05/10 0 comments
Okay, or you can keep reading and listen to the one at the end of this post. That works too. It’s relevant to what I’m about to talk about as well. So yeah, do that instead.
One of my favorite Ted Talks of all time is surprisingly impactful given that it’s less than three and a half minutes long. It’s about challenging yourself to make changes in your life that you’ve always wanted to make by doing things for 30 days – at first.
Anything can be done for 30 days if you really want it badly enough, and that’s a great amount of time for creating new habits and sticking with it. As they say, it only takes 21 days for something to become a habit (yes, for all you naysayers I do know that’s based on anecdotal evidence and everyone is different when it comes to change, but keep reading and you’ll see my point goes beyond that little nugget) and as Matt Cutts says, those 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not, so why not spend that time making small steps in what you see as the right direction for you?
This morning I came back to this talk as I knew it would inspire my Friday to be the best it can, and that it has. I’ve decided that he’s right, or at least I’m going to test it out and see if he is right, by starting my own 30 day challenge. And in an effort to stay accountable not only to myself, but to everyone keeping track here in my little corner of the universe, I’ve decided to share this with you.
So, starting today (because, waiting for the beginning of the month would just be silly), I’m challenging myself to do some form of exercise every day for the next 30 days. Now, this is going to be extra challenging because I have a tattoo session this weekend and anyone who has ever been inked before knows that you need to cut the sweat sessions out for a bit while you’re healing, but I’m confident I can make it work.
Anyone with me?
It doesn’t have to be the same challenge. In fact, I encourage you to find something that you’ve been meaning to do – if exercise is it, great, if not, tell us what it is!
Expect to hear back on June 10 for the results.
Oh, and here’s that video I was talking about.
10/2 4 comments
Until just recently, I didn’t actually enjoy my canopy ride…it was simply a means to an end, to get me back to the ground so I can pack up and get back into freefall again.
I was scared of my canopy, I was scared of other pilots, I was scared of the wind, and I was certainly scared of the ground. But as my currency continues to stay high, I find that I’m enjoying myself under canopy more and more. Conversations with good canopy pilots, with swoopers and with S&TAs around the South has given me a greater respect for my canopy and what it’s capable of. One-on-one canopy coaching has helped me safely push the limits and learn as much about my canopy as possible.
As I continue to progress and understand the dynamics of canopy piloting, I find that I’m craving higher performance and more speed. This is surprising even to me, as someone who looks at swooping and shakes her head, not understanding why someone would purposefully practice a discipline that’s been known to – for lack of a better term – fuck some people up. But just as anything else within the sport, once you learn one skill it’s only natural to want to move on to the next…safely, of course.
I’ve been thinking a lot about downsizing. Even under a 120 I’m still not performing well in strong winds, and even though my wing loading is still fairly light and stepping down isn’t all that risky, I’m taking plenty of time to feel out my options. I find the more I play under canopy and push the limits of what my canopy can do, I’m craving more performance. I’m in no rush to swoop, of course, but having a higher performing wing seems like the next step for me in my canopy flight progression.
Chatting this weekend with some of the other freeflyer chicks at Skydive Carolina I realized that the time really has arrived. Turns out my canopy progression has been not only completely normal, but maybe even a bit conservative compared to my fellow jumpers. To each his own, but it helped me feel better (and completely justified) about my desire to go elliptical. On top of that, I was dealing with turbulence issues those on fully elliptical canopies were cutting right through. When uppers were cookin’ and wind on the ground was less than 5 knots and I was coming straight down, watching my canopy breathe and flex heavily as it bounced me around, I had to consider whether jumping was even a good idea – I’m tired of it and I’m ready to have a little more confidence under canopy (and let’s be honest, with my openings….Sabre2 off headings are not my favorite).
Thankfully I’ve got some friends in the area who fly the canopy I’m looking to get, so looks like this girl has some demoing to do.
So tell me, what’s your canopy progression looked like?
09/27 0 comments
This is great advice for all aspects of life and something I’ve found makes most circumstances easier to tackle – but especially in skydiving.
When it comes to making decisions in life, we all have those moments where we hesitate, where we doubt ourselves but often push forward anyway. The problem with this is, if you’re wavering in your mind, that’s going to show in your actions. This effect is magnified in sports like skydiving. This is why when you’re on the plane you’ll often see jumpers with their eyes closed walking through a dive flow, preparing their muscles for exactly what they want to do – even something as simple as handle checks to keep that memory fresh so you can make the right moves at the right time as needed.
