Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holy Crap We Actually Did It!

Some of you may remember a previous post about Seth and I signing up for a 5K race.... the Snowman Shuffle. It was our attempt at forcing ourselves to run on a regular basis to try and get in shape.

Well, after training diligently for 8 weeks, race day (December 6th) finally came. The weather was beautiful that morning and I was very nervous and excited for my very first race. The race started at 10:00am, but Seth and I were both up and raring to go at about 7:00am. We wanted to make sure we got up to Brigham City with enough time to get our sweatshirts and do a warm-up walk, so we arrived at about 9:00am.

I was surprised at how many people ended up coming to the race. The route followed the area around the Eagle Mountain Golf Course and the old World War II Army hospital buildings.

Seth pulled ahead of me very early in the race and stayed in the group with the faster runners. He did very well and ran the whole time... even up the very steep hill by the golf course towards the middle of the race. He came in 35th place overall with a time around 26 minutes (I'll update this when I can get the exact times).

The Snowman Shuffle course was pretty challenging... very hilly. It was definitely harder and probably about a half-mile longer than what we had trained on, so I thought we both did really good. I was at the back of the middle group (or the front of the slower one!) and came in 56th place overall with a time around 32 minutes. The benefit of me coming in way behind Seth was that he was able to get the camera and take some really flattering pictures of me crawling across the finish line.

Seth mainly wanted to run in a 5K so that he could get a t-shirt. We ended up getting sweatshirts so that was even better. Seth was a little disappointed because red isn't his signature color. I however look ravishing, especially when flashing my million dollar smile.

We both decided that signing up for races was a great motivator for us. I'm sure we'll be signing up for another one soon!

Look We're Festive!

After going for about 4-5 years without a Christmas tree, Seth and I decided this was the year to get one. We didn't have much room for a tree in our apartment, but we squeezed it in! I think it turned out pretty good and Gracie hasn't even torn it down yet!


This year Seth and I spent Thanksgiving with his family up in Idaho. It was nice to have a long weekend to just relax and hang out doing what we like most.

We didn't have our Thanksgiving dinner until Friday so we went out trolling on Thanksgiving Day with Seth's dad on Ririe Reservoir. It was a beautiful day and we almost had the lake to ourselves. It was my first time fishing from a boat and I found it very relaxing slowly gliding across the water with my line in the water, looking around and enjoying the scenery. We actually spotted a golden eagle sitting in a juniper tree near the shore of the lake.

We ended up catching 5 cutthroat/rainbow hybrids and 1 kokanee salmon. It's definitely something I'd like to do again.

Friday was pretty packed with activity. Collette and Rachel's families had both done Thanksgiving the day before and apparently it's a family tradition to go rabbit hunting on the day after. Marty, Arielle, Seth, Grandpa Hanson, and I were the only ones who ended up going because most of the others had to stay back and work on Thanksgiving Dinner #2 (or they weren't big on huntin' wabbits). I didn't know about the tradition and Seth had forgotten about it, so neither of us brought our guns. Luckily Grandpa Hanson was nice enough to let us borrow some of his.

We decided to go hunt out between Sage Junction and Mud Lake. We chased out a handful... 2 jackrabbits, 1 snow hare, and a cottontail, but didn't get off a good enough shot to take any of them home. One of the Smith's grazed the snow hare, but after trying to follow the blood trail for a while, we gave up and let him go.

Am I dreaming or is that a really hot chick with a gun?

We got back from rabbit hunting just in time to help finish up the last couple dishes for Thanksgiving dinner. The food turned out amazing and of course we all ate way too much and had a great time doing so. Grandma Hanson's turkey was delicious and Rachel was the most talented turkey carver we'd ever seen.

On Saturday Seth and I went out fly fishing with Grandpa Hanson on the South Fork of the Snake River. It was a rainy/snowy day but it was fun nonetheless. We caught mostly whitefish and a couple browns. Of course Grandpa out-fished both of us. Every time we looked over he was reeling in another one!

