Saturday, October 1, 2011

Death of an Old Friend

I am in mourning. An old friend of mine died recently. It was a workout relationship. Me and that friend have done virtually every bike and run workout for the past 2 years together. I am not sure I can survive my efforts without my buddy. Lately, I have been feeling empty, especially when I go for a run. There's a void that I am not sure would be filled. 

My heart rate monitor stopped working on me. 
The signs of it's demise were apparent so you'd think I had some time to prepare myself. For example, my normal HR while running is between 165 and 178. On September 7th, I went for a short, easy run. It recorded my max HR for the workout as 206. That in and of itself is not enough to call the morgue. There's more... On Sept 10, I went for a 6 mile tempo run. The device listed my average HR at 156 (well below tempo) with a max HR at 219. Either the device was gasping for air or the [220- (your age)] formula is in desperate need of revision (which is also true). On September 11, during a race mind you, it gave me nothing. My reported HR for both the bike and run was zero. It was gone. That's when I noticed the smell.

Some say that there are 7 stages to mourning:  

1. Shock- I couldn't believe that it was going. Even though I saw the warning signs, I was surprised that it had stopped. Part of me felt that it would resolve its problems on its own without any intervention. Before I was smart enough to see the clues, it stopped ticking (at least in the receptive way).

2. Denial- Even after it gave me no values, I continued to run in it for 3 more sessions before leaving it at home. If I try hard enough... If I give it enough time... It will start working again.

3. Bargaining- Dear God, please make it come back. I swear I'll be better. I'll wash it more often. I'll give it more blog time. I promise I'll have more efficient workouts. I don't want to run alone (if you don't count the PRP).

4. Guilt- I know that there's something I could have done to save it. Maybe if I had spoken a kind word. I didn't respect it enough. Man, I am such an idiot for letting a great device slip through my fingers. Maybe, just maybe, I'd have a working device if I'd replace the battery.

5. Anger- I am so pissed right now. How in the world will I quantify the effort of my run? HUH? Fricken HRM up and leaves me. Did it ever stop and think how I would feel? Plus, I might have to replace it. These things cost money. It's not like I can breed them for free.

6. Depression- I seriously don't know what I am going to do now. I have been biking and running on HR for so long that I can't imagine workout out without it. I miss the feel of its band across my chest, constricting me like an eternal workout hug.

7. Hope- Even without my beloved HR data, there are still ways to succeed. For example, I did the entire Syracuse 70.3 Bike and Run without it. I had a great race.  Rumor has it that running pace, when coupled with rate of perceived exertion, is as good if not better than HR. My next big bike purchase is a power meter, which trumps HR on any given day. 

Some also say that there's one more stage:  
Acceptance- Goodbye old friend. You and I have had some great times and great workouts together. There will always be a place over my heart for you.

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