tagMind ControlCoaching the Pastor

Coaching the Pastor


I spotted her as she slipped into the third pew during the opening song. Her dark short hair highlighted sparkling eyes. She moved with the graceful power of an athlete and she joined the singing immediately. I could not take my eyes off of her. Being the pastor of this growing congregation, I always welcomed any newcomer. Yet I felt strangely nervous as I greeted her after worship.

She looked me straight in the face and said, "Good Morning, Pastor Tim. I truly enjoyed your sermon. I especially liked your comments about triathlon training."

I stammered a short, "Thank you, glad you could visit us this morning."

She responded, "Oh, I plan to be back. I might be visiting you often." A wry smile flashed across her face and she was gone.

But her face lingered into the afternoon. Monday I checked the visitor cards but none seemed to fit her.

I hesitated to mention her to my wife or church secretary. My church had lots of visitors who make one visit and never returned. I simply let the memory of her drift away.

However, the next Sunday I saw her seated in the same pew. This time her dress was shorter and a bit more low-cut. She was obviously an athlete because her calves and arms were toned. As a novice triathlete I noticed such features. She looked about thirty, twenty years younger than me. Still I felt this compulsion to check her out during the service. And whenever I would glance in her direction, her gaze seemed to be fixed on me. I quickly looked away, but she just smiled each time I glanced back.

After the service, she made sure to greet me. "I told you I would be back. It's certainly good to see you again, pastor." She took a step closer and entered my personal space. "My name is Veronica and I have a few questions about you and your church. Could we talk?" There were others behind her in the greeting line so I said "Sure, just let me finish greeting these people."

She stepped away as I greeted the others. As I finished greeting, she walked confidently back up to me. "I hear you are training for a triathlon. I am too. Are you biking or running this afternoon?" She said it with such authority as if she commanded an answer from me. The word "bike" was out of my mouth before I realized it.

"Great! We can bike while I ask you my questions. Let's meet at two at the high school parking lot. Are you up for forty miles?"

I had been planning only a twenty to thirty mile ride alone, yet her voice and enthusiasm pulled a "sure thing" from my lips. Again she leaned close to me, giving me a glimpse of her cleavage. She certainly was more buxom than most female tri-athlete. She said in a low voice, "I trust you will be ready for a real work-out." Then she turned and walked out of the church. I noticed several men watching her.

As I took my ministerial robe off, I didn't know what to do. I felt some deep physical attraction to her, and I felt guilty about those feelings. I looked at myself in the mirror. Though I had a few streaks of grey in my hair and slight roll around my stomach, I was pretty fit for my age. Over the years I had run a dozen or more marathons, but decided last summer to try a short "sprint" triathlon. It had been fun, so now I was training for a longer one in July, an Olympic distance.

I kept thinking about Veronica and the approaching bike ride as I ate lunch with my wife. We married in the passion of our youth, but now our relationship had grown stale and perfunctory. Our sex life had become non-existence, especially since her hysterectomy. I had recommended that we go to counseling, but she thought that was extreme. We drifted along as she grew more passionate about gardening and as I pursued triathlons.

I was about to broach the subject of the bike ride when my wife said, "Judy asked if I could help her put in her garden this afternoon. It's the only time we both have free and now that it's May we need to get it done. Weren't you going for a bike ride later?" I nodded my head.

"So it's okay if I go to Judy's?"

"Sure, go right ahead."

Five minutes later, my wife was in her car driving to Judy's.

It was fifteen minute to two and I wrestled with myself on what to do. It didn't seem proper to meet Veronica alone, yet she did want to ask some questions about my church. And we would be outside on bicycles. It seemed pretty harmless. Yet my mind kept straying to more harmful topics, like the cleavage I had glimpsed this morning.

At 2 pm I found myself bicycling into the high school parking lot, half of me wishing Veronica would not show, the other half anxiously looking around for her. I quickly spotted her by the flag pole. She had on very tight bike shorts and her cycling jersey was half zipped. She flashed her enticing smile at me, "I wondered if you would show."

"Why? I said I would."

"Yes, you did. But I wondered if your wife was going to object."

"Well, she went off to a friend's house."

