Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last Skating Practice of 2013 - 2 Year Report

Well, it's been 2 full years since I started this blog and this skating adventure.  It was my New Years resolution of 2012 to get off the couch, lose weight, get some exercise and try to get back a few of the skating skills of my childhood.  So I bought some new boots and blades and took to the ice...

Although I am in much better physical shape than I was December 31, 2011,  I struggle immensely with the frustration of wanting to do so much more on the ice.  It has been much harder than I imagined trying to reacquire the skating skills I had as a child.

Making progress figure skating requires perseverance at any age … much more so as an "older" adult.  We lack the stamina, flexibility and strength and many of us are also dealing with sore joints and muscles, injuries and fear that is very hard to overcome.

In 2 years, I have taken 4 skating tests and skated in only *1 competition.


*ADULT BRONZE FREE SKATE (Skated up = above my level)  (July 2012)
ADULT BRONZE FREE SKATE (Oct 2013)  It took a year and a half to get the nerve up for this

* I was the only adult competitor in my category so it felt more like an exhibition -

This was my last practice of the year ….

Thursday, December 19, 2013

End Of A Long Week..

I skated 4 days this week.  Monday was just practice ice.  Tuesday practice + MIF lesson.  Wednesday practice + freestyle lesson, Thursday practice + choreography lesson.  My dogs are barkin' and my bones are rusty!

Today was quite fun actually.  I met with my new choreography coach Noreen Clohessy-Olson and we really went to work on outlying my Light Entertainment program.  Sadly none of that is on the video .. we needed my phone to listen to the program music.

Spirals and a few spins.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

'Twas The Week Before Christmas ....

.... And all over the ice, not a Lutz jump was landed nor a three turn quite right.....

That's the end of my holiday creativity.  Lesson #2 of 3 this week.  Free style lesson but not much on camera.  We worked on this and that.  This being a sit spin and that being a spread eagle and a clam shell spiral.  A few Lutz jumps on the harness (not on video) and I am cooked.

Stamina is improving but bones and joints are getting fatigued.

Here's a tidbit from my lesson:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Adult Silver Moves In The Field Lesson

What I thought was going to be a 15 minute moves lesson turned out to be 45 minutes.  Each element takes quite a bit of time to demonstrate and hash over the errors and corrections and retry.

I condensed the video to about 8 1/2 minutes.

I didn't do any freestyle today.  I have a lesson tomorrow and a choreographers lesson Thursday.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday MIF

Late start to practice today without off ice warm up.  worked on some Silver MIF before my lesson tomorrow.

Afterwards I did some work on spread eagles..  It's hard for me to go from the inside to the outside.  The choreographer wants me to try outside-inside-outside ... of course she wants me to do something I can't do yet!  I also took a nice face plant just doing a mohawk x step ... for your enjoyment!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Freestyle Session At Frontier Ice

Since I took Friday off I wanted to skate over the weekend and try a few of the things I learned from the choreographer.

One of the things I worked on was a footwork sequence, which consisted of:

RI  Edge
Toe Pick L/R
LI Edge
R Inside Three Turn
LBI Edge + Cross RBI Edge
R Mohawk
Cross R
L Mohawk
Cross L

When you put it all together and DO IT RIGHT .. it should look pretty good.  Right now I look like I am drunk and stumbling out of a bar.

The other thing she wants me to try and learn is this so-called "clamshell back spiral" ...

While gliding on a Back RO Edge I am supposed to bring my L knee up to my chest, reach over and grab the heel of my L boot with my R hand and while still gliding --- extend my left leg as much a possible, striving for a straight leg, L arm off to the side.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Quick Center Ice Practice

I was warming up before meeting with a choreographer today so I only captured a few minutes of some spins and jumps.  Wearing a dress so she can see my line when I skate .. pants tend to cover your knees too much.  Took a nice fall on a Flip Jump and made a little Camel Spin progress - yet all the other spins are sub standard.

Choreography session was on ice but not video taped.  I will try and capture next weeks meeting.
Today was more of a meet and greet.  She has never met me before nor seen me skate.  She is a non-skater but has worked with skaters (much higher levels than me) for many years.  She knows her stuff.

Today we listened to my music and she had me improvise to see what may skating flow was, do a few jumps and spins and we tinkered with some footwork.  She had great tips for me on getting my spread eagle from outside to inside and back to outside which is the hard part.

She also showed me how to start learning a back spiral variation she called a "clam shell spiral" .. to me it looks like it's a "Y spiral" ... back outside edge, bringing the free leg knee to your chest then grabbing the heel of your boot and then extending the knee.  At first I couldn't even catch my boot heel.  By the time we finished I was catching it and trying to extend... but I need a lot more stretching to attain a Y position.  My personal opinion is that you have to execute these really well for them to look good, anything less and they look horrible on the ice.

Right now I have a "can do" attitude .. or at least I am willing to try.

Here is a clip from practice before the choreographer:

Silver MIF Lesson

I am really slipping on the video quality.  This one is really fuzzy.  45 minute lesson all MIF.  It was supposed to be 15 MIF and 30 free style, but the MIF needed a lot of work!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

6 Days Off Ice ...

Haven't skated in 6 days.  Why do I do that?????

Short practice, private ice .. camera died before I started my spins ...

