2019 LA Marathon

Hello friends! Rachel and I leave tomorrow for California, where I will be running the LA Marathon on Sunday. This marathon will be my 5th overall marathon. After months of training, the time has come to get to work! And after the race, we will be hitting up Disneyland for a couple of days to celebrate. Should be a fun 5 days in Southern California!

Make sure to follow me on social media to stay up-to-date on all my amazing adventures!

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Pacific Northwest/Disneyland Recap (Part Three – Disneyland)

A few weeks ago, Rachel and I headed out for our 2018 summer vacation to Portland, Seattle and Disneyland for 9 days. We ended up spending 3 awesome days in each location. Check out Part One Here and Part Two Here. Today…our time at Disneyland!

After almost a week in the Pacific Northwest, we flew down to Anaheim, California for the final 3 days of our trip. We were very excited to have some time at Disney, especially since this trip we would be staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel (GC). We have never stayed on property at Disneyland, so we this was definitely a first! Plus, the GC literally backs up to the California Adventure theme park, which meant we could skip the front of the park lines and use the gate from the hotel!

Now I could spend a lot of time talking about how awesome each of the 3 days were at the parks…but honestly that would end up being way too long or needing separate posts. So in order to keep it on the shorter side, I’ll just hit the highlights…

  • Pixar Pier The pier at California Adventure had just opened with a new theme of Pixar. And friends…it was absolutely amazing! From the merchandise and music playing in the background to the amazing food and overall theming, everything was near perfection!
  • Pixar Pier Food/Sweets The food/sweets deserve a second mention at Pixar Pier. Everything was just so good. We even got a reservation for lunch at the Lamplight Lounge. Sooooo good! And the theming of the restaurant was amazing!
  • Parades/Shows We love the Paint the Night parade! It’s probably our favorite entertainment that Disney puts on in all the parks. Plus, we scored a great spot for the parade! We were also able to catch the afternoon Pixar parade and evening castle show in Disneyland. All of the shows/parades were just wonderful!
  • Disney and Running Friends We have made some great friends through the Disney and running communities. We were able to have some great time with our friends AJ & Ivie and Tony & Kelley, along with Linzie. It was a great time getting to catch up with them!
  • Cast Member Friends and Family 5K We ended up getting to run the Cast Member Friends and Family 5K the last morning of our trip, since AJ is a cast member for Disneyland. We ended up starting right on Main Street USA and running through both parks.  Unfortunately, runDisney races aren’t currently happening on the West Coast, so it was wonderful getting to run through the California parks again while the races are on hiatus.

Disneyland and California Adventure hold a special place in our hearts. We spent a few days of our honeymoon at these parks over 11 years ago. And while quite a bit smaller than the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, we just love being at the Disneyland parks. The rides, food, theming, weather and overall atmosphere really make this a yearly trip for us.

All in all, we had a wonderful summer vacation. So many wonderful memories at each of these places! Until next time…

Pacific Northwest/Disneyland Recap (Part Two – Seattle)

A few weeks ago, Rachel and I headed out for our 2018 summer vacation to Portland, Seattle and Disneyland for 9 days. We ended up spending 3 awesome days in each location. Check out Part One Here. Today…our time in Seattle!

After spending a wonderful few days in Portland, we made our way up to Seattle for the next stop on our vacation. Since we had the rental car in Portland, we were able to drive up to Seattle vs. flying. We ended up stopping along the way in Tacoma, Washington, as someone (Rachel) is a little obsessed with the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, and Tacoma has 2 different filming locations. We found the school and the house from the movie. It was actually quite awesome!


Once we got up to Seattle, we dropped our rental car off, as we wouldn’t need it for the rest of our trip, and made our way over to the hotel. We found a cool hotel, called Hotel Max, that would be our home for the next 3 days and was close to everything.


After dropping our stuff off, we made our way down to Pike Place Market to explore the Seattle Waterfront. We ended up starting with the first ever Starbucks and grabbing coffee. It was cool to see where it all started! 


From there we walked around a bunch exploring the area and taking in the city for the rest of the day. We ended up meeting some friends who live in Fremont (just north of the city) for dinner that evening. It was awesome to see them!


After dinner, we made our way back down to Pike Place Market and the Seattle Waterfront to get some ice cream and watch the sun set. It was breathtaking!


The next day, we started at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, which is basically a coffee bar. It’s also where I had probably the best mocha in my life. We had a great time. Highly recommend for Starbucks fans!


Later, we made our way over to the Seattle Monorail to ride over to the Seattle Center/Space Needle area. We started with the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop), which was really neat! It had a bunch of different room experiences, including a Horror room, Fantasy room, Jimmy Hendrix Experience room, Nirvana room and more. We had a lot of fun exploring all the different parts of the museum.


After the MoPop, we hit up the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit, which was highly recommended to us by several people. And friends…it did not disappoint. It was one of the coolest experiences of our trip. The glass/art was unlike anything we’ve ever seen. I think we could have spent hours admiring all of the work/details. Pictures really don’t do it justice.


