Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Practice ... Ugh

Mondays are not my favorite day to skate. I know it would help if I did a better warm up, but today my fleece skating pants were still in the wash and I boldly and stupidly skated in a skirt. I was cold the entire time. I'm sure my muscles warmed up some, but I never felt loose.

Nevertheless I did practice instead of staying home. Today I ran though my Bronze MIF and then some freestyle:

(Ignore my typo ...  this was 2012, not 2013)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Practicing Bronze Moves In The Field

Here is a really boring clip of my practice today.  I muted the annoying music playing at the rink.

I skated #3 and #4 out of order.

1. Forward and backward perimeter power stroking
2. Forward power three-turns 
3. Alternating backward crossovers to backward outside edges 
4. Forward circle eight
5. Five-step mohawk sequence 

Here is a clip from the rest of my practice.  I didn't do anything that pleased me very much today.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lesson on Private Ice

My lesson today was on rink #2 as they are still redoing the ice on rink #1.  The ice was free from 9-10 am so we got to have a lesson on private ice.  What a treat.  Aside from not having any other people skating, there was no loud pop music playing.  That's a subject for another day.

We split the lesson to work on Moves In The Field and Freestyle, but ended up spending more time on the Moves.  I don't normally skate at 9:00 am.  I haven been off the ice for 6 days and I wasn't properly warmed up.  It's not just about having your muscles warm and stretched.  You have to actually execute some spins and turns, small jumps and get "familiar" with how you connect to the ice on that day.  You may skate on the same ice every day, but each time the Zamboni cuts the ice it may feel different.

One of the things I need to incorporate into my training is an off ice warm up ritual, followed by an on ice warm up ritual.  I do warm up now, but not thoroughly or properly and not fast enough.  At a test or competition you may or may not always have access to "practice ice" preceding the event.  You are always allowed a 3-5 minute warm up with the other skaters who are in the same event.

At my first test experience last month I was able to skate on a public session for about 1 hour prior to the test time.  Just before the test, my group of 3 went on the ice to warm up for 5 minutes.  After the warm up I was the last of 3 skaters.  Staying warm was difficult even with an overhead heater and a counter top heater nearby.  My rink is super cold.

Today my warm up consisted of:

1. Sitting in my hot tub before getting dressed to go to the rink
2. Doing a few stretches on the floor of the rink before putting my skates on
3. Skating around (forward stroking, crossovers and back crossovers)

That was it.  Recipe for disaster!

We practiced all of the Adult Bronze Moves today.  Establishing the things I need to work on:

1. Forward and backward perimeter power stroking
More even cadence
2. Forward power three-turns
Smaller lobes
3. Alternating backward crossovers to backward outside edges
Work toward 5 equal lobes
4 Forward circle eight
No work needed.  My coach said it would have passed a "figures" test!
5. Five-step mohawk sequence
Work toward 5 equal lobes + stay on proper edges + hold/extend 4th step longer

Then we walked through the parts of my program that are loosely choreographed.  Rather than perfect each element as we go, the plan is to finish adding the required elements and choreography and then start working on the trouble areas!

When the lesson was over I had 15 minutes to enjoy clean private ice.  The last thing my coach told me was "be careful" and "don't try anything new until you have your legs back under you".  She knew I wasn't really warmed up.  Here's what happened during practice:

Here are a few things that went right:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Rink Is Down This Week

I skipped skating on Monday since it was my husband's last day home before a trip.  I was all set to skate on Tuesday and have a longer 30 minute lesson when I received a text from my coach.  NO ICE TODAY.  Turns out my rink (which has 2 surfaces) is doing some maintenance.  They are redoing one of the surfaces and some other main rink improvements.  Ice #2 is being used mostly by hockey and club ice, but I may get to skate a public session on Thursday or Friday this week.  Of course this could not happen at a worse time.  I am pressed for practice time in preparation for a June 12th test date.  Oh well.  So instead I went golfing.  I belong to a ladies league called the Par-Tee Girls.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pink Ice - Skaters for the Cure

We had a small turnout for "Pink Ice - Skaters for the Cure" yesterday, but it was fun and it was for a good cause.  The weather was wonderful.  Blue sky and warm (for Spokane).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bay Area Skating

I am home from my week long trip to California. I visited a friend in Santa Cruz and family in Oroville (Northeast of the Sacramento area). While I was there I took advantage of getting my boots fixed at Harlicks and I was able to squeeze in 3 days skating at 3 different rinks. This is the video from my last stop at the Vacaville Ice Sports complex.  Great ice.  Warm rink.  As you can see I have no gloves on!  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Next Test Date Posted

My rink posted the next test date (and last test for the 2011-2012 season).  June 12, 2012.

