InsideOut client: Becky Paige, Crushes Ironman Cozumel with a PR 9:40:55. 1st Place in AG, 9th OA!
Caroline Kavanagh | Dec 14, 2019
And if those stats don't WOW you then this might.... If Becky had been racing in the Professional Women's category she would have taken 9th place (Top 10) and... she is 48 years young! More than 10 years older than the thirty-something women in the professional grouping. Are you WOW'ed yet? I am! Ironman Cozumel "topped-off" a phenomenal 2019 triathlon race season for Becky Paige. Simply put, the icing on the cake and a cherry on-top.... "please" and "thank you!" All food puns, intended :) She chalked up podium performances against top level competition all season long, at Age Group National and World level events. And in ALL triathlon distances, this includes Sprint, Olympic, 70.3 and Ironman. No kidding! 2019 Race Stats: Ironman 70.3 St. George, Utah: 1st Place, 4:52:46 Nationals, Cleveland Ohio: 3rd Place - Sprint, 1:11:22 3rd Place - Olympic, 2:04:34 ITU Worlds, Olympic, Lausanne Switzerland: 3rd Place, 2:25:08 Ironman Worlds, 70.3, Nice France: 5th Place, 5:15:29 Ironman Cozumel, Mexico: 1st Place, 9:40:55 (qualifying for Ironman 2020 World Championship, Kailua-Kona, HI) Sensational is stating these achievements... lightly! All year long some of the "buzz" and questions that became commonplace to me were: • "Becky looks amazing!" • "Whatever you are doing with Becky is what I want to do!"
• "Becky's body composition has really changed and WOW!"
• "I didn't know Becky could run that fast!"
• "A 9:40:00 at IM Cozumel? What have you been doing with her nutrition and fueling?" • "A 49 minute 2.4 mile swim!?! I'm giving up the lead position in our swim training lane." Well...... answering all of the questions and comments would take a few articles. What makes the most sense is to let Becky recap her phenomenal season and capture the details of her stunning race and win at Ironman Cozumel. What you might also find interesting is how ultimately her victory in Mexico this year was more meaningful than you might have imagined. Enjoy! Here is Becky's story... Flashback to one year ago, November 2018... I arrived in Mexico hoping I could cobble together a good day racing Ironman Cozumel. With any luck my goal was to earn a coveted slot for the Ironman World Championships in Kona 2019. Yes, I was fit, but I was struggling with some nagging injuries. Needless to say, the race was good... until it wasn’t. A third of the way through the run portion, my body and mind fell apart and I made the tough decision to DNF. I was gutted to say the least. That evening I made a promise to myself that I was going to make some changes. One of the changes was to meet with Caroline at InsideOut following the race and focus on nutrition. I did an initial metabolic assessment with Caroline and immediately after the test she explained the nutritional principles of Metabolic Efficiency Training. Based on those results, I "hit the ground running" with a plan that would augment my diet and get my blood sugar under control. I wasn’t really interested in losing weight, my main goal was to fuel my body so I could perform at a higher level. Not to mention, I wanted to feel good. I felt the results quickly. My energy levels were better, I was recovering from hard workouts faster, and I was just all around healthier. To boot I lost some weight and my body composition changed. I never thought of myself as dieting and I still don’t. I think of myself as fueling my body so I can compete at a high level. I started my 2019 triathlon racing season in May with Ironman’s 70.3 race – St. George, Utah. Caroline put together my fueling plan. I felt really good the entire race, but what was shocking to me was just how good I felt on the run. Dialing in on my fueling and being a bit leaner definitely helped me. (Note: Becky's run was the second fastest amateur female run split in a time of 1:33:23 - a 7:10 min/mile pace. Her 1st place victory was a sub five hour time of 4:52:46 and ahead of second place by sixteen minutes!) In June, I made my way to Ireland to race Ironman Cork... Unfortunately race day conditions in Cork included torrential rain, extreme cold and high winds. The swim course was ruled unsafe by race officials. The race would start on the bike in time-trial format causing some crowdedness and not to mention slick roads. I ended up suffering from an unfortunate crash very early on the bike. I was devastated... I thought my race season might be over. The result of my crash was a Morel-Lavallée lesion which is basically a big giant bruise on my hip. Dr. Dana Kotler at Spaulding Outpatient Center in Wellesley, was able to drain the area several times and help me get back to training relatively quickly. I was desperate to salvage my season and came through with strong races at Nationals in Cleveland, Ohio, ITU Worlds in Lausanne, Switzerland and Ironman 70.3 Worlds in Nice, France. I kept up with my MET guidelines throughout the summer and dialed-in my training. I couldn’t have been happier with my race results at those races. I managed to podium at all three races! Not originally on my race schedule for this year, but after 70.3 Worlds in France, I decided I wanted to return to Mexico in November. I had some unfinished business to take care of on the race course at Ironman Cozumel… In the weeks leading up to Cozumel, Caroline and I met to do another bike to run set of metabolic assessments. These tests would target my current fueling needs. I didn’t second guess the plan, I stayed disciplined and was unwavering in my determination. I arrived in Cozumel with one goal, execute my race plan! Coming from cold Massachusetts to 86 degrees in Mexico was initially an elixir. On the race course, well... it can be a game changer. I knew this all too well from last year so I put that thought aside and stayed focused on race preparations. Race morning I made my way to the swim start. I positioned myself in the first corral. The swim is a point-to-point course. Racers file down a long dock and jump in and get right to business. I never start my watch on the swim because I’m not going to look at my watch swimming and I don’t want a ‘slower’ time to get into my head when I finish. This particular morning there was quite a bit of chop in the water. I didn’t feel all that fast, I just kept thinking about being long and strong and follow the buoys. When I exited the swim I saw a friend who happens to be a badass fast swimmer just ahead of me. I knew right then