I hoped to order new skates today. I went over to the rink at about 1:30, only to see a sign at the pro shop saying they would open at 4. I went home (it's about 6 miles from my house to the rink) and came back around 4:30. The pro shop was still closed. Disgusted, I went home and decided I'd just come back early since I was going to the public session at 7:30 anyway.
I came back around 7 and yea!
the pro shop was open. I went in and talked to Jason (I'd talked to him before). He measured me and said I needed a 9 1/2. I thought that was strange since I wear 9 1/2 shoes and I'd always heard skates were sized smaller. He then pointed out a pair of Glaciers they had in stock (these are the same miserable skates I'd seen up in Chandler on Sunday). I told him I wanted something better. He went and checked his computer and discovered they actually had a display pair of boots in back stock. He went and pulled them for me. They were actually GOOD skates, Jacksons I think, with a nice blade, but they were 8 1/2 and I couldn't even quite get my foot in them. He told me later they were $900 skates anyway! So he checked his ordering computer and came up a blank -- as far as he could tell there were NO adult male skates available in his system at all. That seemed pretty absurd to both of us, so he promised he would check into it more tomorrow when everyone was back from the Memorial Day holiday, and he would call me.
That done, I went ahead and got my rental skates for my evening skate. All in all it was not a great session. In particular --
- Every time I go skating, the first 5 minutes or so I feel almost like I've never skated before in my life. It's very disconcerting. Danni (skater mom) pointed out to me, when I told her this, that in part it's because I have different skates every time I go. This probably does explain a large part of my problem, though not entirely. Still, I'll be really glad when I get my own skates.
- I wanted to work on some of the things I learned last Wednesday, but I didn't try the backward wiggle at all, and the snowplow stop I tried a couple of times but only half-heartedly, in part because ...
- I was skating a little scared. I still am a smidge sore in my ribs from my fall on Friday, and I think the fact that I could feel that every time I breathed deeply meant I was just a little bit on edge. It didn't help. I could feel that a large part of my difficulties was/is that I am not steady on my feet; sometimes I can feel my weight going from back to front or vice-versa. Not good.
- Because of the above, I didn't really want to work on my swizzles. When I fell on Friday it was while working on a swizzle (I think) and the change of where my weight rests on my foot/blade was scaring me.
- Also, I noticed a problem I've experienced in my rollerblading as well -- I am afraid to go over a certain speed. I'm afraid that I'll lose control and fall. This in spite of the fact that on ice skates (as opposed to rollerblades) I seem to turn easily and naturally, without much thought or effort.
So it was a frustrating skate. I didn't really work on much except straight-ahead skating, but I told myself this was okay because I need to feel comfortable on the ice anyway and build my stamina.
The session was only moderately crowded, about 20 - 25 people most of the time. When I first went out the Zamboni had just resurfaced the ice and it was beautiful. Fortunately there were no colored lights or strobes tonight. There were 3 or 4 obnoxious hockey dudes but they mostly stayed away from me. Indeed, my only real distraction tonight was the 3 or 4 nubile women who, despite the 50 degree temperature, insisted (apparently) on skating in skin-tight tops with bare midriffs. Fortunately they had hulky hockey-type boyfriends to help me keep focused on my own skates! :-) Seriously, though, I read somewhere on the Net a quote from someone about skating that when she skates she can't think about anything else, and that's why skating is so great. There's some truth to that. When I'm skating, at this point at least, I really can't get distracted by anything or I will just lose it. Presumably this will improve at some point, at least for non-competitive skating.
So all in all, not my best night. I did have one brief fall (my second); I was trying to work on my push-off and trying to use my left foot to push off since that seems to be harder for me than skating on my left foot and pushing off with my right. Anyway, in the process of doing that I lost my balance (I was barely moving anyway) and came straight down on my hands and knees. It didn't hurt at all, nor did it throw me. I just got up and went on.
I'm a little frustrated but I'm reminded of what my Mom always said to me about college -- it's all about perseverance, not really about talent. For what I'm trying to accomplish that is certainly true. So I'll keep on keeping on and see how I can improve in the next few weeks. I'm really hoping getting my own skates will help my attitude and my skating, both.