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victoria 70.3: my lesson in doing my best

Every Thursday morning I want you to do your best. It brings me great joy to pack the studio at Method Indoor Cycling with awesome people who like to sweat. Yet what most people might not know is that these classes are very often inspired by my coach, Jasper Blake. He often drops “Jasper-isms” and they stick with me on tough training days and always during a race.

On Sunday, I raced my first 70.3 of the year. Before the gun went off, his pep talk packed a punch: “Really get after it today, like a swimmer, pace yourself and finish strong. Go be your best!“. And so I did! My race unfolded a little something like this….
+ I had a strong swim and came out of the water among a sea of men – I guess I was 1st!
+ I jumped on my bike and spent 75km waiting for Mikey to catch me. And what joy to see him hammering by. I squealed with delight and tried to keep him in my sight for the remainder of the ride.
+ I got impatient in T2 – I didn’t want to lose time on the girl who had passed me on the bike (I was now in 2nd) nor fall back from Mikey, so I made the rookie mistake of leaving to run a 1/2 marathon without socks on. And I went out guns ablazing!
+ Coach Jazzy told me I was only 35seconds down on the girl ahead, so yet again, I got impatient and tried to catch her in the first 5km. Rookie mistake #2. Too fast, too soon, with the blisters to show for it.
+ I blew up at about km7 while Mikey joyfully trotted by and I tried to keep my legs moving while my mind played tricks on me. I remembered the wise words of my Bro, I heard Davey telling me I was strong, I saw Trav who always drops the best tough love from the sidelines….and yet, it was all that I could do to not walk. (It sounds oh-so-dramatic….but the thoughts of giving up are always very real! And these thoughts are only creep in when you’ve been racing for several hours – you can’t make them up or really prepare for them any other way, than self-generated suffering!)
+ I finished…3rd, getting passed with 100m to go and absolutely no fight left in the dog. #wompwomp

On Sunday, that was my very best! It’s taken me a few days to digest that “my best” and “a perfectly executed race” might not be the same thing. It has also has been the perfect reminder that it doesn’t need to be an Ironman for me to want to do my best. Whether it is Thursdays at Method, Dinner on Date Night, #tracktuesdays or a start line – I want to practice doing my best.

Doing my best is a habit worth practicing! Join me…at Method. It’s a great place to start.

Leadership Lesson #2: DANIELLE LAPORTE

What I know for sure because of…DANIELLE LAPORTE:

 Gratitude is a really sweet currency.

It costs only your time. It can be expressed daily, with enthusiasm and even better when wrapped in love. Gratitude is not often spoken of in the business world – in fact, I’ve yet to see a strategic plan with a heartbeat of gratitude. We expect people to want to work for us and we want them to work hard. On the flip side, often those same people expect raises and promotions, development and praise. But where is the gratitude?

Of course, it goes beyond the business world – how we show up to work is how we show up at home; it’s how we show up to a friend’s house for dinner or a start line of a race. Gratitude is my most favorite renewable resource. And I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to work with Danielle (like really really!!). Best of all, I know Danielle is really grateful to have the team she does working with her – from the ladies in California to the app designer and the web crew in India, to the sweet lady who delivers food on her front porch…and she is mega generous with her gratitude. It is so refreshing to witness, so sexy, so rare.

This post is timely for two reasons:

1. TeamDanielle is Hiring! We are a virtual crew of women looking for rock stars who live in the online world, with a heart of enlightenment + encouragement. Ping me for more details.

freshly sweaty2. I’m off to race my first 70.3 of the year! And Sweet MamaD came out to Method for a sweaty spin class on race week. It really meant more than she probably will ever know. (Cause this woman doesn’t get outta bed at 6AM for everyone.) I love the thrill of the first time. I’m gonna bring a lil bit of D’s first time grit with me on Sunday.

Please…go say thank you, with your whole heart to someone special who makes your world a lil easier, a lil brighter or a lil more fun! They will appreciate it. XO.