that I had a fantastic swim. Swim: 2.4 miles in 49:44, avg pace = 1:10min/100yds I made my way into T1 and tried to be quick and efficient. Last year I remember there not being any sunscreen available in the transition area, so I packed some sunblock in my transition bag. A volunteer "sauced up" my shoulders and I made a mad dash to my bike. I knew the extra few seconds to add some sunscreen would be worth it as the sun is unrelenting on this course. T1: 4:30 min Onto the bike to do three laps around the island which covers it all... oceanside roads, the great hotel zone and a bit of the city. I noticed immediately that my power meter was not reading. I had prepped it earlier that morning, but for whatever crazy reason it wasn’t reading now. Rats! I started to fuss with it, then the realization of not paying 100% attention to the road could be a recipe for disaster. So I said, FUC* IT! And went by feel. This may have been a blessing in disguise. Rather than focusing on power numbers, I was focused on finding my sweet spot - hard, but not too hard. I was also thinking about my nutrition. I knew how many calories and how much hydration I wanted to get in per hour and I was dead set on following the plan. I had decided to use special needs on the bike for this race, something I have never done before. I had three bottles of hydration/calories waiting for me. I took the time to stop and restock. This may have been one of the best decisions I have ever made. On the first half of the bike the aid stations were not congested, I made a point to grab water during the early portion of the bike leg to douse myself to help keep me cool. But by the second half of the bike portion, athletes were stopping at aid stations and I felt it was just too dangerous to grab water - I’ve seen way too many accidents. I knew I had exactly what I needed to get me through the rest of the bike, so I pressed on. By the end of the bike, I was SO ready to get off. The heat was getting unbearable. Bike: 112 miles in 5:11:31, avg pace = 21.57mph I stumbled into T2 and I knew I was overheating because I felt nauseous and my heart felt like it was being squeezed by a vise. I also must have looked hot because the volunteers doused my head and neck with cold water. It was magical (imagine rainbows and unicorns kind of magical!) and I felt relief! My plan included nutrition at this point which I ingested, then quickly tucked the rest of my "needs" into my kit. The awesome transition volunteers cheered for me as I ran out. I was so touched and inspired by the gestures, that I made sure to thank them as I exited out. I bolted out of T2 on a mission! T2: 3:30 min Then reality hit – I had to run a marathon! I needed to settle...
My fuel plan would keep me focused and "in-check" on the three loop, flat course, passing many of Cozumel's signature sites. My mental copping strategy took the form of a mantra which was, "be unwavering," as I ignored the heat and the uncomfortableness and kept pressing on the gas. This ever elusive delicate balance while racing of keeping "in-check," and asking the questions, "how do I feel?," and "how much do I push?" At each aid station I grabbed water to drink, water to douse myself and when I could, ice to help keep my core temperature down. The sun and heat are the real deal on this course and just when you think you are OK, you aren’t! So, I kept focused, thinking about my form, when I was going to fuel next, and running through the aid stations to not lose any time. It certainly helped to have my family and some teammates to cheer me along and give me intel on where I stood in the race. A smile and unbridled encouragement from the ones you love, sure can go a long way to making you feel like a super hero! Run: 26.2 miles in 3:31:42, avg pace = 8:04 min/mile I knew I was going to have a PR, but I was flabbergasted with my final time! 9:40:55
By The Numbers: Total Distance: 140.6 miles (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) Total Time: 9:40:55 (Personal Record) (Note: Becky's time was 35 minutes ahead of the second place finisher in her age group!) Total Calories Consumed: ~1,350 kcal I dug deeper in that race than I have ever before. I am sure that having what I would consider an epic failure last year helped me to have a tremendous year this year. Working with Caroline at InsideOut to adjust my diet and dial-in my nutrition were among the keys to my success this season. I’m looking forward to ramping it up a notch in 2020!
Metabolic Efficiency Summary
Becky began working with me in late November of 2018 with her primary goal being to optimize performance and improve her nutrition. We started with an initial incremental metabolic assessment to get a clear picture of how her current nutrition was influencing her metabolism. Prior to testing she also provided a few sample days of her daily nutrition from which would be the framework to make adjustments coupled with her test results. Five months later.... Becky came back into the InsideOut Lab to do bike to run assessments prior to her first race of the season (70.3 St. George). We would use the data obtained from this second set of tests to not only see how her revised nutrition plan was working but to also provide fueling intake numbers for training and race day fueling.
Becky made astounding improvements! Her body composition was the most notable "upgrade" on the outside, while her inside improvements were revealed via her carbohydrate and fat oxidation levels. (Note: to read in more detail about this improvement: https://www.insideouthp.com/single-post/2019/06/10/InsideOut-client-Becky-Paige-Unleashes-in-Utah-at-Ironman-703-St-George-1st-Place-in-AG-8th-Overall-Amateur-Female)
A couple months out from Ironman Cozumel.... Becky returned to the InsideOut Lab. We did another set of bike to run assessments focusing on her race day intensities. These results dictated her fueling plan for Cozumel. Energy needs can change during the Competition phase of the season given the bodies demand for higher carbohydrate intakes. As well, physical improvements are typically made and speed and power have increased. We made the necessary adjustments to her fueling strategy and she began practicing the heck out of it in training in the weeks leading up to Ironman Cozumel.
It worked! :)
Huge congratulations to Becky Paige. Her consistency and focus were truly amazing! And, of course, congrats to her legendary coach Karen Smyers. I can't wait to see what she does in 2020 and on the big island of Kona!