LGN 47: The Eleventh Sense & Black Girls vs. White Girls

Inside: Recovery Guide; My extra sensory perception; Black girls and white girls; Family health secrets; TED Talks about genomics; Justin’s idea of running is different than my idea of running

Black Girls vs. White Girls

That’s a misleading title.  Kind of.  There was a study in the news this week titled:

Exercise Not As Beneficial For Black Girls As Whites, Study Says

If you really want a good deconstruction of it, head over to Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss.

The gist is that physical activity leads to weight control and physical fitness for white girls but doesn’t have the same effect for black girls.  Black girls still tend to be overweight or obese by the time they turned 14 even when they’re more physically active in the preceding years.

I would say — having been too lazy to get all the way into it like BGG2WL — that it’s a known fact, in terms of epidemiology, that minorities are prone to being overweight/obese/unhealthy when exposed to and partaking of our now typical western diet.  Foods that are white in color, which indicates industrialized processing/refining and removing healthy parts of the food, wreak havoc on us.

So maybe this implies that what we eat — what young girls eat — is critical for minorities when it comes to avoiding and reducing obesity.  That raises a lot of questions about access, education, culture, etc.

TED Talks, Genomics …

That also brings to mind how many times I’ve heard and read black women say that they’re sick of being talked about.  Publicly talked about, researched, analyzed, etc.  Um, I’m not sure how to say this.  Get used to it.  Embrace it, even.

We live in the Information Age.  Every aspect of our lives is data mined for one reason for another.  Whether it’s for marketing and commercial purposes, or to understand societal trends with regards to health, diet, demographics or both.  We’re all under the microscope.  Let’s use it to our advantage.

Health advocates and scientists aren’t doing all of these medical and social studies to embarrass black women.  “Let’s knock ’em down a peg.”  They’re doing it because it’s important to our health, existence and to society as a whole.  Because people are more aware and in a very clinical way we, as a society, care.

I’ve heard fellow minorities complain that studies are done either only about white people or white people of a certain age or white people with the means to attend college, etc.  Then when studies are done that include black people (that lead to results that point out collective differences or tendencies) or about black people, black people complain that we’re under the microscope and getting undue attention.

Bullpucky!  We live in the Information Age and the Biotechnology Age.  We’re all under the microscope.  Every population and segment of the population that you can imagine.  We’ll be carrying a map of our entire DNA and genetic architecture on a smart card in our wallets in a few years or decades.


I’ve been listening to a lot of TED Talks recently.  I decided that listening to angry, political radio shows and podcasts — right wing, religious, left wing, progressive — is like ingesting daily mental poison.  Everybody is angry and proud of the fact that they’re angry.  Dripping with sarcasm, smugness or whatever.  There’s a lot of information but couched in ideological smugness.  That is not going to take up the bulk of my brain space anymore.  So I decided to listen to TED Talks throughout the day.  I want to be inspired, not stressed.

The point is, technology is speeding along and a lot of it is along the lines of biology and molecular biology.

  • We’re reading brains, mapping brains and mapping genes.
  • Turning polygamous species of rodents to monogamous rodents by flipping a gene.
  • We’ve grown a mouse from a single cell of a donor mouse.  Used four chemicals to revert the cell to a stem cell, kicked it off and boom.  New mouse.
  • We’ve printed — literally printed from like an inkjet printer — mouse organs.
  • Everyone who has made it to the top of Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen has the ACE gene expression.
  • All the Olympic power lifters(?) or something like that have the R-577 gene expression.  (I probably got that wrong, but that’s close.)

This has all happened.  It’s all happening.  One presenter, with regard to technological advances said:

“Sometimes it seems like nothing happens for decades.  Then sometimes decades seem to happen in weeks.”

… and you

The point is, as another presenter pointed out, we’re about to start finding things at the genetic level that are going to be inconvenient, politically incorrect and possibly offensive.

We’re going to start finding specific genes in specific populations like, oh this group possesses the gene expression A1234 that contains more neurons dedicated to spacial comprehension and analysis, thus making them better at mathematics, navigation and increasing their IQ.

I’m making that up, by the way, but I’m sure it’s coming.  I would guess that things that have been and are considered racist are suddenly going to be written about from a biomolecular point of view.  They will be genetic fact, although not genetic or social or behavioral destiny.  People will get angry and indignant.

A gene expression that causes certain populations to be less inhibited, or to be anti-authority, to be more likely to rape, or more likely to vote Republican.  Every LGBT person who voted Republican in the 2012 election has the gene expression G4312.  That kind of thing.

And what does it mean?  What do we do with that knowledge?  With that science?  Genes for religion.  Genes that make us much more likely to be obese.

We’ve learned recently that you can affect your genetic expression with your eating and living habits.  Your genes have some plasticity, to a certain degree.

What do we do with that??  We, as a people and as the human species aren’t quite ready for this information.  We tend to misuse this kind of knowledge.

But the science is here.  We need to step up and take responsibility for ourselves, whatever that means.

