Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Special Place Where The Obsessed Skaters Go

What is an 'obsessed Skater'?

You know when you're obsessed with skating when you want to know how to paint your skates, or decorate your blades, or even cover the entire sole of your skates with Swarovski crystal.

You know you're obsessed when you complain that there's no way to rent blades for a month so you can compare Gold Seal with Coronation Ace.

You know you're obsessed when you can recognized the manufacturer and model of blade by only seeing the toepick--and you really, really want to share this geeky little skill with other people, and then maybe set up an online test just to see who else can do it.

You know you're obsessed when you get in a polite but fierce discussion on Radius of Hollow.

You know you're obsessed when you really, really, really know 30 tricks to modify your boot fit and can't wait to share.

You know you're obsessed when you have a favorite size, cut, and color of decorative crystal

Ditto when you're out there wanting to know the best glue and gluing techniques so you can spend a three day weekend stoning a costume for a Basic Skills competition.

You're way over the top obsessed when you have a friggin' skating blog!!! That you have spent years working on!

And where do these obsessed people go?

Show up for the public posts, then get an account for the private forums. Almost no fan posts, it's all about you and your skating.  Access to some amazingly technical posts on skating, costumes, music, equipment,  sharpening and testing. Members from around the world from ISI, USFS, NISA and possibly other skating organizations: Members from Brazil, UK, UAE, S.Korea, Japan, Australia, and several other countries.

Come one come all. Ask your questions, Provide your knowledge, we can't wait to hear from you.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Keeping Sit Spin Fit When You can't Get to the Rink

Two Words : One leg squats.

OKAY! That's Three Words.

Here's my technique. I do one legged squats in the moving elevator, in a pencil skirt, in flat shoes.


I found that pencil skirts worked really well in forcing me to keep from waving my free leg around to keep my balance. Instead, I'm forced to tighten up my gut and my lower calf to keep my legs in the correct position. It worked. Honestly, without that skirt forcing me to keep my legs together I couldn't have advanced as quick as I did because I would have given up and gone with an easy sloppy position. Within a week, I was doing solid sit positions down AND UP on one leg.

Why mess with a moving elevator? It introduces enough vibration to give you instability going down and up. I found I had to really work on my technique. Also the vibration makes me work harder, so I only need to do one on each ride.

I now go down on one leg with my free leg wrapped in the correct sit spin position to half way between floors, then rise up to an exit position as I reach the next floor.  About half the time I rise up to the exit position (unwrap the free leg and extend it behind me as I rise) and hold the extended leg position through the elevator going through its stop.  Holding an extended leg through the elevator stop really forces good balance and squeezing the calf as I rise.

I know what you're thinking: This girl is waaay too obsessed with figure skating.

Well, all I can say is, "I'm sixty-six doing one leg squats.  Not bad."

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

It's Just So Cold

I Had To Wear Every Glove in My Bag
And that was INSIDE the Rink

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

Things only Figure Skaters Understand: Significant Others

 When you feel you have to defend your time skating
to your family and friends

Sunday, October 29, 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

How I feel About my Xmas Show Foot Work

Stroke Stroke , Toe Tap

 Twizzle, Dramatic Pose

Status Update!

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."