From there our time to go to the top of the Space Needle had arrived. Now if I’m being honest, I don’t love heights, but I definitely wanted to go up to the top to see all of the city. And while unfortunately it was a little hazy, it was still really awesome to see everything. As always…pictures really don’t capture how cool Seattle really is.


Once we finished up in the Seattle Center area, we rode the monorail back over to our hotel area. We grabbed some dinner and took an Uber over to Kerry Park, which again was highly recommended to us by several people. Kerry Park is this little park that overlooks the city skyline. It was quite beautiful! I only wish it was clearer so as to see Mount Rainier in the background!


On our final Seattle day, we grabbed a ferry over to Bainbridge Island for a few hours. It was about a 40 minute ferry ride over to the island and ended up being a little on the colder side for that morning. Nothing like needing a long-sleeved hoodie in early July…


We spent a few hours exploring the stores on the island and grabbing lunch before heading back over to the city. The views of Seattle heading back over on the ferry boat were awesome!


The rest of the day was spent exploring the different sights, shopping and eating. We even made it up to Gas Works Park (another 10 Things I Hate About You movie location) and The Troll under the bridge in Fremont.


After meeting up with our friends again for dinner, we made our way back down to the hotel for one last night of sleep before our flight the next morning to Anaheim. All in all, we had the best time in Seattle. It is a beautiful city with so much to do. We will definitely be back!

Pacific Northwest/Disneyland Recap (Part One – Portland)

A few weeks ago, Rachel and I headed out for our 2018 summer vacation to Portland, Seattle and Disneyland for 9 days. We ended up spending 3 awesome days in each location. Today…our time in Portland!

We started our trip by flying into Portland. Rachel has family on her dad’s side who live in and around the Portland area. They ended up letting us use their condo in Portland, which gave us a free place to stay!

Now, Portland was a city that neither of us had been to, but both were interested to explore. The weather was absolutely fantastic! We ended up spending a lot of our time outside hiking, eating and exploring the sights.

We spent the first full day hiking some of the Forest Park trails, hitting up Voodoo Doughnuts, exploring the downtown area, visiting Pittock Mansion and the International Rose Test Gardens in Washington Park, and getting ice cream at Salt & Straw.

The next day, I got up for an early morning run around the area of the condo near Cathedral Park. It was an absolutely beautiful morning to run. Very different than the Atlanta summer running weather!


The view during my morning run!

After my run, Rachel and I headed over to Multnomah Falls along the Mt. Hood Loop. We experienced one of the most beautiful waterfalls we’ve ever seen. Pictures really don’t do it justice!

Next, we headed over to Macleay Park/Forest Park to hike some more of the trails in the Portland area. Rachel and I usually don’t do a lot of hiking. This was a nice experience for us! After the hike, we hit up Blue Star Donuts, which was recommended to us by several people and did not disappoint. We finished up our sightseeing by heading back over to Washington Park and the Hoyt Arboretum. We saw some of the biggest trees we’ve ever seen. It was majestic!

Later that afternoon, we made our way up to Kelso, Washington (roughly 45 minutes north of Portland) to have dinner with Rachel’s aunt, uncle and cousins. They ended up cooking a delicious meal for us. It was lovely getting to spend some time with her dad’s side of the family. We don’t get to see them very often. They are wonderful people!

After dinner, we headed back to the condo in Portland for one last night of sleep before making our way to the second part of our trip…Seattle.

All in all, we had a great time in Portland! It is a beautiful city with wonderful people and culture. We definitely want to visit again in the future!

2018 Peachtree Road Race Recap

A few weeks ago (July 4th), I ran my 3rd consecutive Peachtree Road Race (PRR). The PRR is probably my favorite race in Atlanta as it’s the world’s largest 10K!


A few days before the race, I headed down to the expo at the Georgia World Congress Center to pick up my race number.


As I usually do at race expos, I walked around for a bit and checked out the different vendors. It was quite busy and crowded, which is pretty normal for this race. After picking up a couple of new items and chatting with a few people, I headed back home.


On the morning of the race, I headed out a little earlier than normal, as the race was starting 30 minutes earlier this year, at 7:00am. I was a big fan of this change as the later in the morning, the hotter it gets!

I was in Corral F this year, so I had a little extra time since my starting time wasn’t until 7:25. I dropped my car off at the MARTA station in Brookhaven and decided to walk to the starting corrals vs. dealing with the crowds trying to make their way to the Lenox Station. And honestly, the walk to the starting corrals is only about a mile and was good to get my legs moving before running.

This year (as I did last year), I met up with my friend Meredith. When she and I ran together last year, we really enjoyed catching up and it really does help the time go faster. After finding each other, among all the runners, we made our way to our corral and started getting ready for the 6.2 mile journey.


Now Meredith had just given birth to her second child a few months ago, so I told her we would just keep her pace and enjoy the time. Once we got started, we got into a nice groove and made our way along the course. 

The nice thing about the PRR is the first half is basically flat and slightly downhill. That can be a good thing and a bad thing. Fortunately, both of us knew to take it easy…as the second half is hills, hills, hills.

