Monday, December 4, 2017

Coach Gossip

When You're Inside the Coach Circle of Trust

And then you realize they talk about you too.

(Fortunately, they have nothing to gossip about me about! Mwha-ha-ha!)

What Adult Figure Skaters Understand #1

Family Comes First

I dropped out of the Christmas show. There's just no way.

Tonight I'm pulling together insurance papers to pass a verbal grilling by the insurance company tomorrow afternoon.

I may have limited skating for a few weeks, but the blog is not dead.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Things Only Figure Skaters Understand: The Skills You Hate Practicing

When your coach asks you to demonstrate a certain skill and  you've been avoiding it

And you know your coach is going to make you do them...
over and over and over
You were expecting the "Mracle on Ice" 'again' gif.

In my case it's the hockey stop. I haven't even attempted one since the Jurassic age. So my coach makes me demonstrate them. "Those are perfectly fine," she says. So hockey stops appeared out of nowhere.

I wish my brackets and back 3's would appear out of nowhere too. #SIGH.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Panic Mode!!!

I've been away on business for two weeks, and only had a chance to skate for one hour.

The day I get home, I get an email from the rink reminding me that the the Holiday show is Monday.

I desperately text another skater with a "WTF?!! Show is Monday?!! I don't even have my costume yet! I thought it was a month from now!"

About an hour later I get a reassuring text that show IS next month after all, no matter what the rink said.

 Today, the corrected email from the rink came out.

Also today, the choreographer had about 6 of us show up on public for her to practice with. Then after that, she stayed with my coach and me to go over some stuff. And I got my costume. XXL -- Dance sizing, what can I say.

The choreographer had taken out the quick two foot turns backwards and forwards in a group circe lthat I'm really good at. #SadMe.

BUT! I'm really good at the attitude spirals. Thanks, Coach! 

Status Report
I'm in the 'slow group' so don't expect me to ever reach "Bow Down to me Bitches"
I expect to peak at "I'm not so bad"

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Introduction to looking Awkward on Ice

At the end of my lesson my coach tells me to do a two foot sit spin.

I mean, the first one I did was more of a 'crouch spin'. I din't get anywhere near to a  'sit'.

"Your nose is too far forward, " she said, "Keep it no further forward than your knee. And try to actually SIT."
Probably something like this
Go here to see this in slo-mo
It's sort of like sit spin porn
Okay, okay. I get into a slow two foot spin, lower my ass toward the floor, bend my knees to the point where I think 'If I go any further, I'll need an X-ray" then I went beyond that (still rotating), and lifted my foot.  Maybe, there was a half or 3/4 rotation with one foot raised.

There was shocked silence from my coach. "I didn't think you could lift your foot." So, that probably means she'll be putting 'sit spins' in lesson rotations.

"Well, I can't actually stand UP from one foot though". Just to kill the idea I can do sit spins and keep them out of lesson rotation. There's a subtle war going on there.

After lesson, my coach told me about the time she was doing a sit spin and her old, broken down boot gave away and she fell off the edge, slamming her face into the ice. She was black and blue on one side of her face.

"Why did you tell me that?" I ask. "I could be traumatized."

She didn't actually roll her eyes , but came close. "Oh, don't worry, your boots are nowhere NEAR broken down enough for that to happen."

Honestly. I've been thrown off horses, any fear of a spin-faceplant is just silly. But part of my mind went "Wait! Wait! IT COULD STILL HAPPEN!" for about 30 seconds anyway. Then I shrugged it off. Hearing dramatic fall stories is just part of the sport.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Dramatic Pose

So my coach is helping me work on my skating for the Christmas show.

Part of the number has a piece of footwork with swingroll-twizzle-dramatic pose.

Apparently, I suck at dramatic poses.

"Oh, dear god," she says, "Why do you roll your shoulders up like that? The pose is supposed to be graceful, with one foot forward, with erect, posture and arms back."

Apparently rolling my shoulders up and back like a weight lifter getting ready for a snatch and grab is 'wrong'.

It's supposed to be a push back with erect posture

Only, when I do it, my coach says,
"Now your boobs stick out too much"
Well, I'm going to be in the middle of a circle with the tall people on the outside. I don't think anyone will notice!!! Boobs be damned!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Shocking the Coach...

Part of our Christmans show has a quick inside swing role as part of some foot work.

FO3, turn forward, chasse', swing roll, dramatic pose, lunge, twizzle...

