Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Saturday Zoo

I attended the public session today. I got there early (12:30) and managed to talk to both Melinda and Linda, the two coaches I wanted to have trial lessons with. I talked with Melinda first, and she said that she usually teaches on Tuesdays and Thursdays and suggested we try to schedule a trial lesson after the 15th -- apparently she too is going to UA and will have more time then. I will have to give her a call in a week or so and set something up.

I then talked with Linda and had quite a good (though brief) conversation. We set up a trial lesson for Monday 12/8 at 12:45 p.m. (during coffee club). She asked me what my goals were: just becoming a better skater, testing, or competing? I told her at least the first two, and I'd have to see about the latter. Then she asked me what my interests were... moves in the field, freestyle, dance? I told her I wasn't interested in dance for now (though perhaps in the future), just MITF and freestyle. I then told her part of my rant about wanting to skate well before having lots of "moves" and I think that struck a chord with her. She also suggested I should have trial lessons with the other coaches as well (!). All in all I was very impressed by her professionalism and approach.

After that I took time to eat some lunch and then skated. My Girls (Heaven, Veronica and Mariah) were there along with their older sister Kira who I'd not seen in a while, and Alicia, an adult skater I know and of course the ubiquitous young Tate. I had a nice time skating but I have to say I was more social than usual and didn't really accomplish a lot. I worked on my forward crossovers a bit, and a bit on my backward skating (although it was too crowded to do much backward stuff) and all the usual stuff. I did do one lunge (since the Girls were trying 'em too) and it was good, which surprised me since I thought for sure I'd fall. All in all while it was a good (and long) skate I didn't accomplish a lot in the way of new stuff.

I'm a little concerned at this point. I feel like I'm a little stuck, and it's partly due to the state of my lesson and partly... I dunno. I obviously need to be a bit more disciplined in my practicing. I should probably have worked on turns more, especially the RFO 3-turn which I didn't try at all. Indeed my turns all need more work. Still, I know everyone gets stuck from time to time so I'm trying not to be discouraged.

Thursday, November 27, 2003


Before I head out the door to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, I wanted to take a moment to give thanks.

I am thankful to you, my readers, for your comments, suggestions and encouragement. It has helped my skating journey to know there are other adults who also have this strong... obsession... compulsion re: skating and who want to be the best skaters they can.

I am thankful to God for the gift of skating. In such a short period of time it has come to mean a great deal to me, and has changed my life and my very concept of myself in many positive ways.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Lunges and a Lesson

For tonight's lesson, we spent most of our time reviewing stuff we've already worked on -- 3-turns (my RFO 3-turn is still stuck -- don't know why and didn't get any advice other than "work on it"), crossovers, and backward edges (this was helpful). Actually, my backward edges are alllllmost there. We also worked on slaloms.

In the realm of "new stuff" we learned two interesting things. First, Allison had us trying doing a power pull (AKA a power change of edge pull). I'd seen these done in the MITF testing in October. Now that I've tried it I can say that at least I understand the concept -- for a forward power pull, the free foot is held in front of the skating foot and basically you use it to switch from edge to edge. Of course the baby ones I tried don't look anything like the nice ones I've seen in the testing!

The other interesting thing was the lunge. This was new to classmate Ashley, but I had been introduced to them a couple of weeks ago, and of course I'd tried one last night with not much success. Lo and behold I did two or three really nice ones, one where I helped myself up by pushing on my knee and two where I actually managed to get up just fine! I was so pleased. I think the secret to success with the lunge, at least for me, is to avoid hesitation. Just do it in one smooth motion!

After the lesson I managed to intercept Anna and set up a trial lesson for a week from Friday (Dec. 5th). She did say at first that she wasn't sure about adding more to her schedule as her school schedule is heating up (apparently she's in B-school at UA). I told her I just wanted a half-hour a week and she was okay with that. She also said she didn't come in on weekends (that's fine, there's no good ice time then anyway!) and as I'd assumed, she didn't want to do them on Wednesdays since she's there from 3 to 7:30 already as it is. Anyway, we agreed to do the trial lesson during coffee club on 12/5 and I guess we'll take it from there. I was really happy with our exchange though.