**UPDATE: The response to this post has been overwhelmingly awesome! If you are interested in more details, please send me a note: steph.corker@daniellelaporte.com. **

Leadership Lesson #1: DELANEY SCHWEITZER

I have the amazing opportunity of working along side some truly awesome leaders doing work that matters in the world on a daily basis. Each of them are undeniably unique, seriously ambitious, beautifully audacious and best of all: perfectly themselves. I can’t keep their greatness a secret! Launching today is my new blog series (very cleverly!) called “Leadership Lessons Unplugged”.

What I know for sure because of … DELANEY SCHWEITZER:

Your people matter most.

(and Y O U are part of that – leader + team, they go together like birds of a feather.)

Delaney just left her legacy of over 13years at lululemon athletica as the EVP, Retail Operations. She was to Chip as Sheri is to Oprah. She was part of the founding tribe that enthusiastically put the first bums of Kitsilano into black stretchy pants. And she did it with her whole heart because she always declared that lululemon was “more than a retail company”. By Delaney being Delaney, she was able to attract, retain, develop and quite frankly, change the lives of every single person who had the opportunity to work with her.

Her leadership declaration (that I will neverever forget!) was to “reinvent business by being true to herself” — and by her doing this, her people felt SO wildly inspired to be no one other than themselves. She set big, hairy goals and achieved them; she celebrated her people for doing the same. She held people accountable and responsible; what a gift! And she always told the truth.

She is off to great places…she is off and away. A CEO chair is waiting with her name on it…#causehergoalssayso.

Thank you D…for being perfectly you. xo

What do launching a business + having a baby have in common?

Well, I don’t really know because I don’t have a baby. Yet, this new site has been baking for over 9months and the last time I tuned in with a blog post was over a year ago! #goooodgolly

So if children are the orgasm of life …. this endeavour is perhaps one of the only life-consuming, life-changing, experiences I will have before actually giving birth to a child.

Thanks for chiming in and joining me as I start a new family…business. Welcome to the world of steph corker inc.

(I promise to share secrets from the board room, tales of sweaty adventures and perhaps a few delicious recipes because I believe that how you do anything is how you do everything — so consider this blog a sprinkling of my favorite things! I hope you enjoy this new journey with me.)

xo

#sweatwhatyoulove

Oh hello there 2014 – apparently March is just around the corner and we are two months in! #woah

The theme for this year, and perhaps many years beyond is Sweat What You Love – I wanna sweat the details that matter, elevate my heart beat to inspire sweatfests and sweat relationships that really count in ways that I may have let go in former years. Some may say we should Live What We Love…I say, let’s sweat it! #bettersweaty

So with that in mind, it feels only appropriate that I share with you my sweaty pursuits of the month of February with a promise to share more frequently. (There is a new site brewing that is awaiting to be shared!)

The month started off with Chuck Cosman’s 2nd annual Bagel Chase. I signed up on Team Wikiwiki (Hawaiian for “fast”) where Captain Aloha was in it to win it. We thought that if he ran 150km and the girls were committed to a 100km run week, we’d have a chance. Well, that didn’t quite happen…he instead ran 205km and we each ran 140-160km, finishing in a solid second place. Shattered legs later and a quiet slap on the wrist from Coach, my biggest run week (or 4 days of running) were complete. What I learned during this time was that chasing sunrises and sunsets, with fast friends and fun friends really takes my running-fun to a whole new level. The reminder in this is to be smart: quality over quantity. Check.

this would be called a sunrise lap aka in the dark!

this would be called a sunrise lap aka in the dark!

Then we celebrated Valentine’s Day as lovers do with home made mac&cheese, a lobster tail + a bottle of bubbles.  Look at my trending pictures…

2013 + 2014. #ilikethistrend

2013 + 2014. #ilikethistrend

Next up was the First Half ½ marathon. The goal was to cross the finish line with a smile and a 9second best time. What I love about this race is that it really does shake the winter cob webs and ignite the fun in toeing start lines. It brings all of our local running friends out and we were lucky to have a day, err, morning of sunshine before the torrential downpour began. I felt especially lucky to have Fletchy to trot (slowly) beside me – that chic just has an engine for consistency and a wisdom that runs so deep. At the end of the day it wasn’t going to be the day I set out to have. I ran with heart – heart racing much too fast that is, fatigue in my legs much too deep and had to give everything in my being not to give up and walk home. And these days happen. These days make it mighty clear that I’m not done with learning how to be a better athlete, that is for sure!

those two lil pink shirts: those are us!

those two lil pink shirts: those are us!

