Closing Out February Goals

Back around the first of February, I did a February Goals blog post, where I talked about several goals I wanted to aim for this month. Let’s see how I did…

  • Read 2 New Books: I ended up finishing my first book (Hillbilly Elegy) and got about halfway through my second book (My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She’s Sorry). Unfortunately, the month got away from me before I had enough time to finish 2 books, but I’m happy I was able to get close.
  • Run 100 Miles: Even with only 28 days, I crossed the 100 mile mark this morning with a 4 mile run. It was a good running month for me!
  • Weekly Date Night: Rachel and I were able to have intentional time together this month, including a weekly date night. I always love having that special time with her to talk about our hopes and dreams.
  • 3 Weekly Blog Posts: I was able to keep up with the blog by blogging at least 3 times each week!
  • Reaching Out to Old Friends: I reconnected with several old friends this month. It was so good to catch up with them. I hope to continue this moving forward.
  • Living in the Moment: Several times I had to remind myself to put my phone down and be present in the world around me. It’s a great reminder for those of us who are attached to our phones/computers/tablets.

So there you have it. It was good month indeed. Bring on March!


2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Today Rachel and I head down to Walt Disney World for the 2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. This is our first year running at this particular race. The wife is very excited for sure!


We will hit up the parks on Friday/Saturday before running the half marathon on Sunday morning. We have several friends who will be at Disney this weekend, so it should be a good time seeing everyone. We are even staying on property for Saturday night before the race! I’m looking forward to sharing our experiences on the blog after we get back.

Make sure to follow me on social media to stay up-to-date on all of our amazing adventures this weekend!

Instagram: @allenwhittaker
Twitter: @allenwhittaker


Upcoming Race Schedule

I like to do these kinds of posts from time to time to help remind myself of the races I have coming up.


  • Princess Half Marathon Rachel and I will be heading to Disney tomorrow evening, where we will both be running in the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. I was originally not running this race, but since the half in January was cancelled, I decided to join Rachel. Should be fun running with mostly women!
  • Publix Half Marathon Rachel and I are running this race in mid-March in Atlanta. It was one of my favorite races in 2016.
  • Tinkerbell Half Marathon Rachel and I are heading out to Disneyland over Mother’s Day in May to run this half marathon. It will be our 4th consecutive Coast to Coast Challenge!
  • Peachtree Road Race As a member of the Atlanta Track Club, I have guaranteed admission to the world’s largest 10K, which takes place on July 4th in Atlanta. This will be my second year running this race.
  • SeaWheeze Half Marathon As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I received a free entry into this extremely popular half marathon in Vancouver. This race takes place in early August.
  • Dopey Challenge Finally, I signed up again for the Dopey Challenge at WDW in January 2018. The Dopey Challenge consists of running a 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon in consecutive days. Rachel is signed up for the 10K and half marathon. This will be my second overall Dopey!


While these are the only races I currently have on the schedule, I anticipate I will add several more to the calendar over the rest of the year. Stay tuned for recaps on all of these exciting races!

Dad’s Surprise 70th Birthday Party

Last Saturday, we headed down to Lake Martin in Alabama for the day to surprise my Dad for his 70th birthday.


My siblings (especially my sister Julie) planned a wonderful surprise for my Dad. We all met down at my Aunt Melinda’s lake house before my Dad and his girlfriend, Suzanne, showed up at noon. It was all my siblings and their spouses and kids, along with Dad’s siblings (Aunt Melinda and Uncle Burns and his wife, Jo).

My Dad was seriously so surprised and overwhelmed with emotion when he saw all of us. It was such a wonderful scene. And the best part…Dad had proposed the night before (Friday) to Suzanne, so we were able to celebrate both occasions!

Below are some pictures from the day.


Random Observations at Starbucks

Many of you know that I am a huge Starbucks fan. I find myself at a Starbucks almost every day. Some days I even grab a table and work, blog, read, etc…


Today as I’m sitting at the Starbucks right up the street from our townhome, I find myself more in observation mode than anything else. Here are some random observations I am having this afternoon.

  • The middle of the afternoon is one of the worst times to visit my Starbucks. This particular Starbucks is up the street from a private school (Marist), and I think half the school is here.
  • Most of kids from Marist look to be in high school and are 95% girls. They have all ordered venti frappuccinos with extra whipped cream.
  • They are all on their cellphones and most look to be on Instagram.
  • One of the girls is crushing hard on the only Marist guy here. She’s super cute, but is trying too hard. I think the guy knows she likes him and is playing it cool. Nice play, guy. Nice play.
  • The rest of the people here look like they’re working. They all have their headphones in.
  • Mobile order at Starbucks is a beautiful thing. I walked in and saw the line of 20 people, so I ordered my drink via mobile order and had my drink in 5 minutes. I probably had my drink before 15 of the 20 people in line.
  • The weather for February 17 is insanely nice. It’s almost 70 degrees in Atlanta, which is quite warm for this time of year.
  • Half of the people are still wearing jackets even though it’s 70 degrees out.
  • Lululemon could have sponsored the clothing here, as most of the Marist kids and several of the women are wearing it.
  • The John Williams Pandora station is providing the soundtrack to my blog post. It’s so good.
  • Two of the baristas at Starbucks know me by name. I may come here too much….


