Thursday, December 29, 2022

Auld Lang Syne 2022!

Last skate of the year.  Good riddin’s 2022.  I’m pretty happy how it ended. 

Skating Accomplishments of 2022

March:  1st competition in 6 years - 1st place Adult Sectionals in Bronze Solo Free Dance

October: Tested/Passed  Pre-Bronze Partnered Free Dance with Mike Otis 

                Tested/Passed Adult Juvenile Solo Free Dance

December: Tested/Passed Pre-Silver Partnered Dance with coach Vitali Vakunov

So for the last skate of the year - 

  My lesson was cancelled today because we didn’t have normal ice times so I skated at Gilbert during the adult public session.  

  I’ve been trying to put some real practice into the 30 seconds of choreography so that when I do get another lesson we can move on!  Usually there is a lot of backtracking and wasting valuable coaching time so I am happy to almost have it down .. I just need to clean up the “character” extend toes and fingertips and clean up some sloppy skating.


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The New Journey Starts Now … Silver Dance and Intermediate Solo Free Dance

 I snagged some early morning (for me) ice in Gilbert for my first attempt to try and learn some of the steps of the Silver Pattern Dances.  The American Waltz and the Silver (Harris) Tango.  I didn’t try any of the Rocker Foxtrot for obvious reasons:  I CAN’T DO A ROCKER YET!

I also put in some practice on the first 30 seconds of my new choreography for what will eventually be an Intermediate Solo Free Dance.  You can’t really see it all on camera but you get the jest. It’s a Tango.  I don’t do “emotion” very well so it will be one of many challenges.  Lesson tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Pre Silver Dance Test - Passed by All 3 Judges

 I am so excited.  I passed my Pre-Silver Dances.  All 3 of them. 

The plan was to skate the Fourteenstep and the European Waltz and see how tired we were. We kept going and tired?  Well yes I was! We started the session at 2:00 pm and ran all the dances several times with warm up exercises before we did the dance patterns.  Then,  I ran off ice and got my dress on and we ran them again!   Then we started the test.  Geeez Louise!  It definitely gets the jitters out of your knees to warm up that much but I just about collapsed when it was all over!

I just received all the judges forms.  Happy to report a pass by all 3 judges.  Kudos to them all for pointing out my strengths and weaknesses.  I do think it would have been a better skate had we not had so many people on the ice and having to start our own music, etc.  I do appreciate all the opportunity the virtual testing offers, but there is nothing to compare to the “performance” aspect of standing in front of live judges with one shot only.  Thank you judges and thank you coaches.  Silvers are going to be tough.

Judges write ups are in the 2nd video  

Friday, December 16, 2022

Happy Holidays from Arizona

 Ok .. here’s my “Holiday Skate” from Schnepf Farms about a mile from my winter home.  The ice was atrocious ~ $18 for 1 hour.  $12 if you have your own skates.  There were more bumps and killer blobs of ice than my pond at home .. nevertheless it’s outdoor ice.  Who can resist?

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Starting a New Free Dance Program!

 It’s beginning to look a lot like - New Choreography.  

Today we started the journey.  It may be a very long journey.  My amazing coach Naomi Lang coughed up some amazing opening poses and initial steps to begin this program in just moments.  It took an entire lesson to teach the EASY steps to me.  If you have followed any of my skating you already know how long this is going to take!   A five-six-seven-eight … here we go.

Goal: Adult Intermediate Free Dance

Required Elements: Below 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Getting Close to Testing Pre-Silver Dances

 During my lesson with Vitali today I arbitrarily asked him where we were with respect to testing these three dances and his reply was …. We’re ready!  Let’s have one more lesson and run them all full out and then we will test them.  

I guess this will be my first virtual test session.

Today we worked hard on doing lots of dry runs - followed by runs with music.

I feel ok about them all .. except that pesky end pattern on the Foxtrot.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Arizona Ice Again

Ok .. I’m back for the rest of the winter season in Arizona.  Time to get busy LEARNING something new and I’ll start by not making too many excuses as part of my 2023 resolutions!

I skated Monday on an adult session and did a little freestyle after running my dances (not shown).

