Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Race "Badge of Honor" (1 Day 'til RNR Marathon)

Around this time tomorrow, we'll see thousands of happy smiles and *bling* around runners' necks as they cross the finish line of the San Diego Rock 'N' Roll marathon. One of my favorite things about running a race is seeing all the reasons people have for running. 360 days of the year, an individual may never talk about what drives them, but on those 5 other days in a year when they run a race, they wear it like a badge of honor.

This weekend's race will be no different. Monica runs for her friend, Diane, that passed away recently from cancer. Myra has small angel wings in memory of her brother, and a zipper on the front of her shirt to show that even with open heart surgery she finished a marathon. Deborah sewed a U.S. Marine Veteran patch on her TNT jersey.

There will be countless of other names, pictures, quotes and badges of honor out there this weekend. Although I won't be running the full marathon due to injury, I'll still wear my TNT jersey which will carry special ribbons in memory or in honor of all our family/friends that have battled cancer. At the suggestion of Angie S. who is currently battling cancer again for the 3rd time -- I've added the word "cancer" to the bottom of my running shoes. As I walk all over the marathon course and run the last 1 miles into the Marine Corp Deport (MCRD) with my twin, we will both be stomping out cancer and kicking it to the curb. CURES ROCK!

I'll be standing in my purple TNT colors next to a group of "Cures Rock!" cheerleaders around the 13.5/14 mile markers (look on your left and you'll see a group of folks in bright orange t-shirts).

Whatever your reasons for running...whatever drives you to run 26.2 miles (or 13.1)...take a moment to *breathe* before crossing the starting line and live in every beautiful moment of the race (no matter how grueling or what endorphin high you're on). Good luck, runners!

On Race weekend, catch me on Twitter (username: curesrock)!
Pic #1: Deborah sewing her Marine Veteran patch onto her race day jersey.
Pic #2: Myra's shirt showing the zipper.
Pic #3: Back of Myra's race day shirt.
Pic #4: Back of Monica's shirt.
Pic #5: Julie's "stomp on cancer" race day running shoes.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Heading Into the Final Victory Lap

We're 2 days away from the San Diego Rock 'N' Roll Marathon! The excitement in the city is thick, and I wish you all the best of luck!

Often in this blog, I write about "not being attached to the outcome." I think it's something that all runners eventually learn. No matter how hard we train, one just never knows how race day will go (e.g. illness, injury, weather). Perhaps that's what keeps us all so addicted to this amazing, endurance sport?!?!

This is one of those times when I must practice what I preach. My right tibia injury is side-lining me from this Sunday's marathon. After 4 months of endurance training and fundraising, it would be all-too-easy to be disappointed. However, when I hear the excitement in my TNT mentees voices as they prep their race gear for their first marathon, and I scroll through the amazing fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society -- I know it was all worth it. I may not be running on Sunday, but it's a "victory lap" of sorts for all those runners, and you can count on me to be "chasing the race," cheering for all runners (whether TNT or not), as they pass me. The point of this season wasn't the running, but the journey. It was learning about blood cancer, working together as a TEAM, overcoming challenges/injuries/sickness and cheering on our Honored Teammates that are currently patients/survivors fighting blood cancer.

Our TNT Coach, Bill Martin, wrote this as part of his email to us today, and I thought it couldn't have been said better:

Sunday is the celebration of 4 months of training & pushing yourselves to extremes that most of you never thought you would ever do. Sunday is the celebration of life that each and every one of you has given a stranger or even a family member because of the funds you have raised and the research you have funded. Sunday is the celebration of your new friendships with your fellow runners, Mentor, Captains and Coaches.

Good luck to everyone on Sunday. Remember: When your feet get tired, run with your heart. Cures Rock!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

3 Days Until Race Day...

3 days until the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon! After 5 months of training, our Team in Training North County Run Team is ready to run. We hit our goal of raising $250,000 this season (and we're now targeting $300,000)!

The "Cures Rock! Star" program has been a wildly awesome success. To reach "Cures Rock! Star" status for either of the Rock N Roll marathons (San Diego or Seattle), these amazing individuals on our TEAM raised at least $1,000 over their minimum commitment. They'll be designated on race day by special jerseys (see pic).

