The Daily Beet

09 Feb Rob started running and changed his eating habits to honor his father

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We asked E2-ers to write about what activities they love to do. Today, read about Rob’s journey and how he got into running. If you have ever thought about running, Rob has some great advice. He also has a wonderful story to share.

I was a runner in high school.  I ran track and cross country, but my love was cross country.  One of the first runs I ever remember going on was with my dad, and he took me by the elementary school I would be going to in 1st grade when it was still just a concrete slab with steel beams sticking out of it.  My dad was very supportive of my running in high school, and had been very supportive of me as an adult.

Almost exactly one year ago, my dad was getting ready to go into the hospital for a biopsy.  At the end of January, 2011, he was diagnosed with stage 4 gleoblastoma, a cancer of the brain.  He started chemotherapy and radiation treatments, but he died on April 7, 2011.

My wife and I saw the movie Forks Over Knives this last summer, but we weren’t quite ready to make the change in our life, even though we knew we needed to do so.  We just weren’t ready yet.  Then I started running again from the suggestion of a friend who shared with me http://www.fromcouchto5k.com/ I had tried other times in the last 20 years since High School to start running again, but always tried to start too fast and would get injured.  This program helped me get back into running at a more reasonable pace, even though I did have a couple minor injuries along the way.  My wife and I watched Forks Over Knives a second time and we decided to make the change.  We also bought Engine 2 book, and we found the transition very easy and tasty!  Since going plant strong just before Thanksgiving, we have both lost around 20 lbs. each from the heaviest we have been.  One of the major factors in deciding to go with this way of eating is that for the last few weeks of my dad’s life, my mom said that all my dad could keep down was soup and cheese.  When soup and cheese was all the food my dad could keep down, that was when the cancer really started to get aggressive.  I have started running again and have made this change in my eating habits in order to honor my dad and to hopefully not suffer through cancer the way he did.

The best advice I can give anyone who wants to get in to running is to visit a specialty running store to purchase their shoes.  Running does not have to be expensive, and there are good running shoes available for anywhere between $45 to $150 dollars, but don’t just get a pair of shoes because they look good.  They MUST fit properly and be the right shoes for your feet and the way your body moves.  After shoes, running is all about staying motivated.  I have found several pages on Facebook that have wonderful motivational posters, and I share many of them on my own wall to motivate myself and others around me.  Staying motivated also means having tangible goals to work toward, such as entering a race for the first time, running a farther distance than you have run before, or even running a certain number of days in a row.  However, anything beyond the right shoes and the right motivation (such as nice running clothes) is an extra bonus.  Make sure to use those bonuses as a reward though.

I am the pastor of two small churches in west central Missouri, right in the heart of agricultural land.  This transition to a whole food, plant-strong way of eating has made things interesting for my wife and I with the congregations, some of whom raise cattle and chickens. We have allowed ourselves room to deviate from being plant-strong when we are with people from the church, knowing that at home we will stick with the plan.  The congregations are very hospitable, and as such we do not want to offend anyone by turning down food they offer as we work on building relationships with the people.  However, as we share with people the change in our diet with those in the congregations, we will be able to stick to the plant strong plan even outside our homes.

Rev. Rob

Lincoln, MO

Thank you for sharing Rob! Are you a runner? What got you started? We would love to hear from you in the comments!

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Engine 2 Team
Engine 2 Team

The Engine 2 Team is dedicated to helping you become plant-strong! Each of us are on the plant-strong journey right along side of you!

  • Kate
    Posted at 07:51h, 09 February

    This past week a certain famous internet doctor published an article that running is dangerous for the right side of your heart. To me it seemed suspect. What do you think?

    • Rob
      Posted at 20:23h, 09 February

      i would have to see that article. could you post it?

    • Rob
      Posted at 20:24h, 09 February

      i’d say NOT running is bad for your whole heart (the muscle type heart and the spirit type heart)

  • Marcia Zimmerman
    Posted at 07:54h, 09 February

    Good going, Rob. Having lived in Versailles, MO for a period of 8 years at one point, I say you have a beautiful state to go running in! I still get homesick for it around the spring of the year when the dogwoods and redbuds are blooming. Keep running!

  • Marcia Zimmerman
    Posted at 08:14h, 09 February

    I’m not really a runner (yet) but my dear sister who is responsible for getting me off the couch and out of the house is an exercise inspiration. Last year, in her 40th year, she ran in her first 5k, just to ‘prove’ that 4o is a great age to do such things. 😉 She has encouraged me to get out and walk, to do exercise DVD’s in the house when the winter snows prevent me from being able to walk outdoors…I now love walking. I love jogging at intervals and someday, maybe i’ll run in a marathon, too.

  • Sylvia
    Posted at 10:20h, 09 February

    Congratulations, Rob! The diet and the running will certainly help your health and give you more patience and energy for your work as a pastor. You certainly do have a beautiful place to run in!! Keep up the good work and positive attitude!

  • Parker
    Posted at 11:30h, 09 February

    “Back in the day”, I was pretty competitive runner and vegetarian, limiting myself to egg whites and milk a few times a week otherwise I was subsiding on oatmeal, grain breads with nut butter & banana sandwiches (and a little shredded coconut) and beans & rice or chopped & browned potatoes smothered in onions, jalapenos and diced tomatoes as my main foods. My bloodwork was amazing, resting heart rate hovered around 32 and BP was in the 90s/60s.