Monday, December 9, 2013

On Frozen Pond

It's been really cold where I live.   Today was one of the warmer days - 18 degrees out!
I just had to put my skates on and try a spin or two.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lutz Lesson

During my lesson we went straight for the Lutz.  We started on the harness.  I think I did 3 or 4 on harness jumps, two of which  she said were "all me" - meaning no help from the harness.  Frankly I think it's a ploy to psyche me out to convince me I did it alone ... just so I won't have the fear going into the jump without the harness.  True or not ... it worked.

After my harness jumps she had me fly solo and much to my surprise I landed it.  Twice as a matter of fact.  What a thrill.  When you take the fear out of it .. it really does feel just like a Flip jump.

I wish we had ended on that note.  She wanted to do a couple of combos.  Loop - Loop and Flip - Loop and then onto spinning.   She asked about my layback spin.  I told her the only thing I fear more than the Lutz jump is a Layback spin.  I tried one.  It looked more like a (bad) attitude spin.

We went to the wall and even off the ice into the penalty box to try and get the hip and leg position.  It hurt ... the position of the layback seems unattainable to me at this point.  I don't know if I can get my body into that position or even close.

Sit Spin: She also wants me to take my sit spin to the next level .. into a cannonball position.
(all the way down, reaching for the ankle and tucking the head down while spinning) ....

... that's a lot on my plate!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Late For My Lesson

I am used to having 1 lesson per week, not 3.  Yesterdays meeting with the choreographer got canceled, today I botched up my MIF lesson.   We were supposed to meet at 11:00 ... BEFORE the public session.  I knew that, but I forgot and left for the rink at my usual time thinking I would have a lesson at the end of the public session.  So ... no lesson today.

On the positive side .. I had private ice.  I skated for 40 minutes before I tweaked something in my back.  I said TWEAK .. not that other word.

I did some moves in the field and some single jumps and worked on the camel spin a bit.  The sit spin is what tweaked my back.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Adult Swim

When I got to the rink today I was surprised and elated to see 4 other adult figure skaters on the ice.
3 of which, like me, all hope to go to the 2014 Adult Championships in April and skate our legs off ...

.. Well, at least show up and do our best!

I was supposed to meet my new choreographer today, but her husband fell ill with the flu and she had to cancel.  I was so disappointed, but we will meet soon and get started putting together my dramatic and light entertainment programs.

In the mean time.  It was business as usual.  Video captures a few jumps and some Camel Spin practice.
Like the backspin, I am getting closer .. one in every 5-6 spins doesn't see-saw.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Camel Spin Lesson

My last post was the last time I skated.  I took a road trip to California and brought my skates along hoping to skate at 2-3 rinks along my route, but it never happened.  It just wasn't in the cards.  What was in the cards?  The stomach flu.  Need I say more?

Finally back on the ice today and had a good lesson.  We worked on spins today.  Camel Spin, Camel-Sit Spin, Back Spin and a few unexpected Loop jumps including a Loop-Loop attempt.

I also got connected with a choreographer Noreen Chloessy-Olson who will be choreographing both my dramatic/artistic and my light entertainment program for nationals.

I also expanded my weekly lessons to 45 minutes to include a 15 minute Moves In The Field lesson every Tuesday.  I think it's official.  I am in training!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I'd Skate A Mile ... For A Camel

I'm sure I will be skating several miles before the Camel appears!

I had a short harness lesson today without much of a warm up.  I took a fall taking some things to the dumps the other day and fell on my back.  I am sore, but not seriously hurt, but it really showed today in my skating in some instances.  The harness kind of hurt.

I set up the video and thought it was running, but it wasn't so all I captured was my practice after my lesson.  Coach Berkley wants me to work on all my jumps and start working on my Camel Spin and get a Camel - Sit Spin combo for my competition program .. she says I will need it to be competitive.

... I will need a lot more than a Camel - Sit combo!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Harness Lesson

It happened.  Something I NEVER thought I would do in my life.  Jump practice in a harness.
I was so nervous about it.  My coach assured me there are heavier skaters than me who have been strapped into it.  Once I saw how it worked I felt better (despite the rusty pulley above my head!)

We did Waltz Jumps, Toe Loops, Flips and tried a few Lutz Jumps.  That was the hardest to do in the harness for some reason.  I never had a really good one.

I set up my camera for my practice and forgot it was down at the other end of the rink, so when I zoom in, it will be fuzzy.

Oh by the way.... it's a blast being in the harness.  Once you have the confidence and you know that no matter what you coach is going to either keep you from falling .. or keep you from falling hard ..
You can just  attack your jumps and you can also think about other things while you are jumping.

I don't mean day dreaming of course... my issue today was that my free leg was not crossed over my jumping leg ..  in a jump position.  I would pop out which of course slows that rotation and sabotages your landing.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jumps On And Off The Ice

Warming up has never been my strong suit.  My daily routine includes soaking my bones in a hot tub  to warm my muscles followed by a 30 minute car ride to the rink where I usually go into the cold rink, put my skates on, lace up and start skating.  After a 5 minute on ice warm up, I go to the wall and stretch.

Here is what I should be doing:

Warm Up Exercises

Today, in trying to get with the program, I did a few minutes of off ice jumping to warm up.  I really need to discipline myself to arrive earlier and allow ample time for a proper warm up every day before I skate and also follow up with a proper cool down.  I'm pretty sure it will improve all aspects of my skating and well being.

Part 1 of my practice today was off ice
Part 2 of my practice was on ice working on ALL the jumps.  (- Axel of course)
Part 3 of my practice was working on Silver MIF

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Short Practice and Off Ice Lesson

I was planning on having a regular lesson today although I had no idea what we were going to work on.

