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

(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 couch 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.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

First World Skating Problems: Personal Gripe Edition

The rink changed its schedule, so
  I have to go to Mass at 7am instead of sleeping in,
just so the hockey team can play some game

I Lost weight, now my skate pants are falling off when I skate,
But the next smaller size is still too small!

I hike uphill to build up my leg strength,
Now I can skate faster than my stops can handle

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I signed up to the Adult Group Number in the Christmas Show

The Music is annouced as the Paso Doble

And everyone squeals with joy

The Ladies will all be Spanish Dancers

 And one Male Skater will be a Matador

And the other will be the Bull

This is going to be EPIC!!


Monday, September 18, 2017

A Note from my Rink Management

Skaters and Parents, MyRink is having problems with children playing and running around the rink unsupervised. Children are climbing in between arcade games, unplugging them and climbing over games. 
Yes they're climbing over the big two person games
Behind the two person games, unplugging them
AND I'm surprised they haven't pushed one over
While we are a family facility, we do need children supervised at all times. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. MyRink Management
This is why we can't have nice things.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Group Lesson on Variations of Stopping

I am the Queen of T-Stops
GOOD SIDE, BAD SIDE equally good.
And I've got the whole right foot Tango-stop
Thing going for me
Every once in a while, it's nice to get praise
from the group coach

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Skate Repair: You Are Not Paying Your Tech Enough

Videos of what it takes to repair boots that have not been taken care of, not dried off, left inappropriately stored, etc. Now when your tech presents your bill---you know you're getting a bargain, no matter what he charges.

Day 1: Taking the boots apart, marking, filling and finding a use for a dremel tool, bamboo,  and using glue in an enclosed space 

 Day 2 Part 1: After drying out overnight like a drunken sailor returned from a spree, the bottom of the boots are restored and prepare to install blades

Purple Planet Music

Day 2 Part 2: Installing the blades
Purple Planet Music

Monday, September 11, 2017

When My Coach Decides to Mess with My Head

My coach, Miss Bianca, is the sweetest, the nicest coach you could ever imagine. Until she turned on me last week.

She hadn't seen me in a couple of weeks and really wanted to wring everything out of me that I had learned at Lake Placid. She'd assigned me to go to a class on power, so while I was doing crossovers she started yelling, "Faster, Push faster. More power!!"

I kept crossovering and glanced over my shoulder at her. I said, "If you're going to yell at me like that, you have to be a Russian coach."

She grinned and then started yelling:

Which I thought was cheating because she majored in Russian in college. It should have been:

Anyway, we got a good laugh out of it.She thinks I'm faster, I think I'm just the same.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Public Skate Is for the Public #1: Cheap Freestyle

When the only people at the gate at the beginning of public skate are 4 freestylers, 3 coaches, and 4 adult regulars, then a coach says, "Where's all the public?"

And I go "Shhhh, you'll jinx it!"
(if only they'd turn off the music, it would be perfect)

Eventually the public showed up.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Over the Tops: Skating Sox Mated With Boot Covers

 While I was at Lake Placid I came across a coach wearing some thing that looked like a half-boot cover that pulled over the laces and down the heel. Since I am obsessed about having my laces covered (I fold my socks down over them) I asked if she'd made them herself or if they were something new.

Well, new they are. They're called Over the Tops and they combined a sock attached to a boot cover.

I Bought the Black Waterproof ones

When you open the package, you'll find the sock part has a curved toe and a seam that fits along the arch side of the foot but faces outside (away from the foot). Pull the sock up until it's firm around the foot and leg. Make sure the seam does not slide underneath the big toe.

Because the seam is only on one side of the sock, the socks are sided. There's a left one and a right one.


I know you're thinking the sock seam might hurt when you skate, but this doesn't happen. Once you adjust it properly, the seam of the sock apparently just flattens into the tiny space between the insole and the boot upper. I can't feel it at all.  It also has a nice rounded toe unlike Mondor and the fabric is stretchy.

When you put the sock on (with the seam facing out), pull the cover up over your shin and put on your boots. The pattern of the cover will be facing your skin.

When you pull the socks up, make sure they come to the top of the boot before you fold it over. In the picture below, you can see the fabric of the sock reaches to the top of the tongue, and then I fold the cover (the shiny part) over the skate.

Once you fold the boot top over, the cover is facing outside the boot. All you have to do is fold it over and tug it back down the heel and forward over the laces.

That's all there is to it. I found it took me a couple of tries to tweak the seam and get the right amount of tug to get it to fit. The waterproof fabric is stiffer than the other fabric models and requires more tugging.