"So you didn't tell her?"

"My wife knows I am going on a bike ride this afternoon."

Veronica pressed a bit further, "But does she know that you are biking with me?"

"Not really," I said softly.

"Well, that okay," Veronica said. "We wouldn't get into TOO much trouble."

She mounted her bike and we started off. She was obviously a fit athlete and though we started at a gentle pace, it steadily increased. We biked side by side. Veronica did have a few questions about the church, but mostly questions about me.

How long had I been at the church? - Two years. How long had I been married? -- Twenty-five years. How many children? -- Two in college. She kept probing. How many triathlons had I completed? -- Two. Did I think females were as strong as men in triathlons? -- Many are. Was my wife a triathlete? -- No.

I asked her about her situation. She said that she had been divorced for several years and only recently moved to the city. She had found our church on the internet.

We were now moving at a faster clip, and I was struggling to stay up. But my male ego was also in play, so I pushed to stay even. I asked her how many triathlons she had completed.

"Twenty or so," she responded. I gulped.

"Including four full Ironman's." I gulped again.

Finally I had to admit to myself that I was whipped physically and so I dropped back to draft off her. She shouted back to me, "That's okay. You were fully engaged at church." She took the lead and slowed the pace. I could see her gorgeous ass as her hips rose up and swayed at every opportunity. Occasionally she would turn and look at me, but mostly I was staring at her.

I felt twinges of guilt as I looked, but I reminded myself that I was only looking. I was not touching or doing anything inappropriate. I was making a "pastoral visit." Still my mind kept slipping towards the gutter. I had never cheated on my wife; in fact she was the only sexual partner I ever had.

As we neared the high school, Veronica slowed and dropped back to ride beside me. "That was a great ride, but I still have a few questions. My water bottle is empty and I need to replenish. My townhouse is just around the corner."

"I don't know," I responded, "I probably should be getting back home."

"Oh, come on. I really do have some questions. Follow me."

She said it with such authority that I followed her to her home. She opened her garage door and showed me where to place my bike. Packing boxes were scattered about. As we stepped into her entry way, she immediately instructed me where to place my shoes and bike gear. She said, "You don't want to be all sweaty, so take your jersey off and put this T-shirt on." Even though she was younger and shorter than me, her voice demanded immediate respect.

As I tried to peel off my jersey, I fumbled a bit, so she stepped up and placed her two strong hands on my jersey and pulled it off. Her hands brushed over my back and shoulders and I felt this surge of electricity flow through my body. And also some guilt.

I quickly pulled on the T-shirt, but it was a bit short and it left part of my stomach bare. My slight belly roll was now visible. Not only guilt but also embarrassment had entered the picture.

Veronica intervened, "Let's get something to drink and then we can talk." As we walked through her partially decorated living room, she stopped at a corner table and pulled out a digital camera. "I always keep a picture of my guests." She turned and quickly snapped my picture before I could object, remembering my flabby stomach.

As we walked towards her kitchen Veronica pulled off her cycling jersey, leaving only a thin sports bra above her narrow waist. She placed the camera on the kitchen table and opened the fridge. She seemed to make a show of raising her ass and moving it from side to side as she pulled out some bottled Gatorade. I thought, "Don't let your imagination make a fool of you. After all she went to your church this morning."

When she turned to face me, my imagination jumped to another gear. Her breasts and especially her nipples were clearly outlined from her perspiration. My stare was nearly as obvious as my dropped jaw. She handed me the Gatorade and then asked innocently, "Pastor, are you looking at my breasts?"

"Ah, na-na-no. I was not looking at your breasts," I stammered as I turned a deeper shade of red.

"Pastor, it is not good to lie, especially to a potential new member of your flock."

Part of me wanted to turn and run out the door. Most of me was rooted to the floor.

"Pastor, I will let your transgression slide this time. It will just be our little secret." She opened a closet door, pulled a sweatshirt off the shelf, and pulled it over her head. The nipples and breasts disappeared. "I really do need to talk with you about my new business and how you can help me."

