiting to put my running shoes on all day!

What made my day exceptional was the village along the way…

+ I saw Julia from Triathlete Magazine at the swim start! I saw Martina (one of Vancouver’s finest former pro’s) on the eve of her wedding, getting ready to race. I knew every girl at the front of our wave and that alone made me grateful to race such remarkable talent.

+ Only a few miles into the bike, I heard Roger scream my name. Despite not realizing it was him at first, we became fast riding buddies and ended up jockeying back and forth for most of the bike. #TeamVancouver

+ The highlight of the ride was when Hailey rode by and I felt like I was living Instagram in Real Life! I’ve watched Hailey online, cheered for her at IM Texas and in fact, remember her very vividly passing me along the Queen K last year at IM Hawaii. We exchanged words and I thought if I could simply keep her in sight, I’d have an amazing day. We too ended up riding back and forth for the remainder of the ride and if our conversation was any indication of our effort, let’s just say that we were conserving watts. (Note: if you are ever racing with Hailey, be sure to enter an aid station ahead of her because she will make sure the volunteers are ready with everything you need! And, don’t you dare slow down in front of this girl. Got it?) As luck or fate would have it, we ended up passing each other for the duration of the day. We entered T2 together and sat down on a chair to put our shoes on. She proceeded to be out of there in no time and I was squawking for a volunteer to help me untie my bag…oh boy! I actually asked for a new bag (because I was going to rip mine open of course) and Hailey laughed out loud, while running out of transition to say “I don’t think that is gonna happen sister!”. HA! She was right.

+ My good friend Nick from swimming/ Method Indoor Cycling was racing. I was on a mission to catch him! And it took until the run for me to do so. I ran by and said “come run with me” to which he replied “i think i’ve just been chicked”! What a guy! He had a great race.

+ My newest, raddest friend BPuds made the trek to Kona despite not being able to race due to a knee injury. This was his first Ironman experience. And a 12hr day it was indeed! We had spent the week prior to the race riding the island together. As soon as I got off of my bike, I couldn’t wait to see him to tell him about the only bike ride we didn’t do together! Sure enough, sitting on the hot grass, I spotted him from a mile away and ran with glee until I could say hello. The look of absolute shock on his face that I was running by, or perhaps able to chat, still makes my chuckle. He was the ultimate training/ racing sherpa. (And, is responsible for my latest obsession.) I’ll be at his first start line for sure!

+ Nick from Velofix is a Big Island staple and made the logistics of this trip with my special P3 so easy. Always always grateful Nick! I’ve already reserved the big red truck in September.

+ And last but absolutely not least, the overall winner: Lectie Altman! I’ve known of Lectie and her awesomeness from the internet. I had the pleasure of racing with her at IM Whistler last year, which could not have been more unfair to put a Hawaiian resident into the mountains of rain/snow/sleet. And of course, I knew she was the first, fastest cat out of the water. It wasn’t until we hit the run that I saw the dent her swim put on me. I was 4min down and while I ran my heart out to catch her, she crossed the line 58 solid seconds ahead of me. As it turns out, she put 47 of those precious seconds on me in transitions alone. This was indeed her race to win, on home Hawaiian turf. Congrats Lectie!

I’m grateful for my 2nd place OA finish because you bet your bottom dollar I will not dare take 58 seconds for granted from this day forward:).

Race recovery was brought to us by TeamHardy. Roger and his men had great races and listening to them regale their stories together was hilarious. Sitting at dinner on Sunday night, he has asked everyone, spectators included, for their “highlight and lowlight” of the day. Without fail, everyone who was with a lover said the highlight of the day was seeing their partner at the finish line. And THAT is what the Village is all about.

My brain coach tells me that we need to race for someone we love because it will pull us through. Last weekend, I raced with these 3 guys top of heart:

+ Mikey because he can always find another gear and a BIGGER SMILE.

+ Bro because he just NEVER EVER GIVES UP! (he won’t dare let you either. he is in fact my new spirit animal!)

+ and my Main Man Davey because he is PURE LOVE, personified. #lovewins

So from one island to another, let’s do this again — Victoria 70.3, I’ll see you Sunday morning.

