The other night, a couple of us were reflecting on our last long run. 20 miles! We started out in a large group like we always do and within a mile or two, we ease into our comfortable pace and end up with our sub-groups. This is where you end up once you find your comfort zone and ease into your run.
So, in my sub group there were 5, including me. We have now been friends for a couple of years and are super comfortable with one another. We talk about everything from books to running stuff to personal issues and so on. There’s rarely a lull in our conversation.
We were doing great, taking the run pretty easy and just enjoying each other’s company. Around mile 14, i think our conversation was still going strong but we were also starting to feel a little bit of fatigue….AND we had just turned in the opposite direction of our “finish” so that was tough. By mile 16 or so, we were on Linden which is just a boring, wide open, mentally exhausting, and physically demanding road. Our conversation started to die down a good bit. Every now and then someone would strike up the conversation again but for the most part, we were starting to run in some silence. By mile 18 or so, there was little talking and more often the occasional curse word! S#@T!!! F#@K!!
To be perfectly honest, that was about all we could muster at one point or another. Occasionally someone would just yell out a word (or even worse, just mutter it under his / her breath 🙂 ) and we would just kind of giggle. Well, not that we were thinking about the research i discovered a few years ago, BUT we were definitely putting it to the test.
“Research,” you ask. Yes, according to NeuroReport (journal), research shows that swearing can be good for you when enduring pain. A subject group submerged in icy water withstood the deep freeze for 30 % longer and felt roughly 50% less pain when cursing than those who said neutral words! What!? I happen to think this is awesome.
There’s more to it than “it just reduces pain.” Tiffany Sharples writes the following in her article, Bleep! My Finger! Why Swearing Helps Ease Pain : “…humans are hardwired to swear cathartically, says Steven Pinker, a Harvard psychologist and author of The Stuff of Thought, an exploration of the psychology of language. Pinker distinguishes cathartic cursing from using profanity descriptively, idiomatically, abusively or for emphasis, and points to similar behavior in animals that suggests its evolutionary roots. If you step on a dog or cat’s tail, it will let out a sharp yelp of pain, for example. “Swearing probably comes from a very primitive reflex that evolved in animals,” Pinker says. “In humans, our vocal tract has been hijacked by our language skills,” so instead of barking out a random sound, “we articulate our yelp with a word colored with negative emotion.” The part of the brain that accounts for the urge to swear — or yelp, in the case of animals — is deep within, suggesting its primitiveness. Studies of non-human primates show that vocalization is nearly always attributed to subcortical processes in the brain, in those regions that control primal, raw emotions, says Diana Van Lancker Sidtis, a professor of speech language pathology and audiology at New York University. In humans too, the urge to swear likely stems from primitive parts, but it is usually overridden by commands from the brain’s more complex cortex — the abundant gray matter on which humans rely for language and reason, among other sophisticated abilities. “We have intact frontal lobes, which inhibit these responses,” Sidtis explains. But in certain circumstances — either because we don’t bother to inhibit them or because the shock of pain or discomfort momentarily surpasses the safeguards — our impulse for obscenity takes over. “In that way, it’s like the dog when you step on his tail,” Sidtis says.”
Believe it works or not? I think it makes pretty good sense and, personally, i welcome any help i might get on these long runs 🙂