Training Update 2016.04.01

It’s been roughly 10 weeks since my last post on reclaiming this body. At that time I had reported in at then scale tipping weight of 217.5 lbs. As of last weigh-in I am now at…**drum roll please**…212 lbs. On top of that my body fat percentage was now down to 21%. No where near where I want to get to for either measurements, but after 12 weeks of effort, I’ll take an 8 pound loss and 3% decrease in BF %. Those numbers are trending in the right direction.

One interesting side benefit was that even though I didn’t do any pace runs for training, I did do one each month just to see how I felt. My “comfortable” pace was faster by about 45 seconds per mile at the end of the 12 weeks than it was at the beginning. Plus, I felt good enough to run a longer distance than I where I was at at the beginning (which was feeling like death around the 5K mark). This despite not training specifically to improve my time or overall endurance. The strength training and the sprint intervals were more than enough to give me that. Hopefully that continues because I would love to be able to just lace up my shoes and go run a trail for 5 miles without having to plod along day after day and build up to that.

Up Next

So, what’s next? Well, I’m going to be mostly boring and keep doing what I’ve been doing. I realize I didn’t tell you what that is last time other than I was giving up soda — which I succeeded at for all of Lent. And now that Lent is over, I still don’t feel like drinking soda. I’ve developed an affinity for various unsweetened teas, an occasional lemonade and just plan ol’ water. So, I think I’ll just keep that going.

From an exercise perspective, I was doing 2 lower body workouts, 2 upper body workouts and 2 sprint workouts per week. The weight training workouts consisted of 5 different exercises, 10 reps each done in 5 circuits with about a 2 minute rest in between circuits. It worked well in that I got a decent amount of volume without injuring my aged self, and I was able to get it done without spending hours lifting. Each workout took about 25 – 30 minutes total.


The Pinewood Derby: A Recap

Ah, the Pinewood Derby of 2016 has come and gone. My son keeps wanting a faster car than the previous year. Unfortunately, our cars have gotten progressively worse despite spending more and more time on them. At least this year, I was able to explain the ideas of potential energy, kinetic energy, friction and why they play a part in the speed of his car. I was also able to get another point across to him: don’t believe everything you read on the internet. “Experts” are found everywhere.

What went right

Well, we (and by we I mean me as I don’t want him using the power saws yet) cut a pretty good looking car. It was sleek and he painted the Bear cubs light blue down the center with gold metallic paint on the sides after he sanded that block of pine ridiculously smooth. The bear images he found looked cool with his paint job and the clear coat finish set them off nicely.

For the first time ever, we used bent axles rather than straight ones to allow us to adjust how the car tracked in its lane. And we got it tracking perfectly for a rail riding car, more on this later. We also got the center of gravity lined up perfectly with where all of the experts claimed it should be. I couldn’t be happier with how our efforts worked for that. Also for the first time ever, the back wheels were cambered to prevent the car body from rubbing against the wheels and losing more of that kinetic energy to friction. And my son did an awesome job removing burrs from the axles and polishing them to a nice smooth shine.

What didn’t go right

The scale. I weighed all of the pieces the night before and they were a perfect 5.0 ounces. Then, we put on the images and added the clear coat finish. Set the axles and took it to weigh in…5.2 ounces. So, I had to remove weight from the car and thanks to the weighted plates I used, it was easy enough to snap off pieces of them until it was back down to 5.0. Our center of gravity shifted slightly but only by 1/8″.

Riding the rails appears to work much better on an aluminum track than a wooden one. Especially when the seems of the wooden track bounce you off the rail anyway. The track the pack usually rented was being used that weekend so we were stuck using the old wooden one that had previously been put in storage. I didn’t know that until we showed up to check in and didn’t realize the ramifications until after the racing started. What would’ve worked better on that track was to have it for as straight a ride as possible rather than being a rail rider. All of the dad’s who set up their kids car to ride the rails were lamenting about the track all day. Meh, you live and you learn. My son was very insistent on bent axles and riding the rails because that’s what the NASA guy said in his YouTube video. Upon further inspection though, all of his testing was done on a polished aluminum track. But, everything in his video was prefaced with “all things being equal” doing it this way will achieve better results. All things are never equal in a Pinewood Derby race.The cars are not machined (although some look like it) to exacting standards to make all things equal. The whole point of riding the rails is to reducing the bouncing back and forth that happens if the car isn’t placed straight in its lane which is worse than the friction of riding the rail. If it’s bouncing from the track itself, you’re better off trying to avoid any extra friction because you end up with the worst of both worlds.

