Wow, I cannot believe that RAGBRAI 2014 is OVER. It seems like the anticipation for the event just kept building for months. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to walk after the first 78 mile day. I was worried I wouldn’t want to ride past day 3. Did I do enough training? Did I get enough calluses? Am I going to have saddle sores??? Yes, yes, and sorta.

Sky and I drove to Omaha to meet my parents where we navigated the Offutt AFB air show to meet at the commissary and to drop my car off at lodging.  We then drove the rest of the way to Rock Valley, IA on Saturday, 19 July. We set-up our first camp site and prep’d for the first ride on Sunday.

Here’s a summary of the week:

Day 1 – 78 miles – Rock Valley to Okoboji – Seriously, I was thinking, “Am I going to make it? I don’t think I’ll ever ride my bike again.” But by the time it was done, I thought, “That wasn’t too bad…let’s do it for 6 more days in a row!” haha. In Okoboji we got to stay by a lake. This was awesome because after our long ride we just jumped right-in to cool off! Then a few of us went for a ride on the owner’s boat to the town for the nightly concert.


IMG_0703Day 2 – 31 miles – Okoboji to Emmetsburg – Pulled Sky 15 miles and my dad pulled him the rest of the way. I only rode to the midpoint town this day so that my mom could ride the last 15 or so miles. Not to mention it’s tiring pulling a Burley when it’s windy out!IMG_0689


Day 3 – 76 miles – Emmetsburg to Forest City – This was the long day that some people decided to ride a full century on. I am still new to biking so I just stuck withthe 76 miles 🙂 Oh, and we had time for pie. Really good homemade pie.


IMG_0728Day 4 – 36 miles – Forest City to Mason City – Short day to recover from the long day. My dad and I stopped for breakfast at Guys and Gals with a view of the lake! Sky rode the second half of this day, although it was only 15 miles or so! My dad pulled him again. He’s pretty much a beast.


Day 5 – SAG – Mason City to Waverly – I drove the team’s SAG vehicle this day and my mom rode with my dad! Go Aggies!


Day 6 – Rain – Waverly to Independence – It rained like crazy on Friday. I decided I didn’t want to be blown around by the wind and rain just to get more saddle sores and blisters. I helped my mom tear down camp and then rode with her and Sky to the next host family. My dad was awesome though and braved the wind and rain for a full 70 mile day!

Day 7 – 72 miles – Independence to Guttenberg – The last day! My dad and I got up early and took off at 645 so we could be in Guttenberg by 1230 for a Team Navy picture. We made the best time this day even with the most elevation change – 3,000ft! And of course, we had to stop for Beekman’s ice cream on the last day. I had to show a little Air Force pride even though I was wearing a Navy jersey 🙂 At the end of the ride, you get to dip your tire in the Mississippi river…so fun!




Overall, I would definitely do RAGBRAI again. It was a bummer we had to set-up and tear-down camp everyday (maybe next time we can get a trailer lol) but it made for cheaper living, that’s for sure! The Iowans were all super nice and very welcoming to their towns. And all of our host families were AWESOME. Especially the one that let us sleep inside so Sky could sleep in a crib in the last town! The Navy team welcomed me even though I am a “Zommie.” And I had so much fun making memories with my parents. Sky did great camping every night and had great fun hanging out with Nana and Papa. Looking forward to future RAGBRAIs to come!


RAGBRAI Training Update

As many of you know I am training for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. At the time of this post there are 45 days, 9 hours, and 19 minutes until the start of the race… yikes! I will be riding 418 miles in 7 days.

I am starting to get super excited about it even though I am still a little nervous! It helps that I did 20 miles on Saturday with Sky and 35 miles on Sunday.  But I still have a longgggg way to go. It is finally summer out here in Colorado, so we enjoyed beautiful weather this past weekend. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and tons of people were out on the trails. The picture below is from one of the trails that goes towards Horsetooth called Spring Creek trail.  It basically connects from my house and goes west about 15 miles to the foothills!

The bike trails and how active the Fort Collins people are, are two of my favorite things about Fort Collins and Colorado. I love seeing other people out on the trails and running into people I know. It often times make you forget the “working out” part and just lets me enjoy the beautiful world around me that God created!

Yesterday I rode about 10 miles, and tonight, my hubby rode about 10 miles with me as well.  With my sister in town we have many more opportunities to get out together even for a little while! We are so grateful to have her here!

