"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Monday, May 2, 2011

My 1st Marathon

Wooo!  Back in February I completed my 1st marathon!  It was the 14th annual Myrtle Beach Marathon and I had the privilege of running with my Dad.  If you've read my blog for any length of time, you would know that running and I have had a pretty deep history.  There have been good times and there have been brutal times, but February 19th was a pretty good time for us.

We headed down to the beach on Friday with some of our best friends and Leah in tow.  The pre-race jitters were approaching as we got closer and closer.  We headed straight for the expo so I could pick up my race packet...then we headed to our hotel.  I had to get up pretty early the next day...race time was at 6:30am so we ate dinner and then it was time for bed.  I woke up the next day pretty pumped.  My adrenaline was high and I was ready to go!  Adam and I met my Dad and Suzanne at the start where we got warmed up.
 Adam and I before the start.

Juicin' up :) 

I'm probably thinking, "are you sure about this...?" 

 Last hug before the gun.

The gun went off at precisely 6:30am for the runners to start.  The first couple of miles were great.  The info I'm about to share with you might be TMI for some of you, so if you don't want to hear it, skip to the next paragraph.  There were portajons starting at mile 1 and let me tell you the lines were longer than you could imagine.  If you wanted anywhere near a good time, you were not standing in a line.  So, at about mile 2 I had to make a pit stop (it was all the nerves).  So I quickly ran behind a bush and was back on the course in no time.  My Dad always said, "you're not really a true marathon-er if you've never ducked behind a bush".  So...I guess I'm a true marathon-er!

Anyways, miles 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 were going great!  Adam and the crew (Suzanne, Sarah, Jeremy, and Leah) were all waiting for us at about mile 8 for some much needed support and fuel.  We saw them and stopped to grab some gatorade and kisses from Leah.  Let me tell you, seeing them was like a dream come true!

We were off again.  Can I just take a minute and say how proud I was of my husband?  He was the best supporter ever!  Everytime I saw him he had a gatorade and a water in one hand and a banana in the other.  Great job baby.

So miles 9, 10, and 11 were good.  We were coming up on mile 12 and passed the point where the half-marathon-ers turned off to finish and the crazy ones kept going.  That was pretty brutal for me...physically and mentally.  But we kept truckin on.  The next time we met up with the crew was at mile 16.  Adam had everything ready for my Dad and I...it was kind of like a buffet now that I think about it!  Bananas, Gatorade, water, body glide...what more could you need?  Sarah was Leah's 2nd mom that day.  She was great and I love her.

And we were off again.  Whenever you leave your support group along the race (especially a marathon) it kills you mentally!  But I just kept counting down the miles until we saw them again.

Miles 16 and 17 were hard.  The wind was killer, but luckily I had my Dad to draft behind some of the way. The scenery was beautiful...we saw the sun rising over the horizon of the water which took my mind off things for a while and saw some beautiful houses along the way.  I loved that it was such a flat course, but didn't need all that wind.  Mile 18 came up on us and my Dad started to get some minor cramps.  He always told me during our training that he would get me to a certain point and then tell me to go on so he wouldn't hinder my potential.  (Lots of life lessons to learn there...another post for another time).

So at mile 18, I was on my own.

I knew the next time I would see the crew would be at mile 23 so I was anxiously counting down every mile in anticipation of the next. Miles 19, 20, 21, and 22 were vicious.  This was the point where everyone around me slowed to an exhausted walk.  This was mentally draining as well.  Seeing everyone around me walking and lustfully longing after that same thought...draining.  I knew I had to keep going.  One more mile until I saw them.

Here I am...mile 23.  There they are.  My amazing husband ready to give me whatever I needed.  It was literally like a mirage.  Is this for real?  Were they really there?  Did I really only have 3.2 miles to go?

Hard stuff.  My Dad showed up about 8 minutes behind me.

To anyone who has ever run a marathon before you will know exactly what I'm about to say.  Running the last three miles was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  Yes, even harder than birthing a 9 lb. baby.  Absolutely brutal, atrocious, horrific, dreadful, awful, horrendous and any other synonym you can think of for bad.  But, I got through them (barely).  Another side note:  if you are a spectator (especially at a marathon)...do not EVER say, "you're almost there", "the worst is behind you", "you've only got a little more", or anything of that matter to a runner whose got more than 400 yards to finish.  Please and Thank you.

