Q = Quitting

How many attempts do you make at something you’re failing at before you accept that it’s not going to happen for you?  Two? Five? Ten? Never?


I’m not a quitter.

If you’ve been reading my posts throughout this challenge, this statement would not come as a huge surprise.

I believed that hard work applied consistently towards a goal would always produce a successful result.  IT. ALWAYS. WORKED.

… that is, until I attempted to become an Ironman.

I had a highly respected triathlon coach.  I followed my training program like a religious zealot. Even on the days I wanted to fluff the workout, I dug deep and put in the effort.

… but it was never enough.  Five attempts in five years.  Five failures to reach the finish line in the 17 hour cutoff time.  I simply didn’t have the “right stuff”.


Image from despair.com

After attempt #5 at Ironman Florida in 2010, I cried a bucket of tears.  I knew the sad truth … I hated the training, and in spite of working as hard as I could, I was never going to be good enough.

I sat down with my amazingly supportive coach and instructed her to give me a huge smack across the side of my head if I ever suggested I wanted to attempt another Ironman.

I’ve never regretted that decision, but I sometimes feel like I have unfinished business. Failure leaves an unpleasant after-taste that never really goes away.


Image from despair.com

I chose to use these demotivational posters from despair.com in a tongue-in-cheek poke at myself … and definitely not at anyone else.

April A to Z Challenge 2015.

Thank you for visiting today.  Please enjoy a Quince Jam Thumbprint Cookie.

Quince jam thumbprint cookies

Image from inerikaskitchen.com


About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge - 2015, Active Lifestyle, Attitude, Memories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

75 Responses to Q = Quitting

  1. jannatwrites says:

    The fact you did the Ironman five times proves that you’re crazy… I mean, that you are NOT a quitter! That is seriously determined and I admire that.


  2. Alex Hurst says:

    I can understand this, absolutely. That’s why I quit trying to learn Japanese, even though I live in Japan! I had a serious lack of aptitude for the language. My classmates pick it up like a cloth soaks water, but I would be there like a brick, trying to do the same thing, and just getting frustrated. My time is better spent elsewhere! 😛 But yeah, it does feel like unfinished business… I still have all of my textbooks and notes, haha.


  3. Joanne I love this post! I love your honesty. Five times! You are a star. For some big events honestly I think there should be a starter’s medal. Just doing the training and lining up at the start makes you the biggest star in my book xxx hugs xxx AND it takes more guts and determination to hang up the dream and let it go than to keep on trying.


    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Annie. I admit that I look back on those 5 years with a little bit of wonder at the strength, determination, and energy I had.

      Ironman Australia was the only IM event we’ve been to that had an official Competitor t-shirt given to you at registration. We were really impressed with that. I wonder if they still do it?


  4. M-R says:

    I refuse to ‘like’ this post.
    You are my mate, and a highly intelligent, amusing, witty and interesting woman.
    Why you should WANT to be an ironman is beyond me, but that’s not relevant. What IS relevant is that I am expecting you to take a long, hard look at yourself at admit – WITHOUT FARTING ABOUT ! – all the above points.
    Then shut yer face an stop crying, OK ?
    Lots of big fat hugs to you, JS …


  5. Joanne, this post is fantastic! I can’t tell you how many failures I’ve had – too many to count. But I’ve tried to learn from them and the successes carry me forward. Thanks for this brave, honest post – it made my day. 🙂 ~Terri


  6. Liz Brownlee says:

    Pah. You didn’t fail – it is impossible to fail if you have tried – the only failures are those that don’t try to do what they feel like doing. And when you found you didn’t much enjoy it anyway, what’s the point of worrying – there are other challenges, which are much more fun, possibly more worthwhile, certainly fulfilling. I wish you all the luck in the world with your next challenge, whatever that may be. ~Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com


    • joannesisco says:

      I like your observation – the only failures are those that don’t try to do what they feel like doing.
      It puts an entirely different spin on moving on to other challenges. I appreciate the perspective!!


  7. Sue Slaght says:

    FIVE attempts! I might have ot use a curse word that I swore I would never do. 🙂 That isn’t quitting my friend. I believe that would be the definition of an anti-quitter. Sometimes we just have to see what will and will not work for us. Five times? I’m still shaking my head. Wow!


    • joannesisco says:

      I know :/ …. a special kind of crazy, right?

      Trust me, there’s been a lot of creative swearing involved along the way.

      I had an AHA moment during one of the earlier comments … when you stop doing something that isn’t working for you, it isn’t quitting … it’s allowing something more suitable to replace it.
      That makes me feel much better 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sue Slaght says:

        A wonderful phrase and way of framing it. People asked if I was going to do another marathon and without hesitation it was a no to that. Glad I did it but that is not a good fit for my health that’s for sure. cycling or short distance seems like a much more suitable opportunity. 🙂


  8. What a great post on quitting! Kudos to you for trying 5 times at the ironman. O-o I probably would’ve died trying to do that. I laughed at the demotivational posters because sometimes the greatest cure when we feel defeated is to laugh.

    I have always wanted to run. I’ve tried numerous times but my lower back wouldn’t allow it. I injured my sciatica when I was 16 and I still struggle with the pain. Five years ago, I decided that it was time to hang up my runner cleats and turn them in for walking shoes. I felt like a quitter, a failure and it wasn’t until I started walking every day that my perspective changed. My body was not meant to run; I’m a walker.

    Today, I am proud to be a walker and look forward to my daily walk, no matter the weather!