After the lesson I stayed to skate for a while, although the rink was quickly deluged by a large group of people. I was happy at first because it meant they actually had a Z-break (the ice was pretty gross around the edges, not so bad in the middle). Unfortunately, after the Z-break the group had apparently booked a "cyber-skate" so they turned off the lights and had the colored lights and the strobe. I decided to stick it out for a while, but the strobe (as usual) weirded me out so I left a little before 9.

Interviewing a Coach

I've been thinking about what questions I need to ask and what the discussion with a prospective coach needs to look like. First off, before we do anything, I plan to tell her (they're all female) what my goals/objectives are:

  • Philosophy -- I want to skate well, with good technique and form. I'd rather spend time working on basics than learning the move-of-the-week.
  • Goal -- to test MITF and freestyle
  • Dream -- to skate a program including landing an Axel.

Having said that, per a suggestion from a reader, spend 25 minutes or so working on a couple of problem areas for me and see how we do -- I'm thinking at this point the areas to work on are the ones I'm spending time on now -- forward crossovers, backward 1-foot glide, and 3-turn.

Following that, spend 5 minutes or less talking through some things:

  • What is your coaching/skating background?
  • How do you feel about coaching adults?
  • How does coaching adults differ (if it does) from kids, for you?
  • What's your availability during the week?
  • What are your rates?

I think that should be more than enough info. Comments/suggestions? Leave 'em in the comment box or email me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003


I've been down with some kind of bug since Sunday, but I was feeling much better today. I took my skates in to be sharpened Monday evening and got them back today, so since there was an evening public session tonight I went with my newly sharpened skates.

Jim the sharpener was surprised by how dull my blades had gotten. I had last sharpened my blades 9/4, so it had been less than 3 months but they were "worse than rental skates!" as he said. He's suggesting every 6 weeks. I'm thinking I'll try for two months first and see how that goes. Other than their dullness Jim complimented me on taking good care of my skates -- no signs of rust etc.

The evening session was kind of a surprise since normally they've scheduled hockey for Tuesday nights -- I can only surmise that it's related to the Thanksgiving holiday throwing schedules off. Anyway, I was glad to go and work with my newly sharpened blades so that I wouldn't be experiencing that during my lesson tomorrow. The session was pretty lightly attended, a maximum of 10 people I think.

I remembered what it was like the last time I'd gone through this, which helped. They are SHARRRRP! The first hour was rather tentative but after that I relaxed a bit and spent a good amount of time working on backward skating (since it was not too crowded) and those darn forward crossovers.

The backward skating is improving slightly. I'm mostly working on the left foot, and I think I'm discovering that my weight really does have to be what seems like too far forward. At least that seems to work okay, so I think I'll have to go with it.

The crossovers are still coming along slowly. I really need to be willing to have the crossing leg touching the other leg and I did manage this a few times, so I count that as progress. I'm not even touching the backwards ones yet but I need to.

I'm still concerned about my lack of stamina. Once again, just stroking around the rink consistently for 2 minutes is pretty tiring. I'm not sure what is up with that but I suppose I just need to work on it. I'm not convinced it's not my technique though. In general I still think I should be getting more power from my stroking.

I did spend a little time on my alternating FO edges and they are a little nicer with sharp blades. Yea!

For fun I tried a lunge just before the end of the session, gliding on the left foot and putting the right foot down. It actually went okay until I tried to get up again, and then I fell (which I expected). Still, I'll have to give that some work. I should probably try it just standing still without any movement.

Tomorrow at my lesson I'm hoping to intercept Anna and try to work out a time for a trial lesson. I also want to have a trial lesson with Linda and Melinda. I'm going to go to the Saturday afternoon session so hopefully I can catch them then, otherwise I'll just call I guess.

