Becoming a Smart Quitter

Thank you to everyone for your support on Friday’s post about my training and issues. Since then I’ve done a lot of thinking and praying about the right direction to take my training. Then Kirk asked me a great question:

What would you tell an athlete in your situation?

The problem was that I knew the answer immediately. I just didn’t like the answer.


Could I get to the starting line? Maybe. It would be tough, but it might be possible. Would I be able to PR? Doubtful. Would I enjoy the training or the race? Probably not.

With all this considered, I’ve decided the smart thing to do is to pull out of Ironman Cairns at this time. It’s still hard for me to even write that…although it’s a bit of a relief at the same time. Probably another sign that this is the right decision.

I still believe 100% in BIG scary goals, but I also think you need to know when it’s time to step back. For me, that time is now.

So what’s next?

My current plan is to train for the Ironman 70.3 Cairns, which occurs at the same time & place as the Ironman. Unfortunately, as they won’t make decisions about transfers until the middle of April (both races are sold out).


That means there is a chance that after training for the next 6 weeks, I won’t actually be able to do the race. I’m already making an assumption that I’ll be healthy enough to train for the half ironman anyway. I’m not going to worry about that right now – we’ll see what happens in April.

Kirk is working on re-planning my training (one the great things about having a coach!), but what I’ve seen looks much more manageable.


Questions for you:

  • Have you had to make a tough decision with training?

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  1. says

    My decision wasn’t nearly as big, but it still hit me. I decided in January that I wouldn’t train for a half this spring. My body just isn’t feeling it. I’m sad because the race would have been this Saturday, 3/9, but I’m happy I was strong enough to say No.
    Tiff recently posted…What’s Up Doc?My Profile

  2. says

    I am so proud of you. I know you have had to make a lot of tough decisions with running and training this year, and when something has become so much a part of your life (and career, in your case!) it can be scary to try and let it go–even if it isn’t completely. In the end, your health is the first priority. I’m not going through this with ‘training’ per se, but I do know the feeling when it comes to food, fitness, and what passions, traits, (dare I say) labels we use to define ourselves.

    That came out a lot more ‘deep’ than I intended. Let’s lighten the mood by saying now you can drink more beer? Maybe? :)
    Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen recently posted…Super Green Thai Curry w. Zucchini + Apples [#MMAZ]My Profile

    • says

      Thanks Sarah! And you’re right, we put so much pressure on ourselves and we need to be able to recognize what the smart thing is sometimes (I hate labels). And I don’t stop drinking beer for training. :)

  3. Stacey S. says

    I completely respect how hard your decision was! It’s amazing how many emotions go into our decision making process and how we, more often than not, hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations and higher standards than we do anyone else. It sounds like you are making the right call and remember that part of what makes big and scary goals achievable is making wise choices and alterations to our plans along the way :)

  4. says

    I have a hard time not following through when I set a goal, but sometimes it really is the best and only option. You are listening to your body, and making the best choice for you. I’m sure this means that you’ll be healthy and ready to go for the next one!
    Natalie @ Free Range Human recently posted…Sweaty SaturdayMy Profile

  5. says

    It sounds like this is the right choice no matter how hard it was to make. I should have made the choice to pull out of the half that I did on Sunday or at least drop to the 10K. Hindsight and all that right? You’ve been training so hard already, that the 70.3 sounds much more doable for you right now. Hugs!
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted…Tasty Tuesday – Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli, Chickpeas and TofuMy Profile

    • says

      I have done races I probably should have, but the longer ones have the fear factor of knowing I can’t fake my way through them. I probably shouldn’t have done that half marathon a few weeks ago either. 😉 It’s funny how much easier 70.3 training looks in comparison – it’s all relative!

  6. says

    Heather, like I said last night I am so, so sorry…. but incredibly proud of you for making the call. It’s tough to know when to say “when.” I’ll be crissing my fingers for you to get to do the half. Either way, you’ll have a kickin’ time in Australia. Do an extra wine tasting for ME!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Work It Out with SupplementsMy Profile

  7. says

    I somehow missed your post from Friday and just got caught up!
    I’m so sorry that you haven’t been feeling well- and can VERY MUCH relate to the doctor telling you “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.” Not knowing is very frustrating- but hopefully you will figure it out and get completely healthy and be fine.
    Whatever happens- yes, you know that you HAVE to listen to your body and not push it past its limitations. There will be other races. If this one doesn’t work out, it wasn’t meant to be. And there’s a reason for that (I FIRMLY believe in fate and things having a purpose).
    You’re very brave to make such a tough choice- and you have a GREAT supportive partner (which you know ;))! Love you, my friend!
    Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning recently posted…Taste of the WeekendMy Profile

    • says

      Yea, that still frustrates me, but I seem to be getting in my (shorter) workouts this week which is a good sign! And I know there’s a reason for this, God always has a plan, I just need to be okay with not knowing what it is. Thank you!!

    • says

      Heather: Bravo! Oftentimes the right thing to do is the hardest thing to do. I believe that our gut, our intuition, our heart, our soul, whatever you want to call it, always has the right answer, it’s just listening to it and following through.
      God has a reason for this, though you may not know what it is for a while. Just trust Him. And there will always be other races!
      Beth recently posted…A new challengeMy Profile

  8. says

    It sounds like you’re making the right decision Heather. It will be worth it to feel great about your next goal, and be able to train to your fullest. I know it’s tough to feel like you’re quitting, but I don’t see it like that–I feel like you are just being wise. I’m proud of you for going with your heart, girl! Keep your chin up!
    Ari @ Ari’s Menu recently posted…Drink & Dish: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie {with video!}My Profile


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