Saturday, January 31, 2015

Suck In That GUT!

Friday skate is pretty good. Mostly adult skaters, kids leftover from freestyle, and a handful of ice tourists. I had room to spread my wings!
I tooled around worked on my leg strength and my mohawks and my three turns.

Then I remembered something I'd heard Johnny Weir say on his TV show (when he was giving a group class to some freestyle skaters).

"Squeeze your stomach in like you're squeezing a tube of toothpaste."
 This tells you something about Johnny Weir: he's good with coaching imagery, and he doesn't roll his toothpaste up from the bottom to get every last dollop out of it.

 Man, what do I have to lose? So I squeezed in my gut.

OMG, does this make a difference! I was able to finally get my leg to rotate in my hip so my toepick didn't point down to the ice--Even on my bad side mohawks! That right leg is finally getting fixed by the Physical Therapy so that I don't fear its collapse during mohawks, the gut squeeze just is the icing on the cake!

I can really control my hips, and the leg extension, and the upper body position. So give it a try if you're not doing it all ready.

What I think happens is that even though I have good abs, when I squeeze hard, I stop relying on my back muscles and balance the stress on my back.

It also give me a chance to use my favorite non-skating related gif.

Now you'll never forget, squeeze that gut!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

After 6 Weeks of Physical Therapy, a list of the Exercises I have to do, TWICE A DAY!


The most recent diagnosis?



Which has the effect of making me...

Plump in the rump

Junk in the trunk


There goes my dreams of being a supermodel!

Also, it explains why I have trouble going down on the back edge in turns. The lordosis is right on top of compression fractures in my spine. 

More Exercises! 

Every Day!

For the Rest of My Life!

Now Here's a relevant little song.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Crossover Second Push

My coach, Miss Bianca, was delighted to see me back in lesson for the first time in a couple of months. I was glad to be back and expected to be handled with kid gloves as a 'post injury skater'.
What I wanted

Miss Bianca seems to be of the philosophy that I shouldn't call up for a lesson unless I'm ready to be rode hard and put away wet. Yeah, she hit the hard stuff right away.

What I got :-) !
So we worked on the 'second push' in forward and back crossovers. 

Some of you don't find this hard, and some may have never heard of it. Here we go.

The first stroke in the forward crossover just the stroke onto the outside edge. Then there's the crossover, followed by the 'under leg' pushing out from the crossed leg. The movement of the 'under leg' is called 'the second push' or 'the underpush'. The picture below shows a textbook example of the second push.

Over leg, under leg, see the under leg pushing outwards
from the  over leg.
Voila! Second push
I knew the second push existed, but before my PT, I was only able to do it either occasionally or badly. Miss Bianca's technique is for me to do the crossover, hold the feet both on the ice in the crossed position, then push outward with the under leg by bending the knee of the over leg.

Then at the end there's a little tinkerbelle 'flick' of the toepick as the blade of the underleg is the last thing to leave the ice.

The 'flick' as the toepick leaves the ice

 "This will give you more power," Miss Bianca tells me.

So, good news, the PT on the hip means I can do the second push. AND the tinkerbelle maneuver.

Bad news, I'm not sure I want to go all that fast!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

You Know You Skate Too Much.4

You see this GIF and your brain goes...

And you know where to find the video to check!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I Feel Good!

After almost two months of aches and pains, when I got on the ice Saturday  I felt great.

My hip hasn't felt this good in years. I even managed some bad side mohawks without hesitation or pain!


So I was skating with my buds who are Silver Ice Dancers, and UPTOWN FUNK came on the speakers.

Man, I'm a child of the sixties. I love me some funk.

So I got my groove on and did some funk steps for the ice dancers.

What I felt like:

What it was really like:

Snort! Don't care if I was funny lookin' I felt good!

Winter Horror Public Skate...

Some of my faithful readers are lucky enough to have access to Freestyle, or even ADULT Freestyle, and never have to skate on Public Skate for lessons or practice.

However, if you're like me, and only have access to Public Skate, you now know that the winter season of rinks filled with ice tourists is here. Share with me here, the misery of Public Skate.

I spent an hour on the ice today, it was glorious. Miss Cheerleader and her husband Mr Cheerleader, the two Silver ice dancers, Miss Bianca, and  FIVE THOUSAND OTHER PEOPLE (including people in the stands, the booting area, the lobby, the bathrooms, and the snack bar) were in the rink. Of those FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE, about 150 were on the ice.

Let's take a tour of the experience.

I Line Up to Pay for a Wrist Band
(That's me in the back)

Fortunately, the cashier knows me by name and I had cash ready, so they just zipped me through when I got to the front. Note to loving parents, make sure your credit card is working before you try to spend 30 minutes paying for a birthday party with 15 kids during winter skate. Double please when you're in line in front of me.

Then I tried to get on the ice at the gate
I was held up so long at the cashier, I missed the initial rush, but it was still bad. Loving parents, give your kids instruction before you get to the gate, don't stand there for 20 minutes blocking the entrance telling them to be good. Ditto for standing there blocking the gate while you put gloves on the kid.

Why I Couldn't Get to one of the Other Gates

There were more people in the space around the rink blocking all movement than there were on the ice. Including one woman who managed to go around the outside of the ice, past the stuff blocking access to the far side, and crawled over the outer dasher boards to get in the hockey box to take a picture. Plus 10 for determination, but she'll be the first to die when the zombie apocalypse comes because she'll ignore the signs that say "Do not Enter: ZOMBIE DEATH BEYOND THIS POINT!" so she can take a selfie with a zombie.