Then had my Thursday lesson with Naomi Lang.  We are going to start working on a new program soon but I need to get my HOUSE in order.  Namely .. learn some of these harder turns and get my Twizzles moving down the ice without hesitation.  The next level free dance for me is Solo Intermediate which requires an end to end step sequence, a spin, a side to side choreographic sequence (????) a short edge and a Twizzle sequence with no more than 1 step between.  😱  Needless to say - this will take at LEAST a year for me to do .. maybe longer.  But starting is the fun part.   I’m leaning toward a tango (so I don’t have to smile!) 

But today we just worked on fundamentals.

Monday, November 28, 2022

It’s Warmer In The Rink

Yep.  26º outside.   35º in the rink.   

While I am looking forward to getting back to Arizona where the rink is colder the outside air temperature… it was fun skating today at my home rink for Adult Drop In Coffee Club in Spokane at Eagles Ice Arena.   I was hoping to work off some of the Thanksgiving pie consumed this weekend.

I brought my freestyle boots and blades with me in case I had a chance to skate with my pairs partner of yesteryear Hank … but alas he didn’t make it today.  Maybe we can get together later this week.

Skating on my FS blades - are scary after being on my dance blades for months and months.  I was happy to execute nearly all my jumps sans Lutz … toyed with some choreography and tried some spins too.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Counters - Chocktaws - Twizzles before Thanksgiving!

 Leaving tomorrow for parts much colder than Arizona.  Got my last lesson in today with beautiful and talented Naomi Lang.  My lessons are so low key with her vs with Vitali when my heart rate goes skyrocketing!  But that’s ok.   She helps me with so many fundamentals and now I am trying to increase my skating vocabulary from 

Three turns and Mohawks to 

Brackets, Rockers, Counters and Choctaws.   This may take some time.  I’ve been working on some of these off and on for a few years.

Now .. considering my coach is actually a Karuk descendant …  AND the first Native American to participate in the Olympic Winter Games (2002) perhaps I should stop calling them Choctaws and Mohawks and start calling them S Steps and C Steps.   Such a hard habit to break. I will try.

Monday, November 14, 2022

One Step Closer

 I had another great lesson with Vitali today. We spent extra time working on the Foxtrot exercises and spent a long time working on the position of my RFO edge/lilt and the timing of my end pattern RFO edge and closed C step .. what else is new?     I do feel I am making a little progress on it.

Friday, November 11, 2022

1 Step Forward 2 Steps Back

 Had a great lesson on Monday with Vitali.  Tuesday I received a Covid19 booster and a Flu shot at the same time in different arms.  I skated right after and felt ok.  I didn’t skate too hard on the session.

That night - WOW - arm aches, body aches, chills, headache … don’t get me wrong.  I am not complaining about getting vaccinated. But these two together really got me.

I tried skating on Thursday because I had my first lesson with Naomi after coming back to Arizona and I didn’t want to miss it.  I was so dizzy and fatigued I had to get off the ice - rest in the warmer lobby and return during my lesson time.

Needless to say .. we didn’t make much progress, but I have some really great exercises for learning my counters and chocktaws.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Arizona Ice Time Begins NOW!

What a great summer it was.  It flew by ~ I had no idea I was going to skate so often and spend most of the working toward a partnered dance test.  It was so much fun working with a partner again.

My modus operandi is to hang up my skates for a bit right after I complete a test or competition.  I get so mentally exhausted and worked up over the performance day .. I just need time off.  So I haven’t seen the ice since October 21.

Today I got back on the ice in Arizona and had a dance lesson with Vitali Vakunov.  After not skating for two weeks and playing 9 holes of golf in the morning .. I was wondering how my legs were going to hold up.  

Much to my surprise I never got really fatigued during the 45 minute lesson.  We went from dance to dance doing warm up exercises before each dance then running them back to back.  I was pretty impressed with my stamina.  Of course I think Vitali is doing all the work .. I’m just along for the ride!

Friday, October 21, 2022

Adult Pre Bronze Free Dance Test and Adult Solo Juvenille Free Dance Test

 They say it ain’t over till the fat lady sings… an opera reference and probably not a politically correct one at that.  Well the fat lady has sung and she skated too!

Honestly I am really proud of our partnered free dance.  Mike and I started this journey early this summer and with only 1-2 max practice sessions per week and a weekly lesson with Kendall LeClaire who has the patience of a saint.   

After testing and skating competitively for 11 years as an adult skater .. I have learned that I NEVER FEEL READY for anything.  Not a test nor a competition.  It seems to get worse and worse as I get older.

