(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

The computer has not crashed yet, so we didn’t take it down after all. In fact, it took a break from ominous messages. So after I met with the accountant, I was able to prepare the FAFSA forms for this year. Then I continued by finishing my March bill-paying. I know—I have all the fun, right? Well, the ominous messages are back so maybe we’ll take down the system for Unplugged Day or whatever this is supposed to be. I call it a good excuse to go skiing and try to shake off all those unfriendly numbers I’ve spent time with this past week.

Speaking of numbers, though, I have made some peace with my heart rate monitor as far as the running goes. Yes, I let the watch tell me how often and how hard to run over the last four weeks. Though I never quite met its expectations, I did change my approach. Plus, I looked around for other interpretations of what my running heart rate should be that might better suit my own expectations.

The standard that sounds most fun I haven’t had time to do: aiming for the heart rate that allows me to hold a conversation with someone while running for 30 minutes. I might be crazy, but I didn’t really want to be known as that crazy woman who mutters to herself the whole time she is running!

Another option I discovered didn’t hold with using the 220 minus my age and then keeping me at a low percentage of my maximum. Instead the goal is to aim for 180 minus my age—which puts me right where I tend to run—well, after this past month of retraining myself.

Previously I would have considered even that heart rate too low, but now I see the value in not stressing my body too quickly. I’m still hopeful that I will return to my previous pace but while maintaining a more reasonable heart rate. After all, I thought I would just die going as slowly as that watch said I should, but now my own heart rate is what is telling me I can go faster. In other words, I can run faster while achieving the same heart rate that just last month I could only maintain by trudging.

I still don’t know how exercise-induced asthma affects heart rates in general or mine in particular. I have no idea if I will ever be able to run up a hill without breathing heavier (and my heart beating faster) than someone who does not have asthma.

Also, I don’t know if I can get myself to dance in ZUMBA at a rate that would make my monitor happy. All I know is that while I can slow myself down for running, I don’t even want to dance if I have to cut back as much as it recommends.

Which may mean that, though I am working at a higher level than most everyone in the class, I am not likely going to lose much weight in ZUMBA. Now that’s just crazy! I guess I’m going to have to look to running more for burning those calories than to ZUMBA.

Perhaps the running will eventually prepare my heart better for all that jumping and spinning. Or not.

Numbers are not all that life is about—having something you love goes a long way toward reducing the strain your heart experiences when dealing with disk space, taxes, bills, and all the other can’t-avoid-them numbers in your life. Sometimes you know something is good for your heart simply because you love it—now that’s heart-healthy in and of itself.