Tag Archives: fitness

Run, Robb, Run!

Running has become a huge part of my life.  Running in official races has been one of the most important factors my transformation.  Since February 2012, I have have gone from 325 pounds to 250 pounds.  In June 2012 I ran my first 5K in just under 36 minutes.  I ran three more in 2012, trimming minutes off of each of my times.  Throughout the winter, I continued to train.  In March 2013 I knocked off almost 5 minutes from my personal best.  All of these races have come within the span of a year.  Eventually this crazy rate of improvement will slow down.

June 2012 – Susan G Kommen Race for the Cure – 36:00 (12 minute mile)

July 2012 – Firecracker 5K – 35:15 (just under 12 minute mile)

August 2012 – Crimestoppers 5K – 33:47 (11 minute mile)

October 2012 – Lagomarcino’s Cocoa Beano 5K – 31:40 (just over 10 minute mile)

March 2013 – St. Patrick’s Day 5K – 26:52 (under a 9 minute mile)

May 2013 – Soldier Field 10 Mile – 1:38.30 (10 minute mile)

The Soldier Field 10 was the most rewarding run yet.  After crossing the finish line I was able to pause for a moment and reflect on what I had just accomplished.  When I registered for the race in January, I had set a goal of finishing in 1:50.00.  By the time of the race, I had moved my goal up to 1:40.00.  I knew that a 10-minute-mile pace was going to be tough.  It was tough, but I made it.

Follow The Fat Pastor on Facebook

Follow @FatPastor on Twitter

7 Comments

Filed under Fitness

Woman of Valor

mccoys girlsShe is my partner.  She is my strength, my inspiration, and my teammate.  We are Team Robb and Sarah, and we are a formidable pair.  We are undefeated.

I just finished reading Rachel Held Evan’s “A Year of Biblical Womanhood.”  It is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.  In it, Evans describes her year of trying to live out all the rules for women in the Bible as literally as  possible.  She examines Proverbs 31, and digs deeply into Paul’s teaching about women speaking in church.  She re-discovers inspiring Biblical women, some named, some anonymous that must never be forgotten.  The book is about a lot of things.  It is about the Bible.  It is about a self-avowed feminist calling her husband “Master.”  It is about discovering ancient spiritual practices, communing with Quakers, and the value of a well-baked loaf of cholla bread.

As I read the book, I was enlightened by her expert examination of the Biblical texts.  I was touched by her vulnerability when sharing her fears about motherhood.  I laughed with her when she made mistakes, and worried with her as she prepared meals.  Evans’s writing grabbed me, and invited me not only into her experience, but into the Biblical stories in a refreshing and powerful way.

Perhaps her greatest achievement in the book was the way she re-framed Proverbs 31.  She takes a passage that is so often used (abused) to describe the ideal of Biblical womanhood, and transforms it.  Instead of being a nearly impossible prescription for what a woman should do, it is really a love song to men reminding them of all that women are able to do.  It is not a checklist for women, but a reminder for men.  I read this chapter in the Nashville Airport, and had tears streaming down my face.  I wondered if Sarah knew how amazing she truly is, and I worried that I had not done enough to let her know.  I felt compelled to take her, hold her, and tell her “You are amazing.  You are strong.  You are brave.  You are a woman of valor, and I am honored to be your husband.”

Evans’s book is about a lot of things, but to me it is above all a love story.  It is a story not just of a woman, but of a team; Team Dan and Rachel, they call it.

Tomorrow I am going to run the Soldier Field 10.  It is the next step in my journey to love God, live well, and do good.  Less than one year ago I ran in my first 5K.  Sarah and I did it together, and afterwards we nearly collapsed in each others’ arms.  At that 5K, I was able to jog for the first two miles, and had to walk/jog most of the third mile.  I finished 3.1 miles in about 35 minutes, which bested my goal of a 12-minute-mile pace.  Tomorrow, my goal is to run 10 miles in 100 minutes.  I don’t know if I can do it, but I know how far I’ve come.

I have only been able to do what I’ve done because of Sarah.  All along I’ve said I’m doing this for my daughters.  I’ve done this so I can see them grow up.  I’ve done it so I can carry them up the stairs at night and not be winded.  I’ve done it so that I will see them in caps and gowns and white dresses and business suits and hospital gowns.  I have done it for my daughters, but I’ve done it because of Sarah.  Tomorrow we are going to conquer the Soldier Field 10.  We have already conquered so much.

