Type II Fun, with Mark, “One Speed” Morris - words and interview by: Annelise Loevlie
Back in September, I had the pleasure of sitting down with one of Icelantic’s colorful athletes and consequently, one of my oldest friends, Mark “One Speed” Morris. Wearing his hair in typical man bun fashion (he was doing it before it was cool), a hoodie and his trusty St. Bernard medallion necklace, given to him by his mama before traveling to Mt. Blanc for his first time, Mark and I sit next to a river, coffee in hand and chat.
Having known Mark for the majority of my life (I’m pretty sure we were in diapers together at some point); I’ve had a unique vantage point on him as an awkward tweener, an aspiring skier, a budding musician – all contributing into what he is today which I consider to be one of the most brilliant lights of authentic passion and stoke out there.
I’ve seen his good days and his bad, and most noteworthy however, is seeing his life open up over the past couple years, into a life masterfully crafted exactly to his liking… this is what I was curious about. What was the catalyst to freedom? Was it conscious or not? Mark is living the life of his dreams and I wanted to find out how he did it.
We talked for way longer then this post or your attention span will allow for, so I’m going to extract the nuggets worthy of a share so you can take some of Mark’s words of wisdom into your day.
So without further ado, allow me to introduce Mark “One Speed” Morris to you.
A: Mark, we call you “One Speed” for your reputation of tending towards figure 11 type skiing – straight and fast, is there a reason for so few turns?
M: Skiing straight and fast requires less energy and effort. It’s more relaxing, accepting the G’s… (smile and laugh)
A: Good Point. So on that note, let’s relate that philosophy to life and the reason I asked you to be here today… It seems to me that right now you are on fire – with everything. Your music, your trail running, your marriage, your stoke – whenever I’m around you I feel the buzz, and it wasn’t always like this – what’s changed?
M: Oh man, that’s a big question. I guess the real big step was when I quit my job. It wasn’t feeding me anymore and it was taking more of my time then I wanted to give to anything that wasn’t returning. I took the leap and committed to the things that I know ‘give back’ to me and here I am!
A: It’s scary sometimes making big decisions like that – good for you for doing it. Definitely seems like the right decision now! So, I know you had a busy weekend this weekend, tell me about that.
M: hehe… Yeah, a typical weekend right now is pretty much crazy. I guess a typical week is pretty crazy in general. On Wednesday (4 days ago) I raced down to Crested Butte to film a promo edit with Wendy Fisher for Discrete’s Peak Series stop in CB (which Mark is working on with fellow Icelantic athlete extraordinaire Julian Carr), raced back to Golden, edit the vid, sleep three hours, run around town to collect prizes for the race, head back to CB, set up the course (11 miles 10,000 vertical feet), competed in the race, performed a private show at the Base, then raced down to Denver to play another show at 5pm. This is my season – I’m booked solid through November.
A: So that’s a pretty normal weekend for you?
A: How do you keep up with that? Do you consciously take down time?
M: I’d say my downtime comes in the winter, skiing with Dougy (good friend – very zen). The mountains fill my cup till it runneth over, literally. I get so full out there it just spills out everywhere. You have to be conscious of where it goes there’s so much! Being physical in general though, is what keeps me going in general.
A: Being physical – I concur. I am currently in a phase where I haven’t been exercising and I am feeling the effects big time – it’s unbelievable and yucky.
M: Yes Ma’am.
A: So if there’s one thing that you do every single day that keeps you right, what is that?
M: Run. I have to run every day. Maybe I’m addicted to it, I don’t know – I just know that I don’t feel good if I don’t run. There are definitely days that I don’t run (if I ran super hard the day before) – then I have more time to practice my instrument.
A: So running every day is more important to you then practicing your instrument every day?
M: Yes, mentally it’s the best thing I can do for myself. There’s so much to learn in pushing through pain and mental barriers – it can be applied to so many areas in life. Type II Fun, you know?
A: What’s Type II Fun?
M: Type II Fun is the type of fun that sucks while you’re doing it but happy you did it, when it’s over.
A: Ahh, I know that type. Sweet. So…. You’ve gotten a bunch of people into running – three of your band mates and your wife – all of whom were never previously into running. How’d you do that?
M: Honestly, It’s kinds of a lead by example thing (and a bit of brain-washing them into thinking it’s cool). I know it’s a source of energy for me so I kept running while making music, living life, etc. I think people started to see and feel the (positive) vibes I was putting out and it became contagious. My wife started to slowly get into it and now she’s addicted too! Same with the guys in the band – people just saw what it was doing for me and decided they wanted some of what I was taking. Like a drug.