A Sideline Report from Ironman Texas

Race reports are usually quite easy to write because you can recall a day you spent going through the emotional roller coaster from start line to finish line. We write them to share our experience, our memories and perhaps to remember what we did well/ not so well for the next one.

Ironman Texas was not my race to report on — I went down to cheer for my best friends, with our rad coach. I went down to be on the sidelines of a race that kicked me in the proverbial patoot only 2 years ago.

My partner in crime, Philly and I sat at the start line with equal amounts of nerve + patience. #irontribing is NO joke! Spectating is as much of an endurance sport as racing, I’m certain of it. We waited anxiously, we cheered with our whole hearts, we got nervous and excited and nervous and excited…and couldn’t hit refresh fast enough on ironman live updates. What a day! Texas does not disappoint – it was hot as heck and then there was thunder and then the finish line stories. I’m tucking the guts of Team Vancouver’s performances into my heart. Watching Fawn prance through that marathon; watching Victoria gut it out really in a solo effort without anyone around her; cheering for Steve as he was motoring along before his calf unleashed fury and had him stopped dead in his tracks; and Britni of course, who always races on a tank of grit, is actually the inspiration behind my back-to-back 70.3 race weekends. Near and dear, Philly’s man Trav knows how to race with heart, right on the edge — to think it was only a year ago he was walking in 5min intervals around the seawall with his neck brace on?! And for the love of Mikey P, thank you for being the happiest lil Ironman there ever was! Mikey reminds me to nevereverever take yo’self too seriously, work really friggen hard every day and never mutters an excuse outta his lips. I just love that guy!

To witness 100’s of people, running or shuffling — heck, simply moving — their way thru a marathon is so mighty inspiring. It was the real life example of doing whatever it takes to get across the line. Ironman Texas 2014 was the race that Jasper informed me “I wasn’t in the postal code of being competitive”. He was right. And heartbreak. ‘Cause I wanted to qualify for Kona and 12th place wasn’t gonna get me there. To think 2 years later, I’m coming back a stronger and an all-round-better Stephy than I was before makes me feel like…PROGRESS (!) is being made. And a start line tomorrow morning will be one for the memory books!

There are a few goals and a few lil secrets. I’ll save them for the other side of the finish line. For now, I’d like a mai tai in hand before noon please — I’m gonna run for it!

The Hustle.

There is lots of talk about “the struggle being real” and the “hustle being hard”. I often wonder: what constitutes “struggle” and do people realllllllly get “hustle”?!

This occurred to me after our recent trip to NY where the hustle was indeed real. We walked 23,000+ steps/ day. We rocked Uptown to SoHo by foot, train and uber with mere moments between meetings and really, just a dream in our heart that we would have the privilege of working with these remarkable leaders. You come home with proposals to send and veins pumping of inspiration. Yet what you don’t come home with is a pay check. And on Monday morning, your visit to the dentist isn’t paid for. And the “long lunch to catch up with a colleague this week”, doesn’t get expensed. I rarely know what day of the week it is and usually count on certain workouts to put the week in perspective (because Monday at 5PM could just as easily be Friday at 7AM to me). The hustle…is real.

It is hard to believe that it has been nearly two years of rockin’ this entrepreneurial dream. Thankfully, the dream is now a power-duo of Bro+Sis! A partnership that says “we’ve got this, together” — where we celebrate the awesome months and get mighty creative on the other ones. And then there are small glimmers that feed my heart and remind me why we do what we do…

This weekend, Matt attended Chuck + Lauren’s Love Party and posted this special photo:

” In 2011, Derek Senft and I were catching up over breakfast at Cafe Zen and he mentioned his sister – a figure skating criminology grad – was on the hunt for work. I walked into the office that morning and my team member – who was leading the annual leadership conference – pulled me into a room and said “I just really need some help.” I said – “I think I may know someone who could help in a pinch.” And we hired Lauren Senft that week at lululemon. When the contract role was done she shifted into the ivivva world and found the love of her life in fellow lululemon-er Chuck Cosman. A good reminder that new jobs change peoples lives, that you don’t get what you don’t ask for, and that sometimes an office romance is pretty darn awesome!”

