If you have been following along on this little blog, then you know I am a little obsessed with my HR monitor, and never exercise without it. My little Polar Heart Rate Monitor has been through many fitness ups and downs with me, including my first marathon. And it is my ever faithful workout partner - which makes sense for a gal with a heart condition and a robot ticker.
But this wasn't always the case. When I first began my fitness journey I didn't even know I needed it. Until one fateful day in September shorty after I began my fitness transformation.
I had been regularly running, biking, yoga-ing to my little hearts content (I am so punny) for about 5 months. I was down 55 lbs. I was feeling strong. And I was healthier than I had been in a long time. So there I was, girlie pop blaring, ready to tackle that hill on my 8 km loop. My legs were pumping and I was feeling powerful...until BAM!
I felt something hit me hard right in between the shoulder blades. I stumbled forward a little bit, feeling confused as I looked around to see what had hit me. I slowed down - looking for the someone or something that had just stopped me dead in my tracks. I walked a few more steps and BAM! It hit me again, and this time it hit so hard I fell down.
That when the lightbulb went off - it was my defibrillator firing.
"Well now I had gone and done it, hadn't I?"
I said several expletives in my head because a) it hurt like a mother-F**cker and b) I thought I was sure to pass out alone in the street at any minute. I sat there, alone on the sidewalk, 4km from my house, waiting to see what would happen next... Nothing did...So I slowly got up and walked my dejected, dusty, and confused self back home and called my cardiologist.
This was the first time my Defibrillator had ever fired, so I was a little shaken up to say the least. I had always been told that if I received a shock then my ticker was in serious distress. I was also told that I would not likely be conscious (**hence why I was waiting to pass out on the sidewalk**).
I immediately made an emergency appointment at the pacemaker clinic to figure out what went wrong. They had me in and under observation in approximately 15 minutes flat.
So it turns out most people who have heart conditions and ICDs are typically elderly and inactive, so being a 20-something runner wasn't exactly the norm around the clinic. They had made my threshold (aka the heart rate when the Defib will fire) 200 BPM. Which is usually pretty standard, but given my new active lifestyle - that just wasn't going to cut it anymore.
They gave me 2 options that day...
Option 1. give up running - to which I quickly responded "NEVER" Or...
Option 2. allow them to change my threshold to 215 bpm and wear a Heart Rate Monitor every time I laced up my sneaks - to which responded equally as quickly "DEAL".
And with that my love affair with my heart rate monitor was born. I left the clinic and walked over to the local Running Room and bought my first Polar that day and haven't exercised without it since.
This week I am off to their Canadian Head Office in Montreal to give a presentation on Heart Health and Endurance Athletes. Polar helped me find my Happy Heart, so I incredibly excited to get to share my journey with them! Wish me luck!
Do you exercise with a Heart Rate monitor?
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