There were thousands of standing all along the course of the Ironman. The signs were especially thick around the parts of the mountains that were the most desolate… along highways where few spectators stood, and the racers heard nothing but silence. Not cheers.
The day before the race, a tent was set-up in the carnival-like atmosphere, with music blaring, and Gatorade passing out free bottles for everyone. The tent was filled with blank poster board and sharpies and tables. Family and friends were busy carefully choosing words and embellishing signs for their loved one. A way to pass the time with the family, I thought, in the final hours before the Ironman. Later, volunteers would post these signs, carefully made, all along the course of the race. My husband later said, when he reached the darkest point of the race, during the isolation and the heat and exhaustion, he looked up and saw our sign. Like an Oasis, it said, “Go, Daddy.” He’s raising money to fight the cancer that took his own dad’s life.
This year, his family won’t be with him to make those signs, and this bothers me. He’s so busy training and working right now, he won’t notice here that I’m revealing his surprise… that I’m inviting some of his closest training buddies and family over to host a “sign-making” party just for him. It’s the least we can do. Once he has the signs, he can pack them in his bike case, and hand them over to the volunteers to post with the others, when he arrives.
I’ve bought the poster board, hidden the markers. I’ll be busy over the next few hours making food, setting up tables, and hanging banners.
Here you can see them lined up as flags for the racers. As you watch this video, make sure you notice that in those nervous final hours before the race, as my husband stands looking out in the Coeur D’Alene River, which he will swim the next morning… that our son lost his shoe. Leave him a message in the comments, and I’ll put it on a sign.