Her heart was telling her to play on but eventually Hockeyroos co-captain Jodie Kenny conceded she couldn't wait any longer for another shot at an Olympic medal.
The dual Olympian and mother had planned to bow out after Tokyo's 2020 Games, which have been delayed until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kenny agonised over the decision for six months before announcing her international retirement on Tuesday.
She ends her Hockeyroos career eighth on the all-time list for games played with 235 and third in goals scored with 111.
An Olympic medal had eluded her and was the driving force behind potentially playing on for the side currently ranked No.4 in the world.
"It would have been the pinnacle and has been my dream the whole time," the 33-year-old defender said.
"For that to be taken away in such random circumstances - it has been such a crazy, emotional year - I'm just trying to take all of the positives out of it."
She said the physical and emotional toll of an Olympics cycle would have proved too much.
"You don't know until you've been through one what it actually takes and you've got to be 100 per cent in it and I couldn't give that anymore," Kenny said
Kenny had moved away from Perth's centralised hockey program back to Brisbane after the birth of her child in 2017 and was one of Australia's best players at the World Cup only a year later.
"She walked straight back in and just had that fire in her eyes to want to be the best and to win and be competitive," coach Paul Gaudoin said.
Kenny said the prospect of more time with family and plans to have another child ultimately swayed her.
"My heart was still wanting to go on and play but my head just wasn't anymore," she said.
"I wanted to leave on a high and not keep dragging myself to training if I didn't have the motivation that's required and my energy being directed elsewhere."
"I have missed a lot of things from being away with the Hockeyroos but I no longer want to miss those times."
Australian Associated Press