Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Saturday Zoo

I didn't make it to yoga this morning, and I didn't wind up getting on the ice until 1:20. I stayed until 4:00, so about 2.5 hours of skating. It was fairly crowded at first, but the last hour or so I was there was not too bad.

I spent a fair amount of time on mohawks and 3-turns. In particular I worked the RFI3 quite a bit, and had several that were almost okay -- the best I've done. That is, I came out of them on an RBO and not a flat! I was pretty happy with that. I spent some time on spins, too, but no breakthroughs.

I spent a lot of time on forward crossovers, in particular the CW ones, to the point that I thought I was seeing some real improvement; at the very least my comfort level on them is a lot higher. There's still no real power on these, though. I really need to work on skating faster, but public sessions aren't really the place to do it.

At one point the DJ had everyone turn around and start skating CW around the rink, and it remained that way for the rest of the session. I took advantage to practice my perimeter stroking in that direction. I did okay, I only managed to put in the crossovers about 50% of the time. Still, since they were CW crossovers at (some) speed, I was pleased with them.

All in all it was a pretty good workout. I went ahead and purchased an annual pass today; this is good for all public sessions, including the adult (coffee club) sessions; so it's a good deal. I figure it will pay for itself in about 4 months or so, or less if it encourages me to skate more often (which I suspect it will).

Friday, July 30, 2004

Beautiful Male Spirals

I was reading RSSIF and came across a discussion on male skaters and spirals... Sandra Loosemore posted on Mauro Bruni's spiral, and included a link to a beautiful picture. Wow. I would love to have a spiral like that... it's not that it's horribly high (it's not) but it's the textbook definition of "extension".

Freestyle Fun

I didn't get to skate at coffee club today due to a work conflict, but I managed to get off early enough to hit the 5 p.m. freestyle session. I had dropped my skates off for sharpening yesterday and picked them up on my way to the session.

I spent the first 40 minutes or so feeling pretty dorky. I couldn't spin worth a darn, which I attribute to my freshly-sharpened blades. I worked on forward crossovers a little, but spent most of my time working on Mohawks and 3-turns. When I actually remember to do everything right at the same time :-) my Mohawks are almost okay. In particular today I was working on turning my body more and keeping my head up, with some success. I spent a fair amount of time on my FO3s, which were kind of stinky at first but I did manage to improve them a bit. I worked the RFI3 a bit, not much improvement there. I also spent a fair amount of time on back edges. I did try a couple of bunny hops but I was just not in the mood to experiment with them.

I spent the last ten minutes or so on my back Mohawks and Choctaws. After some initial chickenheartedness I managed to get a number of good ones in, mostly off of the left foot. I did a whole slew of them in the hope that I would burn them into my muscle memory. We'll see.

It was a fun session, mostly because Lisa, Jenny, Dimitri, and a couple of girls I don't know were fooling around with more synchronized skating. At one point they all proceeded down the rink and did a side-by-side jump, all of them more-or-less at once. Another time they formed a ring and did synchronized waltz jumps. It looked like fun.

Dimitri informed me today that the girl I didn't know from Wednesday is Jenny, and the spin he was doing is a Lucinda Ruh (or just a Ruh, I guess). Thanx D!

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Figure Skating 2: Electric Bugaloo?

I went to the evening public session tonight, hoping to get some work in on crossovers and back edges. Unfortunately about 3 minutes after I got inside they turned off the regular lights and it was disco lights for the rest of the time I was there. I don't work too well in that environment.

About an hour after I got there a bunch of the figure skating kids showed up at center ice and were hanging out, showing off for each other and doing stuff. It reminded me of those breakdancing movies from the 80s! Particularly nice was Dimitri and a girl whose name I don't know doing side-by-side jumps in the circle. They had good unison! It was very cool. Dimitri is very flexible and has a nice... what is that spin called? A forward Bielmann? It's the one Sasha Cohen does where the free foot is straight up in front. Wow! Very nice, Dimitri :-)

Anyway, it was not a very productive session between the disco lights and the fact it was quite crowded. I mostly did FI Mohawks, spins (mostly not too great) and forward crossovers.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Back Mohawks & Choctaws

I had an email from Anna this morning explaining that her travel plans had changed, so I could have a lesson today if I was available. Despite an overly-long late afternoon meeting, I managed to get to the rink in time for my lesson with a few minutes for a warmup.