The center of gravity was also wrong. Some of the fastest cars on this day had most of their weight in the front of the car and others had it balanced at the center of the car. The potential energy alone would tell you this is wrong. However, what I observed is the cars with the weight more towards the front tracked better when the sections of track met. They didn’t bounce as the front wheels hit it and kept a straighter line. We needed a little more weight up front to keep the nose down more. Oh well.

The last thing that went wrong was me. My son’s best friend won their den and pack titles the last 2 years in a row (he came in second this year). My son desperately wanted a faster car to get him to shut up with the trash talking. He insisted I do more of the work than him because he didn’t think he’d do it the way the videos he watched said you should do it. Plus, “his dad builds his car and he paints it. Pleeeeeaaaaaasssssse Dad.” I should’ve made him do more. He should have set the axles and worked on its tracking. He should have worked on setting the weights and graphiting the wheels. It should have been more of his car than our car. If he wanted to do those things, then he should have at least taken the first crack at it and I helped after that. My feeling is that it probably would’ve tracked straighter and the weight would have been closer to the center of the car. In short, his car would have been faster than our car given the track conditions.

What can still go right

Next year. Next year, he gets to do more. Additionally, they haven’t announced the final votes yet and there were not many Cub Scout themed cars this year. One of the dads told my son they voted for his car for the Blue & Gold award since so many of the cars followed the theme of the race, “Rock ‘N’ Roll”. He thought of the few that made Cub Scout cars, my son’s was the best. And that part was all him. I only shook up the cans of spray paint for him. So, if he were lucky enough to win that one, he should feel pretty good about it.

I gotta admit there were some creative cars and some excellent craftsmanship for the cars this year. But, as per usual, none of the Tigers or Wolves made Cub Scout themed cars. There were 2 Bears (my son’s den) and about 4 or 5 Webelos. It would seem as the kids get older they realize that they face less competition in the Blue & Gold category versus the Best in Show or Most Original categories.

Rebirth of a Temple

If you owned a million dollar race horse, would you take it to McDonald’s? Would you take you million dollar race horse to McDonald’s? Of course you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t disrespect your million dollar race horse by taking it to McDonald’s. But, you and I — temple of the Holy Spirit — straight to the drive through.

Matthew Kelly – Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

If you get a chance to hear Matthew Kelly speak, I highly recommend it. Even if it’s just a recording of one of his talks. At the very least, he’s a gifted story teller. At his best, you might just change how you think of the world.

But, regardless of what you think about Mr. Kelly, I’m talking about putting this ol’ body of mine back into better shape. This temple has become a little bit run down from neglect over the last few years and its time to do some renovations. It is definitely a fixer upper. Two weeks ago I hit the highest weight the scale read out in almost 2 years. To be fair, I had been avoiding the scale because I knew it was not going to be pretty with my lack of follow through on taking care of this body. But, I decided on a plan and some goals before I got on that scale. Partly because of the health issues of those people around me, but mostly because I was getting frustrated by what I was seeing in the mirror and feeling on the roadways. See, I’ve kept running through all of this, but my times are getting slower and slower and it’s harder and harder to run that 8 minute mile.

So, two weeks ago I embarked on a new plan. A plan designed for a body that doesn’t recover like it used to and isn’t as flexible as it once was. Father Time is one mean old curmudgeon, and he don’t give a rats ass who you are or what you want. He’s going to have his way eventually. After all, he’s still undefeated through all these ages. But, I figured I’d make him earn it instead of making it easy for him like I have been.



The plan I’m using comes from an old transformation expert who recently had to rebuild his own body after an accident. Realizing that the older we are, the different look our training needs to take on he has made some changes to his trademark ways. Mostly in the resting phase of things and at the initial start of our program to make sure injuries are limited. If you’re curious about the details of the exercise program you can find it over at Lots of circuits to build strength and burn fat. I emphasize the exercise portion of the program for a simple reason, that’s what I’ve started.

I haven’t started a specific nutrition/supplementation program as that whole thing suggests. I’ve tried radical shakeups and attempted to do all the things at once in the past…and failed. So, I’m doing this exercising thing because I know I can stick to it. When it comes to nutrition, I’m planning on making small changes until they become habits. The first one of those is going to be giving up soda. Not going with diet soda or anything like that, just plain ol’ giving up soda. That’s it. That’s my first diet improvement step.

