Posted by: critzpastor | May 8, 2010

If my feet are moving, I’m STILL runnin’

Before Gallop for the Greenways

Day 80

Today was Graduation Day as Kristen called it! We finally ran in our first 5K! We both finished without walking, YES, and we both beat our personal best time. In the running world they call it a PR! I beat my old PR by two minutes!

It was an absolutely gorgeous day with tempts in the mid to low 70’s. The only down side was a really kicking wind. Trust me, we were not trying to set any new land speed. The goal was just to finish. The fact that we both had personal best times, especially with the majority of the last mile being up hill, was simply amazing.

Honestly, three months ago this was little more than a pipe dream when we started 5K 101 for the second time. As we completed the eight week program and learned to fit running is as a regular part of a life, our dreams began to take shape. Thankfully today the first dream was realized even with a flare of style, if I say so myself. I know I have talked at length in other post about how much this life style change has impacted every area of our lives, so I won’t be redundant. Suffice it to say, as we were leaving the event today, plans were already in the works to schedule the next few 5K’s and start training for a 10K by fall! The best is yet to come!

There’s a T-shirt that says, “If you see this shirt near the finish line, please drag it across with you!” At one point today, I asked one of the course officials, “Are my feet still moving?” The funny thing is it doesn’t matter what other people think. What we are doing, we are doing for ourselves and our family, not for other people. It is because we need to be healthy, we need to live long enough to see our kids, kids! It is because we are called to be good stewards by God, but it always seemed easier to just to apply that theology to money. It is because gluttony is a sin, but apparently doesn’t lead to death like other sins.

It is because God cares about us as a whole even if we continue to ignore the parts of his Word that we don’t agree with…

If you know me, you know I’m far from perfect. However, I’m getting closer to where and who He wants me to be!

Finished and still smiling!

Posted by: critzpastor | April 25, 2010

Reflections on the end of the beginning

Running with the Big Dog's

Clydesdale runners are men over 200 lbs! Yeah baby, but not for long!

Day 67

It’s week 10! Ok, so there isn’t technically a week ten in the 5K 101 running program, which means I finished! In fact for the entirety of the final week I chose to keep running until I completed a full 5K or 3.1 miles. Currently, I am running 3 to 5 times a week. I’m trying to build my speed by improving my technique and by running intervals. It is kind of hard to explain how absolutely fantastic I feel.

For the first time in my life it actually feels like a life change instead of an attempt at loosing weight. The difference is probably the difference between desire and necessity! I want to run and eat right instead of I have to or need to exercise and diet. I am literally seeing some of my greatest personal successes in the midst of some of the most troubling and unstable times of my life.

In the past, my personal troubles or stresses would under mind my attempts at healthier living. If something bad happened or a particular situation escalated I would allow it to interfere with my workout schedule. Or worse yet I would sabotage my own efforts by “stress eating”. However, “the times they are a changin” to quote the song. I have lost 21.3 pounds currently and I can tell you quite honestly we are still in the middle of the proverbial storm.

I traveled last week and still found time to run four times! I was treated out to eat every day: steak, steak, mexican, steak, Italian, etc. Even with all the temptation to eat whatever I wanted to and as much as I wanted to, I was still able to loose 2.2 pounds! It wasn’t easy to be sure. I had to make choice that other people honestly didn’t understand. I had to be picky about what I ate and how it was prepared. I had to send perfectly good broccoli back to the kitchen because they put the garlic and butter sauce on it after I ordered it plain, but it was worth it!

A really cool perk was being able to meet some folks that have been where I am. I met a mom who had lost probably 80 pounds and competed in her first marathon. She was also getting ready to run a 5K with her teenage son for the first time. I heard the story of one of the companies Vice Presidents who had lost 50 pounds and would be celebrating his next wedding anniversary by competing in a 5K run with his wife on their anniversary! Those are goals I can now understand and look forward to! Kristen is finishing the training program this week, after being diagnosed with a severe case of anemia. She is out running week 1 day 1 with our 10 year old son as I type.

