It was the Iron Girl Duathlon yesterday – an event that’s been looming on the calendar for months.  (For those of you unfamiliar with a duathlon, it’s run, bike, run again.  In this case 2 miles: 20 miles:  2 miles).  For the last several years we’ve been doing a lot of racing – duathlons and 5Ks and I can pretty consistently place in my age division.

This year has been different, however.  I haven’t raced at all.  I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis since I was about 12 years old and it flares up and settles down in cycles I can’t predict.  For the last 2+ years it’s been on a serious flare up cycle, and so I decided this summer would be “The Summer of Healing.”  Meaning, instead of beating the crap out of my body and pushing for faster and faster times, the plan would be to simply maintain my fitness.  This translated into the same number of workouts each week, but at a reduced intensity.

Anyway, I had been dreading the Iron Girl.  I hadn’t timed myself all summer and had no idea where my running pace was, but was sure I’d gotten slower.  Using the advice of a new friend, I decided to have my alter ego, Moxie, do the race instead of me.  

Let me tell you about Moxie.  She’s been around for quite a while (always has her name on restaurant waiting lists) and though she’s quite determined and successful, she’s also very playful and does things with a sense of humor and panache.  She never gets too serious.  She’s quite different from Jenny in that Jenny is serious as a freakin’ heart attack and could grump out a diamond on command.  

We get to the race only to learn the bike course is completely different from past years.  Moxie is not phased, whereas Jenny would have freaked out.  The race starts and Moxie is completely relaxed and running her own race.  She starts out easy on the run with the plan of saving her mojo for the last mile of the second run.  She is amazing on the bike – there is no separation between the biker and the bike.  Despite the killer hills the race is feeling good. Several times Jenny looks on and thinks “Holy crap Moxie is having a fantastic race!”  Moxie transitions like a superstar and heads out on the last run.  While Jenny is typically in a world of hurt at this point, Moxie is still relaxed and running at a decent pace.  She runs shoulder to shoulder with another runner for part of the last mile and then leaves her behind for the last 1/4 mile.  Jenny typically gets spanked on the last run because she starts the race too hard.  Moxie crosses the finish line with a huge smile on her face (gotta get a good finish line photo), whereas Jenny typically crosses looking like she ate a bowl of nails for breakfast.

Moxie kicked ass.  With style.  Out of 860 racers, she came in 24th overall.  

And most importantly, she felt GREAT the whole time.