What made this was knowing that Bro was out there running too! He finished 1:41 off his goal yet had the heart of a champion the whole way – especially as we saw him blazing thru the final km. (This was actually the first half marathon Bro and I ran together, 9 years ago!) It was a treat to be able to run along side MikeyP + SusG; to know Laurel was out crushin’ it ahead; to watch JRob finish with a smile and a pb. And for the love of love, when I see my Man at a finish line, my heart explodes, every.single.time.

And then the tale of the loppet. Dave and I decided it would be fun to learn how to skate ski together. We got the gear and hit the mountain for the first time in January. I quickly learned that this is a sport where technique does indeed matter and was often bloated on humble pie after every attempt. Inspired by the one and only Fletchy, I signed up for my first 15km skate ski ‘race‘ last weekend. I started at the very back of the pack, beside a man with no legs. Confirmed: scared. This reminded me what it must feel like for a swimmer who has never swum before to start an Ironman race. Swimming is as much about technique as skate skiing and I’m pretty sure I was negative on the “distance per stroke” category. The gun went off and it took merely moments before I was trotting beside a sweet friend Caroline, who dances her way along the snow while I was more like an elephant clomping thru a jungle! I will report that skate skiing in Whistler is akin to downhill skiing in Ontario. My goals were to a) not wipe out and b) not finish DFL. Both goals achieved!

Bonus: Jo Hudson came for the adventure and this cat has a heart of gold; we ran into Britt who is up to chasing big juicy goals herself; Fletchy crossed the 50km line 2nd while ARuss finished 5th – both B78 athletes who are all kinds of awesome! Like, really awesome.

Today, before the month is over – my palms are sweaty as I get ready to present with Ashley Dalziel at an HR conference in Toronto. Ash and I have worked side by side for my entire career at lululemon and to be able to rock a stage with her makes me equal parts stoked + nervous. Sweaty, you might say!

the morning before: post yoga, drunk on coffee.

the morning before: post yoga, drunk on coffee.

When I look back on this month, I feel radically alive. I’m grateful for sweaty pursuits that come in so many shapes and sizes. I’m especially grateful for the crazy adventures that occur with Fletchy and the brilliance of Coach Jasper aka Jazzy Blake, because I might be an absolute train wreck without them.

For now, it’s 11 weeks out until my first Ironman of 2014: IM Texas on May 17th. The train is on the tracks and the lil engine has been tested…now it’s time for some serious chugga chugga chugga chugga!

lessons from lovefest

My bags are unpacked and my fridge is stacked with all things not-found-in-France (ie. green vegetables!) as i nurse my lovefest hangover. I have a post waiting to be published on the adventure itself, because heck, i want you to know about power-tripping thru Paris and the high life of Monaco, yet despite the grandeur, the lessons from this vacation feel as equally big as the Eiffel Tower in my world.

You see, back in January 2013, i declared: “I will travel to 5 new places to race and explore by Dec 2013.” In June, I was seriously off track as at least 3 of these trips were going to be to races, which i was no longer able to participate in with a boot on my busted paw. However, it’s November and returning from France was new destination #6 for the year. #goalcrushed  Covering everything from Hawaiian yoga festivals to small country towns and of course Europe, I’m realizing that 2013 hasn’t really gone according “to plan” and thank gooodness for that!

Through out our adventure, i jotted down my “love list” and it feels only appropriate to share the unedited, straight from the train, nuggets about what i came to love so much on this vacation…

1. Sleep is King. Wow. I don’t think I knew what it felt like to sleep, like a rock, for at least 8hrs a night. You wake up mighty refreshed.

2. Routine can be broken and it is okay! And it can be put back together again too. Routine can change and become whatever you want it to be. I like routine. (Some things don’t change: like a morning sweatfest; what does change is the correlation between the baguettes the night before and the speed at which I ran the next morning :).)

3. We can get by on a whole lot less than everything we own. Our suitcases, albeit nearly overweight and stuffed to the brim, was more than enough and to think I have a closet at home….