Nevertheless we did our best this morning.  We both got a pass by all three judges.  We each had plenty of notes on things to improve on.

Following that skate I had to wait for 2 other moves in the field tests.   I skated ok during my solo FD test but not my best for sure.  Darn it.   But I did pass that too and now I have some new goals for Arizona.

Goals for the winter.

Test my PRE-SILVER dances with a partner (my coach most likely) and work on the skills within those dances and hopefully pass the tests and start to learn the Silver Dances.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Dedication … and Desparation!

 I haven’t skated this many sessions in a week in YEARS.  I’m trying not to overdue it.  Getting in some runs each day but otherwise taking it easy.  Working on Twizzles and other fundamentals not shown in my videos.  Yawn 🥱 

Solo dance is ready.  It’s not perfect but barring any falls or big errors ~ I think I will pass it.  Testing as Adult 50+ (duh) 👵 

Something new I attempted today was a FI Twizzle with an open leg position and also tried grabbing my blade .. without success I might add.  That put some fear into me.  I don’t want to get hurt the week prior to a test by falling hard on that.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Final Week of Practice - 2 Tests Next Friday

 I booked 6 sessions of ice time this week.  Skating 4 days with double sessions on Monday and Wednesday when I have my lesson.  I need some time alone to work on my Solo Free Dance too.

Mike and I are working hard and trying to clean up the little things.  Our spin is getting better - we just need to work on keeping our eyes off the ice and our legs more in sync!

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Catching up on some vids….. practice, practice, practice

I just realized I haven’t posted in a while.  Catching up on some vids from the past couple of weeks.
Working backwards from the top.  I’ve had limited ice time and lots going on off ice -

Still working on the free dance with Mike and coach Kendall LeClair.  Test date is set Oct 21!

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Saturday Morning Confusion

DONT BE CONFUSED - WE HAVE NOT TESTED THIS FD YET.  My YouTube video didn’t give a shot to work with for the thumbnail so I grabbed an old shot of us when we passed our Pre-Bronze Pattern dances in 2017.

 So late last night I signed up for an early morning Saturday practice session.  I was a little late and hadn’t really expected Mike to be there.  He was already taking his skates off from the 5:45 am session!  So I tried a few runs of my solo free dance - since I have decided to also test it in October.  Afterwards Mike and I broke down our little program into sections and worked a few things into (hopefully) muscle memory.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Lesson Day..

 Ever leave the ice frustrated? That was me today. These crowded afternoon sessions really stink.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

LESSON AND FOLLOW UP PRACTICE… it’s getting repetitive folks!

 Yep.  You know how it is when you are choreographing and working on a new program.  Also learning dance skills aren’t as easy to recognize.  It’s kind of like watching grass grow.

So now is a good time to remind any viewers that this is by no means a tutorial of any kind.  Just a video journal of my skating journey with all its’ ups and downs.

First was our lesson on Wednesday.

Then our follow up practice today at 5:45 am!!!!!!  You gotta be kidding me.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Partnering Practice

 Early call this morning for a partnering practice.  I’ll be off the ice for the next 4 days so I took advantage of the ice time despite not having even 1 cup of joe first!

We worked on parts of our free dance and trying to work out the Twizzles. Hard enough doing them alone much less in synch.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Skating with an Ankle Sprain

 I did the dumbest thing.  Off ice walking down my stairs I rolled my right ankle.  I caught it in time to stop from falling down but it definitely did some damage to the foot.  I proceeded to the rink anyway thinking the boot will act like a cast and maybe I could skate on it.

Once I got there and removed my shoe I realized flexing the foot really hurt as well as most other movements.  RATS.   Put the dance boots on anyway and gave it a go.

Surprisingly I didn’t fall and I was able to gently do quite a bit of skating for 45 minutes. I was really struggling to use my ankle to rise and fall on the turns or put pressure into the ice.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Pairs Reunion

 Today I donned my freestyle skates (boots and blades) for the first time since April (?) When I first got them new boots and blades.  I have hesitated switching them out to practice any freestyle as there is somewhat of a learning curve to the short blades without a large toe pick near the ice.

Hence, I have not jumped since early 2022.  My spins have been such a struggle.  Today when I first put the FS skates back on I was skidding a bit.  They are sharp… I had them sharpened a few weeks before the last time I wore them for competition in March.  I think they are mounted on a different angle on my boot than my dance blades.  It took about 15 minutes to acclimate.