As I'd asked in an email, we worked on back Mohawks and Choctaws. The motivation is partly that I want to be able to do them, of course, but in particular I need to do the back Choctaw for the alternating 3-turns for the Adult Pre-Bronze Moves test. So we dove in... first the inside BM. The problem with these is mostly convincing myself to rotate sufficiently and look where I'm skating. It doesn't help that my BI edges are still pretty stinky. Still, I managed a few -- Anna held my hand for the first couple. After that we went on to the outside BM. These are a little harder in that the rotation has to be more complete, but easier in that my BO edges are much better than the BI edges. So I managed a couple. The specific note for all of the BMs (and BCs for that matter) is to not step wide, and to stand tall -- I tend to break at the waist for some reason and of course it's totally unhelpful.

After some work on the BMs we went on to the back Choctaws. The outside BC is actually not that hard. The inside one is trickier, both because, again, my BI edges stink, and also because you need to really rotate more than I am comfortable with. Still, I managed a few and I know how they go. With that we were out of time.

While taking our skates off we conferred about our upcoming schedule. Anna is not going to be here next week, so my next lesson will not be until the 10th :-(. We agreed to keep our lesson schedule the same (Tuesdays & Thursdays at 5:30) going into the fall semester at UA. I'm really pleased we will be able to keep this schedule; it works really well for me and I feel like I'm making really good progress.

My task for the next two weeks is to work on the BMs and BCs, and also to work on my bunnyhop and landing position so that we can work on jumps when Anna gets back. YAY!

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Monday, July 26, 2004

Cactus Classic

On Saturday I was up in the Phoenix area and got a chance to stop in and see a few hours of the Cactus Classic.  It was very cool!  I got to see several skaters from our rink compete, including two of my coach's skaters -- Tracy (got 2nd in Adult Bronze) and Patrick (got 2nd in Pre-Juv Boys Freeskate).  Congratulations!

One of the real treats of this competition was Katlynn McNab.  This girl is only 10 or so, but she is a really amazing skater!  My jaw just about dropped watching this girl skate -- very reminiscent of Tara Lipinski (although I'm sure that's an overused comparison).  Anyway, if you ever have a chance to watch this girl skate, grab it.

Friday, July 23, 2004


I skated at coffee club today for about 75 minutes.  I worked on a bit of everything -- turns, forward crossovers, spins.  I spent a good amount of time on my RFI3 (didn't work the LFI3, bad Gordon!) and saw a little bit of improvement.  At a minimum I'm not scared to try these anymore (unlike the LFI3) so with a lot more perseverance I should see some improvement, I expect.

One of the other skaters complimented me on my improved 2-foot spin; she said she counted 5 revolutions!  That must definitely have been one of the better ones...

I probably won't get to skate tomorrow as I am going up to Phoenix; I'm going to catch the Saturday afternoon portion of the Cactus Classic 2004 since I know some folks competing.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Best Foot Forward

A good lesson today. During the warmup I managed to do a 2-foot to 1-foot spin that was as good as the one last week. It was pretty cool. The session was pretty lightly attended. There's a competition up in Scottsdale this week and several of the people from my session are going so I'm sure that has affected their schedules. Before the lesson I had a chance to ask Anna something I was thinking about last night while I was trying to fall asleep -- how to feel more secure doing my crossovers at speed. I suggested that perhaps it was a combination of better/more knee bend and more edge pressure. Anna said those things were important and also it would help to push the heel more.

For the lesson, since I'd asked about them we went to work on forward crossovers. We worked them both on the circle and also starting from the moves position. Main points for today were to push more to the side (not back so much); work for better extension ("pump and extend"), and in particular to bend both knees after the push, while crossing the foot. This helps a bit.

After a fair amount of time on that we went to going over the perimeter stroking. Besides pushing (of course) for more/better extension, we worked on getting the end crossovers sorted out. The answer was that I need to prepare better/earlier for the end crossovers so that by the time I get to the middle of the last hockey circle I'm prepared to step into the first of the 3 crossovers. That worked pretty well. I still need to work these a lot more. The main focus of the move is power and second is extension. I know I could develop a lot more power than I am; I still need to get more comfortable/controlled so that I can handle that, specifically that I can push hard on the straightaway and still be able to handle doing the crossovers at the end. And, of course, still get good extension! :-) We worked on these for a while, only in the CCW direction. I should try to practice them the other way a few times, especially the crossovers.

