Tag: Gabriel’s Symphony

When it doesn't Hurt to Cry

Two  Saturday ago,  we celebrated my son Gabriel’s life with our 8th 12 hour event in his memory.

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It was a fun filled day with activities happening simultaneously.

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Before the official start, Maiqui and Drew already started their ironman with their 4k swim.

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People started running and biking at 6 am… bike

and the kids tri was on it’s way at 7am.

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The kids tri was special to me because my daughter Nadine did a tri in memory of her baby brother Gabriel.

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We had the awarding for the kids tri then I did my bike ride.

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After lunch, our new beneficiaries, the barefoot running kids arrived.

We had a class on cartoon drawing for them care of fellow triathlete Wayne Dearing and his wife Stella and their company, Top Draw Animation, led by animator Nary Jamlig.

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Our special guest Filipino champion boxer, ranked 4th in the world, pound for pound Nonito Donaire and his wife Taekwando champ Rachel joined the kids for the cartoon drawing lessons and later for the run.

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Then we had our special surprise, new shoes for the kids c/o New Balance.

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After that we had the arnis demo…

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our sunset run and relays for the kids.

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Maiqui and Drew  crossed the finish line amidst the loud cheering of the kids who also sang happy birthday to Maiqui.

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I cried at the finish line. So did Ani and Mailet. It was just such a beautiful scene. — to be among friends who cared enough to make a difference in the lives of other kids.

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When Running Barefoot Is Their Only Choice

While I was doing my usual training along Daang Hari on a Saturday morning, waving at my triathlon friends who had just finished theirs, a group of kids caught my eye.

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They were a rag tag team gathered under a shady tree.

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First they did some stretching, then some serious push-ups and sit-ups, after which they started running. After their run warm-up, the older boy, not more than 15 years old, started timing them one by one.

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Coach Noel and I were so impressed and so intrigued, we approached them and talked to them. It turned out that the leader of the group, a young boy  named Joery Dela Pena, had organized them and was training them for a track event.

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Most of them ran barefoot or in rubber slippers.

I  realized that these kids were meant to be the new beneficiaries of Gabriel’s Symphony.

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Every year, we celebrate my son Gabriel’s life with a 12 hour event where friends come to run, bike, swim, walk, do a triathlon for the benefit of disadvantaged children. My son Gabriel, never reached his 1st birthday, he had multiple disabilities. He was perceived to be blind and deaf. My hope is that because he lived, no matter how short, his life would make a difference in the lives of other disadvantaged children.

 

On Saturday, September 4, 2010, we will hold our 8th 12 hours in Memory of Gabriel. This year, we will include a program for these young runners. Through the generosity of our friends,  Wayne and Stella Dearing and their company Top Draw Animation, the kids will be given lessons in animation and will take home their sketch pads and art materials.  They will also be given basic Arnis lessons. We will also have running events lined up for them. Our sponsors, New Balance will be giving them shoes, Century Tuna, RFM and Gardenia – goodies to take home. Aside from these goodies, they will receive free vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B care of GlaxoSmithKline. After September 4, we hope to remain an active part in their young lives. We want to support their running, their education, give them a full life.

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If you want to make a difference in the lives of these kids or any of the other kids we help who have cleft lips, are hearing or visually impaired, let us know by sending us an email at blessings@gabrielsymphony.com. See you on Saturday.

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7th 12 Hours In Memory of Gabriel (2009)

My son Gabriel lived for 9 months. Every September, we celebrate his short life  with a 12 hour event in his memory. Friends come to run, walk, bike or do a triathlon.  By doing this, our foundation, Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation, raises funds for kids who are disadvantaged either because of a disability, sickness or poverty. 

I like to think of it as a venue for families to have a day of fitness and fun while helping others. My own kids have done different things over the years. The first year, they actually biked and ran throughout the day stopping only to eat and rest. The succeeding years, they did the kids tri. This year, they both ran the 3k run with their friends. Anthony Pangilan and his son Donny won the Parent and Child buddy run  (official results of all the events will be posted on Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation).

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The kids triathlon and aquathlon was fun  as always.  Coach Ani de Leon’s  Super Kids, our  future national triathletes were there in full force.  Three  year old Kira Ellis was our youngest participant (youtube video of super kids).

Super Kids
Super Kids

Fresh from the CamSur 70.3 Ironman, my tri-friends,  organized themselves into groups to do an ironman relay. There were 12 teams in all, including two all girls teams called Little Twin Star and Hello Kitty! The Carpo sisters crossed the finish line with their teammates in colorful head gear and attire. Similarly, the sea princess, Tessa Prieto Valdes biked in her tutu. Inspired by all this,  I told Ani and Mailet, we should have a best in costume award next year!

