Thursday, Jan. 08, 2004
Dear Diary:

When the spousal unit and I met in the spring of 1971 we were both teenagers and between us had a severe case of Hormones Out of Control. This being our first serious love affair and all, Extravagant Promises Were Made.

Today, as I mentally reviewed them, I think I can pretty much guarantee that as off-the-wall as some of our declarations of love were, he never said to me:

"In the next century ... as a token of my love ... I am going to give you a heart rate monitor."

Which is exactly what he did this year for Christmas.

Yep, the man to whom I have pledged my troth gave me a heart rate monitor.

And Who Says Romance Is Dead? Huh?? HUH???.

Want to know the worst part? I really, really, really wanted one.

Yep, I've wanted a heart rate monitor since last spring. All the big kids serious athletic types at my gym have them. Yep, you get this strap thingie that you wear on your chest just under your heart and it can broadcast your heartbeats per minute to a treadmill or to a specially designed watch.

Knowing your heart rate while you do cardio stuff such as running or rowing lets you know exactly how much exertion you're putting out, whether or not you're pushing yourself too hard or perhaps not as hard as you need to. As well, keeping your heart rate elevated during weightlifting is a way of making sure you're working out hard enough.

That's my technical justification.

And it's all true. Honest.

But both you know and I know that this is actually just a very, very cool geegaw that screams to the cognoscenti "I Am A Serious Athlete". Stop that snickering. Don't think I didn't hear you. I could too be a serious athlete. It could happen.

So, anyhow, I was pretty much mental with joy when I unwrapped my gift because it was the last thing I was expecting. I pulled all the bits out of the cool zippered egg-shaped carrying case thingie, strapped on the monitor, strapped on the watch with the five control buttons and then looked for the manual.

No manual.

The thing is, this monitor comes with a buttload of options. It has a stopwatch, a lap counter, it will tell you the date, month, year, your heart rate, and you can even set various alarms for when your heart is going too slow or too fast. Except. You need a manual to do all this.

See, it has five control buttons which means there are five to the fifth power ways of setting this watch up. For those of you who are mathematically challenged five to the fifth power translates as 1.5 bazillion options.

Did I mention that I did not have a manual? I called the catalogue from which the spousal unit had ordered this marvel of technology. A recorded message informed me that they were closed until Dec. 27. Fine.

I began to randomly push buttons. I couldn't even figure out how to set the time and date. Thoroughly frustrated, I put my lovely shiny new geegaw in it's cool zippered egg-shaped carrying case thingie and tried to be mature.

One minute after the opening time announced on the catalogue company's voice mail, I phoned them and arranged to get them to send me a manual. For the last week and a half I have been peering wistfully into my mailbox, waiting for this manual. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Rien.

I whined softly to my trainer. She opined that the two of us could probably puzzle the thing out, so Wednesday I wore it into the gym. The two of us randomly jabbed buttons and lo and behold the heart rate monitor feature kicked in. Which was insanely cool for about two seconds until my watch began to beep insistently at me. Very insistently.

With a little experimentation, I quickly realized that default heart rate alarm thresholds had been programmed into the watch. If my heart rate fell under 100 beats per minute, the watch yelled at me. If my heart rate ran over 150 beats per minute, the watch yelled at me.

It spent almost all my interval running yelling at me, since my heart holds a steady 155 bpm during the speed portions. I felt as if I was wearing a small nagging shrew on my wrist, a shrew that was yelling "Slow Down, You're Going To Die If You Keep This Up"


It spent a fair bit of my weight lifting yelling at me because it takes real effort for me to get my heart over 100 bpm when I'm doing anything but squats or leg press. So while I was doing strength training I felt as if I was wearing a small nagging shrew on my wrist, a shrew that was yelling, "Can't You Do Any Better Than THIS?"


Well, today, I went back to the Timex site to see if they had a help section. Right after Christmas I had scoured the site looking for a manual for my heart rate monitor, but there wasn't one.

Today, when I looked up my monitor yet again what to my wondering eyes did appear but a manual. It's not my watch, exactly, but close enough that the spousal unit and I were able to puzzle out how to set it.

When we tried it out tonight, the lowest he was able to get his resting heart rate was 64. Mine hovered in the mid-50's but at one point I had it down to 48.

A low heart rate is an indicator of fitness. Some people might be competitive about things such as this. Me? Gloat?

Oh my, yes.


Mileage on the Marnometer: 17.75 piddling miles
Goal for 2004: 1,000 miles - 1609 kilometers

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