Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Monday, August 30, 2004

Forward Skating

For today's lesson we focused mostly on forward skating...

Perimeter stroking-- I need to get my weight firmly over the skating side, and delay setting the new skating foot down a little more. Need to get better push/extend/follow through from the stroking foot. End crossovers are a little better but still need to be sure to prepare properly and to stay turned into the circle throughout the end pattern.

Crossovers-- worked on staying turned into the circle, and keeping the trailing hand/arm up. Anna skated behind me and held my hand/arm up as high as it should be -- feels ridiculously high, but there it is. Now that I know that I can aim for it. Still need to stay down in my knees more.

Forward edges-- For the FO edges, I'm having a problem doing the "scissoring" arms correctly. I tend to scissor the skating arm correctly but the trailing arm tends to just rotate. I thought I had this down, so it's disturbing to see something wrong with these now. Grr. For the FI, the same problem and in addition I need to work harder still on getting over the skating foot and not letting the free side drag me inside the circle.

We also spent a little time talking through waltz jump preparation, and practiced the waltz jump entrance again. The rhythm/timing is important; need to swing the arms forward along with the free leg and at the same time that you dig the toe pick in and jump. Anna also suggested trying just a little hop straight off the toe pick, back on to the same toepick and push onto the opposite foot.

This was the first time in this new 5 p.m. Monday timeslot. I warmed up on the public ice for 20 minutes before -- it was very uncrowded (just me and another figure skater). The 5 p.m. freestyle was a bit crowded though -- 11 people. Still, it was workable.

I left feeling a bit frustrated with myself. I have been working on some of these things (crossovers in particular)for a long time now, really, and I really am frustrated that I have not improved more. Granted, I am at least a lot more comfortable with them, and that is certainly something. It is just that I see in my mind's eye what they should be but I can't yet make that happen. *sigh*

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Sunday, August 29, 2004

Sunday Zoo

I went to the last part of the public session today, arriving around 3 and staying until 4:30. I had visions of working on my waltz jump walkthrough, but on arriving I realized that was not going to be happening -- it was VERY crowded and the ice was horrible.

As it turned out my buddies Mariah, Veronica and Heaven were there (unusual for a Sunday) so I spent most of my time "playing" and being social. I did work on spins and Mohawks a little, but not much. It was fun just to be enjoying being on the ice and kidding around. I hope I never get so "good" that I forget to have fun!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Saturday Zoo

I went to the public session as usual; got there a bit late, but stayed until the end, so, with breaks, probably 2 hours of skating.

I got an update on Christine's condition after her fall yesterday -- I was told that she had to get 8 staples to get her scalp together, but other than that she's fine and they sent her home last night. Thanks be to God!

I was not feeling horribly focused today. I worked my swing rolls a little, but not as much as I should have. I spent a lot of time on RFI Mohawk --> LBI Mohawk combo; the LBI Mohawk is a lot more comfortable now. I also did the LFI Mohawk --> step to LBO --> LBO Mohawk combo, and that's okay too. Now if I could feel more secure on the RB Mohawks I'd be in business.

I spent a fair amount of time on spins and was rewarded for my efforts with a couple of really good (almost 3 revs, I think) 2-foot to 1-foot spins. When I really focus I am able to combat both the tendency to drop the right side AND the tendency to have the right shoulder back; fixing those combined with getting my feet closer together before picking up the right foot seems to be a key. Anyway, I was really pleased.

Friday, August 27, 2004


I went to coffee club today. I worked on swing rolls a bit, and Mohawks and 3-turns a bit, but only got about half an hour of skating in because...

About 12:38, a skater named Christine had a horrible fall. I just saw the last part of it, where she basically fell straight back and whacked her head. It was just awful. She briefly lost consciousness and couldn't breathe, but came back. Then the bleeding started, and there was a horrible amount of blood on the ice. Someone (Lisa, I think) quickly called the paramedics, while other folks put stuff on her to keep her warm. Fortunately one of the skaters is a retired doctor, so he was a godsend; and my buddy Nicole sat with her and talked with her, etc.; she was terrific. Finally the paramedics came and carted her off to the ER. I guess we'll find out later how bad it is, but I'd guess a nasty scrape and a concussion at a minimum. Please send a prayer her way!

