The summer of 2003 I attended my first cross-country camp. My mom drove me up to Dallas, Texas where I attended the Metroplex Striders Gold Camp. This camp was put on by one of the most renowned coaches of all time, Terry Jessup. In his camp we train about 3 times per day and attend several lectures where we had the privilege to learn all about the sport of distance running. Terry even invited guest speakers who talked about nutrition and college running. This camp was the first time I was exposed to the intensity of this sport. There is one bit of information which I took back from my time with Terry. Don’t get me wrong I learned most everything there is to know about running from Terry. However the most important information he preached came down to 4 simple words.


I will never forget the chills that raced through my body when Terry said these words. He told us all that in order to make it not only in this sport but in life that we have to have a fire burning in our bellies. We have to have the deep burning desire to be all that we can be.  There will be times when the tough gets going and we start to spiral out of control loosing ourselves and our desires. One bad workout after another … and it seems as if we have lost it all. I know how that feels I have been there countless times. However the fire inside of me never diminished. It flickered. It tried to go out. But my burning aspiration for running was so strong that the flame could never burn out completely.

The road ahead is long and treacherous.  There will come a time you will want to quit and give it all up. The moment you let it all go is the moment the fire goes out. Once the fire inside yourself goes out, it will become relatively impossible ignite.  However, you are the only one who can lite the fire inside yourself. It has to be your fire. No one else can control it.  ” Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.” — Stephen R. Covey


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