Nervous as Heck...

I signed up for my first 5K this Sunday.  Yup, there is no denying it..I am nervous!  Partly because I probably have not dedicated enough time to training for it, and partly because I'm terrified of finishing last.  I even emailed to coordinators of the race to make sure that there will be walkers there, it's not just a race for runners.  They assured me there are always plenty of walkers, but I still don't know if I believe them.  Oh, and I haven't trained as much as I would have liked to because I am also training for RAGBRAI, so I spend many workouts biking instead of walking/jogging.  Or if the weather is crap, I've been doing ZUMBA and other cardio indoors.  So yeah, the race is 60 hours from now and I think I'm in a panic mode...can I even finish?! AHH! I think that is my goal and I will be proud, just to finish the 5K, even if my time is slow, who cares?  I did something good for myself and accomplished a goal.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday Recap

Yes, my Wednesday was cool enough to have a recap.  It is my friend Ashley J's birthday today, so I hosted a grill out/birthday party for her last night because she was out of town last weekend and I'm going to Omaha this weekend (yay!).  So we invited a few friends, played some ladder golf (apparently other people have other names for it), grilled some yummy food, and told many many jokes!  What a great time we had smack dab in the middle of the work week. :) On the menu: brats, burgers, porkchops, cheesy potatoes, pasta salad, and brownies...as well as some other sides.  At the bar, this delicious margarita recipe that's so easy and tastes delicious:
1 can frozen limeade
1 can (Diet) Sierra Mist
1 can Tequila
1 can of beer
Just so it wasn't so strong, and to make it last a little longer, I usually add about 1.5 cans of Sierra Mist.  It's yummy!  So here are a few pics from the night, oh yeah, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASHLEY!!


Our Favorite Sides - Oven-roasted Sweet Potato Fries

From time to time, Ryan and I really want something sweet/salty/spicy, all in one.  And healthy to boot!  So these Sweet Potato Fries definitely do that trick.  I'm sure you could season however you want, but this is our preferred flavor.
1 tsp Lawry's Seasoning Salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
3 Tbsp E.V.O.O.
Some people may prefer their sweet potatoes cute into fries, however, I find it much easier to use my Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter and therefore make slices, rather than fries.

Preheat the over to 425 degrees F.  In a small bowl, combine seasonings, set aside.  In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with Olive Oil, sprinkle with seasoning mixture and toss to coat. 

 On a pan (I find it easier and less messy to use a pan with sides) sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, arrange potatoes evenly around the pan.
Roast, turning once in the middle, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden.  Easy as that! 

Simple huh? Our simple side was served with our simple evening meal...steamed asparagus and a Johnsonville Turkey with Cheddar Brat (only 120 cals!) on a slice of Sara Lee's Delightful Wheat Bread! 
What are some simple sides that you enjoy cooking?  Any recipes you think I should try out and maybe feature on my blog?! :)


And She Runs...

So this post is actually about running, but let's start off with a fun jogging song by Tim Halperin called "She Runs."  Check it out:
So why pick this song for this post? Well, it does have some relevance, but only in the actual running sense.  I have been thinking about how I am trying to become a runner, or at least more athletic, which to me, includes running.  But here's the deal; I really, really try to run for extended amounts of time, and it KICKS MY *SS!  I think there are some people who are runners and some who are not.  It's hard to try to become a runner when you really never have been.  I remember DREADING "The Mile" day in elementary because I hated running.  And I wasn't a fat kid, I danced, I rode my bike, I just hated running.  And even to this day, the idea of running sounds great, but when I actually get out there and do it, I don't love it, my knees hurt, I turn bright red, I huff and puff and I can't wait until I stop.  Haha.  So why do I do it to myself?
I think I have convinced myself that this struggle is a mental block and I can psychologically get over this hatred towards running.  I think that is partially true, but I have tried to push myself harder, or farther, but eventually, my physical exhaustion catches up with me.  
But here's the cold hard truth, fact of the matter is, I think I slowly, VERY SLOWLY, am training my body to accept running as an exercise! 
When I started out on my venture to become a runner, about 5 weeks ago, I could only run for like 30 second spurts at a time until my chest tightened and I need to catch my breath.  And at that point, it was even hard to keep walking at my preferred, very brisk pace (ideal calorie burning).  In the time that has passed since, I suppose you could say I have made some progress, so maybe it will continue to get easier?  Just yesterday, I went on a walk/run and I can now run for about 5 minutes straight before return to walking (still briskly!) for about 10 minutes and then I run another 5 minutes.  It is still totally kicking my butt, and I know 5 minutes of running is a total joke to most people. But this is no small feat for me; when I first did it close to that length without stopping, I was pretty damned proud of myself.  This is the song that gets me through my first 5 minute run of each workout:
I am running (well mostly walking, I'm sure) a 5k in Omaha on the 4th of July, two weeks from today!  But even if I can run 10 minutes of it, I can't wait to celebrate my accomplishment with my friend Ashley, who will inevitably make me eat her dust! :)


Our Favorite Meals (Healthy Addition) - Baked Ziti with Turkey Sausage

This is actually a Weight Watchers recipe, so all credit goes to weightwatchers.com, but we absolutely love this healthy dish! You get plenty of food for low Points (WW) and low calories and fat.  This is the perfect comfort-food dish that's pretty easy to make!

What you need:
3/4 pound(s) raw turkey sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped (we don't like green pepper, so we just use extra peas)
28 oz canned diced tomatoes (I use Petite Diced, they're jucier)
10 oz frozen green peas, thawed (we use lots)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp fennel seed (we omit this because it's icky and use garlic powder instead)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
12 oz whole-wheat pasta cooked according to package (we use Ronzoni Smart Taste)
6 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

 And don't forget your appetite!

Preheat your oven to 350*
Cook sausage in a large saucepan and brown over medium heat, stirring often, for about four minutes.
Drain off any fat, then add the onion (and green pepper if you are using it).  Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, peas, tomato paste, oregano, basil, thyme, fennel (garlic powder for us), salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer, then reduce head and cook uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in the cooked pasta and half the cheese.

Spread evenly into a 9x13-inch pan and top evenly with remained cheese.

Bake 35-minutes or until cheese has melted and the casserole is bubbling.

Apparently, we were so ready to eat it we didn't take any final pictures, but let me assure you, it looked and tasted delicious! Bon appetite! :)


Outfits I Want To Buy #1

So I decided that in blog world, I can pretend I'm really fashionable and wear a smaller size and can pull off clothes that I normally wouldn't be able to.  In the Pura Vida world, I have rocking legs, smaller feet, and toned arms.  I stumble across clothes I want to buy all the time, but most of the time, it wouldn't look the same on me, OR, I don't have the money to buy it (usually the case).  But no one says I can't fantasize... 

Starting with the top, and working down.
J. Crew
Sundance Catalog
The Gap (love the back of this Cami, and I would get yellow)
New York & Company (shorts only)
TOMS (toms.com)
There you have it...those are some items I really want to buy, but cannot afford at this moment (or maybe never will).  My fingers are crossed, more TOMS for Christmas! That's only 6 months away! :)