Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lesson and Practice

I got about an hour of practice in today just before my lesson.  My test date is just 13 days away so we concentrated on the Moves In The Field for most of our lesson.  I finally captured a little bit of it on video today.

My moves are mostly passable, but I need more work on smooth 3 turns, more knee bend and arm extension for the transitions and keeping my head up.

Also on my back outside edges I am starting to do sort of a swing roll instead of just a back edge.  Need to correct that.

At the end of the lesson we talked a bit about my problem with the backspin.  I thought I had made some progress.  Drawing my arms to my chest in more of a jump/gather position.  When I demonstrated it, my coach told me I had improved, but what I was doing was a forward inside edge spin.  Which she said was VERY HARD and reserved for high level skaters!!!  I had to laugh.  It wasn't a good spin, but that's the edge I was on.  When I get on my outside edge I seem to fall to the back of my blade (scary).  Tomorrow I will capture some practice on that.

Here is my practice today and my lesson covering Power 3 Turns for the MIF:


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Practicing My Moves

Finally back on the ice today after about a week off.  As you can see I had the ice to myself, which is wonderful.  School will be out soon, so these days are numbered.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

I've been off the ice for a few days to attend my son's wedding in Michigan.  He and his bride are both U.S. Navy Corpsman currently stationed at the Naval Health Clinic of New England in Newport, Rhode Island.  I am so proud of him and so happy to have a new daughter in law who I adore.  Thank you both for your service and congratulations on your marriage.   Love Mom.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Back To Basics

I have been either out of town or really busy in the past week or two.  We took a short camping trip and I am getting ready for a trip to Michigan for my son's wedding.  As a result I have not been skating my usual 4-5 times per week.  (And it shows).

Today I had only 45 minutes to skate before going to see the Orthopedic surgeon to get a "status check" on my sore knees.  The good news there is that my knees are holding up pretty well considering I had 2 arthroscopic surgeries 32 years ago.  He said my bones look great after seeing my X-rays.  My diagnosis  for the pain I sometimes have after skating (also walking, biking, skiing, climbing up or down stairs) is Chrondomalacia Patella which is basically cartilage softening.  His recommendation:  Keep Skating !!!  But also to take it easy on days when it hurts or won't recuperate the next day.  Wear a knee brace on days that I plan on doing extensive jumping (ha ha ha) and to keep taking Glucosomine supplements (I drink Joint Juice every day) and Calcium + Vitamin D (Costco and Trader Joe's have chewable supplements).

I ran through my Moves in the Field today as my initial warm up.  I wanted to see if I could execute them if I showed up to the rink for testing without a prior warm up.  I was able to get through them, but I was not as fluid I would have been if I warmed up first.

Afterwards I ran through a few jumps and worked on (slow) spins, trying to center them more.  I worked on my back spin and think I found a correction.  It really seems to help to cross the free leg over right away.  I have been trying to keep it to the side like a simple scratch spin trying to find my center before attempting to cross the leg over and I cannot center it.  I just fall onto the back of my blade (dangerous).  I didn't capture that on video, but I will the next time I practice.

The video below shows some edge work and trying to learn a twizzle.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Today I met Paul Wylie

My usual session time was altered today for a special function at the rink.  I skated from 10:15 to 11:45 (an hour earlier than usual).

Here is my boring practice:

At 12:00 noon our rink, Eagle Ice-A-Rena, hosted a Special Olympics event.  Skaters with special needs showed up to skate with and get some tips from Paul Wylie, 1992 Olympic Silver Medalist.  Some of the skaters from the Lilac Figure Skating Club were there also to help out and get some tips from Paul.

Me?  I couldn't resist the opportunity to meet him.  I had no idea he had such ties to Spokane.  His wife was there, his nearly 80 year old father (who he says still skis on black diamond runs) and his sister, who was organizing the event along with a committee  from the Lilac Parade organization.

* Disclaimer:  If I get any of the above information incorrect ... My apologies.