Guest Post: For Discussion: The Guys of Gilmore Girls

(Rachel takes over today with one of the more different posts you will see on the blog…)

I was wracking my brain this week trying to think of a topic for a guest blog post. I considered running, Disney, heck, even my job (a stimulating post for another day, I’m sure), but came up empty.

Then, while sitting on the couch watching Gilmore Girls re-runs for the eleventy thousandth time, I thought, what better topic than the never-ending discussion of the guys of Gilmore Girls?

It’s a topic every woman (and a decent chunk of men) has had over the years. In the race for Rory Gilmore’s heart, are you Team Dean, Team Jess, or Team Logan? I thought I’d entertain Allen’s readers with a semi-objective take on which guy is best suited for our beloved Gilmore girl.

(Herein lies the obligatory spoiler alert, although the first season aired almost SEVENTEEN years ago, so I think the statue of limitations has passed. I’m only going to address the first seven seasons, not the new Netflix season, so you’re safe, Mom!)

First, chronologically at least, there’s Dean. Midwestern, reliable, unencumbered, sweet Dean. But is he, really? Yes, he’s ultimately the jilted one (twice), but let’s be honest – is he really as nice as he appears? Remember, in season one, when he broke up with Rory because she didn’t return his “I love you”? Throughout the entire series, he was crazy jealous, and a little vindictive. And he had a temper. AND he cheated on his wife – with Rory. Not cool, Dean.


Over the first few seasons, I thought of Rory and myself as kindred spirits, what with the bookishness and general reservedness…right up to the point she lost her V card to Dean (again…while he was married. And yes, she was not blameless. But still). But in the end, Dean was too small town for Rory, and she tossed him aside to experience a more exciting life with Logan.

Then there was Jess. Rory stood by and let her relationship with Dean collapse after Jess came to town. They had crazy chemistry and a lot in common. (Fun fact: the actors dated in real life.) However, the timing was always off with these two. Jess was a colossal jerk in high school, acted rashly in college (remember when he went to Yale and asked her to run away with him? I hadn’t on my last re-watching), and finally got it together a couple of years later – while Rory was firmly in the Logan zone.


Lastly, Logan. A cad the likes of which Rory had never before encountered, and Lorelai explicitly hated. I always felt like Rory was way out of her league with this one. Never before had she been subject to someone not completely falling all over themselves to date her. She had to try a little. And it was refreshing! As Allen has always said, Logan challenged her in a way the other dudes had not. He was high class, and, accordingly, high stakes.


Logan proposed at her graduation from Yale at the end of the series, and Rory said no – presumably because, as with Dean, she didn’t want to pigeonhole herself in one place, with one person (even if that place was London, with Logan). Although Rory never struck me as a particularly free spirit, I admired her desire to pave her own way, on her own (much like her mother did once upon a time). (Insert comment about her behavior in the new season here.)

However, let’s be real. Jess is the best! I truly believe, all things being equal, that they would have the most compatibility in the present day. However, from a more realistic perspective, at this point Rory probably would’ve found someone completely different and more suitable for her (the new season notwithstanding).

As much as I hate to admit it, Rory was totally defined by her beaus in the first seven seasons of the show (and much of the new season – sorry, I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about it!). I wish she would’ve had some more independent moments in the series – but then again, isn’t it fun to have something to talk about?

SeaWheeze Half Marathon Entry

Those of you that know me know that I absolutely love Lululemon clothes. I broke down about 18 months ago and picked up my first pair of running shorts and haven’t looked back since!

So naturally when I heard they put on their own half marathon in Vancouver, called SeaWheeze, I knew I would have to run it one day. However, it’s incredibly difficult to get in. They typically sell out within 3-5 minutes after registration goes on sale. And thus, I haven’t tried yet, but figured maybe in 2018 I would give it a go.

Fast forward to last Thursday, when I get a random message from LuLu on Twitter asking me to direct message them. Here is what I get back after I direct message them…


I was floored, excited and in disbelief. Free entry to this sold out race in Vancouver! Obviously the biggest part of this was figuring out how I could make this work. You see, Rachel and I leave 2 weeks after this race for a 16 day trip to Paris, Barcelona and Italy.