First, my diet isn’t that bad compared to the general population as a whole. Sure, there are lots of things I could change to make it perfect, but I don’t eat out a lot. I don’t eat very much “pre-packaged” food. I don’t pig out on donuts and pizza daily, or pound a six pack on a regular basis. Heck, yesterday was the Super Bowl and I had “a” beer, lots of veggies and lean cuts of meat. My biggest problem with my diet is probably the quantity of items if anything.


Periodically, I’ll post updates here to let you know the progress I’m making. Even if the update on the progress is a lack of progress. Exactly 2 weeks ago, I was at 220 pounds at a height of 6′ 2″. Today I’m 2 1/2 pounds lighter and feeling better about where I’m headed. Stay tuned for more updates.

Rebirth of a blog

Its only been 3 years since I’ve written anything on this site. I’ve thought about it many times. Told myself I’m going to pick it back up again. Only to not do it. I’ve thought of rebranding it. Only to not do it. I’ve thought of renaming it. Only to not do it.

You see, I tend to think of stuff to do. Then I think some more. And then some more. And the doing happens…well, the doing is a problem for future me. Present me gets to waste a lot of time coming up with the perfect plan, find a hole in it and think of the next perfect plan.

But here’s the thing. Over the last 3 years there have been 9 people in my life that have been diagnosed with cancer. 3 of them have since passed, 5 are still battling it and 1 has to see the doc every now and again to make sure it hasn’t come back. While tomorrow is guaranteed for no one, for some a lifespan’s finite length is a little more in their face than it is for others. It paints a very clear picture that the future to-do list needs some grooming. Either do it or remove it from the list, let it go and spend your time doing things that really matter to you. It sounds cliche and like something everyone already knows. Yet, very few of us actually do the things that matter to them. They claim they do, but if they spent some real time examining their lives and were totally honest, I bet few of them would continue to claim they do. I know I don’t. Not always anyway. It’s easy to fall in a rut and just coast about life doing the things you’ve always done and crossing mundane tasks off the list.

This one almost got cut from the list. However, it got a stay of execution because it makes a good place to keep track of stuff that did make the list. That means one can expect to see updates of where things are at with my personal nutrition, training, fathering, husbanding, SQLing, beering, sporting and other nouns that don’t make sense as verbs. I figured I needed to rename it since The Hot Corner makes little sense anymore and is overused. Given the temps outside and the fact that this outpost on the Internet has been barren for so long, The Cold Front makes more sense.

So, stay tuned. Hopefully as I get back into the swing of things the writing will improve and be more interesting.

The best woman I know

16 years already? Well, actually its been more than that. It seems like it went by in the blink of an eye, and it also seems like a lifetime ago. I have changed so much as a human being since this magic carpet ride all began, and have learned so much about life. Hell, if you go all the way back to the beginning, I grew up since then.


Oh, sorry. 16 years ago today, I married my best friend. It was a cool, sunny day and St. Mary’s Church in Port Washington, WI, seemed to sparkle in the sunlight. That was the day we made it official and pledged an oath to each other and God. But, that’s not when it all started. We started dating when we were 16 — started at 16, been 16 years, there’s some kind of symmetry there if you’re a numbers person. Yes, we were high school sweethearts. I know what you’re thinking, “16 years of marriage, started dating when you were 16, but, Jeff, you’re 40 years old? Where’d the other 8 years go?”

It all started here…kinda

Simple, 2 more years to finish high school. Then I went to college in Madison and she went to college in Stevens Point. She buckled down, studied and finished school in 4 years. I, on the other hand…well, let’s just say I spent a lot of time enjoying some of the other things life in Madison had to offer and took much longer to get my degree, 5 1/2 years. Plus, my wife really wanted to get married in her childhood church, so despite getting engaged in 1995, the church wasn’t available until September of 1996. And there’s your other 8 years.


Not really. Like I said, it has flown by. Besides, some people we know just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last weekend, so by comparison it hasn’t been long at all. Sure, it hasn’t always been easy. Not even close. But, that’s why I married my best friend. Best friends stand by you when it feels like no one else will. And, they call you on your BS when you need a wake call. She has done both and I’m a better person because of it. She has more than anything, been there “in good times and in bad.”

It may sound a little cliché, but your highs end up being a lot higher after you’ve struggled through the lows. You can truly appreciate the hill you’ve climbed together and what you’ve accomplished through all your hard work. We have a plaque hanging in our foyer and it’s one of the first things you see entering our house. It simply says:

Faith makes all things possible, not easy.