Needless to say no one was particularly in a mood to skate after that... so we pretty much all left. As we were leaving I asked Anna if I could speak with her and I told her how bothered I was about our conversation yesterday re: waltz jumps and not pushing me. She explained that it wasn't that she didn't have confidence in me, it's just that jumping is an entirely different thing from everything else we have done so far and she wants me to feel very comfortable about it; she'd rather go slowly than push me too hard and then have me need to back off. She said on the other stuff (spins, etc.) she knows where I'm at and has a better idea of how hard she can push me, and she doesn't know that yet for jumping. After our discussion I felt a lot better. I'm really glad I got to talk to her about it, otherwise I'd probably have stewed over it all weekend and been miserable. She said she really wants me to work the walkthroughs, so that's what I'll do.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Club Skate Night

Tonight after the 5 p.m. freestyle session, the figure skating club (TFSC) had a club skate night. There was food (pizza & soda) and two hours worth of ice. It was a really fun time! For the first hour so it was just free skating, then there was a very spirited game of broomball for 15 or 20 minutes (sat that one out), then some more free skating, and finally an impromptu jumping contest with 4 "judges" including myself.

At the end of the evening I was quite tired, but in a very good mood. It was nice to see so many folks out -- I know probably half the kids in the club (or at least half of the ones that were there tonight); also my buddy Nicole was there, and some of the parents and club officers that I know.

During the freeskate some of the kids were doing impromptu synchro stuff, which led to Marge (who's a judge, among other things) organizing a pinwheel. I suspect we may see that back for the holiday show...

Swing Rolls & Waltz Walkthrough

For today's lesson we started by looking at my warmup. Anna said that for a good warmup I need to get into my edges and down in my knees. She showed me a cross roll, which I've seen other skaters do. I can't really get deep enough outside edges in small lobes like that, so that's kind of a wash for now (though worth looking at/working on). She also suggested skating some alternating deep edges in a slalom-like fashion, outsides, insides, forward and back. I'll have to start playing with that more.

Next up Anna showed me swing rolls. These are just FO swing rolls for now, although I'm sure you can do them in all the other flavors too. It's like doing an FO edge except you start with the exact opposite arm forward -- so for an RFO swing roll, you'd push onto an RFO edge with your left arm forward, right arm back; start with extension of the free leg, then gradually bring the free leg forward so that it passes the skating leg at the top of the lobe, all the while rotating the hips. The effect is that your arms aren't actually moving, but your body moves underneath 'em so that the opposite arm winds up in front at the end of the lobe, at which point you push onto the opposite foot and skate another one. They're kind of cool. It took me a little while to get enough feel for them to be able to do them, but after a few minutes I got the idea. Anna said she'd like me to also experiment with only bringing the free leg to the skating leg and not extending it forward -- that's harder.

Next Anna wanted to look at my mazurkas, in both directions. These are looking not too bad, although the one to the right is much better than the one to the left. Anna wants more of a "prancy" feel to it.

From there we went on to the bunny hop, and probably worked them more seriously than we ever have before. I still can't really do the arm thing with them, but other than that they've improved and I can even do several in a row. Anna says I'm still tending to turn my feet; I need to keep them moving straight forward/back. And, of course, I could/should be more aggressive with them. I don't really like them much but I do need to practice them more; fortunately I think today I got more comfortable with them so that is more likely to happen.

Finally it was time to do a waltz jump walkthrough. To be honest, Anna seemed a little hesitant, which surprised me. I asked her about it and she said she didn't want to push me. I didn't know what to make of that; she's never hesitated to push me before, so I don't know if she's a little worried that I'm not quite ready for this, or that I'll hurt myself, or that I'm not sufficiently determined, or what. Anyway, she showed me how to walk through the jump and I tried it a few times. The second time or so I started to have a really bad backward fall, but managed to convert it to a forward fall on my hands and knees, which didn't hurt at all. I was really proud of that! I was anticipating/dreading a fall today so I felt better once I got it over with.

With that we were out of time. Anna wants me to work on the swing rolls and the waltz walkthrough and she says we'll come back to the waltz in a week.

