Selective memory adds to runner's high

Sports commentary

By Scott Becker

News intern

With the recreational sports season in full swing, people from all over the Northwest are flocking to Hood River to take advantage of what this area has to offer.

The many opportunities to get outside all but discredit any

excuses for sleeping in, going to work, or sitting in front of a computer writing about sleeping in and going to work.

Summer is the time to step outdoors and experience the raging rapids, mountain bike trails and climbing pitches right in our own backyard.

But there are some people who have a fear of things like broken collar bones, drowning, concussions, the water in the Columbia River, road rash, giardia, malaria and so on.

They like to avoid the hospital, if at all possible, and prefer to take things more in stride.

For many, running can be an injury-effective alternative to “extreme” sports. And, like all sports, there is a learning curve.

Running can take a while for some people to get into, but if you look beyond the subtle dangers of the sport, like black toe nails, cramped arches and the occasional dog attack, you realize that most of the damage is mental.

Selective memory is a common syndrome runners face. They remember what they want to, not what actually happened.

When the Fourth of July rolls around, they sign up for the Joe Kollas Memorial Run because they remember leisurely cruising down 12th Street with a supportive parade crowd cheering them toward the finish line. They remember feeling fit and rewarded after rising to such a challenge. And that was fun.

What they choose not to remember is the grueling, mile-long uphill climb between Tucker Bridge and Orchard Road in the 90-degree heat.

The words, “I’ll never do that again,” never clawed their way out of the parched throat of a dehydrated runner. The sting of such an intense effort was short-lived, and the soreness only lasted about 10 seconds.

Scoring much higher on the sick-and-twisted scale, the Hood To Coast Relay continues to attract somewhat of a cult following.

Teams of 12 spend 18-28 hours together in a stuffy van in a seemingly arbitrary effort to relay their way from Timberline to Seaside. The days following are spent doing a distinctively funny walk that can only be caused by a combination of battered quads and massive crotch chafe.

The more addicted a person is, the faster the selective memory starts to sink in. For some, it starts by the end of the weekend. The memory of trying to find a place to sleep with a delirious navigator who has neither slept nor had a shower for 24 hours, no longer exists.

And they already have a check written out for next year.

If anyone claims that this problem does not apply to them, they are either in denial or they are not real runners.

There is little that can be done to help such people. If any signs can be recognized early, make sure that they get a mountain bike. Then, run.


Scott Becker began a summer internship with the Hood River News on June 18. He plans to run in the Gorge Games trail run and the Hood To Coast Relay this summer.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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