I still have about 45 pounds to loose, but I already feel like I am living my life instead of watching like a spectator on the side lines. It is never too late to start living your life. Start today, start small, but just start!

Posted by: critzpastor | April 13, 2010

I am free to dance, but it ain’t pretty!

Day 55
Week 8 Day 2 (tomorrow)

Well another week and time for an update! So far in this journey of health and wellness I have lost almost 17 pounds! More importantly I have officially run 5k or 3.1 miles without stopping. It wasn’t a foot race by any definition, as a matter of fact it was one of my slower days I think, but for 46 minutes I ran and didn’t stop!

My dearly beloved is just two days behind me in the running department, but is doing a fantastic job! Whats more it is showing in her blood work and the Doc officially started reducing her meds! She is on the road to getting totally off all of her medicine for PCOS!

I also feel honored to have had a chance to share with about half a dozen friends about my journey specifically. I’m praying for them as they begin their own journeys. I’ll be the first to say that it isn’t easy, but it is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Maybe the most exciting thing is that I am now officially planning my first backpacking trip with Jackson! I am ashamed to say that he asked me to take him on a day hike to Dragon’s tooth on the Appalachian Trail last year and I never did. The truth is it is a tough hike and I used Jaime’s birth as an excuse to myself, but I let my son down. However, now we are actually planning a three day two night hike beginning with Dragon’s Tooth! I’m finding myself again and in turn becoming the father that my son needs and I always wanted to be! We are planning family bike trips (I’ve had to cancel my century bike ride this month, but I’m looking for another one a little later). We are preparing to run 5K’s (yes plural) and want to start training for our first 10K! Living is so much more fun than simply existing!

Some may question my lack of spirituality as a pastor, after all isn’t all of that listed above fleshly, carnal maybe even worldly? Well as a pastor I learned a long time ago that no matter what you do there will always be those who will question, criticize or critic. Those folks don’t know squat because they interpret life through legalism and totally lack compassion. Any hoo … I do want to address the spiritual aspects of this change in my life although I would argue that you can’t separate life in to compartments. For the sake of argument let’s talk about Stewardship. The words “the life I live is not my own” come to mind. I really wonder what the Lord thinks about me throwing years of my life away do to laziness and poor habits? What about the time with my family that I am stealing? The finances I am misappropriating by paying more for health insurance, life insurance and XXL clothes?

That’s Stewardship, what about Gluttony? What about sloth? What about discipline? Can I preach/teach others about being a disciple when I have no personal discipline? What about my witness for Christ in those areas? What do others think of Jesus because of me?

Listen folks, it is all connected. Being thin or healthy does not make you holy, but it possible that our lack of care in these areas is keeping us from being all God wants us to be? What I know is that I am walking in freedom and hope now. I know peace in areas of my life that I have never experienced before. I realize that I don’t want to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel! I want victory in all of my life and I am finally beginning to experience it!

Victory Dance, Baby!

If this seems braggadocios or arrogant it really isn’t meant to be. It’s just the beginning of my victory dance!

Posted by: critzpastor | April 6, 2010


Day 48
Day 1 Week 7 5K 101

Sunday was an awesome day! I know it’s Tuesday and I’m two days late (not sure if that makes me $2 short or what?), but our Easter service was such a refreshing time. I had been teasing the service for several weeks by saying that I would not preach any longer than 15 minutes on Easter. We even went so far as to call tell folks to come see an Easter miracle!

True to my word, my part of the service lasted less than 15 minutes. Of course there were about 5 of us that took turns telling the Good News of Easter, along with songs interspersed. Several people prayed to dedicate their lives to the Lord and begin a relationship with him! Needless to say it was awesome! God is Good!

Personally, I had a great week last week too. I finished Week 6 of 5K 101. Running the 24 minutes was a big step up in endurance. I wish I could say it was easy, but I will say it was worth it! Today, I ran Day 1 of Week 7, which was 3 intervals of run 12 minutes and walk 3. The only down side was running the road in front of our house. The diversity was nice, the hills not so much.

