IM Cozumel Race Report – Becky Paige

Hi Gang,

If you are interested in reading my race report from Cozumel here it is…

As I shuffled my way along with all the other athletes to start the swim, the dock was starting to buckle. The waves were crashing alongside it making scary noises; not to mention it was incredibly slippery. I got to the end of the dock and it had buckled up, so I grabbed the shoulder of the poor official next to me and, to quote U2, said to myself ‘Uno, dos, tres, catorce!!” (cue The Edge’s guitar…) and I jumped in trying not to land on anyone…or for that matter have anyone jump on me! The water was so shallow that I banged my foot on a giant rock – but no damage was done. Later I heard that they came close to not allowing anyone else to start the swim because the dock was breaking up. But apparently everyone got in, just a lot slower than planned. It was a self-seeded rolling start – and it seemed to work out well. The point-to-point swim felt like it took forever. I wish I could say that I looked at the pretty underwater scenery but I mostly focused on sticking with a pack. I just focused on staying steady and strong and trying not to swallow much salt water.

On to the bike. It’s a flat course, but for a good portion of it you have some pretty solid headwinds. I raced here 3 years ago and I think this year the winds were a bit harsher and lasted longer. My focus was to stay aero and be smart. It’s easy to get carried away on the wattage when you are going so slow and the wind is blowing, but I tried to stay within my goal wattage. On my third and final loop back into town, I saw giant plumes of black smoke. My initial thought was terrorism – which is awful but you just don’t know these days. As I got closer it looked like a building was on fire, but from what I heard later, it was actually a parade float. That explains why I thought I saw a giant Santa Claus and other Christmas things smoldering outside the building. The emergency workers let us pass by, but the wind was carrying this really thick black smoke into our path (and our lungs). I held my breath and tried to get past it as fast as I could. I think I breathed in a little because I let out a couple of hacks afterwards that sounded like I had been a smoker for the past 30 years! Ewww. Anyway, in the end I didn’t have a particularly good bike split, but it is what it is and I biked to the best of my ability. And, I take some consolation in the fact that the girl in my age group that out-biked (and in the end outraced me) was a former pro-cyclist. So she was legit and I can live with that!

I had a descent run. Just kept moving forward as fast as I could and never once let myself stop running. The sun was still pretty high and there was no cloud cover, so needless to say it was hot! It helped that the course wasn’t too busy the first two laps of my run, so I could be a maniac hogging all the water, soda and ice through the aid stations — by the time I got through an entire aid station it looked like I jumped in a pool. I was desperately trying to stay cool. I loved the cheers from the crowds… Andelay! Vamos!! And my most favorite – ANIMAL!! There was a bit of a headwind on the way out which helped with the heat a tiny bit. At the turnaround I was trying to convince myself that I was lucky to have a little tailwind to push me along, but I sure wish I could have felt it. I recently read that the Navy SEALS say that when you think you can’t do any more or go one step further, you still have 40% left. So at the mile 20 marker, I reminded myself of this. I wouldn’t allow anything negative to enter my head. At mile 25 I gave it all I had with the help of some self-talk — telling myself to Stay Strong! Don’t let up! Push! It was a little embarrassing because I was using my outside voice, but you gotta do what you gotta do in these situations.

In the end I managed to place 2nd in my age group. 19th female overall, with a time of 10:27:55. It’s the best I could put together on this day and enough to get me back to the Big Island once again.

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