What a fun day.  I can’t believe how much I miss skating pairs.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am really loving the discipline of ice dance but there’s just something different about pairs… aside from the obvious.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Lesson Together on Program Choreography

 We’re working out the kinks on our free program.  A little hard during a freestyle session, but we managed to get ‘er done.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Creating A Free Dance

Here’s a few vids of the learning process of new choreography for our Pre-Bronze and Bronze Free Dance Test programs.


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Head Over Heels

 Well I finally did it.  It’s been a long long time since took a spill like this.  Today while doing absolutely nothing - I managed to let my feet go out from under me and fell backwards and let my head bang the ice. Longest second of my life.  I thought about how much it was going to hurt my arms and shoulders .. till I heard the cranial thump!  Took me a few moments to shake it off before I could even get up and another 5 minutes off ice trying to evaluate if I had any visible signs concussion.  

Of course our motto is “We Get Up” right?

Prior to this fall we started trying out Twizzles together.  I learned a new beginners arm position for ice dance down at our sides.  We also did some practice with swing rolls in varying dance holds.  We need some serious practice time together without the coach to work on our skating rhythym together.

After today we are both out of town for a about  a week so we’ll get back to it at the end of the month again.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Snippets of Monday Morning Practice

 I ran my Gold MIF but none of them went very well.  It wasn’t worth recording.  Did some three turn practice in front of the camera - then my phone got knocked over and when it was reset .. it was out of focus.  A few Twizzles were captured in the blurry background.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Picking Apart My Twizzles and Three Turns

 I really struggle with balance on Twizzles and some Three turns .. especially inside controlled ones like in moves in the field.  I can do them in freestyle - like before a Toe Loop or if I choreograph one particular one into a program - it gets practiced over and over so I find the balance of it.

Obviously I am not practicing the moves in the field enough to find my balance on them.  I know what I am doing wrong YET I am (thus far) unable to take the words of my coach and correct the problem.

Problem:  Keeping my hips tucked under me.  Using enough ankle/knee bend to keep the edge with just my lower body.  I usually stick my butt out - which needs to be counter balanced so I then lurch my upper body forward some.  That makes the turn off balance and harder to check the exit edge. 

Simple right?  I know what’s wrong so just correct it!  I wish.

My Twizzles have the issue of turning into spins (too centered) or turning into loops (inside edge vs a traveling three turn).  Coach thinks part of the problem is in my entry arm position.  I tend to shoot both arms straight out in front of me… causing the same problem as above… off balance.  

Now we are trying more of a “sweet spot” approach to them.  We did a two foot spin test and used my arm position of that spin to gauge where that spot was and are trying to apply it to the Twizzles arm position.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Wednesday Lesson on the Hickory Hoedown & European Waltz (Solo)

We spent 2/3 of the hour today working on the Hickory Hoedown.  Still getting comfortable together on the end pattern - my three turn into back swing roll and his three turn into back swing roll.

After that we started into a step sequence that we plan to use in our Free Dance test program.

Monday, August 8, 2022

What Another 6:00 am Practice?

 I’ve had the grandkids this week so I had to squeeze in practice where I could even if it meant 6:00 a.m.

Have I mentioned I am not a morning person?  Nobody should skate before coffee should they?

My usual routine involves a few cups of coffee, a soak in the hot tub (yes I know it’s not recommended before exercise) and a few stretches off ice then on ice.

Today I was cold and stiff and my knees would not let me rise and fall into the turns.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Man I HATE Mornings!

 .. But you have to make sacrifices.  This is the only time we can squeeze in our lessons with coach Kendall.  

Today we each took our 20 minute separate lessons and then spent 20 minutes partnered.  We had our first lesson on the dance spin.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Misc Dance Practice Solo

 After my lesson Wednesday I stayed for an extra session - tried some moves in the field then did a few of my Pre Silver Dances in the solo mode .. although I have no intention of testing these alone if I don’t have to!

Worked on some Twizzles and turns then tried a few final spins before leaving the ice.

I have been really struggling with spins on the MK Dance blade.  Same rocker in theory as my MK Phantom FS blade but lacking of course the first big toe pick at the bottom.  I think I may be making baby steps of progress on them.

