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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, August 27, 2013

Iron Hope

Many years ago, my university professor told me “Hope is a supernatural vice”. I must admit, at the time I was not exactly clear on his sentiment. After all I was 19 and the world was indeed my oyster. The future lay before me like a serious set of options and all I had was hope. Sure, I got the “supernatural” part of the statement, but indeed the possibility of HOPE being anything akin to a depravity or fault was truly lost on me. Nonetheless, the sentence has stayed in my brain for some time now.

This past weekend I was a volunteer for Ironman Canada. Having participated in so many races (yes, I have lost count), I decided the time had come to give back to a community that had been so good to me.

The racing community in general has given me so much over the years. Having come to fitness a bit later in life, it gave me the chance to compete on a different level. When people are athletes as kids- there is always an array of championships to choose from.

My dear friend was a football champ in college. No doubt there is a box somewhere in his parents basement filled with trophies and athletic awards. I don’t have such a box. I was a chubby kid who hated little league and a brainy teenager and twenty something who focused on grades. I took up smoking so I could be cool and ate licorice for Canada.

The details of my physical transformation and my later love of sport will not be detailed here. Take my word for it that I took up running in my mid 30’s and have never looked back.

Each race I completed was indeed memorialized by a medal or a t-shirt given to me by some perfect stranger with a volunteer shirt and a serious grin.

I would cross the finish line of something- whether it is a 10km run or a marathon; a sprint triathlon or a Half Iron Man and someone would inevitably tell me how amazing this was, what a good job it was and place a medal around my neck.

It is now fitting that somewhere in my storage closet there is indeed a box filled with medals and t-shirts of athletic pursuits gone by.

And so it seemed appropriate for me to spend some time in a volunteer t-shirt of my own with a smile on my face and a cheer in my heart. This weekend was just that time.

The Ironman is quite frankly the most challenging endurance race there is. A 3.8km swim is followed by a 180km bike ride and then for shits and giggles, you run a full marathon.

I should say it plain right here- I will never and I mean never attempt one of these. Ever a fan of challenging myself- this is indeed off the menu for me. That being said- I was happy to volunteer on the run course as one of those random people in a blue t-shirt who cheer for strangers and direct traffic.

I assumed this would be like any other volunteer position. I would go and do my part and indeed see if I might catch the Ironman “bug”. Could it be that as I stood on a race course or even at the finish line I might indeed grow a spark of that supernatural vice and myself attempt a race of this magnitude?

Instead I gained something more.

I must confess that there have been times in the past when I was less than kind to race volunteers. I was a little too curt with my questions or when the answers were not to my liking I was indeed downright rude.

This weekend I was on the other side of it all. People can indeed be less than kind to volunteers. Yes world, I understand that we all have things to do and places to go and that stopping traffic for 3 hours really does put a kink in a day.

But hey, dude in the BMW- I’m a volunteer. This race may not be a big deal to you but somebody’s dream is getting made to day. I can’t stop the whole race because you have a tennis lesson at 4pm that you are late for. If it is so important, get out of you car and walk to the damn thing. Is that not the whole point of tennis? Exercise?

This is of course a completely hypothetical situation (insert tongue in cheek here).

I spent 5 hours directing traffic and cheering on future Ironmen on the run course. In that time I indeed had a blast. But I will say that at least twice an hour some car drove by and gave me shit. Yes, I was told that I was doing a pretty crappy job. Yes, I was argued with on more than a few occasions.

Perhaps it was indeed karma for the times when I had been less, well a bit of an asshole, quite frankly to other race volunteers?

This ends here and now. Volunteers of any kind- be it at a race or in life really are undervalued. Make no mistake- volunteering at Ironman was amazing. You do need a massive amount of people to pull off an event like this one without an incident and indeed there is no way you can pay everyone.

And so to the gentleman who almost tried to plough me down with his Audi at 5:45 pm last Sunday in Whistler I responded in kind on behalf of all race volunteers everywhere who have been at the mercy of some rude person who has some place important to be.

“You suck at this.” He remarked when I greeted him at his window.
“Yes, I do”. I agreed, “but I’m a volunteer. I’m undervalued and underpaid. I know you have somewhere to be but you are going to have to wait a minute or two to let some runners pass before I can let you through.”
“Fine, but you are really shitty at your job.”