We spent the last bit of time on turns. Some of the same observations that I've had before apply, namely, I need to not force the LFO3 (doesn't seem to happen on the RFO3). Actually the RFO3 is looking pretty good. The LFO3 is okay but I'm still tending to do strange things with my arm. I need to get better tension/extension in the arms to help this. Anna says I'm going into the FO3s with more speed; she seemed surprised/pleased. I hadn't really noticed, but maybe it's just that I'm pretty comfortable with them now. On the FI3s, a little progress. I actually did my best RFI3 ever, it was almost okay. My LFI3 is still wacky; I need to do many of the same things at once, in particular, more tension/extension in the arms, not drop the free side, and keep the free leg glued in. It seems in particular I'm tending to drop my leading (left) shoulder back on the turn (I think I'm not-so-subconsciously balking) which sabotages my balance. We finished up looking at Mohawks -- Anna says I need to turn my body in prepping for the turn more, and keep looking where I'm skating. Some of them are not too bad, and others stink. Lots more work to do.

After our lesson we had a couple of minutes to confer about our schedule. Anna is going out of town for a week and a half, so I won't have another lesson for two weeks :-(. I mentioned in passing that with this lesson (my 26th), I've now had as many lessons after my accident as I did before it -- a milestone of sorts. I think I've really come a long way since I got back on the ice, and I'm really pleased.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004


I had a 6 p.m. meeting today, so I didn't get to the rink until about 7:10 for the public session -- about 75 minutes of skating. The ice was a bit rough but I've certainly seen it much worse. It wasn't too crowded, which was nice.

I spent most of my time working back edges, Mohawks, and crossovers. I actually had enough room to try doing the MITF crossover pattern, a couple of times forward and once backwards. This needs lots more work, but it was good to get a little practice in. I think in part I need to start being more aggressive with my XOs -- I'm very afraid of going fast but I need to start getting over that, and the only way I can think of is -- duh -- to go faster.

I worked my Mohawks some, especially trying to do them on the hockey circle and do them at a little bit of speed. Not much speed, mind you, but more than I usually get from doing them from a standing start. This went relatively okay. I really need to work on holding the exit edge; probably 50% or more of the time I'm putting the free foot down more or less immediately. Still for now I was focusing more on doing them faster so I didn't worry too much about that.

I worked my back edges and general backward glides a fair amount; these are continuing to slowly improve. I tried to do a couple of back Mohawks (a BO step forward), but I only managed one (and it was pretty bad). For some reason I am really terrified of these, and I have a hard time getting turned around enough. That's really strange because when I'm practicing my BO edges I don't have too much trouble getting the rotation coming back to the line, at least certainly not on the LBO edge. I suspect it's a brain thing.

I also did a few spins and other miscellaneous things. My FO3s are kind of weirdly inconsistent these days. Sometimes I'm really forcing them, but if I can get away from that they can be pretty nice.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Another Backwards Day

For today's lesson we started with back crossovers. Anna says they are improved but I still need to work on getting my weight distribution correct, and pushing the heel more. After some work Anna showed me how these are done for the test. It's similar to the forward crossovers. After some consultation, we decided on right-left-right-left steps, then an LFI Mohawk into the right hockey circle. Then as for the forward crossovers it's crossovers around the circle, cross to the other circle & switch directions and crossovers around the other circle; a total of two figure-8s. At the end she said I can either come out of the last circle and do a step-forward (back Mohawk) and "present", or just skate backwards and present. I assume the step-forward is probably more customary.

After that we worked a bit on knees and ankles, doing some forward slaloms down the rink. After a circuit of the rink forward we tried them backward -- much more challenging. From there we went to work on backward stroking around the rink. I've been practicing this a fair amount, but usually with the free foot behind the skating foot. Having the free foot in front is a bit more difficult and will take more practice (of course).

Next we went to work on back edges. In my warmup I had done the best RBO edge I've ever done -- one that makes you look back and say "wow, where did that come from?" Of course they weren't quite as good in front of Anna :-) but still they were much better and she was pleased. I'm still having a hard time keeping these together, though. It seems like the first two or three are pretty good and then I lose my focus. In particular I need to be sure to turn my head when coming back to the line. After looking at the BO edges we went back to the BI edges. These are, of course, considerably rougher. Anna gave me some notes on these (hold the position, mostly) and I'll need to work on them some more.