Moves I Ain’t Got

Practicing those pesky Gold Moves In The Field.  

They need some serious attention.  Especially the inside double three turns and the brackets.

The power circles need POWER.  From the first step to the last - all with POWER but increasing speed and circle size.

The double threes need more edge control and tidy feet.  I need to tuck my hips under me ~ pretty much for everything I do.  The inside double threes need some attention.  I have some great exercise for them but haven’t had enough ice time.

The backwards circle 8 is ok but needs better flow and especially the last edge = the LBI edge.  I always am misaligned and fall out of the circle or can’t continue the flow.

The brackets ..well… Plth.   They need work.  I know if I tuck my hips under me and keep neat feet without too much scissoring .. they will be cleaner.  Right now I can hardly do them without two - footing.

Lesson 2 Ice Dancing - with a partner

 Kendall LeClaire is working with my partner Mike and I for the summer.  By October we hope to test or compete somehow ~ depending on how things go.  Maybe a Bronze Partnered Free Dance or test. Finding both ice time and free time for us to practice is the only thing holding us back.  

Lesson 2 was really good.  It’s amazing how different skating with a partner at your level is compared to skating with a pro who anticipates all your faux pas’ and poor posture and skating skills.  

In Arizona when I skate with my coach Vitali Vakunov it is a totally different experience. Only one of us is learning.

When I skated pairs with Hank ~ it was similar to this; in that we had to spend a lot of time getting a feel for each other’s speed, edges and body language.  You know you’ve reached that point when you stop looking at each other’s feet!

Today we worked on stroking hand in hand, then in Kilian stroking and some Swing Rolls and Chassés then onto Progressives in Waltz hold.  We’re off to a great start.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Tuesday Twizzles

Went for a badly needed practice session today.  No partner, just working on loosening up for tomorrow’s lesson early in the morning.  

The ice was unusually terrible today so I was cautious in my steps.  Did some warm ups and working on getting the cross rolls “dance style” vs free style.  I made a few attempts at my Pre Silver Dances .. some with overhead music and surprisingly (to myself) I did a full run of my free dance.  

My major issues right now are fatigue and knee pain and lack of confidence!

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Back in the Saddle Again!

 On the ice with my previous dance partner Mike Otis.  He took me through the first 6 dances back in 2016 and 2017.  We have decided to spend some time this summer skating together and taking some partnering lessons with coach Kendall LeClaire.

Day 1:  Evaluate our current skills and see where we are at!  

My 20 minutes with coach Kendall was spent on fundamentals.  Stroking, cross rolls, swing rolls, progressives front and back.  My takeaway was finally figuring out how to set my foot down on the ice during cross rolls like an ice dancer vs a freestyler or someone doing moves in the field.  

I was busy practicing during Mike's 20 minutes so I didn't see what they worked on.  Once together we just reacquainted ourselves with stroking side by side in hand hold.  We needed some help with even that! I can stroke pretty good with my coach Vitali in Arizona but he keeps a pretty good lock in our dance positions which makes it easier.  Skating with 2 skaters vs a skater and a coach is more difficult.

We made some progress on the side by side skating and found out we did better in Kilian hold.

It was a great first lesson with Kendall.  Looking forward to more..

Monday, June 27, 2022

Back from VACAY ...

 Had a few weeks off to go to the lake and visit some of the grandkids.  

Back to biz-i-ness.   The knee is acting up so I took it easy first day back.  Just worked on moves in the field and then work on turns from my last lesson trying to remember to keep my feet together on the three turns.

One run at the 14 step near the end.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Adult Coffee Club Popurri

 Skated my first Coffee Club .. and possibly my last of the summer.  There is only 1 more before they give up for the summer due to ice maintenance and club ice being sold to hockey .. etc.  

Just three of us on the ice so I just concentrated on my task.. Gold Moves in the Field and my Pre-Silver Ice Dances.  While I did try them all .. none of them are looking very promising right now.  

I'm hunting for both a dance partner and a dance coach.  My pairs partner from a few years ago does not want to ice dance ... and my dance partner from a few years ago doesn't seem to be making any aggressive leaps toward partnering again ... hopefully that will change.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

It Was All A Blur

 I knew yesterday would be foggy as they had a small fire or something back where the Zamboni room is. When I got there you could hardly see across the rink.  Some skaters were outside because they couldn’t skate with the smell.  

