Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Cross It Off Your Bucket List"

As I was sitting here writing a blog post on being obsessed with Iron Man a song from my site player came on, "Live Like You Were Dying" (yes, I listen to my own music, it hasn't gotten old for me, I hope you feel the same way).   Bare with me as I take you on a little ride...

Yup...that's me!
In 2004 I decided I wanted to go skydiving.  My husband (at the time) bought me a gift certificate for a tandem jump for my birthday.  I went.  I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.  It was one of the best experiences of my life.  I knew instantly I wanted to do it again, but on my own.  I wanted to make sky diving my hobby!!  I went home and started looking up all the equipment I was going to need.   Let me tell you, it's every bit as expensive as triathlon.

A month later I went in for an all day training session.  I met all the local sky-divers who impressed me to no end.  My jump master carefully explained all the ways I could die or get hurt....and taught me all the things I needed to remember so as to avoid either of those eventualities!!  I learned there is a series of jumps you have to complete in order to jump alone....starting with the jump I would make that day--a static line jump.   ((Imagine if, before doing an IronMan, you were required to take a class, then complete 3 sprints, 3 Olympic distance and 4 half Irons before being allowed to sign up for IM.))

This is the position you get into before pulling your cord
Not sure if you know anything about sky diving, but basically in the static line jump, your pack pull cord is connected to a line attached to the plane.  You hold on to the strut of the plane with your legs dangling (like 6,000 feet in the air)...then you let go.  (It should be called a static line FALL instead of jump.)  You are supposed to go into a certain position ((or you could get tangled in the line and die)) count for like 3 seconds and then pull your cord to open your pack....if you freak out basically the line that is connected to the plane pulls it for you.  If you (LIKE ME) don't maneuver into the correct position the jump master basically pulls the line very quickly (lest you get tangled up in it and die).

In the split seconds after I realized I wasn't in the right position I thought I would surely die.  I would never see my kids again.  Fortunately my jump master "short-pulled" the line and my pack opened.  When I landed however, long story short, I cracked my tailbone!  Everyone there told me about all the injuries they had sustained over the years.  They assured me, as if it was actually "assuring", injuries were just a part of the sport.  They said the best thing I could do (if I was serious about sky diving) was to come back the next week and jump again, cracked tailbone and all.

You might think I never went back, but I did...a year later with a friend who was crossing an item off her "bucket list".

The rush of the tandem line jump from the previous year came back to me without the pain in my hind end to remind me about my near death static line experience.  All my "friends" (the sky divers I met the year before) remembered me and were telling me they were sure I would be back but they didn't think it would have taken as long as it had.  As I contemplated the possibility of rejoining a group I had never been fully inducted into in the first place, a girl came up on crutches, looking as if she had been hit by a semi.

Shortly before that day (I want to say it was a week, but may have been a month), Shayna Richardson (now West), was taking her 10th jump (like a graduation jump if you will) when both her primary and her reserve canopies failed.  (((She told me the canopies were most likely okay, but there was a problem that she couldn't/didn't handle.)))  She swirled all the way down where she slammed her body into a parking lot.  Obviously she didn't die.  ((The video is HERE.))  After talking to Shayna that day...I have never gone back.  Furthermore, I don't think about going back, longer than a few seconds minutes anyway.

You might ask why on earth I'm writing about this....  Well, it's in response to a couple of comments made by a friend about triathlon, IronMan specifically.  MY TAKE on what she said (maybe not what she meant by her comments) is that some people sign up for an Iron Man just to cross it off a list of things they want to do before they die.  I'll be honest, last January when I decided I wanted to "run a marathon" that was pretty much what I had in mind.  However, it didn't take long for me to realize I LOVE to run.  When I decided to train for my first triathlon...I didn't know what to expect.  I couldn't swim.  I didn't own a bike.  I thought it might be a good way to cross train to improve my running without the constant pounding out of miles.

I didn't expect to love it.  I didn't expect it to be a life changing thing for me.  I didn't expect it to change me the way it has.

No...triathlon hasn't changed's simply an outlet for me to be who I am.  ((yes, I'm totally aware of how corny that sounds....but it's true so I'm leaving it there!))

Thanks for stopping in!  Come again soon.

1 comment:

  1. I do triathlons to test the fitness of my cross training. It works for me.. You have taken it beyond that and I think that is great... Enjoy the journey to the Iron Man.


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