Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Race to Save Lives! (TNT Summer Season is here!)

This picture was taken at the finish line of my first marathon, the 2008 Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon. I started training for it 4 months after I received the last of my treatments for leukemia...all due to my friend and ultra runner...Mike Sheehy. He ran the 2007 one on my behalf while I was battling cancer as member of Team in Training (TNT) to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He (along with my friends Joe & Judy) handed me a letter that day which dared me to get better and run the race with him the following year. And I did.

I did not train for that race alone. I ran with Team in Training, a freakishly AWESOME endurance program of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. (You can read some of my original training posts at the beginning of this blog in 2008.) This is my 5th season training with them (just completed my 3rd marathon in AZ). Guess what?! Our next season is starting...the super-galactic-super-awesome SUMMER SEASON of TNT!!!! (training for the San Diego and Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Half/Full Marathons)

Our first running practice is THIS weekend, so come on out to find out more!! Comment on this post if you'd like more information (or email me). Your life will never be the same, and you'll become a hero (in running shoes instead of a cape) to patients and families fighting cancer.

Join me & let's race to save lives!!! (If you'd prefer to donate and spare yourself the torture of training for an endurance race, you can also donate to my Cures Rock! fundraising page by clicking here.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

We *Heart* the Media for Raising Cancer Awareness

First and foremost, we extend a huge THANK YOU to the media for your coverage during and after the Cures Rock! Tour --- especially in San Diego, Palm Springs and Phoenix, AZ. We are very appreciative of your efforts to help us raise cancer awareness and funds to help kick cancer to the curb.

Now that we're back to San Diego (and still charging to kick cancer to the curb), I thought I'd begin to share some of the links from the media. More to come!

1. Fox Morning Show in Phoenix, AZ: Click here for the video from the P.F. Changs Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon Expo. (May not work in Google Chrome, so use IE.)

2. Fox5 Morning News in San Diego, CA: Below is the embedded video from today's recap of our Cures Rock! Tour:

3. KSEQ News in Palm Springs, CA:

4. CW6 News in San Diego, CA: Kick-off on New Year's Day

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 17: 500 Miles!

Pictured: The Cures Rock! Team & fellow Team in Training runners, cross the 500 mile marker at Mile 2 of the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 16/17: The "Why"

Phoenix Convention Center
Today (Saturday): 2 miles / Total: 496 miles
Tomorrow (Sunday): 31 miles / Final: Total: 527 miles

Waking up on today was strange. My brother just greeted me with “Good morning, Phoenix” as I met him for breakfast. I must say, my mind still has not grasped the magnitude of what the Cures Rock! Team accomplished.

I remember sitting in the San Diego Leukemia and Lymphoma Society office with just a PowerPoint presentation titled the “Cures Rock! (Ultra) Run – San Diego to Phoenix”. During the presentation, I nervously explained to Jenna, Heather and Bill about the objectives, the route, risks, and miscellaneous items. They sat there politely nodded. In the end the asked, “Can you really do this?” Honestly, I had no clue. And sitting in Phoenix today, I am still scratching my head wondering how we pulled it off. I am not a person who typically believes in miracles, but today I am starting to believe.

On Sunday, the Cures Rock! Team will finish our mission of running to Phoenix and covering more than 500 miles in 17 days. Along the way we shared our love with numerous families impacted by blood cancers. We brought our energy and love to them and left their homes filled with their words of encouragement, inspiration and even more love. The doctors, nurses and scientists showed us that our dollars are vital to the fight against cancer. And that their conviction to finding a cure is as strong as ours was during the Cures Rock! Tour. Even on Monday, I have plans to make one last stop to visit some nurses in Phoenix and drop of some requested chocolates before I turn West towards home.

We never missed an opportunity to spread the word of awareness. From numerous TV interviews in San Diego, Palm Springs and Phoenix to the many newspaper interviews, we always shared what we were doing, but we quickly moved onto the message that we need to all join the fight against cancer. The 5 / 10 Rule became our rallying cry. (Every five minutes someone in the US is diagnosed with a blood cancer and every ten someone losses their fight.) We blogged and twitted and even posted silly videos on YouTube. We made every effort to spread the word every way we could. Even writing our message in chalk along the road.
The dollars came in from all parts of the world. We received large donations from Connecticut and even a few dollars from a service station attendant. We received checks from people that found us in the middle of Highway 62 and even tonight we received an e-mail asking how can people donate. We still hold out hope that a cure will be found with one of our “lucky” dollars.
Some miles were harder than others. Some were much faster. We ate over 100 peanut butter sandwiches, over five pounds of pretzels, countless electrolyte drinks, 15 Myoplex drinks, and a few Michelob Ultras (don’t tell the nutritionist or coaches please). We used up three pairs of shoes, one roll of KT Tape, countless Band-Aids and even a little duct tape. There were close calls and near misses, and days it felt like we were alone on the highway. It was hot and cold. There were coyotes and cows. We saw some broken down trucks and some high end cars. Then there was Patrick, Mike the Original, and Mike on the Bike (I wish you all safe travels fellow journeymen).

In the end, we tried with all of our might. I do not regret a moment on this trip. Tomorrow, as I start out on the Rock ‘N’ Roll Arizona 50K with Bill M., Suz and Jen R, I will have a big grin on my face. From a PowerPoint a few months ago to a Sunday in January, I think we made a difference in the world somewhere. I won’t attempt to “Thank” individuals, but just a simple “I love you” to everyone that helped make this happen. You know who you are!!!

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment can at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training Inspiration dinner. As the Cures Rock! Team assembled for one last time, we were reminded why we made the journey. It was not the words of a world class marathoner or even the head of Competitor group that touched us. But it was the words of Kimberly Joy Costa. She gave us all ten rules to live by and I want to share them with you:

· Deal with life one day at a time.
· Turn every life experience into a learning experience
· Always look for the positive
· Try to do at least one new thing everyday
· Be true to yourself
· Touch as many lives as you can
· Enjoy the little things
· Don’t sweat the small stuff
· Hold on to your friends
· Make everyday count

Kimberly was only 19 years old when she lost her fight in 2000, but her words (shared by her father tonight) made us all reflect and take measure on what we just accomplished. We all sat and smiled, with tears, and knew Kimberly would be proud of the Cures Rock! Tour. Then Suz, our ever ready leader and friend, looked at me, wiped away the tears on her cheeks and said, “When we finish tomorrow, remind me to tell you the plan I have for us to do something bigger and better to beat cancer.”

Thank you Kimberly for the words…you made our night and reminded the Cures Rock! Tour of the “why”!

The song of the night is I Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The lyrics say it all. But the Cures Rock! Team will never back down to cancer. We will continue pushing the limits to show people how serious we are in this fight and we won’t stop until cancer is beat. Please join in the fight against cancer in your community and in your own unique way.

That is enough for now. Tomorrow is the celebration lap around Phoenix for the Cures Rock! Tour. Please don’t worry about our pace or the place we take. We are starting in the back of the pack to walk with the walkers, jog with the joggers and then run with the runners. We want to say “Thank You” to all the Team In Training members from all the chapters around the US that have inspired us along the way.

As for Jackson…well he has a busy day tomorrow and I put him to bed hours ago. Don’t tell him, but he is going to run the last .2 miles with me. He ran the first mile with me and it is only fitting that he joins me in the last one. Keep an eye out for us!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15: Welcome to Phoenix!

