Robert M. Tudisco - White Plains, NY
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Robert M. Tudisco - White Plains, NY

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 universe.

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 168.

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 goodness sake!!!"

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

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