Memory Bias and the Outdoors
Since you subscribe to this mailing list, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you like the outdoors. Whether your poison is hiking, running, skiing, or whatever, you enjoy getting out in fresh air, in the trees, mountains, with open sky above you. And I'm going to venture a guess that you've had some terrible times out there too. Caught in a unexpected rain-storm, cold and shivering for hours. Fell and fractured a bone. Overextended yourself, rendering yourself utterly exhausted cursing the gods for mercy to place you back in your comfortable bed. And I'll also bet dollars to doughnuts the next day you woke up itching to get back at your chosen sport. You're ready for more. Flying down Dreamweaver on your mountain bike at what feels like 100km/hr. As if the misery you experienced the day before never actually happened. You only remember the exhilaration of the wind in your face as gravity hurled you down the mountain. You think about that stunning vista. The weightlessness of the pow. The fresh air in your lungs, the mud on your limbs, and the freedom of the outside.
Have you ever thought about this selective memory we seem to have? Those rose-coloured glasses that seem to forget the miserable times, and remember the best. Local trail runner Jeff Pelletier has, and he has summed it up beautifully in a new post:
"In The Seven Sins of Memory, author Daniel Schacter describes the ways that the mind forgets and remembers. He divides memory’s malfunctions into seven fundamental transgressions or ‘sins’, while arguing that these features of human memory aren’t necessarily good or bad but all serve a useful purpose. For example, persistence is one of the sins of memory that can lead to things like post traumatic stress syndrome but it is also necessary for long-term memory.
My personal favourite is the sin of ‘bias’ where “one’s current feelings and worldview distort remembrance of past events… which occurs partly because memories encoded while a person was feeling a certain level of arousal and a certain type of emotion come to mind more quickly when a person is in a similar mood. .....
After a few 50k’s, a 50 miler, and a 100k race, I’ve begun to recognize a pattern: the first half of the race feel great; the next 10 or 20 km’s start to hurt a little; my view of the world starts to get just a little darker as I question not only why I signed up for this stupid #%!@?! race but why I run at all, trying to rationalize why stopping for a little nap on the side of the trail wouldn’t be the worst idea; and then suddenly it’s all over and all I want do to is toe the starting line again as soon as possible...."
...Read the full post. <- Seriously, it's great.
(Mostly) Local Outdoors News
There is no shortage of news and articles this month. I post most of these on Twitter as I come across them, so you can follow me there too.
1. Snowboarder who died in Pemberton backcountry identified. @Pique
2. Squamish’s Sea to Sky Gondola cabin falls from new lift. @Global News
3. Out-of-bounds snowboarder rescued on Cypress. @North Shore Rescue
4. Whistler Peak 2 Peak BASE jump leads to woman's arrest. @CBC
5. North Shore Rescue to keep Tim Jones's dream alive. @Georgia Straight
6. Outdoor buffs say naming peak after Tim Jones ‘fitting’- GeoBC has to approve of the name. @News 1130
7. Jim Flaherty explains tax break for search and rescue volunteers. @CBC
8. PHOTOS: Three skiers rescued after being caught in avalanche near Hope. @Global News
9. Photos: ‘First Half’ half-marathon in Vancouver. @Vancouver Sun
10. Cyclist involved in road rage incident claims VPD ignored story. @CTV News
11. Setbacks plague Vancouver’s Bixi bike share program. @Globe and Mail
12. Deep divide in B.C.'s diving community means new Howe Sound reef remains a dream. @The Province
13. Orcas hunt and kill dolphins off B.C. coast; rare attack captured on video. @CTV News
14. The top 7 local trails for a Family Day hike. @The Province
15. Vancouver park board abandons Kitsilano Beach bike route plans. @Vancouver Sun
16. Headbands, stirrups and neon leg-warmers wanted for West Van run. @North Shore Outlook
17. See How They Work: Outdoor adventure filmmaker Scott Martin. @Vancouver Sun
18. Sun Run ShoeRenu program. @Vancouver Sun
19. Vancouver engineer invents groundbreaking pole basket for backcountry touring. @Vancouver Sun
20. Avalanche Safety 101: Education, Gear, Community. @National Geographic
21. 2013 Canadian Trail Running Award Winners Announced. @Trail Running Canada
22. 5 Ways to Reconnect to Nature in Squamish, BC. @Squamish Adventure
23. BMO Vancouver Marathon one of the world's best: Forbes magazine. @Vancouver Sun
That's enough for now.
Until next month!