Tell us about the moment CF became real for you.
January 2014. It was the the first race of San Diego Triple Crown. Run 3 races that year and you get a medal after the third. I had became very sick and needed IV Antibiotics (picc line). My lungs were very congested and I was coughing up phlegm like there was no tomorrow. Definitely had not h them feel like that in a really long time, fortunately. So the day before the race I still went to the expo and picked up my bib. That night, I laid everything out as if I still was going to attempt it. I even set an alarm to be up in time for the race. That morning, after coughing all night and my lungs still very congested, I knew that I couldn’t possibly risk it for me, nor did I need/want the medical team picking me up off the course. I was not able to race. Situations like this one are just reminders that this disease can humble you at any given moment.
What did your first step toward living a healthier lifestyle with CF look like?
I’ve always been active growing up. Youth baseball growing up as a kid and then wrestling in high school. My interest in running didn’t pick up until late 2012. I was unemployed at the time and looking for something to occupy my time. I registered for a race set for March of 2013 and started training for it. In 2015, I ran a half marathon a month. Usually I’m good for about 5 or so races a year.
What about living with CF do you wish more people knew?
As much as there are people like me and many others that are fortunate enough to get to live a “normal“ life, there are still many more that unfortunately do not. Hopefully with the many recent advancements in treatments, this will quickly change. But we definitely cannot rest until those days come.
When was a time you encountered a challenge and then exceeded your goal?
The year of 2015. Halfway through doing a half marathon every month. It was challenging to get a good run schedule in, but I still knew I had to run in all of the races that I had registered for.
Do you have any goals for the future?
My goal in life is just to be as positive as I can be and live my life to the fullest as cliche as that sounds. I want to one day hopefully be able to run a full marathon. But personally, I hope and feel that I can be a positive influence on others with or without CF. If I can help a person push through something and not give up then my work here is done.
Much love to all reading this. - Justin S.