Member Profile - Stephanie Kieffer

I dare anyone not to get a lump in their throat when reading this wonderful member profile. Some of the younger male athletes might choke, read on ;-)

Where are you from?


How long have you been in Triathlon?

I did one in 1984.  We had bike handlers and mine (my mother) missed me coming out of the water (10 years of competitive far back in the pack did she think I would be) and I stood around waiting for her to arrive with my bike for 4 to 5 minutes.  She also announced that everyone was just stripping naked (poll here...who at 18 would strip naked in front of their mom  (other than Clarke and Coach Andrew))....not me, it was likely my longest T1 ever!  My second triathlon was in 2001.  Matthew, my middle child was born March 2001.  I spent 18 weeks on bed rest while I was pregnant.  Which may to some sound like a luxury but it was the scariest and hardest thing I ever had to do.  Imagine what happens to your body when you spend almost 24 hours a day in bed or lying on the couch.  Well I managed to gain 70 pounds (Matthew was a big baby but only 9'6").  When I got off bedrest at 35 weeks of pregnancy I went shopping in the Mall (that would be the West Edmonton Mall).  I had to stop and rest on every bench. In 2001, the World Championships for Olympic Distance Triathlon were in Edmonton and the news (I watched a lot of TV) covered a story about the Athena and Clydsdale category.  You did not even need to qualify, just be over 150 lbs for a woman.  5 weeks after Matthew was born I bought a bike.

In July 2001 at 168 pounds I raced my first Olympic distance race. I won my category, my first World Championship title  (is here where I admit that there was only one in my never admit to that).  I did several more triathlons, placing OK in the top 5 or 6 in my age group.   In pregnancy #3 (that would be Jessica) I  did another stint of bed rest (16 weeks so only 65 pounds).  Jessica was born in Jan 2004 and after she was born it was time to reclaim my body.  We were in Vancouver and through my cycling coach I heard about a new triathlon club starting up. The Club to be in at the time had a Dec 6th (or some other odd) sign up date and I missed it, but my bike coach had heard about this tri club called LETC and put me in contact with Andrew. The rest is history.

What sports were you involved in before triathlon?

Sorry everyone, I was a competitive swimmer from the age of 6 to 16 and then did two years swimming at UBC.  At the age of 10, I was swimming 11 times a week.  It was the days of more is better and I regularly swam 10 km to 12 km per day.   Again, sorry all but swimming is as easy as walking to me.  Because I was ridiculously fit as a teenager I had great success at running.  Coach Alan makes me do race was mine for a 1500m track race at 14....start sprinting and keep going (the good old days).  I also fell in love with Ice Hockey in my early 20s although it often resembled skating up and down the ice as hard as I could hoping one day someone would pass me the puck.  I have played hockey for about 10 years.  Swapped that passion for triathlons.

We understand that you did an Ironman distance once, how was that?

It was amazing!!!  I did Ironman Canada in 2007.  It was the best thing I did due to peer pressure.  In another forum or maybe after a few drinks I will tell you the things I regret doing due to peer pressure (that beer yard was not a good idea).  I think there were 9 LETC members who were all training for their first Ironman and I got pulled along in the ironman frenzy.  This is how amazing our coaches are...I said I want to complete Ironman on as little training as possible and feel good at the finish. I followed the schedule pretty close to as written and stuck to the pacing they laid out even though I hated doing speed work at a 5 min/km pace, Alan often heard me ask if I could pick it up on the recovery.   I finished Ironman with a sub 4 hour marathon (3:59ish) and the sorest muscles were the ones from smiling as I smiled the entire marathon.  I did not enjoy the descents on the bike ride as it was windy and the bike was twitchy on the downhill.  I was 40th out of the water.  Over 900 people passed me on the bike.  My mantra as they went by was "I will see you on the run."   I passed 600 of them back.  Thank you Andrew and Alan.  Since my cycling has dramatically improved (thanks again coaches) since 2007 I am tempted to do another one.  But I am not sure I want to RACE an ironman.

You are a full time mom to 3 kids, now work full time and train full time. Yet you got to put up with trash talk from fellow club members just barely out of their teens. How do you handle that?

I probably dish out more trash talk than I get.  I am just glad training partners put up with me.  My work, although more than full time at the moment is pretty flexible and I can do a fair amount of training during the week.  My biggest limitation is that I am very involved in my children's ice hockey.  I am coaching my daughters H2 team (6 year olds) and my oldest Bantam team (13 to 14 year olds).  While I don't coach my 9 year olds team I am at every practice and 75% of the games just making sure I know what is going on.  Oh and I am also on the board of the Vancouver Thunderbird Minor Hockey Association as the VP of Hockey 1 to Hockey 4 (cause I have so much free time).  But hockey comes to an end mid March and that is when I ramp up the training.

Which is your favourite swim? Sasamat, Kits, the ocean?

