in phiten we trust or explaining how i missed my goal at the 2011 bull run

chip time was 1:41:55 -- fair enough

i missed my goal at last sunday's bull run by a shade under 2 minutes. and yet i remain unbowed. although i did well from the ringing of the bell (in lieu of a gun start), going up into a dark kalayaan flyover, scooping down to gil puyat avenue to give irate motorists the dirty finger, and up until i was heading back to BGC, i was slowed down by a familiar sensation as i passed the construction of the mind museum, the same that bothered me during the nature valley run last year: gas.

the inconvenient route

the PSE bull run 2011 is my first road race for the year, and rather ambitiously, it had to be 16 kilometers. it is my first time to run at this distance since i've done a 15k, a few half marathons, a 25k, and a slew of 10k's. it is by far the least costly race that i've joined since the adidas king of the road in 2008, when running rather oddly turned into a social phenomenon where people were meant to see and be seen. which explains why my participation in races since then has been few and far between: i despise trends, and deride the idea that race organizers are milking us dry.

friends to run away with

my preparations for this 16k have been insufficient, to say the least. although i'm constantly outside, racking up some kilometers, it just isn't enough. it's difficult to hit the pavement on your lonesome, because although the northerly siberian winds have made evenings in manila perfect running weather lately, there just isn't enough motivation to run longer than my usual 7 or 8 k's. like i've said before, the longest i've done it alone is just over 10k. although my kilometrage for 2010 seems impressive, it pales in comparison to those who have been so obsessed with either fitness or the fad that they've dedicated many hours at improving their individual time.

my 2010 numbers

wanting to beat a personal record has always been on my list of to-do's, but the lack of science in my training has hampered even my humble goals. a structured program really is the key to developing speed, stamina, and endurance. but rather than following the rigid requirements of science, i must confess that i have not necessarily been above embracing the ideas of the esoteric. like most people who are not able to grasp at anything more concrete to explain whatever confounds them, i too have turned to superstition. whether or not there is any scientific truth to its claims, i've made it a point to wear my phiten necklace whenever i'm doing something physical, like running or when i'm scaling mountains.

phiten believers

i began wearing phiten late in 2008, following the glowing claims of my fellow weekend athletes who swear that it has improved their performance, if not by leaps and bounds, then by the tiniest of fractions. i've heard testimonials about increased energy, better sleep, reduced fatigue. the stories are in rather abstract terms, so it is easy to believe, and difficult to disprove. there are even "tests" to demonstrate that contact with the phiten automatically results in something short of remarkable. i've witnessed them myself, and have found cogent arguments to prove that there might be something to it. pretty soon, it has become an accessory among many of my friends, some of whom hardly ever take them off, believing perhaps that the necklace, rather than proper diet, training, and dedication, have had some empirical effect on some other person's sudden virility and renewed vigor. i even purchased a pair for my parents.

even elite triathlete arland macasieb wears it

truth be told, i've never really noticed a remarkable difference in my output these last two years that i've been using phiten. i have not placed my faith entirely in it: i did not think it would make me stronger, faster, or less prone to injury. but i've been wearing it nonetheless, for whatever it is worth (and it is worth quite a lot, to be frank). i consider it akin to a good luck charm: we know it won't do us any tangible good, but we wear it anyway, to an interview, on the tennis court, on a date, in an important game. there's just very little to hold on to when reading literature explaining how phiten, and products like it, contribute to its wearer's performance. take, for example, this bit from its website:

The natural state of the body can be disrupted by everyday factors such as electrical equipment, cellular phones, stress, fatigue and injury. Phiten’s titanium combats the negative effects of instability to restore the body back to its normal sate of relaxation. This is the technology that supports more comfortable daily life.

it really reads like something someone from asgard might say. there is mention of science, in fact, in explaining the process:
All Phiten products incorporate a novel form of technology that involves metals broken down into microscopic particles dispersed in water. This process underlines the technologies of a variety of unique materials we possess. By utilizing the property of each material to a maximum extent, we are able to realize customers’ potentials in a variety of extents that leads to restore normal relaxation status of customers. This is the technology that supports more comfortable daily life.

will smacking the necklace make me a better kisser?

it still is very much up there, so you can't pin them down for not helping you beat your personal record. the lack of precision in its supposed effects is even less palpable than statements that food supplements have "no approved therapeutic claims". nonetheless, phiten suggests some form of technology woven into its product, unlike power balance, which australian authorities recently squeezed into making a bold statement that its bands "had no scientific effect". to be honest, there were no such delusions to begin with. power balance really was selling magical placebos:
Power Balance is based on the idea of optimizing the body’s natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many Eastern philosophies. The hologram in Power Balance is designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body.

i can see the future in this hologram

so whether we believe that an object can bring us luck, energy, balance, or (yes, i'm going there) salvation, what's really more important is that we do not rely on factors external to ourselves to succeed, and in this case, to achieve personal goals. our bodies are our greatest instruments. we must hone it, so that it does not dull, take care of it, so it does not quickly wear. having said that, i'm hitting the pavement as soon as my thighs feel less like barrels of lead.
A 6:11 pace for the middle distances is not too shabby. About the Phiten -- pack light s..... haha
it still isn't good enough if i ever hope to finish a 2 hour half marathon, haha. let's see if i improve my time in the greentennial run. i'm glad they're doing all these middle distance runs under 21k. :D