Polotri relay team and me at the finish line
Polotri relay team and me at the finish line

 

Coach Ani with women who did the ironman relay
Coach Ani with women who did the ironman relay

 

 

Tessa, Ani and I after Tessa finished her bike leg
Tessa, Ani and I after Tessa finished her bike leg

 

 

Some of the visually impaired kids, beneficiaries of our Foundation  were there too. They did a demo swim, which prompted me to tell their coach that they may want to train and participate in the aquathon next year. 

Visually Impaired kids swimming as the other kids cheer them on
Visually Impaired kids swimming as the other kids cheer them on

Later that morning they did a demo of table tennis specially designed for visually impaired individuals. We have donated 2 of these tables to blind schools and has committed to donate some more.

table tennis demo of visually impaired kids
table tennis demo of visually impaired kids

We also forged a new tie-up with Carewell Community, a foundation dedicated to provide support for cancer patients and their families. We did a Carewell Bikes for Hope and raised funds both for Gabriel’s foundation and Carewell. 

And of course, my friend,  Maiqui Dayrit,  did his 5th ironman.  Every year, he worries that he is not in shape. But regardless of the shape he is in, he does his 3.8k swim, 180k bike and 42k run. He is by far, the foundation’s, longest running, largest individual donor. God bless your heart and keep you healthy and running strong Maiqui! 

Running with Maiqui
Running with Maiqui
Ani Joey and Me with Maiqui after he finished his 5th Ironman distance.
Ani Joey and Me with Maiqui after he finished his 5th Ironman distance.

As Maiqui was finishing his run,  my brothers and some friends on a whim, decided to do a 200 meter sprint.  The arrangement was regardless of who wins, the group would donate to the foundation. The run lasted all of a few seconds but it was totally fun watching them. 

Then we came up with the idea of having my senate staff do the same 200 meter sprint. Some of the women in my office are quite fit… In fact, three of them Mich, Marvee and Karen did their first sprint triathlon relay in the UP College of Law Dean’s Cup a few weks ago.

Staff run
Staff run

There was just too much that happened that day for me to be sad. I miss my son every day of my life. But so much goodness has come out of his short life. I thank everyone who has made this day memorable, for taking time to join us and for making a difference in the lives of children.

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Photo exhibits of kids the foundations has helped.
Photo exhibits of kids the foundation has helped.

 

Sleepytrigirl is back

I don’t recall suffering from jet lag as much as I am now. Its been more than a week  since I got back from Ethiopia and my body clock is still off. Last Sunday, I ran the Greenfield 10k race on 1 hour sleep.  That night, I slept soundly and after 7 hours of sleep,  was able to train at 7 am. The next day however, I could not get out of bed! I skipped training all together.

But jet lagged or not, I’m suppose to be back in training. It’s triathlon season for me. And I do miss doing triathlons. The last six months I did three marathons – Amsterdam in October, New York in November and just  this March, Tokyo. The week we got back to Manila, my training partner and I  swam and biked and he said “Partner, we’re triathletes again!”

I laughed and said, “yes we are.” Truth is, we never  stopped being  triathletes. Though my last three  major races were all marathons, we actually did our fair share of triathlons in 2008.

Last July,  Joey and I planned a trip to NY  and looked for a race to join in the area. His sister lived in New Jersey. So did my cousins. Best of all, m my brother Lino was living in New York. We ended up doing  the Rhode Island inaugural 70.3.

Joey, me and his bike in times square
Joey, me and his bike in times square

 

 

 

Rhode Island 70.3 ironman
Rhode Island 70.3 ironman

 

 

The next week, I did NY tri with Lino.  A few weeks later, Joey represented HSBC Philippines in the HSBC triathlon in London. Then he did the 03 triathlon in Subic. I did the Olympic distance.

 

NY Tri with Lino
NY Tri with Lino

 

 

Finally, in September, I did the Singapore 70.3 and he did a full ironman distance at my  event “12 hours in Memory of Gabriel.”

 

Singapore 70.3 ironman
Singapore 70.3 ironman

 

 

 

Joey finishing his ironman in the rain
Joey finishing his ironman in the rain

 

Ani de Leon, who completes our trio had her share of triathlons that year too. She did Ironman Langkawi in February where she qualified for a slot in Kona, the world championships. To prepare for Kona  she also did the Singapore 70.3 and the 03 in Subic. Then she was off to Kona to fulfill her dream.

Ani doing her dream race Ironman Kona
Ani doing her dream race Ironman Kona

 

Although I love doing tris, it definitely takes a lot of time  to train for one.  I have to plan my training schedule very carefully.. I need to plot and work  in 3-4 sessions of running, biking and swimming, plus at least 1 yoga and 1 boxing session (boxing is our easy day/cross-training work-out).

 My training partner and I need to juggle work, parenting and other commitments throughout the week.  And in my case, I need to be protective of the amount of back-to-back runs my legs can handle to avoid injuries.. And yes, I need my sleep.

