Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Battery For My HRM and Marathon Pace Run

I've been complaining about the fact that RedG's heart rate monitor has been giving me some crazy readings for the past few weeks. Mostly on the first mile or mile and a half and then it's fine - but I'm afraid that this is when I will need to use my HRM to control my pace the most on November 1.

I finally decided to get a new battery yesterday. Installing it was very easy - just turn the cover with a coin, pop the old battery out, put the new one in and put the cover back on...or so I thought.

I was all ready to go out for my run today (at lunchtime which was first thing in the morning for me today...) - I looked down at RedG and the Heart Rate field was blank. The little heart icon on the top was alternating flashing with an "X".

Now I felt like crap. Why do I always have to go toying with things to make them "better" and I end up breaking something and having to spend more time and/or money to fix them!

I had no MacGyver moment for this one. I ran upstairs to get the Owner's Manual (I know...very unlike me. I'm used to tinkering with things for a good 10 hours before resorting to the manual). A quick search of the manual and I was looking at the HRM troubleshooting section and it mentioned something about "pairing" devices. Got it - when I swapped the battery, somehow RedG thinks the HRM strap is a new device. I navigated through the Garmin menu to re-scan for the heart rate monitor strap, and now the heart rate field was no longer blank. HOORAY!

The new battery seems to work, too. Mile 1 of today's run (mostly uphill) I had an average heart rate of 144 and max of 157. No more readings in the 180s while I'm doing a slow jog :-)

My goal today was a 6 mile marathon pace run. I'm shooting for a 4:40 marathon which is a 10:40/mile pace. Most of my runs lately have been a lot faster than this, so the goal today was to SLOW DOWN.

I got into a nice rhythm during the first mile. I chose to do my normal 6 mile loop in reverse so I could go uphill for most of this mile - just like going uphill on the Verrazano Bridge during the first mile. However, my rhythm was just a tad too fast as RedG chirped a 10:20 at me. Mile 2 was mostly downhill, and although I felt like I slowed down, I ran another 10:19.

I decided that I had to make an effort on the next mile to really slow down and get my pace in the 10:40 range. The next two miles were 11:05 and 11:10 - and I was now on pace! And my average HR was still in the 140s. Woo hoo!

One thing toward the end of the run did concern me a bit. Mile 6 which is pretty much all uphill, I ran in 10:35, but my average HR was 165 (max of 179). I'm all for attacking the hills, but I'm hoping that something like this in the middle of the NY Marathon (i.e. the 59th Street Bridge) doesn't gas me for later on.

Overall, I ran the 6.25 miles at a 10:37/mile pace. My average HR was 151. Not too shabby, but I was hoping for a lower heart rate with this pace. Perhaps it was the warm weather (72 degrees at noon when I ran) or perhaps it was the lack of sleep this week.

To put myself at ease, I took a look in my running log at the last time I ran this route. In late June I ran this as a long run. The temperature that day was also 72 degrees. My pace was 11:25/mile and my average HR was 154. It is nice to see how far I have come in 4 months of training... even on a "bad" day!

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