We spent the rest of the weekend catching up on old "Perfect Strangers" episodes with Grandma Hanson, saw the giant trevache (catapult) that the Smith's built, and met up with a couple of Seth's old buddies. Oh and we also found out that Gracie LOVES road trips (OK not really).
It really was a great weekend and as usual we were sad to come home. We can't wait to go back up to Idaho again soon!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Purist

Lately I've been reading a book by John Gierach called "Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders." It's the first book I've read about fishing and I really love it. Not only do I love his style (personal stories with a humorist twist) but his stories are also true (well, as much as possible considering he is a FISHERMAN).

Quite often I read in bed at night before going to sleep and Seth is there with me reading a book of his own. Those who know me well know that I don't often do much more than smile when I think something is funny. Books rarely make me laugh out loud. But this book has me laughing constantly. Seth is always looking over at me like I'm crazy. I laugh at stuff that regular sane people wouldn't bother to bat an eyelash at. It's so funny to me that I can read this guy's stories and think that I have had the exact same experiences. It actually makes me jealous sometimes because I wish I had thought to write about it first. I'd like to just cut and paste his words as my own but the law calls that "plagiarism"... government... always trying to hold me down.

Anyway, back to my point. In one of the chapters of his book, Gierach talks about fly fishing 'purists'. He labels a 'purist' as one who "fishes exclusively with a fly rod, .... he owns a spinning rod and sometimes uses it, but he doesn't take it seriously, doesn't talk about it much (is, to tell the truth, a little embarrassed about it), and stores it separately from his fly tackle." OK, so maybe I'm a purist. Are you happy? I said it. I'M A PURIST!

I guess fly fishing is kind of like religion. Whatever YOU believe is 'right' and you wish that everyone would just see the light and realize that your way is best. It's not that you look down on other people, you just feel sorry for them because they are missing out on something so much better. Then you try to secretly convert them to your way of thinking by using some sort of tricky covert tactics. They don't realize this of course until it's too late.

In all honesty, up until Thanksgiving weekend this year I thought I was a purist. Fly fishing was the only way to go. I owned a spinning rod, but I thought of it as you would a bike with training wheels. I was too old for that now... too smart... too talented. I'd use it occasionally maybe, just to goof around with, but I was a serious fly fisher now, I couldn't be bothered with that sort of childish riff-raff.

As part of the Thanksgiving weekend plans, my father-in-law thought it would be fun to take Seth and I out trolling in his flat bottomed canoe. I had never been fishing in a boat before, let alone trolling, so I decided to at least try it. Maybe I'd get lucky and catch one of those giant lake fish or something.

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical though. The thought of just sitting on a slow moving boat all day waiting for some fish to bite the line didn't sound like it'd be my cup of tea. I'm not much of an ice fisher because I don't like to just sit and watch a bubble all day. Ditto for the worm and bubble setup on a lake. The bubble is my enemy. I prefer to constantly be casting and moving.

So, there we were, the three of us out on this little boat in the middle of a deserted reservoir. It took a minute to get used to the fact that there was a seemingly endless abyss of frigid water right underneath me, but soon I was relaxed and was just along for the ride. I had to admit it was beautiful.

We trolled along the outside edge of the lake with our copper spooned leaders dragging in the water. I finally learned the reason for the reverse setting on my spinning rod. Wait a minute... did I just say SPINNING ROD? I thought I'd swore those off for life! I was a purist now. Only fly rods right? Wrong.

OK I admit it. I used a spinning rod and I liked it. I liked sitting there in the boat lazily fishing and gazing at the deep green water and blue sky. It was one of the few times that I honestly did not care if I caught a fish or not. I lounged around in a cramped little boat all day eating Hostess chocolate donuts with worm guts on my hands and drinking Dr. Pepper and I liked it. We did catch some fish by the way, but it was more of a pleasant side note. The icing on the cake.

So maybe I'm not a purist. Not quite anyway. Crazy things happen when you keep an open mind and try new things. I better watch out.