Sunday, November 23, 2003


I didn't go to coffee club on Friday since I had a meeting at work that interfered -- I hate how work interferes with my skating! :-) :-( So I managed to go to the Saturday night session. I was pleasantly surprised, it was not that crowded (certainly nowhere near what a Saturday afternoon is like) and they weren't doing the disco lights thing so I didn't have that distraction.

The session went from 7:30 to 10 with a Z-break, so a good 2 hrs 15 minutes of skating. I worked mostly on crossovers and edges with a bit of other stuff for variety. It was a bit crowded to work on backward skating (which I've not put much time into in the last week). My crossover are improving very slowly, but I do notice some improvement. Mostly they are not quite so clunky and I'm not quite so nervous about them. On the other hand, I can say that my edges are coming along. I did the alternating forward edges like I've seen folks practicing for MITF and while of course they have a long way to go to be as smooth and skillful as I would like, I can at least generally do them. That's a good start.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Attack of the Killer RFO 3-Turn!

Tonight was the Lesson from Hell. It started off with me noticing during my warmup an older (50s, I'd guess) woman nervously "walking" across the ice in her own skates. I turned to classmate Ashley and asked if she thought the woman was going to be in our class. She thought it seemed likely. "Great," I replied, "I can see how this will go. You guys (pointing to us) go in the corner and do some crossovers."

And indeed, it was like that, except instead of being in the corner we were in the center. Allison worked with the woman for a while as we faithfully practiced our crossovers. We also looked at 3-turns, Mohawks, and T-stops, while Allison bounced between the two of us and her beginner. Watching her I wondered if I had really been like that. I suspect I was, but really only that bad at my very first lesson. This woman had, I think, been taking lessons for a couple of weeks at least and couldn't even glide. Eeep! It reminded me to be grateful (thanks God!) for the gift of skating.

Of course during the lesson we had to work on the dreaded RFO 3-turn, and while working on it I managed to have a really nasty fall -- one of the backward splat ones. Ow! I landed pretty much flat back and didn't do a good job of curling or rolling at all. The only good part was that I did manage to tuck my head so I didn't hit it. The fall was hard enough to really stun me for a few seconds, then I got up and brushed myself off (and assured Allison and Ashley that I was okay) and resumed skating. In taking stock later it appears that while my neck is a little sore, the only real problem is that I may have slightly sprained my right wrist. It doesn't hurt to move it but it does hurt to take weight on it. Not good. Oh, I also managed to lose some skin off my palms since I wasn't wearing my gloves at the time (dumb, I know, but for some reason I almost never feel comfortable wearing gloves during my lesson -- I usually put them on after the lesson. I don't know why, it's just a thing). I'm really surprised it wasn't worse.

I was somewhat lacking in enthusiasm during my skate after the lesson. In particular, I was rather surprised I'd fallen on a 3-turn and not on a Mohawk (which wouldn't have surprised me). I think my free foot was not behind me during the 3-turn, which both made my fall possible (I think) and worse. Stuff to remember.

Incidentally, today was the debut of my new fashion statement -- I'm wearing a red ribbon tied around my left boot at the ankle. No particular reason, I just thought it would be fun.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Spins Revisited

I think I've figured out (in part) why spins are not appealing to me. I think it's partly because at this point, a 2-foot spin is necessarily a move done in isolation -- that is, I have to go from a standing start to do it, and I'm standing still when I'm done. It's static, whereas even with the 3-turns I'm able to do at this point they are somewhat dynamic. This may seem very obvious, but it makes me feel better to understand this distinction.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Sunday Zoo

I attended the Sunday public session, and dragged a friend along. I was feeling a bit aimless and unfocused, so it was not my best practice ever.

I worked mostly on crossovers, but also a lot on 3-turns and spins and right edges. Since the 2-foot spin is really just a training spin it's not clear to me how much it really matters, but it's kind of fun. I've not had any useful feedback on it so I have no idea if I am doing it well or not. The crossovers are about where they were Friday, along with everything else.

