Pacific Coast Sectionals: Second times the charm?

It’s been a long time since I’ve written here but I’m going to try and start again- skating means so much to me.

 

Since I last documented my misadventures with adult figure skating a lot has happened.

  1. I passed my Silver Freeskate test via a gift from the universe. I freaked out so much that I fell on a single loop in the warm up. After the test was over another adult skater advised me that Fireball was a good anti-anxiety supplement. I have yet to try this since I practice at 5 am and last time I checked drinking hard liquor that early in the morning is sort of frowned upon.
  2. I sprained my ankle doing an off ice axel and couldn’t skate for a month. Two years later I sprained the same ankle doing an off ice axel (Off Ice Axel: 2, Erin: 0). Thankfully the second only resulted in a week off. I think I learned my lesson.
  3. For a positive- I landed my axel. It’s still a spinny adult axel but it gets around and is fairly consistent so I am trying to be less self deprecating about it.
  4. I changed coaches. Changing coaches in figure skating is like getting a divorce. It was really difficult to do but was for the best.
  5. I took my Gold Moves and got a retry- for the record if you put your foot down on a bracket you are going to fail.
  6. I learned an illusion spin entry which has since become my favorite spin. The camel spin and I are still in counseling.
  7. I went to Pacific Coast Adult Sectionals for the first time, fell on a spin and managed to get 19th place. Out of 19. It felt about as good at the time as it sounds.
    1. Exhibit A: The best part of the entire day was when after my disaster skate one of the skaters in my group (who was on the podium) came up to me after the event. She was really nice and encouraging. Additionally, my older brother had come to the event to watch since he was in LA at the time. At the end of our brief conversation she said something along the lines of “And hey- who’s that hot guy you are with?” To which I replied “That’s my brother.” Apparently the competition was checking my brother out and wondering what he was doing at an adult figure skating competition.
    2. What makes that story so funny is that I have listened to people (friends, acquaintances, random strangers, ect.) talk about how good looking they think my brother is my entire life. I thought I was safe at a figure skating competition. The universe thought not.
    3. Even though I did not have the skate I wanted in the Championship event I had a really good time. Watching and cheering for other adult skaters was so much fun. Most of all it was fun to see other adults who love skating as much as I do.

 

 

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The spin I fell on executed well in the open 6.0 event. This was prior to the bloodbath that was my first foray into the world of IJS.

 

As harsh a critic I can be about my own skating- I have improved a lot in the past year. My goal this year at sectionals is to be happy with how I skated. I can’t control anything else- I just want to be happy with my performance and not disappointed with myself like last year. I have been trying a lot of mental strategies to help with nerves but I think more than anything is just remembering that even if I skate poorly- that doesn’t mean I am a bad skater. It doesn’t say anything about me. As a perfectionist and self deprecating person that is hard for me to remember to do. This year my coach and another adult skating friend are both going which I think will help a lot. Either way, I’m sure there will be stories to tell when I get home.

Happy Skating!

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ISI Adult Championships Recap

Last weekend I was lucky enough to participate in the ISI Adult Championships in Las Vegas. It was a great experience and crazy fun. When I skated when I was younger, the only major competition I ever went to was ISI Worlds 2003 with my Synchro Team (where we got 2nd place).

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My 15 year old self is in the middle, looking less than thrilled to have my picture taken.

The trip started with a flight to Las Vegas where I got to sit next to a man who snored the entire way. If only I knew that this would be the least annoying part of the morning as I soon discovered that the Las Vegas Airport is the 9th circle of hell. I waited amongst the slot machines, blaring advertisements for washed up pop stars, and 8 dollar coffee for 2 hours until my friends plane arrived (there were nine of us from my rink who went but we all had different travel arrangements). After we met up my friend and I headed to the hotel we were all staying at which looked like someone’s toy castle that had been left outside too long.

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See above; our amazing view from the room.

After everyone arrived we headed out to explore and find food before heading to bed as the competition started in the next day.

Friday morning we woke up early as we had a group practice. We worked on our production number some before having a little time to practice individually. It was nice to get a feel for the ice. My camel spin, which is the bane of my existence, was so-so which I took as a positive since earlier the week before it had gone on vacation. We had some time to ourselves the rest of the morning so we went out for lunch before a few of us went back to the rink for another practice session.

The competition started that night but only a few of us competed. I skated my artistic Freestyle 4 program, which was actually my pre-bronze program (which is about to be retired as I am now working on bronze). I was really happy with how I skated and could really see the improvement from the first time I competed with it. While I lost to my coaches daughter (who was amazing!), I was really happy with the first day of competition. After competing we went out for pizza and stayed up too late, something I would regret the next morning when I had to wake up for  6:45 am practice.

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My favorite element is the spread eagle, and the only thing my excess turn out is good for.

My early morning practice was actually kind of hilarious. I ended up having to run my program first before properly warming up and ended up completely forgetting the end (oops). Thankfully, they let me run it again at the end of the session where I didn’t do anything quite as stupid (except sit down at the end of my sit-pancake spin, but hey, it was the end of the program). My camel spin continued to play hard to get but I managed a few good ones.

The rest of the morning consisted mostly of watching my friends skate which was a blast. I competed in compulsary freestyle 4 and lost (big surprise, I was skating against two 21 year old college students with lovely jumps), but we did win against the same skaters in the jump-spin event where I only had to do a sit spin which is a much stronger element for me.

The thing I was most nervous for was my technical Open Silver event that afternoon. It was where the things that were most challenging for me were (camel-sit-tuck, lutz-toe, spread eagle into lutz, and flip-loop). I basically spent the early afternoon trying not to lose my lunch, before getting ready for my event.

My warm up was so-so. Did two terrible camels and finally one good one. Jumps were hesitant and tight. I skated first in my event which was good for me as I had been intimidated by the other skater in the warm up (whose camel spin was beautiful). I started pretty hesitantly (as I was worried about said camel spin) but did not screw it up too much (but didn’t hold t long before transitioning to the sit). Afterwards, I started to enjoy myself more. While I didn’t do my elements as well as I am capable of in practice, I was overall happy with my skate. I ended up winning but I think if my competitor had not made mistakes she likely would have won (as she was a great performer and very talented skater). I am planning on keeping this program for next year as I really love it and feel I have more to learn from it. Overall it was a good marker of how far I have come in a year and what I want to work on in this next year. I have a lot of goals going forward (passing Bronze in USFSA and I want to make progress on the axel and back sit especially) and am excited to keep working on getting better.

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While there were pro and cons to my skate, my dress was on point…

We celebrated a successful conclusion to day’s events (my fellow teammates did awesome!) by going on the Fremont Street zoom line (basically a zip line where you are hooked up like you are flying). It was AWESOME! We then walked around a little more before heading back to the hotel as we still had our production the next day.

On Sunday we won our production event and ended up getting 3rd place overall as a team (you collect points by how you place in different events), and while it was my first time competing here, my team has competed in several other adult ISI champs and this was their highest placement ever. I was really happy for them and all the hard work they put in (especially my teammate who competed in 14 events!).

After that we all went our separate ways as some of us were going home that night while others spent some extra time in the city. It was overall an amazing experience and one I would recommend to anyone. While it is a log term goal of my t compete at USFSA adult sectionals and nationals I would still recommend the ISI Adult Championships to any adult skater. It is a really fun event, and I’m told a lot less stressful than adult nationals. There are numerous spotlight, character, dramatic, and footwork events, and in addition to competing, it is a ton of fun to watch! I was really happy I did it and really proud of my teammates.