Breaking into two parts will make this easier to understand.
The first part , I tried so hard, indicating that I have put great effort in to it (I have put my life's energy into accomplishing the task).
The second part being that the task, although difficult, was NOT accomplished, and that the eventual outcome of the process is not completed.
Thus and example would be , "I went to become a member of the football team. I tried so hard and got so far, but I never made quarterback".
A different way of expressing the same example(in English) would be:
"I gave a lot of effort in getting onto the football team. I really wanted to be a quarterback. Regretfully, even though I obtained a good position on the team, I was not able to achieve my goal of quaterback".
In general the statement of "I got so far...." will (subconsciously) convey the idea that some was left incomplete, even though there was accomplishment.
Another example would be " I went to college. I tried so hard and got so far as to get my bachelor's degree".
In this example, the speaker may or may not have had regret, but it is implied that the speaker wanted to get a better degree. Even if it is the case it imples that there was a limit that existed, but it would indicate that the limit did not lie within the speakers effort.