Entry deadline is May 11th.  Now I am really pondering.  That would be 15 skating days prior  to the deadline (2 lessons) to decide if I am potentially capable of passing all the elements on June 12, 2012.

Here is what the current test book requirements say:

TR 25.10 Adult Bronze Moves in the Field Test
The fundamentals of ice skating must be demonstrated although not necessarily
mastered. Candidates must show knowledge of the steps and continuous flow
and strength. Attention should be given to depth of edges and proper curvature
of lobes.

1. Forward and backward perimeter power stroking
I feel confident I can pass this element.
2. Forward power three-turns
I think I can pass on LFO three turns.  Not sure on the RFO
3. Alternating backward crossovers to backward outside edges
I feel confident I can  pass this element.
4 Forward circle eight
I feel confident I can pass this element.
5. Five-step mohawk sequence
I feel confident I can pass this element

One element may be retried, if necessary.
Passing Total Passing Average
Adult 12.5 2.5
Masters 11.5 2.3
(Approximate time for test: 12 minutes)

Judging panel required: Three bronze or higher rank singles/pairs or dance judges
who are certified to judge moves in the field tests; or one silver or higher rank
singles/pairs or dance judge who is certified to judge moves in the field tests.

Here is the hard part.  Passing the Free Skate:

TR 32.10 Adult Bronze Free Skate Test
The candidate must give a reasonably good performance showing a command
of the following technical elements, a sense of speed, flow and depth of edge.
The fundamentals of free skating must be demonstrated, although not necessarily

1. At least three different single jumps of which one must be a Salchow and
one must be a toe loop I am struggling with the Toe Loop.
2. One jump combination consisting of a waltz jump and a toe loop (no turn
or change of foot between jumps) I am really struggling with the combination
1. One-foot upright spin (minimum four revolutions in position) I can pass this element.
2. One-foot backspin, entry optional (minimum three revolutions in position) This is quite difficult for me to do.  Sometimes I can get 4-6 revolutions, sometimes I get 1-2 and get on the wrong edge and fall off the spin.
3. Sit spin (minimum three revolutions in position) I am getting better at this.  I should have it by June.

Steps: Connecting moves, steps and edges throughout the program This is actually the hardest part. I can do any of these elements above in practice, all by themselves, but having the stamina to string them all together to music and show some grace... takes so much energy.  Add some nerves and some not-so-perfect execution of a jump or spin and that could mean the difference in pass or fail.
Extra elements may be added without penalty.
Duration: Ladies and Men — Not to exceed 1:50 to music of the skater’s choice.
Two different elements may be retried, if necessary
Passing total: 5.0   Passing average: 2.5
Judging panel required: Three bronze or higher rank singles/pairs judges, or one
silver or higher rank singles/pairs judge.

So .... tomorrow I plan on skating my way out of the Bay Area.  Heading to Vacaville tomorrow morning and might squeeze in another session in Oakland before catching my flight back to Spokane in the afternoon.

Ask me tomorrow about the TSA and carrying ice skates on the plane!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

More Bay Area Skating.....

Skated Monday at Dublin Iceland.  This is raw footage of part of my practice session toward the end.
I met another adult skater named Sharon who used to work at Berkeley Iceland.  She knew my childhood coach Tony Howard!   When we finished skating she took off her figure skates and put on hockey skates and gear and played pick up hockey with 20 + guys...  amazing.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fixed my boots at Harlick's. Skated at Belmont Iceland.

