Dee Cajiuat sports her Modesto Marathon shirt at the Grand Canyon on vacation last month.

Dee Cajiuat sports her Modesto Marathon shirt at the Grand Canyon on vacation last month.

If you’ve been around the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon (SAMM) Facebook or website much, you’ve most likely noticed there’s one name that creeps up, over and over again. So who is this Dee Cajiuat person who sings the praises of SAMM and KT Tape wherever she goes?

If you ask her, Dee, a second grade teacher from Southern California, will tell you she dislikes running but loves her friends in Modesto so much, so she makes frequent trips north to participate in ShadowChase Running Club events as often as possible. But there’s a serious message she brings with her, no matter where she goes.

“I started my long distance running journey soon after my nephew, Joshua, had his accident. On Nov. 30, 2009, my 17-year-old nephew was involved in a serious car accident. He sustained multiple broken bones and a traumatic brain injury. He was in a medically induced coma for nearly four weeks. When he awoke, he was in a vegetative state and we didn’t know what the future held for him and his family,” Dee recalls. “During those four coma weeks, in the midst of life and death decisions that needed to be made, I signed up to run a Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon. My goal was to run and tell people about Josh and by being out there I hoped to get as many people possible praying for Joshua. Three years later, I still have people who say they have been and will continue to pray for Josh and his journey.”

Dee Cajiuat jumps for joy has she reaches KT Tape headquarters on vacation last month.

Dee Cajiuat jumps for joy has she reaches KT Tape headquarters on vacation last month.

That’s some pretty heavy-duty stuff coming from a woman who clearly enjoys laughter, dining with friends, riding her motorcycle, reading, traveling the country, and in general, not wasting a second of life, even on sleep. Since that fateful race in 2009, Dee has completed 42 half marathons, eight marathons and a 50K. The 2011 SAMM was her first full marathon, and she’s been back ever since. And every year Dee comes back, she brings friends in tow.

But 2014 will be extra special for the Cajiuat family. Although Dee will “only” be running the half, it’s for good reason. She’ll be running alongside her nephew, Josh, and she’s bringing a whole contingent with her.

Josh’s parents will be running; his father, David Cajiuat, will be trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon, as mom Charlotte runs the half. Josh’s brother will be running his first full alongside his father, and Josh’s sister, Hope, will be running the half. And as if that’s not enough, Dee’s San Bernardino Pacers will have some six members present to run with Josh and David.

Asked why she has adopted SAMM, Dee says, “It’s more of SAMM adopting me! I was looking for my first marathon and met (SAMM sponsor) Dr. Calvin Lee via a promotion he was having on his Facebook page and he invited me to do the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon. As I shared my story of why I run, many ShadowChasers supported my effort and have continued to be a great source of encouragement in all that I do.”

Dee Cajiuat sports her KT Tape at the Country Music Marathon.

Dee Cajiuat sports her KT Tape at the Country Music Marathon.

Dee also looks forward to sponsoring Mile Marker 26, which she has done for the past three years. It features a picture of Josh on it. “To me, that totally personalized the event and SAMM is now a great part of my life. I try to go up to Modesto as often as I can so I can participate in any SAMM related activities.”

And when she’s here, or anywhere for that matter, she can usually be found sporting a Modesto Marathon shirt along with a layers of kinesio tape.

“I heard about KT Tape from my brother,” says Dee. “He mentioned that Josh was using it and I started reading up on it. I was running in Vibram Five Fingers and my calves were dying and I found a tape application that I used, along with the shin pain app. I did my first back-to-back weekend runs and I was hooked. I couldn’t believe how minimal my pain was. As I progressed in my running, I got injured in different parts and KT Tape was there for every injury.”

In her ever-present enthusiasm, Dee continues singing its praises, “KT Tape is THE best invention ever! It can be used for muscular or joint pain. It can be used for support or prevention of injuries and yes, even recovery. KT Tape is flexible and elastic enough to support any part of the body.”

