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Earth’s Natural Rhythms
The Earth is dominated by natural rhythms – the tides, the seasons, day and night. As runners, who are outside almost daily in every season, from early mornings before work or evenings after work, our lives are guided by the rising and setting of the sun. Natural daily rhythms and the moon, the changes in temperature from day to night and from season to season, the tidal ebb and flow, and by our own internal rhythm. These rhythms guide our daily activity.
This morning, I’m up early before the sunrise. As I head out the door, the temperature is in the mid-30’s, there are no clouds in the sky and the eastern sky is glowing red. I recall that there is a wildfire just north of Boulder that is probably sending smoke to the east, which probably explains the glowing red sky. I decide to take a couple of merino wool layers to keep me warm and dry during my training run. The morning is absolutely beautiful, it’s going to be a skyblue day!
Springtime is probably my favorite season to train, but the shoulder season between spring and summer can be temperamental. Downpours one day. Sunburns the next. After a long, cold winter of morning training runs in the dark before work, the spring brings sunlight to those sessions. I really look forward to sunlight after 5 pm, which seem to have an impact on my mental health. I’m always looking forward to the days when I can put away my tights and enjoy the feeling of a warm breeze on my legs again.
With early season road running races on my calendar for April, May and June, this is my time to ramp up my training after a long, cold winter. I’ve already run my first New York City Half Marathon in a couple of years, in late March. I’m now looking forward to my all time favorite race, the Brooklyn Half Marathon in May, which always finishes on the boardwalk at Coney Island. With a couple of fall marathons on my schedule, both in London and New York, its time to add mileage every week and enjoy the feeling of going longer on my ever tired legs.
Today, I decided to head out to the Community Ditch Trail, just south of Boulder, Colorado. Community Ditch Trail is a 3.5 mile moderately trafficked trail with panoramic views of the famous flatirons. There is an underpass for Community Ditch Trail at Highway 93. The trail connects to trails in both the Doudy Draw area west of 93, and the Marshall Mesa and Greenbelt Plateau areas east of 93. It’s a pretty flat trail, which makes it great for my long runs.
This spring, I’ve been wearing merino wool shirts and hoodies, which I believe are the best performance apparel for every season. Showers Pass, the Portland, Oregon-based apparel brand specializing in waterproof and breathable active rain gear have broadened their line to include performance apparel. Showers Pass asked me to put their new merino wool shirts and hoodies to the test during my spring training runs. The following is my review of how these merino wool shirts and hoodies performed.
Merino Wool – A Natural Fiber That Thermoregulates
Why is merino wool best for performance apparel? It’s a natural fiber that thermoregulates – meaning its naturally designed to keep you warm in even the lowest of temperatures but will react to increasing body temps. Merino is moisture wicking by being naturally breathable and will release any sweat as vapor keeping you dry on any adventure. Natural sweat wicking material guarantees no odors – even after a long day on the mountain, your merino wool shirt won’t smell. Furthermore, merino wool is the softest sheep’s wool you can buy and it’s not itchy. Unlike other kinds of notoriously scratchy wool, merino has a short fiber length and a thinner diameter that makes it smooth and comfortable.
Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt Long Sleeve
Today, temperatures started in the mid-30’s and got up to the 50’s by the end of my training run. The Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt provided the perfect blend of warmth and breathability over an hour of running.
Showers Pass’ unique fabric blend features superfine Merino wool fibers ringspun around a nylon core, combining all the natural benefits of wool with the softness, durability, and stretch of synthetics. By design, these shirts have a supple feel, exceptional durability and optimal stretch. A sweat-wicking and light shirt that can stretch when needed.
The 18.5-micron merino ring spun around a nylon core isn’t itchy at all, and I went three wears without washing it — and no stink. The Tech T-Shirt comes in three colors, fatigue green, alpine blue and dark shadow.
Washing was easy, though I opted to hang dry. The care instructions state you can place this top in the dryer here and there if you’re short on time, so it’s not a super fussy wool product.
- Merino Wool blend fabric provides antimicrobial protection from odors, natural breathability and stretch for comfort during high intensity activities
- Raglan sleeves are flatlock stitched for durability and comfort
- Flatlock stitching on side panels with no traditional side seams reduce chafe points
- Fabric offers natural antimicrobial protection from odors with core-spun 87% Merino Wool 13% Nylon blend
- Relaxed fit with longer back length for on the bike coverage
- Reflective label on back
- Quick drying
- UPF 40 protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays
- 150 gsm summer weight fabric
Body-Mapped Long Sleeve Baselayer
This trim fitting baselayer is made with a custom blend of fibers: Merino Wool, Modal, Coolmax, Nylon and Spandex for high performance and soft touch.
Insulate for cool weather with this trim fitting lightweight short sleeve baselayer. This custom blend fabric utilizes Merino Wool, Modal, Coolmax, Nylon and Spandex for high performance and soft touch. 4-Way stretch fabric moves with your body with less chafing due to seamless body construction.
- Custom blend fabric made with Merino Wool, Modal, Spandex & Nylon
- Body-mapped with open knit pattern designed to vent excess body heat from your sweatiest areas
- Seamless torso construction for maximum comfort
- Longer sleeves with thumb loops
- Articulated elbows
- Extra wide comfort hem
- Long torso length for coverage on the bike
- Raglan sleeves for freedom of movement
- 47% Nylon, 35% Modal, 10% Wool, 8% Spandex
Showers Pass Basecamp Merino Hoodie
After my run, I put on Showers Pass’ Basecamp merino hoodie. To me, its a mid-weight hoodie that is designed for relaxation and warmth. It’s great for layering or recovery wear. The 95% Merino wool fabric is incredibly soft. Durable and washable, the wool and polyamide blend washes easily and maintains its form (no new-sized surprises out of the dryer). Breathable, lightweight, and warm, this hoodie will be my all-season versatile staple for many years to come.
- All-season 230 gsm midweight fabric
- Convenient zippered Kangaroo pocket
- UPF 40 sun protection
- Merino wool naturally resists odor, wicks moisture
- Titanium gray accent stitching
- Reflective label at hem.
After putting Showers Pass’ shirts and hoodies to the test, I’ve learned that merino wool is a natural, very soft fiber that stays warm even when drenched with sweat while resisting odor, even without washing for a couple of wears.