I got inside but didn’t smell anything I recognized as smoky but it did have some strange odor I could not put my finger on.  When I set up the camera it was either focused on something close by and never readjusted or .. well blame it on whatever was in the air.

First day back on “home ice” in Spokane at Lilac City Figure Skating Club.  Busier than I prefer, but not too bad.  Trying to work on the things coach John taught me Monday from my lesson but not having much luck.  

I did make a complete run of my moves in the field and all three Silver dances but due to the blurry video and so many people on the ice .. I chose to just post the spins I worked on at the end of the session.

I do feel like I will re-learn how to spin on these blades and find my balance.  It’s just going to take time.

Today I was able to get a little lower on the sit spin without falling over.  Yeah!

Monday, May 23, 2022

The Beginning of Summer Skating Season in the Inland NW

 I’m back in the Inland Northwest.  Trying to figure out my summer skating schedule and coaching options.  Last summer I worked with coach John Saitta in Coeur d’Alene and so loved working with him.  He is a great technician and has the ability to really explain how to get things to work when they aren’t working.  Also he’s very patient and doesn’t buy into all the adult skating excuses!  If coaches cater to our laundry list of aches and pains and excuses we would never make any progress!

While his current coaching schedule is full I was able to snag a lesson during a cancellation albeit I had to skate at O’Dark Thirty from 6:00 am to 8:00 am to get the lesson.  A major chore for me.

Still on my new dance blades I wanted him to eval my spins and see if we should continue to work on moves in the field on them.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Winding Down in Arizona

 I’ve been off the ice for a few weeks enjoying my son’s wedding in Hawaii.  Now were are back for a couple of weeks to tie up our loose ends in Arizona.  I have 2 weeks of skating here left before heading northbound for the summer to Washington/Idaho.  

Still working out the kinks in my new dance boots and dance blades.  Having a terrible time with spins but the turns feel better already.  Today I had my first partnering lesson in them.  Happy to report no falls!  The first video depicts my spinning problem. 

The second video is my lesson with Vitali.  Ice dance partnering.  We worked on some drills and then picked the Foxtrot apart.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

New Boots - New Blades. The (Long) Wait is Over

Yes .. they took FOREVER to get made.  Almost a year.  

New Harlick Custom Boots    *Features (why)

* Low cut dance stay (allows better toe pointing for ice dancing)

* Higher heel (no idea .. but taller always sounds good to me!)

* Extra scallop for ankle flexibility (self explanatory)

* Comfy soft white pebble calf (self explanatory .. also this is my LAST pair of boots)

* Natural sole with chem glaze (I did not like the carbon graphite hard soles of my last pair)

New MK Dance Blades 

* Shorter length blade (short tail for close steps and no more “click of death”)

* Toe pick designed for ice dancing not jumping (top pick very small - no reaching back for a toe jump) (bottom pick - I have no idea, but it’s harder to spin so far)

So after my first session on these pretty skates I think I will love them once I get used to balancing a spin and get more secure on my edges.  Zero foot pain.  First pair of boots that didn’t draw a little ankle blood on break in.   I feel like they will improve my three turns and twizzles.  I did do a nearly complete set of inside and outside edges of compulsory figures as well as double three turns on figure patterns.  And I ran most of the Gold Moves in the Field (slowly) so I think I will be able to skate both dance and moves in the field with them.

I get too tired to skate more than one session normally, but this summer I may try skating multiple sessions in a row and changing my skates in between to get some regular Patch, Dance, Moves & Freestyle into each day I skate.  Sounds like a diet that won’t succeed!

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

We Interrupt This Practice ….

Had a laid back practice today.  Lots of relaxed drills.  My mind is looking forward now to my summertime skating.  Moves in the field are a priority.  I’ve been putting this Gold test off for years now.

I did some drills today.  Some from my dance coach.  Others from my MIF coach up North.  I even tried a couple of ice dances and ran my solo free dance while someone else’s music was playing.. it almost fit!

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Back on Practice Ice - Back to the Drawing Board

 I thought this week would be so fun .. no pressure.  My first days back on the ice were anything but.  My legs felt sore and stiff and my my joints .. UGH.  I either need to quit complaining about all the aches and pains of being 62 and figure skating and ice dancing .. and start working to strengthen and stretch or just quit all together.   That’s not an option.

