When Steph Corker finished her first triathlon, she dreamed that by 60 she might be able to do an Ironman. Fortunately for her, she started to pursue her goal a bit earlier and became one of the top age-groupers in the country.
Steph talks to us about her journey to becoming pro and how she made the decision to make the jump because she didn’t want to be defined by the things that scared her.
If you’ve ever worried about how to add triathlon to an already busy schedule, this is the interview to listen to. Steph talks about how she balances life as a pro-triathlete and entrepreneur — yep she co-owns a company and still runs it as she trains and races around the world.
She also opens up about the comparison game and how she’s in the process of learning to focus on what actually matters, deal with feeling like a sausage in her tri suit (we can relate) and learn to be the best version of yourself. We think you’ll enjoy this conversation with Steph as much as we did!
As Bethany and I conduct our podcast interviews, I have a sheet of paper beside me where I jot down key notes or things I want to remember from that episode. When we chatted with Alyssa Godesky, I think I jotted down the word confidence at least half a dozen times.
She kept referring to blind confidence but as she spoke, I heard a woman who is not afraid to take big chances because she believes in herself. If you missed it, listen now!
The reality is, when we examine our lives, we could often use a bit more of that confidence.
We have dreams, we talk about plans, we want to make a change in our lives but there’s a little voice that whispers, ‘but what if I fail?’
So we stick with life the way we’ve always lived it. Our dreams stay hidden in little notebooks or conversations with trusted friends that never come to life.
What if we started approaching more of life with blind confidence? What if we decided to take more leaps with less doubt? How could this approach to life change the way we live?
I remember when I was training for Ironman Arizona. I was a relatively new triathlete – as in I’d done exactly one triathlon – who really had no business jumping into Ironman training as such a newbie. Fortunately, I trained with some fantastic coaches from Team in Training who gave us a solid plan and plenty of opportunities to ask questions. For the first part of my training season, I approached every week with fear.
I was terrified that I would not be able to finish the race.
That I would embarrass myself because I went for this lofty goal and couldn’t complete it.
I even came up with a backup plan to fake an injury if I thought I couldn’t complete the race – which in hindsight wasn’t the best plan because one of our coaches was also a fantastic physical therapist.
Then about half-way through the season, something shifted.
I decided that I wasn’t going to approach my training with fear anymore.
I was going to be confident in every session. I was going be confident in myself to complete the goal. I was going to be the best version of myself every day.
My training didn’t change. Same coach, same workouts but I completely changed.
Rather than dreading workouts, I looked forward to them.
Rather than whining when something was hard, I started to think, ‘you can’t make this hard enough for me’.
It was a huge shift for me. A million things could have still gone wrong on race day and a few did – let’s just say I’m very familiar with the porta potty stops on the run course – but I had one of the favorite days of my life.
In the last few years, I’ve had some big career transitions. The confidence that I learned to tap into when I trained for that Ironman has served me well in those.
We all need to find more places to develop confidence. To take a leap to live the life we really want. Maybe for some people, the first step will be to take on a big challenge like their first marathon or triathlon. For others, it might be to finally quit that job that you hate or to make that move so you can live the life you dream of living.
Whatever it is, let’s find a way to tap into that. We may fail along the way but life is way more fun and full of adventure when we live with confidence.
Alyssa Godesky is a professional triathlete, coach, and co-host of the Ironwomen Podcast. We had a chance to chat with her and learn all about her story of getting involved in triathlon, how she developed a confidence that has led her to try some unexpected challenges and how she hopes to shape the sport.
Alyssa went to the United States Naval Academy for 2 years before transferring to the University of Virginia. Already an ultra-runner, she got involved in triathlon to make friends. She shares the story of her first triathlon and eventual transition from age-grouper to pro. She shares some of her funny stories of what it was like to take the leap from a great corporate job to full-time athlete trying to make ends meet.
Alyssa also talks about how important the relationship with a coach is and how vital it is to helping an athlete develop his/her confidence.
Tune in to hear more about Alyssa and her journey!
Since February is the month of love, we decided to chat with one of the happiest couples that we’ve ever met in the sport of triathlon.
Chuck and Nicole Chittick are Atlanta-area triathletes who have found ways to enjoy their hobbies together over the course of the thirty-year relationship and marriage (listen to the podcast to hear about their lightning-fast romance that’s stayed the course)
They’ve done everything from singing to ballroom dancing but their lives changed when they decided to join a gym together to fight the mid-life pudge.
First, it was mountain biking and then running before they eventually found their way to triathlon.
Hear about their journey to becoming triathletes (Nicole didn’t know how to swim), their race-day philosophy and how they give back to the sport.
Today we had an opportunity to sit down with former pro triathlete, Belinda Granger and age-group, Lynda Rowan for a conversation about how they got involved in the sport of triathlon, how they met, the things triathlon has taught them and why they still love the sport so many years later.
