Doing it for the medal

Shock! Horror! Two posts in one week month! Since my previous post I have been doing a lot of soul-searching, trying to work out what it is that is stopping me from swimming in the open water. I’m not fast in the pool either but I can swim the distance.

I haven’t had any real insight into whatever is causing the problems. It’s not a conscious decision to stop swimming – I’ve stopped before I even think about it. At least I’ve got to the point where I can at least do a few little side strokes to keep moving forward instead of staying still.

A friend of mine uses the hash tag #doingitforthemedal to label every post on facebook or instagram that is related to her training, racing, planning etc.

The thought hit me today that I’m going to receive a half ironman finisher’s medal on Sunday even though I’m doing it as part of a team. Who would have thought I would ever own one of those?

It seems unfair to those completing the whole race individually but it sounds like all the members of the teams will receive the same medal.

I know I’ve mentioned before that it’s not about the bling (but it does help). I also know that’s not really motivation in itself. But in this case, if I don’t give that swim everything I’ve got (knowing I don’t need to save any physical or mental energy for the bike or run) then I’m not going to earn the medal.

It will then join the pile of medals (the ones I’ve kept) in my “sports cupboard”.


I’m certain that every time I open the door, the half ironman medal will be the one I see. It will jump out at me, catch my attention, and mock me: You don’t deserve me. You didn’t even swim the whole way. How could you accept a medal for that pathetic effort?

I don’t think I could handle that for long. Thinking about the unknown strangers trapped in a world of torment after being trafficked doesn’t help. Telling myself to “just keep swimming” doesn’t help. Chanting (silently since my face is in the water) “don’t stop don’t stop don’t stop” doesn’t help.

Maybe Doing it For the Medal, Breathe, with emphasis on the bold words, will work. Or Earn That Medal, Breathe. Yes, I’m still using the “1, 2, 3, breathe” method of swimming. Forget about counting strokes or laps, or anything else other than breathing.

Don’t get me wrong, if I still end up stopping now and then, that’s okay. I will be happy and feel like I earned that medal, as long as I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I left nothing in the tank.

Another friend uses the hash tag #letsdothis2015 so I’ll steal her catch phrase too.

Four more sleeps… Let’s do this!


6 thoughts on “Doing it for the medal

  1. interesting doing it for the medal… I seen a few folks do it for that but I do it for other reasons
    – getting in better shape
    – feels good (knowing training pays off)
    – use as a learning expereince

    I even sign up for 1 race that does not do medals to keep costs low. they figure instead of medals they can close off part of the bike course off from traffic
    which is a big deal in my mind

    enjoy your relay coming up!

    • Thank you! I’m not sure doing it for the medal us going to work either but happy to try anything at this stage. Most of my races don’t have medals. I usually race for the challenge (which this one certainly is) and the sense of accomplishment at the end. Maybe that’s my answer right there: back to basics. πŸ™‚

  2. Mel says:

    hearher. Of course you will deserve & earn that medal in Sunday. Swimming in the open water is out of your comfort zone and your being brave enough to give swimming 1.9 kms in the open water a go. My words of wisdom for what it’s worth are breath, relax and just keep swimming. You can do it and I can’t wait to see you do it.

  3. I’ve done the swim leg for two long course triathlons – because no one else wanted to do the swim. Remember, it’s the swim that stops a lot of people trying a Tri in the first place! Trust me, you’ll have earned that medal, and the respect of everyone watching (oh wait, that’s me 😊)

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