When he's not chasing the competition, Nick Symmonds catches fish

When he's not chasing the competition, Nick Symmonds catches fish

He burst onto the scene in 2007 when he won the men's 800 meters at the Prefontaine Classic. Since then Nick Symmonds has won three U.S. outdoor titles and has competed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

But when he's not chasing down the competition, Symmonds tries to catch fish. Recently he went out with river guide Jon Payne of o2fish on the McKenzie River.

"One of the reasons I love running is it kind of quiets your mind a little bit," said Symmonds. "You get in that zone and don't really think about much. The only other thing I've found that does that for me is fishing."

Symmonds has been fishing since he could hold a pole as a young boy in the streams of Idaho, where he grew up, and Montana where he spent family vacations.

"It's a really important part of who I am as a person I think because it keeps me grounded," said Symmonds. "It reminds me that there's more to life than just running. I would say I really define myself more of as an outdoorsman than even a runner."

Carrying on that tradition provides the 28-year old with a distraction from the rigors of training.

"It's nice to have a task that doesn't take away from you physically, that allows you to be something other than a professional athlete for a little while," said Symmonds.

On this day, Symmonds caught his first spring Chinook.

"Oh yeah. Look at the size of that thing. Oh that's a heavy fish. River monster. Nice. Whoo."

Nick won this one. Now how about the Olympic trials? Is another win in the cards for Symmonds?

"If I just do what my body does and prepare the way I've prepared the last four years, I don't see any reason why I won't come out with my fifth national title."