Of Course there's People who live in their own Little Worlds

The skater who goes against the crowd
The People who can't bear to be Separated

(I will report that everyone was having a good time and that one and all were polite and reasonable. Except for the crowd tearing up the ice (!) it was a great day at the rink!)

Friday, January 9, 2015

How I Got Off-Ice Spreadeagles with (almost) no Pain

I've read that if you don't have a natural spreadeagle (open hips) it is either 'impossible' or 'painful' or 'difficult' or 'not advised' or 'takes forever' or 'bad for you' or 'will kill your knees' or even 'don't do it , it will kill your knees'.
Inside Spreadeagle
(John Zimmerman)

Outside Spreadeagle
(Paul Wylie)
I'm 63. I don't have open hips. And while I'm much, much fitter than the average 63 year old, I'm not all that fit compared to those of you in your 20's, 30's, or low 40's. If you're in your high 40's we can go nose to nose.

However, over a period of 6 weeks, I've gone from a natural spread of about 120° to a full 180°.  I'm not ready to try it on ice yet, but I can do it completely without pain in my knees, hips, or back. So, how'd I do it?

First, instead of going to the 180° position, I just went slightly beyond my natural spread, increasing it by small amounts day to day.

Secondly, I repeated the exercise several times a day and I used figure skater posture (shoulders back, head up, leaning back).

Thirdly, I only held the position for seconds each time I did it. I never held it more than twenty seconds until I was without pain in that position.

I had some knee pain at the beginning of each extension, but it was small. Since I didn't hold the position for very long, and I didn't go from my normal position to a full 180° right away, I didn't damage the knees. I just did it every time I got in the elevator, or while I was waiting for the water to boil at home, or when I was alone in my office, or on any other occasion where I had a few private seconds.

I think I need to get to a 190° spread before I do it on ice, and I need to make the transitions smoother, but those are details. Lookin' good for elderly lady on ice in spreadeagle!

So, that's what I've been doing, in addition to the half hour of Physical Therapy exercises that I will have to do for the rest of my life. If you watch this video, this is my life, but in my hips (but my doctors are very responsive).

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Taking the Kids Ice Skating For the First Time--Skating in Rental Skates

It's winter, and I bet the grandparents have given your daughter a cute little skating dress and she really, really wants to skate. Or maybe your little boy has been watching hockey and wants to skate too.  And there's always a chance you have a girl who wants to play hockey or a boy who wants to figure skate. Or maybe, you just want to stick the kids on the ice and read Fifty Shades of Gray on your Kindle--you won't be the first.

What you can do to make the experience happy for your child:
Dress your kid warm. Gloves and a hat are good ideas. Girls should wear pants. Yes you see girls in skimpy costumes on TV but those are professionals. Your kids will be uncomfortable with their first experience if they're cold. If your kid gets hot, you can always take off the hat and jacket, but keep the gloves on. The gloves will help protect tiny little hands from getting torn up when the kid falls on the ice.

Gloves are also important so little kids don't have an excuse to put their hands in their pockets. If your darling has their cold hands in their pockets and falls, you can be facing an expensive dental bill. You'll see teen age boys skating with their hands in their pockets. Well, we all know teen age boys have really good reflexes and if they're not your kid, and you're not paying for their dental surgery. Still  don't let your little ones copy them.

A helmet is usually recommended. If you have a bicycle helmet that fits your child, you might as well take it. 

Rental Skates

 I assume you're going to be renting skates.  I just want to say that the conventional wisdom is that the following kind of skates are the easiest to skate on:
The toepicks up front make it easier to stop, and the relative flatness of the blade make it easier to balance. These aren't 'figure skates', they're 'regular skates'

I'm now going to give you some Tips:
Important safety tips:


I've seen so many kids waddling on the ice on their ankles because the skates are degraded to the state of scraps of canvas and a piece of lace. I don't think they're safe to skate in, especially if the blade is loose.

If there are no skates in your size that are in decent shape, try to go up a size or in a pinch, down a size. You're only going to be out on the ice an hour.  

Secondly, even if you have all the eyelets, and hooks, and the blade is securely attached, rental skates are crap.   The canvas boot is almost always broken down and give no support, and the last time the blades were sharpened was probably last year, if they have ever been sharpened since their manufacture.

Maybe the man in the family wants to put his little boy in hockey skates rather than regular rental skates. Just a word of warning, hockey skates are notoriously hard to skate in the first time. If the man in the family only want his boy skating in hockey skates because figure skates will make him gay, then you've got more problems than I can give you advice on.

How to have a good time on rental skates

BEND YOUR KNEES! Bend your knees so deeply you feel you're going to sit down, that's about right. Most adults keep their legs stiff and hunch over. It's scary to watch them teeter on the edge of doing a face plant. The fact that it happens so seldom is a real miracle on ice. Most young kids adapt to skating really quickly, even in crap rental skates. They don't seem to mind falling and are so light, that even in crap rental skates, they bounce right back up. Teenagers are hopeless. Worried more about not looking bad than anything else. The girls scream and grab people when they start to go down, the boys like to go fast and don't know how to stop. I won't give any advice about teenagers. 

Hope you enjoy your trip to the ice rink!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Back On The Ice!

I'm Back!
Anyway, Miss Cheerleader skated around with me for the 30 minutes I spent on the ice. Since I've been gone since before Thanksgiving, she passed Adult Gold Moves and is starting on her axel!
However, for the first five minutes I looked like this:

It may take me a couple of weeks to get back in shape, but I'm here! I just have to keep thinking like Bob Ross everytime I skate.