So, there...I did it.  I finished my very first marathon.  It took me a whopping 4 hourse and 41 minutes.  Pretty good for my first one, I would say.

 Coming thru the finish.

No comment needed. 

 Hug from my little.

My main man. 

Tired is an understatement. 

 Watching my Dad come in was a proud moment for me.  He did great!  Finished in under 5 hours.

PaPa with Leah. 

Right about this time, the negative caloric intake, lack of hydration, exhaustion, and heat were kicking in. 

I could not have done any of this without this man.  He is an amazing role model for me and I have promised him that when I turn 60 years old, I have to run a marathon with my daughter.  I promise, Dad.

I have to say, I have loved every last minute of this process.  My dad always told me that the training was the hardest part of running a marathon and it is true.  I am proud to say that I ran my first marathon with my Dad beside me from start (3 milers) to finish (20 milers).  I love you dad and I am so proud to say that I ran my first marathon with you!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Elevation Church

Elevation Church exists so that people far from God will be filled with life in Christ.  It has been our church home since February 2007.  Pastor Steven Furtick is the Senior Pastor at Elevation who has a true passion for reaching those far from God.  In February of 2006, Elevation opened its doors to about 120 members.  Currently Elevation is serving the city of Charlotte as one of the fastest growing churches in America with over 11,000 professions of faith and over 2,200 baptisms since its beginning.  God is truly in the midst of things at Elevation and we are not afraid to boldly follow after his calling to reach the city of Charlotte.  Elevation is one church with multiple locations.  We currently offer 12 worship experience times during the weekend across four locations.

Generosity, audacity, and honor are just three of the important qualities Elevation carries out.  You can go here to read what we call "The Code" which is our core set of values.  Pastor Steven truly has a vision from the Lord and it is such an honor to be under his leadership and to serve at a great church that is growing and expanding God's Kingdom.  If you live in the Charlotte area and don't attend a church, I HIGHLY recommend you visit Elevation.  You will be treated like a VIP and honored as a guest of ours.  Go here to find all the info you need on times and locations and we'll see you on Sunday!

image {via}

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blind Runner

Two weekends ago I finally did something I had always wanted to do (and wondered if I could do).  I ran my first marathon.  It was the 2011 Myrtle Beach Marathon.  Some people have called me crazy and others have taken their hats off, but that's not what I wanted to write about today.  

{I do have pictures and another post coming about my experience}

I had the privilege of running with my Dad, which made all the difference in the world.  When you run in a race, you kind of size everyone else up as you go...well, maybe I just do that.  I look at everyone around me.  I look at people's strides, the way they run, their shoes, who they're running with, and I unashamingly admit that I do look at their apparel for ideas to add to my future running apparel collection.  :)

Mile 7 was different.  

My dad and I were cruising along and I looked up and I saw about 100 yards ahead of me two people running with their arms attached somehow.  At first I thought this is just one of those crazy things you see during a race for people to get noticed (I thought they were running with handcuffs).  But when we got about 25 yards away I realized what it was.

A blind runner and his guide running with a string attached to each one of their wrists.

I was in awe.  I looked them up and later found that it was Army Captain Ivan Castro and his guide Lt. Col. Fred Dummar.  Please go here to read about his story (it's definitely worth an extra 2 minutes to read).  They had matching running shirts on that said their names on the back as well as their roles..."Guide" & "Blind Runner".  My Dad and I ran close by them for a little while and then we went our separate ways.  Can I just tell you that it was such an inspiration to run by them even if it was for a short while.  I couldn't help but get emotional (yes, I'm a sensitive girl and yes, it threw my breathing off) but I truly believe I was in the right place at the right time.

image {via} (Captain Castro on the left)

I couldn't help but think about that picture and how so much it mimics the picture of us and our Heavenly Father.  Call me cliche if you want...I don't care.  If you look at the picture above, Captain Castro is unbelievably fit.  I mean I guess that's the norm if you're an Army Captain.  He has all the ability in the world to run.  However, it's that one factor that has the possibility to hold him back from doing the things that he would really like to do.  Captain Castro has made a conscious decision to not let that hold him back...he found a solution...a guide.  It would be a shame for him to put all of his hard work and abilities to waste just because of one thing.

