Iron. A relatively useless item until it has been forged. Fire and iron? That's a different story. Think of the image of the United States Marines forging men of iron from raw recruits. Tested by fire, women of exceptional strength emerge from the Crucible that signals the end of basic training. Imagine a sword, forged from seemingly useless raw materials. Or a naval ship, tons of iron and steel, formed into a massive symbol of strength.
This weekend, many friends will go through the final steps of the forging process. They've been in the fire, many for a year or longer, to reach this point. They have been strengthened along the way. They have been changed from what they were to men and women of iron. And in just over two days, after 140.6 miles, they will become Ironmen. The fires of the forge are something they will carry with them. They will need that fire over the course of their 2.4 mile swim. The fire will continue to forge them into Ironmen, even in the water. They will need that fire during the 112 mile bike ride. The wind of the bike course can't extinguish the flames that will continue the transformation into Ironmen. And the fire must burn strongly during the 26.2 mile marathon. The flames of the forge will light up the night as our friends take the final steps to the finish line and hear the words they've longed to hear for so long. "You are an IRONMAN."
Iron Wil, who has been an example to many member of the TBC, will complete this stage of her journey. Keep her in your thoughts, this weekend, just as she has kept many others in her thoughts when they had their races. Get to Madison and support her, if possible. Watch the race if you can't get there. And track her online if you can't watch it live.
Many others will run their own races. Eighteen members of my triathlon club, The Fox Cities Triathlon Club, will be there. Some for their first time, others on return trips. And a great many others will be there to support their teammates. This is their time. Show your support, and they will be their when it is our time.
And as they complete their journey, determine where you are on your journey. Just as Iron Wil has less than two days to start her Ironman race, we have just under three days to make our Ironman decisions. Are you ready to commit to IM MOO 2007? Just remember, one of the hardest parts of any race is signing up. Once done, 365 days from now, it could be you that others are cheering along.