The big upside was that I ran 36 minutes! Even though I had 3 minutes to recoop in between I realized when I finished that I could definitely do this. I have no fear of the 30 minute run next week! Oh, and since I’m tooting my own horn, I have lost a total of 15.9 pounds since January 1st!

Posted by: critzpastor | March 29, 2010

Bad Coffee…Good Day!

Day 40

Week 5 Day 3 in the books!

I have a love/hate relationship with “The Passion of the Christ”! I watched it last night for the first time in several years. It always has a powerful affect on me. Being a recovering control freak I always hate the flood of emotions that I experience, while on the other hand it brings to life the story that is the central focus of my life like no other book/story/movie ever has. There are definitely some issues I have with the perspective of the story, but that would probably be true no matter who told the story or how it was presented. It is unavoidable with a story that so many have so much invested in.

For instance, the way Gibson presents Jesus’ mother Mary seems to reflect some of his Catholic theology and I suppose that is unavoidable. What struck me last night, funny enough, was how much I identify with Mary emotionally more than any other in the story. I found myself juxtaposing myself and my family with Mary emotionally. It makes sense really! There is no one more important to me then Jesus, nor is there a part of his life more emotionally charged and interwoven with my own then his “Passion”. The only way I can truly relate to it emotionally is by seeing the story with those I love the most in my family involved. That as you might imagine is a very unpleasant, but I also feel critical experience. Like I said love/hate!

Instant Coffee=Bad Coffee!

All of that adds up to an emotional evening. Add on top of that a late night sleep (it always happens when my family is out of town), no coffee beans on this very early morning, and it is going to be a good day!

Yes, a good day! I start week 6 day 1 of C25K either today or tomorrow depending on the weather. Kristen and I both finished strong on Saturday and the challenge of running 12 minute intervals is exciting. I know that sounds crazy even to me, but I am feeling so good physically and emotionally! My eating is under control thanks in large part to Nutrimirror. I am exercising regularly using C25K as my trainer and loosing weight (down 13 pounds so far).

A couple of really important hints to anyone interested first, eat dessert! Most of us won’t survive a life style change unless we can live with it in the long run. So eat dessert occasionally. Make wise choices such as frozen yogurt over ice cream. Try a prepackaged name brand dessert treat like Smart Choice or Weight Watchers. Or pick off the menu, but eat only half a piece and track the calories. By the way, I haven’t found any item, which I haven’t been able to find the nutritional information on line for it or a close equivalent on line using a number of web sites.

My second hint for those who are running is take the time and spend a little extra to get fitted for a pair of running shoes! Both Kristen and I have gone to Fleet Feet . We chose Fleet Feet because they specialize in sports foot ware and they fit each individual with shoes or inserts. I have to say that I have been in the store three different times now and the folks that work there are extremely friendly and helpful. Getting the right shoes for YOU can help eliminate pain in your feet, ankles, knees, back or any number of other areas. Not to mention, the right shoes can be the single key in helping you succeed and not give up in your exercise goal. The shoes we have bought average about $100. This may seem high, but as one article I read put it, “It’s a lot cheaper than you insurance deductible!” So there is my two hints (cents)!

Bad coffee a side, it is going to be a Good Day!

Posted by: critzpastor | March 23, 2010

Going with the flow

Road worthy?

Day 34
Week 5 Day 1 (Yes!)

My wife informed me that the title of my last blog may have been offensive to people with potty minds! Apparently, there is a segment of our society that may have thought that the title “The runs!” had something to do with diarrhea, which is really sick and twisted (I’m not really sure what that says about her mind, either?). Therefore, I have tried to use a little more tact and avoid the same scenario with this blog!

I have had to learn to be a little free flowing this week with my plans and goals. Isn’t it funny how “life” will insist on our remaining flexible? For instance, one of my goals this year was to ride in the Tarwheel Century. This is a 100 bike mile ride that my friend and I did several times near his home town in costal North Carolina. It’s usually a great ride to start the season, because it is flat (although the head winds can kill you!). The problem for me is that it is just creeping up on me too quickly. Although cycling is my passion, running is what is driving me and Kristen right now. So I have reluctantly decided to forego the Tarwheel this year and look for a century in May or June.