Great day.  Arrived in Oakland around 10:00 am.  Picked up a rental car and drove straight to Harlick Boot Company in San Carlos.  Phil was out of town at Adult Nationals, but Jason was there to help me.  I tried my boots on to show him where the new bunion was hurting me.  He called it a "tailors bunion" and said he could fix it  for me  He punched out the area that was rubbing on my bunion and also softened up the upper part of my boots so I won't have to wrap my ankles in Ace bandages any more.  Thanks Jason.

Afterwards went skating at Belmont Iceland.  Wow.  Warm rink.  Low Ceiling.  Soft Ice. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No Video Today

Great ice today.  Unfortunately I could not execute either a Back Spin or a Waltz Jump - Toe Loop combination.  As a matter of fact, the more times I attempted the combination the more FEAR built up in my mind.

I makes no sense why I can do a Flip Jump without fear, but not a Toe Loop.  I won't spend much time analyzing it.  I just hope it will work itself out.  I came home and watched Michael Weiss do 30 of them on Monkey See.  He gets great height off a single Toe Loop and shows it in real time and then slow motion.  I need to just go for it .... reach way back, stick that toe pick in and vault myself up and around.

Tomorrow I am taking the day off the ice.  I have too much to do around the house and Friday I am going to California and plan to skate at Belmont on Friday after I have my boots looked at by Harlick and then at Dublin on Monday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Maybe I'm Not Ready For Twizzles

My lesson today was very productive.  We went over the elements that were already choreographed and added on the next part.  So far we've planned:

  • A Forward Pivot
  • A Back Spin
  • An Ina Bauer
  • A Waltz Jump - Toe Loop Combination
  • A Sit Spin
With connecting moves and arms in between ..... 

Can I do all this?  Pretty half way at this point.  I can see that once it is fully planned out, there will be weeks of tweaking and months of building up the stamina to pull it all off.

I got a great tip today on the Sit Spin.  I was putting my free leg too far off to the side.  My coach told me to put it more in front.  Just like that ... I was centered- sitting on top of my boot and completing nearly 10 revolutions.  Getting up again... I sort of fell out of it, but it was a great hurdle.  Afterwards in practice I didn't do as well as you will see on the video.

Below is a video for anyone who has never skated who wants to know what a skater sees when we spin.  This is a relatively slow spin too.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Meanwhile ... Back on the Ice

I was so happy to pull up to the rink today and only see so few cars out front.  For the most part, spring break is over in my neck of the woods.

The ice was freshly scraped and there were only 3 other people skating.  That left me no excuses for not trying.  As you can see I also wore a skating skirt today to try and force myself to work a little harder.  Have I mentioned my rink is freezing?  So wearing a skirt forces you to skate hard enough to warm up your muscles ... or else.

I also noticed my new bunion didn't hurt as bad.  Maybe it's not going to be permanent.  I hope not.

I brought my music and headphones today to try and experiment with some connecting moves for my program.  I hope to be able to contribute to the program and not let my coach just tell me every element, step, gesture.

Today I worked at spirals, backspins, sit spins, camel spins, attitude spins, footwork, spread eagle, ina bauers, waltz jump, salchow, loop jumps.  I still need to straighten out my skating leg and lock it and my free leg on my spirals.  I feel as though it is, but it's not.

Question:  Are names of jumps proper nouns?  Should I capitalize them?  I think so.

I was kind of happy about my sit spin.  My video turned off and I didn't catch one in practice... you will have to take my word for it.  I seem to be able to get a little lower and hold it longer and almost ..get up and complete an upright scratch spin when I finish.  The rules say you have to do at least 3 revolutions in position.

I attempted a few camel spins too (also not captured on video) and not being able to get into that position quickly are going to make the road to re learning a camel spin more difficult.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Too Much Information

I should probably put a warning or disclaimer before posting these photos.  These are not what I would call attractive feet.  They have been toting me around for 52 years, many of which they have supported me  20-30 lbs over weight and crammed into pointed, high heeled shoes.  I have seen worse (ballet dancers feet).

When I returned from a wonderful 10 day cruise to the Caribbean (after wearing flip flops nearly the entire time), something occurred on the outside of my left foot.  It appears I have a new bunion baby ...