West Buckeye (at the intersection of 51st) to the Phoenix Convention Center
Today: 32 miles / Total: 494 miles

Today was an amazing day! The Cures Rock! Team did so much today, and I will attempt to capture the feelings of the day. So please bear with me if I ramble.

We started the day very early. Up at 4:00 am, safety brief at 5:00 am and then running at 6:00 am. Greg, the Cures Rock! Team PR lead, started the day off with a strong and fun filled five miles. He lived in Arizona as a kid and really enjoyed having his first leg of the Cures Rock! Tour in his childhood town. He shared with me a bunch of historical facts and before we knew it the aid station was in front of us. After his leg, he had to rush off to the marathon expo to prepare for our interview with the Fox Morning Show.

Then Bill M. helped me through the next 12 miles of the run. After we finished his portion of the run, we had to quickly hurry over to the marathon expo for our interview. The Fox Morning Show interviewed both Julie and me. Julie did an outstanding job spreading the message of Cures Rock! and our goal to raise funds for blood cancer cure research.

My brother Steve guided me up East McDowell Road, where had a great view of Phoenix. We stopped at the summit for just a moment to enjoy the view and reflect on our journey. He then handed me off to Suz. She took me the last six miles to the convention center. Suz is really an amazing runner and passionate about Team In Training. She is also the only other person who participated in every day of the Cures Rock! Tour. She made sure the logistics of the run were conducted flawlessly. If you ever are planning to run across America, give her a call and she can tell you how your support needs to be executed for a successful trip.

When we headed to the entrance of the Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon Expo, Suz and I were greeted by a large crowd of supporters from all over. Colin and Heather had gathered up a large contingent of Team In Training runners to cheer us in the last few meters. There were so many friends there. Even the doctors from the Mayo Clinic we visited were there to greet us. It was truly amazing. I never expected something so wonderful….thanks Heather and Colin! (And yes, my brother Steve greeted me at the finish line with a beer.) It was an amazing journey and one that is not yet complete (we still have a 50K left on Sunday). Tomorrow, I have the opportunity to join TNT members in their marathon prep runs. And then we have the Pasta Party tomorrow night.

Thank you to everyone for all the kind messages and support over the past 15 days. We have some fun and rest tomorrow and then our last 50K on Sunday that will push us over 500 miles in total.

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment can about 2 ½ hours after my finish at the Expo. The Cures Rock! Team went to the Banner Health Cardon Children’s Medical Center (in Mesa, AZ) for an amazing experience. We were treated to a celebration better than any celebration I have ever attended. There were so many children and families cheering for us when we walked in! Each and every one of them were telling us how great the Cures Rock! Tour was for accomplishing our mission! Seeing all these children was overwhelming. Here I am a runner being welcomed as a hero, by true cancer fighters! Everyday they fight! Everyday they make every effort to beat cancer! They are my inspiration!

We handed out gift bags to all the children and dropped of boxes of toys to fill their toy closet. The staff said the toys we dropped off will last them through the year! We also took a tour of the children’s facility, it is amazing. The staff at Cardon’s has done so much to make the facility a place for comfort and treatment. It is warm and definitely a place full love and care. The trip was incredible! Oh, Julie had me donate a pair of my running shoes to them for their trophy case. I was so touched, but I think they will need to be cleaned a few million times before they can go on display.

Then we took a trip over to the adult oncology floor. We had the chance to say “Thank You” to all the staff. The nurses up there were so much fun. They loved our stories. But I told them the Cures Rock! Tour had a goal to put all oncology nurses out of a job. If we help find a cure for cancer, then they all need to find a new career. Sorry ladies, you are amazing, but we really hate cancer! In the meantime, keep doing what you are doing…the families truly appreciate everything you do for them.

The song of the night is Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. I know it has nothing to do with running is used at time like these. But I love the Boss and I am wicked tired. So I will request your forgiveness for the lack of creativity. After 15 days, I really think I was born to run…..for charity!

That is enough for tonight. Keep sending us your love and comments! Keep spreading the awareness of the Cures Rock! Tour and remind everyone you can still donate.

Tomorrow we have a crazy fun day. Early in the morning we run with all the TNT Teams and then we will be hanging around the Expo. And later tomorrow, we will be doing a ten miler. No watches, no pressure, just friends taking a run (and laughing about the last 15 days).

Good night, Jackson!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14: Back in the Groove

(three miles onto) West Baseline to West Buckeye (at the intersection of 51st)
Today: 33 miles / Total: 462 miles

Guest Blogger: Mike Sheehy

OK….everyone delete the Day 13 blog from your computers, your memory and from existence.

Why? Because the Cures Rock! Team was back in action and moving quick today. The cavalry from Abbott arrived last night to help keep the pace strong. Robert and Tom showed up begging for big miles and looking to help the Cures Rock! Team succeed.

Today’s 33 miles were broken up into five mile segments with one lucky eight mile leg. The cavalry runners, Robert and Tom, took on the first ten miles. Tom asked a million questions about what I have been eating and drinking and how I came up with this insane idea. He shared with me the positive impact of this event is having the office (but everyone still thinks I am insane). Robert shared with me his adventures as a Walk Leader for the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk. He and his family have completed 11, 3-Day Walks. Both of these guys held a strong pace and helped the first two legs slip away.

[Special thanks to Mike and all the employees at Golden Eagle Distributors. They heard I was coming through today, and they invited the Cures Rock! Team to set up an aid station, stop in, share some stories and take some photos. So if you are on the West Side of Phoenix and having a beer, thank Mike and the folks from Golden Eagle for getting that pint to you safe and sound. See you next time Mike…Cheers!]

Then the day only became crazier and groovier. Sally started dancing and singing and kept me laughing during her entire leg. If you don’t believe running with someone is a good idea, you are missing out. I have not worn an iPod the entire time. First, it is not really safe on the highways. Second, my running partners / pacers have been real saviors. The stories, the tales, the lies have all been entertaining. I recommend the next time you go for a run, take off the headphones and talk to your running partners. Trust me, it will be much more entertaining than listening to the same song for the millionth time.

Colin and I continued our debate on if he was the sexiest man alive. He agreed with me that he probably was the sexiest man alive, but takes himself out of the running to let the lesser-sexy Hollywood types win. I haven’t stopped laughing since Colin joined up with us in Parker, AZ. If you ever want to run fast and have fun, just join the San Diego North County Team In Training Team and ask to run with Colin. We have a fun time running fast together and giving each other a hard time. No wonder my mom really wants to adopt Colin.

My brother Steve, a retired Air Force Colonel, wore another cotton t-shirt (this one displaying the logo of the fighter squadron Grim Crows….I have no clue why a crow would be grim….but he can explain it to you in painful detail for five miles) and short shorts. I think he might have run in no socks! We almost have convinced him that dryfit shirts work and the gels are not just for astronauts anymore. But he is still not a believer. So if you see him at the Expo this weekend, please show him where the 2010 clothes are located. He will be the guy in his boat shoes and wearing his Bruce Springsteen “Born In the USA” concert t-shirt.

Finally, Suz had the luxury of running the last eight miles. Suz gets the last leg almost every day for a few reasons. One, she is able to watch my form and tell me if anything looks out of the norm. So I don’t do any harm to my body by getting sloppy. Two, she is able to share with me her thoughts on the day and any lessons learned. And three, she gets to tell me what I screwed up so I can fix it the next day. To prevent number three, I need to pick up the pace the last three miles. Unfortunately, she can motor, so she can run and share her thoughts on the day.