"You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give." -Winston Churchill

Many thanks to Art of the Racn4aCure Blog for his help, as I planned out the San Diego inaugural program! In addition, many thanks to the San Diego/Hawaii Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) for implementing what started as a small idea in my head --- "even if we had just one person do it, it would be worth it" --- and then helped me grow it into a beautiful reality! Thank you to all those that helped and to the wonderful heroes that raised so much money for the LLS charity. I look forward to seeing you all out there on race day shining your smiles on that race course.

I saw this quote posted by a fellow LIVESTRONG member who ran the Boston Marathon with me, and it seemed fitting as we head into marathon race weekend:

"Your biggest challenge isn't someone else. It's the ache in your lungs and the burning in your legs and the voice inside you that yells 'can't.' But you don't listen. You push harder. And then you hear the voice whisper 'can.' And you discover that the person you thought you were is no match for the one you really are." - Unknown

Pictures (click to zoom):
Pic #1: Front of the women's singlet (palm tree identifies "San Diego/Hawaii Chapter" of LLS)
Pic #2: Back of the women's singlet for those that reached "Cures Rock! Star" level. Print reads, "Saving Lives One Mile At A Time."

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Ultimate Sacrifice

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." John 15:13 (NKJ)

We asked our Team in Training marathon running team to acknowledge a 10 minute period of silence at a specific time during our run to remember and honor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We also recognized those on our team that have served in the military past and present.

It can be so easy to get caught up in the spirit of a holiday, but lest we forget, I wanted to post a simple message to thank everyone who has served (past and present) to keep our grand country free. Thank you.
“Valor grows by daring, fear by holding back.” -Publilius Syrus (Roman author, 1st century B.C.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!


We have a lot to be proud of in Fountain Valley, and two of those things are the "Tyson Twins," Julie Tyson Westcott and Angie Tyson Vander Burgh, who will be running in the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon on May 31st, 2009, to help raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). While Julie was training for her first marathon, she heard the words no one wants to hear: "You've got cancer." A friend ran the marathon instead--in her honor--but made a bet with Julie that the next year she would run the marathon with him. After fighting off leukemia, Julie trained, ran the Rock 'n' Roll marathon in 2008, and won the bet! (To see her story, view her 4min YouTube video at: )

Unfortunately, her cancer returned for a third time last year, but it didn't slow her down. During treatments, she continued to train for three races--a triple header--the Boston Marathon in April which she completed on Team LIVESTRONG for the Lance Armstrong Foundation (with her finish line picture in the Boston Globe newspaper!), the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon on May 31st, and the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon on June 27th. Last year at the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll marathon, I cheered on my twin from the sidelines. This year, I'm running with her to also help raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Our shirts read, "Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!" with the idea that working together as a TEAM to fight cancer is much better than working alone. Both of us are advocates for cancer prevention, early detection and research.
There is too much negative news out there these days, so it was very exciting to see that the Orange County Register reported our "Wonder Twins" story about our teamwork to fight for a cure! There are so many incredible stories for why people are running for LLS, and I'm thankful that the O.C. Register let us tell a little of our own personal story. The story was posted this weekend and will also run in the print newspaper this week. To read the article online, go to:
If you'd like to donate to our Cures Rock! Campaign to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and show your support as we run the San Diego Rock N Roll race next weekend, go to:
To learn about how you can also help save lives one mile at a time, go to the Team in Training web site at: OR
CURES ROCK! (Cancer does not.) Join with us, and help kick cancer to the curb!
Pic #1: Twins, Angie and Julie, showing off a "Cures Rock Star!" award from Team in Training for raising at least $1000 over their minimum fundraising requirement. Julie worked with LLS San Diego Chapter to create the program, which has raised thousands of dollars in additional fundraising. Julie received the LLS Volunteer Recognition Award for her efforts.
Pic #2: Julie and Angie at the top of the infamous "Heartbreak Hill" near Boston College at the 2009 Boston Marathon. Angie cheered from the sidelines, but donned her running shoes to run her twin up the hill around the 21 mile marker.
Pic #3: Julie and Angie at the Boston Marathon finish line.
Pic #4: Angie and Julie painted the back of their Team in Training shirts to reflect their "Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!" theme and belief that teamwork is key to finding a cure to cancer.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Beyond the Epic Run (Part 1)

The Cures Rock! Campaign has brought incredible adventures my way, and the weekend of the Boston Marathon 2009 was one of them. I had the distinct privilege of meeting and interviewing Serge Roetheli, and his wife, Nicole.

