My Adventure On RTD and Free Cash!

I’ve lived in Denver for almost a year now, and the only public transportation I’ve taken advantage of is the free 16th street mall ride.


The mall ride is a free shuttle offered that takes you up and back the pedestrian walkway in downtown Denver.  It’s actually right outside our door so it’s fairly convenient when we’re going downtown.  Like last week when we got our marriage license!

Today, Zach needed the car to go to the DMV.  Normally I’d just ask a coworker to take me home, but today I was feeling adventurous.  I figured the new West Line trainline is way to convenient for me to not utilize, and what better day then today to give it a shot!

So. . . I got a ride into work from a good looking gentlemen


With the plans to have a mini adventure on the train this afternoon.

The Light Rail!

I left work a few minutes before 5:00, knowing that there was a train a few minutes after 5 that I wanted to be able to catch.

The station is about a 5-7 minute walk from my office building, so not bad at all.


I grabbed my stuff and hit the road!


There are RTD ticket machines that make it quick and easy for you to buy your tickets.  Credit card or cash (2.25 for a single ride)


By about 5:08 the train was there and I was on my way home.  I was actually surprised by how nice the train is.  The seats are cushioned and reminded me of the Metra line in Chicago.  Big enough for two people, but everyone had their own seat.


I settled in and was ready for a relaxing, non-traffic stress inducing trip home.


Yes. . . I do pretty much always have snacks for on the road. Even on a 20 minute train ride.

Lucky enough for me, I had some coworkers of mine hope onto our car a few stops in!  They were on their way to the Rockie’s game tonight, so my trip seriously flew by.   Within what seemed like no time at all, we were pulling into Union Station, Downtown.


It says 525, sorry for the sun blurball!


Just like that I was home!  And guess who was waiting for me! 🙂


I spy a Zach and a Gusman…


Gus was VERY excited to see Mom!

Honestly, my first adventure on the light rail was beyond a breeze.  I kind of hoped that I would have some crazy adventure to tell you all about, but no suck luck.  At least I had coworkers to entertain me :).  I will absolutely be taking the light rail in the future whenever Zach may need the car.  Need to support Denver, right? 🙂

A few things I would note:

  • The cars themselves are super quiet and clean
  • They were on schedule and on time for my ride today
  • My ticket was not checked, but I’m told that they do check periodically, and there is a BIG fine if you don’t have a ticket.
  • There are park and rides on many of the major stops along the rail, so people are free to park their cars and go into the city.  That’s what my coworkers did and it seemed easy peasy.

There was some excitement when I got home though!

Free Cash!

I got two dollars in the mail today you guys! 🙂


I was far too excited by this fact.  I got sent a survey, with two dollars in the envelope.  The letter said that if you filled out the survey, that they would send you five dollars more in return, the 2 dollars was just incentive.  HELLO FREE MONEYS!

I was bragging about my winnings for a good 10 minutes to Zach.  He wasn’t too impressed with my proclaiming to now be the breadwinner of the house. . . but I say he’s just jealous he didn’t get 7 dollars today.

Hey, the 2 dollars already basically paid for my trip home.  Awesome!

In actuality, I’m sure that I am going to be emailed, called, and sent letters crazy style for the next few months, but hey, it’s free cash :).

The only thing better than free cash?


Baking. . . well not exactly baking as much as pouring a brownie mix into a bowl, adding applesauce and egg whites, then putting it in the oven.  But hey, we had them, and I am craving chocolate like nobody’s business, so we made them 🙂  At least I somewhat healthified them, right?






The brownies were dessert to a nice, healthy and much more well rounded meal.

Bison steak, grilled corn on the cob, and sourdough toast with homemade raspberry jam.



And now, after my adventurous evening, it’s time to relax with the furry family.  Have a great night all! 🙂

Question:  1. Have you ever received cash in the mail like this? 2.  Do you use public transportation where you live?

Divergent — Review!

I love dystopian novels.  I admit it.

Hunger Games trapped me, and within 3 weeks I had read all three books.  Then I gave them to Zach (a doubter), and he finished them just as quickly.

I hope it isn’t a reflection on me as a person. . . it must mean that I am a deep and compassionate person who wants to make sure I continue to appreciate the world we live in, yes? 😉 Moving on…

When I heard about Divergent, I JUMPED on Amazon and ordered the book before I had even finished my current book The Art of Racing In The Rain.  I could hardly wait to crack it open, and let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint.



Divergent, written by Veronica Roth, is the first novel in a set of three (I love trilogies!).  The novel is set in dystopian Chicago, with society now separated into 5 factions based upon their natural human virtues.  The five factions are Abignation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peaceful), Candor(honest) and Erudite (intelligence).  People are put into factions on their 16th birthday, based upon their aptitude test scores as well as their natural instincts and desires in a ceremony known as “choosing day.”

The novel follows Beatrice, a natural born Abignation.  During the aptitude test and before choosing day,  it is revealed to Beatrice that she is what is known as Divergent, a term she has never heard of.  This leaves her confused but emboldened, and we follow Beatrice as she makes the decision to leave her natural born faction and join the Dauntless.

