When I first started running outdoors, conditions had to be my “ideal”. That meant 60s and clear, no wind. I quickly learned that if you want to run outside in Rochester, you need to be able to adapt to the elements. Since then, I have run in all sorts of conditions, ranging from extreme humidity to drenching rain, frigid cold and 40 mph+ winds. The hardest weather for me to run in is the damp and cold. I have what is known as Raynaud’s phenomenon. This is a “disorder of small blood vessels that respond excessively to stimuli which causes poor blood flow, usually in the fingers.” Basically, I get “attacks” which are excruciating events where my fingers lose circulation and turn white. They are VERY painful.
People think I am wimpy when I explain why running in the cold is so hard for me, but if they experienced these attacks, they would feel differently. I get more of these attacks in the Winter, but I also deal with them in the Summer. Stress can be a trigger as well, and since I am a nervous/anxious type, this makes my attacks more common. There is no cure for Raynauds, although I have heard of some people who no longer have the condition when they get older. I am hoping that is the case, although my symptoms seem to be increasing with age.
I have had a Raynauds attack during a race and it was awful. I have also had Raynauds attacks before and after races, most recently after the Wineglass Half Marathon. After running over 2 hours in steady rain with temperatures in the 30s, I knew that an attack was inevitable. Even non Raynauds sufferers had issues with their hands after that race. I literally could not pick things up, my hands were a purplish/white and throbbing. The conditions (see sign below) were the perfect breeding ground.
In my research, I have found that many runners have Raynauds. You need to be very mindful of running conditions and attire when you have this chronic condition. Preventing attacks is key.