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! 

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...