I believe in her and in our marriage. I believe she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to, and she’s kind enough to take me along for the ride and inspire me to do the same. I don’t believe it will always be easy. But, it will happen.


I know, when — what’s the latest number? more than 50 percent? — most marriages don’t last until “death do us part”, many people are asking, “what’s the point?” I’ll give you the simplest answer I can — it makes life worth living.

Marriage has given my life meaning. It has given me a family. I get to see my wife and myself reflected in our children. I get to go to sleep each night knowing someone always has my back. I get to start each day knowing my cheerleader is there in my corner. I get to start each day knowing that I get to experience 2 days, mine and the one she shares with me at night. I get to watch this amazing woman instill values we believe could change the world into our children.

But, more than anything, I get to start each day knowing that I’m not going through this alone. It’s not just having a good friend to talk to or lean on. It’s having a true connection with that person, like they are part of me and I’m part of them — a symbiosis of the spirit if you will. It’s something that’s hard to describe, but you know it when you have it.

Still don’t believe me? Or, maybe you do but don’t know how to get there? Alright, it’s shameless plug time. We volunteer for a wonderful organization that is dedicated to making marriage great. If you want your marriage to feel great, or you just want some quality time for the two of you away from everything else, take a weekend just for yourselves. Go on a marriage retreat by WWME.


Let’s see, where was I. Oh yes, why don’t I just tell me wife this instead of posting it in a blog? A couple of reasons.

  1. It’s what I believe and how I feel. Isn’t that supposed to be what a blog is about?
  2. It’s the internet. The internet is forever. If you felt this way, wouldn’t you want it recorded forever?
  3. I want the world to know that marriage is not a bad thing. It can be the greatest thing in your life if your willing to work at it.


I can’t imagine having gone through this with anyone else. And as I look to the future, I can’t imagine going down this road with anyone else. Whether that future is one more day (Yikes! Let’s hope not! Darn Mayans trying to freak everyone out.), or another 50 years (Whew! That sounds a lot better.), I know I have been blessed beyond measure to be married to my wife.

Glenda, Happy Anniversary! And to many more years!

You are the love of my life,


Beer Review – Singha

This one comes to us from Boon Rawd Brewery in Thailand. The review is based on a bottle poured into a pint glass (which by the way is how I review most of my beers).

It pours a light blonde color with a bright white head that quickly dissipates. There is no lacing with this beer and it has very little aroma. It has a very light, watery moutfeel with just the slightest of hoppy finish. Not much aroma, not much flavor.

Overall, I didn’t like it. It’s too much of nothingness. I suppose if you’re not much of a beer fan, you might like it. Kinda like all those people that think Bud Light is great. In my opinion, Singha commits the ultimate sin of beer — it’s boring.

Grade: F

Beer Review – Stanlick’s Doc Holiday Porter

Yes, folks, I review my own beer. But, since you can’t buy this one for your weekend I’m giving it to you on a Wednesday. I’m often quite harder on it than things I buy. You see, when you’re homebrewing, you have an idea in your mind about what the look, smell and taste is going to be while you’re coming up with your recipe and brewing it. When it doesn’t come out exactly as you envisioned, you get critical of your process.

This particular beer came from an idea I had with some huckleberry syrup my parent’s brought back from Glacier National Park. I decided a porter could handle the tart huckleberry flavor better than some other styles. Plus, I figured if there is a style that’s hard to screw up, it’s a porter. This beer seems to get better the longer it ages in the bottle and the different flavors come out. This review is from a later bottle poured into a pint glass.

This pours a very dark brown, almost black color with very little light getting through. Pours about 1″, tan colored head that quickly dissipates to about 1/8″ and hangs around with plenty of lacing present. It has floral noise with the huckleberry coming through, although it’s not as strong as I thought it would be.

It is full bodied with a medium to almost heavy mouthfeel. Starts out a little sweet from the caramel malt, but has a hoppier finish than one would expect from a porter. While the huckleberry is present in the aroma, it very faint in the taste. Perhaps the brewmaster should’ve added it in the secondary fermenter rather than during the boil.

It’s a little hoppier than the porter style, but it really has a lot to offer. So much more than the first bottle I opened. Overall, this is a pretty easy drinking beer with more flavor every time I open a bottle. So, I haven’t opened one in a couple of weeks. (Perhaps this post will need an update shortly) It’s one of my better homebrews.

Grade: B+