I was kind of hanging out with my cell phone camera, hoping to ask him for a photo opportunity when I glanced over and saw him lacing up his skates.  I introduced myself and told him I was an "Adult Figure Skater" ... I didn't realize he is just 5 years younger than I am.   He looks better than I do!  He said he attributes his preservation to being in cold rinks... and staying "on ice".  Here's a few pictures at the event:

After the thank you's and a a few words from Paul, the group of skaters with special needs, some of the Lilac Princesses and some of the Lilac Figure Skating Club's skaters took the ice.  Paul skated with them, watched them skate, gave them individual pointers and tips and then gave the group a demonstration of an advanced jump .... my nemesis:  The Axel 

In my conversation with Paul he told me he only skates professionally on occasion, but he is now coaching in North Carolina where he lives.  I asked him if he would be open to coaching an adult clinic sometime .. somewhere... and he said YES.  So we'll see.  
I so enjoyed my short chat with him, I forgot to ask him for a photo, but someone else took my picture while I was chatting with him.  Hopefully she will email me a copy.

Here's the video of the Axel demonstration:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Program Progess

I had a 30 minute lesson today.  I accidentally left my skating pants at home and had to skate in BLUE JEANS for a lesson.  Way to go!

We started out working on the Moves in the Field.  Everything is looking nearly passable at this point, so I won't linger on the subject.  I have nearly a month more to practice so we put that on the shelf and addressed the issues I have with my incomplete program:

Issue #1.  I had a Back Spin choreographed at the beginning of my program and I can't do it very well or very consistently yet.  I requested to move it to later in the program, perhaps at the very end.  I don't want to start my program off with a fall or mistake.  (My coach agreed to move it further into the program, but she thinks it would even harder to execute it at the end when I am really tired)

Issue #2. I'm still getting overly dizzy while spinning. WHEN IF EVER IS THIS GOING TO SUBSIDE???? (Nothing my coach could do about that)

We did move the Back Spin and replace it with an Ina Bauer into a Sit Spin.  It will work out much better.

Waltz Toe, Waltz Loop Progress

My postings have slowed down for 2 reasons:
#1: I was out of town last weekend and didn't skate for 6 days.
#2: I got frustrated with my new Droid Razr phone (which I just got April 20) and traded it in for an iPhone 4s....... which may have been another mistake.

I had a DroidX for 2 years.  It worked perfectly.  All my videos were shot from the DroidX in HD since January 1, 2012.  I had to learn how to convert the file extension so that my iMac and iMovie would be able to read the file, but once I learned that, it was so easy to upload them and then edit them.

I am really hoping this iPhone is just a matter of a learning curve.  Right now I am cursing it.  I was shooting my practice today and it ran out of space.  Then it overheated in the sun after I left the rink.  I got a temperature warning after using an app for navigation (the DroidX was also far superior)

....wait ... this doesn't sound anything like a SKATING BLOG.  I tried venting my frustration to the dog, but he doesn't care.  So here I am.

I will continue my post today as though a video will eventually show up.

For a Monday it was a pretty good practice.  I did leave frustrated at the end because my spins were terrible and making me really sick to my stomach.  Sometimes I think the spinning is getting easier on me.  Other days, like today, I felt like giving up on the idea of testing freestyle or competing in the future.  Stamina for me is still a huge issue.

I skate 3-4 times a week.  I go to the gym 3 times a week, play golf, walk the dog, go to physical therapy, eat right.  Not sure what else I can do to increase my energy short of taking steroids .. which I would never do.  Actually I don't think steroids even help that.  Aren't they just for muscles?

On a positive note: Today I practiced my Toe Loops a bunch of times.  Helped me to rid myself of the fear.  I also tired and landed a Waltz Toe combination, a Waltz Loop combination.  Hip Hip Hooray!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


When I started this project it was never my intention to get a readership.  I wanted to keep a journal of my skating progress.  Then I started thinking about how boring a journal can be, even for the writer.  We are a society of audio-visual, social networking, it's-all-about-me nowadays.  So I thought I would create a blog, track my progress and offer an open book to my training, methods, philosophies, victories, agony and defeat.

Today I checked my "stats" and realized I now have had 1999 views of my blog.  By this time tomorrow it will be 2000.  So once again I am jumping the gun!

