Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mexico mission, Day 7 (previously unpublished)

My birthday Mount Shasta climb over the weekend was a great way to cap off an exciting week of birthday adventures with family and friends!  As usual, I'll try to blog photos and stories from a few of those recent hiking and climbing outings when I get a chance.  There have been so many recent outdoor adventures! 

This previously unpublished post from Mexico was a snapshot of our mission trip earlier this month, from the morning of Day 7.  WiFi was down on the Thursday morning when I originally attempted to upload this post from Vicente Guerrero for our home Churches of God in the U.S.  Since this post has been stuck on my PC until now, I've also added some more recent Mexico photos for this release.

For a throwback, last year's blog update from Mexico is here.  Check back here later for an upcoming look at this month's entire Mexico trip, from guest blogger Kathy!

Garth, Kathy, Tim, Patricia, Vi, and Harry outside Welcome Home Outreach Ministries headquarters in Vicente Guerrero, Mexico 

Hello, loving church families and supporters in the U.S.!   It's Day 7 of our mission trip here in Vicente Guerrero, Mexico. Working with Welcome Home Outreach Ministries, God has allowed our combined group from Aloha, Fresno, and Tigard Churches of God to accomplish much so far.

At the beginning of this week, we completed rebuilding a roof for our new friend Victor and his family.

Worshiping en español at the local Calvary Chapel church on Sunday, before beginning the week's projects

A photo posted by Garth Hamilton (@garth_hamilton) on

Victor and the boys standing on the finished roof

The second roof we had hoped to rebuild was far too deteriorated for us to work on.  Rather than miss an opportunity to help that family, we decided to finance the materials for an upcoming group to build with.

Project 2: Neri points out the structural damage and unsafe deterioration of the second roof.

Our third and current project, pictured below, was brought to our attention completely unexpectedly. Eternal Anchor, an orphanage organization for disabled/special needs children, has been in need of a temporary structure to store some medical equipment for the upcoming school year. Thanks to some previously donated building materials, the only things missing were some willing and available laborers!

Since we were looking for a replacement followup project anyway, we started building a shed for Eternal Anchor on Wednesday.

Project 2, Day 1: Mixing mortar and cement, and laying the foundation

A photo posted by Garth Hamilton (@garth_hamilton) on

Project 3, Day 3 (Day 7 in Mexico)

Almost done!  Breaking for lunch on Day 7, with only some final roofing and a coat of paint remaining

Finally, here are some shots of the children served by the ministries we support here in Mexico:

A photo posted by Garth Hamilton (@garth_hamilton) on

Austin introduces a few of the special needs children that he, Deborah, and others care for at the Eternal Anchor orphanage

We expect to finish construction of the shed for Eternal Anchor by this afternoon, allowing us to drive back up to the U.S. border tomorrow morning. Thank you for your support and continued prayers!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon, Take 2

Posted from Vicente Guerrero, Mexico... I hope to blog some of our church's current work projects down here in Mexico soon!

"I love the tutu!" Vine video:  Click the unmute button to unleash the full craziness of this clip, filmed as I neared the "Finish Swine" of this year's Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

The last time we tried this...

Before we get to this year's race, let's face it... Last year, a couple of us PDX Delta Airlines employees showed the world how NOT to run the Flying Pig Marathon.  Jackie and I (along with plenty of other runners) missed a crucial turn-off, unknowingly bypassed our baton hand-off point, and accidentally followed the marathon runners all the way to the "Finish Swine."  Fortunately, the remainder of our PDX runners performed wonderfully.

Before reading about our 2015 race below, feel free to re-live last year's hilariously embarrassing (and well publicized) debacle in my earlier 2014 blog post here.

Moving on to this year's race... I'm happy to report that there were no mass diversions this year.  The event organizers who did such a fantastic job last year worked even harder to work out the kinks for 2015.

I had just climbed Mount Hood with Katya three days earlier, and my toes and feet were in really bad shape.  My podiatrist had forbidden me from ice climbing for eight months, and I was banned from running forever.  In other words, I didn't exactly have a doctor's note for this one.

The day before the race

Since I was the sole runner selected to represent PDX airport this year, I flew to Cincinnati without any local teammates this time.  I was looking forward to meeting the rest of my Region West team for the pre-race festivities.

Studying this year's race route on the plane ride, avoiding last year's mishap

Checking in at the Millennium Hotel, registering, and picking up our team's race swag from the Flying Pig Expo 

Pre-race party at the Via Vite Italian Bistro:  My teammate Ingunn (on the right) and I (before I cut off my wild curls) mix it up with the other relay teams, and indulge in Delta's generous hospitality.  Ingunn was an Elite-status runner in the Boston Marathon! 

Race Day

Long, early morning walk from the Millennium to the relay shuttle bus

Pumped and waiting for my baton hand-off for the final leg of the relay 

Vine video: Hit the unmmute button to hear the crowd cheer for the lead marathon runner as he races past the final baton hand-off point.

More runners ran past as I anxiously waited, stretched, and bounced to the rock music on my running song playlist.

Finally, I spotted Ingunn running down the hill towards me.  She yelped and enthusiastically thrust the baton towards me, as though running past. I grabbed the baton from her and started thundering down the final leg.

The cheering crowds provided course-side refreshments and encouraging shouts.
"Looking good, Delta!"
"Love the tutu!"

Considering my pain and soreness from that week's Mount Hood climb, it was satisfying to pass so many runners as I ran my segment.  My feet were already injured, but a preexisting numbness in my toes (from a previous Mount Hood climb) strangely offset the pain.

Though the pain began to lag my pace, I decided to pull out all stops for the final mile.  Check out the Vine video at the top of this post to get a feel for the moments as I was about to enter the final stretch.  The crowds got much louder and even more intense as I neared the Finish Swine.

An all out sprint to the Finish Swine brought my overall pace up to a 7:54 minute mile.  Not anywhere near as fast as I expected, but respectable.  According to an infograph texted me by a teammate, I ranked 22nd (In my leg? I'm not sure how that works) and 20th overall, and our Region West team took 5th place among all the Delta teams!

After crossing the Finish Swine


Post-race festivities, refreshments, and freebies

Live music and dancing at the after party

And finally, I'll throw in one more flashback from last year's Flying Pig Marathon.  Delta's running teams are unforgettable, year after year!

A photo posted by Garth Hamilton (@garth_hamilton) on