You may have seen him in the “European Heroes” section of the October 10, 2005 Time Magazine article reminding all of us how much a single person can accomplish. His story is inspiring, and I’ll be featuring a few blogs to share his journey with you, including the video interview at the 113th Boston Marathon Race Expo.

In 2000, Serge and Nicole took the ultimate risk. They gave up all of their possessions and set out on the “Epic Run,” which would take them across 25,400 miles, through 37 countries on 6 continents, over a 5 year period. Serge ran the distance, and Nicole drove the motorcycle next to him as his support system. For me, endurance running is 5 hours, not 5 years! Serge's background includes being an Olympic Boxer and mountain guide from Valais, Switzerland. His running resume includes such feats as: running the Grand Canyon in a day, America’s Challenge (15,000 mile run along the Pan-American Highway from Argentina to Alaska) and traversing all 12 passes of the Swiss Alps.

BEYOND (the running):
Serge and I connected where it matters most --- around deep personal and spiritual beliefs near to my heart --- one of these being running for a Cause to help others. I started the Cures Rock! Campaign to help raise funds for cancer charities and foundations, and it has branched into some of the most extraordinary adventures beyond my imagination. Serge runs to help children’s charities and orphanages around the world.

Spiritually and mentally, Serge and Nicole were challenged, but they never quit. They kept their sense of humor and say their discoveries around every corner made their journey meaningful in a way they hadn’t imagined, too.


We all have a story, but the real questions should be: What is it going to be? How much are you willing to risk to do something extraordinary in your lifetime without being attached to the outcome?

Their story, is now a reality documentary, “Beyond the Epic Run,” which is screening across various U.S. cities in Spring 2009. The movie is a tale of great adventure, incredible determination, unconditional love and intense survival that pushed them beyond their physical and spiritual limits. To learn more and find screenings in your area, go to:

This is not another "running movie." The movie is called “Beyond the Epic Run” because that is the most important thing to Serge: WHAT. IS. BEYOND.

My movie isn’t about running. It’s about the Spirit of the run. It’s about for who and why you are running that takes you “beyond the epic run.”

(Part 2: Interview Questions with Serge will be posted later this week.)

Pic #1: Logo from movie web site
Pic #2: Julie duking it out with a previous Olympic boxer, Serge
Pic #3: Serge & Julie meeting for the interview at the Boston Marathon '09 Race Expo

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cocktails for a Cause

The "Cocktails for a Cause" Event (Part Deux) benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) was a huge success last night! It was held at the Luxus 101 Wine Bar & Bistro in Encinitas, CA. A great group of Team in Training teammates, Movin' Shoes' Monday night runners & locals attended this boisterous event. It was fun to see folks in running gear, street clothes, beach clothes and work outfits. Only in California! It started around 6pm and extended into the later hours of the evening.

There's nothing quite like going for a run and then joining up with friends to have a pint of your favorite beer or glass of wine, sitting down on a barstool and catching up on stories. At one point, I looked around the room and was genuinely touched by the great crowd, the very generous donations to LLS, the roars of laughter and smiles that filled the event. My heartfelt thanks are extended to Cathy (guest-bartender extraordinaire) & Erik (raffler extraordinaire) for all of their hard work last night!

So often, it is easy to get intimidated by the thought of fundraising for a not-for-profit 501(3)c charity, like LLS, especially in tough economic times. However, it is during these times that these charities really need the help of grassroots efforts! Our North County San Diego TNT Run Team has raised over $230,000 (on track to hit our goal of $250,000!), and combined with the other SD Run Teams, we've raised over $500,000 this season for LLS! Events like "Cocktails for a Cause" are just another way that we can take simple "hang out" time with friends and turn it into something that will help others and support the LLS Mission.

Thank you to all that helped organize, provided gifts-in-kind, attended and drank-up, or generously donated at this event!
If you'd like to come out to cheer for the North County SD Team in Training runners at the upcoming San Diego Rock 'N' Roll Marathon, please email me. We'll have a "Cures Rock!" Cheer Team out there during the marathon made up of family, friends and friends of the LLS charity -- and trust me -- the bright orange t-shirts will be hard to miss as the runners pass by 'em (orange is the leukemia cancer awareness color).
If you'd like to donate to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through my Cures Rock! Campaign to Kick Cancer to the Curb, click here!

Good luck to all runners at this upcoming marathon on Sunday, May 31st! For more information on the event and spectating, see Elite Racing's San Diego Rock 'N' Roll Marathon web site!
Pic #1: "Cocktails for Cause" event at Luxus 101
Pic #2: Team in Training: Marathon Teammates
Pic #3: A packed house and a great fundraiser
Pic #4: Julie & Cathy (the "guest bartender" -- awesome job!)
Pic #5: Erik (in purple) the "raffler" for the evening & friends
Pic #6: Fellow runners having a great time at the event

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day to Cures Rock! Stars

There's two Cures Rock! Stars in particular that stand out to me, and since it's Mother's Day today, I'd like to highlight some special moms: my sisters! My twin joined TEAM to run her 1st marathon with me this May 31 at the San Diego Rock 'N' Roll Marathon! Not only is she super-mom, but she finds time to run for the TNT charity with me! Another special LLS Supporter is my big sis. She's not running on team, but she spent countless hours making those beatiful "Bracelets for Cures," which raised $1,000 for the LLS, and they now serve as awareness bracelets for so many friends and teammates. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Very often, we talk about the amazing honored teammates of Team In Training that we run for on TEAM. These are the individuals that are fighting cancer, survivors or our own personal connections to cancer. They keep us going on our long runs because we know they've faced battles much harder than our long runs.

Today, I'd like to call out all the incredible members of the North County San Diego Run Team for "Team in Training" that run on behalf of the honored teammates. They raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to help the LLS Mission to fight blood cancer and help patients.

At the beginning of season, I worked with TNT to start a "Cures Rock! Star" fundraising status level to encourage participants to raise $1,000 above their minimum fundraising. This program has raised an additional ~$35,000 more than expected so far this season, and our NC San Diego TEAM now has 22 Cures Rock! Stars!!! This program has been implemented throughout ALL the teams of the San Diego Chapter (Walk, Run & Triathlon), so you can do the math from there! I am so proud of all these participants.

On Saturday, our TNT Team ran 20-21 miles as a final practice run before race day -- and they did amazing. All I saw out there were a hundred smiles of teammates that had trained for months for their race, while raising over a HALF MILLION DOLLARS to fight blood cancer! The stories of "why" they run are beautiful, sad and inspiring, and I am thankful to have met such giving people.

A big THANK YOU to the team and good luck in your final weeks of training! For those interested in donating to the Cures Rock! team, please click here.
Pic #1: Hanging out with my sisters
Pic #2: My twin, Gabbi, Erin & Donna: Mile 10 of 20!
Pic #3: My twin & Gabbi: Mile 5 of 20!
Pic #4: My twin, Gabbi, Erin & Donna: Mile 20 of 20!

Lance Armstrong's "Tour de France" Dedication to Julie

A great reminder that I had armies of support beside me in my fight. (Thanks, Lance!) Even with the recent media, this video isn't about the bike...but the fight against cancer. LIVESTRONG!

Stage 2 Dedication: Julie Westcott -- powered by

Guinness World Record Broken to Fight Cancer

We *Heart* Our Fans

Cures Rock! on Facebook

Donate & fight to kick cancer to the curb!

500 Miles. 17 days. 2 States. 1 Mission to Cure Cancer.

500 Miles. 17 days. 2 States. 1 Mission to Cure Cancer.
January 1 - 17, 2010
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