Thursday, March 29, 2007

How I Really Feel About It

After much kind nudging, I finally got my hands on my very own heart rate monitor—the Nike Imara. My understanding of the piece of equipment and my aerobic/anaerobic levels is a little lacking at the moment, but I anticipate being better prepared to chat about these things on the other side of this weekend.

But I was so eager to play with the HRM that I strapped on the sensor last night to measure my resting heart rate (55-65 bpm) and discovered how I really feel about work.

From a resting state, I checked my work email and found that just opening Outlook made my HR jump to the 65-75 range, and opening a message from my boss pushed it to 75-85. So, I took my test a little further. I maintained a resting heart rate for the drive to work, but found that it jumped to 90-95 the second I walked through the door and peaked at 125 when a series of others’ bad planning and decisions disrupted the flow of my day-before-vacation.

That was when I stopped with the HRM. I had learned enough.

Unfortunately, I missed lunch again and was exhausted with a stress headache by the time I came home. I was (this) close to wimping out after a 6 p.m. nap, but felt motivated to play with my HRM the way it was meant to be used!

It was just a relaxing 2.25-mile run in my immediate neighborhood, but it was the first time (since I started branching outside my neighborhood) that running that distance was actually relaxing to me. Until recently, two miles was a distance run for me! There are several grades on my street that I used to call “hills” that barely phased me this evening. I love the feeling of breezy running and undeniable improvement.

While I did use my HRM during the run, I’m not sure how to gauge my results and will have to complete my reading materials to know what I’m looking for when I’m running and how to get better. Between the HRM and my Nike+iPod, I not only feel like a Nike product slinger, but a little bit like RoboCop too.


miss petite america said...

good luck with all your gadgets. i can barely handle the nike plus and my watch!

Jim said...

Congrats on the HRM purchase. It's really the best way to go to make sure you are doing the workout intensity that you have planned. Here's a link to a blog entry I did on heart rate which has some links you might find helpful as you figure all this stuff out.


JenC said...

I have an Imara too. I love that the watch and strap are sized for a woman. However, I can't get it to register a HR when I'm sitting down and it doesn't have a lap counter function. Otherwise, it has been a good, reliable watch. Good luck figuring out what zones are best for you!

Papa Louie said...

Using the HRM to learn about other factors in life is quite interesting. Sorry to hear about the work related stress. I hope you find ways to manage it well.

Joe said...

It's interesting what work does to your HR! I should try that too. Actually, I feel quite relaxed at work most of the time. Maybe my HR will be low at work.

> Until recently, two miles was a
> distance run for me!

I find that hard to believe. I've been reading about your great runs and swims!

> While I did use my HRM
> during the run, I’m not
> sure how to gauge my results

Gauge them with a grain of salt until you've EMPIRICALLY determined your true max HR. Don't take the "220 minus your age" formula as gospel. My max HR is almost 20 points higher than that formula predicts.

One way to determine your max HR is to do something called a "maximal hill run". Or at least I think that's what it's called. Basically, you run as hard as you can up a steep hill for several minutes (4?) and then measure your HR at the top.

The Salty One said...

Sometimes some info is too much info! I am such a type A stress case my HRM would blow up if I got one, I swear!

But ultimately, it should help you understand the difference between effort levels. I worry about you out there with the ipod on. I know you're in a generally safe area but some drivers can be jerks! Be careful!! I also know how great it can be to run with some good tunes, too. I only let myself use my ipod on the treadmill so it gives me something to look forward to when I'm stuck using it. Last winter I was obsessed with running to Modest Mouse's Lonesome Crowded West and this winter it was Led Zeppelin--you cannot run slow to Immigrant Song or Rock and Roll!

PS Thanks for the WooHoo! I'm going to save yours for Boston too!

Anne said...

I love using my heart rate monitor. It can become a bit of a fixation but it's also a useful training tool. Apparently a good indicator of how stressed you can get at work too.