The joy of running in community.

For Christmas this past year I asked Jennifer to get me a racers bib for the Bird-in-Hand half marathon.  I have been fascinated with this race ever since reading Running with the Amish by Bart Yasso, a few years back.   She did it.  So I immediately began training and today was the day that i had to run the thing.

It was loads of fun.  It certainly helped that my good pal from church came in 2nd.  I came in somewhere around 702nd.    We both had tons of fun. But I will say this–it was very hot–not complaining but just want to state that I know I could have run 15 minutes faster had it dipped just once below 80.  But, hey it was hot for everybody else as well.  Except maybe Jeremy.  He flew.

I took some pictures, well Jennifer took pictures.  I supposed I could have been one of those people that comes to a dead stop whilst on the race to course to grab just the right shot just prior to being bowled over by a much larger and harder to stop at top steep runner.  Lesson?  Don’t come to a complete stop in front of a 220llb runner heading full speed.  I just can’t get stopped.  I want to.  I can’t .  I am gonna have to sweaty bear hug you to stop.  Sorry. You won’t like sweaty bear hug.  That being said.  The scenery was incredible and I have really enjoyed seeing everyone’s pictures.

Another really cool aspect of the race was having Chris McDougall go around me at mile 7, bare feet and all.  Talked with him afterward and was very impressed with his demeanor and love for running.  He is a cool guy and I look forward to his upcoming book this March.

Great race and love running with the Amish.  Even if that does mean getting smoked by two girls wearing head covers and long black dresses.


So here is some pictures.

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Holiday Streak 2013

Well it is that time of year again.  I am going streaking and want you all to go with me.  First off–it’s not what you think.  Last year I was a few miles from a goal and decided to Holiday Streak my way to the end of the year–50 straight days of running [reference here firstthen here].  I did and swore that I would never do it quite like that again.  This year I have decided to do it exactly like that again–ain’t so good at learnin stuff.

Starting Tuesday the Holiday Streak begins.  That is 50 straight days to the end of the year.

Currently my ytd mileage sits at 746.  I think i might be able to top it at 850 for the year.  This would be 50 over my year goal which would be awesome.

If you are on the fence as to whether you should do this let me offer a few nuggets of wisdom I learned from last year.

1.  Set loose rules for yourself to follow.  I reserve the right to run only one mile to call it a run.  This won’t be the norm but you gotta have an out on those 12 hour work days when it’s 10 degrees outside.

2.  If you can’t get out for a run then go for a walk.  Remember the key to this Holiday Streak is about getting out and just getting it done.

3.  Yes.  Treadmills and ellipticals count.

4.  Find running buddies out of this.  Last year I started running with my neighbor and we still run together every week.

5.  Do it however you want but do something during the Holidays.

Why you doing this Mark?

Great question.  I run all year and take it easy in the Holidays only to find that I have gained about 5 pounds.  Then I spend the most difficult running month of the year 5 pounds heavier.  The Holiday Streak prevents this.  It allows me to eat pretty much whatever I like and not put on the extra bag of sugar.  I should note here that I will be suspending my VB6 for the rest of the year as well but fret not–I’m hitting the Vegan life with force in Jan.

So my friends.  Who wants to do this with me?  Strap on the Brooks and go for a run in the cold.  Every day til 2014?

I will update via twitter @markallenwhite  often enough to not be obnoxious.


I Ran the Spartan PA race.

Last weekend I veered from my normal routine and went and ran a Spartan Race.  It was indeed all it was cracked up to be.  The fact that the race took place on the side of a ski slope is the indicator I missed.  Up hill ski slope running is not really something you can train for around here but I am not gonna even act like I trained for any of it.  It’s just that I’m blaming it on the ski slope.  The worst part–and best really–was when we hit the double black diamond portion of the slope and they handed us 50 lbs of sand to carry.  I about died.  Seriously.  I think my heart rate hit 220.  It was at this point I sat my 50 pounder on the ground and had a little mid afternoon prayer time on the side of that mountain.  It went, as I remember, something like this, “Lord.  I have made a big mistake.  I don’t think I can get down off this mountain the way the course designers intended.  What should I do?”  Something like that.  It was about that time that a fellow, who was also sitting, looked at the Bible verse I had sharpied onto my calf and yelled, “You can do all things through Christ man!”  I looked at him through my sweat stung eyes and said, “hbmptfth.”  And at that, I grabbed my sack and finished the peak.

After that first hill it was all just a bunch of strange obstacles.  I liked it and had fun.

Here are a few pictures.  Click for full resolution.

The thing I like about these pictures is that I am smiling in most of them and I know that I was having fun.

