Checking In

As I’ve mentioned before, my job role at the church is shifting over the next few weeks. Through this transition, work has been extra busy for me and the blog has taken a little bit of a back seat. By the time June hits, my life should free up a little more, as my scope of work becomes more focused in one specific area.

However, there are several things I am looking forward to over the next month or so. What’s that, you might ask? Well, here you go…

  • TearDrop Half Marathon This Sunday, Rachel and I will be running one of the fastest half marathons in Georgia. The TearDrop Half Marathon takes place up in Chatsworth, GA, which is about 70 miles northwest of Atlanta. Apparently the last 7-8 miles are almost all downhill. I am hoping to get a solid race time that I will be able to use for corral placemats in future races. Rachel will also be going for a PR (personal record). Hopefully the weather will be nice! Recap/update coming after the race.

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  • Disneyland Trip (Tinkerbell Half Marathon) Over Mother’s Day weekend, we will be heading back out to Disneyland for our 4th straight year of running a race on the West Coast. This year, we’re running the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. This one is specifically unique since we ran the Princess Half in February. If you run both of these specific races in the same calendar year, you get a special pink “Coast to Coast” medal. Rachel is very excited! We will be spending 5 days out in California. Looking forward to getting back out to one of our favorite places in the world!

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  • Rachel’s Birthday On May 21st, Rachel hits the big 3-2. And while we don’t have any specific plans for her birthday weekend since we are going to be in California the weekend before, we will definitely celebrate this special occasion!
  • Walt Disney World Trip Finally, what would you expect…but another quick weekend trip down to Walt Disney World in early June! It actually will have been over 4 months between trips to Orlando by the time we get down there. Might be a record for us over the past few years. Haha! Anyway…we will be staying on property for the weekend and getting to see the new Pandora (Avatar Land) that is opening in Animal Kingdom just a week before we get there.

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So there you have it. Lots to look forward to over the next 40+ days in the Whittaker household. 2 Half Marathons, 2 trips to Disney and 1 awesome birthday!

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Friday Favorites

How is it already the middle of April?? Time flies when you’re having fun! Anyways…welcome to a “Good Friday” edition of Friday Favorites.

  • The Last Jedi Trailer I absolutely LOVED The Force Awakens. I thought it was a brilliant addition to the Star War universe. The trailer for the 8th movie, The Last Jedi, was released today and it looks amazing! December can’t get here soon enough.
  • Brooks Heritage Collection I bought a pair of the Brooks Heritage shoes last year and they quickly become my favorite pair of casual shoes. I love the retro look and colors. Rumor has it Brooks might be putting this collection back in the vault, so I ended up ordering 2 more pairs. I can’t wait to get them next week. Below is the pair I picked up last year.

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  • YETI Hopper Flip Cooler I’ve been dreaming about getting a personal YETI cooler for quite a while now, but they are definitely not cheap. Well, I ended up getting a very nice gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods from the basketball coaches after the winter youth basketball season, so I decided to finally treat myself to my first YETI! I am excited for us to use this cooler, from shorter trips when we are visiting Disney to storing water/Powerade when running at the park.

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I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend with family and friends! There is so much to be grateful for! Happy Easter!

 

Job Update

For the past 8 months, I’ve been in a dual role as Activities and Student Director at St. James UMC. It’s been quite a task to lead both of these vital positions at the church. And while we’ve enjoyed the extra income for our family, it’s taken away most of my Sundays and even a few weekends.

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So starting in the middle of May, I will be transitioning back over to the Activities side of my job exclusively. This decision did not come lightly, but after processing and praying for several months, I knew it was time to give up the Student ministry side of my position to someone who had the desire and passion to pour into the students of the church. 

The exciting part is this will allow Rachel and me to have our weekends back, in addition to fewer evenings away from home. Most importantly, I am excited to regain the same two days off each week with Rachel, where we can spend time with family/friends, run, travel, hit up Disney, or just take it easy!

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And while I don’t know if this is officially the last time I will serve in Student Ministry after almost 20+ years, I do know this new (old) role is where I’m meant to be right now.

Onward and upward!

Allen’s Recent Running Journey

Over the past few years, I’ve seen my running go through some different stages and changes. It started in January of 2015, when I ran my first full marathon as a part of the the Goofy Challenge (half marathon and full marathon on back to back days) at Walt Disney World.Goofy Pic

I decided, after that point, that I was ready to tackle my first sub 2 hour half marathon. I ended up signing up for a half marathon in March and April of that year. I was going to aim for at least a PR (personal record), with the dream of a sub 2 hour time at one of these two races.