Fortunately, the wife was super supportive and encouraging of me trying to make this work. I found out my good friend Justin, who lives in Seattle, also got a surprise entry into the race. And because he and his wife, Devin, live in Seattle, they recommended we fly there, and offered for us all to make the 2-hour drive up together. 

This is a huge help, as flights to Vancouver are about twice as much as Seattle. And we will be able to crash with them one of the nights, which will save on a hotel room as well. 

So all that to say…we are officially going to Seattle/Vancouver for a long weekend in early August, where I will be running one of the coolest half marathons in the world! I’m pumped!



Things You May Not Know About Rachel and Allen

Last week, I did a blog post on “Things You May Not Know About Me,” where I took a closer look at some things you may not have known about me. Today I will look at some of things you may not know about Rachel and Allen.

  • We have lived in 6 different houses/apartments in 10 years of marriage.


  • We both love everything pop culture: movies, music, TV, books – you name it.
  • I proposed in the chapel of the church we attended at the time (Lawrenceville FUMC).
  • Rachel was 21 and I was 31 when we got married.


  • We are 9 and ½ years apart in age.
  • The first concert we attended together was 311 (with opener Something Corporate – one of our faves over the years).
  • Besides Atlanta, if we could live anywhere in the U.S., we’d live in Southern California.
  • Rachel and I both ran our first half marathons together in January 2013.


  • In the 10 years we’ve been married, Rachel has worked at the same company, and I’ve changed jobs…a few more times.
  • We both attended SEC schools (Auburn University for me, University of Georgia for Rachel).
  • The first movie we saw in the theater together was Finding Nemo.
  • We both played for our high school tennis teams.
  • We honeymooned in San Diego, and went to Disneyland for the first time (and have been many times since!).



Friday Favorites

Welcome back to another edition of Friday Favorites, with your host…ME! Here are a few things that I am excited about in my world this week!

Pro Compression Socks: If you read this blog, you know that I love Pro Compression marathon socks. They look and feel amazing. Plus, the compression really does help me recover faster after a long run. They were running a special last week…buy 2 pairs get 3 free! I ended up grabbing some awesome new colors/styles!


My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry: As you may remember, one of my February goals was to read 2 new books for the month. I blogged last week about my first book, Hillbilly Elegy. (I am about two-thirds of the way done.) My second book will be My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman. I read Backman’s book A Man Called Ove last month and I absolutely loved it (I highly recommend it!). I am looking forward to reading another one of his novels.


2018 Dopey Challenge: When I started this blog back in November 2015, I was deep into training for the 2016 Dopey Challenge. I ended up blogging quite a bit about my experiences with running the Dopey Challenge, which is a 5K on Thursday, 10K on Friday, Half Marathon on Saturday and Full Marathon on Sunday, for a total of 48.6 miles. I wasn’t sure I would ever consider running this challenge again, as once is certainly enough. However, one of my closest friends decided to sign up for the 2018 Dopey Challenge for next January…and, well…I’m back for my second Dopey! Rachel has decided to run the 10K and half marathon, so I’ll have her for 2 of the 4 days. It’s still obviously 11 months away, so I have plenty of time to train, but I’m excited, nonetheless, to participate again!



Things You May Not Know About Me

I saw this specific post (Things You May Not Know About Me) the other day on another blog and decided to do one for myself. Here are some things you might not know about Allen.

  • I have played the guitar since I was 14 years old.


  • I’ve written over 25 songs on the guitar (music and lyrics) over the past 25 years.
  • I’ve been to 13 Dave Matthews Band shows.
  • I have 8 nieces and nephews, which includes 4 girls and 4 boys.


  • I was engaged 2 times before I met Rachel.
  • I’ve only lived in two states (Alabama and Georgia).
  • As much as I have loved Disney all of my life, I didn’t step foot in a Disney park from age 15 to age 29.
  • I go to Starbucks almost every day of the week, but I actually don’t drink coffee.


  • I sang in the Enterprise High School and Auburn University Concert Choirs, including performing in show choirs for 3 of those years.
  • I have participated in over 40 weddings, from officiating to singing/playing guitar to being a groomsman or usher.
  • I have been to 29 of the 50 U.S. states.
  • Since I was 18 years old, I’ve spent 21 of the last 23 years in Student Ministry as my career.


  • In college, I was in a band called Counterpart. We recorded an album and played several shows. I played rhythm guitar, sang backup vocals and sang lead vocals on a couple of songs. My friend Dallas and I co-wrote 95% of the songs.
  • I’ve been a Duke Basketball fan for 30 years. I’ve attended more than 10 Duke games, including 3 games at Cameron Indoor Stadium.