This is the last of the Thursday 5 p.m. freestyle sessions (at least until next summer, perhaps), and so the last of my Thursday lessons. I'll really miss this setup I've enjoyed for the last two months or so -- it's been very fruitful for me. Next week starts the new schedule for lessons, which for me is Mondays at 5 and Fridays at 12:45.

After the session Jenny came over to me and said that my skating is looking good, and Dimitri also said the same. (Thanks J and D!) It's nice to hear. I am making progress, even if it's sometimes kind of slow. I just am going to have to up my determination level a bit if I'm going to be able to do this jumping stuff.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004


I attended the public session tonight; got there a little late but still probably 1 hr. 50 minutes worth of skating.

It was a very frustrating skate, especially for the first hour. Just one of those times when everything feels off and just not gelling. Still, of course I'm too stubborn to go home, so I mostly worked on whatever didn't seem too bad. My 3-turns were just not happening at all. I spent some time on spins and got some pretty good ones; also some time on crossovers and stroking. I spent a good deal of time on Mohawks, including doing the FI Mohawk - back Mohawk combo around the circle. I've decided my problems with my RB Mohawks are really just continuing lack of security on the RB edges; although they have improved a lot in the past few weeks they are still not nearly as comfortable as the LB edges. I hope that tonight's practice will contribute to some improvement on that score.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Turn, Turn, Turn

For today's lesson we started by working on 3-turns. The LFO3 was more or less okay. The RFO3 Anna says I'm pre-rotating from when I start the edge -- which I translate to mean "you're cheating". We went on to the FI3s. The RFI3 is still not too bad... we spent some time on the LFI3, trying different things to figure out why it's so bad, but without much success. The approach is fine, it's just that right before the turn I am kind of throwing my free hip back and generally weirding out. We decided to move on.

So Anna gets a gleam in her eye and says "I'm not sure you're gonna like this," and then explains that we are going to be working up to back 3s. Eeep! She's right. Although I do have to say that one of the things I love most about my coach is that she's willing to push me beyond my comfort zone. Anyway... so we started by just working doing a two-footed back-to-forward turn. This is a bit iffy; in particular I tend to want to straighten my knees, but Anna says I need to stay down throughout the turn. For comparison we did some forward two-foot turns and sure enough I can stay down on those. Also, Anna mentioned that she wanted me to not rotate in the turn but just start from a rotated position. For the forward turn I can do that no problem, which led to an interesting point -- Anna wants me to try this same technique for my FI3s. That is, instead of turning the arms into the turn as I always do, to go ahead and start with the arms in the correct position. She thinks that will reduce my overly checking the turn.

After some work on that we went on to look some more at back Mohawks, since I had complained about my continuing difficulties in getting my head to turn. Stupid, I know, but there it is. We worked on it for a little bit with a little bit of success.

We finished up the lesson by looking once more at the back outside edges on the line. I had some poor ones and some better ones. Anna said that the better ones were because I was getting a better push and set in-between feet, and that I need to be sure to internalize that so I can always do it that way.

After the lesson we were talking briefly about the upcoming lesson schedule and my warmup, and Anna said she wanted to spend a little time on Thursday working up a warmup routine for me so that I'll be more focused and get warmed up and comfortable faster. Also, Anna said that she thinks I am ready to start working seriously on the waltz jump! So come Thursday we'll start on that.

It was a good lesson. There is just so much stuff to work on now that it seems somewhat overwhelming.

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Gettin' A Rep

You know that you are getting some kind of weird reputation when the president of the company is introducing a new hire to you and says, "And Gordon's a big time ice skater." And, of course, the new hire says, "There's a rink in Tucson?!"

Monday, August 23, 2004

Workin' It

I went to coffee club today and skated for about 75 minutes. It was a good skate. Worked a lot of stuff, but especially back edges and 3-turns.

I spent a goodly amount of time on BO and BI edges. The BI edges are very rough. The BO edges are improving slowly but I still have no rhythm on them and not a lot of control of the lobe. GRR!