I am honoured to spend my days truly..hustlin’.

Why do you ride?

I was inspired at my brother’s yoga class he taught recently at the Distritk. Before class begins, everyone introduces themselves and answers one powerful question. I wanted to try this on at Method. I wanted to know what was making people come to class week over week, waitlist on waitlist. Why did they want to get on their bike? 

On one special Wednesday morning, back to back classes, we made it thru 90 introductions. Instructions were simple: tell me your first name and why you ride? 

Here’s what I heard….

I ride for Ironman Canada. I ride for the Penticton Fondo. I ride to eat fries across the street. I ride to get a better butt. I ride for burritos. I ride because I want my wife to have sex with me. I ride so that my daughters are proud of their Daddy when he crosses the finish line in Whistler. I ride because she makes me. I ride for fresh air. I ride because I’m marathon training. Because I can’t run. Because I was hit by a car and now I can’t ride outside. I ride because I want to come home with a wooden bowl from Kona. 

And here is what I learned after class…

“I don’t actually ride for the mountains, I ride because I want the chemo out of my body.” – Cancer Survivor

“I don’t actually ride for my marathon time, I ride inside because I want to learn how to ride outside. Like, do you think I can do a triathlon one day?” – that girl, who is just like you, with a dream inside her heart

“I don’t actually ride because she makes… I really love it here!” – an awesome husband

Matt wrote a great post on “goals” — call them what you want. The purpose by which we chose to spend our time makes a difference. I turned to my friend who rides for the love of the shag and said, I hope you get lucky tonight!

See you on the saddle.

*spoiler: rain or shine — we are rockin’ out with a special guest THIS wednesday morning in vancouver. you heard it first here! don’t end up on the waitlist.

Why I Race | Vancouver Sun Run 2016

10km running races used to scare me. They are short and fast. How do you pace? How long can you hold onto the feeling of uncomfortable? I have found longer races, like Ironman, to be far more comfortable because I have never realllllly been pushing hard — just going long.

I shared that I had 3 sweaty goals this year: a sub 1:30 1/2 marathon, somethin’ special at IM Whistler and another somethin’ special on the Big Island. I had a 4th running goal yet it felt too hairy, too ambitious to let outside of my heart. Because to break 40min in a 10km run would mean that I would have to hold my 800m pace from the track a year ago….for 10km! If that isn’t ambitious, I don’t know what is. (That is more than 10x for you start up nerds!) Context: it would also be a 5min PB. And a 5min PB in an IM would feel awesome, let alone a 10km!

Here is how my Sun Run went down:

+ Warm up with friends, trot the streets, feel inspired by their speed and wholeheartedly intimidated. Acknowledge the butterflies and then chill the france out…because practicing being calm on a start line only comes ON the START LINE. #noted

+ I had a race plan from Coach Jazzy that almost stuck together for the first 3km and after that….I was hanging on for dear life. It’s awesome to have friends to run with, chase ahead and play cat and mouse. And 7km is a much longer than 800m to exert this sort of effort.

+ I crossed 5km at 19:51 and crossed 10km at 39:51, which is a relatively evenly split run — yet hardly an evenly split effort!

What I learned:

1. Never take the pre-race nerves for granted. They only come on race morning. I don’t feel those nerves every other Sunday morning when I leave the house for a long run.

2. We really do have limits in only our brain and not our bodies. Yet when we experience them in our bodies…they hurt. My brain doesn’t hurt, it just tells me to slow down. Sometimes, it’s best not to listen.

3. I am not my finish time. It was great to crack the 40min barrier and I’m most excited for a running race that starts with a swim. Because…IRONMAN!

4. Every single finish line leaves me exceptionally grateful to do something I love so much and undeniably inspired for the next start line. It makes me want to go to bed earlier, eat smarter and never take one mile for granted — those miles generate serious smiles!