Okay, simple enough, but even though the music is slow, that stuff seems like it's coming pretty quick because I feel like I'm always skating just a half a beat behind. My dance coach used to bitch about this.

"Why can't you get on the beat!"
So, since the swingroll is in the middle, I just quick kick through it to make sure I get on the beat.

My coach gives me a look of shock.

"How do you do that without killing yourself?!"

Apparently , I kick through the swingroll without bending my knee and there's some posture thing going on. It looks like I should be falling backwards.

I think about it a second, "I guess I have such a big ass that it lowers my center of gravity. It feels okay."

 My coach's expression to that

Honestly, I was steady, but I thought she was going to reach out to grab me. Maybe if it looks really scary I can work it into a program sometime.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Rebuilding an Insole

At Lake Placid my insole came apart. I did a temp fit and forgot about it. Then last week the 'fix' broke apart.

So I went and did a permanent fix.

That broke apart.

So I fixed that.

Fix 3 didn't give my big toe enough support.

So I fixed that.

And fix four made it better, but not enough.

I'm Now Here

I actually had to leave group it hurt so bad.

I'm now back to the stage where I have to show up at the ring with a handful of different brands of insoles and a pair of scissors and spend an entire session doing nothing but gettin on and off the ice and making adjustments.  There goes two hours of my life.

The Lobby of the Rink Will Look Like This

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Saturday, October 28, 2017

THE ETHICIST at the Rink

1. You arrive at the rink ready to buy a burger at the snack bar. They're  tasty and healthy. However, the snack bar is mysteriously closed. The chairs are even up on the tables. You go to the Tropical Smoothie next door and get a chicken pesto sandwich.

However, when you get to the rink you notice the sign reading "No outside food allowed." Do you:

a. Ignore the sign and go in anyway with your sandwich.

b.  Go and eat in your car.

2. You are a public skater find some interesting  stuff lying around. Soakers, gloves, guards. You are over 8. YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE ANY USE FOR IT. Do you take it just because it's lying around?
a. yes b. no


a. yes b. no

2 b You have to open someone's bag and give it a good inspection to see what's in there, so you can say you just found it lying around?
a. yes b no

3. You see a candy wrapper lying on the ice. Do you pick it up and put it in the trash?
a. yes b. no

I am on day 5 of a class in Federal contracting law. If I have to suffer multiple choice tests, you have to suffer.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Things Only Figure Skaters Understand #29: Too Much Pain

The Day Your Coach Retires

and Your Choice for a New Coach---
Turns You Down

This happened  to me about a decade ago.
(After that, I always have two backups in mind in the event my coach retires or gets injured, and I stay on their good side. If you're an adult skater, as my present coach says, 'Some coaches won't take an adult skater or someone who requires a lot of patience'.' Plan ahead, always plan ahead.)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Bowling for Twizzles

The Christmas adult group choreography contains a classic synchro move: the synchro line skates with arms linked at the shoulders, drop the arms to their sides and do a twizzle. I can't even do  2 foot twizzles

I tried over and over, but I'd grind to a stop and have to fling my arms around to get the rotation started.

So, my coach comes back from a three week vacation and taught me her solution.

Step 1. Standup straight with good posture--Do Not Hunch. That last part is very important.

Step 2. Press your arms down your body, with your hands pressing  on your thighs.

Step 3. Push your shoulders forward without hunching. Maintain good posture, This is called "the bowl".
The 'bowl' position

Step 4. Tighten your core and upper body.  Skeate forwad, do a twizzle.

 Three minutes later,  I'm doing respectable
 2 foot twizzles at speed.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

After the second group meeting for the Adult Christmas Program

We're on the second part of the choreography

Everybody else goes:

What I think my choreographer is thinking

So I'm talking to my mother  on the phone about the Christmas program. She used to organize and direct programs and performances for middle-schools.  She laughs heartily when I explain the kickline (Me: "Just like the Rockettes, but not as high.") and then I say, "So, I'm the third slowest skater in the program, and I'm concerned I'll end up chasing the other skaters to catch the kickline after we do the big turn." She laughs again. "Oh, don't worry, mistakes like that are what people go to see."

Gee, thanks Mom. 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Watch where the huskies go....

So, I get on public about 2 minutes after the gate opens and there's only freestylers and the adult regulars on the ice.

As I skate near the zamboni gate I see a streak of yellow, and a ball snow the size and appearance  of a pineapple chunk right where I need to skate.

