The fun weekend is winding down and I am also trying to “wind down”. Things have been pretty much non-stop since Friday afternoon, but in a good way. I got to spend Friday night celebrating my life-long friend’s birthday with dinner out at P.F. Changs. On Saturday, after a busy morning of sports practices we went over to our friend’s house for a pool party with all the kids. Then that evening we continued the party with most of the same friends at a Japanese restaurant (similar to Benihana). This party is becoming somewhat of a tradition and, along with that, I do a few (x4) sake bombers with the birthday boy every year. Oh my.
Nevertheless, I was functional (mostly) this morning to proceed with what has been one of the most fun things I’ve done in a long time – indoor sky-diving!
A long time ago I blogged about purchasing a “Groupon”-type deal for an indoor sky-diving place after realizing that I was just below the weight limit. You can read about that here. Well, 60+ pounds later, that Groupon is about to expire and we just had not made the time to get down to the town of Eloy and use it. So the other day I asked my husband if he thought we could sneak away today and go … so we did!
Eloy, AZ is known as a spot for sky-diving due to the weather and wide-open spaces. Therefore, there is also an indoor sky-diving training facility called Sky Venture Arizona. It is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. We left our house around 10:30 AM and made it there a few minutes early for our 12:15 PM reservation. After signing a waiver we headed up some stairs to the wind tunnel. We watched another group for a while then went in a classroom to watch a short briefing video and get a few instructions from the instructor. They take about 10-12 people in at a time. He showed us the hand signals they will use to tell us how to move our arms, legs, head, and hips to maneuver better. It became pretty clear that we were just going to learn the absolute basic positions today – there would be no flips and fancy stuff. It takes a lot of training and practice to get that down. We put our belongings into lockers then headed to the front desk to get our gear. We had to wear knee pads under our flight suits. We put in ear plugs, tight fitting goggles, and finally helmets. Everything has to be really tight or it will fly off in the chamber. We filed into the chamber to the outer ring where they had a long bench that our whole group sat on. Then, one by one, we went into the wind tunnel for a one minute “flight”. One minute doesn’t seem like very long until you get in there. The fan is super strong and loud. It blows against your face so hard that if your mouth is open you’ll have spit flying across your face. I loved every second of it. The instructors repeatedly told us that to be most successful you really had to relax your body so I worked on doing that. I gotta say I picked up on it pretty quickly. The hand signals I got the most were a “thumbs up” to let me know I was doing a good job. My husband used my phone from the inside bench to catch a few photos:
When our time was up they instructor leads you to the door frame where you grab onto both sides and pull yourself in. Everyone then went a second time. On my second trip inside things were again going pretty smoothly so my instructor tried to teach me how to move around a little. Wow, was that hard. One small wrong movement and you are headed into the wall head-first. With about 15 seconds left on the second and last turn, the instructor grabs hold of our arm and leg and, after spinning us around, took us on a wild ride up and down the chamber. I think mine knew I could handle it pretty well based on what he had seen so he took me really high and then down really fast – faster than I think he did with any of the others. I was screaming but was having an absolutely blast!
Today was made possible by one extremely important factor – I lost 45, then 100 total pounds which allowed me to be under the weight limit for this experience. I had thought about doing this and many other fun activities back when I weighed over 250 pounds but knew that I was not going to be able to because of my weight. How sad. Today was just another in a long string of examples of adventures that are once again available to me simply because I got things back under control. I never want to have my weight make any decisions for how I’m going to enjoy my life. I hope that if things ever get tough, I remember the feeling I had today of “flying”.