I spent a significant amount of time on my FI3s, especially (yes!) the LFI3. The RFI3 continues to improve. The LFI3... I spent at least 5 minutes working on just that, and trying to analyze what's going on. I suspect in part that my weight tends to be on the back of my blade too much. Also, I've noticed that I have no real.. tension? spring? going into them. I get "wound up" for it and I could just hold that position forever. I'm not sure what that means.

I did some BXOs and FXOs in the MITF pattern. It's still rough. I also worked my perimeter stroking (CCW only) and was having better success in placing my crossovers. Since I'm working to do three crossovers on each end that's an entry XO, an XO right square in the middle (centered behind the hockey goal) and then an exit one.

Just before the end I did a couple of spirals because it's been a while. Not too bad, but I actually managed to look at myself in the reflection from the glass and found that my position is not as bad as I'd feared, but not nearly as good as I'd hoped. I'd estimate my leg was 30 - 40 degrees short of horizontal. Much work to do there.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Saturday Zoo

I managed to drag my butt to yoga class today, the first time in 5 weeks. Sheesh. It was a workout, too, which is good. I really need to keep it up, it's basically the only "off-ice training" that I do at all.

I got to the rink just after the start of the public session, and stayed 'til the end -- with lunch and Z-break, probably 3.5 hours of skating. I was pretty tired by the end, too. I worked pretty much all my usual stuff. My spins are coming along nicely, got several good 1-footed ones. I also worked forward Mohawks on the circle and a lot of 3-turns. I also worked on my step-forward. The left foot is not too much of a problem, it's starting to feel pretty comfortable. The right foot -- it's an issue. I don't know if it's just because the RB edges are still my weakest, or what, but I can't get that rotation to save my life. Grrr!

I got to meet a couple of new adult skaters today. One, Sariya, was there with her husband and kids. The kids are absolutely adorable. We talked a little about skating and she said something like, you can do anything you want to do. I replied to the effect that I didn't see any triples in my future :-). She said, "Do you really want them?" and I said there's a part of me that really does. She said that she's done them and she's happy not to anymore. A very different perspective than where I am!

The other new person was Patrick (yes, a male!). He was there with his kids. He skates very nicely. I don't know about his freestyle abilities but he has really nice flow and seems very comfortable. I introduced myself after the session. He says he grew up on roller skates/roller blades and has been ice skating for a few years now.

I found out that the test session, which was originally scheduled for 8/29, is now 8/28 (next Saturday) at 6 a.m.! Sheesh. I had hoped to go watch, but I will be going to Phoenix the night before and won't get to bed until 12:30 or 1 so I don't think I'll make it to the rink by 6 a.m. It's too bad. Two of my coach's students (Tracy and Patrick) will be testing. Patrick is signed up for 4 (count 'em, 4) tests! Sheesh! I think it's two MITF and two freestyle. I wish them both luck, I think it would really stink to have to take your test at 6 o'clock in the morning. I suspect there was some scheduling conflict with the rink that forced the change. I sure hope when it's time for mine that it's not 6 a.m. on a Saturday. I am lucky to function at all at that hour, much less do well on a skating test.

Friday, August 20, 2004


I went to coffee club today and skated for about 75 minutes. No big breakthroughs. I spent most of my time on spins and turns. I got some really good spins in. My 3s are improving slowly; I'm mostly focusing now on trying to hold the exit better. I did not work on any of the dreaded LFI3s -- what a chicken. I really need to get over that.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


For my lesson today we started by looking at my spins. I did some reasonably good 2-foot spins, and so we went on to the 2-foot to 1-foot spin. I proceeded to do my best one ever! For once, in front of my coach! I had about 2 revolutions then was able to do a nice exit, it was terrific. I was somewhat in awe and, as I said to Anna, "I feel like a real skater!"

We moved on to looking at forward crossovers. These have improved a little, in particular I'm more flowing on them. My CCW ones I still have a tendency to pause in the middle of the crossing stroke. As Anna says, if I'm going to pause I should do it in the extension position, then cross in one smooth motion. My CW ones are more smooth but I am not turned into the circle well enough.