Went to my first physical therapy session today at Pearson & Weary Pain Clinic.
I was referred by my Orthopedic surgeon's after discovering I have pain associated with my Sacroiliac joint.  (bone spurs). I had another complete evaluation done here and we started doing some  Graston and Active Release techniques (both of which I am yet to understand myself ... click the links to learn more)  After my session I enjoy 20 minutes in a high-end massage chair with a beautiful mural on the wall and spa music... I wanted to call out for Chinese food and spend the entire day there!

Instead I turned off the massage chair and went skating.  I had a pretty good session after all that chair massage and manipulation beforehand.  I recorded about 15 minutes of it, but after the session ended I traded my Droid Razr that I just bought 22 days ago for a new iPhone 4s.  (thereby losing my last video)

I worked on my MIF today and all my jumps.  Successfully, but not eloquently landing a Waltz Jump, Toe Loop, Waltz Toe combination, Flip Jump, Loop Jump, 1/2 Lutz ... yes I am starting to consider trying a Lutz.

My spins were off center today..  Nothing worked.  What I thought would be an easy 1:50 number to choreograph is turning into a nightmare for me.  Today I told my coach I will not test my free skate this June.  I'm not ready.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Coach Sick - Lesson Cancelled

I was secretly happy that my lesson got cancelled today.  Sorry my coach was not feeling well, but happy I didn't have to skate badly during my lesson.  I have read about other adult skaters who reach plateaus and get frustrated.  I guess it's my turn.

It takes considerable motivation to practice 4 days a week as well as doing strength training and stretching at the gym.  I was going gangbusters for a few months while I was losing weight and feeling better.  Maybe a good nights sleep will help.

Tomorrow I am going to see a physical therapist at my doctor's suggestion.  They seem to think they can help me with my SI pain.  Wouldn't that be nice!

Today I tried lacing my boots up all the way.  Felt like a completely different pair of boots.  Loads of support, but I am unable to get enough flex to do a deep knee bend or a spread eagle.  Still breaking in those boots!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Probably Going To Scratch The Free Skate

I have had another 6 days off the ice.  This past weekend we went spring skiing at Crystal Mountain.  Had loads of fun, but it kind of wrecked my back.  The snow was very stop-and-go and the next day a 5 hour car trip home = sore lower back.

Coincidentally I had an appointment this morning with an Orthopedic Surgeon to evaluate my hip and knees.  He only handles one thing at a time, so today it was the thing that hurts the most:  my hip.  After an exam and X-rays we learned that my hip is perfectly fine and the good news is my bones look healthy.  The bad news is my problem is my SI or Sacroiliac Joint.  I guess there are some bone spurs there and it's something I just have to deal with unless it gets so bad I am willing to do more invasive things.  He recommended NSAIDS and physical therapy 1-3 times a week for 6 weeks.  Next week I will have my knees examined.

Maybe I should have my head examined at the same time.  Skating at 52?  Really?

Practice went ok today for my Moves In The Field practice.  I think I will still be able to test and pass by June 12.  My freestyle however was another story. Nothing felt good today, especially my backspin ... which is the first required element of my program.

Tomorrow I have a lesson.  I plan on warming up extensively before hand, as well as taking the doctors advice and using some Ibuprofen.

My camera today was tilted at the ceiling.  18 minutes of bad music and no skating were recorded!

Here's a glimpse of my spring skiing day instead!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuesday Lesson

No video to post today.  I had a 30 minute lesson to work entirely on my Bronze free skate program.  We were hoping to finish it, but due to my lack of memory retention, lack of ability to execute some of the elements and lack of stamina ... we only made a little progress.

So far we have:

Forward ccw pivot
Bent R knee spiral (artistic)
Inside Edge to back spin
Exit spin to Ina Bauer
Step out into L Mohawk to back LO edge
Back R crossovers to forward glide to cross ice (artistic arms)
LF3 turn to back crossovers into Waltz Toe Loop
Hold landing, LF3 turn to back R crossovers into sit spin
Exit spin, forward stroking into RF spread eagle
Exit to RBO edge into flip

.... it's a work in progress....

On top of that, my practice session following the lesson resulted in quite of bit of frustration.  I'm feeling a little discouraged right now and plan to take a few days off and resume next week.  

Last (regular) Dance (lesson) for the summer

Ok .. this is IT.  I’m off to the land of no ice rink for a month or so.  I’ll be back home a few times over the summer but won’t be able to...