I had a good talk with another skater, Marjorie, who is usually at coffee club on Fridays. She is taking lessons from Linda, and of course she thinks she's great. Everybody thinks their coach is the best :-). Seriously though, I'd only had one lesson from Linda before (at coffee club, she was subbing for Cecilia) and now I'm wondering if I need to "audition" her as well. I suppose I should, although that will of course make things take longer.

I stayed 'til about 3:30 so with a delay (there was a hockey game before so the session started late) and the Z-break, probably about 2 hours of skating.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Edges, Edges, Edges

I was going to title this entry "I Suck!" but I decided that was overly negative :-).

I went to coffee club today, and during the lesson we worked on crossovers and 3-turns. This is the first real feedback on my 3-turns I've had in a while, and Cecilia said I need to have a better check (something that had occurred to me too) and to keep my free foot behind my skating foot and not let it drift out.

While we were working on crossovers I got very frustrated, mostly because I realized that basically all the problems I have with crossovers come down to not having established a good enough balance yet, not being able to hold the edge properly and have my weight placed solidly over my skate. If I were able to really do that then I would be able to do whatever I needed with my free foot and it would be fine, but since I can't yet, I'm having the problems I'm having. Of course all this ties in to my previous post about learning new stuff before I've really got what I have down better. So while it is nice, and fun, to practice the stuff I've learned recently, I need to go back and spend even more time on my edges, especially my right ones. Mind you, I've not entirely neglected them; in fact I've spent time on them at almost every practice. But clearly I need to give them a higher priority than I have been.

As I was leaving I got to see an acquaintance of mine, Lisa, do a run-through of her program (she is competing a week from tomorrow, I believe). It's pretty cool to watch. I hope that's me in a couple of years.

As an aside -- I worked a little on my 2-foot spin today. I can get several rotations reliably and I seem to center it pretty well. Would I be evil if I confess that it doesn't particularly excite me? So many people seem really obsessed with spins (well, especially the kids) but it doesn't seem to do much for me, really. Maybe when I learn some "real" spins I'll feel differently, but right now I can take 'em or leave 'em. It's quite a different reaction from, say, a turn -- a good 3-turn makes me go "whee!" I suppose it's just different for everyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2003


I had my second lesson of the semester last night. I got to the rink with only about 5 minutes to warm up, then classmate Ashley and I went into our lesson with Allison. We worked first on crossovers, both forward and backward, with the 1/2 swizzle pumps mixed in as warmup. We then reviewed the 2-foot spin (I needed some review, so that was good). From there we went to 3-turns and worked on both the LFO (good) and RFO (not good). Finally we looked briefly at an RFI Mohawk (which Glenn had taught us a while back) and a back Mohawk, AKA the "step-forward".

Strangely (but nicely) enough, I was actually able to do a couple of small and tentative RFI Mohawks. I think the difference is that I am pretty comfortable now with the LFO 3-turn so I was able to use the same rotation skill to get the Mohawk done. It was kind of exciting. The back Mohawk is a little daunting, mostly I suppose because it's the first backward-to-forward turn I've learned and it's scary because you can't see what you are stepping into, so to speak.

I'm rather frustrated with the whole group lesson scene though. I've noticed for the last two months (basically since the beginning of September) that starting with when I stopped having a group lesson of 1, the style of lessons has changed. In July and August when I had my instructor Glenn all to myself I felt like I was getting good feedback and learning to do things well. Once other folks joined the class, and especially now with a new instructor, it feels more like the "move of the week." Don't misunderstand, I'm as happy as the next person to get new moves under my belt. The frustration is that, especially now with the new instructor, I don't feel like I'm getting good feedback on what I'm doing right or wrong. It's all about this move and that move and I'm not feeling like I've mastered any of them. More specifically, I still can't do a good backward edge, so any time I do a 3-turn or a Mohawk I can't hold the backward edge I get. I work on it by myself a lot but I don't get any reinforcement (really) in class. So I'm frustrated.

