Wow! A one week review of the PEP Shevlin+

Last week my Pettet Endurance Project Shevlin+ wool running shirt arrived in the mail!  It was exciting to see the package, but I was even more impressed when I opened to the packaging inside the mailing envelope:

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I loved the gift wrap and it was very cool to have a personal note from one of the PEP representatives.  Even before seeing the shirt I was so impressed with PEP and their vision.  They are committed to using a renewable resource (merino wool) in order to enhance the running experience.  They have a plan to keep their prices low ($60 for a 97% high quality shirt is a bargain and a half!), produce in the USA, and contribute back to the environment.

The shirt itself is better than advertised.  I am glad that I went with the Shevlin+ rather than the basic Shevlin.  The + has heavier fabric which will provide more warmth in the coming months (“Winter is coming”).  Plus I just like the feel of a heavier shirt.  The fit is perfect being snug across my chest and a bit loose towards my waist.  When I first put the shirt on I was a bit surprised how low the neck went and was puzzled that the thumb holes seemed tough to get into.  Oops! I had the shirt on backwards.  Turns out that the small PEP logo is on you back.  Once I put the shirt on correctly, it was a perfect fit. Most importantly, I have found the ITCHYNESS factor to be almost zero.  I noticed a bit of itch during my first run when some heat started radiating from my torso, but it was gone within moments.  This amazes me with a shirt that is 95% Merino Wool. So far I have worn the Shevlin+ for runs in temps from 27 degrees (this morningd!) to the the mid 40s.  For all of the runs I have had my Saucony windbreaker on top (the reason to follow).  Cold has been a non factor and at the same time I have not been close to overheating.  The shirt has been very comfortable and it will probably all but displace my Nike DriFit Wool shirt (I like it but have some issues with the neck area) for cold weather running.

I am looking forward to trying a run without a top layer above my Shevlin+, but the black color option was not a good choice because I currently only have black running tights.  Without a top layer this is the effect:

I don’t want people to think they’re watching a public performance of modern dance during my runs, so it looks like a purchase of non-black bottoms is in order at some point.

I will provide some more insights on the Shevlin+ as I accumulate more miles in it. Will review my Nike DriFit soon as well.

See you on the road!

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Katie had a better comparison of my all black attire:

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The TOMTOM Runner

My purchase of the TOMTOM runner came out of necessity.  Back in August, Katie surprised me with a gift of a Polar M400 for hitting the 1,000 mile mark for this year.  My first experience with a GPS watch was fantastic.  I had been relying on Runkeeper from my Iphone to give distance and pace updates.  This was great especially since I was still in headphones mode for all of my runs.  Additionally, I liked having runs instantly tracked on Runkeeper.  However, as I transitioned deeper into marathon preparation, I discovered the joy of running without headphones which made a GPS watch essential to feed my craving for stats.

The M400 worked great.  I found that it was right on with distance and it had cool features like split times.  I liked the M400 app, but it was frustrating to manually upload from the Polar app to Runkeeper. I have invested so many miles in Runkeeper that it is difficult for me to make a switch to another tracking app.  Problems came a couple weeks before the Maine Marathon when my M400 stopped charging.  I suspect the charging port became corroded due to sweat and moisture leaking into it.  Whatever the cause, there was not enough time to deal with warranty stuff and there was no way I was running the marathon without knowing my pace.

Katie and I headed out to Best Buy for another Polar.  While there, the Applewatch caught my eye…

Despite the $350 price tag, this seemed to be the perfect fit.  Linked directly to my iphone and Runkeeper.  Plus it is a cool piece of technology bling to flash around town. Unfortunately, my Apple Watch experience was a disappointment.  I did not like having to have my phone with me for runs in order for the GPS to work and on a couple of trial runs the watch kept pausing mid-run.  Maybe I should’ve given it more time, but for $350 I wanted my run tracking to be accurate and easy to use.  Apple watch has many other cool features, but run tracking is my main purpose and that had to be perfect.

So we loaded back into the VW Microbus(Thanksgiving is on my mind) our Honda and headed back to Best Buy.  I checked out the Fitbit Surge and a couple of other brands (I’m forgetting now), but in the end, my $100 was spent on this:

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The TOMTOM Runner is the lowest model of TOMTOM’s GPS watches.  The other models have bells and whistles like a heart rate monitors and swim tracking ability.  The Runner model has turned out to be a perfect fit.  Its charge lasts long,  the GPS has been very accurate,  it shows splits, and is very it also has many ways to customize its display for my use.  Best of all, TOMTOM automatically uploads to Runkeeper.  I aslo like that the charging port seems like it will hold up better to moisture than the M400.  It’s still less than a month, but time will tell.

The TOMTOM is a great entry level GPS watch.  It’s easy to figure out and has simple inputs for runners just looking for basic stats.  I suppose at some point I may just run for pure enjoyment and not care about the stats graduate to a more advanced watch, but for now the TOMTOM Runner works well for me.