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A New Low… But that’s Good…

September 2014


I am unfairly good when it comes a lot of sports.  Baseball, way above average.  Not only could I throw a strike for the opening pitch, I could choose between a fastball, a curve, a screwball or a knuckle ball…  I even know how to throw a ball minus the movement as well (my dad was a catcher, you place your thumb under the ball so you won’t get the same tight spin when you throw).  I can play first base (I’m a lefty – ironic, that) or anywhere in the outfield and when I play softball I bat around .600.  Hockey, I can skate.  Bowling, golf, I was a scratch golfer before my wife and I had kids, rollerblading (I could hold a 20 mph average over 8 miles back in the day), tennis – though my younger brother is quite a bit better, he’s a teaching pro…  In other words, we grew up well in sports.

Teaching my girls how to catch and throw, my daughter often complains that “it’s no fair” that I make it “look so easy”.  Humorously enough, while I’ve been thin for most of my life, except the two years I was rollerblading 30 to 60 miles a week, I’ve never really been in great shape…  Until now.  For the last three years and at 44 years-old, there is no doubt that I’m in the best shape of my life, by a long shot.  When I was younger, my resting heart rate was around 70 – average.  I have no idea what it was through the rollerblading days but fifteen years ago, I was still in the 70’s.  When I started running, fourteen years ago, it slowly started dropping.  I dropped into the 60’s and I was happy, better than average.

About 3-1/2 years ago I started cycling and I went from exercising three or four days a week to six and it dropped into the 50’s.  This drop was something special because I progressed from “Good” to “Excellent” and right into “Athlete”.  Since I was a kid I’ve wanted to hit that “Athlete” classification and at 41 years-old, I’d finally arrived.  As I got faster and rode longer, it kept dropping to a point where last year, at 43, my resting heart rate (measured in the morning after a cup or two of coffee, after I’d woken up a bit but before I really did anything) matched my age.  In fact, just for fun I checked it once when I was getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist:  52 beats per minute and still within that “Athlete” classification:
Then, this morning after a great stretch of riding for three weeks with only one day off before rain derailed the streak, this:

Yes, I was really up at 4:00 this morning, it’s kind of one of those unfortunate things that comes with my job.  Technically, waking up at 4 am really sucks but it sucks less if I do so every day – over time it became the new schedule.  Either way, my resting heart rate is lower than my age.  Pretty cool.

P.S.  I have had my heart checked out by my doctor, extensively, including a few EKG’s and an ultrasound to make sure that my ticker is working right.  All of that “check with your doctor” stuff isn’t crap.


  1. So awesome! And you’re right for me it’s 430 and 6 on the weekends feels like I’m “sleeping in” 😊

  2. PedalWORKS says:

    That’s excellent. I have a similar story. My RHR is 45, well below my age though. I figure that is a good thing. If I check it before getting out of bed, it is lower. Pedal on.

  3. Mark says:

    Your writing reminds me of the time I went to my university’s health services last spring, and the nurse took my resting heart rate. Do note that I never considered myself an athlete (played A LOT of video games when I was younger), but then the nurse said that my heart rate (51) was at an athlete’s level. 🙂 Currently it is still in the low 50s, and all I can think of right now is “Yay running!” 😀

    • bgddyjim says:

      Exactly! The first time my doc saw my resting heart rate he ordered an EKG… After that, he said my “spikes” were three times bigger than normal so he ordered the ultrasound. I was a little freaked out but they came back and said, “Hey, whatever it is you’re doing, keep it up.”

  4. dagowop says:

    Please keep track of the “spikes” your doc mentioned. While they are great for athletes, excessive spiking of the QRS complex (which can occur due to too much exercise) can be a sign of cardiomegaly (overgrown heart). This is a result of muscle mass growth (just like any other muscle of the body). The problem with too big of muscle mass is that at a certain point, the heart itself becomes stretched and won’t pump as efficiently, causing congestive heart failure or CHF.

    Trust me when I say, you don’t want CHF as a cyclist (or any other athlete). So, take care of that ticker of yours. Sounds like you’re at the perfect spot now, but you’ll need to get check-ups just as frequently as anyone else so you know your heart muscle’s limits. At a certain point, you’ll need to tone it down…hopefully later rather than sooner 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      You’re exactly right, which is why he ordered the ultrasound… I do have a big heart, because I use it, but it is an exceptionally healthy one. Thank you for the concern, but trust me, I’m as healthy as a fella gets. Only thing taking me out is a Buick. 😜

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