When you finish but you quit

Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home shared Tahira’s blog post on Mental toughness. And it got me thinking, as a good blog post should.

I wasn't pushing hard here!
At the very end. I quit but finished ZOOMA Annapolis.

I finished my ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon. It had the dreaded three: hot, hilly & humid. I’ve done hot & hilly halfs before so I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong & I was very disappointed with my finish time, one of my worst.

And then I read Tahira’s blog: I finished my race but did I quit on it? Was my “why” not good enough? Important enough to me?

Here were my goals for the race:

  1. Finish, not in pain, & feeling like I could still run.
  2. Finish in 2:46-9 if it’s hot & humid.
  3. Run more hills than in Redding Road Race.

Did I meet my goals? Zip, zero, nada. Well, I did finish & I wasn’t in pain, but I didn’t come close to the rest of them.

My intentions for the race:

  1. Push through when things get difficult.
  2. Enjoy the race.

Do you see the problem here? Those aren’t intentions – they’re goals! There really was no why for the race. Oh, there was add another state & let’s do it because I can, but why deep down, did I really want to run this race?

I had no why & yup, I sure did quit way before the finish line.

I’m so glad Wendy posted about that post, because now I have to put my thinking cap on: I have a race Saturday – I don’t want to quit on this one. And now I know I need a better why. This race is only 4 miles, but I can still finish & quit by not pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

if you can dream it, with intention, you can do it

– Deepak Chopra

I am not a quitter. It’s time to dig deep & find my why.

What is your why? Have you ever finished a race but quit on it?

Thursdays are for thinking out loud


23 thoughts on “When you finish but you quit

  1. I have never stopped a race early, but there have definitely been times when I mentally gave up. Once I reach that point its so hard to get back into the right mindset. But since then I have really worked on my mental game, and its been a while since I have had a race like that!


  2. I think your why for 2 halfs in one month was adding another state. You finished and you’re not injured. So I say it was win-win. You’re too hard on yourself.

    Yes, I think I mentally quit before my last 2 halfs. I wasn’t trained and worried about hurting my feet. But in the end, I got to race in Vermont and over the walkway bridge. I don’t regret my decision. I just needed to change my goals.


      1. We’ll never know how hard to push ourselves. Ending up with a PR and knee and/or hip would be worse. So sometimes it is better to not push ourselves and stay healthy.


      2. There was no pain, though – aside from lack of motivation due to heat, I was fine. But could be because it was so slow. OTOH, the first half wasn’t slow. I suppose I could’ve had heat stroke, but it wasn’t THAT hot. I wasn’t expecting a PR; I was just expecting to match other hot halfs I’d done.


  3. I know how hard it is when you have a really tough race. I had this experience last year, it ended up being 90 degrees no shade on the course for a half marathon and I just melted down. It took me a long time to be with okay with what went on that day. I did finish, but took like a 6 minutes break right n the middle of the event to get sick…ugh. I was walking more than running by then the end and for a split second thought if I don’t cross the line I don’t have to deal with that time officially…but I did cross the line and decided to just own it. I did the best I could under the circumstances and that’s all we can do. Don’t beat your self up – it was super hot that day!


  4. I’ve never quit on a race, but I’ve wanted to plenty of times when my goal finish time came and went and I was still on the course. As you know, mental toughness is a big goal for me, and I continue to work on it. The biggest hurdle I’ve overcome is pushing through the pain. Not the pain of injury, but the pain of feeling badly enough that my brain is telling me to stop. I’ve done a good job of ignoring that voice my last 3 races and finished strong.

    I’m so glad you liked Tahira’s post…she’s an amazing person, and her posts never fail to inspire and provoke thought!


    1. Thank you, Wendy! This. This is what I love about blogging. Writing is HARD, though. I wish I had more mental toughness for it!!! 😀
      Perhaps THAT will be my goal post 70.3 ? Working on my writing mental toughness!


  5. GOOD LUCK, Judy! PR’s and finishing races are perfectly fine goals, and one’s to get most through the race. Not me though, it became so much more. When I started to ask myself the tough questions is only when I physically had my breakthroughs. I’ve had 2 DNF’s. One was in my control (a panic attack in the open water), the other was not (mechanical, a bike crash) Both, in their each way served me well in the end. Both incidents made me ask myself some really REALLY tough questions. When I am really hurting, this is what I pull out of my pocket,

    Great post! I look forward to more.


    1. Thanks, Tahira’s! I’ve been lucky not to have any DNFs or DNSs . . . so far. I have spent a lot of time thinking about why it’s so important to me to PR & to run a half in every state, thanks to your post. I haven’t really come up with any good answers. Or good enough for me, anyway. I’ve had a few very tough, very painful races & yes, they have taught me a lot.


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