The result has been that I've finally turned the corner on my thinking re: private lessons. After Thanksgiving I'm going to "audition" at least two of the coaches at the rink that I admire (assuming they are both taking new students) and then try to start private lessons in January. I'm not sure how I will manage this (dollar-wise) but it's just got to be done.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003


Since I had today off (Veteran's Day holiday) I went to the afternoon public skate. I didn't get there until about 3 and stayed until 5. It was fairly crowded, and there were a lot of little kids.

I spent the majority of my time working on forward crossovers again. I'm still feeling a bit stuck on them. I've noticed that when I'm skating them on the circle, my inside hand/arm come forward when I do the crossover, and I suspect this is part of the problem I'm having -- when the arm comes forward I'm probably not leaning into the circle anymore. However, being aware of the problem has not (yet) helped me fix it.

I also spent a good amount of time on clockwise turns, both the 2-foot and also the RFO 3-turn. I still can't quite do the RFO 3-turn but I'm getting closer. I seem to be leaning forward on it a bit (I have the same problem, though not as bad, on the CW 2-foot turn). My LFO 3-turn is actually getting to be pretty good, other than that of course I have to do it from a standing start and I can't hold the LBI on the exit and have to put my right foot down. The actual setup and turn is pretty good, though, and my tracings are almost symmetrical now!

While I was at the rink, I bumped into Cecilia, who does the coffee club lessons. She mentioned that one of her students (who reminds her of me -- having seen him, I understand why, since we have similar builds and are both male beginners of roughly similar ages) had fallen yesterday and broken his wrist. Eeeep! He was working on crossovers and fell. Having worked with Cecilia on crossovers myself I think I know exactly what he was doing when it happened... it's too bad. I hope he doesn't give up. Amusingly enough, Anna, one of the other coaches, came up to me later while I was on the ice and asked me how I was doing -- didn't I have a big fall yesterday? I said no. She said Cecilia had said I had a fall, and I said it was not me, it was Kenny. She said Cecilia had told her Gordon. As I was leaving the rink, Anna was leaving too and told me as soon as she saw Cecilia, Cecilia had told her it was Kenny, not Gordon, who had fallen. I guess I just have one of those faces. Anyway, it's nice to know Anna remembers who I am even if Cecilia gets me mixed up.

All in all it was an okay skate. I didn't get to skate backward much, it was too crowded. I didn't work on the lunge at all, or the side toe hop (well, I think I did *one*). I think my stroking still leaves a lot to be desired, and I'm also convinced I need to work more on stamina. Two minutes of doing laps around the rink (the ice was absolutely horrible today) and I'm tired. Hmmph.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Sunday Zoo

I went to the public session yesterday afternoon. As I anticipated it was quite crowded, but I still enjoyed myself. I spent most of my time working on forward crossovers (CCW only), backward skating and 3-turns. The crossovers are beginning to improve. I noticed that part of the problem was that I was putting my crossing foot too far forward and sort of stepping into/onto it. So I concentrated on bending my knees more, and bringing the crossing foot further back (closer to me) so that it's only a little bit forward. I also tried to be more deliberate, and that seemed to help too. They are still clunky and inconsistent but they are improving.

My 3-turns are coming along. I've noticed that if I really concentrate on bending my knee coming into them I can generally pull off a really nice turn. The tracing is becoming almost symmetrical, even. The remaining problem is that I still have to put my other foot down almost immediately afterward. I suspect that I need to keep my free foot closer to the skating foot during the turn, and, of course, improve my LBI edge.

I spent a little time on the lunge as well, doing them along the barrier. My first try away from the barrier was, of course, a failure, but I managed to get a good one in. The good part was just the downward part, though, I wasn't going fast enough into it to try to rise again while moving. Still I was very impressed and happy.

I also spent a little time on the 2-foot spin, but I seem to have trouble remembering/figuring out how to start. Allison taught us to start with the left foot on the toepick (for a CCW spin) but I'm a little unclear on exactly what I was supposed to do with my right foot. I guess I'll ask for review on Wednesday.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Pushing For Power, and a Lunge

I went to coffee club today. Before the lesson I practiced the usual stuff, but mostly the hockey stop, LFO 3-turn, forward crossovers, and backward glide. I only briefly worked on the 2-foot spin and didn't touch the side toe hop.

