Friday, October 31, 2014

Leaving the Comfort Zone

If left to myself, I would happily camp out in my comfort zone; skating forward, doing crossovers, my mohawks and FO3 close to the boards.

You've heard of the comfort zone, right? You're in your happy place, then some guy that management hired to motivate you spends an hour showing you Powerpoint slides, and one always has this message:

Miss Bianca will not leg me stay in my puny lame ass skating comfort zone. She wants me to do things like outside mohawks facing out of the circle, alternating FO3 with side toe hops in between, sitting back on my back crossovers, you know.....real skating.

This is why I have a coach. Without a coach I stay snuggly in my happy place, working on my forward edges. Unfortunately, when Miss Bianca introduces new skills, I used to roll over the 'stretch zone' as if it was an earthworm on the highway of life, and glide directly into the Panic Zone.

Miss Bianca says she's going to photograph my face someday as she introduces me to new skills.
It used to be this,
But now after many weeks of being 'stretched', I'm settling on this as a response to new skills:

Yep, that's what coaches are for; Getting me out of my sorry lame ass skating comfort zone!

Friday, October 24, 2014

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..."

Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion

I've watched C-Beams glitter in the dark off Tannhauser Gate

Really? That's it?

I've seen a zamboni drift sideways across the ice from one wall to the other, ending in  a public session with ice so torn up that a section of the ice had to be covered with 3 tires and 8 cones to keep people from skating on it.

Trump that with your blowing up space ships and glittering lasers!

Reference to "Tears in Rain" speech.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Boot Whisperer

I had a high moment today at the rink. One of our Gold Level skaters consulted me about a blister issue.

Yes, I'm the Boot Whisperer.

For her problem, I've had good luck with blister bandaids. The name brands tend to last longer so I usually have some of those in my skating suitcase.
But not today. I was out.

So when I flipped open the suitcase, I sorted through what I had: foam insoles, hard gel high heel insoles, leather insoles, soft gel insoles cut in half, gel lace bite pads in two different thicknesses, gel toe pads, arch pads, ball of foot pads,  moleskin in two different thickness, and callus pads (extra large). I settled on giving her an extra large callus pad. Although that wasn't my optimal solution, it was the best I had.

Later in the session another skater was showing me how she stuffed a piece of leather behind her boot tongue because her boot tongue was so worn that the foam was flat. The leather pad was pretty worn out, so I gave her the heel end of a pair of men's boot gel and fabric insoles. "Try that instead," I suggested, "If it doesn't work, throw it away." I'm waiting to find out if it worked.

Other skaters go to the fabric store to pick out fabric for costumes. I'm in the drug store looking at the foot section. I even have my own cast iron bunion tool. All I need is a heat gun and I could open up shop.

And in case you're wondering if I use all this stuff every week; the answer is No. I'm just too lazy to clean out my boot bag!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

You Know You're a Real Skater When....4 : Getting Ready For Comp

You Practice Your Emoting for Your Program in the Glass on  Winter Public and completely ignore everyone Staring at You

Double Points if You're a Guy
Triple if You're an Adult Guy

 You Get a New Costume and You Give it a Damn Good Run Through Before You Skate in It

You Decide You Want to Paint Your Boots

 Your Skating Coach Begins to Remind You of Your Weight Lifting Coach

Then You Realize You're Pumping Iron 3 Days a Week so You can do A Jump Better

Then You Think

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Motivational Moment: Timidity vs Skate in the Middle

If you are timid, let me introduce you to your little friend.
Cling to the Dasher Boards

When you get over your skating fears, here's your party place.
Out in the middle
You can do it. Don't be this woman.
Be this one.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

When I 'Suddenly' Have a Skill: Back Crossovers

Over the last 3 weeks I've gone from crappy, stiff, chunky, lacking decent cross back crossovers to damn fine back crossovers.

I know you're thinking "Haven't you had back crossovers for years?"

Okay, okay okay, my coach, Miss Bianca, has been patiently crafting my body so I sit back (and what seems an upright position) while I'm doing my back crossovers, and I get a real no-kidding cross, and when I do the push under there is NO TOEPICKingness and I push with the pinky toe (with extension) so the pinky is .......