Dee will be bringing that enthusiasm to SAMM in 2014. She got KT Tape to donate its product and she will be taping runners at our Expo for free! And as if that’s not enough, she’s packing up the rolls and bringing it to the Modesto Marathon booth at the Santa Rosa Marathon later this month where she will offer free tapings to help attract potential SAMM runners! Yes, she simply loves that much. Whether you’re her second grade student, her favorite marathon, or her nephew Joshua, it’s love, unconditionally. She’s Dee like that.


traininggroupWant to run a marathon, half marathon or a 5K? Maybe you are already a runner, but want to train for a PR?

The Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon training program is gearing up for the 2014 race. Come down to one of 3 informational meetings to see if our training program is ready for you.

Informational Meetings

  • Saturday, September 7, 2013 @ 1:00 p.m.
  • Monday, September 16, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 24, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.

You can look forward to:

  • 26 week training program calendar
  • Weekly training schedule e-mail reminders
  • Twice weekly group workouts (Sat, Tues.)
  • Monthly cross training sessions
  • Expert coaching
  • Custom Modesto Marathon technical training shirt
  • Training log
  • Varied training locations
  • Seminars
  • Fun
  • Miscellaneous goodies
  • Friendships
  • Walkers & Runners welcome

More information contact:

Mike Mason or Susan Taylor

How did I hear about the Modesto Marathon?

I was in between surgeries in late October when I bumped into Dr. Harvey Palitz, who told me about the Modesto Marathon, and he told me that they were looking for a title sponsor. He knew that my wife, Dr. Tammy Wu, and I had sponsored other organizations before such as the Modesto Symphony and the Gallo Center for the Arts.  Other than that, we had not heard of the Modesto Marathon. I was away for about three months this summer. I was touring Asia on my violin playing in some of the great concert halls in the East. I don’t currently run or have running partners, and it had been about 10 years since I had been regularly running. I don’t think I would have heard about this sponsorship opportunity if it hadn’t been for the chance conversation with Dr. Palitz.

I was very excited to hear about the first Marathon in Modesto. I then shared the info with Dr. Tammy Wu, plastic surgeon, who had been an avid runner.  We knew we wanted to help the cause. We really enjoy helping new projects in Modesto, such as the Gallo Center, and now the Modesto Marathon.

Why did we become the Title Sponsor?

Initially we didn’t want to be the title sponsor.  But as time went by, the spot wasn’t filled. We decided we needed take some action and fill the spot ourselves. The main push came from Dr. Wu. Our medical group is called Surgical Artistry and much of it focuses on beauty. We are of the belief that true beauty comes from within – a healthy body. We felt that the Marathon and Surgical Artistry had common goals when it came to healthy living. We also had many patients who have run marathons. Furthermore, on a humorous note, we thought there would be opportunities to look at leg veins of runners and perform acupuncture for leg/back pain caused by the race. Surgical Artistry provides services in veins, acupuncture, and plastic surgery.

About Dr.Calvin Lee…

I’m a general surgeon who specializes in acupuncture and vein procedures. I practice medicine with my wife, Dr. Tammy Wu, who is a plastic surgeon. Our practice is called Surgical Artistry and is located next to the post office on Sylvan Avenue in Modesto.

Before I became a surgeon and acupuncturist, I played a lot of violin. Recently I won a contest on YouTube to be part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. We performed at Carnegie Hall with famed San Francisco Symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. With my violin videos on YouTube, I was “discovered” and had the opportunity to play violin solos with physician orchestras in Taipei, Hong Kong, and Macau. I also enjoy learning piano, which is new for me.

Early life:  I grew up in New York City. I started violin lessons at age seven. I had recognized early that I was very athletic with my fingers but not with anything else. This came in handy for typing, playing violin, and later for performing surgeries. While in high school, I was accepted to great universities such as Harvard and Stanford, but chose to go to Brown University. At Brown, I majored in Neurosciences, and got my medical degree eight years later.  I came to Modesto in 2003 to work with the McHenry Medical Group as one of the Trauma / General Surgeons.  I left the group in 2006 to start Surgical Artistry Inc. with my wife, and I also learned acupuncture at Stanford University.  I love being active in the community. I am on the board of the Modesto Symphony and have been invited to be on the board of the Gallo Center. My wife and I are in the process of creating the Surgical Artistry Academy, which offers education to students in the area regarding medicine and aesthetics. We have already informally taught some students in the area.