Definitely not the ocean, I hate not knowing what is down there.  I like lots of people around as there is more seal bait then.  And yes the rumour is true I did Google seal attacks.  My favourite place to swim is on Facundo's feet (when he is in his fast phase...yes that is an example of trash talking).   I will sit on Alan's feet but his hips wiggle and his feet don't stay straight.  Ryan has nice feet.. not too many bubbles and a consistent pace.  Martina makes too many bubbles and I like to be ahead of her (more trash talk).   I like 50m pools (or Kits pool as the sun rises) best.

What has been your most memorable sports experience to date and why?

Gold Coast Worlds.   It was the Olympic Distance race and my sister Suzanne was in the women 35-39 category and I was in the 40-44.  Although Suz lives in Australia she was racing for Canada.  Our mom and dad were in Australia to see us race and it was the first time that they had seen us both race at the same time.  As I crossed the finish line Suzanne was waiting for me holding up two # 1 fingers (she had a 5 minute head start (Is this where I admit that she had been waiting for 8 minutes).  She has won her age category (by 8 seconds) and I had won mine.  I may be in my 40s but it was sweet to have my parents there to watch us race.

Who are/were your sports heroes?

Can I call me kids my sports heroes?  The all ran cross-country and the first time each of them did their first race I cried. I love watching them play hockey.  Thomas is a goalie and seems so laid back each game and can face these blistering shots and not flinch.  Matthew is a coaches dream, he has always been able to give it is all in competition.  I don't understand how a kid can work so hard.  And Jessica, wow, she is a beautiful runner.  I like to think that her beautiful running style comes from me but I have seen the video and that is so not the case.  And a distant 4th and 5th to the kids Simon Whitfield and Trevor Linden.

What advice do you have for swim newbie’s?

Relax and swim lots.  Don’t fight the water and get that elbow up (under the water).   I think everyone has the potential to swim a 1:30 per 100m pace.  You just need to put the time in.  Yes George, you have that in you as well.

Now that Martina is gone, do you find the "boys" in the club even more skittish about being chicked?

I miss Martina.  I do like chicking the boys and I am glad there are other women in the club to help keep their egos in check (more trash talk).  I like to think that it pushes them to new levels.  What 20 something male would want to be beaten by their mother?  I am so off their radars but I can still reminisce about the good old days when I ran faster than Ron E and could bike circles around Jeff and Robert.  If they have a less than stellar race I might be there again but it is great to see newer club members (male and female) do better than me.  I think it shows that the club has the right formula to produce competitive athletes.   Here is a sampling of the Good old days....

Pushor Mitchell Apple Triathlon

Sunday, August 17, 2008

41   3/248 F   1/27 Female 40-44    954  Stephanie Kieffer     Vancouver        BC           41 2:14:23    12 21:29  1:26   29  1:11   10 22:39   76 1:06:30  36.1   30 1:29:09   62  0:55   29 1:30:03   99 0:44:20  4:26   41 2:14:23

And we go way down……to 76th. Chicked in the swim and bike and both transitions.  Ahhh the good old days.

76  69/343 M  10/28 Male   25-29   1387  Rob Eakin             Vancouver        BC           76 2:20:22   169 27:36  1:51   39  1:13  150 28:48   92 1:07:04  35.8   92 1:35:52   88  0:58   89 1:36:49   82 0:43:33  4:22   76 2:20:22

Here is another one

2009 Walnut Grove Sprint Triathlon

Sunday, August 9, 2009

5   1/95  F   1/17 F4049   224  Stephanie Kieffer     Vancouver         BC    5 1:03:13    1 0:10:47  1:27    7  0:34    1 0:11:21   10 0:31:14  34.6    3   42:35   41  0:46    4   43:21   11 0:19:53  3:59    5 1:03:13

Don’t have to go that far down this time…. That would be chicked in the swim, bike and T1

8   7/96  M   3/13 M2029   252  Robert Johnson        Vancouver         BC    8 1:05:06   22 0:13:23  1:48   22  0:54   22 0:14:17   14 0:32:11  33.6   14   46:27   37  0:45   14   47:12    3 0:17:54  3:35    8 1:05:06

What do LETC members not know about you?

New members probably do not know that I struggle going over bridges on my bike (and sometimes running).  It has improved a lot but I have only cycled North over Lions Gate.  South I have yet to remain on my bike.  I have to have a friend walk over the bridge with me.  And sometimes I have even jumped in a cab at Park Royal.  My first time cycling down Cypress I called my husband to come pick up because I got stuck.  No not stuck in something, psychologically stuck.  I definitely understand anxiety in sports.  I get so mad at myself.

Have you thought about Coaching in Triathlon?

I am not sure the club members are tough enough to handle it.  So far this year I have made 4 of my 6-year-old hockey players’ cry. While yes there have been tears when Coach Stephanie points out that we can not swing our stick at the player who knocked us down, the kids and I have a ton of fun on the ice. At times I feel bad not giving much back to the club and triathlon but I give so much to hockey that there just isn’t time.  When the kids are done hockey I think that is when I will step up and give back.  Although I would happily exchange a swim session for a bridge buddy (you have to be prepared to walk if I can’t cycle) or a ride down Cypress with a partner.