Adventures with a heart rate monitor

Tonight I decided to dig out Henry the Garmin’s heart rate monitor, which has been languishing at the bottom of my running drawer, and take it for a spin just for kicks, to see how close my heart is to bursting through my chest wall as I chug along my old running route. After 15 minutes of consulting the Garmin manual and then strapping the monitor awkwardly under my sports bra (you have to wet it before you put it on… weird?) I waited curiously for evidence that I do in fact have a pulse. Henry picked up the signal right away and said my heart was pounding merrily away at 82. Nervous, much?

According to the ol’ classic heart rate formula (220 – age), my max bpm should be 187, so I was curious to see where I’d average out. The results actually kind of surprised me…

strangely... consistent. And gerbil-ish?

strangely… consistent. And gerbil-ish?

There wasn’t really much variation at all. I basically ramped up to my workout heart rate and then more or less stayed there. The max I hit was 176, probably as I wheezed my way up the doozy of a hill in the latter half of the run, but I’m kind of surprised you can’t see huge dips and variations throughout. My heart is more consistent, and rodent-esque, than I thought.

yeah, I'm kinda slow.

yeah, I’m kinda slow.

On a side note, this was actually a nice run, and I didn’t really feel like death during any part of it – it’s been awhile since that’s happened! I focused hard on form and just running with “comfortable effort” (not pushing it, but not phoning it in) – which I thought I succeeded at but since my heart seems to have been cranking away the whole time, maybe I need to dial down the effort a little bit the next time out?

8 miles on tap for Saturday (Kentucky Derby day!) – I think I’ll focus on going slooooow and maybe I’ll wear the monitor again to see if I can succeed at this whole “easy run” thing!

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