    Hope you’re staying dry in all this rain, Joanne! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. hollihd says:

    I cant even imagine attempting an ironman at all. Kudos to you for trying more than once and being serious enough to have a trainer. That is by all means no where close to being a quitter. Quitting is something that sometimes have to happen. Its not always bad. Just stopping by from the A to z challenge.


  10. You know, it’s true. We have to realize that some things just aren’t for us and focus our attention elsewhere sometimes. At the same time, I’m sure whatever effort you put into training paid off in other ways.


  11. I am in awe of your determination and resolve, Joanne, you are one gutsy girl! I’ll be admiring you from my porch with mint julep in hand. Bravo!! (Picture the AbFab girls, my idols, except I did manage to finally quit smoking! See, some quitting is good. COL!)


  12. bulldog says:

    Five attempts is not the sign of a quitter, but the sign of one that tries…now I who have never even considered the effort…, I’m the quitter


  13. Lynn says:

    I know some might perceive the 5 attempts as failure but I see them as remarkable. Your persistence in training & the shear determination & grit it took to get there is nothing but success in my eyes Joanne!


  14. Achievement = Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered you will never grow. That’s a poster in my workroom, and sometimes, when I feel like throwing in the towel or screaming loud, I look at it and keep going. I don’t always succeed, but trying and pushing toward something, even if we don’t reach it, is success in my books.


  15. We can’t be good at everything but it seems you really push yourself hard – you will try doing things to see what is possible and that’s a neat quality. You held in there longer than most people would have – it’s amazing. Words are also important and I think ‘quitter’ is very harsh in your case. I mostly stop doing something (which I have control over) if it’s not fun or I’m not enjoying the challenge and I’ve never considered myself a ‘quitter’. You are really getting some good exchanges going with your A-Z posts!


    • joannesisco says:

      I agree with you about the conversations that have occurred during this challenge. I’ve been amazed at the insights, humour, empathy, support … how wonderful that we can have these conversations ❤

      In this case, the bottom line really was that I wasn't enjoying it. I was beating myself up and pushing myself over and over again to do something that I didn't like. How crazy is that?!! That's when I could finally let it go without regrets.


  16. OMG. I believe you gave it your all, not once but five times. How many people would be as focused as you, Joanne? I give you 10 gold stars for entering the Ironman the first time. I get weak in the knees just thinking of the training. This wuss couldn’t even complete t.h.a.t. Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well-done. WELL done! ❤ ❤


  17. NancyTex says:

    You competed in 5 Ironman competitions. Whether you finished or not – this is something you should take great pride in. (But I fully agree with you – if you know that you a) hate the training required to participate, and b) are unlikely to ever succeed/finish… well, why bother? 🙂

    In your case, quitters absolutely win. 🙂


  18. lovetotrav says:

    I think it speaks volumes to having tried 5 times to reach a goal. This shows more perseverance and endurance than the athlete that reaches the goal on the first time. It is anything but a failure in my eyes. I equate this with the desire and dedication to climb Mt. Everest. Some athletes are more physiologically able to do so but those who try and don’t make it are not failures. In fact, it is the trying and working hard to succeed that makes the success. Just my humble and less than athletic opinion!


    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you for your kind observations.

      There were many truths I learned through this experience – we are capable of so much more than we think and the process will change you – but it was also reinforced that we are a society that celebrates results, not effort. Because of that we tend to sweep our failures out of sight. Over time, I’ve learned to wear mine like a badge of courage 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Gosh, for a minute there I thought I wasn’t going to get the last nine letters….

    Loved the posters. Absolute crack up. Especially the Incompetence one. I might print that one. 😀

    It’s not quitting, anyway. It’s formulating a scientific conclusion based on all relative data. (Your eyes just glazed over, didn’t they?)

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Mrs. P says:

    I used to struggle with the idea of quitting because it equated to failure…and I never wanted to be a failure…ever. Then one day I discovered that being a failure isn’t so horrible and sometimes, no matter how hard you want something to be one way…it isn’t and you fail.

    Once I had come to terms with failure being something that is part of life and being a failure is okay once in a while.

    The first time I conscientiously walked away from something that was very important to me, knowing that walking away was “MY” failure, I allowed myself the opportunity to fail and not let it eat me up, to accept it….and move on.

    Literally, as I was moving on and walking away, I felt the greatest sense of relief…an unburdening. My attempts to succeed were so stressful that letting go was a release. Since that day, I have never been afraid to fail…but rarely do so.


  21. My husband works in the medical field and used a term one day that seems to apply here, Joanne……incidental finding. He was talking about when a patient comes in for a certain ailment but in the course of testing, etc. the medical team finds something totally unrelated to the original complaint which might even be bigger than the original complaint. While you may not have qualified in the Ironman competitions, it’s my great guess that with your outlook and positivity, you had many incidental findings about yourself and your abilities and indeed many incidental benefits just from doing the training and making the efforts to achieve this goal. Hence, I don’t view you stepping back from this one as a failure but instead as a moment of choosing to walk away with your incidental benefits instead of suffering through the miseries for a goal that maybe you really never needed to achieve! After all, Joanne, it’s all about a good life for yourself and being the best you can be. Perhaps you just decided in this case that you were quite good enough! I think most of us who have been reading these posts of yours see nothing but a winner on every level!


    • joannesisco says:

      Torrie, you are bang on the mark. I really like that term “incidental finding” and the benefits have been huge. You learn a lot about yourself when the going gets tough … not to mention the fact I’m undoubtedly healthier now at 59 than I was at 39.

      You also are one of the most positive and inspiring people I’ve encountered. You express it through words and your photos. This comment is a excellent example of that. You are extraordinarily generous with your observations and encouragement ❤ ❤


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