Good morning and happy weekend! I decided to not set my alarm this morning and see how long my body wanted to sleep naturally. Sure enough I popped up right at 7:30! This internal clock stuff sort of stinks.

A couple days ago I decided to try a crock pot recipe I’ve been eyeing for a looong time now. Stephanie’s Autumn Sausage Casserole. As usual, I made a good amount of changes to my own rendition.

Harvest Crock Pot Casserole

Into my 5 qt crock pot I added:

  • 1 lb smoked andouille chicken sausage
  • 8 slices canadian bacon
  • 1 1/2 chopped apple
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tbls light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Toss all ingredients into your crock pot, and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 5-7. This recipe makes about 4 servings.

This casserole was to die for! The combination of the spicy sausage with the sweet apples and raisins was scrumptious. Perfect for the last week of September before we jump into the real fall that is October. I can’t wait!

A big bowl of casserole is the key to my heart.

Let’s switch gears so I can talk about something fitness-related that I’m super excited about. This November I will be running in the Hot Chocolate 15K! This will officially be my first 15K.  I must admit the finisher’s cup kind of sold me when I saw it.

Hot Chocolate 5K/15K finisher’s mug

Um, yes.

Despite the motivation of chocolaty goodness awaiting me at the finish line, I am a bit nervous. I recently broke my mile time by running a 6:37 mile! Some of you avid runners may be laughing at this meek accomplishment. But hey, I was pretty proud! Although I run regularly during the week, it’s usually only for about 3 miles. Nine miles is really sounding like a lot to me and I’m getting a little anxious.

In order to prepare for the event, I’m running three “short” runs per week, and one “long” run. My short runs are 3 miles long, and I can usually bust them out in no more than 25 minutes. Since this was my first week training, my long run was a mere 5 miles. Slowly but surely, right?

The race is still 5 weeks away, so my plan is to increase my long run by one mile each week. I’m not shooting for the stars with this 15k. My goal is to finish in an hour and a half, which would be a 9:40 pace/mile. Just thinking about accomplishing that makes me feel awesome. My friend Tessa is going to be running the 15k , also.

Tessa and I in our Dance Team get-ups

Hopefully we’ll be able to keep each other’s spirits going. Too bad Tessa’s a beast and ran a half marathon last year! Yowza!

I can’ believe I made it to 8:30 without breakfast or coffee. I think today calls for some of my pumpkin protein pancakes.