This weekend I am hoping to knock out 50 miles or so on Saturday, and we’ll see how I’m feeling on Sunday. lol. Too bad my classes start up again next week, life is about to get busy again!

One of these days I will actually post pictures of the house but I have been slacking on that too. Hope everyone is doing great!

Love you, all! Jess10354833_10201948231138691_7340539537945401905_n

Grocery Budget Tool and Staying Focused on Fitness

Dual post this time to combine two of my favorite subjects, finances and fitness.

Tips for Saving Money on Groceries

Using excel’s many tools are very helpful if you know how to use them to your advantage. Even though I used Excel a lot in college, I still learn new formulas all the time. Some of you may remember my first grocery post here, which had a picture of my spreadsheet to track purchases. Since that time I have updated the formulas to automatically sum the totals for each of the categories, and I added a drop down menu in the column for categories. I’ve had a couple people ask for my template so I thought I would share for anyone else who wants to assess their monthly grocery shopping list.

Grocery Analysis Template

I challenge you to look at each purchase to see where you might be able to save money on groceries.

As for us, in February, we spent a little more on groceries than in January. I know a good part of it was due to actually buying meat this month. We buy meat on sale and then freeze it in order to help save money. I also noticed we had a lot more small trips to the grocery store this month. If you can plan ahead and minimize your trips to the store you will both save time and money on groceries. Here is the summary by category for February.

Fruits and Veggies: $72.82/21%
Animal Products: $119.31/34%
Grains: $53.79/15%
Fats and Oils: $24.67/7%
Sweetners: $20.72/6%
Miscellaneous: $43.36/12%
*Taxes: $13.67/4%

Total: $348.34

* New Category I thought I should keep track of.

Now on to the second topic of today’s post! Fitness update.

Lately I have been pretty tired because of school and work and a baby and household chores, so I only I managed to work out about twice a week during the month of February.

This post is for the busy moms and dads out there who don’t always find the time to work out. Believe me, you aren’t the only one! As far as I’m concerned any workout you find time to do is better than nothing! Some ideas for quick workouts that I do include: 20 minute circuits, 20 minute runs, indoor biking while watching a show, and push-ups before bed. All of these help with your overall health and well-being even if it is not consistent! Sometimes even just getting a good stretch in can help you relax and release some endorphins.

I’m still working towards getting adjusted on my bike and prepping for RAGBRAI. Official RAGBRAI training starts in April. I’m supposed to be able to ride minimum 80 miles per week starting about mid-April. I’m averaging about 40 right now. But I’ve got the bike and a reading stand set-up in the living room to ride during TV shows or while I’m doing homework. Multi-tasking is definitely my friend.

Well, maybe in the month of March I will have time to give weekly updates of my workouts, but until then, thanks for motivating me!

30-Minute Full Body Circuits You Can Do From Home

Today at PT the physical training leader tried really hard to make us all sore. I know he succeeded for me!! I'm not going to be able to walk tomorrow…my whole body hurts so good, lol. Of course, I wore VivoBarefoot shoes while doing sprints and lunges today so they are probably contribute to my soreness. I feel like I'm used to my minimalist shoes and then one day like today I realize I'm definitely not… Oh well! No pain, no gain right? My husband is going to be very excited to hear about my groans all day tomorrow 😉 Love you, babe!

But anyway, I thought the workout was pretty good and it's something you can do from home or in your neighborhood without belonging to a gym, so I just thought I would share with everyone so they can feel my pain too! Hope you guys enjoy and let me know what you think.

30-Minute Full Body Workout You Can Do From Home

3-min light jog (warm-up)

3-min Dynamic stretching: high knees, butt kickers, lunges, kareokees, Frankensteins

20 push-ups

3-min run at 80% max pace

2-min flutter kicks

2-min run at 80% max pace

2-min any abdominal exercise

2-min run at 80% max pace

2-min lunging, in-place or down the side walk

2-min jumping jacks

20 push-ups

2-min at 80% pace

2-min squats

20 push-ups

2-min cool down run

5-min cool down stretching


RAGBRAI Route: Announced!

Yesterday, 25 January the 2014 RAGBRAI route was announced at the official “RAGBRAI party!” It looks like it will be 418 miles with about 11K climb! (I found out to my dismay that this is actually like the 3rd shortest route and 2nd less climb in RAGBRAI history but it still sounds daunting to me. Haha.)  The ride will take 7 days and will range from 36 to 73 miles in any one given day. I will be riding with my dad for the “Navy” team. I’ll probably need to find a bib to represent the Air Force at least one day 🙂

Looks like I am on the right path for training but I still have a long way to go! Tried out my new heart rate monitor this weekend and completed a 13 mile ride down the Poudre Trail.  It was again a gorgeous Colorado weekend with 55 degree weather.