Dude was not letting up on the feedback.

And so I gave some feedback of my own….

“No, actually, I’m pretty great at my job. My DAY JOB that is. THIS is a volunteer position and if you are going to be rude and belligerent, you are going to have to pay me $20 to take your shit. I’m doing this just to help out dude- and that means that just because you have some place to be- it does not mean you can be an asshole to some random stranger. Maybe this attitude of yours works elsewhere in your life- but it won’t work here. Now, roll up your window and I’ll signal you when you can drive your car through the race course.”

“I’m reporting you.” He remarked.

“Go for it,” I smiled, “and have a super day.”

Perhaps my attitude indeed needed some adjusting of its own. No it was not the classiest way to handle the situation and yes, in the grand scheme of conflict resolution it was an epic fail. But, hey, my sisters…. He had me at “you suck” and there was no going back from there.

And so I resumed my cheering. I yelled out peoples name listed on their bibs displayed across their chests. I jumped up and down and screamed and yelled and encouraged and indeed for each moment that a runner ran by I realized that I was truly connecting with the human spirit.

This is indeed what I learned on that race course in Whistler while 2500 crazy type-A people chased an insane dream to push themselves beyond human limitations and come out the other side.

People really do want to connect to the human condition. Whether it is to challenge ones own self and add to a medal box in a basement or whether it is to give back to random strangers and a community that needs repaying. Whether you yell at some angry dude in an expensive example of German engineering (make no mistake- the men and women in Hondas and Chevy’s were equal part assholes as well) or you yell at a guy name CHAD on the course who looks like he is dying and needs your love to get him through the next 23km. – we all want a moment to be seen and to be heard.

No data today- my sisters- just my own regular mark on the planet. Whether it’s a blog post or a volunteer job; a big time race or a small time little league game, we all want to have just a moment when we feel the world sees us for who we are.

Whether we are Ironman or regular people with golden opportunities- get out there my sisters- and make your mark. Do something today that does indeed challenge the planet in a better way and make no mistake you will indeed fill more than a box in your basement.

Peace and love, my sisters….. Zentner, out.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Text Me Maybe

It is my firm belief after much debate and research that the decline of manners everywhere is in part due to text messaging. I have tried, dear girlfriends to like this means of communication. Truth be told it has taken me a year to “get the hand of it”.

At first, I seriously could not wrap my fingers, so to speak, around this form of technology. I understand that texting came about as a cheaper form of communication for cell phone users. Perhaps this was the first flaw for me. As a woman with an addiction to high end footwear, how could I be economical when it came to communications?

Was human discourse the time for pinching pennies? A huge fan of language and a life spent trying to master it suggested that this was not MY new means of interconnectivity.

I realize I am still a dinosaur. I send birthday cards and thank you cards when I REALLY want to say Happy Birthday or Thank You.

Furthermore, I am not physically text friendly. I have really chubby fingers and terrible spelling. The two combined make all of my messages seem as though they were sent by a drunk 17 year old girl.  Furthermore, As fourty approaches like a bullet train from hell, I am now in need of reading glasses.

This triumvirate of inadequacy makes a tiny keyboard and a void of silence a really shitty way for me to tell people how I am, where I am and what time I will meet them for lunch.

Isn’t a phone call so much better? You can judge the nature of someone’s response in an instant. Ever a fan of gauging human behaviour,  I strongly maintain that how a person answers a question is as important as the answer itself.

Enter the text….

Do you ever notice that texting has become the “cowards manifesto” for communication.

Don’t have the balls to tell someone you can’t make lunch? Try saying it in 30 characters or less….

Wanting to just “check in” with a “friend” that is really more of connection that a relation? Text a cute “hello” and be done with it.

Just had a one night “experience” with a pseudo stranger and don’t want to face the morning after call? No need…. Nothing says “I am a gutless wonder” like  “THX 4 LAST NITE. WUZ FUN ;)”

How did fall so far as a species? We are the only animals on the planet to have the true gift of language? We are blessed with an amoury of telecommunications and the gifts of being able to in an instant hear another’s voice at will. And yet, we have reduced much of our “back and forth” to an economized version of human contact.
“Reach out and Touch Someone” has been replaced with “reach out, but don’t come too close”.

