Re­becca Eck­ler

Re­becca Eck­ler takes flight and gets hooked on the free-fall adren­a­line rush

Thornhill Post - - Contents - RE­BECCA ECK­LER Post City Mag­a­zines’ colum­nist Re­becca Eck­ler is the au­thor of Knocked Up, Wiped!, How to Raise a Boyfriend, The Lucky Sperm Club and her lat­est book, The Mommy Mob.

Thank­fully, I don’t have time to worry that I’m go­ing sky­div­ing. It is be­fore 8 a.m., and I’m rush­ing to iFLY Toronto, which is lo­cated in Oakville, for what they de­scribe as “an epic ex­pe­ri­ence.”

In The New Mid-Life, I’m all for epic ex­pe­ri­ences, but I’m also a lit­tle more fear­ful than I was when I was younger. For ex­am­ple, not too many new mid-lif­ers I know want to start a new sport for fear of in­jur­ing them­selves.

But my out­go­ing and very cute 21-year-old in­struc­tor, Adrian Uracz — am I mak­ing my­self sound like a cougar? crap! — tells me that they get in­door sky­divers as young as four years old.

The el­dest iFLY Toronto in­door sky­diver? 93 years old!

I fig­ure if a four-year-old and a 93year-old (who came with her son and her grand­son) could do this, then cer­tainly this new mid-lifer could … and prob­a­bly should.

So what is in­door sky­div­ing? Well, ac­cord­ing to iFLY Toronto, it’s an op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence the sen­sa­tion of free fall. Par­tic­i­pants watch a video that gives an over­view fol­lowed by class­room train­ing of body po­si­tion, hand sig­nals, en­trance and exit pro­ce­dures and a safety brief­ing. You are then in a 14-foot cylin­dri­cal di­am­e­ter ver­ti­cal tube that is 45 feet tall, in which an airstream is pass­ing at a speed of up to 250 kilo­me­tres per hour.

Once in­side the wind tun­nel, you get the ex­pe­ri­ence of what sky­divers ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing the free-fall por­tion of the jump (with­out ac­tu­ally hav­ing to jump out of a plane, which, to al­most ev­ery­one, is the scary part), which is gen­er­ally done from 13,500 to 3,500 feet of altitude at a speed of 200 kilo­me­tres per hour.

I know this isn’t rocket science, and that I’m not about to per­form brain surgery, but I tell Uracz that I’m a lit­tle ner­vous.

“It’s nor­mal to feel ner­vous. I’d be ner­vous if you weren’t ner­vous!” he says.

But, he stresses, “This is not sup­posed to be stress­ful!” Easy enough for a 21-year-old to say. A lit­tle hard to be­lieve when you are a mother of two.

To­day, I am go­ing to in­door sky­dive four times, 60 sec­onds a pop.

As for new mid-lif­ers, he says, groups of women and men come in “all the time.”They also host birth­day par­ties and bachelorette par­ties.

Af­ter I’m all suited up, I hold my arms to my chest (as in­structed by the video) and am ready to fall into the tun­nel. “Re­mem­ber,” Uracz yells, “stay re­laxed and smile!”

I fall for­ward and am im­me­di­ately swept up, feel­ing the skin of my face flap­ping (and a lit­tle drool fall­ing from the sides of my mouth).

“That’s per­fectly nor­mal. I had a five-year-old do this, and there was so much drool,” Uracz says and laughs.

Im­me­di­ately, in­side the tun­nel, I know I am hooked, feel­ing, well, kind of like a su­per­hero, mixed with the kind of rush you get when you are at the top of a roller coaster.

Yes, I some­times fly into the walls, but it’s easy to push your­self back. Yes, I some­times fall right to the ground, and Uracz tosses me back into the air. I feel weight­less and free, and, look­ing back, all I could think about in that tun­nel was, “I don’t want this to end!”

I think this new mid-lifer is go­ing to be a re­peat flyer. I know my 11year-old daugh­ter would love this.

“My mother isn’t so much a fan of me ac­tu­ally sky­div­ing. But she feels more com­fort­able with the in­door sky­div­ing,” says Uracz, when asked how is mother feels about his job.

The com­pany has an­other lo­ca­tion in Mon­treal, and iFLY is cel­e­brat­ing its first an­niver­sary in May.

They are of­ten so busy, says Uracz, that, es­pe­cially on week­ends, they have back-to-back in­door sky­divers. Of­ten there is a wait­ing list for a few weeks.

In­ter­est­ingly, no one has ever thrown up. No one has ever stood at the en­trance of the tun­nel and said, “Nope. Not go­ing to do this.”

But more in­ter­est­ingly for some, is that there is a fit­ness fac­tor to in­door sky­div­ing.

“I think I lost about 20 pounds in the first two months I started in­door sky­div­ing,” says Uracz, who is very lean. He tells me I’ll feel sore to­mor­row, as if I just had “a re­ally good work­out.”

Sadly (and yes, I mean I WAS sad when my ses­sion was over), I feel both ex­hausted and full of adren­a­line.

That adren­a­line rush lasted the en­tire day. I don’t re­mem­ber the last time I’ve been so ex­cited by some­thing. And, yes, when I woke up the next morn­ing, my shoul­ders and stom­ach mus­cles did feel like I had done a hard yoga class the day be­fore.

I can’t help but ask, “When you tell peo­ple in­door sky­div­ing is your job, is it a good pickup line?”

Uracz laughs and says, “Yes. It has worked a cou­ple of times.”

I guess the big ques­tion is, will I ever try ac­tual sky­div­ing? Af­ter this, the an­swer is a def­i­nite, “YES!”

Eck­ler ex­pe­ri­ences the free-fall por­tion of sky­div­ing

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