Why do you get nervous before a big event? What is it that makes you feel so queazy that you need to do a number 2? My friend ‘that running girl’ Sophie and I were discussing how many nervous shits we were going to take before our race this Sunday. It’s the Christchurch half marathon, which will also be the New Zealand Championships.
Just talking about the race was making me nervous. To the point where I would fart each time the word Christchurch was even mentioned. Lord give me strength in unmentionable places on race day.
Nervous 1. Easily agitated or alarmed.”a sensitive, nervous person”.
Synonyms: Highly strung, easily frightened, easily agitated, anxious, edgy, tense, excitable, jumpy, skittish, brittle, neurotic, hysterical.
Nervous poo sounds better than skittish poo, jumpy poo or neurotic poo. Tense poo? I’ve had a few of those.
Apparently the nervous poo is a natural animal instinct (fight or flight). It comes from the fact that your body is making it’s primary task conserving energy so that you can flee and defend yourself against predators, like lions, or the sassy WHAC girls. This includes releasing bowel muscles and losing control.
“The overall effect of these changes is to sharpen all your senses and enable you to perform optimally in a life threatening situation. All your blood is diverted to your muscles, while non essential systems are shut down. The faster, deeper breathing brings more oxygen into the blood and this helps the muscles to work faster. OPENING OF THE BLADDER AND BOWELS REDUCES THE NEED FOR OTHER INTERNAL ACTIVITY, lessens your weight if you flee and may put off attackers. In case of flight, you’ll run faster, see better, hear more acutely.” (source)
So in short, we do a nervous poo because shit is about to go down. When the racing flats have been laced up, the ponytail has been tightened and you’ve made pancakes in the porta loos it’s race time!
I don’t think it’s purely scientific reasons that tell us to take a tense turd. I think the nervous poo comes from giving a shit about something, it’s a good thing. It means you are anticipating something, you’re excited, and that something means a great deal to you. Going in to an event that you have trained your ass off for you have expectations, you expect that the training has paid off.
I told myself long ago that I would never shit myself during a race. UNLESS I was winning it. I know I won’t win this one, so that story might have to wait. The bonus of needing to shit during a race is that the poo is also a racing poo, flight mode makes you poo at top speed so you’ll only lose a minute tops taking a dump mid-run.
Now that I know why I feel the need to take a nervous poo before a big event, I feel pretty happy. Happy that my body knows that shit is about to go down, we gotta lose that Hells Pizza we ate on Friday night so we can get that half marathon PB! If you hear me saying thank you and patting my behind in the portaloo tomorrow this is why.
Originally published here. (As a side note- pretty tricky designing a header image for this one.. but I did it :D- Paul ).