Nonetheless, I was willing to give this means of communication a chance. Afterall,
texting has been shown to improve patients’ compliance in taking asthma medication and applying sunscreen.

And then the hammer came down…

A study published in the American Journal of Obstestrics and Gynecology last week showed that test messaging offered no benefit for women in remembering to take their contraceptive pills.

Missed birth control pills account for about one in five of the 3.5 million unintended pregnancies in the USA every year.

A study out of Boston Medical Centre randomly assigned 82 new oral contraceptive users to either receive a daily text message reminder to take their birth control pills or to receive no reminders.  The average age of the women in the study was bout 22 years old.

During the three-month study, both groups missed a monthly average of about five pills, as recorded by an electronic monitoring device on the pill packs. None of the women became pregnant.

In both groups, the rate of missed pills was nearly double the average estimated by previous research, hinting that adherence in the general population of Pill users may be overestimated.

I suck at remembering to take any medications. I remember having strep throat and being on a four-times-a-day antibiotic regimen for about a week…. It was truly humbling.

The fact that I don’t have to get a text to remind me to be a better patient is truly and emancipation.

I don’t suggest we abandon the keyboard entirely… My advice, cybersisters as will all things in health is one of moderation.

Some guidelines perhaps?

Text wisely, dear girlfriends, not often.
Text appropriately and with caution.
In social situations, be social?
When in doubt, a phone call will do. 
And of course, if I’m not in, do leave a message and I will get back to you in a timely manner. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I DO. Oh, Do I Ever

Love is in the air my sisters! Perhaps not in every household but hey, I’ve been to two weddings in a week and I must say, I’m feeling a little welly.

Indeed, I would argue that it has been the summer of legal unions. As a champion for marriage equality, I was thrilled with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Proposition 8. We saw the long awaited realization that everyone deserves the legal right to stand before his or her loved ones and join their life to another as a citizen with all the rights therein.

I must admit, it has been a while since I went to a wedding. Weddings are typically a standard event in one’s late twenties and early thirties. “Back in the day” I walked down my share of isles draped in a dress that really did not suit me- clothed in the fact that it was indeed NOT about me and, yup, I was okay with it. If fashion indeed is an expression of love, I would say that I wore more bridesmaids’ dresses in the name of love than in the name of fashion. No disrespect to my girlfriends who are reading this and reflecting if indeed such a statement applies directly to them. Heads up sisters- if I walked in your wedding- I LOVED the grey/black/cream/blue taffeta dress that I wore as one of your bridesmaids- and if I did not? Who cares- I love you more.

Lately, however, I realize that in my 40 somethings- my only frame of reference for all things bridal is watching SAY YES TO THE DRESS on a Friday night and sitting in judgement of some woman’s inability to commit to a garment she will wear for 5 hours during a ceremony where she will technically commit to someone else for a lifetime. Do I judge? Hell, yes…. Besides, it’s mindlessly good television.

So imagine the joy in my emotional IN BOX when this past week I attending, not one, but two lovely blessed weddings.

As far as weddings go- I indeed have some that I remember more than others. Of course, at the top of the list- was my own. That being said- it was 16 years ago and a complete blur. But if memory serves me well- there were 350 of my and Jason’s mothers’ closest friends. I was not what one would call a “hands on bride”. You see our wedding occurred 2 weeks after I graduated from medical school and frankly I let our mothers plan the whole thing. My attitude was simple, THEY (meaning our parents) COULD HAVE THE WEDDING, WE GOT THE MARRIAGE.

My beloved and I were married in a traditional Jewish ceremony. I circled him seven times under a canopy and yes, he did break a glass. During the reception where kosher chicken was served, we were hoisted on chairs while guests danced around us. We did it all- Fiddler on the Roof style and all I had to do was show up, wear a dress and bathe in the love.

It worked out quit perfectly.

