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Paying Attention:  For over a decade I have exercised with a Polar S710 Heart Rate Monitor. It was a Christmas gift, and it turned into a life saver. One year, when my heart beat inexplicably leaped from a resting 58 to a rising 200+after an afternoon run, it was the Polar that told me the full story and gave me the necessary information to bring things back down. I use it when I play tennis, when I bike, when I run, and when I swim. On days when I’m feeling a little less in sync, I wear it (and the transmitter strap) to work. You can’t be too careful with your heart.
The Polar became a lot more than just an exercise necessity in 2010, when I was diagnosed with A-Fib (Atrial Fibrillation), an irregular, arrhythmic heart beat. To solve that cardiac issue, I under went a cardioversion and everything returned to normal. But I became even more devoted to my Polar than ever before because now, I had to monitor more carefully. I wore it when I worked out with my tennis coach, wore it when I did the 5K portion of the Rodeo Run. And I used it like a tool–not just to see what my heart beat was but to be certain that I kept my heartbeat within a certain range because one of the new restrictions that I live with because of my A-Fib is a cap on my maximum heart rate. It’s 20% less than it would be for someone who doesn’t have A-Fib, because of the meds I take. It’s all science and I love it.
I use the Polar S710 along with two running programs on my iPhone, 5K Runner (designed to get you from sitting on the coach to running a 5K race in 90 days via interval training) and Nike’s Running program, which combines the transmitter in my Nike running shoes with the GPS unit in the iPhone to track the course and pace of every race or job.
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So..I’m a Polar fan. I believe in the product and use it. It’s the ultimate tool for training. But…perhaps the one thing I like the best about my Polar heart rate monitor is the fact that it can be fixed. Batteries go out. Straps break. Electrodes wear down. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I know where to turn: Polar’s Service Center in Dallas.
Polar can fix it and they’re so good at it that it’s like owning a Lexus–one of the reasons you know you can count on the product is that you know you can count on the service. With a Polar, there is no reason to buy one this year and replace it with another model next year because no one can fix it or update it or repair it. No….if it needs a new battery or whatever, just pack it up, send it U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail and before you know it, it’s returned to your life, perfect, again, and ready for use.
A week or so ago, I sent my Polar in for new batteries and a check up. This may be the fourth or fifth time I’ve done this in a decade. I got a call from Tim, at the Polar Service Center in Dallas, telling me that he had the unit. He gave me an estimate of the repairs and said that he would get it back to me as soon as possible and that there were a few parts he needed. No problem, I said.  He asked how I used the Polar and and I told him.
Then he said–“Hey, maybe you need one in the meantime”..and I said, no, no problem, I’ll just dial it back.
But….Tim didn’t just didn’t hear what I said, he was listening. He knew I was dealing with a heart issue and he knew the importance I placed on the Polar to keep me safe. And then he did something totally unexpected.
Two days after that conversation, I came home and found a US Postal Service Priority Mail package. Inside it was a Polar watch and a transmitter, and a note. Basically, he took the initiative and sent me an “interim” Polar system until mine was fully repaired. He did it on his own, without any prompting and without any notice. He was just paying attention and he saw something he could solve and did it.
We live in a world in which far too much of our equipment, gear, and electronics is good only for the moment and when it goes down, it goes out the door; it doesn’t get repaired, it gets replaced. This is, of course, wasteful in terms of funds and energy, but also in terms of commitment and knowledge: when you get something new, even it does essentially the same job as the unit it replaced, there’s still a learning curve to master(again) in term of use. I like the idea of learning to use something one time (and well) and then not having to learn something similar again.. The Polar philosophy of making it right the first time and then keeping it going by providing solid, reliable service works for me and provides a real value to their customers. By going above and beyond what is expected, they blew me away. Not many folks care that much about providing the ultimate in service today (i.e. good enough is good enough) and it’s refreshing to find someone who does.
To Tim and the guys at Polar’s Dallas Service Center, thank you and well done. You guys get it. Thanks again.
The Fine Print: Photo of Polar S710 courtesy of Polar. 

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