The good news is that since I have been running I am almost guaranteed that my legs should adjust to the bike easily. The seat is another story!

Flexibility …

As a pastor I have realized that a lot of us struggle with being adjustable with our goals. Too often we set rigid goals in our exercise routines or spiritual lives and when we fail or fall short we write the whole experience off as a failure. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we should lower our physical goals, nor should we be cavalier about failure in our spiritual lives. What I am recognizing is the inevitability of falling short of our goals/sinning/not measuring up. We are human and sooner or later we will mess up. In the book of Colossians there is a passage that deals with the eventual results of rigidness “touch not, taste not, handle not” the apostle says that this type of control has a “show of wisdom”, but it eventually ends in failure. Why because we are human!

So what is the answer? Go with the flow! Don’t plan for failure. Don’t lower your standards. Don’t live below your potential. However, understand that you are human. At some point you will fail to meet your training goals. At some point, probably without even realizing how it happened, you will be startled to realize that you have drifted away from “The Way, the Truth and the Light”. A slight change of direction, a small deviation in your course can cause you to “miss the mark”. In these situations don’t beat yourself up or throw in the towel. Be honest with yourself about where you are at and decide to adjust.

In our physical training it may be changing our training regimens, diets, sleep habits or training time table. Whatever it is make the adjustment, reset the goal and keeping moving! In our spiritual lives it is much the same. When we find ourselves off track or stuck we must be honest with ourselves. Sin is sin, and you deal with it the same way every time, once you admit it. Confess it to the Lord, ask forgiveness, and start heading in the right direction again. Everyone has fallen short at one point or another. Get over the pity party and get on with life. But whatever you do … DON’T GIVE UP! The Gospel story is full of people who blew it and still went on to do awesome things for God!

Now to brag a minute. Kristen and I killed week 5 of the C25K! This week we doubled our running intervals from 4 to 8 minutes intervals. We also lengthened the total time running from 20 to 24 minutes. We both were concerned about the jump up, but our endurance held! We are so pumped!

Posted by: critzpastor | March 18, 2010

The runs!

Don't be last, get started!

Day 29

Week 4 Day 2 C25K

This week has been absolutely gorgeous! We have also taken advantage of the opportunity to run at the park in Stuart. The park track isn’t flat, but it definitely has less incline than the road in front of our house. Of course, since the entire family has been going somebody has had to watch Jaime. So I have been running this week while pushing a 27 lb. baby in a stroller! Yikes!

Week 4 of C25K entails a 5 intervals of 4 minutes running and 1 walking with the cheery news that week 5 begins with 8 minute running! Day one seemed to be a breeze even with stroller duty, but that was two days ago. Today we ran day two and it was a pain. My legs felt like they were full of lead and the stroller was more like pushing a bolder. The good news? I finished, ‘nough said!

As far as my eating goes, I am now a huge fan of Nutrimirror. I’m hooked. It is so easy to track our food, exercise and weight. You get instant visual reference to calories, fats, carbs, etc. You can not only track your daily, but also your weekly progress. It’s very helpful and beneficial!

So why is all of this so important to me? Apart from the obvious health benefits, I have already begun to experience emotional benefits. As I shared with a colleague earlier today, I diagnosed myself (after having begun to run) as having entered a mild depression last year. It became crystal clear to me and my family that after we began to run in December, I experienced a break through from a cloudy disposition. I honestly didn’t realize that I needed a break through, but once it happened there was not doubt. I believe that as we continue to exercise and eat healthy that the benefits will also be seen spiritually in my personal life, family and church. Those changes may be more subtle, but I believe they will be evident!

Lastly, I would say that I am gaining my life and more importantly an inheritance for my children. I was on a path to squander an invaluable irreplaceable treasure. I was slowly digging my own grave of inactivity and excess weight. Worse yet, I was laying the groundwork for my children to follow in my footsteps. Thank God that has been stopped. I may not be able to gain back the years that were lost, but I am determined to live the life I have left to the fullest and teach my family to do the same.