During the lesson (there were 3 of us) we worked first on power, on pushing more. Cecilia emphasized that power comes from... (wait for it!) knee-bend (I know, big surprise, eh?). So we worked on that a bit, both forward and backward, swizzles and stroking. I still don't generate nearly as much power as I think I should be able to (judging by my leg muscles). And of course my push-off for a right foot glide is pretty miserable. I can do the glide itself okay, but pushing off with my left foot is pretty pathetic. More practice required...

Just before the end of the lesson she taught us the lunge, and she held my arm while I tried one on each foot. It went better than I expected. Skating on the left foot (do you call that a left foot lunge or right foot? Is the name of the move the skating foot as usual, or the lunging foot?) was not bad, and I could get down reasonably well and get up more or less okay. Skating on the right foot was bad for two reasons -- 1) I had trouble getting my left leg to be straight back and not off to the side (I think I have this problem elsewhere as well), and 2) my left ankle is still a little tender from my fall a month ago so that, while it doesn't usually hurt me, bending it for the lunge was a bit painful. Still, I was pleased to have learned a new move. It seems like this has been a pretty eventful week! There's lots to practice.

6 Months!

Today is my 6 month skating anniversary... yep, 6 months ago today I first laced up a pair of skates and stepped out on the ice for my first lesson. It's very heartening and instructive for me to have kept this diary of my skating experiences. When I read the early entries in this blog I'm impressed by my determination and pleased with my hard work. I have truly come a long, long way in 6 months. I can honestly say that I feel better than ever, physically, mentally, and emotionally/spiritually, and a lot of that I attribute to skating and to the things that have come along with that. I have lost weight, I'm stronger, and I'm happier. I have something in my life that I'm passionate about, that depends only on me and how much I work for it, how much I strive.

I don't know where I will be 6 months from now. I'm rather hopeful that I will have finished all my basic instruction, the Basic 8s or equivalent. Hopefully I'll be taking private lessons, or preparing to do so. Keep reading and we'll see!

A big thanks to the readers of this blog who have taken time to email me or comment. Your words of encouragement and advice have been very helpful and instructive and I'm very grateful.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

New Stuff!

I'm really jazzed. Our first lesson of the new semester was tonight. In one of those weird things that seems to happen at Gateway (the relations with instructors there seems to be really poor), Glenn was not teaching us (or anyone else, as far as I can tell) tonight. Instead we had a woman named Allison who I've never met. She seems okay though. It was myself and Ashley and also Luz, who has apparently decided not to take privates after all -- instead she's going to do drop-in lessons when she can.

We had a really good lesson! We looked at a bunch of stuff we already knew how to do -- forward crossovers, all four forward 3-turns, T-stops. We learned a bunch of new stuff:

  • 2-foot spin
  • hockey stop
  • side toe hop

All of those are things I've really wanted to learn. I now have far more stuff to practice than I have practice time...

The lesson reminded me of something I already knew -- I really need to work on my CW turns. I can't for the life of me do an RFO 3-turn. I turn into it (I can do the RFO edge just fine) but then I sit there... and can't convince myself to do the turn-and-check. Sheesh. And while I'm making some small progress on my CCW crossovers, my CW stink royally. More stuff to practice!

After the lesson I spent a goodly amount of time working on the new stuff, in particular the spin (yea!) and the hockey stop. I went all around the rink starting and stopping. It's good. Of course I'm only turning CCW! The spin is a bit iffy, this is basically doing an RFI pivot into the spin, and no exit at this point. I have trouble getting the spin going, it's going to require some work.

The side toe hop is a little bit tricky for me. I can get up on my toes and hop all I want, it's the transition to a glide when you're done that seems to be the tricky part.

As I was working on my crossovers, I caught my right toepick and fell. Not too hard, but as I mentioned in my previous entry I'd not fallen in a while. So I was kind of relieved to have fallen. Even though my shoulder is not yet 100% I was able to catch myself just fine, which is good to know.