The day after we returned I skated my Pre Bronze Test and when I put my skates on and stood up I thought there was a rock in my boot.  I unlaced and checked my tights.  Nothing was bunched up, no seam there, no rock obviously... I re-laced and adjusted the best I could.  I could still feel it.  Once I got home I noticed the new bunion.  Great.

This week I have skated 3 times and it's still there.  My coach suggested I have it punched out.  I have this trust issue when it comes to my new investment.  Fortunately, I am planning a trip to the Bay Area next Friday and conveniently flying into Oakland, CA and renting a car, then meeting a friend near Stanford.  Once again.... Harlick to my rescue!

I called Harlick's today and spoke to Ginger.  She said Phil will be away at Adult Nationals, but Jason will be there to check out my feet and punch out my boots, if necessary.  I was planning on bringing my skates anyway so that I could skate a day or two in California.

Problem solved!  Thank you Harlick!

New Bunionette

I know .. I need a pedicure

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What I Learned Today

  1. When you get a cold you should take a few days off
  2. Public sessions when school is out are a waste of time
  3. I  definitely do not like Thai food 
I  attended my regular public session today with a friend.  We spent most of the time gliding along and chatting and dodging the kids tearing up the ice with hockey skates.   I tried a few spins and a few jumps, but was really out of breath and dizzier than usual.  I think my cold must have settled in my chest and lungs.  I plan on taking the rest of the week off the ice.   I can see now that summer is going to be a challenge to skate during public sessions.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Started Working on a Program

Following a night of restless sleep and with a cold, I took to the ice today at 11:00 am for my lesson.  

Much to my surprise my coach Berkley wanted to start working on my Adult Bronze Program right away.  She debriefed me on my test last Tuesday and told me one of the judges verbally complimented my skate and said it was obvious I must have skated as a child.  I will take that as a compliment.

I selected a piece of music and edited it to 1:50, the max time allowed for Adult Bronze Free Skate testing or an Adult Bronze competition program.  I am keeping the music a secret until the program is complete and performance ready.  It's a piano piece .. I will say that.

I mentioned to my coach that I did not want to skate to a big piece of overly dramatic music and not have the skills to back it up.  When she heard what I chose, she was really pleased.  She said it will work because I am a "quiet skater".  I had to laugh at that.  My childhood coach told me I skated like I was a linebacker for the Rams!  Perhaps I have acquired some grace on the ice after 41 years.

So right off the bat she came out on the ice and we selected a starting position!  Just like that.  Actually,  first she asked me how I felt - emotionally - about the piece.  What emotion did I feel and want to convey in the program?  She agreed with my idea and proceeded to find an opening position for the program.

Little did I know how much work goes into the simplest thing:  Skating up to and holding a starting pose.  It's just a turned out right foot with the left leg behind, toe pick in the ice, but the position she put my hands in and the subsequent hand and arm movements require some core strength.  It felt so abnormal for me.  I have not been doing anything artistic with my body for so long.  I never took ballet - wish I had.

So far we have

  1. A starting pose
  2. Some hand and arm movement (artistic expression)
  3. A forward pivot
  4. Two footed glide exit (arm position pending)
  5. L + R inside edges
  6. Backspin (obviously she has faith... she is choreographing the spin before I can do it)
That covers about the first 18 seconds.  92 seconds to go!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Practicing 3 Turns

It's spring break and the public session I normally skate at was crowded.  Add to that some post nasal drip from a cold and the result was not too much excitement on the ice today.

I practiced 3 turns from the Adult Silver MIF test on a smaller scale.  Realizing soon after I  started that I can not really do them very well any more, I decided to video tape myself to see if I could see what I am doing wrong.  Splat!

Lesson tomorrow at 11:00 am at the start of the session.  I hope it goes better than today!

I also met the nicest lady named Jill.  She is 76 years old and still skates.  She skated in 1958 with Holiday On Ice and Dick Button.  Amazing.  She is very graceful, but  she wisely wears a helmet.

July 115º - No problem!

 Down in the valley for a few appointments from the White Mountains of Arizona where it’s much cooler.  It’s been over 110ª every day reachi...