The Chicago Marathon was a big event for all who ran, but held even more importance for Gabriel Trinidad, a Rogue who ran as a charity runner for the American Cancer Society in honor of his late father in law, Howard Bowman. After months of training and raising more than double his $1000 charity goal, Gabriel took to the starting line and created race memories that will last a lifetime. Here is his account:
Dear Friends and Family:
Thanks again for all the kind words and “go have a great race” shout outs. I had a truly magical weekend.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) charity runner dinner on Friday night was AWESOME and INSPIRING… for this year’s race we raised a total of $875,000.00! Before dinner was over, all the volunteers snuck out of the ball room and formed a line on both sides of the hallway, shouting and cheering with signs, clappers and
ACS cowbells as we left. It felt like you were on the race course, it got your blood flowing and your mind right – it was really, really cool!
On Saturday night I went with my friend and running group partner Eleazar to his Charity dinner for Ataxia-telangiectasia, also known as AT. AT causes a progressive degeneration in parts of the brain in children and is normally diagnosed around 2 years old; it eventually leads to loss of muscle control around your face and eyes and ultimately wheelchair confinement. We got to meet the two little girls, Kate & Olivia, that Eleazar had raised money for…absolutely beautiful girls! They put medals with the AT logo on them around our necks and gave us buttons with their pictures so we could “carry them with us” during the race. Magical!
The early weather reports were projecting rain then snow then back to rain. One of our Rogue team mates Joe (who used to live and work in downtown Chicago) had borrowed a car from a friend here and so we got to drive the course. Along the way we saw a bar called the Brownstone that had a TEXAS LONGHORN flag hanging outside. Carol went to go see the TX vs. Colorado game there with our friends Terri and Jim who had just moved from Austin; it turned out to be the local bar for the Texas Exes Association. Meanwhile, I got to sit in the hotel room trying not to get too many negative energy waves from our (Longhorn) lack of offense!
It turned out that the Saturday morning weather was perfect… at the last minute I decided to wear a long sleeve t-shirt, my first and only mistake of the day!
Our group of six runners along with Carol and Heather (another Rogue teammate) left the hotel around 6am. It was cold, but not windy or wet. In fact, as we waited at the starting line with 35,000 people it was down right comfortable.
When they finished singing the National Anthem everyone started taking off their first layer of clothing and then began throwing them over the fences. It looked like a clothing piñata had exploded! My bib number was 31303, which in theory indicates how many people are in front of you. I started the race with my friends Paul and T. In the first 2-300 yards you run under a bridge with tons of people above, cheering. We decided to make our first pit stop under it, in the dark. T said it was a great call!
This was the first race where I actually got to see events and hear things that I hadn’t noticed in past races. I don’t know if it was my training or one of the ten mantras that I was chanting along the way, but there it all was right in front of me. I didn’t have to look away or lose concentration – the bridges, the skyscrapers, the Chicago Theater, the Lincoln Park Zoo, Elvis, the male cheerleaders and gay rifle corps in Boys Town (which is a local favorite), the trees along Sedgwick, the mariachi bands, the incredible dancing dragon in China Town. I even saw a young cocker spaniel along the route…he looked exactly like Wylie when he was Dennis Rodman (Long story, ask my sister)! He and I made eye contact and he just sat and watched me run by. I’m not kidding – I just smiled and grinned. Magical!
The funny part was I never saw Carol and Heather. They saw me at mile 11, and the rest of my group saw them… Carol said I was really focused!!!
I had trained for a 3:50 through the heat and over the hills of Austin and hoped for a 3:45, which would leave me 15 minutes away from my Boston qualifying time of 3:30. I planned to chip away at those 30 minutes over the next year.
Vera had given me one of Howard’s favorite rings when he passed away in December (it was a gift Carol and I had given to him years ago). I wore it on the outside of my gloves and would look down at it along the way – it was great inspiration for me. I felt great aerobically the entire way. During mile seven my hamstring acted up, causing me to change my gait and posture. I looked down at Howard’s ring and said “come on Howard, we’re taking it home!” We hung in there and, as my coach Amy always says, “you can’t give up…you never know when your race will come back to you.”
Mile ten brought on another mantra (we eat 10 for breakfast) … Mile 13 (Hey! You’re halfway there!), Mile 17 (Time to go to work), Mile 20 (You’ve only got three to go), then mile 23 began straight shot downtown. My coach had suggested to me during my race plan meeting back in Austin to find a building to focus on…which I found the day before in the car with the team. The last 3.2 miles was pure adrenaline, I just kept saying “Come on Howard, lets go home”… “Come on Howard lets go home”… over and over… LOUDER AND LOUDER…AS I GOT CLOSER AND CLOSER…finally it was over!
3:41:32 – huge for me! That’s 19 minutes faster than my last official marathon time, 11 minutes off of a BQ and it’s 2 hours faster than my first marathon!
We were 6337 out of +35,000 runners…for Howard and I it was: