I said, “Brr, it’s cold in here!”

Ordinary hexagonal dendrite snowflake, highly ...

Ordinary hexagonal dendrite snowflake, highly magnified. Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s go from talking about shorts and warm weather to talking about the post-run deep freeze phenomenon! The weather’s been all over the place lately, so I feel like my blog topics might as well be, too. There’s something zen in there, right? Being in harmony with nature?

A couple weeks ago, putting on shorts triggered all kinds of unhappy body image demons for me; yesterday, they let me off the hook as far as emotional pain is concerned, and I wish I could say the same for physical pain. To be fair, I can’t put all the blame on my shorts, especially since I’m the one who forgot to put on Body Glide before heading out for a long run. My inner left thigh is still a very, very angry red color and the pain is not something I will soon forget. As you can imagine, I was incredibly relieved to be able to wear a pair of capris on my run this morning. Was I totally pain free? No. Did I at least feel better than I did at the end of my run yesterday? Yes.

Unfortunately, wearing capris on a run is, in my case, a sign that the temperature has dropped (usually into the 40s although I do sometimes wear them when it’s in the 50s. Capris are my favorite), and when the temperature outside drops, the temperature in my body seems to go with it. Whenever it’s on the cool side, I have to be extra careful about how long I spend exposed to the elements once I’ve stopped running. Not long after I finish running, my lips begin to turn a rather disturbing shade (unless you enjoy looking like a corpse), my skin gets covered in goosebumps, and my body starts shivering convulsively. I’ve gotten used to it at this point, but as I sit here describing it, I realize it sounds a little bit scary. On days when it’s cold, my post-run routine includes taking a hot shower and piling on layers of warm, dry clothing. If I can, I’ll get under a few blankets. Sometimes I’ll drink some tea as well. It can take a couple hours for the chills to go away.

Is this normal?

Honestly, I have no idea. Judging by the fact that I was approached by a race volunteer after my first marathon and told I should probably get medical attention because I looked hypothermic, I sort of think it might not be. But apparently it’s not that far from normal, so that’s comforting, right? The Internet is surprisingly deficient when it comes to the relationship between exercise and body temperature; however, I was able to find an article (albeit a short one) that offers an explanation as to what causes the body temperature drop:

After you stop exercising, the rate at which your body produces heat decreases, while the mechanisms you use to dissipate heat remain in operation until your core temperature returns to its normal level. Your core temperature doesn’t drop below normal levels, however, unless another health condition is involved. Normal resting core temperatures can range from 97.7 to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. It may take a little time before elevated temperature during exercise returns to normal.

I’m not doctor, but this seems plausible. On the other hand, I want to believe that a drop in body temperature is 100% normal and absolutely nothing to worry about–I mean, who wants to find out that there’s something wrong with them? Not me, anyway. Is it possible that since I’m normally pretty cold (it’s not unusual for my hands and feet to feel cold as ice, even in the summer) I’m just more susceptible to chills after a run?

Oddly enough once it gets warm out, I feel like I never stop sweating during and after a run. It’s entirely possible that my body just likes living on the edge, and I’ll always be a woman of extremes. It would be nice if those extremes didn’t involve either chattering teeth or dripping sweat, though.

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  1. I am right there with you on the cold thing. When it is below 40′ outside, I am generally fine on the run, but once I get back, I am FREEZING! I usually head straight for the shower….a long one. Then I blow-dry myself…

    1. It never occurred to me to blow-dry myself! I’ll have to try that one sometime. Also, good to hear that I’m not the only one who deals with this…

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