We have conquered ten (almost eleven) years of marriage.  We have conquered selfishness and over-sensitivity.  We have conquered snarky comments, rolled-eyes, and cold shoulders.  We have weathered floods, heat waves, Snowpocalypse, and power outages.  We have screamed and cried and punched walls.  We have laid in bed at night and pondered the great mysteries of faith, the universe, and life itself.  We have struggled with Scripture and shared in prayer and Communion.

We have grown, sometimes kicking and screaming, into a faith that embraces wonder and gray.  We have laughed hysterically and spit drinks out.  We have celebrated wildly and emptied a few bottles of wine.  We have built enduring, life-giving friendships.  We have endured sickness, and mourned loss.  We have started the arduous and amazing task of raising two girls in a world that is full of danger.  They have lost a tooth, but have broken no bones.  We met after a Theta Chi party 15 years ago, and because of that night I cannot believe the saying that “Nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m.”

Tomorrow when we conquer the Soldier Field 10, I might be the one that crosses the line, but she will be there. It will be her power that gets me there.  No, it will be our shared power.  It is the power that we share with Christ, who conquered even death.  It is our shared power that has given us strength to conquer all things.  It is our shared power that will guide us into the future, ready to face the next challenge, the next Mount Laundry, the next 10 miles, the next ten years, the next chapter in our shared lives.

Follow The Fat Pastor on Facebook

Follow @FatPastor on Twitter

6 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Personal Reflection

What is your favorite hour of the week?

What is your favorite hour of the week?  I asked this question the other day on my facebook page after pondering it myself for a few days.  A week is made up of 168 hours.  With 7-8 hours of sleep a night (bed around midnight, up around 7), that leaves about 120 waking hours a week.  Don’t worry, I used a calculator to figure it out.

Of those 120 hours, I couldn’t come up with one hour that I could define as my favorite, but I could think of a few every week that I genuinely cherish.

Sunday 8 a.m. -12 p.m. – Worship.

Riverside United Methodist Church in Moline, Illinois

Riverside United Methodist Church in Moline, Illinois

Okay, so it’s more than one hour, and it’s work.  And it’s not always knock-your-socks-off, Holy-Spirit-filled, blow-the-doors-off-the-church worship.  But sometimes it is.  Sometimes the choir settles me into a peace that I wasn’t expecting.  Sometimes the preaching inspires me to think about things in a new way.  Sometimes the praise band gets me swaying and clapping my hands.  Sometimes the kids singing or dancing fills my heart with unspeakable joy.  Sometimes when I kneel at the altar with my wife and daughters, I am moved to tears of joy and sorrow, and I am empowered by God to be a better man.  Sometimes I break the bread and share the cup and I know that I am in the very presence of Jesus Christ.  Yeah, sometimes worship is just another hour.  Most of the time it is so much more.

Monday 8-10 a.m. – Daddy Lucy Day.

Again, not just one hour, but these are two great hours.  Monday is my Sabbath, which I guard with great resilience because it is Daddy-Lucy Day.  There’s even a Daddy-Lucy Day theme song, which is remarkably similar to the Howdy Doody Song.  My wife gets up in the morning and lets me sleep in, which is a remarkable gift.  She then takes our daughter kindergarten and volunteers there all morning.  This means I get to get two-year-old Lucy up in the morning.  I take her first back to my bed, where we snuggle for as much as an hour.  Then we go downstairs and I make coffee and breakfast.  We sit together and read some books, and watch some Sesame Street or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  Sometimes we are out of our pajamas when Sarah gets home.  Sometimes we’re not.  She never get annoyed if the pile of laundry has not been folded, and smiles at us even if the kitchen sink still has dirty dishes.  Those things can be done during a different, less favorite hour.  Incidentally, I think this time would be on the list of all four of us.  Ellie loves having Mommy with her at school, and my wife loves working with the students.  It might be Mrs. Larson’s favorite time of the week too (because Sarah is not only an amazing wife and mother, but an incredibly gifted teacher).

Monday 7-8 p.m. – Volleyball.

volleyball
When we fist moved to Moline, we were asked to be a part of a co-ed C-League Volleyball team.  The team of four couples – all with kids under 6 – have become our best friends.  We play hard, but we have a great time.  We have an almost perfect mix of competitive spirit and light-heartedness that makes it fun.  We like to win, but if we don’t we still have a great time.  Plus, we’ve improved a lot over the last couple of years.  Next Monday we are playing in the league’s Final Four!

