LooseCrew-JeffO: Phases


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Saturday, August 29, 2009


My life has been a series of phases. This might be the end of my ultra-runner phase - or maybe not.

Phases I've had...
1) Writing. I always got A's in my English classes in school. I wrote poetry (twisted stuff), short stories, and longer, but never a novel. I pretty much don't write anymore.

2) Rocketry. I bought the rocket motors, but I made everything else from scratch. My rocket tubes were made from old-fashioned packing tape - the kind you had to use a sponge on the adhesive. I would wrap the tape around a dowel rod as a form. Nose cones and fins were made from balsa wood. parachutes were Saran Wrap and thread. I made some very fancy rockets.

3) Guns. I do my own reloading. I have more guns than I need. Come to think of it, I don't need one gun. I also don't need an iPod, but I own four.

4) Mountain climbing. I loved standing on summits and seeing a long ways. You can see farther on the higher peaks, so I began climbing 14ers.

5) Winter mountaineering. The previous phase obviously led into winter trekking and camping. I actually would target the most severe storms. Quite a few times I would meet people leaving as I was heading out and their attitudes were that I was a dead man - no way you're heading out into that and surviving.

6) Speed climbing. Running short on time, I began doing more in less time. On 2nd shift, I'd have to drive to a trailhead in the morning, and see how far up I could get before hitting my turn-around time and have to go to work. I usually never reached a summit.

7) Career change. This brought all physical recreation to a sudden halt. I met a Kenyan who was making over $100,000/yr as a database administrator. He grew up in a grass and mud hut in a huge family. They pooled all their wealth and sent the brightest to America to go to college.
As a machinist, all we did was stand around complaining about work conditions, wages, and some would claim that Mexicans were stealing our jobs, etc. It was quite a daily pity-party.
After meeting Kimayo, though, I couldn't help but get really mad - at myself and anyone who wastes energy in negative ways. I was born in this country, grew up with both the language and knowing the culture, and had only made myself a lowly blue-collar worker.
No offense, if you like being a blue-collar, power to you! The point is, whatever you are, if you're complaining about it, it's up to you to change it.
Some say never complain. I say that complaining is valid - only if it's thinking out-loud and precursor to action. What don't I like? What would I like? How do I get from here to there?
If Kimayo can do it, I can do it. I had no money and no time. No excuses!

I used every spare second of my life for a couple of years dumpster-diving for computers and software, built a lab in my basement, taught myself computers and networking, quizzed-out on my certification exams, and changed careers.

8) Ultra running. The previous phase, and then becoming a work-aholic because I felt insecure not having a formal education (ha! my self-teaching was BETTER!), I had no social life and no exercise. I couldn't even participate in a normal conversation. I had no connection with normal people. So I figured I needed to join some groups. Not just any group, but people like myself. What do I like? Running. Mountains. Trails. So I joined the Denver Trail Runners.

So what's my next phase? I'm working on it. It should involve my son. He loves camping and hiking in the Rockies, cars, and music. Since I don't have a garage, it would have to involve mountains or music.

This blog is out-living its usefulness. I created a newer blog, which is more appropriately named. In spite of my city life, and white-collar technology job, I live like a bum. I'm at home outside and moving at high altitude. For the past several years, I've been averaging about 1 out of every 10 nights spent either in the back of my CR-V, or on the bare ground, or in a snow-cave, or in my tent. I'm hardly ever home. I'm a trail-bum. My city life and job are currently necessities, but some day that might change. In spite of my more organic inclinations (my yin), I am quite a geek, so I love my job (my yang). So my new blog will be Trail Bum, but it'll be awhile before it goes live.
I love running, but I love other things too. I won't restrict myslef to just running the rest of my life. When I'm healed-up, I'll just drift into the next thing.


At 2:14 PM, Blogger olga said...

I say changes are what drive the universe. As for "ultras are all mental" - nah, you gotta be prepared. Without physical mental stands less of a fight. It shakes too much. Hope you heal. But if you not up to par - moving on is the only way to live!

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Nick said...

Nice post Jeff. Life would be boring if we hammered away at the same stuff all our lives. I find as much, if not more satisfaction from hitting sweet non-race routes as I do from racing. Racing is fun, but it grinds you down after a while.

Heal up and bag some more peaks with your son!


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