First, a special thanks to Matthew for letting me borrow his heart rate monitor GPS for the next few days. Second, this 140 beats per minute limit when running heart rate rule for pregnant women is bunk! You can tell I'm still in the denial phase (although it is a completely arbitrary number).
I went out this morning about 9:20 am for my first heart rate test. Resting heart beat was about 70 with about 80-90 as I moved around the house. It's important to note how warm it felt out today - my route had no shade, it was full sun, 81 degrees, and humidity a little over 80% (whew!). Noticed on initial warm up heart rate was 110. I warmed up by walking and jogging for a few minutes and just getting used to the display's on this particular GPS.
Then, I performed a series of "tests". 3 minutes at different paces, each test followed by walk breaks of 1-3 minutes. Thought process in italics.
Let's start with a pace that feels easy and natural.
3 minutes @ 11:29 pace: max heart rate was 164
1 minute walk break: heart rate back down below 140 in 46 seconds. 132 at end of one minute.
Okay, that was "allegedly" too fast, let's slow it down.
3 minutes @ 12:03 pace: max heart rate was 160
1 minute walk break: heart rate back down below 140 in 45 seconds. 132 at end of one minute.
Another 1 minute walk break: heart rate was 123 at end of one minute.
Fine, slow it down again.
3 minutes @ 12:29 pace: max heart rate was 164
1 minute walk break: heart rate back down below 140 in 55 seconds. 138 at end of one minute.
Another 1 minute walk break: heart rate was 124 at end of one minute.
Slow it down more? Shoot for 13:00, wow, that's too hard for me to slow down to that.
3 minutes @ 12:40 pace: max heart rate was 156
1 minute walk break: heart rate back down below 140 in 38 seconds. 132 at end of one minute.
Fine, heart! Let's see what you think of 5K PR pace:
3 minutes @ 10:30 pace: max heart rate was 174
2 minute walk break: heart rate back down below 140 in 1 min., 21 seconds. 130 at end of 2 minutes.
So basically, I can't run and keep my heart rate under 140?!? Try "purposeful" walk (not my fastest walk)
3 minutes @ 15:17 pace: max heart rate was 143.
WHAT? Now I'm frustrated and in tears.
Final 1 min, 34 sec of slow walking.
Heart rate 129 at the end.
Summary: All paces from 10:30 to 12:40 were "too much". Although after 3 minutes, with most of those paces, I could recover within 45 seconds, which feels pretty good to me. The purposeful walk was done after all the other tests but was still just a little over 140. So I shouldn't be running at all?
I walked in the door and cried for a while - hubby patted my super sweaty shoulder, don't blame him for not hugging me. :-) So right now, I'm angry and frustrated. Based on 140 rule, I basically can't run and even a purposeful walk is kinda pushing it?!? And at only 13 weeks pregnant? And after running 30 miles per week earlier in the year!
I'm feeling like my doctor screwed me over. She knew I was a runner and that I wanted to run through this pregnancy before I conceived. Maybe we should have done more cardio tests to know what my aerobic and anaerobic personal thresholds were before pregnancy. And I'm supposed to be testing my heart rate but we set up nothing more than my next check-up 4 weeks from now to complete that feedback loop. Looks like I'll collect more data and call the doctor Monday to schedule something in a week to review all the data and decide what's best FOR ME and the baby - not just some generic rule. I'm not ready to give up yet!
And what tests should I perform next? I want to try my usual evening runs, where the humidity isn't as bad. I should probably try a slower jog from the beginning without all those faster pace tests at the start. What would YOU suggest I try? Should I just give up?