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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Summer Progress

So apparently I only update this blog once every blue moon…

The biggest progress this year thus far has been passing my Silver Moves in May. It was 2/3 but a pass is a pass. The only disappointing thing was that while one judge marked me at passing, and one 2 points over, another marked me 5 points under. My coach was pretty baffled by it too as clearly the other judges didn’t think I stunk it up that badly. The biggest improvement was that I did not get a single comment about needing to improve my posture (where I got a lot on the Bronze test in January).  I am going to take the Bronze free this month and then that will be it for testing for a while. I have started steady work on Gold Moves and have already made several attempts to murder myself with a bracket so I am sensing many quality (and not so quality) hours ahead.

The axel is still sort of-kind of- almost- sort of -there. My best attempts are short and I break at the waist but I generally land on one foot and the snap is getting better. I hope to get closer by the end of the year.

My sit change sit is getting pretty consistent. I generally don’t mess up the transition and am getting lower and getting more revolutions on the back sit. It’s nice to see progress!

The camel is still my nemesis. I feel like it’s no more consistent than it was a year ago which is really frustrating. I try to be positive about it but I feel like every time I think I figure it out I lose it again.

This is a Camel Spin from yesterday- the position can be improved but it is fairly solid…

Then today I did some okay ones, but they were slow and I kept falling on the inside edge.

Then I did this…

Clearly I am an example of grace and elegance. (and clearly I should not quit my day job).

I am working really hard on improving my jump positions- especially for loop, flip and lutz. I am working on really getting into the ‘H’ position, stopping my pre rotation, fixing my posture, and straightening my knee. I know it’s getting better because I can feel the spring when I use good technique (and tell when I don’t). My goal is to be a Gold level lady someday and I want to actually skate like one.

I think the most important thing in skating is to make time for the fun stuff too. Whenever I get stuck on something (aka my camel spin) I always try to end with something to remind myself why I love skating. Hydroblade away!

 

Sit change sit

One of my major spin goals this year is to get a consistent sit change sit. I want to be comfortable enough to put it in a program with minimal risk of falling over… (it’s adult figure skating, I expect at least a little risk!). I am getting better slowly but surely, if I mess up it’s usually on the transfer to the back sit. Kind of like this…

 

Both these videos (pink shirt) were taken in March, see below… a more successful example…

 

This one from yesterday is faster (but my regular sit position in this example is not very good, what’s with the leg wrap?). But I feel like I’m getting a better handle on the transfer.

 

And just so I don’t get burnt out working on this combo I’ve been working on my cannonball position. It’s really fun! But getting up is a challenge!

Early morning freestyles

Since I started skating again over a year ago my primary rink has been a fairly infamous mall rink in the Pacific Northwest. It was small, the ice was soft from it being too warm, and publics could be prohibitively crowded but it was a mile from where I lived. Plus when you fell spectacularly you always had an audience of shoppers to share in the experience.

Unfortunatly, the mall and the rink are undergoing a major renovation. The rink is going to be downsized even further and will essentially be an oval shape too small to do any serious skating on. There was a dedicated campaign amongst the skating community here to try to convince the company in Texas that bought the property to not shrink the rink, but like many billion dollar companies, they don’t care. Apparently not everything is bigger in Texas.

The rink closed for 10 months (yeah right) of renovation on Sunday. It was pretty sad, all the adults wore black and many of the younger skaters who grew up skating there were visibly upset. To make it even more fun they turned the ice compressors off at 3:00 pm so by 4:30-5 we were all skating through what was essentially standing water. Great for splashing your friends… Not so great for skating.

The real downside of this is that there are no longer evening skating hours in my area (publics or freestyles), hours that often work best for working adults. The mall rink was the only rink in the city proper and the three others in the surrounding areas don’t have after work hours. Unfortunately, that means that if I want skate on days beside the weekend I am going to have to drag myself out of bed for some early morning skating. That first early morning was unfortunately/fortunately today.

The rink I am going to skate early mornings at has the benefit of being the one closest to where I work several days a week. It has a 5:15, 6:15, and 7:15 am freestyle and I decided the 6:15 would work the best considering this was my first attempt at being an early morning skater (and I had to be at work at 8 so 7:15 was not an option).  I made a point of doing all my prep for the day ahead the night before and packed my work clothes, skate bag, and breakfast and lunch so all I would have to do in the morning was grab my stuff and go.

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Sitting in the rink parking lot at 6am contemplating what I am doing with my life.

Waking up was not a huge problem (falling asleep early is something I will have to work on more) and I had just enough time to get ready and drink a cup of coffee before heading out. While I am not a natural morning person, I do like getting up early once I am actually up (the getting up not so much). I think it will just take time to get used to. I was worried I was going to be a total zombie on the ice but once I got through the first 10 minutes of ‘wtf am I doing awake let alone exercising at this hour’ I felt pretty good. It was nice to skate on faster ice and while the freestyle was busy it didn’t feel overly crowded. I didn’t waste time like I often do practicing in the evenings with more time. I practiced most of my elements and was mostly glad to have gotten the first episode of early morning skating out of the way. I am going to skate before work twice a week during the week to start and see how I feel from there (in addition to skating on the weekends). All in all it wasn’t as bad as I thought or feared it was going to be (although that probably has something to do with my coffee addiction).

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They will pry the coffee from my cold, dead, hands.