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Daily Archives: September 22, 2012

Soul Searching

It all started with a decision to switch my workout tracking software from Endomondo to Map My Ride this morning. Then I downloaded a heart rate app (see the post beneath this one). The heart rate app gave me my aerobic exercise zones by heart rate, so I got to thinking I should maybe get a heart rate monitor. Then I thought it would be neat to pick up a Wahoo bluetooth cycle meter so I could keep track of my speed real time. Then I got to thinking it would be need to get a cadence meter, rather than relying on guesstimates. While I was at it, maybe I should look into a power meter…

Fortunately, being a recovering alcoholic, about to begin my third decade of continuous sobriety (one day at a time of course), I know a few things about myself. First, I can get overly obsessive about analysis, thereby completely ruining my enjoyment of being on the right side of the grass, pumping air. In other words, that obsessiveness with analysis gets in the way of my being a kid at heart. Anyone who knows anything about the Big-Big Book, knows that this is the test: To live as an adult with the exuberance of a kid. Every day I get a chance to get on my bike and be 42, going on 14 – not 42, trudging towards 43. In the end, do I want to be 90, looking back on my 40’s, and be able to quote my power stats to the young chicky at the old folks home, or do I simply want to remember enjoying every single ride I went on?

The second ability living a life in recovery has given me, is the ability to objectively look at myself. To strip away the bullshit that doesn’t matter and play with what does. What doesn’t matter is a power meter, a cadence monitor, a heart rate monitor and a speedometer… Because ultimately, the way I am, I’ll end up looking at every last detail, tweaking what can be tweaked and obsessing about what can’t, and I’ll lose site of that which matters most: the love of riding that I will leave on the side of the road in favor of endless minutiae. This is not a problem for everyone, it is a problem specific to me. I would never suggest that anyone else do without those items. They are not, however, for me because what is important to me is the fun. I already have a day job. I don’t need another one.

I got a better idea. How’s about I just stick to riding for the love of turning the pedals? I could blow a few hundred or up to a few thousand dollars on all of the meters – more than enough for a shiny new paint job for my Trek, or even a brand new bike. For what? So I can write about my power stats on my blog, written on my iPhone? Crime in Italy, Chuck!

No, I’ll stick with the sweat and the smile, and leave the electronics to someone else.

Heart Rate… App Review

I downloaded a new app this morning that goes by the name Heart Rate for my iPhone (iOS 6 is awesome btw) this morning.

Obviously an app on the iPhone could never replace an actual heart rate monitor, but the app is very cool. It uses the phone’s camera to measure your pulse.

How it works: Beats me, place your index finger over the camera lens, it takes a few seconds to pick up your pulse and then a few seconds to read and record your heart rate.

From there, the app uses a formula (based on age and resting heart rate (RHR) that you pre load:

Heart rate zones in this app are calculated from Karvonen Formula.

The Karvonen method factors in Resting Heart Rate (HRrest) to calculate Target Heart Rate (THR), using a range of 50%–85%:

THR = ((HRmax − HRrest) × %Intensity) + HRrest

Two weeks ago I measured my RHR with a stop watch after my morning coffee. I came up with 52. This morning under the same conditions, the app came up with 53. That’s close enough for government work.

The system is a little touchy with my life proof case but it works well enough.

The app has my zones figured as follows:

Warm Up (116bpm – 128bpm)
50-60% of your max heart rate.

Fat Burn (128bpm – 141bpm)
60%-70% of your max heart rate.

Cardio (141bpm – 153bpm)
70%-80% of your max heart rate.

Extreme (153bpm – 166bpm)
80%-90% of your max heart rate.

Max (166bpm – 179bpm)
90%-100% of your max heart rate.

Now, it remains to be seen how accurate that is. I don’t know and I don’t know if I’ll bother with getting the proper testing done to find out if that’s right or not. I’m not that concerned with the technical side – I ride and run for fun and I’ve found out through trial and stress that I’m in it for the fun, not the technical minutiae.

Check it out.