After that we had just a few minutes and looked at spins. I surprised Anna by going ahead and picking up the right foot on the very first one without being asked. We worked on these for a few minutes. The main correction is to lift the free foot straight up; I'm tending to just bend the knee, so the free foot is sticking out behind me and it tends to throw my balance off. Also I need to keep the free foot/leg close to the skating leg to keep a better balance.

All in all it was a pretty good lesson. At one point (when we were working on backward stroking, I think) I told Anna that if I ever start complaining she can remind me that I couldn't do this a couple of months ago! It really is true.

After the lesson Anna mentioned to me that she is going to be out of town next week for 10 days or so, so no lessons next week :-( and we'll have to reschedule the Tuesday lesson of the following week. Oh well.

Addendum:  I forgot to add when I first posted this that I had my first (sort of) fall since I got back on the ice 6/8.  It was a small thing; when I was trying that LFI Mohawk the first time it was faster than I'm used to, and after the turn I was out of balance and I fell forward at the waist and caught myself on my hands (like touching your toes).  No big deal, no pain or anything.

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Saturday, July 17, 2004

Saturday Zoo

I'm back in my old routine -- yoga at 11 a.m., then on to the public session "zoo" from 12:30 to 4:30. With a break for lunch and Zamboni, I probably skated 3.5 hours, and I'm definitely tired.

I had plenty of time to work on practically everything, although the crowded conditions limited what I was willing to work on.

I spent a good bit of time on my forward crossovers, especially those nasty CW ones. I'm not sure there's much improvement except that they are not as scary, which is important I guess. I also spent a considerable amount of time on spins, and got several good ones; still no one-foot spins as nice as that last one on Thursday, but I'm sure I'll get there. I also spent a lot of time on turns. I am doing something slightly strange on my LFO3 -- I wonder if I've overpracticed it or something because I'm tending to force the turn. Of course the fact that I can, in fact, force the turn is, in a way, progress; but still, I shouldn't do that. I spent some time doing Mohawks on a circle. They are slightly improved.

I spent a little bit of time (when it was relatively clear) on the RBO edge. I think a key here is really to put the weight firmly on the heel. I was able to do that a few times and it makes a huge difference. More stuff to work on!

Anyway, it was a good workout, and it's probably good to build my endurance with these long sessions. Still, it's also probably just as well I don't skate again until Tuesday.

On a side note, it's 3 months ago today that I broke my wrist, at the very same "zoo" -- I tried not to think about it, and of course I was fine.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Join The Club

I skated at coffee club today and got a good workout in, 70 minutes of skating.  I spent most of my time on turns, back edges, and spins.  No particular breakthroughs; I was not able to replicate my spin success of yesterday although I did have some good ones.  Anna had told me I needed to have more tension/strength in my arms when I brought them in on the spin so I was working on fixing that.  My back edges continue to improve slowly.
I turned in my membership application and fee today to join the Tucson Figure Skating Club.  I needed to do this sometime before I test but I figured there's no real reason not to go ahead and join up now even though I won't be testing until spring.  It's nice to have that taken care of.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Spin Progress

For today's lesson we started by working on back edges on the circle. There is some definite progress on the RBO, and the LB edges are both not bad. That leaves the RBI as perhaps the weakest at this point. Anna reminded me to "be one with the circle" on these. After that we went to looking at the BO edges down the line. These are somewhat improved but there's still much to be done; especially to press the blade down firmly and to get a good rotation.

Anna introduced the BI edges. These should be more straightforward but I found them difficult, both just by their nature and also because I kept wanting to do them like BO edges! Not helpful. For the BI edges you started out facing outside the circle and then facing in with the rotation. I just couldn't make myself do that very well today. Anyway, I know how it's supposed to go so I can work on it on my own.

Next we looked at pivots. I'd only done an RFI pivot since that's how I start my two-foot spin; but we looked at the other 3 "easy" pivots -- LFI, RBI, and LBI. The LFI pivot just seemed impossible -- it's the CW rotation. Yech! Same for the RBI, although it wasn't as bad. They are all quite difficult for me. We worked on them for a few minutes, then moved on since, again, now that I've been introduced I can work on them on my own.