Here’s a few days of practice ice.   First one l did a little bit of freestyle too.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

2022 PCAS Done!

Goal:  1st competition in 6 years

Goal: 1st ice dance competition ever

Goal: Don’t fall

Goal: Have fun

Check-Check-Check- … and Check (despite nerves that rival jumping out of a plane without a parachute)

Anyone who knows me - knows that I am a very nervous competitor.  Without being graphic .. I literally get sick before nearly every competition and shake so bad I am sure the judges can see me knees knocking.  

I’ve been learning how to ice dance for the past few years and tested a few pattern dances - from Pre Dance through Bronze leading into 2021.  Then I decided I wanted to try a solo free dance for testing and or competition.  My amazing coach Naomi Lang Strong has been working with me for a year on how to do a Twizzle, how to do a Counter turn, how to do a Chocktaw and how to skate like an ice dancer vs a free style skater.  I am definitely not there yet .. not by a long shot, but I have found a new love of the discipline and I’ll probably stick with it.

My one event was the lowest level of ice dance.  Bronze Solo Free Dance.  Meaning … I dance alone (duh) and it’s a free dance .. vs a pattern dance like the Foxtrot or the Fourteen Step or European Waltz … You are free to just skate to the music, but you are supposed to incorporate edges, steps and turns that are used in ice dancing and you are supposed to execute them with proper body carriage, leg and arm extension and skate over your hips - in dance positions.  

Fortunately at the lower levels .. and especially at the adult level you can just skate and there is not a lot of nit picking done on your elements.  If I test this same program at the Adult Juvenille Solo Free Dance level .. they will point EVERYTHING out.

I totally botched up my Twizzles on the exits, my Counter had a sub curve, my Chocktaw fell apart and my Sit Spin would have been DQ under IJS for not being low enough .. but under the 6.0 system I managed to get first place and a gold medal.

I will post the professional video here in a few days when it arrives.

Back to the drawing board.  Happy it’s over and proud that I didn’t give up.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Last AZ Ice Before Competition

 I skated my last session today with a short and final lesson before heading to Spokane for my first competition in 6 years… Long time.   Today went a little better than yesterday but I’m still feeling like I could use 3 more months!

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Stress Skating

So here I am - 10 days from a competition and in that dreaded place.   Feeling not ready.  Not by a long shot.  Yes I will go - I will skate and barring no fall - I will pat myself on the back for taking a risk and putting myself “out there” again after 6 years.

I would love - just once to attend a test session or competition where I felt like “I’ve got this” or I am ready and have been ready for some time.  Does anyone ever feel that way?   I wonder.   Perhaps it’s how show skaters feel after their days of competition are over.  No more judges. Skating exhibition style and for the most part skating using the skills they can do in their sleep. (Thankfully none of those people read my blog or I would probably get a load a complaints for saying that!!!)

So I will just chock today up to nerves and old age.  It was a strange session with interruptions due to someone taking a virtual MIF test on our dance session.  And … there were 5-6 skaters on the ice which is unusual!   I know .. I should not complain about 5-6 skaters on the ice.

My complaint is that I don’t see any good form or extension or expression during my skating right now.  When I am out there .. I feel like I am trying but when I see the video .. whoa .. it looks more like someone  walking through their program rather than skating it full out.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Last Week of AZ Rehearsals

 Today was one of those days .. nothing worked.  I managed to get a complete run in but my skating was a disappointment today.  Maybe Wednesday and Thursday will go better.j

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Dress Rehearsal for PCAS …

 WYSIWYG.   I have 3 more practices and 1 more lesson before heading to Spokane for the 2022 PCAS event where I will skate in my first competition since 2016 - It’s been 6 years!  I was 56 … now I am 62 … that is HUGE.

I was moderately happy with my run today even though I messed up my choreo a bit.  I finished with the music .. I didn’t fall (well, at least not during my program run!) and eked out a 3 turn Twizzle during practice .. then promptly fell on the subsequent back crossover by the evil “click of death” … Ugh.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Looming PCAS in 17 Days

 Well this is about the worst place to be in prior to a competition.

1. My dress needs some alterations

2. My physical condition is about 30% of what I would desire

3. My program needs a lot of polishing

4. Most importantly my elements: Twizzles, counter, edges, etc. need work.

I have 4 practice days left on ice but 17 days left till my competition day.