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment today came after the run. The Cures Rock! Team went to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. We met with the oncology staff and handed out shirts and photos. But what really made the impact for me today was their passion for their profession. They talked about their obsession to find cures, to try new things and to keep pushing for results. Their passion was amazing! They appreciated our visit and really appreciated our entire mission, beyond the running. With our focus on awareness, health, finding funds for research, thanking the hospital staff and visiting families they said we are doing our part to ensure the success in fight against cancer. Another outstanding visit!

The song of the night is Trip Around the Sun by Jimmy Buffett. And it is dedicated to my brother Bill, better known to everyone as Boxer. He is one real bad dude. He and I served in the 75th Ranger Regiment together, we have climbed all sorts of peaks together, and we have even run with the bulls in Pamplona. He has always been there for me when I was struggling in life or when I had a crazy idea (like running to Phoenix). So I could have dedicated all sorts of crazy songs, but today is his birthday and I just wanted to tell him “Happy Birthday and thanks for being my big brother”! Rangers Lead the Way!

That is enough for tonight. Keep sending us your love and comments! Keep spreading the awareness of the Cures Rock! Tour and remind everyone you can still donate.

Tomorrow we do our final run into P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Expo at the Convention Center. See you out there, and we will be at the Convention Center between 1:00 and 2:00 pm tomorrow!

Good night, Jackson!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 13: The Six Musketeers

(one mile onto) Courthouse Road to (three miles onto) West Baseline
Today: 31 miles / Total: 429 miles

Guest Blogger: Mike Sheehy

We knew it was coming. You knew it was coming. Everyone knew it was coming. But no one really knew when. Well it was today…today was “that day”. “That day," the one that tests a team. “That day” that asks you, “How much do you want this?” It was “that day." For many runners it is “that mile," but for the Cures Rock! Team it is “that day."

We knew the day was going to be a tough one when my mother informed us she was not feeling well and was going to have to stay behind. During Suz’s safety brief you could see the wear and tear of the previous 12 days. The team was not their usual rowdy or silly bunch. On the convoy to the start line, our lead vehicle was caught in a camera speed trap (sorry, Aimee, I will pay for the ticket). Then the start line was at the base of a hill that provided seven miles of long, grinding fun.

During the first five miles, my right Achilles decided it was tired of my left one getting all the love and attention, and it decided to flare up and begin to swell. My right knee has also been a burden for the last few days so I was just not in the mood to deal with my right Achilles. So the team had to do emergency “wheel” repair in about ten minutes. A little K-Tape, and little massage and back on my feet. The next ten miles with Colin were nothing but trying to loosen up and shake off the first five miles.

When we arrived in Tonopah, AZ, I was done for. Sitting on the bed of the truck, I just stared at the ground wishing the wind would die down, the sun would just break through the clouds and the pain in my joints would just go away. (Humorous note: Colin recommended he “pee” on my ankle to make it feel better. He said, if it works for jelly fish it might work my issue. If we had a quote of the tour contest, this might be the winner by a landslide.) But Suz, told me to get up and keep moving.

Then I had a huge mental mistake. Before each leg Suz or Steve tells me the distance of the next leg, a quick course description and any landmarks. What I heard and what they told me were two different things. I thought the aid station and a landmark were only .5 miles apart, when in reality they were 1.5 miles apart. When I passed the landmark and saw no aid station, I began to hear that voice of doubt. That evil voice that creeps into every runner’s head and tells you to “stop." I mentally began to break. Sally then just ran next to me telling me my pace, “8:40….8:45….8:40," trying to keep me moving.

At last, I was three miles from the finish for the day. Just three miles, but it seemed like it was going to be another 30. I was done. Colin then gathered the team together for one final moment before taking on the last few miles. I pulled out his Nokia phone and read a quick message. He read, “Cures Rock! Team, this is Red. You met me on Day 1 of your run. I just wanted to let you know I am having my port removed tomorrow, meaning I am almost done with all my treatments. Thank you for the visit. And remember to keep running.”

At that moment, the Five Musketeers (Sally, Suz, Colin, Steve and I), who endured a day that made every effort to break us, added one more Musketeer…Red. So “Thank You” Red for being there for us when we needed that extra push. You are an inspiration to all of us. I am glad to have a friend like you and am glad to hear you are doing so well.

As the sun set on Day 13….well, the Cures Rock! Tour is still on track. Our mettle was tested and we were victorious. Onto Day 14….and no speeding tickets I hope.

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment today was the message from Red. Nothing more to say, than you don’t know where you will get that gentle push forward. For me it came from the simple words from a five year old.

The song of the night is Willin by Little Feat. It references Tonopah, which was a place I just had to visit. When I did my first map reconnaissance I saw Tonopah, AZ on the map and said, “I have to run through there.” Well, I did that today! The song is dedicated to the Six Musketeers who made Day 13 one to remember.

That is enough for tonight. Keep sending us your love and comments! Keep spreading the awareness of the Cures Rock! Tour and remind everyone you can still donate.

Tomorrow we head East on West Baseline for a few miles then onto the 85. We stop at the intersection of 85 and 51st . See you out there!

Good night, Jackson! Happy Birthday LHZ!
1. Cures Rock! relay runners & Mike outside of the Tonopah, AZ Post Office
2. Mike's Achilles getting some "love and attention" at a checkpoint
3. Red, a 5 year old leukemia survivor, and a true Cures Rock! Star

What Would You Do to Cure Cancer? $400 for 400mi?

Mike Sheehy is crossing the 400 mile marker today...that's a lot of dusty footprints, each of them raising awareness and funds to kick cancer to the curb!

So we have to ask -- what would you do to help find a cure for cancer? For those who'd like to support the Cures Rock! Mission, we'll provide a signed Cures Rock! Tour t-shirt for anyone that donates $400 TODAY to LLS through our web site (in honor of Mike's 400 mile achievement). We'll send a team postcard from AZ for anyone that donates $100 today in honor of him crossing another 100 mile marker! (Just donate at: and send an email to let us know, & we'll send it!).

Thanks for continued support! We've raised $27,000 to date, but we still have a ways to go to reach our goal, and we need your help!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12: Why the Rush?

(seven miles southeast of) Salome, AZ to (one mile onto) Courthouse Road
Today: 31 miles / Total: 398 miles

Guest Blogger: Mike Sheehy

Fresh pacers to the Cures Rock! Team. A few days ago Colin joined us, and today we added “Mustang” Sally and my oldest brother Steve. The two “newbie” team members had all the energy and excitement you could imagine. So we all loaded the vehicles and headed out far West of downtown Phoenix to start we were left off on Highway 72. Yes, yesterday’s end point and today’s start point was the intersection of Hwy 72 and Sore Finger Road. Folks, I can’t make this stuff up, so feel free to insert your own humor here.

After everyone shook of the cold, we started out on Day 12. There was something different about today. Not sure what it was, maybe the new energy Sally and Steve brought, maybe it was sparse traffic, maybe the outstanding weather, or maybe it was the thought of crossing Highway 10 again. Colin and Sally both watched the pace, but the tempo stayed strong all the way to my brother’s leg. When he asked me, “Why the rush?”

Now that is an odd question to ask on Day 12. Who wouldn’t be in a rush after running 11 ultramarathons in a row? After a few minutes of ignoring the question, I told him I am just ready to get to today’s finish line. But what I didn’t say was what I was really thinking. Today’s running tempo or the “rush” comes from the notion that the Cures Rock! Tour is coming to an end. And I have begun to wonder, “Have we done enough?” I have never done anything like this before and just wonder if my rookie mistakes cost the Cures Rock! Team anything. Did we miss a promotional opportunity? Can we do more family visits than what is planned in the next few days? How can we make more money over the next few days? How can we spread the awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society? There are more questions than there are miles.