Monday, October 9, 2017

There's more to life than FO3! PROBABLY.

When I started doing FO3, lo these many centuries ago, I started with figures style arm positions. This is where you face out of the circle, with the leading arm the same side as the skating foot. Then as you do the turn, you switch arms so the leading arm is the same side as the free foot.

I spend a couple of YEARS, doing  this.

Then I took up dance, and my dance coach taught me to face inside the circle with the leading arm from the very beginning, is on the same side as the free foot.

I spend YEARS doing this.

I put aside the figures FO3.

Then last week, my coach wanted me to do alternating 3 turns. "I want you to start facing out of the circle, with the leading arm the same side as the skating foot...."

I interrupted, "You want me to do a figures three. I spent years unlearning those."

Yes, on the inside, I'm 5.
So now on my big list of things to practice I have to add "figures style alternating 3 turns." 
Then in Group lesson, the coach wants us to do figures three turns, with the free side arm folded over the stomach,  so you lose the balancing effect you get when both arms are extended. This is a lead in drill for something to do with jumps.I don't know which jumps, cause when coaches talk about jumps, it's all in one ear and out the other. 

So now my practice list is about a third FO3 variations: figures style, figures style alternating,  dance style, drop threes, waltz threes,  jump drill threes, one armed 3's and FO3 as spin entry.

My List

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Glove Season is Here!

First sighting of gloves for the winter season

Remember just a few years ago you'd buy magic gloves for a dollar and not think about them being touch screen compliant? Now I never buy gloves without the little touch screen  fingertips.

And I know I should just toss the old gloves with the big holes in them in the trash, but they've seen me through a lot this year.  I think I'll just leave them in my zuca as back ups.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

First Christmas show practice: the Kickline

We learned our first piece of choreography for the Christmas show.  Fourteen  people in a kickline. After all my work, my practice and leg exercises, when we push off the line, I am so slow I trail behind everyone else. Well, that's discouraging.

The steps are right chasse'-chasse', left chasse'-chasse', drop arms do a two foot twizzle, face front, low kick right, low kick left.  Okay, I know the twizzle is a synchro move, but while I've done these before I've done them on my timing at a slower speed. I'm lucky I'm not running into people .   And two people were oh so helpful in giving me tips on the two foot twizzle. Yes,  I was so bad that people who weren't even next to me in the line came up to me and in the nicest possible way told me how to fix what I was doing wrong.

Then our choreographer sings out, "Okay, that was good for slow, we'll be getting faster."

I was determined to improve so I skated all the things I had trouble with by practicing on public. Then when I got off the ice a friend in the program said "Oh, the choreographer was thinking of getting rid of the twizzles, since  that's a synchro thing and only a couple of people can do therm."

It doesn't help my twizzles but at least I feel better.

Where I am in Self Confidence for the group number

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

If Puppies Figure Skated

When the coach demonstrates ("See how easy this is.")
 the puppy shows no fear

Puppies really, really love working on power!

When the Group Coach asks: "Okay who wants to go first?"
Even puppies know what to do.

When the coach says, "Let's work on your 'back' Crossovers."

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Very Small Steps: Building Leg Strength and Stamina

I decided to start walking 2 miles a night a few weeks ago to make up not being able to skate every day.

What is the average walking pace for a mile on the flat? According to some websites, 15 minutes on the flat.  According to my experience when I was in college, 15 minutes on the flat. According to my present day elderly lady experience, it's 18 minutes uphill.

 Here's what's working against me.
1. I take tiny steps---I'm only 5'2"and with stubby legs.
2. Most of the route is one steep hill and that slows me down
3. As I'm constantly reminded by some of my 'friends', I'm old.

Here's what's  working for me:
1. I take tiny steps--many quick tiny steps are better than extending the stride.
2. The route is uphill. This builds stamina.
3. I'm old---and wily. I improve my technique as opposed to just flailing

What's happened? I started out at 47 minutes for the two miles and now I'm at 37 minutes. Part of that gain is improving walking technique, but the rest of it is an improvement in strength and stamina. Will I ever get to 15 minutes a mile uphill?  The stubby legs may mean I'll have to run part of it, so we'll see. I think I can cut off a few more minutes.

What's the result on my skating?

I'm faster. Much, much faster.

I'm quicker.

I have more stamina.

In only three weeks.
I started out Like This

Ended up like This
It doesn't take much to improve your leg strength and stamina, so worth a try if you can't skate kid hours.