Flossy runs with numb toes…

And numb fingers…

Sometimes I think of my running as an act of defiance against whatever weather conditions happen to be happening that day, against the nasty girls who used to laugh at my efforts in athletics in school, my natural propensity for sitting around eating chocolate and doing lazy things, but mostly, at the minute against my Raynaud’s that is just the current status quo. I was trying to figure out how long each attack lasts but it seems to be various stages of numbness or pain throughout the day.

Rayanud’s affects the capillaries in your outer extremities – fingers, toes, nose, ears, lips, tongue etc. It has been described as a hypersensitivity to cold which causes the blood vessels to ‘clamp down’. This is actually a normal and defensive act in cold conditions. It’s just my and fellow frosties’ fingers do it in style. The result is white, numb fingers that burn, itch and sting when the blood starts to flow again.

20140123-183110.jpg fingers beginning to return to life. Note the bright red appearance of the lower part of my fingers. Ouch!

In an attempt to outwit my disease I tend to go running with various layers of gloves and mittens. I start of with a thin wind breaker type glove. Such as these ones.

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Over that a normal pair of gloves. Hey presto, some magic gloves.

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And the sleeve of my running top pulled down over everything. Ideally I would like a pair of water proof mittens. The layering helps trap air and add more layers of insulation between my hands and the cold air. They are still affected but not as badly as they might be. I also have to spend a lot of time moisturising as the skin on my hands is becoming very dry to the point of splitting and cracking. Very attractive!

I have to watch I don’t chill down too quickly after a run. Once that happens I will stay cold for the rest of the day. I can guzzle down bowls of soup, drink hot drinks, wrap myself up in blankets even have a long soak in a hot bath but once that chill has set in, it’s there for the day! I’ve seen me sitting in a piping hot bath with my teeth chattering finding it impossible to warm up! I think ‘coulrife’ is the word!

I now need to start thinking about my feet as they appear to be becoming affected by the disease. Not so easy when you don’t want lots of awkward seams and layers rubbing, gathering water and holding it next to your skin. The fortunate thing is my feet don’t stay numb the whole time I am running and I don’t think my feet are anywhere near as bad as my hands…yet.

I have it on good authority that exercise is extremely good for Raynaud’s disease so I have no intention of stopping! Apart from the benefits for physical health, I find running both relaxing and exhilarating. I love the challenge of going that little bit further each time I go out or trying to pick up speed and maintain it.

Any other fellow frosties out there ready to impart their wisdom? How do you protect your feet from the cold? Any natural supplements I can take safely? I’ve tried Nifedipene – gave me head rushes – and I can’t take Beta Blockers because of asthma. (I’m really quite hardy no matter what this post might be leading you to believe!)

Happy running and what has been your highlight of the week or your recent running exploits?

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