Not much I can do but focus and try my best.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Double Trouble Thursday!

 Someday I will get to the rink in time to stretch, warm up off ice and on ice BEFORE my lesson!

 Not today … so um .. I had a little trouble with everything.

My lesson with Vitali went slightly better but I’m still really struggling with those European three turns.
Takeaway today was point the heel of your boot toward the long wall on each 3 turn.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Wednesday Practice - Raw footage

 Today I didn’t have much motivation on the ice.  I skipped skating on Monday and today I didn’t put out much effort.  I did show up and skate for 45 minutes but it wasn’t a great practice.  Lots of ice noise!! Sorry!

Thursday, February 3, 2022

2nd Day Back … After a Week of Margaritas in Mexico!

 I was wastin’ away in Margaritaville -  Now I am paying the price.  At 62 and with my current level of activity (not enough) I am really hurting when I try to finish a run of my program.  

Today I warmed up for my lesson working on some of the elements.  Did a run through with my coach and then we tweaked some steps that were sounding too scratchy on the ice.  Then to help condition me .. and probably to warm up my coach …. She made me put my program music back on and we skated the full 1:40 power stroking together.  It was fun trying to keep up with my 5 time US Champion Ice Dance and Olympian coach Naomi Lang Strong!

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Groundhog Day !!!

Well I never thought I would say this again, but I have entered a competition.  My home club Lilac City Figure Skating Club is hosting the 2022 PCAS - Pacific Coast Adult Sectionals in March 2022.

I am most decidedly NOT in competitive shape nor am I expecting anything more than to show up and hopefully skate without falling.

My last competitive event was September 2016 at the ISU International Adult event in Vancouver WA.  There I skated in the Silver Pairs and Silver Ladies III event.  

Skating since then has taken a back seat to many other things.  I keep posting my practice videos and blogging when I skate but there is no longer a learning curve .. seems more like a slow-but-steady decline in my skills.

Since taking up ice dancing I have come to learn that the discipline is WAY HARDER than one may think by looking at the pattern/compulsory dances.  Putting those steps into the proper rhythm, using good extension, pointing toes and fingertips, good knee action, strong edges and turns and OMG TWIZZLES is not easy.   

When I was free skating I could see progress and improvement but in ice dancing my thoughts of disappointment and self loathing are an everyday occurrence when I watch the playback of my skating.

Nevertheless, I continue.  I do enjoy getting out there and trying and I am coming to grips with my age and body’s reconciliation with what it can and cant do.  Some of it is a mental barrier for sure and I suppose if I wanted it bad enough I would work a little harder.  More stretching, more gym time, doing things to build up stamina, etc .. but I don’t seem to be able to make the sacrifices necessary to do that.

So it is what it is … as they say.


Thursday, January 13, 2022

Run Day - Lessons

Not much to say. Lessons didn’t accomplish much today. I was exhausted and low energy. I need more ice time. 

Ran it all today.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Happy New Year 2022 !

 First day back on the ice today.  Skipped my Monday practice and trying to cram it all into a short session.  I was pretty tired - PHFS ?  Post Holiday Fatigue Syndrome !  My stamina really bites right now. A run of my solo free dance threw my heart rate up to 164 today.  I never even leave the ice except for a couple of hops.  Gotta work on that.  

Fourteen Step:  Getting better on the pattern but still cannot skate to tempo without coach Vitali.  I sped up the video to 1.25% of the speed and it nearly matched the music.

Foxtrot:  Also getting better and I am thinking this is probably my favorite of the three evil Pre-Silver Dances!  Just need a nicer Closed Mohawk and more power to get the 2nd  pattern in the proper place

European Waltz:  My nemesis.  I am trying so hard to not wide step.  Someday somebody’s words will click with me and I will find a way to make them clean.

Solo Free Dance:  Looks pretty sloppy all throughout.  I plan to really attack this one since there is a possibility I will try and compete with it at Adult Sectionals (non-qual) event in March of 2022.  I also plan to use this program as a test: Adult Juvenile Solo Free Dance sometime.   I need to clean up my twizzles.  Coach would like to see a triple vs a double on both of them.  Me too but I lack the confidence and don’t have good form.  My counter and my chocktaw need improvements.  Most of all my overall extension, hands, head, body need a lot of work to make this a performance skate.    Nothing like a video playback to show you the TRUTH! 

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...