I'm surprisingly glad that I waited to submit my reflection until after the race, as the race took on a much deeper meaning to me after actually participating in it. At first, I entered the race for a couple reasons, to help fight CF, to gain a new experience, and for Jimmy. While I am not what I would call a runner, I have a passion for health and fitness.

I figured if I want to push others to their full abilities it's important for me to prove to myself I too could do that. Hell, if Jimmy could run a half marathon, I could run a 5k! So, I signed up. During the prayer service the night before the race I realized, this journey for me meant so much more than I could have imagined from the beginning. The sense of community I felt during the weekend and the race was truly inspiring; so many wonderful people coming together for a common purpose, to help find a cure for CF.

Although the week leading up to this race was a bit of a struggle for me due to some personal things, the weekend helped to strengthen me in so many ways. The race proved to me that the power of optimism can help to overcome struggles that sometimes seem completely defeating. As I was running by the side of the water I realized that life is so beautiful and it can be anything you want it to be. Life is too short to glaze over the small things like the sun glimmering on the water or the strangers alongside cheering each other on.

I finished the race without walking, which was my goal for my first race ever, and even better I helped to regain a sense of who I am and the strength I felt I was slowly loosing within. Today, I checked my finish in the race, and I think it was God's little pat on my back, as I might not have finished in the top ten, or even top 100, but I finished in place of the exact day and month of my birth. (What are the odds!) I think this was God's way of reminding me to remember the idea of the "living person", being truly alive each and every moment.

A big thank you to everyone who made this such an amazing and memorable weekend! I hope to keep in touch with many of you. Stay beautiful, continue to be unapologetically YOU, and remember, as Jimmy told us, "All of us die, but not all of us truly live."

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