I did not come to be competitive in running through a high school or college pedigree. In fact, I did not start doing anything remotely physical until I was 25. So how did I get to where I'm at now? A lot of hard work and one seemingly insignificant conversation.
2 years ago I started running with a friend from work. He is much faster than I am and is more into the ultra-scene than I am. One day we were having a discussion as he was putting the screws to me during one of his easy workouts (I was out for a tempo). I remarked to him that I could never be as fast as him as I was not gifted with the runner's physique like he was. Being the good running partner that he is, he called me out on it. He said that he works his ass off to be fitter and faster, and that nature had nothing to do with it. Those words sank in somewhere deep in to my soul and I still carry them with me.
From that point I became much more dedicated to running. I am more serious about my training and racing and the hard work is paying off. Each year I am improving, getting stronger and faster, and I am achieving the goals that my running buddy inspired me to achieve with that one conversation. There is no secret to success in any endeavor, no predisposition to greatness, there is only hard work. I hope these words will inspire another beginning runner to set lofty goals and pursue them, just as it did me! Train smart, take advice from other runners, listen to your body, but above all work hard and you will achieve them!