In short, make a decision and act confidently on it.
When you’re not confident about an exit, it’s going to show. When you’re not confident in the tunnel, you’re likely to hit the wall. Making low turns under canopy – whether aggressive or not – must be deliberate and calculated or you just might bounce. Visualize, breathe, dig deep down and find that part of you, no matter how small, that just knows you can do this and bring that to the forefront of your mind.
For a long time I had trouble with exits. There was never a reason why I wasn’t confident about it, I just wasn’t. Then I started wingsuiting and found that if you’re not completely solid and stable on exit, if everything isn’t timed just so, flat spins are likely – and let me tell you they’re not fun. After about 10 exits in a row that were complete shit (thankfully I was able to recover quickly so the skydive didn’t completely go to hell) I had to find that part of me that knew I could do it, that part of me that wanted it so badly I had no choice but to make it happen. Being deliberate was the only way and solid, practiced visualization helped.
I still find myself doubting certain things about a planned jump, but the more I push myself out of that comfort zone the more confidence I have in my flying overall.
At the end of the day you have to find what works for you, but the next time you find yourself with butterflies about a dive plan, remind yourself to be deliberate in your actions – you just might surprise yourself.
04/13 2 comments
Now that the skydiving season is in full swing, it’s time to get real about something – lifestyle.
What I mean by that is, figuring out what kind of skydiver you are and coming to grips with that. As the weather warms and many of my friends are out at the dropzone during the week (and tweeting about it, rubbing my sad little face in the fact that I’m stuck in my office on a day where it’s 69 degrees and sunny) this is the most difficult time of the year for those of us who can only be weekend warriors due to prior commitments.
Last year around this time I took a look at a few different types of skydivers and how you can learn to embrace that to enjoy life to it’s fullest – after all, isn’t that what skydiving teaches us to do?
So, the question remains, how do you come to grips with being purely a weekend (or occasional) skydiver?
Suck it up, that’s how!
In all seriousness though, you have to make a conscious decision about how skydiving fits into your life. For some, they just can’t stand not having skydiving play a significant role in their lives, so they take risks, make adjustments, and find a way to make the sport a greater part of their lies. Others, like myself, have a such passion for what we do on a daily basis and, though we wish we could be out there on the nicest days of the year jumping with our friends, we know our other responsibilities help round out our life.
Of course, there are other variations of this – if you didn’t read my post from last April, be sure to do so, I don’t intend to repeat myself and bore y’all…clicky clicky.
Anywhoosits, the point here is this: make a decision about your life, when it comes to skydiving, career, family, and how all those pieces fit together, at embrace it. There’s nothing saying you can go down one path and make a change later on as your needs and preferences change, but there’s also no point in stewing over the fact that the other parts of your life are taking away from your passions (skydiver or not).
So, if you’re a weekend warrior like me, don’t waste your energy on envy when your fellow jumpers are out at the dropzone on a sunny Wednesday afternoon while you’re “stuck at the office” or wherever you are. Instead, dedicate yourself to your commitments, to your passions, and know that come Saturday morning, you can wake up to the smell of Jet A with a smile on your face, knowing that the weekend is yours to play amongst the clouds.
(Note: yep, that’s a bit of a pep talk for myself as well, even the preacher needs a friendly reminder every not and again.)
If you’re lucky enough to be heading out on a lovely weekend for your freefall fix, be sure to enjoy it a little bit more for the rest of us who are with you in spirit.
Blue Ones Kiddies!
07/30 1 comment
So my blogging is going through this awkward stage right now – sort of like adolescence: I’m no longer in that giddy student phase where all I care about is getting my thoughts and excitement about skydiving down on paper (or, in Word Press, whatever), and I’m far from an expert who has any kind of authority to talk about or give advice about anything of importance.
Being in this “intermediate” phase is challenging. There are things I’d like to think I’ve become skilled enough to chat about, but then again I don’t want to go around giving advice that could end up hurting someone because it wasn’t the right advice for them.
Though I do have to say I love where I am in my skydiving career – so to speak. I’m finally starting to get it, each and every jump it’s visible that all that I’ve learned in 200+ skydives is finally starting to come together into something, even just simple docks in sitfly. It’s rewarding, to say the least. But of course, I’m no where near ready to start teaching others what they should and shouldn’t be doing in the sky. Hard to believe a D license, which is considered expert, used to require only 200 jumps.