Up there in my grand wedding memory countdown was my first same sex marriage. It was 4 years ago on Galliano Island and it was perfection. The grooms wore garlands of flowers and the ceremony took place on a cliff facing the Pacific Ocean. Cindy Lauper was the maid of honour – and yes, she sang at the ceremony. It was small and simple and a revelation in love. I remember feeling so proud to be Canadian. The grooms were from America and had come to Canada to get married. As the justice of the peace pulled out the marriage license for them both to sign I remember thinking how grateful I was to live in a country where there my two friends, both men could have the same marriage license I had 10 years earlier. I love being Canadian, for many reasons- but this indeed is near the top of my list.

This past Sunday, I attended my first Chinese wedding and Chinese Banquet to follow. The ceremony was a simple, sweet celebration of love in chapel that was built in the 1800’s. It was 15 minutes from start to finish and the bride wore some very respectable bling. She looked pretty awesome. If that was not enough- at the Chinese Banquet to follow- there were indeed 10 courses (yes, I ran 22km that morning) and 3 costumes changes.

At the beginning of the banquet the bride emerged in a beautiful chiffon dress that made her look like a regal ballroom dancers. Throughout the course of the night she changed into a lace red gown and then into a wine coloured taffeta number. Each was more spectacular than the next.

Any event where they combine love, a ten-course meal and a fashion show together with Chinese Karaoke in the background really is my kind of wonderful. I indeed had a blast and was grateful that I wore an A-line dress to the reception in order to allow for my belly to expand during the meal.

Rest assured my sisters- I spent Monday afternoon riding around Stanley Park for a few hours until the salt and the ten courses had safely left my system.

Ten days ago, my beloved and I attended another blessed event. The Bride and groom were big Star Wars fans and yes, the cake was R-2-D-2. It was held at a country club and was a lovely, fun event complete with heartfelt speeches and a photo booth for guests.

These two weddings could not have been more different and yet the sentiment was the same. One was a Chinese Banquet and one had a Star Wars cake and a photo booth. Contrast this to my favourite Gay Wedding on an organic Farm on Galliano Island with my own traditional Hora filled night and you have an emerging theme….

Gather everyone you love in a room and tell them that they are really important to you. Oh, yah…. And promise the person that you love above all others- that you will be there in the morning, every morning, physically, mentally, emotionally and legally.

Women who are in satisfying marriages have a health advantage over unmarried women or those in unsatisfying marriages, according to a study published in the September 2010 issue of Health Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association (APA).

The study, involving middle-aged women over a 13-year period, finds that women in good marriages were less likely to develop risk factors that lead to cardiovascular diseases compared with other middle-aged women.

Researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Pittsburgh compared cardiovascular risk profiles of women who were married or living with a romantic partner and who had high relationship satisfaction with those of women with moderate or low relationship satisfaction and with those women who were single, divorced and widowed.

Risk factors were measured during an average of more than five visits over 13-years. Each visit included a blood draw to measure cholesterol and glucose levels, blood pressure evaluation, body-size measurements and assessment of health behaviors (such as diet, smoking and exercise) and psychosocial characteristics (such as depression, anxiety, anger and stress).

Participants who were married or cohabitating completed a seven item marital quality questionnaire that assessed satisfaction with amount of time spent together, communication, sexual activity, agreement on financial matters and similarity of interests, lifestyle and temperament.

The questionnaire was completed at the beginning of the study and during the three-year follow-up assessments.

Results indicate that women in marriages characterized by high levels of satisfaction showed a health advantage when compared with participants in marriages characterized by low levels of satisfaction and with unmarried participants (single, widowed or divorced).

This included lower levels of biological and lifestyle cardiovascular risk factors - such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and body mass index - and lower levels of psychosocial cardiovascular risk factors - such as depression, anxiety and anger.

Those women in highly satisfying marriages also showed this same health advantage when compared with women in moderately satisfying marriages, but to a lesser extent.

How might being in a good marriage influence health? Previous research indicates several direct and indirect factors may be a work, according to the authors.

Marriage itself may offer a health advantage by providing social support and protecting against the risks associated with social isolation. Also, spousal influence and involvement may encourage health-promoting behaviors and deter unhealthy behaviors. Married people, especially women, may also be at a health advantage relative to their unmarried counterparts through the increased availability of socioeconomic resources.