Lacing skate boots is a very OCD thing for most skaters.  We all have our ritual or way of lacing that works best and feels comfortable to us.  Sometimes, despite my best effort to lace good from the start, they will loosen up so much that I get a wobble in my ankle .. great for spread eagles, bad for jumps.

No matter what I did today, I couldn't get lace happy, so I took my skates off before my lesson!
My coach decided since my skates were off already that she would give me an off ice lesson today.

We worked on 1/2 turns and full turns in place (which I have done before)
Some of the jumps starting with a Waltz Jump, then Toe Loop, then Salchow.

As a child the only off ice jumping I remember doing is a Waltz Jump and trying to do an Axel (which I never could)

Coach Berkley says next week we will do 15 off ice and 15 on ice and she wants to put me in the harness!  If you have followed this blog since the beginning, there was a time last year when she wanted to put me in the harness before and we somehow got distracted from doing it.

I am a little nervous about it having never been in one.  My fear is that I will hurl myself into the biggest leap and she won't be holding the rope and I will splat!

Anyway, here is my progress today.  YES progress.  Camel Spin on the horizon.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New Chapter: Getting Ready For Competition

The next phase of my skating and training is for competition rather than testing.  Tests allow you to compete at a certain level.  Competition is taking that level of skating to it's highest achievable form.

To be competitive I will need 2 jump combinations in my program of the same 1:50 length.  Once combination may have 3 jumps while the other may only have 2 and a maximum of four jump elements. So that's 2 combinations and 2 jumps alone.

Dream Sheet

  1. Lutz
  2. Flip-Toe Loop-Loop
  3. Waltz Jump (a giant one)
  4. Salchow-Loop
We'll see about that!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Adult Bronze Free Skate PASSED !!!

With a gigantic sigh of relief, I am proud to say that I successfully passed my Adult Bronze Free Skate Test today ... and with no re-skates required!  I am thrilled and relieved that it is over and now I can move on to bigger and better things - like Adult Nationals in April!!

Ask anyone who skates and they will always tell you ... "I could have skated better".  Today was no exception, but I did not fall and I did complete all my jumps, tiny as they were and all the necessary revolutions of my spins.  I could spend an hour nit picking at what went wrong, but I won't.

Here's what went right:

And here is my test skate:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Missoula Figure Skating Club Practice Session

I skipped skating at home today and opted to drive to Missoula to skate their freestyle session at 4:00 pm. What I forgot to take into account is that Montana is in another time zone. I rolled into Missoula right at 4:00 and got 45 minutes of skating in. $15 for one hour of crowded ice, skaters buzzing around wearing their neon "I'm running my program - stay out of my way - vest" .... I did my best not to run over anyone or get in anyone's way.

The good news is their ice is nice and it's warm enough to remove you coat after two laps around the rink! Other good news was that the coaches were all really nice and welcomed me. At least 3 different coaches came up to me after the session and introduced themselves.  Thanks Jill, Patty and Ryan (coaches at MFSC) and to everyone at Glacier Ice Rink and the Missoula Figure Skating Club for being so welcoming and taking the edge off  being so nervous!

Ryan Yearous

Jilayne Lee (Jill)

Patty Koster

Having said all that here is an uncut 15 minutes of my freestyle session the evening before the test.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Double Three Tuesday

I skated 2 runs of my program back to back today.  I didn't think I would do it.  My plan was to just work on little things.  Footwork, arms, bows, etc.

Yesterday I lifted a bunch of heavy shelving (360 lbs total) broken into small loads to my basement garage.  I thought it might do my legs some good to put some weight in my arms and walk downhill in steel toed shoes on uneven surfaces in the dirt and hike back up 20 times until it was all done.  OUCH .. I was kind of sore.... all over.

I started out slow, but decided to buck up and run the thing a few times.  Afterwards it was mostly a social fest.   I was trying to learn how to do double three turns (Adult Gold Moves have them) and Twizzles .. they are like spinning, but in a moving straight line.  Years ago only ice dancers did them.  Now they are a part of freestyle skating.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Last 4 Days of Practice Start Now..

After a non productive - high calorie weekend of Hockey and NFL I hit the ice today ready to work hard.

I had the ice to myself for a little while, then a few little ones with their mother/coach and then my friend Cary came on his lunch hour.  We chatted about skating and I got sidetracked from my practice doing things that aren't even in my program - Camel Spins, Back Sit Spins, Change Foot Sit Spins ...

Hey, skating is skating and it all helps.  Working on something else is my way of rebelling before my test!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fumble Friday

Short practice and one chance to run my program at the end, but I was really tired and I fell on my first jump (off camera). I tried to make up the time and I tried to throw in make up jumps. Hope this doesn't happen next Friday!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Little Bit of Everything

Today I had a lesson.  The plan was to not exhaust myself during practice and save my energy to have a full out run through of my test program.  It didn't really work out that way.

I started my practice by a few laps of stroking, as usual, then decided to execute all the Adult Silver Moves in the Field.  I haven't done them in a while, so they are pretty rusty.  That is video #1 below.


After that I worked on a myriad of things including Lunges, Straight Line Spirals, the Back Spin and Sit Spin and all of my jumps including a Flip Jump .. and I even tried a full rotation of a Lutz Jump.. although it may be a Flutz.  (That's what figure skaters call a flubbed Lutz Jump off the wrong edge.)  Whatever it was, this was a major accomplishment for me.  With the exception of the Axel, the Lutz is the hardest single jump for most people.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Nine Days !!!!!!!