5. Running with friends; watching my Bro’s boyfriend cruise by; meeting my man at the finish line — making sweaty memories makes me so darn happy. #iamsorich

So there are good days and not-so-good days, smart runs and harder runs…they are just like launching a business. And if you think you can keep “practicing every Sunday”, you will never find the limits of best times and breakthroughs. You miss out on making memories. It’s all worth toeing the line for!

The End of a Quarter | Q1

Whether it is your Q1 or Q3, the end of March marked 1/4 of the way through 2016. 

My favourite questions to ponder are:

+ what’s new?

+ what failed?

+ what got better?

What’s new | A beautiful yellow rock on my left hand! The Corker Co was born. A committed strength program with Davey. A Whistler log cabin #gooooal. 

What failed | My attempt to do pull ups. #notyet A lost bidding war in Whistler. A week of cycling in Maui (cause the weather won, yet I think my newly engaged brain realllllly didn’t mind!). My kombucha production — it is a positive vinegar mess!

What got better | Running – a half marathon pb! Sold out + waitlisted classes at Method (I hope they keep getting better, cause I so appreciate everyone coming out, rain or shine). Eating, cooking and creating real food at home waaaaay more often, with no alcohol. #gamechangerperhaps

My Bro and I rocked our first quarterly business review – Q1 is in the books. We approached this more from a place of “what did we want to do” and “what actually happened”. Biggest lesson learned: we realized that we hadn’t set quarterly goals. #gasp! This was some kind of tragedy. We only set annual goals and those were too far out. Q2 will be different… #sleepmetricsmatter.

 

is it too late now to say…THANK YOU?

Stop waiting until it is too late to make an investment.

There was an awesome gal working for a great company. When she resigned, they threw everything you could possibly imagine at her “to get her to stay” — we will double your pay (you want USD? check!); your partner wants to move to Europe (we will send you to London!); how about equity (our stock price is gonna soar!)?  Instead and brilliantly, she advised them to take everything they were going to give to her and invest it into other high performers who haven’t yet resigned. Because for her, it was too late. 

He busts his butt to fill your studio. Granted, yoga teachers are grateful for the space to practice their gift of teaching – as the studio owner, you are way more grateful to have lit up, passionate people leading students thru their practice. Make sure he knows this. Because it’s too late when he walks down the street to the next studio…

What I believe to be true is: the investment that makes the biggest difference is gratitude. A currency that can only be given from the heart and received through the heart. Cause when you take the heart out of the equation, you are left with merely dollars and (non)cents. So pay your people well and treat your teachers like they matter; they will be grateful…and that might be the reason they stick around!

…and while it might be too late to make an investment, it is never too late to say thank you! After all, second chances are some of the best chances. Good Luck!

Be a MAKER not a TAKER

I’m surrounded by remarkable people who are up to MAKING — when I see him performing, when I hear about how her latest book is progressing, when I eat his handmade sourdough, when when I giggle because he makes me laugh — my heart skips a beat. 

Because MAKING is inspiring. It is creating. It is GENERATING.

And when I get tired, I realize it is because it is much more comfortable to live in a world of taking. We make requests to meet people to take their knowledge, their network, their time. We take their energy. 

So instead, think about everything you’ve MADE today.

+ I’ve made a playlist for Method.

+ I’ve made over 80 people sweat on a bike!

+ I’ve made a smoothie for breakfast.

+ I’ve made an investment in my 50year old self with my favourite new skin care line from Rodan+Fields. #gamechanging (email me for deets — Nina Watts is your gal!)

+ I’ve made my room smell like heaven thanks to Saje’s newest nebulizer.

+ I made someone’s day — I told her to turn down the offer on the mediocre job cause there is a better one 2weeks away!

+ I’ve made dinner for my Man.

+ I’ve made wedding plans! (eeeeeeeeek!)

+ TeamCorker made a commitment to launch a special campaign on an Irish holiday! #tomorrow

Because of Matt Corker, what I know for sure is that everything is a relationship.  My relationship to energy is most passionately vibrational because MAKING energy is way better than TAKING energy.

Go MAKE something! Go make a memory! And most importantly, go make good on your word so that you don’t take (err, WASTE!) one single heartbeat.

xo