Interesting I suspect we will see similar studies involving same sex marriages over the next few years.

And so tonight as I put the finishing touches on GGTH, I am hanging out with my beloved. He’s this perfect person that I get to grow old with and hey…. Maybe the ceremony to get us to this place was a bit of a spectacle…. 16 years later- the picture really is perfect.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Run Baby, Run

It’s been a wonderful racing season for me, my sisters. My muscles are sore but my mind and heart are full as this past weekend I ran (with a personal best, I might add) the Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon.

Full disclosure girlfriends? I indeed hate yoga…. But I do LOVE a good yoga pant. Perhaps it’s a fashion case of “Love the sinner, hate the sin”? Who knows?

I remember my first pair of great yoga pants. Yes, they were Lululemon and yes, they made my butt look good. This was not subjective. This was fact. As a fiercely patriotic Canadian it helped that said pants were indeed Canadian and so I dropped $85 dollars like it was spare change in order to have those pant as a part of my person.

Years later, the yoga pants are long gone- replaced with running tights and more serious, functional attire, but I still remember with fondness the first pair of black stretchy pants that made me want to live the dream.

And so when I realized that I could combine my love for stylish athletic wear with my love/hate for running I jumped at the chance.

Which brings me to this weekend. There I was among the 10,014 runners, almost all of them girlfriends as we embarked on 21.1 km of personal greatness. It was Saturday morning, it was 6:30am and there we were in downtown Vancouver dressed in our Lululemon’s finest waiting to cross the starting line and looking damn well dressed while doing it.

I could not help but smile and marvel at the dynamics of this race. The SeaWheeze really is,  what I would call, “A CHICK RACE”. Say what you want but it’s an estrogen fest. You see, I can get away with this terminology because indeed I have a uterus- but this race is predominantly a female experience. Of the 10,000 plus runner almost 85% are women.

If you think about the logistics of this- men do indeed, on average, run faster than women. I’m not being chauvinistic- it’s a fact. So, if you are like me and you run a half marathon rather slowly, You are not going to find many men around you in a race where only 15% of the participants are men. Chances are the boys in the group are lining up well before you and crossing the finish line an hour or so before you collect your medal.

This was indeed the case at SeaWheeze where there were starting corrals organized based on one’s projected finishing time.

My beloved (a hotty and a damn fine runner- shout out babe if you are reading…) was in Coral #1. Coral #1 had a projected finishing time of 1:10 – 1:30. Coral #1 of the SeaWheeze half marathon might as well have been the men’s locker room.

I was in Coral #6. Back in Coral #6 the projected finishing time was 2:30-3hours. Coral #6 was giving away free pap smears. There maybe were a dozen men in the coral and they were all old enough to be my father.

Make no mistake- I LOVE Coral #6. I loved the whole race. I have never been one to debate about how fast we run; I stand firm in my belief that if the will is willing, the speed is immaterial. Each runner regardless of their time goes through the same highs and lows in a run- this is indeed what make the sport so magical.

Regardless of which Coral you start in, regardless of you reasons to race…. When the rubber meets the road- we all take a similar journey together.

And so there I was with a few thousand other ovaries in Coral#6 waiting for my moment of glory, when I saw her. Over to my left, laced up for glory, decked out in her Lulu best was….. wait for it…. A woman who was easily 7 months pregnant.

There she was- pregnant and ready to race- she was a running unicorn. The woman in front of me saw her too, because she remarked,

“Holy shit. Is she gonna run pregnant?”, This was not quite as poetic as my unicorn reference but similar sentiment all the same.

Another sister chimed in informing all of us in the vicinity that she had indeed just given birth 2 months ago and was still breastfeeding. In fact she had pumped this morning just so her daughter would have breakfast while Mama ran for greatness.

Like any good girlfriend I told the woman in front of me that her daughter would indeed be proud.

But thereafter ensued a debate within Coral#6 about the safety of running while pregnant.

Was it safe to train for the half marathon while pregnant?
Was it safe to breastfeed while running? Well, not while running, at the same time…. But you know what I mean?
Would the banging of the pavement harm the baby?