Tuesday 6-8 p.m. Dinner with Friends

Our best friends and their kids come over every Tuesday for dinner. We say grace together, share a meal, then spend an hour or so talking and drinking wine while the kids play. The kids cry, they don’t like their vegetables, they make messes, they don’t share, they fight. We correct them. We don’t judge each other. We clean up. We hug. We share our lives; confess our failures; and celebrate our mundane, everyday triumphs.  We laugh and know that next week we are going to do it at their house, and it will be one of the best couple of hours of the week.

Wednesday 5:30-8:00 p.m. – Wednesday Night Alive.

Dinner is at church. After dinner the kids go do music ministries or to the nursery. I lead a Bible study. Leading Bible study is one of my favorite things to do. We sit in couches and chairs and open up the Scriptures to each other. Then we watch the Spirit move.

Friday 1 p.m-? – Hy Vee Salad Bar

One of the highlights of my week has become the Hy-Vee Salad Bar. I bring my computer, books, and a notepad. I eat a healthy, delicious meal. I work. I blog. I read. I drink coffee. I am at my most productive around people.  I leave full, but always happy that I passed on the fried egg rolls and pizza. The most unhealthy thing I have at lunch is the cream soup – which is always delicious.

How awesome is this outfit on this guy doing the Warrior One pose on my.yoga-vidya.org?  I'm so wearing that to my next yoga class.

How awesome is this guy doing the Warrior One pose on my.yoga-vidya.org? I’m so wearing that to my next yoga class.

Saturday 11-12 – Yoga

The early part of Saturday is pretty great too, but if at all possible, Saturday morning is going to include Yoga with our favorite instructor Sara. Yoga has become an important practice in our lives. Afterwards we feel stronger, healthier, and refreshed. My flexibility has improved tremendously, and much pain that I was developing from running has abated. It is also a wonderful hour of prayer and reflection as I whisper, “Come Holy Spirit” and breathe. I have had a couple of remarkable spiritual experiences during yoga practice. It is a powerful act of merging my spiritual and physical health.

Okay, so I had a few more than one favorite hour of the week. When I posted my question on Facebook, I received a variety of answers.  Many involved times of quiet rest, or even sleep.  A few picked the first hour of the weekend, or the first hour of the day.  One said “the present one.”  The first response was from C, who said, “What a great question! Seems innocuous, but might actually get to the heart of a person!” I think she’s right. People say all the time, “I don’t have time for…” The fact is, we have 120 hours a week and the way we fill them tells us about our priorities. Yes, life can get in the way sometimes. Circumstances can dictate choices that we wouldn’t otherwise make. But sometimes I fear we allow “I don’t have time for…” to be a convenient excuse.

What matters in your life? What do you love about your life? If you don’t have enough “favorite hours” of the week, then maybe it is time to take a hard look at things and start asking some tough questions. Loving God, living well, and doing good should lead to a life that is joyful and full of meaning. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have stress, but if we can hold onto those “favorite hours” then the stress becomes bearable.  I invite you to reflect on this question, and as you start to come up with answers, see if there is a common thread or theme.  See if there are ways you can multiply those hours.  Cultivate “favorite hours,” even if it has to start with “favorite fifteen minutes.”  Cherish the time you have, and guard your Sabbath rest.

My week is full of friends, food, family, and the Spirit. My life isn’t perfect, and I’m far from it, but when I look at the “favorite hours” of my week I realize that I am incredibly blessed.  I hope you are too.

I want to thank Natalie Bannon, who inspired this question in my heart. She writes a blog called Modern Mind Old Soul. Follow her on Twitter @NatalieBannon

Follow the Fat Pastor on Facebook

Follow @FatPastor on Twitter

3 Comments

Filed under Personal Reflection

I’ve lost 70 pounds, but I’m still The Fat Pastor

I high-fived my doctor today.  I had my annual physical.  It was a year and a day after stepping on the scale at that same doctor’s office and reading that I weighed 329 pounds.  Today my doctor looked back at what I weighed last year.  When he saw that I today I weighed 259, he gave me a high-five.

I have gone through a transformation in the last year.  I have transformed my habits.  I have transformed my priorities.  In so doing, I have transformed my body.  More than this, I have experienced spiritual transformation.  I pray more.  I study the Bible more.  I have discovered that when I am more disciplined in my eating and exercising, I am also more disciplined as a follower of Jesus Christ.  I am still transforming.  I am striving every day to Love God, Live Well, and Do Good.