We all know we have tried our best, but the questions of doubt are starting to creep in as the Cures Rock! Tour begins to find it’s way to Phoenix. I don’t know the answer and we can’t go back in time. We can only hope that somewhere along the way we inspired someone to do something in their community to raise money for cancer research. Or maybe we inspired someone just to run? I am not sure, I just hope we made a difference. As my brother Bill said, “This is something special.” I believe it, but I just don’t want it to end I guess.

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment today came today after the run. Everyday after the run, the team goes into full prep for tomorrow. I stretch on the floor of the hotel, and the team is busily packing suppliers for the next day, answering e-mails and making calls to local media. Somehow, my Mom always finds that one or two quiet moments amidst the chaos to read aloud a letter sent to the Cures Rock! Team. (At the end of Day 3, Heather handed me a large shoe box with a ton of cards in it from the Team In Training members in San Diego. Also in the box were treats to keep us moving toward Phoenix.) The letter’s today were full of passion and life and just reminded us to keep trying our best to make the world a better place. Everyone just stopped and smiled, while she read four letters. One had sand from Mission Beach, another counted down bottle of beer, another told us that our run made the long runs seem very doable, and the last just told us to stay strong and believe. So “Thank You” everyone who sent us a card, text, Tweet, e-mail or phone call. We appreciate all the words of encouragement and positive energy. Please keep them coming.

The song of the night is 1985 by Bowling for Soup. It is dedicated to my big brother, Steve. We all showed up for today’s safety brief in the lobby, there he was in his vintage 1980’s running attire. He had his cotton t-shirt, silk running shorts and cotton socks! The only thing’s missing were the wristbands and the Bill Bowerman waffle racers. I am still laughing, but I love him to death! He cruised through his five miles today with ease. And during the drive, he entertained us all with stories of marathons with no sports drinks or gels, no fancy expos, and cotton t-shirts were rage. Keep on running and telling us the stories of when Pre ruled America!

That is enough for tonight. Keep sending us your love and comments! Keep spreading the awareness of the Cures Rock! Tour and remind everyone you can still donate.

Tomorrow we head East on Courthouse Road, take a right onto West Salome Highway, then a quick detour to Tonapah, AZ, then back onto West Salome and a left on West Baseline for a few miles. See you out there!

Good night, Jackson!
1. Mike Sheehy running along AZ-72 on Day 12.
2. Sally Klein, the newest CRT pacer, running with Mike.
3. Steve Sheehy, Mike's oldest brother, running along AZ-72.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11: Hope and More

(just south of) Bouse, AZ to (seven miles southeast of) Salome, AZ
Today: 31 miles / Total: 367 miles

Guest Blogger: Mike Sheehy

After yesterday’s manic day of playing Frogger with the Sunday traffic, the Cures Rock! Team decided we needed to start early as possible. So before the sun crested the mountains and with enough light to see the trail, Jen R. and I were off and running. Since we ended on an ATV trail yesterday, the first 10 miles were back on the same trail. So we continued the cross country running and enjoyed the dirt trails. Before we knew it, ten miles was done and Jen R was on her way back to San Diego, CA for a brief visit with her family before heading back out to Phoenix for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 50K. (See you soon Jen R.)

Then our most recent addition to our team, Colin, had the chance to run the next 10 miles. The great thing about Colin’s leg is that he and I got to run into the town of Hope, AZ. Colin is a cancer survivor and if anyone knows about hope, it is Colin. He is not the loudest guy in the room and he definitely doesn’t need to be the center of attention. But he does know what he wants and that is a world without cancer. He fought cancer with the utmost conviction and unwavering strength. That is why Colin is a Team In Training Captain and is why he is a part of the Cures Rock! Team. He is an inspiration for everyone. Therefore, it was only fitting, that I had the privilege of running with Colin into the town of Hope.

When we ran passed the green town marker with that simple white word “HOPE”, I knew we were doing something special. I do believe we will find a cure for cancer. I do believe that there is a scientist or doctor that is close, so keep trying. I do believe people will continue to be inspired to do things (some more insane than others) to raise money to fund research. I do believe that one day we will talk about cancer the same way we talk about the black plague, not in fear but as history. I have hope!

Never give up hope! Keep looking for your unique and fun way to raise research dollars. If you are a doctor, nurse or scientist keep up the outstanding work. If you are a future oncology doctor, nurse or scientist, “Thank You” for picking this challenging profession. And keep trying and pushing the limits of science. We all need to work together in this fight! Each hour of everyday 12 people are diagnosed with a blood cancer and 6 people lose their fight. Please keep the hope alive by making a difference in your community in your own special way.

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment today came not during the run, but after we were in our new hotel getting ready for tomorrow. When we get into the hotel, while I stretch the team gets everything ready for the next day. Packs the coolers, restocks supplies, etc. So Suz and Colin were chatting about life in general while doing the refit and she asked him, “What is your anniversary day for being cancer free?” Colin goes “April 19….Marathon Monday”. And we all just smiled. You see, Colin qualified for the Boston Marathon this year for the first time, just to prove to cancer it didn’t slow him down one step. We are proud of you Colin and we are all better runners and people for having you in our lives.

The song of the night is Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard by Paul Simon. Why? Because Colin sang it all day! Let me correct that, he sang the title over and over and over again all day. There we are running miles 10 – 20 today and he just keeps singing “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”…..over and over again! Now it is stuck in my brain. I have to run 31 miles tomorrow, and I have this line stuck in my head! Anyone, please send Colin the rest of the lyrics!
That is enough for tonight. Keep sending us your love and comments! Keep spreading the awareness of the Cures Rock! Tour and remind everyone you can still donate.

Tomorrow we head from Salome, AZ south on Highway 72, across Highway 10 to our stopping point 10 miles down the road.

Good night, Jackson!

Pictured: Julie, Suzanne, Colin & Mike in Hope, Arizona.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 10: Mother’s Day in January

Parker, AZ to (just south of) Bouse, AZ
Today: 33 miles / Total: 336 miles

Guest Blogger: Mike Sheehy

Ok…if anyone thinks running to Phoenix is easy, today would have proved them wrong. It was one heck of a day. From the non-existent highway shoulder, the never ending Sunday traffic, the high temperatures and just the wear and tear on the Cures Rock! Team from 9 previous days of running, today was high adventure. But enough whining, we are on a mission! Yes, the Cures Rock! Team is now feeling the physical toll, but spirits continue to rise as we pass each highway sign that says either “South” which means we are getting closer to Hwy 10 or “Phoenix miles”.

I have spoken about a few of the team members and pacers with the Cures Rock! Tour, but one person I have not spoken much of is my mother. Yes, my mother has been with the Cures Rock! Tour since Day 1 in San Diego, CA. She has been waiting for her chance to run and low and behold, today was her lucky day. Before I talk about her leg, I need to share a little about her.

