Monday, May 30, 2011

My post-baby 5K Run Challenge

This past weekend was the National Race Weekend. For those that don't know - it's an annual event that attracts thousands of visitors to Ottawa to cheer and participate in either a marathon (42 km), half-marathon (21 km), a 10K, 5K or 2K runs. Here's a little history about this event:

"When 146 runners lined up under sunny skies at Carleton University for the first Ottawa Marathon on May 25, 1975, organizers believed they were staging a one-time affair. Few would have thought that almost 30 years later, organizers would be celebrating one of Canada's oldest major marathons boasting not hundreds, but thousands of competitors. Braving cold temperatures (-8°C in 1996) or hot weather (28°C in 1993), the marathon has grown in size and popularity." Read more
The crowd cheering on the runners!

I have previously participated in this event on three separate occasions - running a 5K race in 2000 (with the time of 27:38.2), a 5K race in 2001 (with the time of 29:48.4), and a more recent 10K race in 2009 (with the time of 1:03:09.9).

This year's race was more challenging for me personally. First, I haven't gone running much after the last race (which I was prepared for), have gone through pregnancy and childbirth and getting back in shape at a slow pace. Also, let's face it, I'm not 18 any more!

This year's race ran on different streets and was quite enjoyable. Overall about 7,500 people participated in running the 5K distance.

Even though there were times during the race when I felt like "Okay, now I'm going to slow down and walk", I just couldn't let myself do that. Hundreds of people running around me, hundreds of people cheering on the sidelines - it's such an awesome boost and there is nothing quite like it!

The fastest people on this race are amazing and most of all inspiring - I mean, who finishes a 5-kilometer run in 15 minutes?! That's just insane!!!

Now moving on to my results:
Finishing time - 31 minutes 44.7 seconds
Overall rank - 2,074th out of 7,437 finishers
Rank among females - 739th out of 4,585 women
Rank in my category (Women of 25-29 years of age) - 109th out of 600!

I'm pretty pleased with myself  :))) And here's a picture of my medal:

Finally, to continue my participation, I'm registered in the CIBC Run for the Cure - another 5K race taking place in October. I am raising the money for breast cancer research, in memory of a dear friend and a mother of my classmate, Zoya Baranova, who passed away from breast cancer at the end of April 2011.

If you would like to support me please donate any amount by clicking "Donate Now" button on top of the page or by clicking here: Help Nadia raise funds (now closed).

Thank you! :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trying something different: Stuffed Bell Peppers

How many of us go from day to day, week to week basically eating a variation of the same thing every supper? Some sort of meat (say, a steak, chicken breast, pork chops, etc.) with potatoes/noodles/rice and some veggies (to fulfill the daily vegetable requirement)... To break this routine, we turn to - what else? - take out/delivery of pizza, Chinese, shawarma, etc. And most of us would agree that it is a fine choice, right?! Only the latter option can be expensive if you order from, say, Boston Pizza (I paid $50 last time!)... Also now that I have a baby, I want to have a fresh start, so to speak. I grew up on homemade meals. Every day for 16.5 years (with occasional lunches at a school cafeteria). And I LOVED IT!!! Endless variety of mom's and grandma's and aunt Sveta's soups, salads, entrees, pastries... Aaah, just thinking about that wholesome homemade Russian cuisine makes my mouth watery :) The beauty of all of our recipes is that they rarely, very rarely, call for some brand name of this or that, or some weird herb that, lets admit, most of us never heard of before...

So let me share it with you! I'll try to be as descriptive as possible to encourage duplication :)))
 Let's start with something I made for supper last night - it is a dish enjoyed by people of many nations around the world, but a staple in Russian cuisine (this particular variation is actually Russian-Bulgarian).

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Bon App├ętit!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Milestones: 8 months old

Once again, the 24th of the month comes around and I cannot believe my baby girl is another month older!...