I have lost 70 pounds in 366 days, but let me be clear – I am still The Fat Pastor.  For one thing, I am still overweight.  One year ago I was 34% body fat.  Today I am 25% body fat.  That is a great improvement, but it is still too high.  I literally have too much fat on my body.

Yet even if I lose another 70 pounds, have 7% body fat, and can run a marathon in under 3:00:00, there will always be fat that I can trim from my life.  I am, like John Wesley said, moving onward to perfection.  Until I am there, I will be laden with fat.

The difference between fat and fit is choices.  I make fat choices when I choose a mindless television show instead of time in study.  I choose fat when I spend too much time on facebook instead of cultivating relationships.  I choose fat when I refuse to help a neighbor.  I am fat when I objectify a woman.  I am fat when I contribute to an unjust society. I am fat when I forget the needs of the widow, the orphan, the poor, and the oppressed.  I am fat when I am blind to racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other way that humans try to divide and separate and subjugate.

I’m trying not to be fat any more.  I’m trying real hard.  I draw strength from the love and support of family and friends.  I draw strength from the encouragement of a remarkable facebook “following.”  I draw strength from the words of the prophets that remind me that God’s love and God’s promise of a new day is something for which we can all strive.  I draw strength from the Church as the Body of Christ in the world.  Above all, I draw strength from the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.  I draw strength from knowing that it is not my strength on which I must rely.

Jesus said “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

I try to love God.  I worship, and I pray, and I read and listen to God’s Word.  I come to Table of Grace.  I fall down in confession, and I rise up with the Holy Spirit.  I try to live well, because I take seriously the oft-forgotten command to love yourself.  I try to do good, because it is through doing good for others that we best express our love of neighbor.

I am The Fat Pastor.  I’m trying not to be. With God as my strength and my salvation, I will be The Fit Pastor someday.  Until then, I’ll keep on my journey of transformation.  Thank you for going on this journey with me.

Follow The Fat Pastor on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

Left: December, 2011.  Middle: June 2012, immediately after first 5K. Right: January 2013.

Left: December, 2011. Middle: June 2012, immediately after first 5K. Right: January 2013.

10 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Fitness

Goal reached

goal

Weight on Feb 13, 2012: 329

Goal set a few days later with Lose It!: 260

Weight on Feb 8, 2013: 259

Follow The Fat Pastor on facebook

Follow on Twitter

6 Comments

February 8, 2013 · 11:23 am

Good choices breed good choices

Image

I love soup, and usually it is a pretty healthy and satisfying lunch. This is a picture of Hot and Sour Soup, found at one of my favorite blogs, “The Rantings of an Amateur Chef.” Click on the picture to go to the recipe for it. I haven’t made it yet, but hope to soon.

I know that I have made significant changes in my life when I can have a granola bar and banana for breakfast, a bowl of soup for lunch, and feel satisfied until a light snack, and dinner.

Today is Friday, so I will treat myself to a trip to the Hy-Vee salad bar.  I’ll likely take two trips, have a cup of soup, and a little something sweet.

I’m actually craving a big plate of spinach, beets, grilled chicken, black beans, and other good stuff.  When I’m done with lunch, it will be about 1 o’clock.  I will be stuffed, and it will be very likely that my net caloric intake for the day will be less than zero because this morning I ran three miles, did 150 crunches, and had a hard upper-body workout.

This is from the guy that used to order a Big Mac, large fries, a six-piece McNuggets, and a large Coke, and still feel hungry, and couldn’t jog a quarter mile without pausing. Eating habits are just that – habits. They can be changed with small choices over time.  When I think about my past McDonald’s meals, it makes my stomach hurt.  I still venture to McDonald’s every once in awhile, but now it is for a grilled chicken sandwich and a Medium fries, or it is for a couple of Egg McMuffins (which are 300 calories apiece), and no hashbrowns.

“How did you do it?” people ask me.  I eat less. I excercise more regularly and I run.  I don’t juice.  I don’t count carbs.  I haven’t eliminated any one food, or sweets, or anything in particular.  I don’t cleanse.  I track everything I eat with Lose It.  I eat between 1800-2500 calories a day.  When I work out, I burn 500-1000.  I’ve never felt like I’m dieting.  I just feel like I’m paying attention.

I choose broccoli instead of fries at TGI Fridays.  I choose grilled chicken over a burger.  I have two slices of cheese pizza and a salad instead of four slices of sausage with a side of chicken wings.  I choose to eat until I’m satisfied, not until I’m stuffed.  I drink a fruit smoothie when I’m hungry at night instead of having two bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  I drink more water.