From there, with about 5 minutes left we looked at spins. These are looking better, at least when I don't let my right side drop. I had several that were quite good, so Anna moved on to picking up the right foot. I had actually worked on this last night so that was good. Anyway, it was quite exhilarating! I had a couple of quite solid one-foot spins this way, Anna said 2 revs. It was the most amazing feeling! It's not so much the sensation of spinning (although that is pretty trippy, really) -- it's the feeling of being perfectly (albeit briefly!) balanced on that spinning blade. It's amazing. The second one I could undoubtedly have held longer (I really had it solid) but I freaked out a bit (i.e. "I can't REALLY be doing this!"), so, like the coyote chasing the road runner who's fine in midair until he looks down, I was fine until I lost confidence and then I dropped my right side enough to have to end it. Darn. Anyway, the amazing thing is that now I know what it feels like and, somewhat, how to do it -- so of course I will practice it :-). It was cool.

I had a nice compliment from one of the younger male skaters (hi Dimitri!) who said he enjoys this blog. Thanks for reading!

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004


I went to the evening public session today and had a good workout. It was only moderately crowded, and there were only a few small children -- they didn't stay long either. I had a solid workout, concentrating on spins, turns, and forward crossovers.

On the spins I made an effort to keep my shoulders from hunching forward and was rewarded with a bit more stability. I also worked a bit on lifting the right foot, though with only moderate success. The RBO exit (landing position) continues to improve, though.

On the turns I am improving my exit edge on the FO3s -- it seems a key is to really keep the free leg close to the skating leg. I had some good progress on Mohawks, too, but I'm still working on keeping the newly free foot tucked behind the new skating foot and also I still can't hold the check.

Not much to say on FXOs except that I did work them...

Monday, July 12, 2004


For today's lesson we started by working on forward crossovers. Anna's working to get me to have good extension, then bring the foot in & across without hesitating -- one smooth flowing movement. On my weaker CW crossovers she had me bring the crossing foot over and hold it in front of the skating foot before doing the crossover; also to get more kneebend. This seemed to really help the CW crossovers, and trying it on the CCW ones helped them too.

Once we'd spent some time on that Anna decided to show me how these are done in the test environment. Starting from the hockey goal, a quick 3 steps (left-right-left) and into the CW crossovers on the right hand hockey circle. Once around the circle, then cross to the other circle, either on two feet or, preferably, one, then crossovers CCW around that circle; so a big figure-8. I'll need to do two figure-8s, each with 4-8 crossovers per circle. After the last one, I'll need to "present" the move by skating out to the middle and stopping, smiling at the judge (and, as I said, pretending everything was perfect :-)). Of course on the test I'll need to do them forward AND backward.

After working on those a bit, Anna decided she might as well show me the perimeter stroking move as done in the test. Starting from one corner of the rink, a few steps down the short end of the rink, a crossover, then stroking down the long side of the rink, crossovers around the end (she suggested 3), stroking down the other long side of the rink, crossovers down the short end again, then "present" out into the long end again. Of course I'll have to do them both directions for the test. We practiced this a bit. My extension needs improvement, especially extending the left leg when on the right foot. On a positive note I managed to do the end crossovers at probably the fastest speed I've ever done them (only did 2 though).

Since we were doing moves, we next went ahead and did the forward edges -- outsides (starting with RFO) across, and then insides (starting with RFI) back down the line; and "present" coming out of the last one. These were okay.

After that we spent five minutes or so working on spirals. My LF spiral is not bad, but my RF is a little unsteady. However, in working on the boards it looks like I might ultimately be better off with the RF spiral since it looks like I can raise my left leg higher. I'll have to keep working on it, of course. I have a ways to go but it looked like there was some improvement.

I was really happy to get this stuff done. This means the only moves I've not been exposed to yet for the Adult Pre-Bronze moves test are the backward crossovers (which are the same as the forward except I'll need to see how I'm supposed to begin and finish them), the BO and BI edges (I know how they're done, I just can't do them), and the alternating 3-turns (which, I'm pretty sure, are done just like the edges -- of course I can't actually DO them yet). So I'm actually in pretty good shape for the test, considering I probably won't take it until March at the earliest.

