Hi, #ShokzSquad! My name is Justin Daniels, and I’m one of the newest ShokzStar members. Today, I’ll be taking over the AfterShokz blog to tell you about myself and my journey.
With November being National Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Awareness Month, I’m thrilled to be here sharing my journey–it all started as a way to honor my dad and the millions of people worldwide living with COPD. I have made it my mission to do what other people can’t, and my motto is “NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE” because I will be there to fight with everyone that needs someone.
My running journey started in 2013 when my dad was diagnosed with COPD. I felt that I needed to do something to make people more aware of this disease and how it affects everyone–including families of the people with this disease. In 2013 I decided the best thing I could do is run, so I skipped the 5k, 10k, and a half marathon and went straight after the full marathon. It was by far the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life, and I told myself I would never run another one. When 2014 came around, I felt I had not done enough to honor my dad, so I signed up for a local 5k series where my mom and I set up a table to hand out information about COPD and started collecting money to help with bigger races. I also signed up to run two marathons and felt pretty good running both of them. At the end of the year, I made it my mission to honor my dad by running a marathon in all 50 states. Over the next three years, I completed 48 marathons in 48 states. I was unable to complete the final two due to injury and funding.
Running has been something that has helped me achieve a fitness level that I never imagined possible, as well as continue to meet people around the country that are affected by COPD.
This year has been amazing, and I ran a PR in both the half and full marathon. My half marathon time is down to 1:33:00 with hopes of going under 1:30 soon. I will also be running the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon this weekend, with the goal of running under 3:05:00 and qualifying for the Boston Marathon. On December 8, 2018, I will be running my first 50-mile ultramarathon in Daytona Beach Florida. I have no expectations for that race but to finish, have a good time, and spread awareness.
In May 2019 I will be running from California to the COPD Foundation in Washington DC in 60 days or less. Once I finish that run, I’d like to start running internationally and help people from other countries understand COPD.
Currently, I have a Facebook page with over 16,000 people from around the world that I use as a support group. It's a place where they can get useful information, chat with each other, speak to me about my running and just be themselves.
If you’re interested, you can read more about my journey here.