15 March 2018

Edible: Sheet Pan Roasted Sausage + Veggies

Lately, when it comes to meals in our house, whatever we can get on the table the quickest and with the least amount of clean up is a winner in our book. Anything involving my favorite vegetables {zucchini, squash, broccoli, and carrots} is also a winner. When Patrick and I stumbled across several variations of this recipe on Pinterest, we knew that we had to change it up a bit and make it perfect for supper for the two of us.

We are so ready for fresh veggies in our house! There's a raised garden bed in the works in our backyard. The framing is done and we'll be adding soil to it soon enough so we can start planting as soon as this lingering cold weather rolls back out of town. I can only imagine how delicious this dinner would be with homegrown veggies from our garden.

In the meantime, the fresh veggies from the grocery store will work, and this recipe produces a pretty great supper.

Sheet Pan Roasted Sausage + Veggies

1 pkg beef smoked sausage
1 bag of baby carrots
2 medium zucchini
2 medium squash
1 head of broccoli
olive oil
crushed red pepper
garlic powder

1. Slice up sausage and chop the zucchini, squash, and broccoli into bitesized pieces. Toss in a mixing bowl with the carrots.
2. Drizzle olive oil over the sausage and veggies and season to taste with the salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic powder, and oregano.
3. Spread out in a single layer on a tinfoil lined baking sheet.
4. Cook in the oven on 375 for 25 minutes, or until veggies begin to brown.
5. Enjoy!

I served ours with a side of rice. Want to know our favorite way to cook rice these days? Rather than cooking it in just plain water, we throw a beef bouillon cube or two in to give it a little extra flavor.

This meal is super easy to throw together, works with any combination of vegetables, and is always incredibly tasty. We cook two pans of this {one with all beef sausage and one with turkey sausage} and it makes plenty for us to eat for dinner and have for lunch leftover the next day.

13 March 2018

My Kind of March Madness: BB&T Corporate Cup 5K Recap

Some people think March Madness is about basketball.

For me, March Madness is about running a race on all five weekends in March. And... basketball! Because Clemson's in the NCAA tournament for the first time since like 2011 and we're all pretty excited about that. Back to the running though.

My friend Steven convinced me to sign up for the BB&T Corporate Cup a few weeks back. His logic was that he was helping organize it, there would be free Olde Meck beer at the finish line, and I'd get to hang out with his wife, Laurel. Sold. Somehow, I managed to convince another friend, Drew, to run it with us. We woke up bright and early Saturday morning, threw on our running shoes, and headed into uptown for the race.

Mile 1
{9:11 / mile}

I never remember this part of running a race in Charlotte until the race starts: there are so many people in Charlotte races! I'm used to the tiny races in Columbia where I can start up at the front and where there are times I'm running solo along the course. Not quite the case here. Laurel, Drew, & I stuck together for most of the first mile and we spent the entire mile weaving in and out of people. It did make the first mile go by pretty quickly, but my watch was reading a little long at the first mile marker thanks to all the weaving.

The course starts out in the middle of Uptown and headed south down Tryon. It's a nice, easy downhill path that nearly every race out of uptown follows and is one that I've run a dozen or so times. Nothing too crazy.

Mile 2
{9:01 / mile}

We hit the beginning of mile 2 just before turning onto West Blvd and I knew our days of downhill running were over. It was either going to be flat terrain or slightly uphill the rest of the way. There were at least a half dozen times that I was tempted to take a teeny, tiny, little walking break. But, with Drew running along side me... I knew that wasn't happening. We ran through some neighborhood streets and had a few people hanging out on their front porches, waving as we all ran by.

Mile 3
{9:01 / mile}

Mile 3 took us by a few of my favorite places in Charlotte: Unknown Brewing, the Panther's stadium, the Charlotte Knights' stadium, and Romare Bearden Park. Between having plenty to see along the way and knowing that I was less than a mile from the finish, I powered through some of the trickier gradual hills in this mile. I knew that the finish was going to sneak up on us at the end as we ran up 3rd Street and made the turn back on Tryon. Y'all. That finish line really sneaks up on you, especially if you miss the 3 mile marker. As soon as we turned onto Tryon, we were running across the finish line.

Final Results
Watch Time - 28:54
Chip Time - 28:50
Pace - 9:06/mile
Age Group - 37/158
Gender - 127/829
Overall - 415/1580

Y'all, I am super happy with the way I ran this race! It was my 2nd fastest 5K in Charlotte to date and the best one that I've run probably since last spring. It might have only been a second faster than last week's race, but... there was no stopping to walk in this one. Just a steady pace from start to finish to get across the finish line.