My mother is simply amazing. She raised five kids (four boys and one girl) and was a superb Army Wife! She saw her husband through two tours of Vietnam. When the Army assigned my dad to Liberia, Africa, she packed up the family (including three kids) and moved to Africa. She is a real trooper. As you have guessed I am not an easy son. Being the fourth boy, I have found it my responsibility to try to push every limit I could and to give her gray hair. Whether I am climbing mountains, running ultras, diving the coast or just being crazy, she has always encouraged me to stay strong, be positive and try to be nice (the last one I am still working on according to some of the Cures Rock! Team members).
Today, I felt it only right that the first leg of Day 10, the first mile in Arizona, that I needed to say “Thank You” to my mother and all the mother’s that have supported me in this epic run. The Cures Rock! Tour has had a ton of mother’s participate. We have had MaMa Briggs a mother of four run on Day 3. Deborah, ultramarathoner, ex-Marine, single mom of twin boys ran multiple days. Judy, single mom of two, ran multiple days with us. Jen R. now holds the woman’s record for Cures Rock! miles, and she is a mom of two boys. Ash, for being the mom of the greatest three year old in the world, Jackson, and for encouraging he and I to keep adventuring. Cyndy, representing all the A Team mom’s in TNT. Melissa, Stephanie and the many other mom’s who came out to support the Cures Rock! Tour (and making sure I had sun block on and I was eating my vegetables). Thank you ladies!!!

So at the break of dawn, my mother and I ran the first mile of Day 10 and the first mile in Arizona for the Cures Rock! Tour. So “Thank You” mom for making me a better person and I will try to give you less worrisome nights in the future (but no promises)! And “Thank You” to all the mom’s out there. Just remember, when you tuck your little, cute boy or girl into bed tonight, just think in 30 plus years he or she could be running across a part of America one day. Because, I can tell you this, my mom never saw this coming, but she is loving it!

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment today came at mile 28ish today, when Colin, Suz and I finally found an ATV track that allowed us to move off the highway and do some fun running. “Fun” means just plain old fashion running. Since we were a safe distance from the road, we were able to stretch our legs, run on the soft dirt and just be free and enjoy running. It reminded us of a quote from Jesse Owens’, “I always loved running / it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” Thank you Mr. Owens for inspiring us.

The song of the night is Jump by Van Halen. Today, while running eastbound on Highway 72, every time a truck or car would approach we would yell “Jump” and off the road we would go and onto the soft, slanted shoulder. After about the first mile or two, Judy tells me, “I had that single.” I said, “What are you talking about?” She says, “Every time you yell ‘jump’, I think of the Van Halen song. And it makes me smile and remember the good times, not dodging semi’s on the highway.” So night’s song is dedicated to all those who ran with me today: Bill M., Judy, Julie, Jen, Colin and Suz! Thanks for being safe and smart on the road today!

That is enough for tonight. Keep sending us your love and comments! Keep spreading the awareness of the Cures Rock! Tour and remind everyone you can still donate.

Tomorrow we head from Bouse, AZ to Vicksburg, AZ to Harcuvar, AZ to Salome, AZ and then end seven miles south of Salome.

Good night, Jackson!
1. Suzanne Ellard cheers as Mike Sheehy crosses the Day 10 finish line. Mike's mom, Marianne Sheehy, and Colin Eckelman the new relay runner that joined us today, hold the handmade banner.
2. Mike and his mom at dawn before the CRT Team starts their first day of Arizona running.
3. Mike and Marianne Sheehy, running the opening leg of our Arizona portion of the tour.
4. Mike explaining the "jump" concept (not hard to get) to the team of relay support runners. It was a day of focus for sure. If you wonder what goes on in all our heads while running, I can safely say that for today, NOTHING. We were focused on the cars.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 9: Milestone Celebrations!

(just East of) Rice, CA to Parker, AZ
Today: 32 miles / Total: 303 miles

Guest Blogger: Mike Sheehy

Huge milestones for the Cures Rock! Team today! We finally hit the California and Arizona boarder. We even crossed the 300 mile mark (Bill M. is the winner of the 300 mile award….therefore he gets to run his leg of choice tomorrow!). But the best milestone of the day is that today is Julie’s four month anniversary of being cancer free! There is no better way to celebrate crossing the Colorado River than having Julie cancer free for four months. We are all aware she has a long road ahead of her, but we will be by her side the entire way. Just like my pacers running with me to Phoenix, she will always have us to help her through the tough miles of life.

We all knew today was a special day for Julie and you could sense the energy as we headed out to the starting point 32 miles West of Parker. Before I knew it, the large group of supporters and pacers (someone had to tell me it was Saturday when I was wondering why there were so many extra people today. Tons of folks drove out from San Diego just to support us and run a few miles with us!) yelled “Go, East!” and I was off. The first ten miles flew by as Jen and I chatted about the pace and the surprise we had in store for Julie today. As we hit the 15 mile marker today, we had a fun stop in Vidal Junction, CA. Bonnie, who runs the 24 gas station there, asked us stop in, sign a photo, take some photos and she then donated $20 to us in our fight against cancer! (Bonnie, we love you and look forward to stopping through in the future, with a car next time!)

The miles got long today, but I remembered a sign that was created for me that stated, “500 miles is hard….but not as hard as chemo!" So I smiled and pushed on through the rolling hills toward Parker. About 200 meters outside of Parker the crew stopped the vehicles to let me have one final rest stop before finishing the day. That is where we told Julie that we were going to switch out my current pacer for her. She was stunned. She had already run a 3 mile leg earlier in the morning and was not expected to run again. But, we all told her that on her “Cancer Free” anniversary; she will get to lead the Cures Rock! Tour into Arizona. My only concern was that she was so excited she would run so fast that I would not be able to keep up. Julie took it easy on me, and we both crossed into Arizona safely and more importantly cancer free! She is the ultimate Cures Rock! Star!

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment today came today when Bill M. and I were closing in on mile 28. We crested a hill and at the base of the next hill, just about 200 meters away, we see a parked car with it’s hazards on, a woman standing on top of the car holding a sign that says “Cures Rock! Tour Rocks!” and yelling “Go Cures Rock! Tour”! We were stunned. I can only imagine what the truckers driving past her thought. It was a friend from work who drove all morning from San Diego to celebrate this historic day for the Cures Rock! Tour! So Jessica, we love your enthusiasm and passion for life. We could use you energy everyday around mile 30! Thanks for coming out to support us.

The song of the night is Convoy by CW McCall. Today was Saturday, but I think Saturday is the trucker’s Monday. Highway 62 was busy. We had a ton of big rigs passing us today, honking at us and waving to us. So many that Melissa (another supporter) started singing “Convoy." And I am sure in CB jargon they have a term for “crazy, skinny guy running alongside the highway!" If you know what it is, please let me know. Thank you to all the truckers out there who have told us to keep on trucking! We appreciate everything you guys do to make America work. And thanks again for letting us share the road with you today!

That is enough for tonight. Keep sending us your love and comments! Keep spreading the awareness of the Cures Rock! Tour and remind everyone you can still donate.

Tomorrow we head South on 95 from Parker to Bouse, AZ and beyond. So if you are leaving Parker tomorrow morning, give us a wave as you pass by the Cures Rock! Tour!

Good night, Jackson!
1. Cures Rock! Tour Team at the Arizona/California state line. (How convenient for the AZ flag to have a Cures Rock! star on it!!)
2. Mike Sheehy & Julie Westcott run across the bridge, officially crossing the Arizona state line.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 8: Mother Nature and Extreme Motocross!

