Today’s Experiment

It rained off and on all day yesterday, but I was really hoping for dry weather today because my plan was to take the next step in getting to know my GPS watch. The Garmin Forerunner 405CX package includes a wireless heart rate monitor that uses ANT+ technology (similar to Bluetooth) to send data to the watch. Last night, I read the manual carefully, tried on the HRM strap, and paired it with the watch. I was all set!

Rain continued through the night, and it was 10 AM before I felt safe in venturing out. It was still overcast but appeared to have stopped raining. By the time I actually hit the street, it was drizzling a little, but I decided to tough it out. I had chosen to walk my usual route so that I could come home after the northern leg of the loop if the rain picked up.

As can be seen from the trace of today’s walk, the GPS did not find a satellite for some time. I was aware of this and frustrated by it, but, since the HRM seemed to be working, I resolved to continue. As can be seen from the heart rate chart, even the HRM connection was not perfect. Occasionally when I raised my arm to look at the watch, the face was blank, and then an unrealistic rate (52!) would register as I brought my wrist closer to my chest. In fact, although I was unaware of it at the time, the GPS seems to have kicked in before the monitor stabilized. Still, by the time I started heading south on Summit (which is an uphill grade), my heart rate had soared to 140 and I saw that my distance was being tracked.

When I reached Oak Street, it was still just drizzling, and everything seemed to be working fine, so I passed Oak and headed into the southern leg of the loop. About the time I reached St. James Avenue, it started to rain in earnest, and it persisted for the rest of the walk. By the time I got home, I was soaked to the skin, my feet squelching in my shoes and my hat a pathetic mass of sodden duck. Eager to get under cover, I bungled turning off the timer (which accounts for splits 3 and 4).

All in all, I was pleased with the experiment. What I will have to figure out next is how to set up heart rate targets in my profile in order to get the screen that shows what HR zone I’m in. That can be an exercise for next Sunday.

Or not. It appears that it should be possible to use the HRM independently of the GPS. The equipment (elliptical, NordicTrack treadmill) that I use at the gym is all used, donated to the church, and, although most of the machines seem to have connections for HRMs, none (as far as I know) are provided. But I don’t see why I couldn’t use the Garmin for this purpose, and perhaps I will try it.

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