When Lynda decided to bring a triathlon to the resort she worked at in Austrailia, she knew she wanted one of Austrailia’s most popular women to serve as the spokesperson. She reached out to Belinda Granger, who at the time was fairly new on the pro scene but a very popular local. That was the beginning of a long friendship spent bonding over triathlon, being strong women, and a lot of fun.
Fast forward 19 years as we sit and listen to these ladies catch up from across the globe. It seems their passion for triathlon has only continued to grow.
Listen to Belinda and Lynda share their stories. Whether you’re a new triathlete or have been in the sport for several years, we think you’ll be inspired to sign up for your next race after listening to their passion.
There are so many great stories that we had to break this episode into TWO full episodes. Enjoy part 1 this week:
We all love a good comeback story and as we are counting down to the Winter Olympics, NBC just launched this inspiring commercial of skier Lindsey Vonn. If you aren’t familiar with the popular skier, she is one of the most decorated female skiers in the US but has suffered significant injuries while racing and training to her knee and most recently a severe arm fracture.
But a champion who doesn’t quit, Lindsey will be representing the US at the 2018 Olympics in the coming weeks. If you haven’t seen the commercial, grab a tissue and give it a watch her comeback story:
This week we also highlighted the story of Paul Linck on our podcast. Paul is an Atlanta-based athlete who almost lost his life to cancer in 2016. He fought back to race the Ironman World Championship in Kona this past year.
All of us have some sort of come back story. We all start with hopes and dreams and then life derails us.
For some of us, it’s an accident or illness like Lindsey and Paul.
For others, it’s a job loss, a child with a disability, a relationship that went sideways, a bout of depression that never seems to go away, aging parents or –insert your story–.
Sometimes we feel like we’ll never be the person we were before our life was interrupted.
And we won’t be.
But we have the opportunity to be someone else.
Someone wiser and stronger.
Someone who understands loss and has more empathy for others.
Someone who knows that she is strong and can make it through anything.
One thing we have learned over the years is sometimes making a comeback in your life can be as simple as giving yourself the challenge to try something new. That’s why we strongly encourage people to sign up for their first triathlon. Over the years we’ve heard hundreds of stories of men and women who have seen their lives change through the process of training.
We put together a free resource to help you get started on your journey. Just download it here
Paul Linck has been a consistent face on the triathlon circuit around the Southeast for the past decade, although you may sometimes may confuse him with his twin brother who is also an avid racer and his biggest fan.
After taking up running to get into shape and meeting some big goals, Paul transitioned over to triathlon with many of the same rookie mistakes that all beginners make. He found himself to be a strong cyclist and runner and a passable swimmer and soon this hobby became a passion.
Paul has raced every distance from Sprint to Ironman and has qualified 5 times for the Ironman World Championship Race in Hawaii.
In 2015 he raced the bike portion of Ironman Florida as a relay for the Kyle Pease Foundation. Between the chair and the Kyle Pease athlete, Paul pushed more than his bodyweight for 112 miles.
Feeling strong as a result of the preparation to push in the race, Paul decided to give a full Ironman a go just two weeks later in Arizona. There he qualified once again for the Ironman World Championship.
Everything was on track until a doctor’s visit in 2016. Paul was diagnosed with cancer and ended up spending the next year fighting for his life.
Ironman gave Paul a one-year deferral and going back to Kona became a personal challenge that fueled his spirit through a long and difficult recovery.
April Gellatly might be the most positive person you encounter on an Ironman course. With lots of energy, positive feedback and a LOUD voice, and likely dressed in pink, you’ll know April when you meet her. Once a pro-triathlete, she is now active on the course as a coach and cheerleader.
April started got her start in triathlon early in life. Her community had a very active youth triathlon program. As the youngest of three, a sister who was a world-class swimmer and a talented brother, April found herself excelling in triathlon. It was a place where she got the attention of the most important man in her life, her dad.
Tragically, at the age of 20, April lost her dad to suicide. After his death, she once again returned to triathlon as her place of stability. She set her sights on racing the Ironman World Championship and qualified at her first Ironman in Wisconsin. April shares about that first race experience – both her rookie mistakes and what it meant to complete that race with her dad in mind.
April graduated from college on the verge of the recession and just one year into her first job, she was laid off. Again, she found triathlon to be a place of stability and decided to take her pro card.
April shares the good and bad of life as a pro and what made her decide to leave the pro world and focus on her coaching business. She has a passion for triathlon and you might even find her racing on a pink cruiser with her mom!
Whether you’re thinking of your first triathlon or dreaming of Kona, April’s story of grit and her practical advice will get you ready for the next step.
Tere Derbez-Zacher started swimming when she was 24-years old and began to dream of becoming a World Champion. Her coach told her she was too old and didn’t have the abilities. Rather than giving up, she promptly left that coach and found an inexperienced coach who believed in her and was eager to learn. She now has 10 World Championship medals – 1 Gold, 7 Silver and 2 Bronze. It was through this experience that Tere learned the power of your mindset to achieve big goals.
