Look! A heart rate! Ooooh!

I discovered a new distraction. As I've stated before, treadmill running is about as neat as watching cement dry. (NEAT!) I'm constantly checking the clock, watching the mileage, wishing I were dead, etc.

But last night was the easiest, most painless five miles I ever ran on a treadmill. Because I was obsessed with my heart rate. Obsessed. I couldn't stop staring. It was like being distracted by a shiny object. Look! It sparkles!

And all of a sudden, I'd run five miles. Just like that.

Last night was my maiden heart rate voyage. Since I finally tracked down my lactic threshold, and subsequent training zones, I decided to give heart rate training a whirl. So last night I trained in zone one - or "easy," if you will. Apparently it is here where fat is the primary source of fuel, and any activity that maximizes fat burning is fantastic.

Thank you, easy zone.

But in this easy zone, I had to keep my heart rate steady. And low. It's sort of like trying to tame a beast, because every time my heart was all, "NO! I want to be free! Let me rise! Let me!" I had to slow down. For five miles I kept my heart rate steady. It was work.

The only analogy I can come up with to best describe the effort put forth during this heart rate taming venture is like controlling your urges when you're turned on by something inappropriate. Or at an inappropriate time. Men, I'm sure you understand. I, however, am a woman, and therefore do not quite understand, but I can get a general idea.

You have to keep telling yourself, "Baseball. Baseball! Grandma! Dying babies. GRANDMA," to calm yourself down, to get the dirty thoughts out of your head.

Well, think of it like that. Here's my heart rate, running all willy-nilly, wanting to skyrocket, and I have to control it. Tame it, if you will. And it's work. It takes concentration. Precise pace. And it takes me absolutely STARING at my heart rate on the monitor for nearly an hour to assure that it does not rise above 162.

When I finished battling my heart rate, it had been five miles. Not once did I glance at the clock. I felt great. Today my heart is very grateful for its lesson in control.

Try it. It's neat.