About Dr. Tammy Wu

Dr. Wu is a busy plastic surgeon in Modesto, CA. She is the only woman plastic surgeon from Fresno to Sacramento. On the web she is considered to be an authority on breast augmentation surgery on runners. This has been the first website listed when searching for “Running and Breast Augmentation.” She graduated first in her medical school class at Brown University and has won plastic surgery research awards. She is on the board of directors for the Cooperation of American Physicians – a company headquartered in Los Angeles. The Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. (CAP) is a physician-owned and governed organization comprised of the finest doctors practicing in the State of California. If you go to its website,http://www.cap-mpt.comyou will see her picture appear right after the CEO of the company. Membership in CAP is the gateway to Mutual Protection Trust (MPT). Available only to CAP members, MPT is a market leader in the California medical professional liability arena.

Early Life:  Tammy Wu, grew up in Taipei Taiwan, and moved to the United States when she was 11 years old.  Her parents remained in Taiwan while she learned English and went to boarding school in Atlanta, Ga. She spoke with a southern accent, learned enough French to be awarded second place in an all-USA French speaking competition. She went to Brown University for college and medical school. She majored in Biochemistry. She came to Modesto in 2003 to join the Sutter Gould Medical Group and was the only plastic surgeon for the group until she left in 2006 to start Surgical Artistry Inc. with her husband.

Running History

I started running during my surgery residency. The general surgery residency required many hours at work. Many times it was over 100 hours per week on the job.  Running gave me a relief from the stress of surgical residency. I mainly got into running because my wife started running during residency. She was always better than me at running.  In fact, she had won races in the past in her age group. I found it to be awkward for me, but I kept at it.  A year after I started running, I ran my first marathon, which I finished in a little over 5 hours.  To me, the marathon represented my surgical training – it was long – and the fact that I had finished it gave me confidence that I could finish my surgery training. A year later after the first marathon, I ran my second marathon, which took me almost 6 hours – I wasn’t conditioned at all for that race, but I wanted to do it regardless. I had fun racing the truck that said “end of race.”  After 2002, both my wife and I had stopped running to focus on our medical practices. Because we have decided to sponsor this event, we’ve both taken up running again.  Once again, I’m seeing that I am not genetically made for running, but it isn’t stopping me from watching myself improve again.

Why Half Marathon?

Maybe I’ll walk the Marathon … I reserve the right to change my mind at the last minute … I think I’ll look at the half-marathon marker and decide which direction to go when I get there. My wife thinks the half-marathon is barely the right distance to train for given the 17 weeks left before the event. She’s more realistic. I tend to aim for the stars but am happy if I get the moon at the end.  Our Surgical Artistry staff is excited about the event and most plan to attend one of the races that day. I was already looking for ways to motivate myself to exercise again. Hearing about a chance to run in the first Modesto Marathon event was enough motivation to get going. I hope this inaugural event will motivate others as well. Whichever event we choose, it will be a 26.2 mile party because it is the first of its kind in Modesto.

Do you have any advice for others taking on the challenge?

It’s always good to take on a challenge, such as running the marathon. Even if we don’t conquer the challenge in the end, we may have improved ourselves tremendously while trying to reach that challenge.

I see two challenges for me with the Modesto Marathon:  I want to run one of the races and I want to help make it as successful as possible.

Things that worked for me when I was training for my previous marathons:

  • Keep a running log
  • Rest is as important as running
  • Read running articles for motivation
  • Do one long run per week.

A simplified version of my current training plan:

Run every other day. If it is a weekday, run 3 miles. If it is a weekend, do a long run. The long run increases each time (i.e. Start at 4 miles, then next week go to 5 miles) until it’s Modesto Marathon time!

Throwdown a Challenge?

The marathon will be a draw for many people. It’s always nice to see Modesto on the map for good things. I hope to see over 2,000 runners on race day.  And I want to thank the organizers and volunteers in advance. I’d like to challenge other sedentary types like myself to run/walk the marathon or half marathon. I can say with some certainty that if I can aim for this, many others can too. Plus it’s for a good cause – the Teens Run Modesto program.  Couch lovers and runners should all come out for this event because it is history in the making – the inaugural Modesto Marathon.