From there we went to perimeter stroking, again working on extension and getting the end crossovers to work well. They are not particularly improved. After a few efforts (it was tiring!) we moved on to the perimeter power stroking, a.k.a. Russian stroking -- i.e., the Bronze MITF crossover pattern. Anna showed me how the pattern actually starts and I had a go at 'em. I had not done these since before my fall, and then only once or twice. The first time at them I actually did not so bad -- much better than I expected. We went at them a second time and it was not so good; I lost my focus and wasn't placing anything correctly. Still, I was pleased at having done so well. They have come a long way.

All in all it was a great lesson, although with all the stroking and crossovers it was quite a workout and I was very tired afterward.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004


I attended the public session tonight, but due to a meeting and the need to give a friend a ride home, my usual 2 hours of skating turned into 40 minutes. By the time I got to the rink I was in a somewhat foul mood, not the best for skating.

Since I had so little time, I mostly worked on turns and, especially, spins. I did learn one good thing though. I'd been pondering for some time how to get a better RBO edge on the spin exit/landing position, and it had occurred to me that I needed to get a better "follow-through" on the left foot so that it carries through with a little more force and winds up behind me. I tried it, and *voila*, a much better exit on a firm RBO! I'll take it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

More Back Edges

For today's lesson we started by working on back edges. First back outsides on the hockey circle, then the line. They are looking much, much better. I still need to work better on scissoring the arms, getting the free foot in front at the beginning, and holding that "set" for the first part of the edge.

Next we looked at back insides. I have not worked these nearly as much as the outsides, and it showed; still they are much improved as well. We worked these on the circle, then the line, then back to the circle. I'm having a particularly difficult time getting the free foot in front on these as well. Still, I know what to work on...

We went on to look at some change-of-edge type moves; forward power pulls and some basic backward stroking with strong change of edge and weight shift. This will require a lot more work :-) but I can see where it's going.

For the last couple of minutes we re-visited the mazurkas, and practiced doing a couple hops to each side. They looked pretty good!

After the lesson we firmed up our new lesson schedule. Starting the week of the 30th it looks like it will be Mondays at 5 (during the freestyle) and Fridays at 12:30 (during coffee club). For the Monday lesson I'll have to warm up at the public session first, but since I have an annual pass that's no big deal. It will mean getting off at 4:20 instead of 4:40 p.m., but since it will only be once a week instead of twice that shouldn't be an issue. On the other hand I won't get any skating on Thursdays at all. Bummer!

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Monday, August 16, 2004


I escaped to coffee club today, about 75 minutes of skating. The humidity was up in the rink today, and it was a little colder than usual (about 54 degrees) so the glass around the rink was fogged up, and even though they Zamboni'd before the session there were lots of little bumps from water dripping off the ceiling. Grr!

I had a really good skate. In particular I worked on the LFO3, RFO3, and RFI3, and they are coming along. I had to remind myself to keep the free leg close in the FO3s though -- if I don't I can't hold the exit edge, but if I do it's solid. The RFI3 is really coming along. Now if I would get my nerve up to work on the LFI3 more, I'd really get some where. Anyway, 3 of the 4 I need for the MITF test is something, I guess.

I also spent a fair amount of time on my spins, and they are continuing to improve. In particular my spin exit/landing position has improved and I'm getting better flow and a real RBO edge coming out of it. I'm now trying to combine that exit with a step forward; but that's proving difficult. On the 2-foot to 1-foot spin, I spent a fair amount of time on it and had some really good ones. I was really psyched! My balance is continuing to improve.

The last area of excitement was my BO edges. I was working these and had the best edges I've ever done! It was really awesome. I was really managing to get more lean and flow on 'em, especially the RBO was much improved.

Like I said, it was a great skate; the skate gods were smiling on me today. Hopefully some of this will still be present for my lesson tomorrow! :-)

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Saturday Zoo

I got to the rink a bit after 1 p.m. today for the public session. While it was initially fairly crowded, for the last hour it wasn't too bad at all. All in all probably 3 hours of solid skating.

No big breakthroughs today; I worked my spins a lot, also Mohawks both forward and backward. I seem to have no problems with LFI-RBI Mohawk --> step to LBO --> step forward, but the other foot sequence is nasty. I have a real problem getting my body to rotate in order to do these back Mohawks; I think it's mostly that I need to just do it and not hesitate. Easy to say, hard to do.

