I’ve been working on my overall level of fitness in anticipation of a fall biathlon in West Texas. The idea of being out of shape, a few hundred miles from home, in one of the hotter places in Texas is not something I’m ready to entertain. As part of my training, I picked up a Wahoo Fitness Heart Rate Monitor which transmits data over Bluetooth to my iPhone while I run. Not to get too far into a review of it, but I can program the app to give me updates during the run on pacing and heart rate which is super helpful for making sure that my training is effective . . .
I can also download the data file to get my heart rate info at one-second intervals. Once I export it to Excel, I can make pretty scatter plots like the one above. As you can see, my heart rate steadily rose over the course of a fairly quick run down the street to run an errand. Never miss an opportunity to get a workout in right?
In any case, this sort of graph is fairly typical of a hot, quick(ish) run under two miles in length. But try as I might, I’ve never been able to push my heart rate past 187 BPM. That number is right in the money according to a couple different heart rate calculators so I haven’t worried too much about it.
But now that I have a good feeling on what my actual peak heart rate is after an ~80 lb dog decided I’d be a fun playtoy. That’s the spike you see there towards the end, and the peak value according to my fancy gizmo was a whopping 208 BPM. In case you’re wondering what that sounds like, there’s a cool website that can give you a digital metronome. Spoiler alert, it sounds real fast.
So what happened? I’m not really sure, to be honest. I was running, I lept across a ditch, felt something hit my heel, and next thing I knew, there was a large dog running right next to me. I kicked it into fifth gear and hauled ass before I really knew what happened. The dog kept pace off to my right and gave me that “happy dog” look.
I saw the dog’s owner running towards me telling me to stop running because, “he’ll just keep up with you.” At that point, I realized that the dog thought we were having a footrace, a prospect I knew I’d lose. I slowed down, recalled some comments I’d read here about soft places on a dog’s skull in case it came to that, and watched as the dog in question dutifully return to his owner, the victor of our short sprint. I kept running, not really interested in further contact.
This is the first dog encounter I’ve had while running, and I’ll be honest that it happened so fast, had it turned violent, I would have had what was in my hands and that’s it. Because I’m a Texas resident, carrying a gun openly is off the table, and carrying one concealed, but at the ready, is quite the problem. I guess I could run around with some pepper spray, and given my experience, that might be the best option I have at the moment. But I’m genuinely curious what the readers of this fine blog do when they run around in the great wild.