In my family

I think we’re learning, but my family is old school.  My grandmother didn’t want to mention things about the health complications that the males in our family tend to have.  Her instinct was to not talk about it in front of me.  Like, “I don’t want to talk about this in front of Gary but John, Joe, Jim and Jason had prostate problems.  Sarah, Sally, Sue and all of them had to get their corneas replaced.”

In my family, we (they) whisper about cancer.  I always say, “Why are you whispering?”

Like that.  Like we’re not supposed to talk about it even though that information will prove to be life saving for a lot of us.  But like I said, we as a family are coming around.  I think we get it now.  Knowledge is power.  Information is power.

The Eleventh Sense

There are the five senses we’re taught about in elementary school:

  1. Sight
  2. Hearing
  3. Smell
  4. Touch
  5. Taste

And there are the five senses that have been recently recognized as such (thanks, Wikipedia):

  1. Balance and acceleration
  2. Temperature
  3. Proprioception – awareness of where your body parts are in relation to other body parts
  4. Pain
  5. Time

And then there is my eleventh sense.  I’ll call it effortception as in effort perception.

Let me start off this way.  Justin’s idea of running is a lot different than my idea of running.

My idea of running

after a workout is chill for a bit.  Maybe walk for a while.  Let the heart rate settle down after the workout and the fatigue drain away.  The muscles recharge and feel useful again.  Then I start my little running (jogging) thing.  My own slow-ass pace.  Just get from here to there.  Without stopping, ideally, but I’ll understand if I do.

Justin’s idea of running

is to have a running finisher, Underground Athlete style.

Lots of sprinting.  Or running at effort to get between two spots within a certain amount of time.  With burpee consequences should that time goal go unmet.  Repeat.  It’s not lackadaisical trotting.  It’s out of one’s comfort zone, one would say if one were the Archduke of Understatement.

For example, that may include a relay race involving pushing the sled down to Rt. 50 and back (before others run down and back 2x) and being motivated to sprint with it up the steepest part of the hill.  That, by the way, was a race against the Finisher Gang: Mary Virginia, Jennifer and Kara.  The runners.

We were encouraged by multiple coaches — Justin, Matt and Bo acting as motivators and pacers — to not let up despite one’s literally yelling/screaming with effort and muscle burning pain.  Followed by running down and back 2x, in theory.  I only made one lap, but it was a good lap with enough prodding.  “Keep pace with me and I’ll guarantee you beat them back.  Come on!  Keep pace.  Breathe in through your nose, out through the mouth.”

He asked me, “Do you think you can beat them before they get the sled back?”

I said, “No.”

That’s when he said, “Come on.  Keep pace with me.”

I wasn’t lying.  Part of my brain and my mouth said (internally), “No, we can’t beat them and, frankly, we don’t care if we do.  But we can get back without resting.”

But something in me.  My eleventh sense knew that I could.  When I look at a hill or a route — this is especially evident when mountain biking — let’s say it’s a long and/or steep hill.   It looks different to me depending on how fit I am.  It’s not a conscious thing, though.  Sometimes the same hill will look long but not that steep.  Sometimes it looks steep but short.  Sometimes, early in the season, it will look like Mt. Everest.  Then sometimes it’s like, oh I remember this hill.  Easy peezy.

So when Justin asked me if I could make it, my analytic brain feeling my fatigue thought and said no.  My effortception looked at the situation and said “This is going to suck in terms of hypoxia — the rest of the lap is a shallow incline, seems farther away than it is: life support at 50% and holding; shields currently at 60% — but you’ve got it.”

The same hill after a walk to Skidoo’s (.6 miles) and a jog back looked and felt like a slightly uphill cakewalk.  Thanks, Jeanie.

Somehow, Justin’s sense of what I can do and how tired I am is more in line with my effortception than my conscious reasoning.   Or he’ll check out my form and other signs of fatigue to make sure.

My reasoning brain wants to avoid hellish muscle burn and exertion.  My effortception knows what I can do despite hellish muscle burn and exertion plus a safety valve when I’m threatening to injure myself.  I wonder how I can get those two thought processes in line.

Recovery Plan

One more thing.  Justin gave me homework.  I thought I was paying him to fix me in all ways physical, but it turns out that I actually have some responsibility for myself, too.  Maybe I could pay him more.  I’m supposed to be working on a recovery strategy.  I get sore or have tweaks here and there.  Apparently, they’re not going to go away by themselves.  I have to do stuff to deal with it.

I tried to come up with something that will help me keep track.  Not sure if I have the discipline to stick with it, but this might help.  A little something I came up with while I’m not doing what I should be doing right now:

It’s not perfect and I could use suggestions to make it better.  It’s also geared toward me, of course, but feel free to download it if it helps you.

This should be an app. I want to graph and track glitches, tweaks and pains.

Hmm.   So, uh.  Copyrighted.  Did that work?  Don’t go gettin’ rich off my stuff without me, is what I’m saying.  Otherwise, feel free to use it if it’ll help you.


Click here to see all of my LGN (I want to Look Good Naked) and functional strength training posts.


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