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!

 

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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!

March Progress

Being that it’s nearly the end of March I thought I would do a quick run down of how some of my goals for the year are coming along. Sometimes I get stuck on an element and feel I’m not improving so it’s nice to step back and look at the big picture.

The elephant in the room is the axel. Off ice I can do it pretty well but it’s still a little cheated. My best on ice attempts have been 1/4 revolution short when I actually land on one foot (and I land on a flat, not on my toe, when I land on my toe I fall). My problem of late is dropping my left shoulder. I can alrady see that this is going to be a long road…

My sit change sit actually exists now… Sometimes… it didn’t exist in January at all so I’ll take it. If I screw up its when I change to the back sit. The plan is to put my sit-pancake in my new Bronze program for now and then switch in the sit change sit when I get it consistent. This is the program I want to use at sectionals next year so I think it is doable.

My camel is finalllllly getting more consistent. More importantly, when I flub it up I can usually figure out how to fix it. This saves me a lot of cursing and frustration. I am working on improving my position.

My other jumps are looking better, I have been working on my lutz especially, mostly in getting a better air position (straightening my knee in the air) and reducing flutzes. My loop and flip positions are getting better and I still hate the $&@:?#% toe loop.

The biggest improvement has been in Silver moves. The plan is to take it in May (along with my Bronze free which I was supposed to take in February but missed the sign up day, although it’s good I didn’t because it was when I was injured). I wasn’t expecting to take it that soon, I still need to get so of my back threes stronger as well as the inside spirals. I love cross roles though!

Overall I am fairly happy with where I am right now, I need to keep looking at the big picture to help when I get stuck on what I am not accomplishing.

and then I fell…

The past several weeks have been interesting, getting used to skating at different rinks and figuring out my new skating schedule has taken some getting used to. This week I finally felt like I was hitting my stride. I have been skating consistently and for the most part making good progress. While the Silver Moves test is still a long ways off it no longer feels as daunting as it did just a few weeks ago. I fell pretty hard on a back outside three turn earlier this week however that is not the fall that has me currently sitting on an ice pack eating tortilla chips and binge watching Netflix.

On Saturdays I skate at two freestyles and take a power class (correction; I make a fool of myself at a power class). I’m comfortable with freestyles and constantly check my surroundings so that I know where I am compared to everyone else. That said, I collided with another skater today and fell hard. I was doing a backwards crossover, about to step into a scratch spin when another skater’s blade caught in mine and we both went down. I fell backwards and landed hard on my tailbone. It was one of those falls where everyone else stops and skates over to make sure you’re not dead. Thankfully, the other skater (a young girl), was more upset than hurt and was okay.

I stayed for the rest of the freestyle (and my lesson) and did pretty well, I stopped to sit for a few minutes and then skated some easy laps before working on anything else. My coach and I worked on my camel and identified some of the things that cause me to fall on my inside edge and I managed several really good ones. I was only having pain when working on the back sit. There was a break for an ice cut in between the freestyle sessions and I decided then to cut my losses and go home. Which was definitely the right thing to do and I am more sore now than I was right after the fall (inflammation! yay!).

If I had to give my tailbone pain a number it would be a 2 at rest and no worse than a 4 with certain movements. I’m pretty sure its not broken (but being the physical therapist I am, I will get checked out if it gets any worse). I’ve been on the couch with my ice pack for most of the day (… all of the day) and have no plans to do much else. I’m still pretty shaken up. I’ve never collided with another skater and I’ve never hurt myself this significantly before. It’s frustrating because I wasn’t even doing anything that challenging and I have no idea how we missed each other. I guess I will have to hope for a fast recovery and take it as “accidents happen”.

I may be buying some waxel pads though…

 

2016 Goals

It’s difficult to believe that 2016 is already here. Now that the holidays are over I am starting to think ahead to my goals for the upcoming year, specifically with regard to what I want to accomplish in skating. While I started skating again in September of 2014, I only started private lessons again last January so I see this as my second year of seriously skating (although much of what I do is undoubtedly unserious!). I didn’t make a specific list of goals last year as my major goal was “learn to love skating again” which was a huge success to the detriment of my wallet. So looking forward at 2016, this is what I would like to accomplish…

  1. Pass Pre-Bronze Free, Bronze MITF and Bronze Free. I am testing Pre-Bronze Free and Bronze MITF this weekend… EEK. I feel fine about pre-bronze but the bronze MITF has me freaking out. I know I can do the elements, but am worried about my nerves messing up the power behind them.
  2. Start serious work on Silver MITF and be ready to test it by the end of the year.
  3. Improve overall speed and power, I am going to start going to a Saturday power class to help with this.
  4. Get my backscratch really solid, its come leaps and bounds this year, especially when I remember how it started, but it is still not where I want or need it to be. Continue working on the back sit and get it to a point where I can get it in a program, sit-change sit is the long term goal.
  5. Get my camel really consistent, when I hit it right I can do it well but it still likes to go on vacation without me. I would like to not have to worry about it mysteriously disappearing.
  6. Improve sit spin variations, my sit and pancake are solid and low, I would like to get more forward fold with my tuck variation and get the broken leg variation program ready.
  7. Get all my jumps higher and improve my position, get my jumping leg straighter in the air. A long term goal of mine is to work on a double salchow so I need my single positions to be really solid for that to be a reasonable goal.
  8. Land Axel. The take off is finally starting to make sense, I am not close to landing it yet but am starting to get the feel of what it should be. I need to work on a faster snap. I am also starting to get over my fear of it, when I go for it I do better than when I freak out and perform a train wreck in the air… This goal is important because I don’t want to test Silver Freeskate until I have an axel as the axel is allowed in competition at Silver level and if I am going to skate at that level I want to be competitive.
  9. Get my Y spiral/135 spiral. I have less than fabulous back extension so catch foot spirals and the like will probably always be difficult for me but I do have good hip flexibility. I would like to add this to a spiral sequence as my extension otherwise isn’t great. I am making good improvement with it but need to stretch more consistently.
  10. Be less self conscious on the ice, this is a big one. Especially because I get self conscious and compare myself to other skaters even when practicing. I am getting better about it but I need to remember to focus on my own skating and not worry about anyone else. There will always be someone better than me and who cares if other people judge what I’m doing negatively. The only person I skate for is me. (This is easier said than done).

I hope all my fellow adult skaters have an excellent start to the year and make good progress toward their goals. Here’s to a great year of skating!

 

 

 

Getting Started

The best way to describe my introduction to figure skating is that it definitely wasn’t boring. What I mean by that is that my 7 year old self bit it spectacularly on day one by falling over backwards. I was more determined than smart and stuck with it over ten years through the highs and increasingly frequent lows. When I finished high school, I hung up my skates for what I thought was a permanent parting of the ways.

image

See above: my younger, cuter self and my older brother channeling the real slim shady.

After finishing college and grad school I moved across the country and started doing a lot of the things being a perpetual student gets in the way of (to be fair it’s also because you have no money in grad school) I went hiking, joined a running club, and made a lot of great friends. I had always had a vague notion of wanting to start skating again and so I went to a public skate and inquired about group lessons.  Six months later I started taking private lessons again because 30 minutes of making a fool out of myself in group lessons wasn’t enough. 😛

Thinking about all the things that made me dislike skating as a child makes me sad for the person I was then. The best thing about getting older is you care so much less what other people think of you, I don’t skate for anyone else, I skate because I love it. It took me many years to find the joy in skating again and I hope I never lose it (even on the days I trip over my own feet).