But I still struggle with where I should be in my skydive blogging career.
Earlier this week I took a poll that helped generate a few ideas for upcoming posts, and my readers have even inspired me to do some research to get them answers on things they’re looking to learn.
But aside from that, I want to ask you right here on the page, what else do you want from me? What do you come to this page seeking? Is it more photos/videos, do you just want to hear about random experiences, do you want my opinions on things I may or may not be qualified to give? Or is it something entirely different altogether. You tell me, after all, I’m writing this for YOU!
If you don’t want to comment, you can always email me at email@example.com. I’m open to any suggestions that might make the awkward phase of this blog smoother and more enjoyable for us all.
Until then, I’m off to AerOhio tomorrow and Skydive PA on Sunday. Then it’s time to get my pretty new rig all put together. More to come on that .
Love and blue skies!
09/29 5 comments
It seems that this summer I found the perfect diet plan – skydiving.
Not that I was exactly in the market to lose weight, but since I’ve started spending most of my weekend time at the DZ almost 15 pounds have dropped off. And probably not in the healthiest of ways.
(The real bummer here is that my RW suit doesn’t fit nearly as well as it used to…though who doesn’t love a new suit, right?)
Eating at the dropzone never seems to be a priority. On a good day, we jump, chat about the jump, pack, chat about the next jump, maybe throw in a dirt dive or two and do it all over again.
Every few jumps someone will hand me a bottle of water that I will gulp down, not realizing how much it was actually needed. Thankfully, I have friends who pay better attention to my hydration than I do.
But when it comes to eating, I tend to ignore the rumblings in my stomach until the day’s end.
Well, when I was a student, my main reason for not eating was because I was so nervous I feared that at any moment it might come back up. So I avoided food like the plague.
As I’ve progressed, this trend has continued – mainly because that’s the trend to which I became accustom. Although my body signals to me that it needs nourishment, rarely do I actually feel hungry at the DZ. But the moment I come down from sunset load and get packed up, I realize just how famished I am!
Of course, that doesn’t stop me from cracking open a cold, refreshing beer to end the day. And with no food in my system, it’s a quick, cheap buzz, that’s for sure.
I do realize this trend needs to change. Consuming only calories from beer is bound to catch up with my health one day. But, as a girl who typically watches what she eats, accompanying fellow skydivers to the nearest fast food joint for a mid-day bite just doesn’t sit well with me.
During the Work Stinks boogie this year at Start Skydiving, we stocked up on fresh fruit and light protein bars to help get us through the weekend. This was just the ticket. You get quick fuel that doesn’t sit around in your belly for hours.
Of course, since I’ve been back at home I’ve gone right back to my old ways. Next time I head to the DZ, I’ll have to stop at the grocery store to pick up some goods.
What about you? What is your typical eating routine during weekends at the DZ? Do you too find yourself eating less?
07/20 2 comments
There’s a phenomenon in skydiving that I like to refer to as mystery wounds.
Your body is in near perfect condition when you exit the plane, but 14,000 feet later you’re bruised, sore or bleeding, and you have no idea why.
You think back through the skydive, did you hit the plane on the way out? No, I don’t think so. Anything out of the ordinary in free fall? Nope, pretty routine. Hard opening perhaps? Not really.
So then why is my finger bleeding profusely?
Of course, we can’t forget about those days when we come home and see the latest bruises that mysteriously appear.
For the about three weeks another jumper and I had matching bruises on the inside of our left knee. It was a huge, deep bruise. Neither of us had any idea how we could have acquired it.
Maybe it’s a newbie thing, but I’ve ended up with multiple bumps, bruises, cuts and soreness that are a complete mystery.
Secretly though, I kind of enjoy my little war wounds. (Shh, don’t tell.) They’re conversational pieces if nothing else.
(#1 – Mysterious skin missing incident from this weekend. That knuckle had skin before I jumped! #2 – The not-so-mysterious elbow injury of jump 11. Canopy stall and hard landing. #3 – Bruised knees after my first AFF jump and ground school. Climbing in and out of a wooden Cessna for six hours of practice takes is toll on your knees. And those are just a few of the wounds I’ve captured on film.)
As a friend said this weekend, I don’t want to go to my grave in a perfect body. I want it to be scraped and scratched to know I lived a full, active life.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
What mystery wounds have you ended up with in the past?
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