Thursday, January 21, 2010

Polar's Return

For a while, I've been sad about The Polar. Remember The Polar? You probably don't, so let me refresh your memory or fill you in if you weren't around when The Polar was around.

The Polar is a Polar F4 Heart Rate Monitor watch, and looked like this.

Now, I say looked because I lost the stinking watch during last year's Mud Run. I tried to scale a wall and it popped right off my wrist, fell into a deep pit of mud and was never seen or heard from again.

I was gutted. Heartbroken. Mrs. LB had given me that watch as a present for Fathers Day in 2008, and that really helped me learn a great deal about my body. It took me from being a novice runner to that next step as I used it extensively in my training for the first and second Mud Runs, the Half Marathon and my first two 10Ks.

I was totally not ready to part ways with it, so that made it more difficult when I had to say fare thee well. I bought another one, sometime around July of last year, or a month after I lost it. It wasn't the greatest idea. I bought it sort-of blind, on eBay. This is what the watch I have looks like.

It never really worked. I was bummed out because the person who sold it said they hardly ever used it but the battery was low when I received it. And it wouldn't measure my heart rate for some reason. But worst of all... well, look at it. That's a woman's watch. When I say "sort-of blind" it's because the watch didn't have a picture. And this is what I get for not buying one with a picture.

I've worn it during runs but I just... well, it's just strange. Yeah, this coming from a guy who wears pink. I realize this. However, it just does.

But that was all moot because the battery died, the watch wouldn't work and I wasn't exactly in a hurry to get a replacement battery.

I'm not sure what prompted me to but I decided that I wanted to try and breathe life into the watch once more. I think the thinking was that if I could salvage it and make it usable that I could sell the two and then use the money to buy a Garmin Forerunner 305. That one has a heart rate monitor on it, plus all the features of my Garmin 101.

I hit a wall, though. The battery, which was quite difficult to take out, was not sold at the Target by my house. Nor the other Target. Nor any Target. Nor Home Depot or Staples or Best Buy... you get the point. I had put the gutted watch and battery in a little resealable plastic bag and left it in my truck so whenever I was around like a Radio Shack or whatever, I'd have it with me. Well, it slipped my mind and I just sort of forgot about it.

Until Saturday. I was by a Radio Shack, remembered the left-for-dead watch in my glove compartment and stopped by. Five dollars and change later, I had the battery. I got home, painstakingly reassembled it and !Voila! it worked. Sort of. The watch was on, set, ready to go but it still wasn't measuring my heart rate. After I put my strap around my waist, the watch blinked a 35 back at me, and unless there was something really wrong with me, my heart rate wouldn't be that low. My resting heart rate is probably closer to 50, a little above, so that was wrong.

But I noticed something. There was a percent sign next to it. Why hadn't I noticed that before? I fooled around with the settings, tried it again and it worked! It worked! I got my heart rate watch back! I was very happy and started to think about all the runs and workouts I used to do while monitoring my watch, about the way my heart rate fluctuated, about incorporating that into my future runs and trainings when I realized something.

Damn. It's a woman's watch. And it looks like a woman's watch.

Let's just forget for a moment that I wear pink. Voluntarily.

I'm not sure about the watch anymore. I don't know if it's because I've taken another step in becoming a runner/marathoner that I don't rely on heart rates as much, or if it's the watch itself.

I've worn it already during two runs this week, however. I want to start wearing the monitor and watch once more, if nothing else to see how I compare now to my previous self. Both runs have been in my garage but it's worked out fine. Wednesday's run was great, a 5.1 mile run that saw my heart rate stay in the 160s for most of the run. There is some interesting stuff for sure to learn from monitoring my heart rate.

I just have to get past how it looks.


Willoughby said...

I don't think it looks un-manly or anything. I mean, if I saw you run past my house wearing it (that would be one long run, California to Michigan), I wouldn't think "LB is wearing a woman's watch!".

Kerrie T. said...

Hehehe. This made me giggle.

Katie A. said...

Pink and women's watches. Good thing you're not still on the market or you would have some explaining to do :)
I have never used the heart rate monitor with my Garmin 305 - maybe I should give it a try. Happy Thursday!

tahoegirl said...

HA! LB wears a woman's watch. HA! and unlike Willoughby, if i did see you running past my house, wait.... if i did go for a run with you, i would think "LB is wearing a woman's watch" and then i would snicker. :o)

Lisa said...

I don't think it looks like a womens watch. ut if you feel uncomfortable why don't you make a deal with yourself and pay yourself fifty cents or a dollar for every mile you run and when you have enough for a Garmin you can buy it. Or reward yourself for that little marathon you are gonna rock next month.

p.s. I like you. You wear pink :)

Manderz said...

This post made me lol..I have a pink polar watch :)

I am doing the Northeast Ragner (hopefully). Its from Woodstock, NY to NYC (the bronx). 175 miles. May 14-15th.

I am sure I will be in touch once I get onto a team for some advice/tips!

thrasherswife said...

It is a bit girly, but there doesn't seem to be anything girly about you, so don't worry about it. Besides, you DO wear a pink shirt :)

Jill said...

Only a true man would voluntarily wear pink and a baby blue HR watch. :)
Happy Almost weekend!

C.J Zoller said...

Chris from Polar USA here.

Fun post - thanks for the good read! :)

How about we trade you for the male version? - drop me a line and I will arrange the replacement! Unless of course you LIKE the baby blue womans F4? =)

L.B. said...

Chris! That sounds awesome! I'd love to take you up on the offer. How do I get ahold of you? I'd love to get the male version of the F4 on my wrist :D