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!

 

 

 

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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.

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.

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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).