I signed up for the rink's holiday show today. It is December 4th and 5th. It should be a lot of fun!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Another Backwards Day

For today's lesson we started out with back crossovers (the MITF pattern). For some reason the opening LFI Mohawk scares me on this. I need to practice it more. Anyway, Anna had a lot of feedback on the BXOs, mostly working on getting more weight on the back foot, not pumping the outside foot so far back and out, and of course pressing the heel on the back foot. I need to work these a lot more, but that has to be at coffee club or a freestyle, it's too harrowing usually to try BXOs at any speed at a public session.

Next we looked at spins, both 2-foot and 2-foot to 1-foot. The 2-foot is not too bad; Anna was pleased especially with the exit landing position. However I'm still having problems, especially with the 2-foot to 1-foot. The biggest ones are 1) dropping the left shoulder on the pivot, and 2) dropping the right shoulder (and maybe the head?) back on the spin itself. I did have one really terrific one, though, which is good so that I know what it feels like.

Next we decided to do a Mohawk - back Mohawk sequence; I'd tried these on my own before but not recently. This is an FI Mohawk followed either by a BI Mohawk or a step to BO and BO Mohawk. The FI Mohawk is fine either direction but I'm very stiff on the step forward (either one) and especially Anna said "Turn your head!". If I actually can get myself to turn the head all the way it's not so bad. Anyway, another thing to work on.

We were almost out of time but went to look at spirals and lunges. Spirals, pretty much the same stuff; the LF one is not bad, the RF I need to keep the hip in, it tends to stick out and give me problems; and of course the persistent cry to keep the head up! On lunges, again the LF is not bad. We spent a little time on the RF one, again the right hip is an issue. Anna suggested pulling the right shoulder back a little.

We were out of time but nevertheless spent a couple of minutes on perimeter stroking in both directions. Still need to push for better (and especially, more consistent) extension; and also my setup for the crossovers is lacking. With that we were definitely out of time.

Anna told me after our lesson that the T-Th 5 p.m. freestyle session is going away at the end of the month, so I'll have to find a new timeslot for my lessons. GRRRR!! This setup was working so nicely! I don't know why they are pulling it, it was well attended. It makes no sense. Anyway, it looks like we'll wind up with either Monday and Friday or perhaps Tuesday and Friday. Grrr!

Finally, I had a quick question answered. The signup for the rink holiday show is going on now, and on the form it asks the skater's level. I wasn't sure what to put down, but Anna suggested either Delta or FS1. I'll put Delta on the form -- better to underpromise and overdeliver, I think.

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Katlynn's #1!

Check this out! Katlynn McNab, the awesome pre-juv skater from Phoenix, is now #1 in the listing for the Future Champions Series pre-juv ladies! Way to go Katlynn!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


I went to the public session tonight; got there a little late so about 1 hr 45 minutes of skating. It wasn't too crowded, and the ice was in good shape, so it was a really nice session.

I worked all the usual stuff, no great breakthroughs. I did work on keeping my head up on my 3s, especially the LFO3 and it definitely helped. I'll have to keep working that. Worked my crossovers -- I forgot in my entry from yesterday that Anna had told me that I could hold the extended foot however long I want, but I need to bring the crossing foot in in one smooth motion, no hesitation or stopping.

I did a few bunnyhops and mazurkas. They are okay. I worked my spins and got some pretty good ones. My exit is improving too, I'm mostly getting a real RBO exit edge. The only real issue I have with it is that I suspect I need to stay on a bent knee, but I tend to straighten it. Also I tried once to go straight from the RBO landing position to do a back Mohawk. I didn't quite make it, and did a BO Choctaw instead. Grr.

All in all it was a really nice session, some good solid work. Since it was not very crowded I worked my back edges and backward skating a lot. It is coming along; really, when I think about it the improvement is pretty amazing, but it has taken so very long! I think I've been working on this stuff since last October or November or something, but it's only in the last month or whatever that it's really started to solidify.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Bunnyhops And Mazurkas!