In order to become a faction member, the youth must go through initiation, which for Dauntless is broken into three stages.   The first stage involves tactile learning of equipment and building strength.  This includes weaponry training as well as fighting of fellow initiates to gain rank in the standings.  The second stage is based around simulations.  Each initiate is put into a “simulation” that forces them to face their own individual fears.  The third and final stage requires that the initiates face their “fear landscapes” in front of the Dauntless leaders.  Those who conquer their fear landscape the quickest receive the highest points.  While 20 or more people go into Dauntless training (including transfers AND natural born Dauntless), only 10 will make it to be a Dauntless member, the rest are left factionless.

We follow Beatrice through each of the stages of initiation.  Through her ups and downs in building mental and physical strength, through her development as an individual, and through her relationship with her fellow Dauntless and initiates.  This includes a very complicated relationship with Four, a Dauntless initiate trainer and transfer himself (of course, no tale can be without the love story component!).

Right as things are looking good for Beatrice, her curiosity begins to grow and elements about the different factions and leaders are revealed, which lead into an AMAZING culmination of events for story number one.


I did NOT want to put this book down, and was VERY dissapointed when it finished (I literally threw a hissy fit because the book finished but LOOKED like it could have at least a COUPLE more chapters left…).

I LOVE that the novel is set in Dystopian Chicago, but I could be biased with this one.  They reference many of the landmarks and some of my favorite Chicago locations, so I had fun reading their interpretation of Chicago in their world.

Just like with Hunger Games, it took me a few chapters to really get into this book.  There is important back story that is addressed in the beginning, and, for me personally, those sections always seem to drag a little more than the guts of a good book.  With that said, I was still captivated and knew that I was going to get sucked in shortly…

I absolutely adored Beatrice as a main character and adored how they developed her through out the novel.  Veronica Roth did a great job depicting a girl at this very emotional and challenging state of life and I found myself rooting for her the entire time.  I found myself wondering where I would fall in the factions, and how I would go about handling this dystopian reality if it were me.  This resulted in a lot of serious conversations with myself, and some odd dreams, but totally worth the fun thoughts and processes :).

If you like dystopian novels, you will LOVE Divergent, I promise.   It is a quick and easy read that does get you to think a little bit.   It should also be noted that it is being made into a movie in 2014, so go get the book quick and get some popcorn prepared for the big screen in 2014!

Workout Plan For the Week: August 26, 2013.

Good morning and Happy Monday everyone.   Hope you all are starting off the week on a good note 🙂



My morning is starting with a new to me apple:  ginger granny smith from the farmer’s market.  YUM!  So much flavor…

And a not so healthy snack for later . . .



I was weak this weekend and bought them from Sprouts.

Pop tarts are something I LOVED as a kid that has unfortunately not left me.  At least these are natural and organic, right?  All about balance 🙂  And now onto normal Monday morning business 🙂

Workout Schedule


Remembering the theme of flexibility around here, I created a schedule of work outs for the week.

Zach and I are going to the Bronco’s game Thursday night and leaving fairly early Friday morning for New York for the wedding of one of his college roommates.

I do hope to squeeze in a long run while I’m in New York, but I’m not setting a distance/time goal.  I’m also giving myself some flexibility to not get it in this week if it means sacrificing time with friends during an exciting weekend.

Workout Plan For the Week:  August 26, 2013

  • Monday – YOGA + 20 minute progressive speed work on the treadmill
  • Tuesday – 5+ mile steady run
  • Wednesday –  30 minutes spinning 30 minutes strength training/circuit training
  • Thursday – 10k run
  • Friday – Yoga/Rest – Fly to New York
  • Saturday – Long Run
  • Sunday – Recovery run

I planned my weekday runs to be a tad longer to help counteract the potential lack of long runs this week, and cutting back on the speed work.  Of course, I am going to listen to my body and respect what it tells me, as always 🙂

Workout for the Day:

My workout for the day was exactly as planned, although if I’m being totally honest, I was not really feeling it.  Primarily wasn’t feeling the speed work, even though it was only 20 minutes.  BUT — I did squeeze into my big girl pants and got it done, and as always am a happy camper now 🙂

Workout for the Day August 26, 2013: Yoga + speed work

Today my speed work was a 20 minute progressive run that looked like:

  • Minute 1: 6.0
  • Minute 2: 6.5
  • Minute 3: 6.6
  • Minute 4: 6.7
  • Minute 5: 6.8
  • Minute 6: 6.9
  • Minute 7: 7.0
  • Minute 8: 7.1
  • Minute 9: 7.2
  • Minute 10: 7.3
  • Minute 11: 7.4
  • Minute 12: 7.5
  • Minute 13: 7.6
  • Minute 14. 7.7
  • Minute 15: 7.8
  • Minute 16: 7.9
  • Minute 17: 8.0
  • Minute 18: 8.1
  • Minute 19: 8.2
  • Minute 20: 8.3

Once again, I left a sweaty mess and legs exhausted but ready for the day 🙂

And now . . . I’m at work ready for a busy day!

I do have some fun planned for the afternoon though :).  I finished Divergence, so I have a planned review for this afternoon.

AND I have a little adventure to take on the west line this afternoon….That will be a fun write up!

Have a good morning!