Last thing to leave the ice.
I don't know what Miss Bianca thinks. Maybe she thinks "Oh, God, we've been working on these for years," and I just manage to blank the experiences out of my memory. I'm thinking, "Oh, God, we've been working on these since about July."

Since yesterday, I've been able to whip in to my back crossovers from just about any position, and step out of them into the circle and out of the circle; With control and without thinking about them. They've just become natural extensions of my skating skills. Honestly, one week, crap; next week, miracle.

Hey! I've got back progressives too! Just one day they sort of appeared, like a puppy on the front porch!

Ready for back progressives in waltz hold?

Miss Bianca appears to have noticed. Yesterday she taught me how to do a back crossover entrance into a scratch spin.

Of course, my spins are like this:
So, the world is not all crackers and cheese after all.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Four Stages of Edge Pushes

In my experience I think there are four stages of learning of edge pushes (AKA power pulls).

Stage One

You wiggle like a snake on its belly. There's no real edges. Every one starts here.

Stage Two

You occasionally get one good pull with decent edges, but mostly, it's a crap shoot.
Yeah, mixed metaphor here.

Stage Three

You're mostly have  good pulls, but you really can't control them well, so when you lose it you lose it bad.

Stage 4
Two Snaps! Baby!

I'm at Stage 2. Still.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Awkward Moments on Freestyle

When You Want to Say'Hi' to a Friend 
You Haven't Seen in Months
But She's "In Lesson"

Talking to Your Coach after a Bad Run Through

When Your Coach Demonstrates a New Skill,
And You.Have.No.Idea What Happened

  What your Coach Thinks When
You try to Duplicate It

When A "Dangerous Dana" Decides to Jump 
in Your Space Without Looking

Sunday, October 5, 2014

3 Pairs of Boots in 3 Months!

For reasons I won't bore you with, I've skated in three different pairs of boots in 3 months. Man, it's  a constant readjustment of foot position, tying routine, padding, insole trimming, boot cutting, and blade swapping. I get used to one pair and switch to another.  I've got confused feet!
Creepy? No?
I've finally got the old pair of boots I regenerated from 2009 properly superfitted. I'm zipping along backwards in a sedate little old lady way, and my feet have stopped burning. The boots are a dream to skate in, but really, they look like crap. I even have a piece of moleskin over one spot where I drilled a hole in a boot toe. After a couple of public sessions, they fit like a glove though!

I've got this whole fitting my skates thing down to such a science now, that when I get on the ice and some bouncy music starts playing, I feel like a dance break.

Yes, a dance break even in lesson! Miss Bianca hates it though. She's all business. And sadly she doesn't want to work on things I've been practicing on while I superfit my boots.  Back crossovers are the best way to break in new boots and get used to my rocker position.  My back crossovers are just where she wants them and now she doesn't want to see them. So here's the question: HOW DO COACHES KNOW WHAT YOU HAVEN'T BEEN PRACTICING?

So this week Miss Bianca wants me to do Mohawk variations. Drop - switch foot mohawks, mohawk/turn forwards around the circle,  Fix that weird arm position habit mohawks, ...whatever.

I don't want to work on mohawks. I want to work on bunny hops, side toe hops, two foot spins, even back progressives. Things where I can get praise points. But, nooooo. Mohawks.

Well, set up my arm position, turn and then all hell breaks loose.

Feels like...
I swear, this week I'm working on mohawks...then of course, she'll want to see something else!

I can hear her evil laugh even now......far, far in the distance...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Boot Fit II: The Heel

I've had trouble with the heel of my foot fitting into the heel of my right boot with every pair. Last week my coach showed me a quick tip to help with that.

Basically, it's to put something--a piece of leather, or lambswool, or stiff felt--behind the boot tongue before you lace it up.
No, don't use a kitten!
Yep, do the same thing as you'd do for lace bite.

What happens then is the heel is pushed back into the heel counter of the boot, and I get a little extra room in the toe.

I experimented and now I use a combination of lambswool and a couple of cheap cosmetic sponges. I want to use a gel lace bite pad, but they appear to be out of stock.

The position I put the pad in is right at the ankle, my coach puts hers a little higher up.

Yes, it does work!
It just takes a bit of fiddling
to find the right spon!