Saturday, 13 October 2012

Re-routed run and misleading monitoring,

Sleeping has been thin on the ground this week as my current cold makes my nose block as soon as I get into bed. I've been having fevery hot half-dreams and then probably punishing Peter with excessive force when he snores and brings me back to unwanted consciousness. Its not just Peter, its all the idiots out in Leith who get pissed and shout and laugh and argue every fecking night. And the twatt with a fancy car with one of those growly engines. He seems to spend half the night parking and re-parking it just outside our house.

Anyway, this morning the dark grey skies, cold wind and sporadic rain didn't seem all that appealing for running in. My head was hot and my nose was snivelly, but I'd only run 22 miles for the week so I needed another 8 to take it up to 30.

To try and make this entertaining I thought I would go and explore the water of Leith with a camera and see what kind of floods I could see after yesterday's unreasonable downpour. I took a camera in anticipation that there would be something to see.

Its not so easy to get on the Water of Leith these days though. I had to go the long way round on the cycle path to avoid where work along the river has closed the road at Powderhall. My next point of access was off  Inverleith Row. Last time I was there there was a foot of river water for a good 20 yards that had to be waded through and I was a little disappointed that somehow or other "they" have contained the river here and there was no flooding. The next run along the river, which comes out at the pizza restaurant in Stockbridge has been closed forever so I had to just go through Stockbridge itself to get back on the path higher up to go through the Dean Village. Along this way I came to a dead halt as apparently there'd been a landslip and the path was closed. A sign sent me up some steps which took me out near to the top of Orchard Brae.

In the meantime I was getting increasingly concerned about the readings on my heart rate monitor. My heart rate had flipped up as it always does for the first mile or so and then dropped back down to the torpid early 100s I'm accustomed to seeing these days. But then after another mile it shot back up to the high 180s and early 190s and was refusing to come down.

I didn't feel any different. I felt the same as I did when I set out, which was pretty lethargic and crap but not truly bad. These numbers were giving me the willies. Running down Orchard Brae it fell back to 105 and I thought that would be that, but as I got back on the flat it started to shoot up again. I was running up a street parallel to Inverleith Park (the Water of Leith was now abandoned, I was sick of its inaccessibility) which I'd never been on before, straight up towards Fettes College. Its quite an amazing looking building and I thought I'd stop and take a photo and see if I could settle my heart rate down at the same time. It did come down but as soon as I started running again it went up way too high. What was I going to do? Was I pushing my luck? Should I stop? In the end, sheer compulsion to get my 30 miles done for the week won out and I ran on anyway, taking a turn of Inverleith park before heading home to make up the mileage. But I wasn't happy. It felt like more evidence that I'm just not working properly anymore.

Anyway, I was letting the Garmin upload my run to the training centre and looking at other stuff on the computer when I noticed it was still on and it was saying that my heart-rate was 120. I suddenly thought, "I'm sure its not" and took my own pulse and sure enough it was sitting at 60. "The little bastard" I thought. I tried on my polar hrm (I've got a kit addiction) just for a 2nd opinion, but it agreed with me, not the Garmin.

For a few years my Garmin has been saying that my heart rate shoots up for the first mile or so of a run and then calms down and until recently I just thought it was because of an initial poor contact between me and the chest-strap and discounted it. Then when I realised I do have problems with my heart I started believing it. But after seeing how my Garmin could blatantly lie to me I had a google for 'Garmin hrm readings too high' and found a load of stuff. Its a known issue. Most people seem to put it down to static, but lots of people get the same thing - either a big spike in the first mile or unfeasibly high readings. So now I don't know. I've been cautious about running too far just now on the basis that running obviously churns my heart rate up - but now that's in question. One person on line said that you never get that problem with the polar heart rate monitors and one fix is to get the garmin heart rate monitor strap that has a detachable heart rate module that will snap onto a polar strap. So I've ordered that garmin chest strap on-line. I already have the polar strap. It would be nice if my heart didn't do anything funny when I'm running apart from beating stupidly slowly, I'd feel more confident to push a bit, But maybe I'm grasping at straws... we'll see anyway. I'm going to test it out.

If you have read all that you get 50 geek points.

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