And she's learned so many things already!
Let's run through the list:
  • turns towards sounds and voices
  • recognized her own name
  • uses voice to express joy and displeasure
  • babbles, laughs and squeals with delight
  • plays with her hands and feet
  • rolls over in both directions
  • sits without support with good balance when sitting, can shift positions without falling
  • crawls well with belly off the ground (started out by going backwards first)
  • goes from crawling to sitting position without help
  • pulls herself to standing 
  • stands while holding onto something (this is her new favourite thing!)
  • drags objects toward herself, reaches for toys that are out of reach
  • passes objects from hand to hand
  • uses raking grasp, starting to develop pincer grasp
  • explores new objects by poking with one finger 
  • interested in mirror images, smiles at herself in a mirror
  • shows preference for certain people and toys
  • exhibits a definite reluctance toward strangers, clings to a parent, resists separating from familiar adult (stranger anxiety)
  • starting to clap her hands (still not well, but trying)
  • drinks from a sippy cup, but prefers a real glass
Believe it or not, this girl hasn't cut a tooth yet. That's right, there are NO TEETH in that mouth!!! All we have is her crankiness associated with teething and buckets of drool.

What she loves to do more than anything is her silly faces! :))) Such a cutie!

Veggies Garden: Year 2

Some of you might remember our first attempt at gardening last year: Veggie Garden: Year 1

This year is no different! Of course, we decided to change things up a bit - a bit less tomatoes, different types of cucumbers rather than all "English", no cabbage (it got eaten by slugs last season!).

First, the customary BEFORE photo:
And here's the collage of the AFTER shots:

What did we plant?
  • tomatoes (red and yellow, big and small)
  • sweet peppers (various colours) 
  • hot peppers (lots! and a variety)
  • cucumbers 
  • eggplant
  • green zucchini
  • lettuce
  • sweet peas
  • celery
  • apple mint, and
  • sweet basil 
~ Sweet basil: looks so yummy, I want to eat it now! ~
Some of the herbs I planted last year came back, yay! - parsley, dill, mint, cat nip, caraway, tarragon, asparagus, and chives (the latter actually didn't grow last year, but popped up now!).

Finally, we planted one carton of watermelon (those little black squares of plants). It's so tiny right now that all the space we alloted for it seems wasted. Here it is as of yesterday:
~ Watermelon space ~
 And up close :)

Will we be eating home-grown watermelons this summer? Technically, we could; it's hot enough here and if we don't get a flood of rain this summer, maybe we would...

Stay tuned for our progress!

Monday, May 16, 2011

I do make supper :)

Some of my friends that do not see me often ask whether I make suppers or if we just order delivery all the time. Although we do like an occasional Chinese or a pizza, I do make things at home as well! After all, I am an Eastern European woman that grew up in the Soviet and early post-Soviet era.

So, here are some examples of what I recently made - feel free to ask for a recipe :)

Chicken w/ roasted vegetables
Veggie salad

Soup w/ spinach & Italian sausage

Chili (very successful, might I add)

Herb-stuffed potatoes

Monday, May 9, 2011

Roll Call

My girlie is 7.5 months now, so I thought it would be good to look back at how many new things my baby has tried, food-wise.

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Avocado (hates it, see: the "eating avocado" video)
  • Banana (liked it after the 2nd try)
  • Mango
  • Banana + Grape + Prune mix
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Butternut Squash
  • Peas
  • Cauliflower
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Barley
  • Mixed cereal w/ fruit
  • Chicken
  • Egg Yolk
What's next for my little munchkin? Maybe some cabbage, green beans, peaches and plums...
What are your baby's favourites?

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Baby books

    A while back my Miss V and I went for one of our walk to the mall. We went to check out what deals they had at out local Chapters. I found a beautiful board book (large format) with colourful jungle animal in it and lots and lots of fun stuff to look at.

    Cost of the book? Only $7.99 + tax, which IS cheap! Believe it or not, books for babies cost an outrageous amount without containing much information (although, I guess looking at shapes, bright colours, letters and numbers would be considered NEW information for babies, he-he).

    When I originally bought the book I didn't pay much attention to its back cover. Well, yesterday I did look at it... Like most other books, it listed the price of the book in US and Canadian dollars.

    Okay, so $9.99 in the US. But what does "slightly higher" mean for Canadian consumers? I thought it was pretty funny! Maybe the price of this particular book is negotiable, eh? Bring on the good ol' haggling!!!