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New For Me

For about a year I have been researching a little project on the side–trust me, what I’m about to tell you I never would have thought I could do.  I have been looking into what it might take to transform my very meat centered diet into a plant-based diet.  I know.  I once ate a 30 oz steak and wanted more–I’ve ordered 12 reorders of all you can eat ribs at Big Ed’s Barbbq and went into what is now referred to as a pork coma–I always order the biggest piece of kielbasa–I have taken down a pound of bacon all by myself.  Yeah!  So, what the heck do you think might happen if I took meat away and put a whole lot more beets in my life?  Scatological consideration aside–it will make me healthier–I think.

Also–I am eating  way way way too much processed foods.  I read the labels on some of this stuff I eat and I can’t even pronounce what it is.  I decided to not eat that anymore.

So today I implemented the first steps toward plant-based eating.  I read a book where this guy was a Vegan Before 6.  Good book, made sense, so I thought this is a good place to start.

So, I thought I would take this to my dozen or so readers to let them know why I am not ordering chicken wings for breakfast anymore.

I am going to give Vegan a shot–but only before 6.

Maybe someday I can take the plunge but today is not that day.

The plan is to give this a shot for the next three months then reassess.  I will keep you updated the best I can.

IMG_0014Found this today  and am pretty excited.  It is Vegan and it is good.  Trust me.  I like it.

Worse comes to worse, I will just live off this.




One Year Down


About a year ago we uprooted and moved to PA.  Is it me or does time move faster in the North?  It does, I’ll answer my own rhetorical question.

There are times when I get to thinking about just how it was that we got here–then my brain locks up and I get back to sipping my Rita’s wooder ice.  So, I will not bore you with a bunch of mushy mumbo jumbo about how great everything is and blah, blah, blah.  Though, those things are true. Soooo, what better than a bullet pointed paragraph consisting of what the heck we been doing:

  • Planting a Keystone campus in Ft. Washington.  This has been awesome and is on target and so very fun.
  • Making friends.  In the past year we have been meeting tons of people and I would even say that I am close to putting a few of them in my exclusive i would lay down in traffic for that guy group.
  • Enjoying Jennifer being at home.  We decided when we moved here that we would tighten the belt and go to one income.  Not easy at first and may never be easy.  But, it is the best thing we’ve ever done.  Seriously.  It is.
  • Playing in the back yard with Billy.  Our neighborhood is full of kids and Billy plays for hours a day with all of them.  It is incredible.
  • Running.  I have been running a bunch and with lotsa different people.  Which I like.
  • Listening to God.  Hard to explain, so I won’t try.  But we have been getting better at listening and hearing.

In a nutshell–we love it here.  PA and us are a perfect fit.

Please keep praying for us as we wade a bit further into the church campus planting IMG_7823waters.

Come and see us if you like.  Summer is almost here and we actually know our way around a little bit now.

Suggested Reading

Eat & Run

Scott Jurek 2013

I heard about Scott Jurek in another book and immediately became intrigued with this guy.  This dude is an ultra runner and seems to be a pretty good guy too.  He has a competitive spirit that I can relate to (though I have seen far less success in the athletic realm–obvious) yet still understands that any runner is a friend.

I think anyone would enjoy this book as it gives you a great snapshot of a world that we don’t know much about.  When someone tells you that they are an ultra marathoner you automatically assume they are crazy.  This books sorta shows you that yes, indeed they are kind of crazy.  But, you get it.  It’s a crazy you get.

Another major component of this book is recipes for eating (hence the title).  I have not attempted any recipes as of yet–but I am going to soon.  Jurek is a proponent of plant-based eating and he in fact is a Vegan.  I have been thinking about this for a while and have decided to very slowly transition my diet to plant-based over meat based.  I know, I know–save your booing and hissing for some other time or until I cave and eat a pound of bacon.  I will write on this in the future and let you know how it is going.

Go grab a copy and give it a whirl.  But be prepared to want to go and run afterward.

Winter Into Spring Streak!

Many of you (all 12 readers to be exact) vicariously ran with me through the holidays. I am referring, of course, to the now famous Holiday Streak–see here and here for context. Oh the fun we all had as I ran and ran in the snow, rain, wind, cold, and that one scorcher of a day when the thermometer tipped 55 degrees.

Well, in an effort to stick with running through the now very cold winter I have set a new goal. 100 miles before Spring! The first day of Spring is March 20 and I would like to log 100 miles before that day. I started counting February One and already have 5.5 miles toward the goal (54 for the year so far). As usual I will employ every mind trick I know to get myself out the door and on the road. This, I have found, is invaluable when the wind chill is 9. I am not going to run everyday but do plan on getting in 6 a week. We’ll see how that goes, last time I got a little crazy about getting the run in every day.

If you are interested in doing this with me I would love to know. I am always looking for a good running buddy and believe me it is much easier to run when you have someone out there pounding the pavement with you.

Spring will be here soon, go for a run!