- Kim Wilson
Random questions I've had whilst running (Part 1)
Updated: Apr 17, 2019
I'm crap at running and ever crapper at practising mindfulness. Attempting them both together sent my brain to some very odd places!
I'm really working on being mindful whilst I'm running but it's not going very well. If I focus on being present then I convince myself that I'm dying and need to stop. If I let my brain wander then it takes my train of thought to some strange places. Invariably I end up sat on a log and Googling the answers to whatever bizarre question I've thought up. Either way my brain wins, the run is ruined and I can feel Strava judging me.
The dictionary definition of mindfulness
"a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique"
The following are a few of the random questions that have entered my supposedly calm and focused mind while I'm bumbling along. I've also included the answers so you don't have to bother.
1. Do worms have eyes?
I got a bit of mud in my eye while running and panicked hysterically that I had gone blind. Spoiler alert - I hadn't. It did however get me wondering about how worms cope underground. Extra long eyelashes?
Worms don't have eyes (or ears or noses) but they do have 5 hearts. They have light receptors so they can tell if they are in the light or the dark and are also good at sensing vibrations around them. Worms absorb oxygen through the moisture on their skin and suffocate if they dry out. I have now vowed to pick up all drying out worms I find on paths, and spit on them to save their lives. If you have a spare 2 minutes this page has lots of good worm info.
2. If identical twin sisters have children with identical twin brothers would the children be genetically the same?
I currently have an unhealthy obsession with murder podcast and I was pondering this whilst running along to an episode about DNA.
Errrr I'm not sure. The only article I could find that I really understood was in the Daily Mail...so it's probably bullshit. Basically they would have the same genetics as if they were siblings but their genetics wouldn't be identical because of 'genetic recombination'. They would have the same chromosomes but scrambled up into a different order.
3. Do snails swap shells? If so why have I never seen a shell-less snail? Is that a slug? Long story short, I stood on a snail.
No, snails don't swap shells and slugs aren't naked snails. Snails are born with, and attached to their shells and can't survive without them. They can repair tiny holes or cracks but not do extensive repairs.
To ease my snail murdering guilt I also checked if snails can feel pain or suffering. Apparently because of their simple nervous systems they can't process emotional information and therefore don't experience suffering. I don't think the article was written by a snail though so I'm dubious.
4. Do babies have freckles? Why don't I know any freckly babies? Took a selfie out running (purely to prove I was actually running at not at the pub) and as usual was surprised by the fact that I have freckles.
No one is born with freckles and they typically develop between the ages of 2 and 4 years old although it can be later. Freckles ̶o̶n̶l̶y̶ ̶a̶p̶p̶e̶a̶r̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶a̶w̶e̶s̶o̶m̶e̶ ̶p̶e̶o̶p̶l̶e̶ are hereditary and exposure to UV rays makes them appear and darkens them over time. Sun spots or solar lentigines are generally larger and are clubs of pigments cells that clump together due to sun exposure.
5. What is the plural of penis?
Nah I wasn't confronted by a flasher nor perving on men running in Lycra shorts. I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts called My Dad Wrote a Porno. Shockingly it has a fair few willies in it.
At a guess I would gone with 'penii', and some sources agree with this based on the Latin origin of the word. Officially though it's 'penises', which is a bit of a mouthful (pun 100% intended). In English, penis is a noun ended in 's' and therefore the plural is formed by adding 'es' to the end. A whole bunch of penises.
6. Does biannual mean twice a year or every two years?
A bit of a tedious link but I was running through the leaves trying to remember what trees that drop their leaves are called (deciduous). Then I pondered what biannual trees meant.
So, turns out the word is biennial not biannual for trees. I've been saying that wrong for 30 years. Here are my findings.
Biennial - Occurs every two years. Usually in reference to fruit trees where there is generally a large crop one year and little, if anything the next year.
Biannual - Something that occurs twice a year. Like the Queen's Birthday or my husband getting the hoover out.
Biweekly - Something that occurs either twice a week OR every two weeks. Not very fucking helpful. Can be used skillfully through. I allow myself a bacon sandwich for breakfast biweekly (twice a week). I'm going for my biweekly run (every other damn week).
These are just a few of many many thoughts I've had so no doubt I'll plague you with more of them when you least expect (or want) it.