(really beyond) Twentynine Palms, CA to (just East of) Rice, CA
Today: 34 miles / Total: 271 miles

Guest Blogger: Mike Sheehy

Well, Mother Nature really is a member of the Cures Rock! Team. Today had more miles on Highway 62. Before the start, we were treated with an amazing sunrise over the mountains just East of the highway. Then for the first 20 miles, Mother Nature provided a perfect amount of cloud cover and headwind to keep me just comfortable for the long miles. I have every running shirt, jacket, glove and hat combination you could think of just in case we receive some unexpected weather. And today, I enjoyed the opportunity to wear a jacket for the first 20 miles (around 3.5 hours of running).

Since it was Friday, we noticed the traffic to Parker picked up around 10:00 am when those folks with “River Fever” called in sick to the office to get a jump on the weekend. It was fun to share the road with so many different vehicles today. There were numerous motor homes and cars towing boats. We even had the privilege of seeing a caravan of classic Corvettes today and a large group of motorcycles heading West on 62. Thanks to all the drivers how gave us space as the shoulder is limited on the 62!

A North County Times reader sent me a note asking, “What do you think about for 30+ miles a day?” That is a very interesting question. I spend a lot of my time thinking about the upcoming miles and terrain, how I should run it. I am always trying to focus on my surroundings to insure I don’t miss a car or truck coming at me. Sometimes I bother the pacer with me and ask them a question or two. I try to be nice to them since they are looking out for my safety on this run and volunteering their time away from their families. Then there are those times on the long tough miles, I talk to my dad. My father had a stroke when I was a freshman in West Point. So I never really had a chance to talk to him about adult topics such as raising children, politics, money issues, work opportunities and those things you get to talk to your parents about once you are older. So when the miles get tough and the grind gets long, I often talk to him about something other than running. Then, somehow the miles are past me and I am back to thinking about my pace, the next aid station or why my fellow runner is wearing an all green outfit. So that is what I think about.

As for the “Extreme Motocross” portion of the title: I had the pleasure of being introduced to the Parker 250 riders tonight. The Parker 250 is a 250 mile extreme motocross and ATV race! They thought it was funny that I just crossed the 250 mark in 8 days, when they are going to do it in a few hours. They even invited me to race them in the Vegas to Reno 500. It might be a challenge for 2011! They are great folks and fellow racers, so I wish them all well tomorrow in their extreme 250 mile race.

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment today was one a gentleman by the name of Scott contacted my crew and asked to run 2 miles with me today. He drove all the way from Temecula, CA to run only 2 miles with me and donate $500 to LLS! When we asked him why, he stated his family was greatly impacted by Leukemia and he liked the idea that maybe during his two miles a cure would be found or that his dollars would be the one’s that would find a cure for Leukemia or another cancer! Thanks Scott, you are an inspiration to us for being dedicated to the fight against cancer! Your positive energy kept the entire team’s spirits high for the day.

Finally, the song of the night is Honky Tonk Badonkadonk by Trace Adkins. (Sorry, Aisling….no Elvis tonight.) It is dedicated to my Brother Boxer (really his name is Bill) by all the ladies on the team. Every place we would run, someone assisting us or at our aid stations would always ask Boxer (typically right before his run portion), “When is the blonde running?” or “When is the girl in the green shorts running?” He would just laugh and give the pacers a hard time and sing portions of the song over the radio to everyone. Well, Boxer is heading back to Michigan tonight to spend time with his true passion and love….his family. Thanks for everything big brother! Rangers Lead the Way!

That is enough for tonight. Keep sending us your love and comments! Keep spreading the awareness of the Cures Rock! Tour and remind everyone you can still donate!

Good night, Jackson!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7: Hey, This Looks Familiar!

(beyond) Twentynine Palms, CA to
(really beyond) Twentynine Palms, CA
Today: 34 miles / Total: 237 miles

Guest blogger: Mike Sheehy

Today, the Cures Rock! Tour really ran deeper into the desert along Hwy 62. It was very interesting to spend the day looking ahead and seeing the road I was going to run on over the next five to ten miles. You can just see forever. The desert was very peaceful and tranquil. But, to be very honest, the terrain never really changed. We had the road to ourselves most of the day, so that was nice. (We were very careful not to get complacent and unsafe! You will hear how later.) The scenery was interesting, and it is a real treat to experience California one step at a time.

One of the things people have asked me, “What does it feel like to start an ultra-marathon everyday?” Honestly, very scary! No joke. Every evening around 7:00 pm, I get the nervous feeling. I have to lay out my clothes for the next day, prep my water bottles and get everything together for my support bag. Then every morning feels like a race day. I know, this is not a race, but it feels that way. Anxiety is high, mind is screaming, legs are shaking, and I am thinking….”What am I doing?” Then I stand on the chalk line that marks the endpoint of the previous day. Someone yells “Let’s go!” and I take off. Within steps, that running calm comes over me, and I fall into that normal, comfortable rhythm. I am also reminded of why we are out here…to inspire folks to donate money to find a cure, to create awareness in their own unique way and to make a difference in their community. Then the miles melt away! [OK…maybe not “melt,” they sort of slowly fade away over 6 – 7 hours.] So, for all you new runners out there, that feeling never goes away at the beginning of a run.

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment today was when I returned back to the Holiday Inn Express in Twentynine Palms, CA. When I walked in the door of the hotel, the manager stopped me, asked about today’s run and general other topics. He then handed me a card from the staff. The entire staff was so excited about what the Cures Rock! Tour is doing, they signed a card for us to remember our stay with them. It is amazing the warm and friendly reception we are getting everywhere we go! Everyone continues to encourage us to keep going and keep making a difference in the communities along the way.

Tonight’s song is Wild Thing by the Troggs, and it is going out to Wild Bill and his truck! As many of you know, safety is critical to the Cures Rock! Tour. Running on any highway is dangerous and even crazier on the backroads of California. So, to keep us extra safe today, Wild Bill followed a little distance back from us runners and gave us a heads up when any vehicle was a quarter mile from us in either direction. This gave us plenty of time to move off safely and ensured today was a success and no vehicles were harmed by our rock hard Cures Rock! bodies. Thanks again, Wild Bill for the rear security!

Tomorrow, we continue on Highway 62 and will end a little past Rice, CA. The total distance will be 33 miles. We will cross the 250 mile marker!

Keep sending us your love and comments! Keep spreading the awareness of the Cures Rock! Tour and remind everyone you can to donate.

Good night, Jackson!
1. Running along remote CA-62
2. Mike Sheehy & Suzanne pound the pavement through the desert
3. Mike shows the picture of Jason O' Hara, a 9 yr. old leukemia survivor the Cures Rock! Team visited in San Diego. He wore it to remind himself why he was running and that he wasn't on those long roads alone.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 6: Hello Desert!

Yucca Valley, CA to (beyond) Twentynine Palms, CA
Today: 32 miles / Total: 203 miles

Guest Blogger: Mike Sheehy

Today was another adventure on the Cures Rock! Tour! The long rolling highway led us through Yucca Valley during the early morning and then guided us through Twentynine Palms, CA and into the desert. For the next couple days it is just us and Highway 62. I am feeling fine. Still running a 9:00 minute pace. Today’s course allowed me to do a little off road running so my legs had a break from the pavement. It was a lot of fun running dirt trails and getting a little dirty. Suzanne wins the 200 mile award! [What does she win? An opportunity to run a leg on Day 7!]