I couldn't resist this video clip from Defending Your Life ... that's how I feel right now!

Yes - I need more Sake .....

Nine days till my test.  Had a short but decent practice today.  Lesson tomorrow which I hope to capture on video if it's not too crowded.  Maybe I will wear my dress again.

Learned something today about Prince.  No can do on YouTube .. I tried to upload my video today with some improvisation to Purple Rain which I was planning to use for my Dramatic Skate at AN's, but he apparently blocks iTunes and YouTube from using his name or music.  Guess I will just find another piece of music or not record any of my practices.  I also downloaded a karaoke and an Etta James version in my quest for the right skating version.. looks like I wasted my time and my money.

My revised video is still publishing.  I will add it in the morning.. Meanwhile..any suggestions on music for purple dress?

Before anyone comments on the shoot the duck ... I now know what a hydro blade is !!

Monday, October 14, 2013

10 Days To Test Date

Just a few short days of practice and 2 lessons before my test.  It's looking like I won't have the desired energy I want, but with a little luck it will be just enough to pass my test.

My friends Hank and Sheila were at the rink today.  Love having other adult skaters on the ice.

I tried using another video program.  (The one my coach uses - Coach My Video) but it cut off after 3 minutes... So not much footage today.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday's Ice Time

I skated today for about 30 minutes before it felt like I pulled something and decided to get off the ice.  I didn't stretch at the wall and started doing loop jumps and pulled a groin muscle in my right upper leg.  I have done that before and really injured myself for weeks, so I just got off the ice and plan to lay low all weekend.

I find, for me, that too much ice time does not pay off.  4-5 days per week is my max before I get really exhausted and start injuring myself.

Yesterday someone commented to me on my Youtube channel that I was very graceful, but skating rather slow - that was his critique.  I totally agree, but not sure how to attain more strength to skate faster and hold my edges and land my little jumps.  Probably just need to get into the gym with regularity and determination to push my cardio to it's limit.

Back Monday.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Here Come Da Judge!

Skated a rare evening freestyle session @ Frontier Ice in Coeur d' Alene so I could play 18 holes of bad golf today. At least I walked 8 1/2 miles... That was the only good that came out of my golf game!

I was pleasantly surprised there were few kids on the freestyle session. One little girl, one adult both beginning skaters also the director of the club, Dean was there. I think he told me he is working on his own Adult Silver moves and some dance patterns. The other person there, also an adult skater (in a blue jacket) turned out to be a USFSA technical judge. We met and I came to find out that she will be in Missoula on my test date Oct 25!!! She may not be judging my event as she is going there to sit in on a higher level of test (part of how low level Jude's acquire the skills to judge at higher level events) She said sometimes when they are there, they might ask them to lend a hand and judge something they are qualified for....i.e..... My event.  so there is a slight chance I have met one of my judges! She said ... Pretend like we never met... So I won't think about it while I'm skating. Hard to do.. She has curly red hair.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dress Rehearsal

I guess you would consider this a dress rehearsal.  I put my test/competition dress on today and tried out my test program.  16 days until my test date.  I have been out of town for 3 days playing golf and having fun.  Now it's ice time.. every day until my test.

I felt ok considering I am still shaking off a cold I have had for a week.  I will say this... I was FREEZING in that sleeveless dress with no gloves on!

After I took this video I had a 30 minute lesson and we ran the program a few more times and worked on my back spin.  I learned a lot today about WHY my backspin isn't working.  Coach took a video and slow motion showed me how open my left hip is ..  going to work on that all week.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Skating Public Session On Saturday Is .......

... a waste of time.  There was a kids birthday party going on.  The ice was not cut prior to the public session - it was choppy and really hard to maintain good edges and worst of all for me - nowhere to put my camera.  At the end I finally found a niche to balance it on for 5 minutes while I did a few spins and a jump.

After today I am off the ice until Wed Oct 9.  Taking a few days off to rest my skating legs and my mind and play some end-of-the-season golf in Oregon.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Skating With A Head Cold ...

What terrible timing.  I came down with a cold on Monday.  I stayed in bed all day Tuesday.  Wed I forced myself to skate only because I had a lesson. Thursday my hubby came home from a long trip so I stayed home again and today I skated for an hour with literally no energy.

If it weren't for the young girl skating with brand new boots on ... making me look like a whimp ... I would have gotten off the ice immediately.  Thanks .. whoever you are for getting me to skate today!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Coach Says: No Changes To Her Choreography

I suppose I could have argued my case, but she didn't want to hear it.  Skating coaches don't like skaters of any level to say "I can't".

I took yesterday off because I was down with a head cold.  I probably shouldn't have skated today either, but I did because it was lesson day.  Even if I learn by listening I wanted to go.

I did skate, but not well and not for long.  A quick warm up and a 30 minute lesson, we focused on what I was trying to change in my choreography of my test program.  She insists that I keep working toward what she has choreographed and if by the time we are 5 days from my test, things still aren't there, then we can make an adjustment for the test.

So back to my original footwork and program ending, but we did throw in a toe loop early in the program and swapped out the other toe loop for a loop jump at the end of the program.

Sorry, no video today.  I was too exhausted to get the camera out of my pocket!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Skating Alone Is Not Enough ..

25 days before my test ...