Found this delightful article on RAGBRAI: http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2014/01/26/10-things-i-learned-at-the-ragbrai-2014-route-announcement-party/article

To see the interactive map go here. You can see all the little towns we’ll be visiting in Iowa and the route that we will be taking! http://ragbrai.com/routemaps/2014-interactive-maps/

Being a Mom and Making Time For Fitness

Some days or even weeks go by with little self-motivation to workout.  With all the diaper changing, baby feeding, laundry, work, school, wife type things to complete, making time for fitness can be difficult to say the least! A lot of times, I need OUTSIDE motivation rather than self-motivation to workout.  I have found that if I don’t make time for at least a short workout a couple of times a week, I don’t feel my best. When I go for a run I clear my head as I just enjoy the cool air and rhythm of my steps.  Recently, I have found that an easy ride on the bike is quite soothing and exhilirating at the same time.  Each time I get back out there, I think to myself, “Why have I been putting this off for so long???”

On days when I am especially unmotivated, I think of the example I will be setting for Sky when he is older, by staying in shape and taking care of myself.  I think about the satisfaction of knowing I was intentional with my time. And when I’m really feeling in a rut, I remember my goals and continue to work towards them. Having goals and accountability are absolutely key with a steady workout routine.  What are your goals? Who holds you accountable?

This past weekend the weather was beautiful. For winter in Colorado, that means crisp, sunny days and 55 degrees outside. THIS was my motivation to get out this weekend!

I took advantage of my husband being home with Sky and I as well as the beautiful day to go out on a 9 mile bike ride around 3:30 on Saturday afternoon. I decided to change my route and to ride by Longs Pond, which my husband nicknamed “Sunrise Pond” because of the beautiful sunrises in the morning. When I rode by Saturday I had to stop to take a picture of the half-frozen pond because I thought it was great I was wearing a short-sleeve jersey while there was ice on the water!


Here are some pictures of the same pond my husband snapped two different morning on his way to work! Told you it was beautiful!



Sunday I was feeling a little sore and my husband was taking a nap, so I decided to put Sky in the BOB and go for a quick jog around the block in my Vivo Barefoot minimalist shoes. They are great for strengthening my feet muscles and making me concentrate on my form.  The thermometer told me it was 43 out, but I felt great in a light long sleeve shirt and running shorts! Sky stayed nice and warm all bundled up in a blanket for the 20 minute run. The abundance of kids running through the streets and people playing fetch with their dogs was indicative of the nice weather! I could also smell some delicious BBQ wafting through the air in my neighborhood! My only regret running with the BOB is I tend to take 175 steps per minute instead of my average 188-190. (I know this from my Garmin Footpod, see post here.)  I took a few pictures on my run because it was such a gorgeous day! I also took some pictures to show you that other people were out playing in the 43 degree weather with snow on the ground besides myself!




It is possible to make time for fitness as a mom.  Some days are easier than others, but I have found that any one day I go out, is better than nothing, and I truly feel much more energized when I do carve out the time to bike or run or even walk around the park.

Weekly Fitness Summary!

This past week I unfortunately didn't get any cycling in 😦 It's just been so cold and windy out I find it hard to get on the bike. We are still looking for a stationary trainer for the house, so I haven't been able to do that either.

But have no fear, I did at least work out this week thanks to PT with the Air Force.

Tuesday we did circuits which included about 75 v-ups, 50 wall ball throws, 60 push ups, and 50 suicide sprints. Needless to say my thighs were very sore still on Thursday when we ran on the indoor track!

Thursday we ran almost 2 miles in “last man up” formation aka the last person has to sprint to the front as you all jog in a circle. The only exciting thing about Thursday PT is my new footpod came in for my Garmin forerunner a couple of days before! Woohoo! I got to test out the net footpod on the indoor track that requires 16 1/3 laps for a mile and a half. I haven't fully calibrated the footpod yet but I still think it was pretty accurate.

Love that I can now track my cadence/steps per minute (SPM)! Currently I am at 178 SPM so I need to increase a little bit to get to 180 SPM but that's pretty darn close to optimal.

I also got this little baby in the mail this past week that I will add to my bike handles for the watch 🙂 yay workout accessories!

Stay tuned for next weeks fitness update!