Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I've got a heart rate monitor thingummy that I use when running. I'm not sure why, other than to look in disappointment at the tiny number of calories my hour of agony has whittled away. That and because it's got a stopwatch in it, so I know how long it's taken me to stagger through the hills. But there is a problem with it, probably due to its cheapness and age. It doesn't really work properly.

Take today, for instance. When I strapped the monitor to my chest, the watch read a steady 62 bpm, which is about right for an afternoon spent sat in my chair doing bugger all. Once I'd set off that rose steadily, topping out at 120 bpm as I hit the top of the first hill and levelled off. It climbed again, reaching a brief maximum of 198bpm, which is straining it a bit for an old codger like me, but running uphill is hard work.

So far so good, but later on, around about three and half miles in, as I reached the halfway point on yet another hill, I looked back down at the monitor and found that my heart was beating at a sedate 72.

Eh? I'm gasping my lungs out here, and my thighs feel like someone's swapped them for bags of wobbly jelly; my glasses have fogged up completely and you really don't want to know what the sweat on my T-shirt is doing to my nins. But my heart reckons I'm sitting in front of the telly eating crisps?

It's not easy to jiggle around with the heart rate monitor strap as you're running along - I think I can begin to appreciate the difficulties some well-endowed women must have with sports that involve a lot of bouncing - but I managed to readjust and get what seemed a more sensible reading. Only for a moment though, I was soon back down below 100 on that last long uphill slog that I always say I'll never do again.

And before you suggest new batteries; they've both been replaced in the last few days, so it ain't that.

Some runners suggest smearing a conductive gel between skin and heart rate monitor, but I don't think I could cope with the sniggering in my local pharmacy if I started buying KY jelly now. I think I just have to accept that my trusty old heart rate monitor watch, which cost me all of £20 about four years ago, is now no longer trusty, just old.

Time I think for a replacement. Which brings us to toys.

It's my birthday soon, too.

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