That was today, but I didn't quit!

Posted by: critzpastor | March 12, 2010


Why do I believe what I believe?

Mom & Dad believe it?

Pastor/Church teach it?

School Teachers taught it?

Professors propagated it?


It is in the Word of God and Jesus said it and lived it, and I have read his words and studied his life for myself and know it to be true because it continues to change my life?


what I have studied for myself in the Word (Bible) and through Jesus’ life has not and/or does not continue to change my life to be more and more like him,


I do not really believe it, and it will have no affect on my life, my relationships or my future!

I am still lost


explains my hopelessness, fear and confusion and

explains why my life does not reflect the goodness, humility and love found in Jesus’ life.


there is still hope and time!

Search what you have been told by whomever it is in the Word of God.

Trust the Truth you find there and judge all else by it and it alone!

Ask Jesus to forgive you of the times you have not lived up to what he teaches

Believe that He can and will forgive you

Confess that he is now in control of you life.

Belief is not about knowledge as much as it is about relationship. It is the intimacy of knowing and being known that is real. Jesus did not come to start a church or change a religion! He came to this world to enter into a relationship with you. Churches, schools, families are all important, institutions that God can and will use, but he desires relationship. This is the beginning because relationship is not static, it is alive/thriving/growing/maturing …

Posted by: critzpastor | March 10, 2010

A look in the Nutrimirror

Day 21

Week 3 Day 2 of C25K

Oh, what a week its been! We were on the road Thurs. – Sat., which typically means bad sleep, bad food and bad exercise habits. Hold your horses! Not this time! Woo Hoo!

We actually left town on Thursday so that we would have time to get up and run Friday morning before our Post Placement adoption visit in Lynchburg. The run went well. It was 29 degrees, but we ran at a city park so the trail was flat!

(May I just stop here and say what an absolute treat it is to run on the flat? We live in the hills. We literally can’t run down our road, or at the local school track for that matter, without inclines. So we have just embraced them, but oh, to run on flat even ground! It was like a very cold heaven!)

As for the eating, I was able to use my Blackberry and the internet to track my calories. I also tried to be creative and I ordered interesting but healthy choices at the restaurants. I couldn’t do anything about the lack of sleep, but at least I made the best out of the other issues.

Kristen has now jumped on the food journaling boat and in her first day has given us one of the best tools ever! Check out Nutrimirror . Nutrimirror is an awesome FREE tool that helps you track your food, exercise, weight and goals. We don’t get any kickbacks from this, but if you feel guilty, feel free to send me a little something, something!

Posted by: critzpastor | March 3, 2010

Raisin the roof!

The scoop on 2 scoops!

Day 14
W2D2 C25k

Who would have ever believed that “they” would know what they were talking about? I mean for all my life “I did it my way” (insert melody)! Every morning I would get up pour myself a bowl of cereal and milk (sometimes two), and go on with my day. But as my avid readers, and by that I mean my wife, may recall I started keeping a food log this week. Yesterday, I just took the caloric hit and poured my usual bowl of Raisin Bran x2. However, today I decided to be adventurous and actually measure (yes I really did) a cup or cereal!

My first realization is that a literal cup of cereal wasn’t a miniscule as I assumed it would be. I poured the cow juice and proceeded to the test bowl only to realize to my amazement that after all was said and done I was satisfied. To top it off, that satisfied feeling lasted until lunch time too. Awesome!

The food log has been educational all the way around. It’s amazing the things that I have passed over sticking in my “pie hole” simply because I knew I was going to right it down! I’ve managed to keep my calories under two thousand for the last two days and today is looking like it will be way underneath.

Lastly, todays run went well. I started off tight even though I thought I had stretched enough. I tried “Chi running” today and I’m not sure I could tell much of a difference. Although I’m probably not the best judge since I’m so new to running.

That’s all for today, I’m going to eat some homemade pizza and veggies, which means I’m going to have to figure out the calories of individual ingredients, but the pain is worth the gain!

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