4. There was no found evidence nor correlation between the abundance of pain au chocolat’s and the beautiful (skinny) human beings! Food, found in mighty abundance everywhere, is prepared, enjoyed and appreciated in such a different way. Made with only fresh ingredients and pure love seems to the secret.

quite literally, the essentials. another picnic!

quite literally, the essentials. another picnic!

5. Smart phones are a smart choice. We didn’t choose data roaming very often, if at all, and I missed my lil blue google map dot telling me i was going the wrong way….reminder: learn how to read a map, always.

6. Less is more. Who knew we didn’t need to see everysinglesmalltown in France? 4 or 5 of them was okay? In fact, it was better than okay. (Says from the girl who “wants it all, always.”)

7. Be on time. Trains don’t wait nor do planes. We were part of the 1min-early-club twice before we decided that early and reading our books in the sun, while drinking delicious insta-coffee was a far better choice. It was as if i didn’t totalllly get it from Landmark. This is a principle I can adopt in the rest of my life.

8. When wine costs less than water, drink wine. Thank goodness water is cheaper in Vancouver or I am not sure i’d ever be hydrated!

9. I really like sharing, like alot! My fiercely independent nature might have served me getting to one point in life, yet having my guy to share meals and a kisses with absolutely made the trip such a dream. And holding hands is a lost art in North America.  Two forks, one meal and hooours over dinner. (I’m pretty sure Paris was made for lovers, just sayin’.)

10. It’s always the little things. The big things are the big things yet the little things, done often enough change the big ones. Travelling around by bike changed my relationship with traffic and freedom. I think there can be more bike rides, literally and proverbially, at home to make everyday life feel just a lil mo’like vacay!

why rent a car when you are rent a bike!

why rent a car when you are rent a bike!

I set this goal in Dec 2012 because I wanted feel adventurous.  I achieved this goal and reallly + truly have felt love (that is adventure too in my books!)  And that is why i will continue to set goals, with soul. xo

…up next: AdventureFrance chronologically told featuring our favorite spots and bike journey tales!

paris, but a dream!

The dream with a deadline (aka goal!) read:
21. Drink a cappuccino in Paris with my lover: by 2015

I’m wildly passionate about setting goals and I’m even more excited to share big juicy dreams. Paris has been on the dream list for a long while. And I’m so grateful that the Universe had her plan, because you can only go to Paris for the first time once and this trip has absolutely been an adventure of a lifetime.  

it's chilly, it's fuzzy, it's a selfie...and it so totally perfectly sums up our evening at the Eiffel Tower!

it’s chilly, it’s fuzzy, it’s a selfie…and it so totally perfectly sums up our evening at the Eiffel Tower!

There is so much to share, so many favorites; so many baguettes + bottles of wine…the full report will be created on the plane ride home.

Until then, bonsoir #21…from the sweet lil town of Antibes.
xo

losing time + chasing PASSSSION!

I’ve been highly aware lately about when time feels like it is standing still and when i lose complete track of (multiple!) hours. Some days seem crystal clear and other times they feel fogged right in. (Have you seen YVR?) What gets me to spring out of bed in the morning AND keep me up all night long has been very interesting to take note of.

And there is indeed a very cool correlation. My values at the very core of my being are: ADVENTURE, LOVE, PASSION, GREATNESS + ABUNDANCE….and i have no concept of the time of day, i have an endless supply of heartbeats and a really deepdeepbelief that it is possible when i’m working on anything that is aligned to the core of me. Sadly or rather truthfully, when it is not the case, I am equally and acutely aware of it. (i think we all are!) Being responsible for that feeling is 100% our duty in this world – in this lifetime – so that we can contribute in a way that feels freakin’ fabulous.  Being responsible can also feel scary (ie. jump without the net!) or liberating (ie. i’m gonna do exactly what i’ve dreamt of doing!).

Today, Jacki Carr is being wildly responsible and jumping outta her luon and into the big juicy world that awaits her. And her act of responsibility makes me selfishly sad to not get to work with her everyday, unselfishly SO pumped that she will create waves (tsunami size!) in the world and undeniably, gives me pause for thought about my own journey.

She has taught me to be a better manager, a better friend, a real-big-truth-teller; she’s pushed me to figure it out to make epic sh*t happen, she’s been a stand for being super clear on living her biggest life and most of all…i will never forget hearing her say “let’s get POSSIBLE”.