    Injuries, bad eating choices and fast forward to present day and all those numbers have disappeared. However, we are slowly working into Engine 2 eating day by day, week by week and have been lacing up the running shoes regularly and doing a little more sensible training.

  • Tim
    Posted at 12:30h, 09 February

    Rob, sorry to hear about the tragic loss of your father. Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring the rest of us. Grace & Peace.

  • Evalyn
    Posted at 14:27h, 09 February

    Proud to call Rob a friend!!

    • Rob
      Posted at 20:18h, 09 February

      You too Evalyn!

  • Joan Nelson
    Posted at 14:39h, 09 February

    I started running 8 years ago at 48. Several things started this- mainly I lost 2 brothers to PPH(primary pulmonary hypertension) one at 33 and one at 53. Six months later I lost my brother in law to a heart attack at 50. Less than 2 years later, my father took his life at 88. At 10 pounds at least a dead person, I was severely depressed. My hubby hated his job and we were headed for divorce. We both decided to run a marathon- yep- just like that! We ran our first in 2004 and then 2 years later ran our second in Maui–then we were addicted. Now I have 30 marathons to my credit and 3 ultras including 2 50 milers. The hubby has done about as many marathons, a few 50’s and 3 100 milers. Our marriage is awesome and we both lost weight- me- 67 pounds worth! I am 56 and hope to reach 60 marathons by age 60. I ran across Forks over Knives after watching Food Inc last year and started being Plant strong the first of Oct 2011. We always ate pretty healthy but now we really do. My cholesterol was 261 last year and I just had it done Jan 30 of this year after 4 months of being plant strong- it dropped 30 points to 231. I hope to get it even lower. Thanks for all you do and for all the inspiration. Good luck Rob!!!

    • Rob
      Posted at 20:19h, 09 February

      Another inspiring story! thanks for sharing, and good luck with your continued training! I think you should submit it to E2 for them to post! I think your story could help a lot of other people too.


  • Tatiana
    Posted at 15:51h, 09 February

    Heyy I am glad to here your up and running again. Running is definitely the best feeling once your up and moving do you know any websites I can train for a 10k ? I’ve been running 5K for over a month and want to start moving to something longer.

    • Rob
      Posted at 20:18h, 09 February

      After I had finished my first 5K a few weeks ago, i asked myself “now what?” just like you did. On runnersworld.com there is a feature called “smart coach” where you can enter some data about yourself and your training goals and it will give you a plan. That is what I am using now. Good luck on your next race!


  • Corinne
    Posted at 19:15h, 09 February

    I’ve been running for years and I don’t remember what got me started but the reason I continue is because of how it makes me feel. I have come to appreciate being out in nature with the fresh air and sunshine, moving my body, breathing, clearing my head, and boosting my mood. Running provides an incredible sense of accomplishment and lets you challenge yourself.

    • Janice
      Posted at 09:40h, 17 February

      I’m inspired just by reading what you wrote! Sometimes we forget the simple things like being out in nature.

  • Ninufar
    Posted at 22:54h, 09 February

    I ran in jr high but was stopped by some chronic health problems, exacerbated by problems w/dairy consumption. Spent some time overweight, tried running again, knees complained. Couldn’t afford new shoes as often as they recommend. Got some help moving towards sane eating (help of the 12-step variety) and came back to a healthier size, but was anemic — docs missed it for ~2-3 years. (Gals, always make ’em check your iron *stores*, not just your red blood cell count.) Had gone mostly veg by then but not entirely, & got more iron in me, and found “No Need for Speed” at the bookstore. Started running 5 paces/walking 10 — loved it! Also started running barefoot or close — knees much happier! I still struggle with making time to run, and I struggle w/finding anyone who’s as slow as me who’s actually gonna go running, but I aspire to run a 5K someday too. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Lani Muelrath, Plant-based health & fitness
    Posted at 06:24h, 10 February

    Rev Rob,

    Thanks for sharing your quite inspiring and touching story. You touch on a key point to success at all of this. Actually, 2 of them.

    1) Connecting with real purpose and vision for your choices Your Dad was a major inspiration for some big moves and choices that you have made. This continues to fire and inspire your journey. This is what successful people do: The find the under-the-surface reasons to keep their healthy practices alive. You need to be on fire to make such big changes. And every day that fire is sometimes just an ember, but you know what flames to fan to get and keep yourself going.

    2) Staying motivated Anyone can get going, but it’s going the distance with all of this that separates the men from the boys. Getting support – which is what you do each time you reach out, check in on a like-minded online community, or hook up with an exercise buddy (all of which you are doing) make a difference.

    Your strategies would be a great example for the ‘Get Support’ Chapter in Boot Camp Mind, my top 10 motivational tools for health, fitness, and weight loss success because you have 2 key strategies covered.

    Congratulations and onward!
    Lani Muelrath

  • James
    Posted at 19:28h, 10 February

    Have you experienced any issues with cramps? I did when I went vegan, this article helped. http://www.vegkitchen.com/nutrition/vegan-athlete/

  • Christina
    Posted at 20:02h, 12 February

    I’ll be running in my first marathon next month. I’m a teacher and since the beginning of the school year, I’ve been training 10 of my students. IN addition to hours and hours and hours of practice, we have completed 6 races in preparation (including an 18 miler last week). People think that I’m crazy to train while on a plant-based diet, but I feel stronger and healthier than ever….

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