I have known that my stamina wasn't adequate for testing, yet I haven't yet begun to work in gym time to my daily schedule.  I need to get on the treadmill and/or elliptical for 30 minutes and do some circuit work in addition to my skating and stretching at home.  That's my goal for the week.. to make time for everything.

I am still tweeking the choreography my coach gave me.  Trying to throw in a loop jump we forgot I needed and make up some time by cutting some connecting moves.  It's still a work in progress.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Bruise Day

Spent the morning watching football.  Decided to skate at Frontier Ice Rink in the afternoon.  Got on the ice and promptly fell 10 minutes into the session doing back crossovers ... click-plop-slid-spin .... kind of looked like a break dance.  People came up to me to ask me if I needed help or was ok....


The rest of the session (on bruised bum) was less than productive:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Beginnings and Endings

Today the rink was busier than usual.  Stray little hockey people, parents, really loud music drowning out the endless repetition of Schindler's List music in my headphones.  It wasn't happening for me to keep running my program.

I set up my camera in the middle of the ice and just worked on the back spin.  I made some progress on it toward the end.  Nevertheless it's a very slow version of what I hope will someday be a spin I can do without thinking.

I struggle most with the beginning and the ending of my program (and a few places in the middle), but today I just worked on the beginning and ending.  I need more ice time to spend working on the nuances of holding starting and ending positions.  It's so much harder than I remember.  Need more stamina and core strength.  Tomorrow pilates and ballet.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Where Did My Back Spin Go?

Let's start with the positive.  A few days of sensible eating and daily exercise has resulted in a 5 pound difference on the scale.  Yippee.

I took a day off skating yesterday to play golf with the gals for the last time of the season.  It started out bad and got progressively worse.  I wish I had skated instead.

Back on the ice today ... and PRIVATE ice I might add ... I was hoping for everything to start clicking.
Each day I skate I feel a little stronger, but along come these little hiccups.  I felt like I was getting close to getting a handle on my backspin and today it was gone.  I must have tried 15-20 times (which I didn't put on the video because it was awful.)

Secondly my footwork is not coming together.  I will have to confer with some skaters to see why I can't seem to get this little hop into my footwork.  Too difficult to explain here - TOO SIMPLE TO KEEP ASKING MY COACH!

I only ran through my program 1 time due to the difficulties I had with my back spin and my footwork.

I did attempt the Silver Moves In The Field.  They are in bad shape.  The edges are so fundemental to skating ... I should do them every day as it would help all the other aspects of my freestyle.

We'll see what tomorrow brings... as for today .. this was it:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Not As Motivated Without My Coach

30 days before test date:
Several run throughs of my program with music dubbed in afterwards.
The footwork sequence is killing me.  Not giving up yet.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

One Month Till Test Date

Today was the official start of my training season.  No more time off.  A month from now I will be traveling to Missoula to take the Adult Bronze Free Skate Test.  As you will see, there is a lot of work ahead to get this program ready.

At this point we are still working out the step sequences and my timing is way off - mostly due to my poor stamina. Two weeks from now I expect to have much more energy....

3 run throughout of my program followed by a 30 minute lesson. We spent a great deal of time on a footwork sequence that I couldn't get my brain to sort out.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Back To Work

Despite having family visiting this week, I forced myself to skate and have a lesson today.  I really don't have another minute to waste if I want to make it to Adult National Championships next April.

I have to qualify to go by passing the Adult Bronze Free Skate Test and that requires a 1:50 program with:

 * Back Spin (min 3 revolutions)
 Sit Spin (min 3 revolutions)
 Waltz Toe combination jump
 Toe Loop jump all by itself
 Salchow jump

* The Back Spin is currently my nemesis, but the practice went extremely well considering I have been off the ice for so long and I am overweight and out of condition at the moment.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Frontier Ice Arena - Coeur d' Alene ID

Short clips of my practice today.  Seriously behind schedule.  15 pounds to lose and a lot of strength to gain.  On the other hand, I was happy with my backspin.

I couldn't do much in the way of jumping, but I tried running parts of my program.  Changing out the sit spin in the beginning to a backspin for testing -- potentially in 1 month.

Weird looking spread eagle...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Oops I Did It Again ...

Another summer .... off the ice.  BIG MISTAKE!

Someday in the future, when I give up this dream/desire to progress and compete (or my body falls apart .. whichever comes first) then I will be able to scale back in the summertime.  From here on out - it's going to be practice practice practice.

Hence forth it has to be 6-8 hours per week on the ice and 3-4 hours per week at the gym.  Dog walks in the am followed by stretching.  In other words TRAINING.  I don't have that many good skating years left .. I need to make the most of it.

Here's todays practice.  Busy rink.  Sore everything.  You can't believe how much 10 lbs extra hurts a bad knee!

Next week I'm visiting my son in Newport RI.  When I get back - I will be back to blogging daily.

Friday, August 2, 2013

New Training Technic


... Meanwhile someone in New England is constructing a competition dress for me for a program that doesn't yet exist.  The soles of my feet and toes are totally cracked from wearing flip flops and swimming in the lake.

SUMMER is not good for my skating.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Best Way To Beat The Heat!

It has been extraordinarily hot around these parts for the past few days.  Today was no exception.  Officially I think it was 98 degrees, but my car said 102 in some places.

After golf this morning (yes I played golf in the heat -- and I walked the 9 hole course) I decided to go skate for an hour to "cool off".

Company coming tomorrow for a week - Not sure if I can get on the ice again for a week.  I may have to sneak away, just to get some ice time.