She sat down at the kitchen table and motioned for me to sit. "Pastor, I am starting over my business as a personal trainer and specifically as a triathlon coach, but I am new in town and need some recommendations for my webpage. Could you help me by making one for me?"

"We've only gone on one bike ride and you rode me into the ground."

"Yeah, I get a little aggressive at times. But what if I agreed to coach you for a couple of months gratis and then you write a strong recommendation for me, that is if you like my coaching." She was being so earnest with me that I couldn't help but say yes.

She asked me what workouts I usually did on Monday and I told it was my running day.

"Great. Let's plan to meet here at 7:00 am or is that too early for you? Then we can discuss a bit more of the kind of training plan I would create for you."

The way she again took charge of the agenda rubbed me the wrong way, but 7:00 could work for me. "Okay, seven it is."


I was ten minutes late pulling up to Veronica's house and she was outside. She seemed a bit miffed, looking at her watch as I walked towards her.

"You're late!"

"Pastors often are," I joked.

"Well, that is something that needs to change, if I am your coach."

I wasn't sure how serious she was about this coaching idea, "Why do you want to coach an old man like me anyway? I could barely keep up with you yesterday."

"Like I said yesterday, I am new to town and I need some new clients. I figured you would be a great reference for me with your contacts in town, if I can show how you've improved in a short time. That means you need to follow my directions. Besides, I prefer to work with older men. They're not so cock-sure of themselves and often more open to strong coaching."

I wasn't sure how to take that last comment, so I responded with a neutral, "All right."

As we started the run, Veronica again took charge, directing me to a nearby park with a forested trail. Veronica started asking appropriate questions. How many miles a week did I run? How many days did I bike and swim? How fast did I race my last triathlon? What were my goals and expectations? She kept the pace leisurely so I could answer without gasping for breath.

"I noticed yesterday that you tend to do your workouts at hyper-speed," she said as I pushed the pace a bit. "You need to learn to vary the pace, to have hard work-outs followed by easy work-out. Learn to relax and listen to your body. Go with the flow."

I began to relax as the run progressed. Her voice had an intoxicating quality that evoked my trust. She occasionally took the lead and I would admire her strong, fluid body.

Veronica continued, "We will need to work on your core and also you need to lose about ten, maybe fifteen pounds."

My belly flab came to mind and I winced.

"No big deal," she said. "I always do nutritional counseling with my clients as well as work-outs plans. I'll let you try one of my delicious smoothies when we get back."

It was a very relaxing six-mile run and the conversation seemed to match.

"Have you ever used any mental meditation and visualization exercises to prepare for a race?"

I had heard of elite athlete's using them but had never tried them myself.

"It's sort of like self-hypnosis. You clear your mind and visualize yourself accomplishing your goal."

"It sounds intriguing," I said.

"As a pastor, you would probably catch on right away. I have a CD at home that can help you. It will only take about forty minutes, but I should be with you the first few of times to make sure it works properly."

I usually kept my Monday schedule open, so I could deal with pastoral emergencies. And I was intrigued with the idea. "Okay," I said.

At her house, she showed me some exercises to strengthen my core and then told me to shower while she fixed one of her special smoothies. Afterwards we would do the meditation. I quickly showered and dressed. As I entered the kitchen I saw that Veronica had on a loose fitting sweatshirt and sweatpants. I relaxed a bit and sat down.

She handed me a large glass filled with cold red liquid. "You are going to love this raspberry smoothie. It's packed with protein, vitamins and the electrolytes your body craves after a workout."

I took a sip and it was delicious. In a short time I had finished the whole thing. "That is really good." I relaxed even further.

Veronica then handed me two sheets of paper. "I prepared my standard coach-client agreement that outlines how I will help you achieve your goals. It also allows me to use any recommendation or media that you give me on my website. You know, I usually charge over $80 an hour, but like I said yesterday, it will all be gratis."

As I thought about the fees I felt an obligation to follow Veronica's advice.

"All right," I signed the document after a hasty perusal.

Veronica continued, "I roughed out a potential work-out schedule for this week. Look it over and we can discuss it tomorrow after our swim workout." She handed me the schedule.

"Swim work-out? I don't think I will have time for that. I have several meeting tomorrow."

