While I mostly wore running staples I’ve had for years during the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run, I did test some gear throughout the six-day trek. Check out how the stuff worked for me:
Gore Running Wear X-Running Light AS Jacket (MSRP $160)
We interviewed Gore Running Wear back in April about this jacket, and were excited to try it out during the TransRockies Run. When we first saw this lightweight (just over 3-ounce) jacket we thought likely couldn’t keep us protected from much. Turns out the product, made with WindStopper Active, does what it’s designed to — blocks wind and keeps you moving. Plus, it packs into its own inner pocket and easily can be stowed in the smallest hydration packs or belts.
We all got this jacket and it came in handy on every stage, especially during Stage 2 when we reached the top of Hope Pass and it was very cold and windy. It features reflective details on the bottom of the torso and along the arms, which will make it useful during my upcoming winter runs.
My only thing with this jacket was it seemed kind of short in the torso, even though the arm lengths were perfect. I like my running jackets to fit a bit longer, especially in the back.
Merrell Ellsworth Tank (MSRP $55)
I wore this lightweight tank bra tank top combination on Stage 2, which was a really hard day of climbing up and down Hope Pass. This athletic top is quite stylish with foldover halter straps and feminine touches, such as the V-neck design. Plus, it’s comfortable as it’s not binding in the stomach area. It wicks moisture effectively, which came in handy with the fickle Colorado weather. The bra inside doesn’t look like it can offer much support, but I was pleasantly surprised during a particularly bouncy downhill on Stage 2. Though I felt physically horrible during this run, I got through knowing I looked great. The one downfall of this tank is it seems to hold onto sweat stench pretty tightly even after a wash. Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t able to wash it until Monday afternoon, when I had run in it the previous Wednesday.
SkirtSports Gym Girl Ultra Skirt (MSRP $65)
I liked this skirt every time I ran in it. It’s stylish, practical and has a ton of cool features, such as two pockets on the inner compression shorts one for your iPod and another for your iPhone (which served as my camera on the trek). Plus, the handy headphone cord escape hole on the back of the skirt, at the top right, makes it so your headphones don’t annoy you by bouncing all over.
The only downfall is the skirt, though a size small, seemed a bit big, leading me to believe that the company’s sizes run a large since I'm a solid medium in all other bottoms. Also, if you have an iPhone in one of the pockets and an iPod in the other, it makes the compression shorts sag a little on the outside of your thighs after more than a few hours out there. This wasn’t a problem in the shorter runs during training, however, but it was a problem during the Stage 5 run, which took me more than six hours.
SmartWool PhD Running Shorts (MSRP $75) & PhD Running Skort (MSRP $80)
One of my biggest problems when it comes to my running apparel is getting out the sweat odors, so when I heard SmartWool was bringing its signature antimicrobial merino wool to running apparel, I was stoked. I trained in the PhD run shirt, Running Shorts and Running Skort and was pleasantly surprised that the merino wool blend pieces (which are woven such that the merino wool is closest to skin) don’t hold onto stench.
Though I didn’t run in the run shirt, I did run in both the shorts and the skort. Both pieces fit similarly, except the short has brief liners while the skort has boy short liners. One great thing about both pieces is the merino wool liner comes up above the elastic waistband so there’s never any itchy elastic touching your skin, which prevents chafing. One bad thing about the bottoms is the sizes seem to run a bit small, so if you have customers who are a medium, recommend they try both a medium and a large in these products. Plus, I’d recommend to SmartWool that the boy shorts on the skort be a bit longer.
Brooks Women’s Utopia Thermal Pant (MSRP $85)
I tested these tights all through the Colorado winter, and I absolutely must pack them every time I know I’m going somewhere cold. They are surprisingly warm, yet by some thermal magic, my legs never feel overheated when I run in them. During winter runs in sometimes ankle-deep snow, the pants kept my ankles and calves protected from the cold. Plus, the reflective lining along the calves make you confident that cars will see you during your runs in the dark.
Due to my high level of clumsiness, I’ve been able to test the abrasion resistance of these pants. A few winter falls and a fall in them during Stage 3 of the TransRockies Run proved that there are not easily destroyed. I have yet to tear them and the only damage sustained is the “s” on the reflective lettering spelling out “Brooks” on the leg is coming off. The morning of Stage 3 was extremely cold and the pants kept me warm, but were still comfortable even as the day got hotter.
The only downfall to these pants is the zippers on the back of the legs come undone easily and if you’re not wearing long socks they can irritate that part of your skin.