On another note, I decided to give up my wrist guard today; I didn't wear it. It was a little weird at first, and I felt unsettled; but once my lesson started I was fine. I don't plan on wearing it at freestyle sessions anymore. I might wear it at public sessions; I'll play that by ear.

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Saturday, July 10, 2004

Saturday Zoo

I managed to get my butt out of bed early enough to get to yoga class this morning, the first time I'd been since the end of March. It was good to be back. Fortunately the instructor was not the usual one, and though I don't like him as much as the regular instructor he skipped many of the things that would have been hardest on my wrist, so I was able to keep up fairly well.

After yoga I went to the public session and skated 'til about 3:30 with a break for lunch. The ice was not that great and for the last half of that time it was pretty crowded, but nevertheless I worked a fair amount on turns, spins, and the dreaded forward crossovers. It was a good session.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Edges & Turns

For today's lesson we started out looking at my forward edges. Anna says my FO edges, when I take my time and concentrate, are passing quality (although, she says, I still am looking down. I really need to fix that!). The FI are not :-). They are improved but I still need to get my weight more firmly over my skating foot, improve the scissor action on the arm change, and keep my free foot firmly in/in front of my skating foot when I bring it forward. Still, as Anna said, I know what to work on.

We then spent the bulk of my lesson on 3-turns. My LFO3 is looking pretty good; I'm holding the edge, but I need to maintain the check better. The RFO3 needs work, I need to keep the free foot more firmly tucked in. We worked the FI3s as well; the RFI3 is much improved but still needs basically the same fixes my FI edges do. The LFI3... I'm doing something strange with my free foot. Anna says on both the FI3s I'm tending to stick my butt out (my term) or tuck my hips in (Anna's term). I think it's a basic fear reaction that is most noticeable on the LFI3. I think the solution will only be to do a boatload of them. If I am honest with myself, I tend to avoid working on the FI3s, not so much because they stink but because they are scary, especially the LFI3. I'm only going to get over that by doing a zillion of them.

We finished up with a few minutes on the FI Mohawks. These are coming along, and when I remember to keep my eyes up and maintain the check, aren't that bad. Probably the biggest single problem with them is that when the newly free foot comes off the ice it's coming into the circle so it tends to either make my exit edge curve too much, or I have to put the foot down. The solution is either to tuck it behind the new skating foot, or in the ideal world extend it out. Something to work on.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Bad Ice

I went to the evening public session to get some practice time in. When I got there I discovered the ice was in truly amazingly bad shape. First, one entire end of the rink was coned off. As I got out to skate, my buddy Veronica pointed out a big pond in the middle of the side by the hockey scorekeeper booth. We're talking about a half-inch of water, no joke. Then, in skating around a bit I almost fell when I hit a patch of "sticky" ice, which on closer examination had white paint coming up! As if this weren't bad enough, they had the regular lights off and just the disco lights on.

I went into the office to complain, and they said that one of the compressors had failed and they were keeping the lights off to keep the temperature down. They sent someone out to cone off the sticky patch I found. I skated for a few more minutes until I found a patch of ice that the kids seemed to skate on just fine, but when I hit it I almost fell again, it was sticky. It appeared that the ice was of the correct thickness so that 200-lb. Gordon's blades went through to the paint, but the 70 lb. kids didn't. That was pretty much the last straw. I decided that it was an accident just begging to happen (reason prevailed at last), so I went and took off my skates and went to the office and asked for my money back. They gave me a pass (they don't give cash refunds). What a waste of time.

Just before I left, I bumped into Luz, one of my former classmates from last fall. She has been off the ice for a while and just got back into skating. I warned her about the ice; she said she'd check it out. It was nice to see another adult; hopefully I'll see her next week.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Backwards Day

For today's lesson we started out with spins. They were not doing too bad, but Anna asked me to hold the pivot until I bring the other foot in to the center, then release. This results in a faster and better-balanced spin. We worked on doing the exit to the landing position. I can get a good pump with the left foot, but I'm not following through to take the left foot up and behind, and I'm not getting onto an RBO; right now it's more like a flat.

From there we went to work on backward edges down the line. These are showing some actual improvement, even the RBO. Anna is pushing to get the rotation on that foot, but it's not quite there yet. We also worked plain backward stroking; the RB edge is still weaker and I'm still tending to drop the free hip about 50% of the time (or maybe 75%). Still, I know what it's supposed to be like so I should be able to work on it. Anna also pointed out that for the RB edges I'm sabotaging myself by trying to pick up the free foot when it's out to the side; for now I need to pick it up when it's right next to the skating foot.

