Indoor skydiving can really take it out of a girl. Especially if she’s developed a previously unknown shoulder problem that has a propensity to dislocate in the middle of a skydive. I mean, what the fuck? This has happened to me twice now and it’s never happened before. I’ve never injured my shoulder in any capacity (I can’t say that about my knee…or my back…or my pelvic bone…) and all of a sudden it decides that it can’t take the pressure anymore and loses it. Body, you are on notice. Time to haul you to the gym for some strength training.
I have been remiss in blogging, mostly because in the past week I’ve driven a total of 18 hours down to North Carolina and back and spent 15 minutes in a wind tunnel using all of the small muscles in my body. It’s easy falling out of a plane. The hard part is maintaining absolute control of how you fly.
Fortunately, this time I have obtained some video of my airtime that I will foist upon the unsuspecting public. Luckily for you, I won’t put up the entire 15 minutes. I edited together a “greatest hits” compilation, if you will.
Video is a great tool for skydivers because you can actually see what your body is doing in freefall. In many ways, I feel the sport’s two closest disciplines are yoga and dance. I’ve mentioned similarities to yoga before, but dance came to mind, especially after watching the footage. Laticia, my coach, looks so graceful in flight. (She was once a dancer.) I, on the other hand, am all over the place. I could benefit from a mirror to see what my body is doing, the way I used to observe my posture and alignment during dance. But since there are no mirrors in the sky, I make do with this.
Wind tunnels are another great tool for skydivers, mostly because now you have a frame of reference. On solo jumps, I have none. I could be moving a lot more than I think I am. (And I was.) The best part about indoor skydiving is the amount of time I have to correct my body position without distractions. On a jump, there’s always the altitude to keep in mind, canopy malfunctions, landing patterns, wind directions, etc. In the tunnel, there is just me and my coach for two minute intervals, which is twice as long as regular skydive.
I’ve learned a lot of about my body position. First, I have a very extreme arch. In later sessions I’m starting to flatten it out a little, but my first instinct seems to be to let my hips sink. Second, I have a wide stance and I ought to be more conscious of what my legs are doing. Third, I apparently don’t know what to do with my hands because I look retarded.
The most amazing thing about the tunnel though, is how much your body learns and adapts before your brain can even catch up. I’ve been dirt-dive prepped before; Laticia or Nathan will go over what my body is supposed to be doing and then on a jump I think about it and then do it. On my last coached jump, I had trouble with sidesliders, which is flying laterally side-to-side. Sidesliders involve flying with the knees, when previously, I’ve only ever had to worry about my arms. Adding both seemed to break my brain.
When I landed, I spoke to Laticia about it and she said, “It’s a Zen move. You think ‘go sideways’ and you do.”
Naturally, I was skeptical. But, lo and behold, in the tunnel, I started moving laterally by just thinking it. Honestly, I was doing things in there about which I was in complete disbelief as I was doing them. The shots of my face in the video are blurry, but you can catch a glimpse of astonished delight here and there.
All right, now onto the other things I meant to blog about this week…