So every week, we start out with a training plan. But every night, my training partner texts me and asks, “What’s ETT?” That’s estimated time of training. You see, even though we already have a plan for each day, he knows that it could change depending on:

       How my body feels/what’s on my mind

       how much sleep I will get

       changes in my schedule

 Although I always try to stick to the training plan, I sometimes alter the distance or intensity of the session, depending on the three factors above.  If I suddenly have an early day, then we will just do a quick run or box for 45 minutes.

What makes our ETT even more difficult to predict these days is the summer heat. I always fantasize about starting at day break..IF I could only get to bed early. But that rarely happens when you have a long day with lots on your mind, kids to take care of and work that you take home. 

So what’s a sleepytrigirl to do? Same thing, I’ve done the past few years. Kiss my kids goodnight and set my alarm; hit the snooze button a few times before I finally roll out of bed in the morning; text or reply to my partner that I’m awake or check that he is and down my oatmeal and vitamins before he walks in the door.

Rain or shine, sleepy or wide awake,  its time to train and be grateful for the gift of fitness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Have Turned My Mourning Into Dancing

September 11, 2001, I was in the coffee shop of a hotel when the news of the twin tower attack reached us. It was horrible horrible news. I was left thinking of all the families who had lost a parent, a sibbling, a loved one. I kept wondering how would they cope…how would they go on after that..

I had no way of knowing that a week later, September 19, 2001, I too would suffer such a devasting loss..On a day that was otherwise a regular working day to most moms, a school day for most kids, my only son and baby, Gabriel, breathed his last.

That day i walked out of the hospital, not like most moms with a content sleeping baby in her arms. I walked out carrying a baby who no longer breathed. As I stood in the parking lot with Gabriel in my arms, I realized the cool air brushed against his cheeks for the first time. If he could open his eyes, he would have seen the beautiful sky..How I wished that he had been normal, that I would have been blessed to see him grow, to run after his sisters, to learn to ride a bike..But that was not God’s plan and I had to accept it..

Many days before that in the middle of a run, I would find myself thinking that one day he will be gone and I will know sadness as I have never known it before. How will I cope? How will I go on?

When he died, I had to break the news to my children, Max who was then 6 and Nadine who had just turned 3. Max cried silently when I told her. Nadine didnt seem to understand then. But today, 6 years later, Nadine comes to me crying saying she misses her brother. I end up crying with her because I miss him too.

Last September 9, we celebrated our annual 12 hours in Memory of Gabriel (www.gabrielsymphony.com). I ts a fundraising multi-sport event we organize where we invite people to join us for 12 hours of walking, running or biking to raise funds for children with disabilities..Every year, I strive to make it more family friendly to encourage more people to come. I want it to be a venue for families to have a fun time, enjoying a beautiful day outdoors and at the same time raising awareness about kids who have special needs. I want my kids to know that their brother was special in many ways – special in the medical sense, because he had special needs – he could not see and hear. He would have never talked, walked or read a book. But also special because, through him, other kids would have a chance at a better life.

This year was a little bit different because aside from the 12 hour run, walk and bike event that was going on from 6am to 6pm, we had a super kids triathlon and an all women’s beginner’s triathlon.

We also had Maiqui Dayrit do his 3rd ironman distance triathlon (swim 3.8km, bike 180km and run 42km) and this year we also had a woman! Ge Santiago did an ironman distance as well! Both Maiqui and Ge went out of their way to get friends and family sponsor them, thereby raising more funds for our cause.

Maiqui, did an amazing race in just over 11 hours. He actually finished before it got dark. I did not know what to do with him because he looked so fresh and was happy just hanging around the area waiting and cheering for Ge.

The girls decided to do a “girl power” and keep Ge company in the run. Ani and Angeline (Labs to George and the tri community) ran with her almost from the start. I joined in later.Way after the sun had set, my kids, the Torres kids,their dad Joey, my brothers and other friends were still playing soccer and cheering on Ge everytime we passed by..

Ge finished in 13:58 with her kids and husband by her side…and the rest of us cheering wildly.

My daughter, Nadine decided to do her first triathlon at Gabriel’s event.

Maxie and her best friend Amanda, feeling they were tri-veterans, didn’t train for the triathlon. On race day, they winged it on the swim, biked comfortably and dragged their feet on the run, but in the last hundred meters, managed a sprint!

As we packed up, I couldnt help but think what a beautiful day this has been…I realized I had not cried that day..It was filled with so many good things –it was one big celebration of Gabriel’s life (he would have been 7 this year), everyone said they had fun and we raised funds for lots of disabled and disadvantaged kids..I had truly momentarily forgotten my sadness..And then I remembered one of my favorite songs in church which goes “You have turned my mourning into dancing…You have turned my sorrow into joy..”

Truly, on that day, God in his wisdom and grace had turned my sorrow into joy.

Thank you to everyone who joined us, thereby bringing joy to the lives of other children.

P.S. Pictures of the event to be posted soon on mydailyrace.multiply.com