We finished up with back crossovers. Emphasis here is to keep working on pressing the heel, especially on the back foot. Anna had me work on just doing the front pump and then hold the position to get my weight placement more secure over the back foot. This helped a bit and I was able to get much less scratchy crossovers.

As we were leaving, I had a "gentle correction" from Cecilia (the senior coach on staff) that I need to not stop in the middle of the ice during a freestyle session. To be honest, I wasn't really aware that I do this until she pointed it out; but she said that if I need to stop to think something through or want to watch someone else skate, I need to clear off to the boards. Of course she's right, but I felt pretty dorky at having to be told this. Oh well.

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Monday, July 05, 2004

Coffee Club Workout

Since I was off today I attended the coffee club session. It was on the back ice since there was a promotion going on on the front ice earlier and it was still a mess. I'm getting to like the back ice more, mostly because I don't have any identification of it with hockey boys and little kids slamming into me with their EZ Skaters. :-)

I had a really good workout. I worked a lot of stuff, but especially back edges and forward crossovers. I had one RBO edge that was *just right* but unfortunately couldn't quite reproduce it. I am working on getting my free foot tucked back behind on the RBO edge especially; it's difficult to do but seems to help if I can make it happen. On the FXOs I experimented with keeping my free foot close (no extension) and then crossing it. The advantage is that it appears I can keep the position of the arms and upper body that way. Of course the disadvantage is that I have no extension on the stroke. It's something to work on. I also worked FO3s and spins and Mohawks a bit.

I'm thinking that part of my problem with the FI3s is that I am dropping my free side on the entrance edge (since I tend to do that on the FI edges in general); this doesn't explain the overrotation but does explain why I can't come out on the BO edge but instead on a flat -- my weight placement isn't over enough to come out of the turn on the BO edge. Knowing that is helpful but I wasn't able to make a difference at this point. I did work my FI edges a bit and did get some improvement in the placement though.

All in all it was a good workout. I found out that Polar Ice taketh away, and Polar Ice giveth; I was complaining about the Sunday morning freestyle sessions going away, but just found out today that they have added a 5 p.m. freestyle Monday and Friday (in addition to the Tuesday and Thursday when I have my lesson). This is good news!

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Saturday Zoo

I made an appearance at the public session today, skating for about 2 hours. As usual it was quite crowded. I got some good work on forward crossovers in, almost all CCW though. I also worked a good bit on spins and 3-turns, except I didn't do any LFI3s (chicken that I am). I did work Mohawks a bit too. Considering the surroundings it was a good workout.

I was distressed to see an announcement posted that they have cancelled the Sunday morning freestyle sessions, and they are down to two Saturday morning freestyles. This is going to impact me since that's 1-2 hours of quality ice time that I won't have access to. I'm distressed.

Friday, July 02, 2004


I got in about an hour's worth of skating at coffee club today. Not much to say, I mostly worked 3-turns and edges, especially back edges. I did spend some time on crossovers, though not as much as I should; and a few spins. No breakthroughs, just practice.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Back Edges

For today's lesson, I reminded Anna that she had wanted to look at back outside edges. We went and worked on back edges (outside and inside, both) on the hockey circle for the first half of the lesson. Points to remember: hold the position (arms, head); point the free foot and keep the free foot together; keep the skating hip in and lift the free hip/side when the free foot leaves the ice. There was some progress but it needs much more work; I've been needing this kind of intense work on this for a long time so it's nice to be spending the time.

For the last half of the lesson we worked on lunges and spirals. The LF lunge isn't too bad but Anna wants more knee bend and a better stretch in the lunge. The RF lunge is kind of weak; Anna had me work against the boards to keep the weight more forward (keep the knee over the toe as the knee bends) and keep the free foot straight back in an "L", not coming behind the skating foot. On the spiral, the LF spiral was better, I got my torso more horizontal and more height/stretch on the foot. The RF spiral is still weaker and needs more conviction.

I was really pleased to spend quality time on the back edges, and I was really happy with my LF spiral today. In my warmup my FO3s are looking better. Over the weekend I need to work on my FI3s and, as always, forward crossovers.

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