Same with us.  God has given each one of us different talents and abilities that He wants to see us use.  How dare us sit around and put all the abilities He has given us to waste and not use them for His glory.  BUT...there's always that one thing that tries to hold us back from what God has destined for us.  Don't let it!

God has graciously volunteered himself as your guide.  You are completely fit to do the things God has for you in this life.  {This} is also a really good article to read from The Sun News in Myrtle Beach about his experience running the Myrtle Beach Marathon.  In it, he says that it is definitely not easy for him to run...he runs in a zig zag and sometimes is not able to miss potholes or bumps in the road, which makes it that much harder.  He says that his guide has to be on the lookout for those things way far in advance.

How can you not trace this back to Christ?  How He sees the big picture?  And how he guides you and leads you through life hoping that you'll follow his lead to miss the potholes and bumps?  He'll allow you to experience those "bumps", but there's always a string attached...he'll always guide you through them.

We are all blind runners.  We are all completely able and fit to do the things God has called us to do.  He is our guide to whom we can trust.  He will lead us to the finish.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm in Denial.

My little girl turns 1 today (2-15).  I.cannot.believe.it.  Seriously, are you kidding me?  How could these 12 months fly by as fast as they did.  To all the experienced mamas out there...you were right.  Time flies.  To be quite honest, it's very bittersweet for me.  I don't really have a baby anymore, but I am so looking forward to all the fun times we're going to have together in the near future.  Leah is absolutely amazing and probably the cutest one year old you'll ever feast your eyes on.

This past year has been so much fun for all of us...we've...

-been on vacations together (mountains, beach, here...there)
-gone on countless walks around the neighborhood
-celebrated our first Mother's/Father's day
-experienced many firsts (1st diaper change, 1st smile, 1st laugh, 1st sleep through the night, 1st roll over, 1st patty cake, 1st peek-a-boo, 1st sit, 1st tooth, 1st solid foods, 1st word...dada, 1st crawl, 1st walk, & now a 1st birthday)
-started back to school/daycare
-had our first holidays (Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day)

And so much more...

Leah has taught me so much.  There truly is a love none other than a love you have for a child.  Leah has been a gift and a joy to have not only in our lives, but in the lives of all of our family and friends.  She has all the potential in the world to be and do whatever the Lord has for her.  It is our (mine & Adam's) job to call that potential out in her so she can one day have the confidence to do those things.

Leah is a beautiful little girl with a sweet spirit who has the potential to change the world one day.  I am truly humbled and honored to be her Mom.

Watch out world...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Running Adventures

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all of the in between!  The Hamilton's had an amazing Christmas and New Year and we hope/wish you did too! 

Over on the right hand side of my blog under the "about me" section, you will see that it says "lazy runner".  Well I am proud to say that is not true anymore!  You see, I had always been a runner...I guess...because I grew up in a family of runners.  I had always been apart of races, events, meets, etc.  Nothing was really serious hence the word "lazy".  Well, all that has changed and I have to say that I am a different runner now than what I was back then. 

I am training for a marathon!  Woo hoo!  I had always wanted to do one and when I was younger, I thought I would have done one by now, but it's never too late, right?  Well, after Leah was born, I had this crazy idea that I wanted to run a marathon by the time she turns 1.  She was born in February 2010 and in May of 2010 I ran my first race back sans being pregnant.  It was only a 5k and my goal was to just break 30 min.  Ha...can I just say it was one of my most embarrassing races ever.  Not only did I finish in 31 minutes, but I puked twice.  Did I mention it was only a 5k...3 miles?  Now I did just have a baby 3 months before, but still. 

Anyways, from that point forward I would go out and run every now and then, but nothing too serious.  Not until September was when I decided once and for all I was going to enter the 2011 Myrtle Beach Marathon that would be happening in February.  I had some knowledge on how to train for races, but nothing like a marathon, so who did I call?  None other than the main man himself...my Dad!

My dad was a running machine back in the day.  He's done well over 50 marathons including the Marine Corps Marathon, Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado, and even the Boston Marathon.  Back in high school, the track coaches were naturally more occupied with the sprinters than with the endurance runners, so my dad took me under his wing and ultimately got me to regionals.  He's great.