Over the Tops come in a variety of fabrics for the covers and patterns. I'm rooting for white tops in the future. The black ones are nice with my black tights and give an appearance of those fancy, expensive over the boot tights, when I'm really wearing $10 tights from Target.

Here are some other fabric patterns:

The two things that make Over The Tops special are the new sock design and the attached boot cover. This is not just a sock with a cover. This is a new design for a sock, with an attached cover.

The sock, which is of a unique design that curves around the foot, rather than have a square end like Mondor. The fabric is very nice. I can't say enough about the quality of the fabric of the sock. It's not like any sock I've ever used before.   I don't know the denier, but it has a wonderful feel and stretches beautifully. It also has just the right finish to keep my foot from sliding in the boot, and keeps my feet warm and dry. I love the socks.

Secondly, the fold over cover keeps the laces tucked away in addition to presenting a bit of flash to go with your skating. I've spent years with my knee highs folded over my laces and while that' does the job, it's not pretty.  These covers are pretty.

I wish they had white covers available. But that's just a personal call.

Each pair is $40, and there are 14 patterned covers available.  I know this seems a bit steep, but did I mention how much I love the socks? And how nice it is to have a patterned cover to protect your boots and add a bit a warmth?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Duffer (Updated)

So a nice old duffer of about my age ended up as my partner in an ice dance group class. He's steady enough on his feet, but he had no idea about figure skating terminology, and had never done ice dance.

The coach started the  group class out in hand to hand  skating and  my partner (let's call him Duffer) is completely blank on the concept. When we started skating I had to not only count but say 'stroke left', 'stroke right'. But he got them confused and would stroke right when he was supposed to go left. We sorted that out then the coach moved us to Killian position. Duffer was very uncomfortable with the idea of the frame you need to have between partners; he just sort of hung loosely and I had to get him to stiffen his arms and stroke on the count and for god's sake all I could do was tremble mentally in fear that he would stick his right boot between my feet.  I had to keep my eye on his feet the whole time.

Then came open the gates of hell. Foxtrot Hold.

The Lady pushes against the gentleman's shoulder; he pulls her toward him. They should be locked in hold this way. 

Duffer would not pull me towards him.  He said he thought pulling me would be rude. I finally said, "Look this is Foxtrot hold, imagine you are a drunk sailor in a WWII bar, and you're trying to kiss me, and I am pushing you away because I'm having none of it." The coach kind of hem'd and haw'd "well, that's a little strong." I gave him the hairy eyeball because by God, I'm not having any of that loose arm don't know where my partner is relative to me on the ice shit at all. I am totally going for the  WWII bar analogy. I want Duffer locked in hold so I can tell where he's going next--because otherwise he might go left instead of right or right instead of left, and then where would I be?

By the time we got to Waltz hold Duffer had an idea of the push him-pull her concept and he did not fall on me, and I did not fall backwards--although a frisson of fear ran through me while we sorted out how to stroke with me going backward, and him going forward.

And then came--Waltz Hold with the man going backwards. Did I mention that I'm 5'2" and he's 6'3"?  In strict waltz hold he could look over my head, in this reverse waltz hold, I have to pop up and peek over his shoulder on every stroke because there's five couples on this ice and I don't think they're paying any attention to us.

After class finished, Duffer sat down next to me and asked if we could take a dance lesson together, and split the cost.

No. Just, no.  Don't think evil of me, but I just didn't want to split the cost of a lesson I didn't want to take.

I convinced him he needed to take a lesson as a single with the group dance coach before skating with a partner, which he did, so that coach owes me.

I now feel immense sympathy for Dance Coach when he skated with me because I was the Duffer once myself. Now, I'm just so slow.

UPDATE: As an extra treat--the music of the "Pussyfoot Foxtrot"!! by 'Slap' White --1916.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Lake Placid Tip: Forward Outside 8s Arm Position

I've been working on my FO8 for a while, and really they're okay. But now that I'm doing BO8, I'm still picking up tips for FO8s. I know, I know, I'm never satisfied. Here's my newest tip for FO8 from a group class at Lake Placid.

Previous FO8 posts

Basic FO8
Basic Push Off Trick for FO8

Okay? Ready for the next tip for FO8? Here goes, as you stroke off push your trailing shoulder down. This pushes you to the back of the blade without over leaning backward! I mean, that's SUBTLE! It's so subtle, it doesn't show up in the drawing below, so I drew an arrow to point out the trailing shoulder.

Now, I'm sure all your FO8 will be perfect in your dreams and on the ice!!!