You remember when Forest Gump breaks the braces off of his legs while getting chased by bullies and the next scene he's about 100 yards away with a trail of dust in his wake? That's exactly what I've been doing since June. I realized in early summer that I was really unhappy with how I looked. If you've been reading Hunt Like You're Hungry for a while, you'll know I've been the long-suffering host of eating disorders since age 13, so being uncomfortable with my body is nothing new for me. However, I did notice that with my new job, I was sitting around a lot and working 108-hour weeks, which didn't benefit my naturally sluggish metabolism. So, I decided to make a change.
Mike bought me a Garmin VivoFit because he knew I wanted one to push me to take steps every day. My goal was 1,000 miles in six months. By August, I was increasing my step goal by hundreds a day. Seeing this, my marathon-runner mother-in-law, Kim, suggested that I run in the Rock N' Roll half marathon with her in Vegas in November. I laughed at first, figuring that I, with my terrible knees from hockey, would never be able to run that far. Then I looked at my watch and realized I was averaging 35 miles a week. Emboldened by blind ambition and ruthless competitiveness, I said yes.
What followed was 12 weeks of intense training. I eschewed every eating disorder tendency hardwired in my stubborn brain, drank thousands of ounces of water, subsisted wholly on disgusting smoothies, egg whites, seed bread, heaps of venison, rice and not one single salad. I ran five days a week, culminating in the 13.1 mile run in Vegas.
The start line was intimidating enough but thankfully, or miraculously, my feet starting pounding from the first moment of the race. This particular run is the only private event that shuts down the entirety of the strip from the Vegas sign to old downtown Vegas, past the stratosphere, and back to the Mirage, which made for an awesome run. Over 30,000 people ran, which resulted in about 60,000 spectators, all of which suffered along with us runners through the 30-45 mile per hour winds, torrential downpours and one large dust storm.
I didn't stop once, Mike even said at one point he saw flames coming from my sneakers. At the 2:08:21 mark, I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face and tears mingling with the accumulating sweat.
Since then, I signed up for another half marathon in April and am currently training. I met my goal of 1,000 miles in six months and have expanded it to 2,000 by June 19, a year to the day I initially began walking with my Garmin. I feel great and will most likely continue to run until my knees beg for mercy, but I won't let it keep me from writing, that's a promise, dear reader.
The Fishing. Oh Goodness, the Salt-Water Fishing.
I ordered no less than 6 bowls of crayfish etouffee, which I heard is more of a badge of honor than an obvious illustration of gluttony to a Cajun.
I thought I loved Louisiana when I ferociously imbibed on its culinary cuisine but I knew nothing of its splendor until we hit the water. Due to mechanical issues, the boat we chartered only was able to take us a few hundred yards from the dock. Luckily, after about a half an hour, the fish were practically climbing up the poles and throwing themselves into the vessel. It was easily the most enjoyment I've ever had fishing, and the friends made during that trip made it all the more memorable.
We headed home making serious plans to move to the land of cayenne and fish, with a cooler full of fillets, and happy bellies when I saw a roadside stand boasting the best boudin around. Obviously, I made Mike stop. We bought enough to last us the year, in addition to gator and a whole ton of crayfish for homemade etouffee.
Just realize that cheap oil may seem really awesome but it really isn't for a myriad of reasons, but mainly because that which comes in droves from overseas is produced and sold into an over-stocked market with the express intent to push Americans out of jobs and drive the market down. Millions of Americans, your neighbors, depend on oil for their work. Remember that the next time you start to rejoice over your $20 tank fill.
The Biggest Buck of My Life.
The deal was, for an extremely modest daily rate, even by my intensely frugal standards, you can solo hunt for two deer, limit one buck, while staying in a really cute, rustic cabin. You shoot whatever you see--no matter the size of the buck.
The first evening, we saw no less than a hundred deer. My trigger finger was itchy, as thoughts of my empty freezer continued to creep across my vision every time a spike crossed in front of the blind. I had had enough and texted Mike.
"I'm going to shoot one," I proclaimed.
"Wait a few, let's see if there are bigger doe or bucks out here," he replied.
I acquiesced, then watched as innumerable venison burgers pranced their way down the field. The next morning, there were no deer. None.
Early the next afternoon followed suit. The cold front we thought was going to move deer our way seemed to do the opposite. Just as I lost hope of anything coming out and was busy berating myself for failing to shoot, I noticed movement about 120 yards away, at the edge of the field.
What I thought was a small buck came plodding out of the thicket with a smaller spike trailing behind. With a half a glance to his left to where Mike sat, he proceeded to make his way right towards me. My heart started beating wildly, thoughts of tenderloin dancing in my head. I did my best to slow my nerves but, as always when faced with any sort of target, I turn into the human equivalent of an anxiety-induced earthquake.
I lined up the crosshairs just as the buck, which I now thought was a small four point, gave me the perfect shot. Again, since I lose all sense of proper hunting or semblance of calm, I paused and he proceeded to turn, butt-first in my direction. He then ate for no less than 10 minutes as my frustration grew and the sun set.
Nearing close to posted sunset, I told myself as soon as he picked up his head, I'd go for a clean neck shot since he seemed content to munch until past dark. I stomped my feet; his ears perked and head turned. As soon as I saw the white of his neck, I took the shot.
Just like my last buck that was also taken down via neck shot, he fell like a ton of bricks.
To this point, I still thought he was a small buck so I was absolutely floored when I walked the 80 yards that separated us. What lay where he stood was the biggest 8-point I had ever seen, let alone shot.