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!


  1. No words can say what I feel in my heart right now. From the bottom of my heart Thank you for showing us what it means to make a difference. My eyes are filled with tears and I wish you all the greatest run tomorrow with many more to come. Cures Rock!

  2. Let the finish line come to you, Mike! Thank you, CRT, for making a difference. Rock On!

  3. All I can say is WOW! The whole CuresRock! Team and the Ultra Run tour inspires me to keep going and giving more in energy, time and effort. Thanks showing me just how much can be accomplished with love, determination and passion.

  4. Way to go, Cures Rock Team! You all rock. Survivors everywhere thank you and wish you Godspeed. Art

  5. Amazing effort for such a noble cause!!! you are a great inspiration!

  6. Wow, you just put tears in my eyes and much love in my heart. You amaze me and I was honored to run with you on your last day for 12+ miles. Wish I could've stuck in there but amazing how your legs kept you at a sub 9 minute mile after 12 miles into the Ultra! You are amazing and I am thankful that I can call you my friend, not just another running friend, but I am truly honored that I can call you my friend.


Please leave your comments!

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
All Content and Images (unless specified otherwise), Copyright Cures Rock! 2007-2012.