Monday, June 21, 2010

Back To Work

I took a week off. Not on purpose, but I was just too tired to run around the city and outer boroughs to get to the rink. So I gave myself permission to sit back, go to the theatre (bad) and a movies (good). If this was a blog about theatre, I'd go into detail about how disappointed I was in the revival of a musical I saw recently. But it isn't. And no one is going to blame me for their ticket sales going through the cellar floor. (No, it didn't win Best Revival of a Musical).

Skating on Saturday was a joy. I got up extra early because the MTA still insists on screwing with my subway line. Actually the MTA is just screwing with everyone's subway line by eliminating trains in crowded areas, combining service but only in certain areas. It's a mess. I have an idea as to how to fix it, but again, this isn't a blog about fixing the financial woes of the city. (FYI: if you make over 300k annually and you work for the city, you could do with a small pay cut.)

Back to skating. The session was a bit more crowded than I expected at 9:00am on a Saturday. There were kids there as well as adults. More kids than adults. But I saw several of the skaters from the Wednesday night session and it was great to see them. I've noticed how much progress they've made since the beginning of the season in October. They've all gotten quite good and are much more observant. Adult skaters have a very bad habit of being in their own little world. We concentrate much harder than kids and as a result, lots of us don't notice the person in the air two feet in front of us. I, on the other hand, notice the people ten feet in front of me and stop for them. Or I should say, I'm trying very hard NOT to notice the people ten feet in front of me and stop for them. I'd say I have a 52% success rate.

I had located three videos of the Silver MIF test on the internet and watched them over and over. I don't know who you are, but thank you for the idea of doing a three turn and back crossovers to keep the momentum going from forward to backward in the crossrolls and the edge pumps (at least I think that's what they're called). I never would have thought of that. Of course, it's not my favorite three turn, but since they are all on the test, it gives me the opportunity to practice that turn over and over again. I find it amazing that my three turns have gotten so rusty. Lack of use, I suppose.

So I tried the crossovers and had enough speed to get almost to the very end of the pattern. I need to bend my knees more and not lean forward on the back crossrolls. It causes me to ride my toepick instead of the edge. And whoever that skater was, her crossrolls were wonderful. You could hear the "rip" on the backward ones too. I've never heard the rip on the back rolls. Wow. Something to work towards, along with riding the edge until my bum is facing the opposite side of the rink. Hard to describe, but...

Have you ever noticed that most lefty skaters do an elaborate series of three turns into a loop jump? I noticed that recently because as a lefty, I too do a series of three turns into a loop jump. And I hate it. It's easy to get into the position from inside three turns, but it's also easy to mess up the three turns and subsequently the jump. Well on Saturday, I graduated to the big girl entrance: crossovers. Just one crossover. I'm getting good height on the jump, just have to remember to land. However, I have been told: if I try 5 and they don't work, I must go back to the inside three and leave the crossover alone for that session. I agreed.

Should have gone to the rink this morning, but 4:30 is just soooo early... Can't wait for the rink to start their Monday evening session. That might get me to get up early on Monday morning so I can skate two sessions in one day.

I need more coffee.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ice, Ice Baby....

The extra Wednesday night sessions have been purchased by hockey.

I discovered this, thanks to my wonderful coach, via text message on Wednesday afternoon after carrying my skates in my trusty backpack on the Long Island Railroad.

Wish I had found out on Tuesday night. It's not my coach's fault, of course, but those darn hockey skaters. Grrrrr....... Taking all the choice ice times.... Making figure skaters skate in the wee hours of the morning....

And those skates are heavy!

I've almost gotten over the disappointment of my competition. It's funny really. I could actually feel when I started losing control of the situation. I started off well. Three elements in and it was shaky, but okay. It was an artistic program, so I didn't think I needed a lot of jumps; I had two in the program. A simple mohawk, back three turn, which I tripped over into a Ina Bauer (or my version of one. It is probably the shortest Ina Bauer you will ever see. Did you see it? Missed it!). This was followed by the first spin, an attitude spin. No laybacks for me on Sunday. Sal stopped by with all the pain he could muster and brought friends.

My first jump went well. Very well. But my knees still knocked and my feet felt as though they belonged to someone else and that person had smaller feet than I do. I have a good strong spiral, high leg, pointed toe, don't dip too far down with my chest. So far, so good. I even did the turn from backwards to forwards without looking like it was an afterthought (usually it IS an afterthought). Inside spiral, not as high. As I was trying to figure out why my leg wasn't higher, I noticed the boards were much closer that I expected. "Turn! Turn NOW!" I thought. And I did, although I think I brushed up against the boards anyway.

The only other jump in the program had footwork as a setup. I hate footwork. I don't know who invented footwork, but I think they need to be slapped. Usually I screw up the footwork and sail through the jump. Did I? Oh no. I sailed through the footwork and screwed up the jump. And I swore. Right in front of the judges and aloud I swore. I know they heard me because one of them said "oops!"

After that, the rest of the program is a blur. I did a nice camel spin at the end, my coach told me. And I didn't cough up a lung which surprised me. In the end, I felt out of shape, ill-prepared and out skated by a woman who I know and consider a friend.

I just wanted to beat her for once.

What have I learned from this experience? 1. Boy do I need to lose more weight. 2. Waiting one month before a competition to run through your program regularly is not good training. 3. Judges still expect jumps in an artistic program. 4. Try to stay in the here and now, even if you want to know why your leg isn't higher. 5. Taking a painkiller might help when you're in pain.

My sister thinks I should have a drink before I compete. It's a thought. I once had 5 pina coladas before skating a session. I thought I could do a Beillman spin and gave it a try, over and over again. I am NOT that flexible; never have been. So the next day, when I found myself unable to get out of bed because everything hurt, I remembered the spins and the drinks. I've never had a drink before skating since, nor have I tried a Beillman spin again.

I must scramble to find ice for the next two weeks. My NYC rink won't have their new schedule out for another week. I'd rather not take time off from lessons or practice, so I will start hunting for ice time. Even with the additional rinks around NYC, I find that figure skaters still end up skating at unbelievable hours. I am still not a morning person, but I need the practice...

Now that the competition is over, I can concentrate on improving my jumps and spins. Oh yes, and my footwork. Grrrr.........

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I competed today. I wish I could say I am happy with the results, but I'm not. I am disappointed because I had so many really great run-throughs. I wish I had skated the program as I had on Friday's run-through.

I just never really got my feet underneath me. It probably didn't help that I was at a level 6 in the back pain category. And while my coach seemed pleased, I think she was a bit disappointed too. I could have won this event; I should have won this event. The only thing that went somewhat well in my opinion was my final spin. The rest of it was a blur of poop.

I came in second. Not bad, you say. There were only two of us, so in short, I came in last.

I don't compete nearly enough. And currently, I am past the point of disappointment.

I will try harder; I must try harder.

Ouch... now at level 7.