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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tears for Fears

This past weekend I cycled the GranFondo Kelowna. Yes, out of sheer tenacity, I got on my bike for five hours and forty five minutes (5:46:37 to be exact) and pedalled for God and Country.

Make no mistake- I know it's ridiculous, but I looked (at least in my mind's eye) fabulous while doing it. And one should look good when one is subjected to the elements for essentially the length of three featured films. Yes, girlfriends, if you are going for a 6 hour bike ride make sure you appearance is legendary.

I had taken every step to make sure my bike matched my outfit. Bella, as my bike is called is black and red (and a real stunner). My outfit was of course black and white with a red and black helmet.

NO, I did not do my make up (but I did curl my eyelashes). But I wore kick ass sunglasses and a sense of inflated athleticism that my quadriceps were ill equipped to keep up with.

There we were the morning of the race.... the sun shining and me and Bella poised for greatness. The National anthem blared and I of course got a little teary eyed as I stood at the starting line waiting for my moment of glory before I embarked on 120km of the road ahead.

I could not help but wonder why I was so emotional. I can understand if this was an end of season sale or McQueen's farewell collection, but a bike race? Why was I tearing up over a road race?

And then it hit me. I always cry when I begin a race. Marathons, triathlons and now even bike races reduce me to a chick in a Terms of Endearment moment.

I cry like a girl and then I race.... like a girl. Nails polished, outfit matching, tears streaming.

The thing is, I am actually NOT a cryer. Maybe I was as a kid.... but as an adult- I try to confine my tears to the shower- where I don't mess up my makeup and I'm soaking wet already.

So here I was- before A race all EMOTIONAL singing my national anthem. What the HELL???

Was this like when you go to the doctor's office as a kid to have your vaccinations and wind up crying BEFORE the shot and not after?

Truth be told, I was that child. I remember Dr. Goldberg, my beloved pediatrician giving me nearly every vaccine with me hiding underneath the examining table. (the man had excellent aim)

Why do we cry in anticipation of an event?

It turns out that such emotional tears have been shown to be biochemically different than tears that are shed, say over pain. Tears shed from emotional experiences tend to contain higher levels of adreno-corticoid hormone and prolactin as well as other substances such as potassium.

William H. Frey II, a biochemist at the University of Minnesota, proposed that people feel "better" after crying, due to the elimination of hormones associated with stress, specifically adrenocorticotropic hormone.

Maybe this was the body's way of preparing the brain for a perceived painful event.

Could my pre-race snivelling be a way for me to relieve the stress of the upcoming road ahead? Could this be my hypothalamus's way of literally crying for help?

Wasn't the outfit enough to get me through the ride (never mind the months of training)?

It appears that no, unfortunately no amount of fabulous cycling gear was going to band-aid the fact that perhaps pre-race at least... I'm a cryer.

Here I go dear girlfriends.... Next month I will ride across this great nation of our on Bella- from Vancouver to Halifax- to raise money for Type 2 Diabetes. (feel free to donate to the cause my cybersisters). Yes, there will be a score of fabulous cycling outfits for all 21 days of the ride....but most important of all, there will of course be Kleenex.

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