I stayed until about 9 p.m. (there was no Z-break). I'm really pleased about my skating right now, mostly because with the stuff we did today I've been exposed to almost everything up through Basic 5. I have a lot of work to do since most of that stuff I can barely do (like back crossovers!) but at least I know what it is; theoretically at least I could practice it all all on my own. If only I had 10 hours a week to skate, I'd be fantastic...

Monday, November 03, 2003

Stolen Time

We got out of choir practice early, so I made a beeline for the rink and was able to get in almost an hour's worth of skating. Apparently the rink has an (unadvertised) last hour rate of $5.50 (vs. $7 for the full session).

It wasn't too crowded, and the ice was in okay shape. I spent most of my time working the same things, crossovers and 3-turns and LBI edge. The 3-turns are a little better than on Saturday -- still very inconsistent. I need to relax (as usual). When I'm relaxed I can turn out a pretty nice one. When I'm not I force it and it's bad. I worked on my 2-foot turns too and noticed that I have tended to not bend my knees enough. When I remember to do so they are much smoother (fancy that :-)!). The thing about the down-up-down is that I really only have to remember the "down"; the "up" takes care of itself. Of course I still have to work on the trailing "down"...

The crossovers are going to take a long time, I suspect. I really need to get down in my knees more for them, and just do about a zillion of them. My backward glide (mostly LBI) is coming along well; I had a couple of really nice long ones. It actually feels like the limiting factor right now is that I need to keep my left hand extended in front to balance on them, and I can't do that for all that long still (although my shoulder is much, much better than last week). But I had a couple of them that had that delicious sort of feeling I remember from when I was working on my forward one-foot glide. As always my main difficulty backward seems to be a tendency to rise up in the toe (weight too far forward) instead of just allowing myself to be in my boot! It's getting better though.

I was struck by how much I am held back (even now) by my own chicken-heartedness. I have not fallen, really, since I hurt my shoulder over 4 weeks ago! So it's obvious I'm holding back. I've not really even touched Mohawks in that long, for example. Next week or so I really need to commit to working on some of that difficult stuff and allow a fall to happen if it's going to (which I am sure it will). I really need to LEAN more on my edges, and get down in my knees. Grrr.

I worked up a good sweat just in the hour or so I was there. I am really wishing it were summer again, or at least that the hockey season were over. I could be skating 4 or 5 times a week if it were, and I would be Mr. Buff Gordon Sk8er Boi in no time... Really! Not to mention a much better skater...

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Good Exercise

I've known skating was good exercise, but I now have confirmed why -- I noticed yesterday during my practice that my heart rate was something around a consistent 80-90. I think my resting rate is around 70 or so. That's enough to do it!

Saturday, November 01, 2003

3-Turns Revisited

I went to the public session today, although I wasn't able to arrive until after 2 (it's 1-4). It was the usual Saturday zoo. I spent most of my time working on edges, 3-turns, and crossovers. The crossovers are (very) slowly improving. The edges are not. Well, I'm mostly working on my RFO and if it's improving, it's too slow to tell.

The good news was that I made some real progress on my LFO 3-turn. In particular, I was able to finally absorb something Glenn had said in a previous lesson -- not to force the turn. So I was able to get into a rhythm on it where I wasn't trying to force it, and voila!, a nice 3-turn where I got a recognizable LBI edge on the other side that I was able to hold, albeit briefly. Until today the tracing for my 3-turns was nice coming in but basically straight coming out; now it's more symmetrical. Of course there's still room for improvement :-) but it's much better. I'm very happy with that.

With the realization that the turn and check for the 3-turn is really very similar to that for the 2-foot turn, I spent some time working on my CW 2-foot turn. I had some improvement in it but it's still rough. I didn't actually try to do an RFO 3-turn today, though; I'll try to get the CW 2-foot turn down first. Turning CW just feels so... unnatural! I really admire those people who are ambidextrous this way.

Anyway, it was a good skate and a fun afternoon.