We’ve rocked gold chucks in castles at conferences, wine bottles late at night in hotel rooms, start lines and finish lines.

TeamFUN

We’ve rocked mountain tops, hitch hiked island styles, cried over boys and celebrated over champagne.

jackitopofmountain

And now, what i know for sure is that she will lose mighty track of time, chase her passion like it’s the last bus of the night and createcreatecreate. What I love most about this is that you cannot pay someone or train anyone to determine this type of excitement….and i LOVE that the most. Here’s to you Ms. Carr! As he said, today is your day…your mountain is waiting, so get on your way! You will be missed. xo

Paris is always a good idea.

Turning 30 was pretty darn fun. And as we sat under grey yet dry skies on the beach in Vancouver having a picnic and a bottle of bubbles, my birthday card included “we’re going to Paris!” #eeeeeeeeeeeeeeek

birthdaypicnic

this guy! #goodnessme

Barely able to contain myself – i didn’t know just how many hours wee into the night that could be lost on pinterest or thru every.darn.paris.blog.that.has.ever.beenwritten. And then last night, flights were booked. So we are off at the beginning of November.

What we know for sure is that we are flying in and out of Paris; there are a few must-Paris-do’s of course; and everything else is up for adventure. We are thinking of a few days in Lover’s Land before exploring the rest of that sweet land.  Tips, favorites, must-do’s, must-read’s, gotta check out’s…i would love to hear all of them from you.  Ready…ALLEZ! #eatbikelove

i can't promise this won't happen.

i can’t promise this won’t happen.

one day closer till my number comes.

I’ve been choked up lately. At the cross roads of deep reflection of the yesterdays and really big dreams of my tomorrows. (This is a slight change from my usual state of living in the moment on fast forward, with a proverbial speeding ticket or road bump en route to the next destination.)

I was really hit by my one year anniversary from my trip to Hawaii last year where Thanksgiving weekend was celebrated with my oldest friends (and newest ones!) with sweet potato pie, island styles, in Paia. And of course, the Kona breeze as I finished my first Ironman on the Big Island…where the biggest dream I had ever dreamt, came true.  October 2012 was a special month.

30_IMfinish

As of late, I have had been on a bit of a roller coaster with tummy issues and not feeling totally healthy. It has really made me take note of the wealth in my health and how easy it is to take for granted. It’s absolutely no fun not feeling absolutely healthy!

I (oh so perfectly!) celebrated my 30th birthday with my absolute favorite people, places, bubbles, green juices and tunes. It started in the morning on the grouse grind and I felt like it didn’t end for 3 whole days. Best friends surprised me; my Bro pulled out all of the stops for gluten free/ rawesome goodness/ bath tubs of bubbles; DLP delivered juices & quinoa cake; my Man made the day(s) pure joy from picnics to Paris and Michael Franti sang to us all night long. It was purepure bliss and I was wrapped in a total tsunami of love.

30_birthdayballoons

And the following morning I learned that my sweet Poppa had passed away. He was en route out west with Nana to spend Thanksgiving with the family. He had lived 89 wonderFULL years and while we all thought it was a matter of time, what none of us could have ever imagined was the void he’d leave behind in our family. There is a special love that comes with grandparents, there are sweet traditions and unapologetic pride in their grandchildren that I only hope to replicate one day. Most of all, he leaves behind my precious Nana and his children who my heart aches for their loneliness.

our sweetest nana, with puffy eyes and hearts.

our sweetest nana, with puffy eyes and hearts.

All of these special moments, or memories really, make me think of Franti’s song: i’m one day closer till my number comes.  Before it’s my time, I can tell you that I promise to live each year like it might be my last (even if this trends on for 70years!). My dreams of my lover and babies are hardly a secret; of family visits and vacays cause they matter most; of adventures with my Bro cause he is my very best friend; of cozy cabin life with big gardens; of IM start lines and mo’Kona sunsets. Ya know, the dreams complete the puzzle of my life…I’m so ready to make these all come true…one piece at a time, or heck, alll at once! #onedaycloser #clockisticking

Best of luck to all of those racing on the Big Island tmrw. You guys keep the dream alive! #aloha