Worked on jumps and even some jump combinations today and of course ... the back spin.  Which, I must say is showing signs of light at the end of the backspin tunnel.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Practice ... and a Lesson

After walking a few miles while playing 9 holes of golf yesterday I skated about 20 minutes of practice before my lesson.  My legs were well stretched out from the walking, but I could still benefit from from some off ice warm ups at the rink BEFORE I put my skates on.

Back on rink #2 today.  I warmed up with some stroking, edges and 3 turns and then turned on the camera for some spins and a few jumps before my lesson.

I moved my camera to the other end of the rink, thinking I would get another 5 minutes of practice on video and much to my surprise - it ran for the next 29 minutes and captured my entire lesson.
I contemplated showing the 15 minute lesson in real time - raw video ... but there was quite a few minutes of conversation and off camera skating that frankly would have put anyone to sleep.  So I cut to the important parts of the lesson (for me) that will help me remember what we covered.

Today's Lesson:  Back Spin, Jump technique

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rink 2 - Summer Sessions

Well, it's Monday.  For some reason (crowded ice) I have declared that I won't skate on weekends most of the time.  When Monday rolls around I don't exactly feel like hitting the ice -

I did about 30 minutes of off ice stretching dynamic and plyometric exercises designed to improve strength and flexibility as well as preventing injury for figure skaters.   Mind you, they didn't have ME in mind when they prescribed these exercises.

When I got to the rink I found out the public session was on rink 2.   Anyone who skates at a rink with 2 rinks knows what this is like.  Different ice, different dimensions, temperature, texture, ceiling height.
Coaches will tell you how great this is to have 2 ice surfaces to skate on because competitions are rarely on "home ice", but I am here to tell you.... it's just one more obstacle for me!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Sessions

Today was the first day of skating after the schools let out for the summer.  It was quite a bit more crowded than I am used to and the ice was  not cut very well.  There were bumps on the end by the Zamboni and as always ... the hockey players hack up the ice pretty good.

I was skating out of guilt today.  My Monday lesson was cancelled due to summer scheduling conflicts and I didn't get on the ice all week.  I merely went to stretch my legs today.

With all the people skating I had to put my camera behind glass and I only had the center ice to work on anything I wanted to capture on video.

Here's a few spins and a jump or two:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Off Ice Training

I didn't skate today, but I did spend a hour doing some off ice training.  I bought 2 workout DVDs from
www.sk8sgtrong.com.  One is geared toward warmup before skating for all levels.  The other is geared toward the adult skater and our "special needs".

This short clip is the last of the warm up exercises on the DVD entitled "The Ultimate Dynamic Warmup" focusing on rotation.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Jumps and Spins ...

I am running out of post titles for my practice sessions.  Obviously every time I go out on the ice I am practicing jumps and spins .. however small and slow they may be.

I wore a skirt today because I wanted to see my leg lines and positions.  Skating in pants hide this and it's all important to both the technical and artistic side of skating.

Today I worked on the things I learned in my last lesson.  Always easier said than done.
Changing my jump landings is like telling someone to intentionally walk pigeon-toed.. it just feels awkward. Stepping into my circle also feels different and takes a strong conscious effort, but already is showing better results.  See what you think.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lesson On Spinning

I didn't roll the camera for my lesson today.  I captured a little of my pre-lesson practice and then just concentrated on my lesson .. during my lesson (for a change).

This week I am dealing with a torn muscle of some sort under my side from playing golf.  I felt something go PING the other day and it wasn't the sound of a golf club.  I have been in quite a bit of upper body pain over it and was reluctant to skate.  I didn't seem to affect my skating except that I feel more fatigued than normal.

WHATEVER! I sound like a broken record about my aging and broken body!

Lesson on Spinning.

I learned today that I am not always spinning into my circle.  (I may have to draw this out).  When you wind up for a spin from back crossovers, on the last step R foot over L you create this arc on a back R inside edge.  When you step into your spin .. you are supposed to step into that same circle.  I sometimes step away from it out of the circle.. thereby losing energy needed for a higher number of revolutions.. also losing my balance because a spin that starts where it's supposed to will be more centered from the beginning and is more likely to stay centered.

Ok.  That paragraph won't mean anything to you unless you skate.

Anyway, I learned what I am consistently doing WRONG in my scratch spin.  I made some progress on my back spin and learned what I am doing WRONG in my camel spins.

Next practice I will hopefully demonstrate some improvement.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Another Lesson - Not Much Progress

I haven't skated since my last lesson 5 days ago.  Hence, there is not much progress on my part.  Kind of a wasted lesson because we just went over the same things.

My current struggle is my inability to hold the proper edge and body position after landing a Waltz Jump (or any other jump).  I will never be able to reach back for a combination jump if I cannot hold the proper edge and body position.  The fundamentals of any sport - learned incorrectly - will stab you in the back later .... skating is no exception.

On a positive note; before my lesson, I did work on a few new things.  I tried my first Back Sit Spin .. It was not even a qualifying position or rotation, but I was happy I tried and didn't fall.  (For that you have to see my back spin attempt!)

I attempted a few Lutz jumps (and popped them into 1/2 Lutz jumps).  My coach taught me a new Lutz entry I did not use as a child; crossing the left foot over the right before toe picking  to help insure you are on the correct back outside edge.