These indeed were the quoted comments that rose up from around my little group in my new found village on a Saturday morning in August. I should say that usually I try to tune out the world just before a race. I put my headphones on a try to go to a happier place as I prepare for the hours of pain before me.

But on this occasion, I was riveted. Not only did I have running commentary around me- I had a pregnant woman, a running unicorn in my very own coral. Here was a woman who was not going to let her pregnancy limit her abilities. As long as it was safe, (and I was assuming she checked with her OB/GYN before hand) she would not let this pregnancy define her.

The whole thing indeed got me thinking…. When did pregnancy become a disease? When did it happen that people far and wide assumed that exercising while pregnant was harmful for the baby?

In 1967 Katherine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Sure, she had to sneak into the race and, yes, she was almost dragged of the course, but she did it. In the months that followed doctors told her that running would indeed cause her uterus to collapse and she would not be able to have children.

Fast forward to 1983 when Ingrid Kristianson won the Houston marathon just 5 months after giving birth. This actually sparked the idea among aome athletic circles that pregnancy was indeed a “performance enhancing drug”. Maybe physiologically there was some truth to this? Pregnancy increases blood volume, increases cardiac output and increases stroke volume, but I’m not sure that scientifically it can be seen as performance enhancing.

In 2007 Paula Radcliffe claimed victory at the NYC Marathon just 10 months after having given birth to her daughter Isla. She remarked about how she had been cleared to run during her pregnancy and ran all the way through her 39th week. She had been a world record holder and multiple marathon winner going into the pregnancy and so her doctors did not feel that her training would harm the fetus as long as she trained within certain specifications. 

According to multiple reviews, including one published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Canada in 2003, maximum aerobic power (VO(2)max, L/min) is well-preserved in pregnant women who remain physically active, but anaerobic working capacity may be reduced in later in pregnancy (beyond 30 weeks).

According to a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Applied Physiology, the big concerns on endurance exercise in pregnancy are as follows:

An increase in heart rate long term that can cause reduced placental blood flow. This only occurs if someone is exercising beyond 85% of their target heart rate.
An increase in energy expenditure (measured in METs) of greater than 28 MET-Hr/week
A decrease in maternal blood glucose can cause a decrease in fetal blood glucose.

Here’s the thing- this woman running the marathon was indeed actually walking it- briskly. I know this because I watched her do it during one point in the course where there was a turn around. AND, I watched her wearing a heart rate monitor. She was walking the course briskly at best, at about 6km per hour.

When I do my exercise math- she is most definitely not exercising above 85% of her max heart rate… I was running faster than her and I was nowhere near 85%.

Secondly- at her speed and given her weight (she looked to be about 170 lbs) her energy expenditure for the entire half marathon was maybe doing 14-15MET-hrs if I calculate things according to the American College of Sports Medicine Equation on energy expenditure for walking briskly on a flat surface. This is well below the max of 28 METhrs per week.

Finally- There was a ton of food on the course and I am sure that yummy mummy was keeping her sugar levels up.

There you have it. Did we not all learn something new this week?

No I am not suggesting that all my pregnant girlfriends take up running/brisk walking this minute and then promptly sign up for a race. Nor am I suggesting that my running sisters go get someone to shoot  a baby into them…..

But in the name of science and sisters everywhere… its not an unsafe practice if done properly.

And really my sisters- isn’t that the lesson here? Do it right, my girlfriends and do it with style…. Or don’t do it at all. 

Want further info on exercise in pregnancy?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Yes my girlfriends, I am indeed on holidays. Strike up the band, cue music.... do what you gotta do. I am officially not going to work. Not today, not tomorrow, hell not on Thursday or the Friday after that.

Relax, it's only a week but MAN (or woman, mother or child) does it feel good. If I want to spend the day in my pajamas, so be it. If I want to put on an Oscar de la Renta dress and go to high tea at the Fairmont.... so be it. (Why Oscar, you ask? Nothing says high tea like Oscar, my sisters).

If I want to see a movie at 1 in the afternoon, I will. For the next seven days, I am officially one of those  people that you see on your way to work or over your lunch hour who looks as though they do not have a care in the world. In short I am a bastard. (that is indeed what you call them when you see them, no?)

