Choosing to stop is different from quitting


I first heard, “choosing to stop is different from quitting” in a book named ‘Called Again’ by Jennifer Pharr Davis. The book tells Jennifers story of going back to the Appalachian trail and beating not just her own fastest known time (FKT) but also setting the overall FKT for both men and women. Warren Doyle is spoken of often in Jennifers book as he is a mentor of hers. Jeniffer tells of how after 16 times hiking the AT, Warren was on yet another hike but just decided to stop, he wasn’t quitting he describes the difference as stopping being a calculated choice where as quitting is just a moment of weakness. As if like a student of Buddhism suddenly he felt enlightened and didn’t need to continue his journey forward on the trail.

What does all this have to do with me, well the fellow in the photo is Clint Hall my cousin on my fathers side, I’m wearing the black Inov-8 hat. We spent a lot of time together as children but then as we got older drifted apart. Running is what brought us back together as adults and when I heard Clint would be running the Thames Meander I decided it would be pretty good idea to also enter and run.

This year I will go for my own FKT on the AT and have been training by running for a long time very slowly and including lots and lots of elevation/hills during these sessions. So entering the marathon with my only purpose to spend time with Clint. As the race director “David Ross” also my good friend counted down and fired the gun I let my competitive spirit take control. After leaving Clint behind to run with the first 5 runners I reached the halfway point in 1 hour 25 minutes. My heart rate was in the 180’s (way too high). I have not been doing any fast running lately only concentrating on my long slow runs so I was totally cooked by halfway.

I wanted to quit but could not soI carried on to mile 16. Then I stopped instead. I realised I had lost my purpose for entering this marathon. I left Clint behind in pursuit of the front runners, in the process redlining and blowing up. I stopped at mile 16 and even though I decided to stop and not quit I still felt envy as I saw the happy faces of the other runners crossing the finish line.

But I was happy for my cousin Clint, he finished strong and beat me in the process. If you would like to find out more about my FKT this summer check out my instagram as I like to take photos of my training and nutrition leading up to the big dance. Moral of my blog and lessons learned by me, define your purpose and stick with it.

Thanks for reading.