The race seemed to fly by, and before we knew it, we were getting past the final hill and near the area where Rachel and Chris (Meredith’s husband) would be spectating. They are both so awesome to get up that early and meet us along the course!

After stopping to chat with them for a minute, we headed back out for the final stretch. Once we crossed the finish line, we were both quite sweaty! I was able to find my good friend Jerry Carnes for our yearly finisher picture!


We walked into Piedmont Park and grabbed our awesome finisher shirts, water and runner boxes. We met up with Rachel and Chris, grabbed a quick picture and made our way to the car to head back home. Meredith and I were both ready to shower after one very hot and humid PRR.


All in all, it was another great PRR! I enjoy running down Peachtree Street and as always, the crowd support was excellent! Atlanta Track Club does a beautiful job putting on this race year in and year out. And next year is the 50th anniversary…maybe Rachel will run it again with me! Until next time…

So Much To Say…

Hey friends, it’s been a while! Lots to do on the blog…

I mostly want to talk about our amazing trip to Portland, Seattle and Disneyland; however, I also want to recap my 3rd straight Peachtree Road Race.

So stay tuned over the next few weeks for a rush of new blog posts! Until then…here are some of my favorite pictures from our vacation last week.

Vacation Time!

This evening, Rachel and I will be heading out of town on vacation for the next 9 days. We are starting in Portland for the first 3 days, then driving over to Seattle for the next 3 days, before ending our trip at Disneyland in Anaheim for the last 3 days.


We are looking forward to exploring Portland/Seattle before finishing up in our happy place. So make sure to follow me on social media to stay up to date on all of our amazing adventures!

Instagram: @allenwhittaker
Twitter: @allenwhittaker
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allenwhittaker

2018 Peachtree Road Race

Tomorrow I’ll be running in my 3rd consecutive Peachtree Road Road (PRR). The PRR is the world’s largest 10K, with over 60,000 runners! One of the coolest parts of the PRR is that you run almost the whole 6.2 miles down Peachtree Street. This is the only race in Atlanta where you can run down Peachtree for that amount of time.

Two years ago, I ran with Rachel and last year, I ran with one of my good friends, Meredith.


I hit up the expo yesterday to pick up my race number and check out a few of the booths.


I ended up grabbing a few extra goodies before heading back to work.


So tomorrow morning, I will be meeting up with my friend Meredith (again) to run another PRR! If you want to follow along my journey, check out my Instagram (@allenwhittaker) or Twitter (@allenwhittaker).



Quick Check In

Oh summer (or at least it certainly feels like summer outside)…you never cease to surprise me. Always hot. Always busy. So much going on that the blog takes a back seat…

As I carve out a few minutes today, let’s do a quick check in on what all is going on in my world.

  • Summer Camps As I mentioned in my last blog post, one of the biggest parts of my job during the summer is helping host/coordinate multiple summer camp offerings for our community. This week is our Vacation Bible School, which is hosting almost 200 kids, students and volunteers. It’s always a great event for our church!


  • TV/Movies Rachel and I typically use the summer months to catch up on several TV shows and movies. We’ve been rewatching a lot of comedies on Hulu/Netflix recently. So far, The Last Man On Earth and Brooklyn 99 have been our go to shows. For movies, we’ve seen Avengers: Infinity War, Solo, TheIncredibles 2, and Won’t You Be My Neighbor. Tomorrow night, we are going to see the new Jurassic Park movie. We’ve been quite pleased with all of the movies we’ve seen, but the The Incredibles 2 has easily been our favorite!


  • Running Even with the weather turning almost unbearably hot/humid, I’ve been able to keep the weekly/monthly mileage up. It’s been helpful to not have to really train for any races for the summer months (outside of the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th). Running in the early morning definitely helps…but at this point, even a short 3-4 mile run looks like I’ve jumped in a pool afterwards.


  • New Pastors Starting tomorrow, our church (my job) will be getting 2 new pastors…which means I will be getting new bosses. I’ve had an opportunity to spend a little time already with the new Senior Pastor. He seems awesome so far!
  • Upcoming Vacation Two weeks from tomorrow, Rachel and I will be heading up to the Pacific Northwest and California for a 10 day trip to Portland, Seattle and Disneyland. We are getting excited to have some time away as both of our jobs have been crazy recently.


  • Rachel’s Job Anniversary Today marks Rachel’s 11th year with her company. It’s pretty rare to stay with a company for over 10 years and this is her first company job after college. I’m so crazy proud of her and all the work she does!


  • Time with Family And finally…we’ve had some good time with our families over the past month. We celebrated Father’s Day with Rachel’s family this past weekend. It’s always a joy to spend time with them! And over Memorial Day, we had some awesome time with my Dad and Suzanne at the beach. Family is so important to us and we are grateful to both have wonderful families who love and support us.

All in all, life has been quite busy, but good. Rachel and I are happy. As we get into the heart of the “summer,” let us all be mindful of this blessing we call life. Until next time…