Today's lesson started off with some review on 3-turns. Anna confirmed I'm trying to do too much with the upper body, especially on the LFO3. It seems like what I most need to do in order to do good 3s is really just to go into them confidently, with a good edge and a little speed. If I do that most of my problems fix themselves. We spent some time on the RFI3 (definitely improving) and then a fair amount of time on that nasty LFI3. The LFI3 showed some improvement, and I was able to do one that was almost not bad. It may not sound like much, but it's definitely an improvement. One of the neat things about this was when I exited my RFO3s I was "automatically" stepping to the LBO and then stepping forward to the RFO. That's neat because I didn't really "think" about it, I just kind of did it as a way of getting back to the line again.

From there we worked briefly on crossovers, doing them from the MITF pattern. Next we went on to look at perimeter stroking. I started off with the CW ones, and that was not so good. The session was a little busy, and stroking the "wrong way" was sufficiently disturbing that I tended to be distracted and didn't set up my end crossovers very well. When I went to do the CCW pattern it was definitely improved though.

With that done, we had about 10 minutes left to work on bunnyhops and mazurkas. The key correction for the bunnyhop was to think of jumping straight up, not forward. That helps enormously! I still need to figure out just what I'm doing with my hands/arms though. From there we looked again at the mazurka, and I actually managed to do a couple of okay ones. They are actually kind of fun.

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Monday, August 09, 2004

Coffee Club Monday

I managed to get away at lunchtime and attend coffee club. I had about 75 minutes on the ice, and worked most of my stuff, including a couple of spirals and a few bunnyhops. These last are still pretty small and tentative.

I'm getting weirded out about my 3-turns. I hope that I can work on them in my lesson tomorrow. My RFI3 continues to improve, but I tried an LFI3 and I'm still doing weird things with my free foot. I suspect that is lack of nerve or something. My LFO3 is just... strange. I'm still tending to force it, or not setting a good edge. My RFO3 is not bad.

All in all it was a nice workout, and good ice.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Sunday Zoo

I skated the Sunday public session, just the last 1.5 hours since I wasn't able to come yesterday due to a friend visiting from out of town.

The ice was really, really gross. I asked one of the ice monitors and he gave me some line about how they wouldn't Zamboni it because it would make it worse. Pleeeeaaase. It had not been done since before the session started and it was really bumpy.

Despite that I worked on a few things, mostly turns and spins. My RFI3 is still slowly improving. My RFO3 is still good, but my LFO3 is still being inconsistent. Grrr! My spins are okay, no great improvements.

My friend came along and brought her digital camera. I hope to post some of the pictures online at some point.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Vive La Difference!

I skated at coffee club today, the first time at CC in quite a while it seems like. When I got on the ice it was SO smooth... beautiful. I've been skating at public sessions so much, where the ice gets a much rougher cut, I'd almost forgotten what a thing of joy it is to skate on really good, smooth ice. It makes such a difference!

I had a really good skate today. No breakthroughs, just some solid work. I did not do any bunnyhops, but I did pretty much everything else. Had some good solid spins, including a 2-foot to 1-foot spin that was about 1.5 revs I'm guessing. Worked on the RFI3 some, it's about the same. I seem to have again fixed my LFO3 problem -- made myself consciously wait and get more rotation before the turn. That helped a lot. I really feel the rotation on the RFO3, don't know why I've gotten away from it on the LFO3.

I've noticed on my forward crossovers that I still have problems keeping my left arm back (on the CCW ones); if I don't worry about it too much and just let the left arm be pointed more or less straight into the circle, I'm able to pretty much hold that position. If I really try to keep it back then I tend to have more problems. I assume it's my shoulder, still. Grrr!

I did a few back crossovers. My CW ones are good but my CCW ones are now rather rough and scratchy. *sigh*

My little buddy Mariah was there (waiting for the afternoon public session) and she asked to see my spiral, so I did one for her. It was okay. As usual, balance is not bad, extension leaves much to be desired. That's about all I can say since I can't see how it looks!