I was kind of nervous at first because he was pretty hard core back in the day and wouldn't let me slide with any of the complaints of "I've got a cramp, my side's hurting, I can't go on"...he would just keep running and tell me to get up there with him.  I thought my world was going to end, but he knew what he was doing.

So, anyway, back to the marathon.  I called him and told him I had registered and that there was no turning back.  He agreed to help me train.  I've got to tell you that once you get over that hump of discipline, it's all downhill from there.  I am the least disciplined person in my training, but if you've got a goal and you truly care about it, you will get over the hump and actually enjoy the process!  I was telling Adam about how I dreaded so much to go out and do 3 miles, but now I actually look forward to running 7, 8, and 9 miles on short days.

When I was younger, my dad used to always tell me, "Elizabeth, you have so much potential in this sport".  Every time we would run together and I started to complain, he would bring up that "p" word.  I never believed him.  He said something to me a couple of months ago on one of our runs in my old neighborhood.  We were talking about old times and the word potential came up and he told me again that I had so much potential back then but I had even more today.  He said that I never reached my potential because I didn't want it.  

Holy moly there you have it.  My dad is great, that day he taught me something.  Your potential never leaves you.  The desire to reach your potential can disappear causing you to regress and settle back in a mediocre life.  

I'm sorry this blog post has been a bit lengthy (I guess I'm making up for lost time) but I have thoroughly  enjoyed writing it.  Now, instead of calling myself a "lazy runner" I can confidently say that I'm a proud runner!  Thank you Dad for bringing out the best in me!

Myrtle Beach Marathon Countdown...38 days.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Join the bandwagon...

It's that time of year, and you know you need some...yes, I'm talking about Christmas cards.  Adam and I have never really sent out Christmas cards and if we did it would be the ones you would get at a drug store for $3.  But, since this year we have little Leah, we thought why not?  So the search began.  Ultimately, we ended up loving Shutterfly for its selection and mainly the prices!  We had used shutterfly before for these and they turned out amazing! 

For our Christmas cards, I have lots of favorites, but I have narrowed them down to this one:

 this one:

or this one:

I am really loving all of these, so it is going to be hard for us to choose!  I guess you'll just have to wait and see! :)

What's really cool is that shutterfly is offering 50 FREE Christmas Cards to bloggers who blog about this giveaway!  Crazy I know!  You can read more about it HERE and participate if you would like!!  Anyway, I hope you all are enjoying this Christmas season and really remember what it's truly about! :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Today here at school, all I see around me are kids with Indian hats on, fall decorations, the smell of our Thanksgiving feast, and happy faces by all (especially the teachers)...which can only mean one thing...Thanksgiving is here!  Now, we all know about Thanksgiving and how we should all be thankful for everything we have and how we are so blessed.  Yes, yes and yes.  We should be thankful everyday.  Just recently, the Lord has been showing and teaching me something new about Thanksgiving.

What's the first thing that pops in your head about Thanksgiving (other than a full belly)?  Thankfulness or gratitude, right?  Well, when I thought of gratitude, immediately, the Lord put this word in my mind...generosity.  Call me crazy, but I had never thought about this before, but gratitude and generosity completely go hand in hand!

I wrote this on my twitter a couple of days ago (yes, I tweet...@elizabethh3, and if you don't, you should), "Gratitude is shown through generosity.  You have been blessed, so be a blessing to someone else today".

Really...when you think about it, how do you express your gratitude?  You say "thank you" right?  Well, yes that's one way, but being generous by far shows your gratefulness the most!  You know the saying, "actions speak louder than words", it's true.

If you are reading this, chances are you have a computer, chances are you are under a roof, chances are you are probably having a nice drink or snack right now as well.  If so, you are among the top 5% of the wealthiest people in the world.  You have been blessed.

I want to be more like Him.  I give because He gave me life.  Who am I to keep everything He's given me to myself?  How else is a better way to share the love of Christ?  This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful, very grateful for my life and everything/everyone in it.  I know you're thankful too, but this year, show your thanks through generosity.  It will bless you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."  -1 Timothy 6:17-19