Listen to the podcast
Wanting to understand more about the power of the mind, Tere moved from Mexico to Arizona to pursue not one but two Master’s degrees (one in counseling and one in sports psychology). It was there she met her husband and eventually had their daughter.
A friend invited her to go out for a run one weekend and she was hooked. Tere set a new goal of representing Mexico in the Rio Olympics. At the age of 44, she went to the games as the first alternate on the Olympic team. She’s not done yet. She hopes to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Team in Tokyo where she would compete at the age of 48.
Tere believes that you are the only one who determines your limits and she spends her time teaching that to both aspiring and high-level athletes. We have a great conversation about how you develop this mindset, how you protect your life from people who will not help you achieve your goals, how to find the right coach and why some coaches will not empower your dreams as well as much more
You don’t want to miss this conversation where we hear her story and learn insights on how to master your mindset to accomplish big goals.
Tere teaches private clinics and works with individual athletes. You can find her at Insightful Runner
My club, Atlanta Triathlon Club, participates in this challenge each year. Having a competitive nature, I’ve really enjoyed the challenge each year as we join together as a team to try to swim, bike or run more miles than other clubs.
This year, the club decided to put more emphasis on training all three sports over the winter after seeing some members struggle with injury or burn out after focusing on a single sport too much. A few years when I swam 25 miles in a month, my chiropractor gave me a stern warning to never do that again with the shoulder issues that I have.
Because December was so busy and I got sick, I wasn’t super into the challenge this year until my friend Tim planted the idea of streaking during bike month. Don’t worry mom, this kind of streaking is done fully (mostly) clothed.
After my bike accident in June, my bike and I had a break-up. Literally, my bike broke and I put it up not to be touched again for months. I hauled it out of storage and took it to my trusted mechanic at all3sports. A few days later it came back repaired and clean.
I believe I was a few glasses of wine in on December 30th when I sent a text message to Tim saying I was in for the January bike streak. If you’ve ever met Tim, he’s the most dedicated, consistent athlete I know so I knew that when I made a commitment to streak with him, there was no backing out.
January 1 found me tired from a New Year’s Eve party and getting the very short ride in before heading to Shinabrunch, an all-day brunch my friends Jeff and Andre Shinabarger host on New Year’s Day. I really wanted to text Tim to say I’d start on the 2nd, but I knew if I did that, I would never start. So 40-minutes later, I had put in the first trainer ride on my bike in almost 6-months and was ready for brunch.
As I write this, I just completed day 11. Some days have been good, and some have not been so good. If you’ve ever gotten back on the saddle day after day after a long absence, you know why. And many rides are short – just 30-minutes and very easy!
A few people have asked, why bother? Does a short, easy ride really do anything for you?
Physically, not really. I get a little muscle memory but when is say some days are really easy — they are like easy, easy.
For me, this challenge is more of a mental challenge.
I was having a great season when I had my bike accident and afterwards, I dreaded the bike. I couldn’t keep up when I went to ride. I was seeing all of the hard work I had put in that year vanish and I was nervous about another accident.
The less I trained, the less I wanted to train.
And that was okay, there are seasons to rest and recover.
But one thing I know about myself is that discipline in one area of my life leads to discipline in other areas of my life.
And the easiest place to get the ball rolling is in my fitness routine.
When I choose to do something, even when I don’t FEEL like it., even when I don’t see the immediate benefit, I get empowered.
I train myself to do the things I don’t want to do which in turn helps me be more successful in my overall goals.
Goal setting is fun. It’s the hard work that it takes in between setting the goal and completing it that requires you to push through all of those times you don’t feel like doing something.
And oddly, when I jump on the trainer and put in a ride, even a very short ride, I feel empowered to finish the tasks that I don’t feel like doing that day related to my other goals.
I have big goals for 2018. Like some scary big ones. I’ve realized that goals need habits cultivated in my life if I want to see them through.
So that’s why I’ve committed to riding my bike every day in January. I don’t have a secret Ironman on the calendar. I’m not trying to rack up miles for a challenge. I’m only partially motivated by getting back into shape. Those would all be good reasons.
But for me, I need to once-again train my mind to push through the moments that I don’t feel like doing something to accomplish a goal. To know that I am able to do the things I say I will do.
As Bethany and I have been talking more about our motto at Grit and Dirt, we’ve talked about how much we like the idea of a small change disrupting your life.
The word disrupt often has a negative connotation but in many cases, we need a disruption to take us out of the routine that is comfortable but unfulfilling or the excuses we make that keep us from our goals.
Choosing to bring something in that disrupts us from the norm can be a powerful catalyst for change.
That’s why we really believe that if you’ve been on the fence about signing up for that first triathlon, or 5k, or Spartan Race…or whatever it may be, that you should do it!
Are you ready to get started but need some support? We’ve started a Grit and Dirt online community via facebook. It’s a place you can share your story and get a whole lot of dirt on training and racing….or just ask all the questions you want to ask before you sign up.