Many folks have asked what do we do at night after the run, so I thought I would share with you how we survive each night. Let me just share with everyone how the evening unfolds on the Cures Rock! Tour:

After each run (between 2:00 – 4:00 pm depending on that day's route), I am quickly handed a Myoplex shake (thanks to Abbott Nutrition for the love) to begin the recovery process. So we toast the day with the shake, tell some funny stories (mainly the crew makes fun of me for running slow or something I have done silly during the day), and then we hurry back to the hotel. While the crew downloads the vehicle, I start my stretching routine.

Thanks to Suzanne, I am officially an “adult” because I now stretch. She has me on a complete routine that has me stretching every muscle in every way. Then, it is off to the foam roller. Tonight, the entire hotel staff laughed because I had to use the foam roller in the hallway, since the room did not provide enough room. But the entire hotel definitely knows we are here. Great awareness technique! Then….and only then...comes the ever popular ice bath. Yes, the entire crew saves all the ice from the day, and seeks out all the ice in the hotel, to get their revenge on me for keeping them out in the sun for 6 – 8 hours. I soak in the ice bath for 20 minutes, not a second longer. It works like a charm, but not something I would recommend for date night! During the ice bath I enjoy my cocktail of choice, Phosphagen Elite (again, thanks Abbott Nutrition)!

After the ice bath, we head out to the team dinner. Choices have ranged from Tootsie’s BBQ (in Palm Springs) to Mickey’s Pizza tonight (in Twentynine Palms). To all the nutritionists out there, I am trying, so please don’t yell at me. After dinner, the crew preps the vehicles for the next day while I respond to your e-mails, write this blog and review the course for the next day.

Then, right before bed, I have on more special event. I bring out the DJO Compex (muscle stimulator fitness trainer). It works so well in giving me my own private, recovery massage. What an amazing device! I highly recommend them to any one who does athletic activities of any nature. My brother just gets a kick out of watching it “twitch” my muscles. After the 25 – 30 minute routine, it is lights out!

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment today was the arrival of the communication team of Andre and Wild Bill. [Yes, his name is really Wild Bill.] These guys outfitted our vehicles on Day 1 with our communications equipment. The equipment includes two long range radios, with handhelds and one handheld for me and the pacer. This allows us all to remain in constant communication during the run. This communication plan has been a cornerstone for our safety plan. Then they showed up tonight with encouragement, high energy and beers!

The song for today is Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane and is dedicated to Mike. Who is Mike? Mike is a journeyman who we have seen over the last two days. He has walked over 3000 miles all over the US. He originated in Minnesota and is heading to Tucson, AZ. He is just a man enjoying America, one step at a time. He is doing 17 miles a day and wished us well on our journey. So if you are driving the 62 over the next week or so, keep a look out for Mike in his ASU shirt; he is a good soul. Thanks for sharing the trail today Mike!

Tomorrow, we run into the desert a little further and come back to the Holiday Inn Express in Twentynine Palms, CA. Keep an eye out for us if you are on Highway 62 or in cyber-space (Twitter: CuresRock & CuresRockTour Facebook:

Good night, Jackson!
1. Sign post in Twentynine Palms/CA-62 that reads, "Cross traffic does not stop." No stopping, Mike!
2. Mike Sheehy running with Cures Rock! Founder, Julie Westcott, along CA-62 heading into Twentynine Palms, CA.
3. Mike Sheehy recovering from his 32 mile run from Yucca Valley to Twentynine Palms - grabbing his protein with a Myoplex from Abbott Nutritionals.
4. Part of Mike Sheehy's recovery routine is getting out knots with the evil foam, he only had room to do it in the Holiday Inn Express' hallway (they've been a GREAT hotel!!)
5. Andre H. & Wild Bill joined the team to support with satellite and radio communication for safety!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5: Who Picked This Route?

Palm Springs, CA to Yucca Valley, CA
Today: 31 miles / Total: 171 miles

Wow, I can tell you now that I am glad the Cures Rock! Tour is not an out and back run. Those hills between on Hwy 62 going toward Morongo Valley and Yucca Valley are big. I mean they really left an impression on the team today! But the good news is we survived the blind curves, the steep hills and the big trucks. [NOTE: I really appreciate everyone who drove on Hwy 62 for slowing down and sharing the road with the Cures Rock! Team! Again, thank you for keeping us safe!].

The legs are holding up fine, but slowly feeling the wear of running on the left side of the road for safety. So any doctors out there that have any cures for sore left Achilles, please let me know. [Other than run on the opposite side of the road or run backwards….the crew already offered those ideas. Yes, they are very funny….not!] For all my fellow Abbott co-works, my hoarse voice is slowly coming back, so no long term damage as many of you were hoping for to ensure a much quieter office in 2010.
The most popular question today from my crew was, “Who picked this route?” I believed there was a request to fire the race director for picking such an insane leg. But there is a very good reason for the route we picked. [If you want to see the complete route please visit the home page of]

There were two primary goals when the team selected the route. First and foremost, safety! If you have attended or have the opportunity to attend the daily kick-off brief (by either Boxer or Suz), you will hear several times, “Safety First”! Second, we wanted to reach out to as many communities along the way as possible. Why? Because blood cancers and all forms of cancers don’t care what you do, what age you are or where you live! Cancer does not discriminate. Julie taught me long ago, even after the treatments are done, there is remission, then after you are told “all clear” everyone has to deal with the fear of cancer coming back and finally you need to deal with the medical bills.

The route is running through as many communities as we can in our attempt to not let anyone be forgotten. As an ex-US Army Ranger (quick side note, 1/75 RGR BN is and always will be the superior Ranger Battalion….and Kevin Barry’s is the best bar in Savannah, GA), I was taught to “Never leave a fallen comrade behind”. Therefore, I had to ensure this mission included visiting all types of cities, towns and communities. We are going to continue our family and hospital visits along the way. The next two days we will be in Twentynine Palms, CA and then onto Parker, AZ where we hope to continue meeting with hospital staffs and families. Because we as community can and will beat cancer so no one has to fight it any more!

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment today came when Julie and I were climbing a lovely steep hill in Morongo Valley today and we hear a car honking it’s horn and a person wearing purple and green jacket waving at us. We were so surprised we started running faster up the hill. Then at the top of the hill we realized it was a fellow San Diego North County Team In Training runner, Pamela. She drove all the way out from San Diego to cheer us on up the hills. It was amazing! She stayed with the Cures Rock! Tour caravan all the way until the end into Yucca Valley. We encourage any and all supporters to come on out (we have free t-shirts for you if you come out to support us at an aid station)! If you want to know where we are at, please e-mail or . [NOTE, Julie is a little better at responding since I am spending a few hours everyday running.]

All right, now keeping with the Cures Rock! tradition, we dedicate Long and Windy Road by The Beatles to Jen, Heidi and Jose at the G&M Food Mart on Twentynine Palms Highway. They let us set up our aid station in their parking lot and helped us get the Morongo Valley locals excited about the Cures Rock! Tour. And the location of their place along Highway 62, drive to it and you will understand the dedication. So if you every need outstanding service, stop in and see them. Thanks again Jen, Heidi and Jose for all the encouragement and support!

Tomorrow we head through Twentynine Palms and into the desert for a fun filled 32 miler. Keep spreading the good word and reminding everyone to donate!!!

