Paige Railey: Mind over matter
Published on February 29th, 2020
When we interviewed American Paige Railey in January 2019, she seemed at peace with her path. She’d endured highs and lows before, but sounded ready to again take on the challenge to represent the USA in the Laser Radial at the 2020 Olympics.
But the 2019 season did not go as planned, and when it was clearly obvious that problems were present, Paige revealed the facts in this September 2019 report. But at 32 years old, if Paige is anything, she’s a warrior.
Well, that warrior climbed the mountain again, overcoming serious challenges from USA teammates and won selection at the 2020 Laser Radial World Championship. With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics now earned, Paige reveals what it took to get there:
In August I left Japan a mess. I was underweight, sick, upset over the 2019 Laser Radial Worlds with lungs that didn’t want to function properly. After seeing a few doctors, I began a new chapter in life starting September 23. I was insecure, but determined to get my body put back together so I had a chance to win the Olympic Trials.
I began medicine that had me vomiting, delirious, and weak. In addition, I started back in the gym. I saw on social media girls doing weighted pulls-ups while I did assisted ones, or hella pushups and I did girl ones. I knew I was leagues behind, but I kept repeating that I wouldn’t quit. When I began sailing it was not a pretty sight.
I came to Australia December 8 with hope that I would be a good match against the others and I 100% wasn’t. What was suppose to be a six week trip turned into three months. Well, three months of literally getting my ass kicked day after day. I had moments where I felt I was running straight into a metal wall.
I’ll be honest and say, there was probably more crying, frustration, and anger compared to laughter, but my determination for the US Trial was unbreakable. I pushed myself to the red everyday and walked a fine line of healthy to complete collapse. I think it came together just enough about two days before the 2020 Worlds.
I knew I wasn’t perfect nor fit enough, but what I had strengthened most was my mind.
Was I stressed?! Hell yeah, but what I had learned was no matter how hard it got, I was never going to give up. The racing was my worst nightmare with big breeze, but I said screw it and let my mind take over my body and force me to mentally grind to my full capacity. Well, it all paid off and now I’ll be attending my third Olympics!
I want to thank Steve (my backbone coach), Mike (my trainer who has built my body up numerous times), Meredith, Kate, John, my family, Jessica, Caroline, my doctors, St Francis Yacht Club and Foundation, Pam, Russ, PSA, Steph, Maggie, Hallie, US Sailing Team, Kilroy and most importantly my mom (you’re everything to me). You all could of given up after each setback with my health, but you kept encouraging me to keep going and stood by me everyday.
And to Erika Reineke and Charlotte Rose, you two are my forever teammates. Onward!