Robert M. Tudisco - White Plains, NY
A Married Man's Best Friend
For several years, even before I started running, I have used a heart rate monitor. I have
always found it to be a fantastic bio-feedback tool. It tells me to speed up, when I am taking
it too easy and more importantly, to slow down when I am pushing too hard. What I never
realized was that it could also be a life saver and a marriage counselor of sorts.
When I started running regularly I continued the use of my Heart Rate Monitor. It always helped
me when cycling and cross country skiing in the past. It was very helpful to see how my body
reacted to stress and how to minimize or avoid it. Most come equipped with an audible alert to
tell you when you are outside a pre-programed zone. One morning after a run, my HRM taught me a
lot more about how I react to stress than I ever expected.
When I began running I fell into a very comfortable routine. I wake up at 5:00 AM each morning
and I go into my den/running room. I stretch and listen to the weather to know how to dress for
my run. It's usually, dark out at that time. That is my favorite time to run. The house is dark
and quiet. The same goes for the streets for the most part. I love that solitude. No matter
what stresses the day has in store for me, during my run, I am the master of my own
One morning I returned from my run, at peace with myself and my world, when I noticed that the
lights in the house were on. I knew what that meant. My wife was awake. The Assassin of Joy
that I was married to was waiting for me at the top of the stairs. Her mind was already working
on overdrive and she wanted to share her stress with me. At the time I was still wearing my
heart rate monitor. I was in my zone, self regulated, peaceful and content.
I had my zone set between 120 and 150. As I finished my run, I was in the high 140s and on my
way back down as I entered the house. When I got to the top of the stairs, she was waiting for
me. "Which cars are we taking today? Who is picking up Robert from School? Will you be
home for dinner tonight? Hurry up in the shower, if I'm going to make my train!" Those and
a series of other questions met me rapid fire at the top of the stairs. I merely turned my
head, as if to gain assistance from some non-existent third party when it I heard it.
"BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!", I instantly looked down and saw that I was way up at
All of a sudden a horrifying thought occurred to me. I started to think of all of the world
class runners that have mysteriously died of hear attacks over the years and wondered whether
or not they were married. THIS WAS SERIOUS!! Not being able to take it anymore I had to say
something. "Look what you are doing to me!! You are going to aggravate me into my grave!!
Look at my heart rate monitor!! I couldn't make this up if I wanted to!! This SCIENCE for
With that she looked at the readout and we both locked eyes. We immediately burst into
laughter. She realized, not only that she was a bit crazy, but also that it had such an effect
on me. We laugh about this story now and tell most of our friends. It's always good for a
laugh. For some reason, the married people always appreciate it more.
So my advice is as follows. Dogs are great, but a married man's best friend is a heart rate
monitor. I no longer wear mine while running. I have gotten very comfortable with my own stride
and pace. I can listen to and appreciate what my body is telling me and run accordingly. Now I
strap it on when I get home from my run. Because that is when the real workout begins.
Robert Tudisco is a practicing attorney and a freelance writer. He is also an avid runner.
He lives with his wife and young son in Eastchester, New York. He welcomes comments and
questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.