"At five AM? That's when I scheduled our work-out. We will meet at the Y's pool at 5:15 tomorrow morning. I need to evaluate your swimming stroke."

Again her take-charge coaching voice made my response almost impulsive, "Okay."

"Now let's try the meditation and visualization exercise before you have to go."

She led me downstairs into her basement that was outfitted like a small gym. We had to negotiate the two treadmills, an elliptical machine, free-weights and a large massage table. In the corner were two straight back chairs and a small table with a candle and a small clay bowl. Veronica motioned for me to sit down.

"I like to engage the senses when I meditate." She lit the candle and then a small amount of incense which she placed in the bowl. Her voice was calm, almost seductive. "I will start the CD in moment. It will lead us step by step into a deeper sense of peace and tranquility. Keep your eyes closed through out and visualize yourself biking the last section into the transition zone." I nodded my head.

"You need a mantra as well. Try this one, 'the harder it is, the stronger I am.'"

I repeated, "The harder it is, the stronger I am."

As I sat down, I already felt at ease and relaxed, except for my groin. I noticed my penis becoming hard as I listened to Veronica's voice. I thought to myself, "It is a good thing I have on a loose pair of slacks and boxers." I placed my hands in my laps to hide any arousal.

The CD started and with my eyes closed, I quickly floated deeper and deeper into the guided meditation. I visualized myself biking smoothly along the race course. I was feeling strong and alive, passing several other cyclists. My manta kicked in, "The harder it is, the stronger I am." I visualized the transition area ahead and slowed as I neared my gear. Veronica was standing there ready to assist me.

As I got off the bike she handed me my running shorts. I visualized her strong hands pulling down my cycling shorts and exposing my stiff erection. Her hand held it as she looked at me, saying "the harder it is the stronger I am." I pulled my running shorts up over my groin, but she continued to hold my erection and whispered deeply into my mind, "The harder it is, the stronger I am." She slipped her hand out and gave me a soft kiss on my check. I started running, the erection slipping away. The meditation continued for a few minutes longer and then guided me back to consciousness. Finally I opened my eyes.

There was Veronica, standing over me in her baggy sweatpants and sweatshirt. "How did it go?" she asked.

I felt a small blush rising in my face and I fought the urge to look down at my lap. "Fine," I said. "In fact, it went really well. I could visualize the bike, the transition zone, and everything. It felt so real." I was rambling now, trying not to think what happened during the transition.

"Great, I thought you would be good at it. How did the mantra work?"

With gusto I immediately responded, "The harder it is, the stronger I am."

"Very good," She smiled. "After you practice here a few times, you can use it at home, or maybe in the quiet of your office."

"That reminds me, I really should get back to church. Tomorrow morning, 5:15, at the Y's pool. See you then. And thanks for the work-out and the smoothie."

As I drove back to the church, the vivid image of the meditation was bouncing around in my head. "I really must be careful with her," I thought, "She could be real trouble for me."

Little did I know how true that would be.


Swimming was my weakest leg in a triathlon, so I was anxious to get any advice I could from Veronica. I tried not to think what she would look like in a swimsuit, but a provocative image kept surfacing as I drove to the Y. I had done some early morning swims in the past and the pool was pretty quiet at that time so I was not too worried about someone seeing us together. I still had not discussed Veronica with my wife. Veronica was already in the pool when I walked out of the locker room. She seemed to glide through the water with ease. Her suit was a standard one-piece, nothing provocative. Still I was mesmerized by her athletic form. After a couple of laps, she looked up and saw me.

She called out to me, "Pastor Tim, over here. " She pushed her swim goggles up and climbed out of the pool. "So are you ready?"

"Swimming is not my strength."

"Remember your mantra, 'The harder it is, the stronger I am.'"

Immediately my mind flashed back to yesterday's meditation.

I nodded my head to clear it as much to acknowledge the mantra. "The harder it is, the stronger I am."

Veronica said, "Let me watch you swim. Just do a few laps to warm up. Don't try to impress your coach. I will figure out what's best for you."

I put on my goggles, jumped into the pool and started to swim. I felt awkward from the first stroke. After four laps she stopped me.

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