I really need to skate coffee club more often, it's a good session -- much better than public sessions at least. I'm going to start trying for Mondays and Fridays I think. Between that and my T-Th freestyle and the Wed. night sessions, some solid skating.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


I attended the public session tonight. Fortunately, for the most part it wasn't too crowded, and they had the normal lights on the whole time (not the disco lights). I skated the whole 2-hour session.

I worked pretty much the same stuff, forward crossovers, a little bit of back edges, back Mohawks, forward Mohawks and 3-turns, and some spins. I also did 3 or 4 bunnyhops.

My LFO3 seems to have worked its way into a weird state. 70% of the time or so it seems like I'm forcing it and making it harder than it is. This is particularly weird since the RFO3 is now pretty nice for the most part. It's very strange. My forward crossovers are at a good point where I can at least reel off 4-6 around the hockey circle without stopping or feeling too uncomfortable. I'm still having a lot of trouble holding the exit edge on my mohawks (and 3-turns for that matter). I managed to do a back Mohawk from an RBO edge, which made me really happy.

My spins are in a strange place. For most of the evening they were pretty stinky. It wasn't until almost the end of the session that I managed a few good ones, and also one decent 2-foot to 1-foot spin (I think it was 1.5 revs on one foot). I'm not sure what's going on with this.

I did work a few RFI3s without any noticeable improvement, and I tried to do a couple of LFI3s but chickened out. Grrr. Still, it was a good session and worthwhile.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


I was watching my tape of the '04 Nationals competition and it brought to mind something I talked about with Anna last week -- speed. One of those things that you often miss when watching on television is the speed at which skaters move. It's easy to not notice, for example, that the skater is moving fast enough for the wind to ripple her skirt (or his pants). When I went to watch the Cactus Classic a week and a half ago I was struck (again) both by how fast the better skaters moved, and (alas) how slowly most of the adults moved. I talked about this with Anna at my lesson the following Tuesday and she agreed that adults are often slower than the kids.

I really don't want to be like that. I started to say something to Anna like, "shoot me if I go that slow, okay?!" but then laughed because I realized that then she would probably have to shoot me. I guess being aware of it is something. I really don't want to be a slow skater. I want to feel the rush of air past me and the feeling of speed. I guess I have one more thing to work on :-).

Sunday, August 01, 2004


Since I had free time, and now that I have my pass, I went to the last half of the public session today. I got on the ice around 2:20, so with the Z-break, about 2 hours of skating.

I was pretty unfocused when I got there, and a bit tired from skating yesterday, but it turned into an okay practice anyway. I worked most of the same stuff as yesterday -- 3-turns, Mohawks, forward crossovers, back edges. I cleaned up my LFO3 -- the secret seemed to be to keep my free leg tucked in close just before the turn; I guess I was letting it stray a bit. Tucking it into my body gave me some nice turns. I even tried one on the hockey circle -- just so-so. My Mohawks are improving slowly. The crossovers are coming along, and while I still think they stink, I have to say I'm a lot more comfortable with them, so that is definitely something.

I tried doing the MITF pattern for forward and backward crossovers, and also for perim. stroking. Doing the crossover patterns is a little tricky -- for example, it's important to remember when you prepare to cross from one circle to the other which foot you need to be on when you get there. I had some issues to work out with that. The perimeter stroking is improving; I'm putting the crossovers in most of the time now, although it's often only 2 instead of the 3 I'm supposed to do.

I worked my back Mohawks a bit, just to keep my hand in. I'm having real issues doing them on the right foot.

I had my second fall since I got back on the ice; this one was also pretty minor. I was working back edges and got up on my toepick, so I fell forward on hands and knees. It was not a hard fall or anything.

I spent a little time on the bunnyhop, at last. The first couple I tried were pretty poor, mostly because I was having trouble engaging the toepick on the left foot to jump from. Jumping from the flat is both hard to do and dangerous, since it can slip out from under you pretty easily. So I went to the boards for a bit and played with skating on the left foot and engaging the toepick. After a little practice I went back out and tried some bunnyhops. I probably did 4 or 5 okay ones. No great height or anything (I can hear Anna in my head, "I want both of your feet off the ice at the same time!"), but at least they are nominally correct. Doing two in a row will take a little more guts, though, since I get going pretty fast just from doing one. Still, it's a start.