Original Post, 6/16/09:
Not too long ago, Tea Time reviewed a sports bracelet that claims to improve balance and such. It is supposedly worn by many baseball players and some runners, including Kara Goucher, who I had just seen finish third in the Boston Marathon on some NBC rerun last week and is now my latest athlete idol (yes, I have athlete idols, mostly runners/sprinters).
I had also been at that same expo she bought it at and was very skeptical when they performed a balance test both before and after wearing the band. I decided to go do more research before trying it out. My findings were that very few people actually made negative comments (off of many different neutral sources); most were glaringly positive, and a few went something like, "Well, it can't hurt, and even if it's a placebo effect, it's an effect nonetheless."
Tea Time had come home wearing one of these Phiten necklaces this past weekend. Phiten is a company that makes bracelets/necklaces with a similar concept, and I didn't have to go to an expo. Instead, I ran (literally) over to Dick's Sporting Goods and invested in two of these. I use the word invested because I am not sure if it will work, and it cost a substantial amount of money. For the benefit of my blog readership, I will reveal that this model (which is supposedly 30-times stronger than the regular ones) was $34.99, the cheaper ones at around $24.99.
In case you're wondering, no, I am not wearing two of them, but "The Ukrainian" had also been at that expo and seemed open to trying it once his skeptical other got over her incredulity. He's already a good athlete, unlike me, but I have to be fair and spread the wealth, right? This is going to be a surprise for him later today, so hopefully he is not reading this now! At any rate, I owe him for this past weekend when he drove all the way over to pick me up with out-of-the-blue flowers only to go all the way back to his area to make vegan versions of the ghetto pizzas (that link is just an example -- I will post the actual picture later) that I reminisced over the other day.
So far, I've only worn it on the 8.25-mile run home on my Phiten-buying trip. Sadly, it had been a 3.75-mile way there... gotta adore my sense of direction. Oh well. Anyway, I did pretty well handling that type of distance without water or anything, two Phiten packages in my pocket, and a first-time-at-Olive-Garden-induced stomachache. I haven't run more than 7 miles in one go since early last month. I am going to try to keep this on as much as possible so that whatever aqua-titanium technology that is supposedly supposed to improve my performance and keep pains at bay has time to work. But so far, I must say that one of my hip bones is quite the sore one this morning.
I will be sure to update this post as I continue this experiment. I'd be particularly interested to see if it helps during my race next month, because I need all the help I can get.
Update 1: 6/24/09
I've been wearing this for a week now, and all I remember was that I got 3 pimples on my neck, 3 days of an unsettled stomach, and a left hip-bone pain that pretty much makes running impossible. I doubt it's because of the necklace... probably just a coincidence. First of all, better that the pimples are on my neck where I can block it with my hair than on my face, right? Second, I probably set my stomach off due to some Flamin Hot Cheetos that I had for the first time in a long, long while; they used to be my favorite go-to food when sick, but it almost always upsets my stomach. And the pain probably came from the 12-miler I did out of the blue and the more aggressive running I've been doing. Maybe it was due to my inconsistent glucosamine intake, or even non-existant L-glutamine-taking with poor nutrition to boot. Or, injury is just something that happens naturally every so often. So I can't really blame any external forces on my ailments.
When I was running, though, my pace has improved. I'm not sure if this is because I have been consistent in my workouts and rest, all the morning squats I've been doing, or because I feel free to run faster when I am not in that "I must run 10 miles today or I will fall behind in my training!" mentality. I am kind of just running to stay in some sort of shape, not worrying about upcoming races for now. Even if I don't give my body a break (unfortunately I don't think I can do this without becoming a jelly roll), I can at least give myself that much, much needed mental break from not being on a schedule. I have been trying to mind my vitamin regimen and calcium intake, reintroducing oatmeal w/soymilk into my rotation.
I will give the necklace thing a month, so three more weeks to go before I attempt to pawn this off somehow.
Update 2: 7/27/09
So I was able to run a half-marathon on my bum hip, perhaps thanks to this thing, but shouldn't it have helped me when I tried to train? Oh well, I guess I will not pawn this off for now. "The Ukrainian" has been wearing his and ran a 1:39 hilly half-marathon (beating his previous PR by two minutes or so). If nothing else, the matching necklace thing is cute, and when I see it on him, I cruelly (but in the most affectionate way) think, "dog collar."
Update 3: 12/10/09
As much as I wore my Phiten necklace during training (see here and here and even here for examples), I left it in my hotel room the morning of the marathon. I can't believe I did that, but I still managed to run, I guess?
And when I returned from Vegas, there was no sign of it in my bags. The last place I remember seeing it was the bathroom counter, but there was nothing in the bathroom when we left. So here's hoping that it turns up. It was not cheap, and it was actually an accessory and conversation-starter, if nothing else. =( Well, at least now I know that if I suddenly become injured or something, then I need to get another one.
"The Ukrainian" still has his, and he offered it to me. I replied, "No, that's your dog collar." In the most affectionate way, of course. He's been doing really well since wearing it, so I'm not about to take him up on his offer either way.
Update 4: 6/15/10
In spite of Tea Time making fun of my tacking onto old posts, here I go again!
Well, it seems that since I started wearing this thing, I have had many injuries, in spite of what I thought it would do. Thus, I have decided to stop wearing it for the time being.
I bought a new Phiten necklace in February to replace the one I had lost (read above). I wore it from February through May and finally decided to stop. Note that I had no necklace from December-February, and I managed to crank out a half-marathon PR during this timeframe.
"The Ukrainian" still wears his, mostly, though less frequently now. And seeing as how he just ran a 3:20 marathon PR, I'm not going to protest.
I should also mention that within these past months, I have also tried these stickers made by Phiten. Here are the ones shaped like dots, but they have larger patches as well. I got these as samples at an Expo I went to because they saw me wearing the necklace! I did tape them on my injuries... they stick pretty well (days). Not sure if they helped, but I still have some on hand in case I decide to use them for a "spot-treatment!"