Posted on Oct 15, 2016 3 Comments
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.
Posted on Oct 4, 2016 Leave a Comment
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.
We’re going to some new places — let’s call it “next level”.
Posted on Oct 1, 2016 1 Comment
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:
+ laptop and chargers; moleskin and my favourite pen
+ an (empty) water bottle
+ 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
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
Posted on Sep 29, 2016 3 Comments
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!
Posted on Aug 25, 2016 5 Comments
The early days of lululemon were riddled with one liners from Chip Wilson. He wanted to elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness. He wanted black stretchy pants to change how women felt at the gym, in yoga studios and running on the seawall. He wanted Vancouver to be the hub for athletic apparel. He also wanted to create entrepreneurs in the world. …and that he has done, indeed!
Matt and I are among many friends launching and rockin’ businesses. We also have even more friends with dreams of what they will one day create in the world. And despite my rainbow-shitting-unicorn outlook on life, I’d like to share the struggles that are mighty fo’real.
You forgot to mention that being an entrepreneur in this world means:
+ you no longer have a performance review that helps to calibrate where you are on track/ off track; the high potential program with leadership development opportunities don’t just show up in your inbox with a ticket to the next conference in LA for …FREE. Development is called having the courageous conversation every damn day.
+ a tough day at the office doesn’t equal hitting the beach for a coffee with your friend on the 3rd floor to talk about it. In fact, the beach doesn’t solve the problems. Your friends are more than 3km away and more likely 3weeks away in the calendar. It is a very lonely journey.
+ CASH FLOW is King — not just a shared budget file that the finance team sends out monthly. Being worried about paying your mortgage is a REAL. THING because pay cheques don’t auto-send from your bank account. (Note: being able to manage the anxiety of being both alone and poor are potentially certifiably award-winning-traits!) Don’t get me started on paying tax…
+ there is no program to train you on being self-motivated 24/7 yet this game of business is a 24/8 self-generated sport! the moments you stare hopelessly into a monitor and wonder how the idea will come to life — are very real. and sometimes often. and do not generate cash. #procrastinationnation
+ fighting legal battles with lawyers who speak legalese is terrible — it’s like they forget that everyone is human?! why can’t lawyers write kind emails? and why can’t battles be fought with just a little bit more compassion and human interaction? alas. the lessons.
+ and most of all: firing clients and being fired by clients! yowzas! who is gonna share these dirty secrets? wanna feel like a straight up failure — take a page from this book. because winning clients is so much more fun to talk about, right?
Yet may it be very very known, that what you did teach us was the power in setting goals and being 100% responsible for our contribution to this lifetime. And what I know for sure is that being in this work with Brother is an absolute gift. Because together being lonely is only a phone call away; being brave is a daily practice; being courageous and kind is always worth it. Because getting sweaty every day makes us better business owners – endorphins are our drug of choice. Because really really — there is no other way I’d like to spend my days. I wouldn’t trade one moment of anxiety for ….anything!
Thank you for teaching me the things that mattered most when I was within the confines of your safety net — my totally corporate gig at lululemon — where I was paid if I my idea failed, where we celebrated making mistakes, where lawyers signed emails with “namaste”. Thank you for not telling me about everything else that would keep me awake at night. Because then I would probably have never made the leap of faith….and that would have been my biggest regret.
Here’s to forever being responsible for creating a future that would otherwise not exist!
Posted on Aug 8, 2016 2 Comments
Posted on Jun 16, 2016 2 Comments
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.
Posted on Jun 10, 2016 1 Comment
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.
Posted on Jun 3, 2016 Leave a Comment
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!
Posted on May 2, 2016 1 Comment
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…
” 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’.