Good night, Jackson!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 4: Perfect Beginning and Ending of a Day

Beaumont, CA to Palm Springs, CA (31 miles)

By Guest Blogger: Mike Sheehy

I never thought the Cures Rock! Tour would have such a wonderful day so early on. I can only hope we repeat today 13 more times. Today we saw the first real 50 kilometer distance (31 miles), perfect weather, great friends and an outstanding hospital visit to top it off.
When the sun crested the mountains today and shined upon the Cures Rock! Team in Beaumont, CA, we noticed the sky was peppered with clouds and there was a nice breeze. Jen and I set off due East, laughing wondering what happens to the human body after three days of running ultras. Well we found out, it just wants to keep on going. I even wanted to exceed the pacer speed limit of a 9:00 minute mile. I snuck a few sub-9s, but they were on me quick to get back to the pace. Which then facilitated the joke of the day, “What place is Mike in today, because apparently he thinks it is a race?” It appears the crew has me currently in 4th place in a race of one runner. Obviously, spirits were high today and there was a fair bit of silliness.

While Jen and I paralleled Highway 10, the crew (led by my brother) decided that everyone (but Jen and I) needed to sample the Chorizo Egg Burritos in Beaumont before leaving. The team’s verdict was a “must try” when visiting Beaumont. OK…back to running.

The weather was amazing the entire day. It was one of those things all runners dream about. Nice breeze, little overcast and nothing else. To accompany the weather, the memories of the last three days really kept my spirits high. As Jen handed me off to Suz, who took time away from logistics to run. But it was hard to get started because everyone was talking about all the support we had yesterday. We were just basking in the good times, when we remembered Palm Springs was not moving any closer. As we cruised closer to Hwy 111, we just marveled at the natural beauty of the mountains. Being a “part time” citizen of Breckenridge, CO, it reminded me of my place on Peak 7. Before I knew it, my brother led my down to Hwy 111 for an unexpected treat.

At our rest stop 8 miles from today’s finish, ABC showed up to do a interview. Bill Martin, President – Board of Trustees, was also there to run the last leg with me. Nothing beats having that kind of support from a board member from the organization you are benefiting and the Palm Springs community.
The run ended with another great finish line with Julie’s twin sister and family waiting for us. It is always nice to celebrate the end of the run with so much love and enthusiasm.

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment today was the visit to the Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center tonight. This evening, we had the pleasure of dropping off numerous gift bags for the nurses and doctors working day in and day out with families fighting all types of cancers. They were all surprised by the amount of stuff we brought for them. But honestly, the Cures Rock! Team can not say enough “Thank You’s” to them. I would encourage everyone to say “Thank You” to a nurse or doctor tomorrow. They are special people who we all depend on when we are in a time of need. Oh…they are just wicked smart.

Tonight we want to dedicate Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang, to the staff of the Holiday Inn Resort – Palm Springs. The staff and service has been amazing and they are getting a kick out of our adventure. So listen to The Sugarhill Gang and “…everybody go hotel motel Holiday Inn…”.

Tomorrow we head to Yucca Valley, CA! Keep spreading the word and encouraging folks to donate at:!

Cures Rock! goes "Hog Wild!"

Meet Grant. A 3 yr old battling leukemia. I'll be talking about him a little later this week when I highlight our patient family visits, but I have to say, this little one won over my heart. His spirit, humor and enthusiasm is amazing, especially for a little guy who's now half-way done with cancer treatments (1.5 years more to go).

THIS is why we run. THIS is why we're doing the Cures Rock! Tour, and Mike is out there running from San Diego to Phoenix. THIS is why we, as a community, need to come together to raise funds, create awareness and help find a cure!

We're still short of our goal, which is to raise $100,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society...helping to raise dollars for research and patient servics that helps families like the Fosters. Donate at:

I think you'll fall in love as much I did, when you meet Grant, and hear him telling us to "Go Hog Wild" with this Tour & kicking cancer to the curb!

Day 3: Cures Rock! Tour - Hug a Tree, Please!

35 miles from Temecula, CA to Beaumont, CA

First I have to say “Thank You” again to the Day 2 pacers, Doc Rob Rich and the Running Center in Temecula. There efforts on yesterday’s 39 mile day, really paid off on Day 3. Day 3 was nothing but a “love fest”! If everyday was like today, then no one would ever be sad. Today was full of friends (new and old), multiple cities and outstanding weather. Let’s do a quick recap of the day.

Today was our first official “jump day”. (“Jump Day” according to Brother Boxer and Suz is the day when we have to pack up everything and relocate to another city.) So we had to pack up the Carlsbad house for the long haul to Beaumont. That included the Cures Rock! Team girls' multiple bags. Seriously, how many bags do you need to run to Phoenix?! We were out of the house by 6:00 am on our way to Temecula. Very funny since I ran there just yesterday.

At the Running Center in Temecula, we were greeted by an amazing crowd. There was a local running club, a bunch of friends from Abbott and even more cancer survivors. After another humorous (but very serious) daily brief from Brother Boxer, I set off with Judy (better known as JD and a fellow Abbott employee) and a whole bunch of runners. Temecula was quickly replaced by Murrieta, CA and I had the pleasure of running with Aimee for a few more miles. The long road to Hemet saw numerous friends from Abbott pacing me. Justin and Bonnie made me work, and reminded me lactic acid was only a state of mind. Team Logan (Melissa, Mama Briggs and Nicola) danced, giggled, hopped and played all the way through Hemet leaving me at the foothills of the Highway 79 climb into the mountains. [NOTE: Nicola wins the 100 mile gift for pacing me through the 100th mile. What is the gift? She gets a free leg on the next Cures Rock! Tour! Lucky gal!] Steve Hall, an Army Medic (thanks for keeping us safe) and fellow Abbott employee guided me the last few miles to our end spot of beautiful Beaumont, CA.

The “Live Life to the Ultra” moment was the family visit today. While I was out running today, Julie, Heather, Mom Sheehy and several others visited our seventh family in our area. The Cures Rock! Team visited Sadapmand Family. I always tell people I am inspired by the Cures Rock! Rock Stars and their families. Again I was reminded how strong they are when the team returned and the family had sent me a gift. Alyna, age 5, had made three bracelets for me, saying “Hope”, Be Strong” and “Faith”! Wow….the last few miles flew by when I received this remarkable gift. Again, thank you to all the families so far that have allowed us to be apart of their lives.

Finally, the song dedication for today is We Are Family by Sister Sledge. It goes out to all the Abbott employees who have supported the Cures Rock! Tour in any capacity. From my boss moving meetings for me, to Andre supplying the communication equipment, to Tim showing up on Day 1 before heading out to surf, to Steph showing up and making her son run with me on Day 2, Sergio and Ted getting me through 29 miles, Ann and Scott showing up just to donate and give me a hug, to Jessica watching Jules' dog during the tour, Mark and Jeff leaving their families on Sunday to run with us today, and all the pacers I mentioned above. And Brooks, taking over 500 photos of the tour to date! And everyone sending me the supportive e-mails and text messages. Oh…and the crew in Columbus, OH making all the Abbott Nutritional products we are consuming like crazy! This is truly a corporate family event!

Tomorrow we head from Beaumont, CA to Palm Springs, CA! We'll be running from the Best Western hotel at 7am sharp and heading to Palm Springs. An easy 32 miles. See you out there on the road to Phoenix.

Good Night, Jackson!

1. Justin and Mike running through Temecula, CA
2. Temecula Running Center store and local running group
3. Julie, Lyndsay (survivor), Lisa and Mike outside the running store
4. Cures Rock! Tour runs by Abbott Labs.
5. Patient family visit (Mom Sheehy, Bonnie, Justin, Julie, Heather with Alyna)
6. Abbott Vascular "family"

P.S. Here is one of our local newscasts about the Tour:

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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