In March, I went for my first attempt at the Montgomery Half Marathon in Alabama. Long story short, I ended up destroying my PR and running a 1:57 half marathon! I was pumped! I hit it on my first try!

Fast forward to the summer of 2015, when I start struggling with some right knee pain. As a long time runner, I’ve dealt with my share of nagging little injuries, but nothing quite like this. I had to start taking more days off and my pace began to slow significantly. Over the next several months, my knee started to feel better and I was able to continue this running journey.

During that period, I also began training for my first Dopey Challenge (5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon in 4 days) in January 2016. Now, my number one goal for Dopey was to finish injury free and have a good time. So I began to slow my pace down and threw in several walk breaks during my long distance training runs. This helped quite a bit. 

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For the rest of 2015 and almost all of 2016, I ran multiple half marathons and 2 full marathons. And most importantly, I stayed, for the most part, injury free. However, my pace was definitely slower than it had been in quite a while.

As I moved into 2017, I found myself wanting to work on my pace/speed again. I knew it would take some time, but I was ready to get myself back down to at least an under 10 minute per mile pace. It had been quite a long time since I had seen those numbers on any run over 3-4 miles.

For the past 2-3 months, I’ve been working on speed work. A lot of my runs now have negative splits (which means each mile time gets faster and faster).

16 days ago, I ran a sub 28 minute 5K!

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Today I ran 7 miles in 1:07

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My speed and overall pace has improved dramatically over the past few months and I’m feeling great. And the best part is, Rachel’s pace has also improved as well. Even with most of her running being separate from mine.

So last week, we decided to sign up for the Tear Drop Half Marathon in Chatsworth, GA, which is one of the fastest half marathons in Georgia. We are both going to go for a solid time and more than likely run separately, so we can set our own pace. And while I’m not sure I’ll break 2 hours, I do feel good about breaking 2:10, which would be my best half marathon time since 2015. And with Rachel’s current PR of 2:17, I truly believe she is going to break her record by several minutes!

All this to say, I am very happy with my running recently. In fact, just last week, I broke a new milestone on the Nike+ app with 5000 total miles in 5 years! And while I don’t use Nike+ as much anymore (I’ve been using the Garmin app for almost 2 years), my runs still sync to Nike+ so I was super pumped to cross over 5000 last week.

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Here’s to another 5000 miles.

Upcoming TV Shows I’m Looking Forward To

Friends….I love great TV. I find myself drawn in to a great TV show and I can talk about it for weeks/months or even years! So naturally I always have a list of past, current and upcoming shows that I want to watch or even rewatch. Here is a list of current TV shows I’m looking forward to that are starting back in the next few weeks.

  • Better Call Saul: (April 10) The spin-off from Breaking Bad (my favorite TV of all time) begins its 3rd season next Sunday. I was skeptical during the beginning of the first season, but have grown to truly love this show! Excited for it to start back!
  • The Leftovers: (April 16) Rachel and I were late to the game with The Leftovers. We didn’t watch the first 2 seasons until after they had aired. But good Lord, this is a great TV show. It’s quite a bit different from a lot of stuff on TV, and I really appreciate that. Season 3 is actually the final season, so if you are looking for a new show to watch, this will be a good one to start with.the-leftovers

 

  • Veep: (April 16) This is one of the wife’s favorite shows. I do enjoy it as well. It’s probably one of the smarter shows on TV. Should be interesting to see where they go this season after last year’s election.
  • Fargo: (April 19) Oh man…I’m so excited about season 3 of Fargo! I finally got Rachel to watch the first 2 seasons with me over the past few months and she was hooked. Season 3 looks amazing! I can’t wait!web_fb_featured_fargo
  • Silicon Valley: (April 23) One of my favorite comedies on TV is Silicon Valley. Honestly, I think it’s super underrated. Should be interesting to see the direction that season 4 goes after a pretty big shake up during the season 3 finale.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: (May 19) I LOVED season 1 of this show. Easily one of my favorite shows on Netflix. Season 2 took a little bit of a step back for me. Still good, but definitely not as strong as the first season. Hoping this 3rd season brings it back.
  • House of Cards: (May 30) House of Cards is such a great show. The acting and storyline are some of the best of TV. Binge worthy TV at its finest!netflix-house-of-cards

And last but certainly not least…

  • Game of Thrones: (July 16) AHHHHHH!!!! I’m so pumped for new GoT! I’ve read that the final 2 seasons (this one and the next) are going to be shorter seasons. I will enjoy it as long as I can, because I LOVE THIS SHOW!Mg7TpOaw