I’ve discovered that after making one good choice, the next one is easier.  And when I make good choices about my diet, I make good choices about other things too.  Good choices in my diet set my mind right to go to the gym, or pick up my Bible, or pause for prayer.  Good choices in my personal life help me read more, write more, love more.  I don’t know which one comes first, but I know that good choices breed other good choices.

People have told me that I’m an inspiration, and there’s a part of me that feels like that is absurd.  I’m just a guy that is trying to make some good choices.  I’m just trying to love God, live well, and do good.  But if you have somehow been inspired by me, I humbly say, “thank you.”  You have been an inspiration to me.  The words of encouragement have meant so much to me.  Accountability, support, and vulnerability have been big reasons why I’ve been able to make some changes in my life.

So if you feel inspired by me, I hope you are inspired to do this: make a good choice.  Start with one good choice. Today.  Choose to eat something healthier.  Choose the stairs over the elevator.  Choose to go for a walk.  Choose to forgive someone.  Choose to call a friend.  Choose to stand up for justice.  Choose to forgive yourself.  Choose to be kind to someone.  Choose to pray.

Choose to love God.  Choose to live well.  Choose to do good. Make one good choice today, and the next one will be a little bit easier.  Maybe together we can make some good choices, and change the world.

Follow the Fat Pastor on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness

The workout begins when you want to quit

workout beginsYesterday was my 35th birthday.  It was important to me to get to the gym.  I’ve actually gotten to the point where going to workout is a treat, not a chore.  As I was jogging on the treadmill I set the pace to my usual 5.5 mph.  For the last few weeks I have set it at that pace for the first mile, then set it down to 3.5 for about an eighth of a mile.  Then I finish with long stretches of 5.5 with some 3.5 walking in between.

In the last month I’ve run two 5K races.  My goal at both of them was a 12 minute mile pace, and I achieved that both times.  Now I’m ready to set a new goal.  I want to jog the entire 3.1 miles.  Yesterday as I approached the completion of the first mile, I was preparing to punch the speed down to 3.5.  Then I thought of this saying.

“The workout begins when you want to quit.”

I don’t remember where I first heard that, but it struck a chord.  I realized that for me to improve, I couldn’t keep doing the same thing.  If I want to grow, I have to push through the barriers that I create.  So I kept going.  I was ready to slow down, but I didn’t.  That’s when the workout started.  That is when the growth started.  That is when getting stronger happened.

I pushed through and found myself jogging past 1.25 miles.  Then I thought about stopping.  Again, I had to keep pushing.  When I finally started walking, I had run for 2 miles.  I completed it in 22 minutes – by far my fastest pace for that distance.

A good friend and I have signed up for two more 5K races before Halloween.  I’m hoping to do at least one more.  My goal now is to run a full 5K without slowing down to walk.  The next step is making a two mile jog routine.  The next is to not let the routine be the limit.

Leave a comment

July 10, 2012 · 3:02 pm

For her

Today at the gym my 2 1/2 year-old daughter gave me a reminder, as if the top view of my belly wasn’t enough, of why I was there.  She came with me and my wife today, and she sat in a desingated corner of the room for children.  She watched PBS kids and read books and played with some toys while we worked out.  We can usually see her, but she is really good at staying in her area.

At the end of the workout I was doing sit-ups on the incline bench.  I could see her off in her area watching “Super Why.”  Usually during my sit-ups I pull out my phone and do them while holding a picture of her smiling at me.  Then when I count them off, instead of numbers I use the letters in her name.  Since my return to working out, the most I’ve done in one set was 30.

This time, as I was getting to 30, I started struggling.  When I got to 28, I was thinking, “almost to 30, then I’ll stop.”  Then I heard my daughter’s voice calling out “One, two, three” in time with my sit-ups.  She was counting them for me.  I’ve never cried and done sit-ups at the same time, but I was close this afternoon.  I got to 40.  When I was done, she shouted in glee, “Daddy!”  I walked over to her, bent down to give her a kiss, and she reached up to oblige.

Then at the last second she pulled away, crinkled her nose and said, “You’re all wet.”  I was.  For her.

Weigh-in: 316 (up four pounds in two days – that sucks)
Treadmill: .75 mile (.25 walking, .25 jogging, another .25 jogging after lifting)
Rowing machine: 1 km in 5 minutes
Bench: 135 3 sets of 10, 185 4x
Incline situps: 40 (1 set of40, afterwards my whole abdominen cramped)
Other: curls, triceps, back

1 Comment

Filed under Fitness