Finding Joy and Embracing the Chaos that is COVID
What's an adventure blog without any real adventures? When I finished my first blog I left hoping to have some great trips to share with you. Ironman 70.3 World Championships, South western Utah and the one I was really looking forward to Bermuda, especially as the cold weather moves into Colorado. However COVID had different plans.
I understand COVID has affected so many people in so many different ways, so a cancelled triathlon race, I know, isn't huge on the grand scale of things. After all, it's a luxury item right? To some maybe but as I said, “Triathlon saved me.” Not to mention putting all those hours of training in, feels like a waste, So what was I to do? My partner had mentioned I come down to Jackson, MS with her, she grew up down there and MCs a local race.
I thought Jackson, MS just like Bermuda, So naturally I packed my bags, I am in for something new. If you didn't catch the sarcasm Jackson was nothing like Bermuda. Honestly it was better not in the beach vacation sense but filled my soul up with joy.
The race is called “Deep South Triathlon” put on by Mississippi Race Management, a local 70.3 with maybe….MAYBE 150 racers. It is hands down the most holsom beautiful race I have been to. Everyone is out to race themselves, find a new PR, just finish, or truly have fun. Something that is lost amongst the 2500 type A participants you find at huge IM events.
This tiny little 150 participant race is what triathlon/ endurance sports should be. There was more positive energy from them than any large event I have been to. The congratulations, cheers and you're doing great all felt so genuine.Everything felt so welcoming This is what adventures should be, what life should be, it is true joy. The best part about this little race with big spirit and attitude is all proceeds go to https://www.camprainbow.com/ . How can you not get behind that!
Again it wasnt Bermuda it was incomparably better! When plans change these days bend with the wind and embrace the new things that come. You do not need beautiful beach vacations to find life fulfilling joy!
PS If you ever do decide to get down to Jackson, MS. possibly for this race (recommended) ooooor not make sure you make a stop at Mama Hamil's Southern Cookin' and Bar B Que Buffet. All you can eat soul food folks!
Baked Goods and Horse Trailers
September 12, 2021
Jetson Swayze here, my friends call me Jet. I moved out to Boulder, CO when I was 18 to start school as a Buff at University of Colorado Boulder. Before then I was a typical Florida teen spending most of my days outdoors in the airboat, on the water fishing, or at the beach surfing.
Moving out to Boulder was a pretty big shock from Miami. However, I coped pretty well. Classes in the daytime, bars in the evenings, pretty standard college alcoholic. After school, not wanting to go right into a desk job I decided to take up being a pastry chef. I always loved baking with my grandmother growing up, I became pretty good at it actually. Long hours and early mornings in the kitchen during the week, afforded me free weekends to spend all my money on, you guessed it, booze. Over the years from starting school up to this time I had literally gained 50 pounds.
This dude liked to party.
At this time, I didn't see my drinking as a problem. I mean it wasn’t interfering with work at all, so it wasn't a problem, right. After a few years of being a chef I decided it wasn't for me anymore. I started working in residential construction, not only was it somewhat in my field of study, but it helped pay for my new adventure, professional bull riding.
Riding was amazing, living and partying out of our horse trailer. I was fueled by alcohol, and drugs, traveling the western states with friends, sleeping on couches. This was the “life” working Monday through Thursday, rodeo-ing Friday through Sunday throwing in some whiskey and Adderall to make the long drives. Safe I know.
It is a rush getting on a 2,000-pound animal that does not want you there. The problem with rodeo is if you don't ride 8 seconds you don't get paid, and you can't ride if you're hurt. You can see where this is headed.
Enter prescription painkillers. It's easy to ride when you can’t feel a broken leg or a torn knee. It becomes super easy to crawl into that bottle when things aren't going right. I know what you’re “thinking”, “what does any of this have to do with adventure clothing?” I will get there, I promise.
One of many broken bones
I remember it really well, almost like it was yesterday. One event really kicked off my lifestyle change, my rock bottom. Riding a small rodeo up in northern Colorado I got under my bull and broke my back. Not terrible but enough to where I couldn't ride, I crawled into the bottle hard.
Picked up a DUI, got sent into the northern Colorado work release program where I spent a beautiful month in the city-run facility. Not the best food…..
When I got out someone had mentioned to me,” Hey you should try a safer sport, something like triathlon.” I don't know why I did, but I tried this stupid sport that is comprised of three sports. Little did I know it would fling me headfirst into an entire new life. The life I live and love now.
Triathlon helped me lose 50 pounds. Gave me fitness that now allows me to get outside and enjoy the state I live in. It has helped me through a family member's passing, related to prescription opioids. It got me off pain pills, and because of this I have traveled globally now for races, it literally saved my life.
I never thought I would see the day that I would own this new lifestyle, scratch that, this new life in fitness and real adventures. The fitness I gained from the triathlons spilled over into a 50 mile ultra through the Utah desert. I am now looking to add a 100 mile ultra at the end of 2022. Running up high mountain peaks at dusk because well STARS! I completed my first Ironman this year, which has prompted me to sign up for Ironman Alaska in August 2022. I ran the Grand Canyon in February, which in my wildest dreams never thought of doing, let alone completing. These are the things that I now call my LIFE, my tree.
Looking forward to connecting with yall. If anyone out there in the cyber world wants to chat about getting out or the next step for help drop me a line. Your adventure awaits!
-About the Blogger-
Jet is a project manager for a commercial land development company. However during the weekends and late afternoons you can find him riding, running, or swimming throughout Colorado and the American west. When he is not on the trail he is involved with Shatterproof, a non-profit national organization dedicated to ending the addiction crisis. Speaking from first hand with his story and his sister's story, hoping to help others find their healthy life adventure. Follow along with him on here and on his socials @jswayze44
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