We grabbed our beers from Olde Meck, watched some of the end of the 5K race, and then headed down to where the Half Marathon was finishing to wait for Steven to come across the finish line. The half started 30 minutes before our 5K, but we got to the finish line just in time to catch all the runners finishing 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours. I could watch race finish lines all day long... there's always so much emotion going on as runners get to the finish line and see their time up on the clock.

Next up: Get to the Green 5K! It's one of Columbia's bigger races since everyone likes to get in a good run before heading out for all of the St. Pat's in Five Points shenanigans. Can't remember why I skipped this race last year, but I ran it back in 2016 for the first time. I'm looking forward to being one of the only people not wearing green for the race again this year!

12 March 2018

Empire State of Mind

Guess where I'm headed next month?


{via @taylor_fuller}

The 30th birthday celebrations are kicking off a few months early because let's be real, who actually thought I was going to contain the celebrations to just a birthday-month this year? Yeah. Nobody.

But I need your help. I know zero things about New York City other than what I've seen on Gossip Girl.

We're going for four days and right now the only thing on our list of things to do is to see either The Lion King or Wicked. There are so many things to do! How do you even begin to narrow it down?

Here's what I need to know:

Where should we fly into? {leaning towards LGA}
Where area of town should we stay in?
What hotel should we book?
What's the number one thing that you recommend we do while we're in town?
The Lion King or Wicked?
Should we go to Central Park or no?
What super touristy things must we do?

I'm going to go ahead and say that going to the top of any building is probably not going to be on our list. The Space Needle only happened after circling the thing a million times to build up the courage and I still have nightmares of the little clear acrylic box of terror that hangs off the side of the Willis Tower in Chicago.

Other than that? Pretty much anything is fair game.

Whatcha got for us?!

06 March 2018

Runnin' Through Soda City

Hey friends, it's been awhile since I've had a race recap for you... over six months? I feel y'all are way overdue for one!

This weekend was my first good run in months and it couldn't have been better timed. I've got 5Ks lined up every Saturday in March and starting the first of those races off on a good note was awesome.

Special shout out to all of y'all that helped me pick which race to run this past Saturday! If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my indecision about which race to run this past weekend and those of y'all that did see it had the chance to help me decide which race to run.

Most of you said the same thing: go for the harder race and challenge myself for a better time... and go for the bling. What can I say? It seems like y'all appreciate a good race medal as much as I do.

Mile 1
{8:26 / mile}
The first mile of this race is so awesome. You start out on the Sumter Street side of the State House and head away from it towards Blossom Street. The whole first mile is a free fall down from the State House to Five Points and you can't help but throw down a quick mile. Knowing the pain that was gong to come in mile 2, I made sure to let gravity help me out a bit so I could bank time for what was surely going to be a slower middle mile.

Mile 2
{10:05 / mile}
The hill on this mile wasn't as terrible as I remembered it being from last year. Sure, I'd prefer not to run up out of Five Points any direction, but there are worse streets to run up {Barnwell, I'm looking at you!} It's a sharp, steep, short climb up Laurens Street but it ends pretty quickly if you can just hang on for a little bit. From there on out it's smooth sailing on flat streets around the downtown area.

Mile 3
{9:15 / mile}
The last half mile of this race is what makes this race one of the most unique ones in Columbia and in my opinion, the most fun. When you make the final turn on Main Street, you get to run straight through the middle of Soda City Market. There are people cheering you on and plenty of cool things to look at along the way as you race down to the street to the steps of the State House. I didn't spend my time checking out the market though. I was too busy looking at my watch to see what my time was.

I knew that if I could hold my pace, I would finish under 29 minutes and either tie my time from last year or be a couple of seconds faster. "Look What You Made Me Do" popped up on my playlist too and provided enough motivation and energy to get me across the finish line in an awesome time!

Final Results
Watch Time - 28:54
Chip Time - 28:51 
Pace - 9:19 / mile
Age Group - 4/16
Gender - 33/157
Overall - 87/264

I finished the run officially in 28:55 last year, so I beat my time by 4 seconds!

Better yet? The girl who finished 1st in the age group ended up finishing as a top 3 overall female which meant the she couldn't take home 1st in the age group... leaving 3rd place to me. 3rd place and a course PR? That's a successful Saturday to me.

Next up: BB&T Corporate Cup 5K in Charlotte this coming Saturday. I ran this race four years ago with a whole bunch of my coworkers and the only thing I remember about it was running it while recovering from a sinus infection. It wasn't pretty. Hoping that this year goes better!
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