Monday, July 6, 2015

Heart Rate Monitor Meltdown

Diabetes has taught me a lot of things. Some good, some bad, some really kinda gross and some really quite useful.

One of the more useful things I have learned is this: technology that helps me analyze what is happening in my body is wonderful but, when the technology is telling me one thing and my body is telling me another, listen to my body. Always.

On Sunday morning, Doug and I went cycling. We picked a route that had some flat stretches with some hills thrown in every few kilometres. I had my Garmin watch on my bike and it was set to show me my speed, the distance covered and my heart rate.

For the first few kilometres, my heart rate was fine. It was doing what it typically does which is climb a bit and then hang out between 120-130 beats per minute.

Then we climbed the first hill...and my heart rate spiked up to 240 beats per minute.

Two-hundred and forty beats per minute!?!

That, my friends, is a surefire sign that I was about to keel over and die.

Or it's a surefire sign that my heart rate monitor was screwed up.

Seeing 240 beats per minute on a heart rate monitor that, until Sunday, had never shown my heart rate above 180, is pretty horrifying. For one brief moment, I did think that I was about to keel over and I actually wondered if I should have updated the will I did a few years ago. Then I took stock and recognized that I felt no different that I do whenever I climb a hill. I was out of breath but nothing out of the ordinary.

To be sure I wasn't seconds from the end, I took one hand off my handbar and took my pulse for ten seconds. Twenty-two beats in ten seconds. That means 132 beats per minute if my math is correct. Nowhere near 240.

I relaxed and crested the top of the hill.

I figured my heart rate would drop again once we were back on the flats. It didn't.

I readjusted the heart rate monitor but my heart rate refused to budge. Only when we stopped for a quick drink did it drop back down to normal. It stayed there until we climbed the next hill and I spiked right back up to 240 again where it stayed until we got home again.

"I have no idea what is happening" said Doug "but it's sure going to make for a crazy heart rate graph".

No kidding.

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