And so apologies that today's posting was a bit late. I had to go for a swim at Kits pool and then have a nap.

The swim was glorious as it always is. But it was indeed laced with that extra calm that comes with the knowledge that I had nowhere to be after it was done. Indeed, I got on my bike, wet hair and all and cycled around UBC for as long as I liked. This was followed by scrambled eggs made at home, taking my own sweet time.

And then at 1pm.... I had a nap. I layed down on my patio couch and with the smell of the ocean and the city below... I had a nap that lasted well over an hour.

It was glorious and yes, I am bragging. I am blatantly unapologetic and I am indeed a bastard.

My holiday is scheduled for 10 days. When I announced to the world that I was going on holidays, many people asked,
"Where are you going?"
"Nowhere," I replied, "I'm staying in Vancouver."
"What are you going to do?"

Good question.

I should say that I am NOT a very god sit on your ass kind of holiday girl. My last three holidays involved writing a book, cycling across Canada and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Sitting on a beach for a week, drinking margaritas is wonderful for some, but for me- it's a fresh hell.

And so I set out some goals for this holiday. Sure, I'd relax (notice the nap reference) but I would also make sure that I had an agenda. Yes, my sisters- I realize having an agenda for a Staycation is a bit pathological, however, all too often the days get away with us and I like to play like I like to live- with purpose.

My list of holiday do's include:
A daily bike ride
A daily swim in Kits pool
A daily nap (after said ride and swim)
Watch everything in my DVR over the course of the week
See a NETFLIX series from start to finish - because this seems to be the thing to do.
Read James Mitchner's Hawaii.
Re-organize my closet
Cuddle with my dogs daily.

I am 3 days into my holiday. I've clocked 150km on my bike, have been for a run around the sea wall twice and have managed to swim over 3 km in Kits pool. I'm napping for Canada. Yes, I have seen the entire season of  ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK on Netflix. It was indeed very satisfying to watch 13 episode of television without a care in the world. I am indeed sure that this kind of indulgent television behaviour is bad for me- but hopefully the swim, bike run cancels out the damage.

My closet is on tomorrow's agenda and yes, I'm 75 pages into Mitchner's masterpiece.... only 850 pages to go.

That, and my dogs are getting serious love.

yes, that is an agenda for the holidays and yes I realize its a bit fucked up. But, she who is without neuroses should cast the first strappy sandal.

As someone who already gets 8 hours of sleep in a day, I wondered about the effect of extra holiday sleep on my already restful body? Could I indeed be getting too much of a good thing? Was there a concept of "catching up"?

A fascinating study published in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2009, looked at the effects of holiday sleep patterns on children in Hong Kong.

The study examined the sleep patterns of 5159 children in Hong Kong ages 8-11 and the effects it had on their weight. During the school year the kids slept 9 hours daily. This increased to 10.5 hours on average daily during weekends and holidays.

It has long been established that decreased sleep indeed correlates to an increased risk of obesity both in children and adults. The question is whether or not compensating for a decrease in sleep on weekends and holidays will indeed correct for this?

The study followed these children for a period of two years and looked at their weight gain and its correlate to sleep patterns and compensation of sleep deprivation on weekends and holidays.

IN this study children who slept less than 8 hours a night and did not compensate for this sleep deficit with 2.6 times more likely to be obese than children who indeed slept more than 9-10 hours a night and 2.2 times more likely to be obese than those children who slept 8 hours a night during the week but compensated with 10 hours  a night on weekends and holidays.

Although the study is purely observational and with definite deficits, it brings up an interesting point for further study.... perhaps compensation of sleep when we can does have a bit of a restorative effect?

What's the take home message really? No, my sisters- we should not be sleeping 5 hour a night and then making it up on holidays and weekends- This would be like saving all seasonal shopping for end of season sales... no-one wants to buy that fabulous white suit 3 weeks before Labour Day, do they? Instead, I think the message is to try one's best with sleep during the year and take a little extra time to nap on holidays.... More sleep is indeed helpful and not a hindrance.

And yes, I can nap with science on my side.

SO happy Tuesdays, my girlfriends, a very happy one indeed. I'm off to read, nap and frolic. Rest assured, I'll report back soon.... well rested, closet cleaned..