A: Nice… Positive vibes… I’ll say. You’re radiating – literally, every time I’m around, I’m lifted up a little more. Do you do that consciously? Are you aware of your energy and what you’re putting out there?
M: I think I just surround myself with so many people who just crush it that I don’t even realize what I’m doing. These people inspire me every day to pick up the ball and be the best person I can be. Everyone’s killing it, I need to kill it too.
A: Are there any people in particular who you turn to when you need certain doses?
M: Definitely. (He named a few different people, but spent most of the answer talking about his wife). She just picks me up when I need it – she always has something for me: time, love, an ear, arms… I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today if it wasn’t for her.
A: Sounds like a good partnership.
M: Oh man, and she feels the same way. I also draw a whole shit ton of energy from Nature. Think about going into a bar after a big powder day….. BUZZING.. Everyone’s cup is full!
A: No kidding…. What is that?
M: Well, that’s like my definition of God. All that positive energy – everyone is stoked and in love with life. This isn’t just going on by chance - you know when you’re in a spot with positive energy you can feel it. For me, I know that if I keep filling my cup with positive energy and I go disperse it where it’s needed, then I’ll just go up and get some more. Hehehe… Because I know where to get it.
A: Oh my god I love that so much. You’re like Robin Hood!
M: hahaha Robin Hood of the energy! Well, I mean, why not – I know where to get it. And it’s crazy because everytime I go back to get it, it’s like your pot gets bigger.
A: Are you consciously doing this? Just curious because something I’m really working on right now is being conscious of where I spend my energy because many times lately, I’ll realize that I’m completely drained, then recognize that I have no idea where any of my energy went – it certainly didn’t come back to me.
M: Oh yeah! Of course. I’m super conscious of that – but of course sometimes, it completely drains – that’s just natural. Then you have to be with it – whatever wants to be – I balled my eyes out at this year’s Rapidgrass from exhaustion. I had not a single ounce left to give to anyone or anything.
A: But you bounced back?
M: Yup, I let it flow through me, take a day or two to rest, then I’m back at it.
A: Do you ever get depressed?
M: I know that depression/sadness/ whatever, cycles through everyone and I’ve figured out that the best way to avoid falling into their traps is to not focus on that (those beckoning emotions). I don’t have time for that.
A: Do you acknowledge it at all?
M: I do, for a minute, but then I move on. We don’t have room for that shit. Another thing I do – basically to convert those feelings is to, while I’m running or skiing (Being really physical), I’ll pray for other people. So basically, I’ll think about other people who I know are having a hard time and while I exert my energy, and give it to the earth, that’s what it’s carrying – positive vibes for people I love – or who are hurting. That way the energy that I’m giving while I’m giving it as hard as I can, is converted into something useful and I’m not concerned about myself anymore.
A: That is rad and beautiful. I love that – makes so much sense. Were you raised that way? Or where did this practice come from?
M: Well, my parents were pretty religious, so there was a lot of spirituality and love in my upbringing, but I think my personal philosophy/spirituality was developed while in the mountains – in the silence of winter woods. Mainly in my mid 20’s. I had a moment, when I figured I had nothing else to lose, that I sat on top of Over the Rainbow (Run at Loveland) and surrendered. Not to get too hippie-dippie here, but I told the universe I was ready for something greater and within a month, I met two of my best friends and my wife. Pretty life changing.
A: Whoa – I’d say so. What an amazing illustration of releasing and allowing. So cool. This interview has been more then I could ask for – and I could keep going for a long time. We barely talked about your music or skiing! Ha. Well, I’m a hippie too and it’s so cool to hear about others who connect deeply with something greater then themselves – thank you so much for sharing.
On that note, I’d love to offer the Icelantic Community access to your music. How do we do that?
M: Here’s the link to itunes to buy and download the Album: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/crooked-road/id1019419887
Or, if you’d rather have the hard copy: http://www.clearcreekrapidgrass.com/store/rapidgrass-crooked-road-cd
A: Excellent. Thank you. Any parting words to the people?
M: “You can fly as far as you are willing to try, and farther than that if you open your mind”
Oh, and, “Be safe in the Backcountry!”
A: Thanks Mark. You Rock.
Now check out these music videos!