The only difference between a Lutz and a Flip is the take off edge.
Flip is from a back inside edge (usually after a mowhawk or a three turn)
Lutz is from a back outside edge (usually from a backwards glide into a corner, less frequently from a footwork sequence. As a  child I was taught to do them in a corner.  The RIGHT corners only ...
AKA the "Lutz corners".

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Lesson On Video

I had a lesson today with my coach Berkley.  For 15 minutes we worked on some fundamentals of my jumps and landings that are in need of correction in order for me to progress.  My landings arc too much - so I need an alignment basically.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Just A Regular Day Of Practice

I have a lesson tomorrow, so I didn't want to skip the ice today.  I never really got in the groove today, so I just made the best of my time.  You can tell in my spirals that I am not stretched out or warmed up. My skating leg is really bent.  (NO NO)

On my last lesson my coach told me to change my jump landings so that I am not still "rotating".  You have to be able to check your landings (stop the rotation) so that you can pick back for a combination jump.  My waltz jumps are sometimes big, but they pull around and that keeps me from doing the Waltz-Toe Loop combination.

I did one today.  I also did a Toe Loop - Loop combination I was happy about that.  Also new on this clip is a little "ballet jump" and some connecting steps.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Spin Till You Win .... Or Not

Today (yesterday) ... I decided to devote my entire skating session to working on the Back Spin.  I tried to keep in mind all of the things my coach said on Monday.  I worked on trying to close my hip and cross my leg over and staying over my back outside edge.... nevertheless ...... the video speaks for itself:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Back Spin Envy

I met this guy Michael Rubke at Adult Nationals in Scottsdale Arizona this April. He skated great and gave me some advice on the backspin.  Coaching is very important, but if you don't have somebody to emulate or watch it's hard for me to learn new things. Once I see it done many times i will know when it feels right on the ice.  As a child I could not afford very many lessons so much of what I learned came from watching others.

Michael Rubke Back Spin Demonstration

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

1st Lesson In Nearly A Year ..

I wish I had the camera rolling during my lesson instead of my pre-lesson practice.  Which by the way I over did it and was thoroughly exhausted (not just warmed up) by the time my lesson started.  Bad idea!

Concentrating on my lesson and not the video below.  We worked on my nemesis - the Back Spin.
I have had many suggestion from many people about how to attack this spin.  All of the comments are appreciated and some of them even helpful, but in the end, I have to answer to my coach who says things like ... "Who told you to do THAT?" ....

The problem with my Back Spin is that it is not even a Back Spin.  It's a forward inside spin.  As she explains it to me I am not finding my edge primarily because I am not in control of my free leg and my hip.  I tend to hold my hip open and I need to close it and cross my foot over and commit to being on the back outside edge.  This is so much easier said than done.

Exercise  Step #1:

Back crossovers then hold left leg out at angle (pre spin entry position) while staying on the circle and maintaining back outside edge

Exercise Step #2:

Bring free leg into crossed over boot position (i.e.: jump position) and bring arms into jump position - YET ... hold the edge without caving into too tight of a circle.... very hard unless you have a strong core.

Build Core.  Pilates, Ballet, Bosu Ball, etc.

Not related to the Back Spin, she also told me my landings are not checked - which totally explains why I fear and rarely feel comfortable in a combination jump.  Without a strong core and check position, it's impossible to reach back for the next jump.

This video shows nothing of the above lesson ...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Back Spin Practice

It was pretty crowded today at the rink so I just let the camera run from center ice for 20 minutes.  I didn't capture much except some of my back spin practice.

Unfortunately the camera stopped before I started working on camel spins.  I really wanted to see what that looked like.

The two gents with helmets on are my ice friends Dr. Wayne and Dr. John.  They are in their 80's and both retired physicians who love to skate and chat.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Basic Jumps & Spins

I was on and off the ice rather quickly today.  I warmed up by a few laps of stroking, followed by a few laps of stroking with inside edges, followed by backward crossovers and stroking, followed by some stretching at the wall.  Much to my surprise ... after doing about 10 Waltz Jumps and 10 Toe Loops and attempting to do some Loop Jumps (which jump off my right leg ...) I managed to pull a groin muscle in my left leg during the preparation position (crossovers, change of weight to right leg and pull in).

Hope it heals soon.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Private Ice ... The Sound of Silence

I was late to the rink.  What a shame.  I had the whole ice to myself today.  With only 45 minutes left in the session I made good use of it.  I turned on my camera early and even though I edited the skating in between .... this video is longer than most.  BE WARNED you may fall asleep at the keyboard.

7:14 minutes.  Longer than my own attention span.

I did some warm ups, ran through my program for the first time since last July.  Way slow and behind the music - which I was not listening to at the time I was skating.  I attempted a few new things today.  Twizzles and a Camel spin and some potential elements for 2 new programs I hope to put together for competition.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Back on Home Ice

I finally drug myself to the rink today.  It was one of the first hot days in Spokane.  85 degrees.  I was driving with the convertible top down and the rink didn't even seem that cold today!

Much to my surprise and delight; I found 4 other adult skaters there.  Some of them I may have mentioned before.

1: Jill (ex - Holiday on Ice skater from 1958)
2: John (retired doctor and recreational skater
3: Father Joe (retired Catholic priest and recreational skater)
4: Cary (ex competitor and Holiday on Ice circa 1970's and is skating therapeutically "doctors orders"

I was actually the YOUNGSTER of all of us!

My apologies: This video wasn't sitting at the proper angle and the feet are cut off!

