Yep, I did it! Two days in a row of getting out to ride. Felt good! Felt like I could have kept going. When the immediate pressure is off at the day-job, I just might take a day off to go on an extended ride.
Just over a month ago I finally obtained a proper "smart watch," a Samsung Galaxy Active 2. I've wanted one for sometime and finally met a deal good enough to sway me. The neat thing about the watch is that it has a Strava app, so I don't need to drag my phone around with me on these rides (of course, I have a holster for it, but I don't need it). The nicer thing is that it seems to do a decent job of monitoring my heart rate during the ride. The results have been telling, if not all that surprising: I can continue, and should continue, to push myself harder.
I'm giving some serious thought to purchasing a cadence sensor, too. I'm only racing myself, but I do want to know that I'm pushing myself in the right areas.