Friday, April 26, 2013

My New Club Jacket

Ok, it's official.  After returning from Adult Nationals I realized that if I intend to go next year (and or compete anywhere locally under the club name) I need to get a club jacket.

I don't ordinarily skate on club ice.  I have the luxury of being one of a few adult skaters at my rink and my mid morning skating and lessons can be done on our public session.  I am so grateful to the rink and my coach for this.  Skating is EXPENSIVE.  But for me it's more about having the ice to myself as an adult and not having 20 Preliminary-Intermediate level skaters to dodge while I am practicing my Moves in the Field.

So now that I have the jacket, I better get back on the ice and start preparing for my next goal:  a competition in June and July and taking my Adult Bronze Free Skate Test and  Adult Silver Moves In The Field Test.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Trip To Adult Nationals (as a spectator)

Just got back from 4 nights in Scottsdale, Arizona where the 2013 Adult Figure Skating Championships were held.  There were a total of 488 competitors over 4 days of competition.
Singles, Pairs, Dance, Dramatic and Light Entertainment categories.

I hope to attend next year as a skater in both the Technical Free Skate and the Dramitic Free Skate Bronze level.  It's going to take a lot of hard work.

After many hours of watching previous years on Ice Network, I was not surprised by the diversity of age and talent.  Primarily I went to witness, first hand, how the logistics, competitiveness, support and camraderie among skaters (especially my age) was.   I was very pleasantly surprised.  I was so interested in watching the skating I didn't take any photos of the venue or the crowds.

Personally I had 2 skating friends competing.  Hank Landis (Adult Silver Mens IV Free Skate) and Sheila Geisler (Adult Bronze Ladies V Free Skate) - both representing Spokane and the Lilac City Figure Skating Club.  They both did us proud.  Hank (Ralph) Landis placed 3rd out of 5 gentlemen in his category and level.  Sheila Geisler placed 2nd out of 7 ladies in her category and level.

Adults are grouped into 2 categories.

1. By skating ability
  a. Bronze
  b. Silver
  c. Gold
...... after that you must incorporate yourself into the "standard track"
 d. Intermediate
 e. Novice
 f. Junior
 g. Senior  (Michele Kwan, et al)
...... those who skate at the Adult Gold, Intermediate or higher at Adult Nationals may qualify to compete in the Championships round at Nationals by placing 1st-4th at Sectionals (Pacific - Mid West - Eastern) in March of the same year.

Skaters of any age do not need to "qualify" to skate at Adult Nationals except for Championships.  You only need to have passed the Free Skate Test of the level you are competing in prior to a specified date before registration to compete.

Have I lost you?

Secondly, Adults are broken into age groups for a somewhat fairer playing field.
Group   I: 21-30 years
Group  II: 31-40 years
Group III: 41-50 years
Group IV: 51-60 years
Group  V: 61 and older

There is a little more to the rules, but I will stop here.

I am currently skating as Adult Bronze Ladies IV (there, I gave my age away).
Before I can skate at next years nationals I have to pass my Bronze Free Skate Test.
I have already taken my Bronze Moves In The Field Test and I am currently practicing my Silver Moves In The Field.  Moves are much easier to accomplish than the free skate.

Ok, enough blather.  Here's a few shots of my friends in Scottsdale:

Here's Sheila in her sassy program.
(That beautiful dress was made by Hank!)

Sheila is rightfully proud to wear that medal

Forget the audience.  How about all these judges staring at you, critiquing your every move?

Beautiful line on a Spiral

And the crowd goes WILD.
Sheila is on the bench cheering Hank on (bottom left)
My friend Penny is on the bench as well (bottom right)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Own Dance Studio

No more excuses.  My house is complete and I now have to make use of this exercise room.
My plan is to dedicate an hour a day to ballet, off ice skating workouts, Pilates, yoga, stretching, weights, conditioning.   2 more weeks and we will be moved in.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Silver MIF Practice

I'm still too busy to get on the ice regularly and when I do skate, things don't always feel right.  Today was one of those days.  I had 15 minutes of empty ice while I was warming up, but did not feel good about freestyle.  I had shaky legs, bad edges, etc.  So I decided to work on Adult Silver Moves In The Field. This is my next test level for MIF.

TR 25.11 Adult Silver Moves in the Field Test
Candidates must skate the correct steps and turns on good edges showing good form, continuous flow and strength, and preciseness to their steps.
1. Eight-step mohawk sequence
2. Forward and backward free skating cross strokes 3. FO-BI three-turns in the field
4. FI-BO three-turns in the field
5. Consecutive outside and inside spirals
6. Forward and backward power change of edge pulls

One element may be retried, if necessary.
(Approximate time for test: 14 minutes)
Judging panel required: Three bronze or higher rank singles/pairs or dance judges who are certified to judge moves in the field tests. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's Raining Men!

I forced myself to squeeze in an hour to skate yesterday.  It's been over a month since my blades have touched the ice and it's been several months since I have been skating with any regularity and/or seriousness.

We have been building a house and we are in the final stages and so my time has been otherwise occupied.  Very exciting, but my skating has suffered.

Next month I'm planning a trip to Scottsdale, AZ to be a jealous spectator at the USFSA Adult Championships.  I really wanted to participate as a skater this year, but I didn't have enough discipline to keep going after my July competition, so this year I will attend with envy and anticipation of next years Championships to be held in Hyannis, MA.

Here's some uncut video from my short skating session yesterday.  If you skate ... you know this is something you don't see very often:

Three Men and a Lady !!

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...