Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I attended the adult session today, but only got about 30 minutes of skating in since I arrived late due to a long-running work meeting. I did get some work in on crossovers and stroking and spins, and it was nice to have a little practice before tomorrow's lesson. I'm just a bit frustrated, though, as I feel lately like I'm getting very little ice time in. Grr.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Waltz-8, Spins, Waltz Jump

Today's lesson:
  • Waltz-8 -- we spent probably 15 minutes on these. Some of the corrections are to keep a bent knee on the BO edge, remember to rotate skinny (especially on the LFO waltz-8), and most importantly to keep the upper body/hips quiet on the step forward. Anna said that I need to be calm about these -- I think that's the word she used. They were a lot better though.
  • Spins -- just a brief checkup on the two-foot and one-foot spin. Anna reminded me I need to spot something at eye level on the exit, not look down at the ice. We also checked that I am getting 3 revs on the two-foot spin (which I'll need for the test).
  • Spin entrance -- we spent quite a bit of time on these; really, I am so close to getting this! The entrance is really pretty good, I need a better push on the step forward and then really I think I just need to relax and remember to keep that free leg back. Anna pushed me into a spin a couple of times from a standing start to show me how it feels. I need to work these a lot more and, I suspect, have a couple of good falls or something to break through.
  • Waltz jump -- we looked at these from the entrance. Anna says I need to work on the collect and step forward (and a bit on the back edge before) to be more deliberate -- need to hold the positions just a little bit. I also need to get a better(higher) jump. Still, I did do some nice jumps today -- some with some actual spring and lift to them. It was very exciting!
For Thursday Anna wants to look at crossovers (of course) and jumps.

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

USFSA Testing

We had more testing at our rink today. I watched the whole thing -- Moves tests from Pre-Pre on up to Intermediate (wow!) and a bunch of FS tests up to Juv. As usual, it was quite enlightening. Based on what I've seen, I think my edges and stroking are probably passable. FXOs need some work, and BXOs (especially the bad side) need quite a bit more. My waltz-8 will need improvement of course, and I've not yet tried the new pattern for FI3s.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Saturday Zoo

I skated the Saturday afternoon public session as usual today. It was horrendously crowded! Still, I did get some work in. Deanna was working on her waltz-8 (she's testing them tomorrow) so I worked on mine too and we compared notes. She has much better flow on hers! Mine are still pretty dorky, especially that step forward.

Worked on waltz jumps some, even from crossovers -- I'm getting better at reading breaks in the crowd. Also crossovers, 3s and some Mohawks. All in all probably 2 hours of skating.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Getting My Money's Worth

I didn't get to skate at lunchtime today due to an overly-long meeting... but I did take a moment to do some math.

My rink offers an annual pass that's good for all public sessions, including adult sessions ("coffee club") but not freestyle sessions (of course). The pass is $250. I'm pretty anal-retentive, so I tracked my usage. The first year I had mine, I skated 164 sessions, as well as using public ice briefly 15 times for warmup before a freestyle. Wow! That's a lot. At the current $5.50 per session, I saved $652 ($734.50 including warmup ice). Or, another way of putting it is that my public sessions averaged $1.52 each ($1.40 with warmup ice).

Good stuff!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Inside 3s

Today's lesson was somewhat focused:
  • FI3s -- I asked to look at these because they were/are in really bad shape. We worked on them for almost 20 minutes. I was able to vastly improve the RFI3 so that it's not cheated (I can do it at the top of the lobe) and fairly clean. We worked on the alt-3 pattern to get into the LFI3. The main corrections for the LFI3 were to keep the free foot close (behind and pointed down, with some tension). Anna also said I am tending to lean back before the turn. She emphasized having a feeling of being led by the hand into the turn, and after. There was quite a bit of improvement, but they still stink (they just stink less).
  • BI3s -- having worked on the FI3s Anna really wanted to work on the BI3. We started by doing back 2-foot turns, then worked into the RBI3. Anna had me come to the boards to get the feel for what the free foot position should be like -- in front of the skating foot (held over the tracing), turned out of the circle and with a nice lifted hip. It seems deathly hard to get the right position -- when I get the free foot position right I invariably am not looking where I'm going, or my arms are loose, and in almost every case I'm not sitting back on the blade. Grrr! These are going to be stinkers. I've not really worked on them much, either, which is my own fault.
This was my earrrrrly (6:30 a.m.) lesson. I am not a morning person and getting up at 5:25 is almost 4 hours earlier than I would normally get up (no joke). I was surprised that I felt pretty loose and pretty good. It was a good lesson, and my warmup before the lesson (it's a 6 a.m. FS session) was good too. I'm pleasantly surprised.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I skated the adult session today, about 70 minutes of skating. It was a bit foggy in the rink! I had a pretty good skate all in all. Did my 10 waltz jumps; on the last couple I reminded myself to look up on the step forward. Wow! What a difference! It really helps. I also worked on getting the "collect" corrected. I still don't think I'm doing all of that stuff quite right.

I spent a goodly amount of time on crossovers, both forward and back. I also spent some quality time on the Waltz-8 and it's getting a bit better. I did just a few alt-3 attempts and they are improving. My ironic revelation is that I'll probably have these solid about a month after the rule change (i.e. end of September) that makes it unnecessary for me to test them. Figures!

I spent some time on edges, too, and managed to work on the BO edges and holding that first position as Anna had me doing on Monday. I finally got it, and wow, they are soooo much better! It's great. I was so enthused I did a whole bunch of them.

I'd like to thank everyone who offered advice about my skating plateau. Y'all are great! I'm feeling a bit better about things now.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Moves Workout

Today's lesson:
  • Perimeter stroking -- yep, back to basics. Anna was relatively pleased with these, even in the bad direction. Main correction was to not rush the extension; quick tempo on transitions but hoooollllld the extension. We worked some on just getting into the end crossovers pattern as that always seems to be an issue for me. Anna suggested I'm going to need to try to place the first full set of crossovers later so that I won't be cramped for space when it comes time to do the second set. Anna did utter the magic words ("Perfect!") for my CCW pattern though, which was gratifying.
  • Forward crossovers -- Anna says I need to stroke out to the side more, not so much back. Still, they were somewhat improved, even the CW ones. Also she said I need to do the first crossover of each circle sooner. I'm still having some problems holding the larger circle size, but I made some progress. I really, really need to drill the bad side FXOs more so they are not so scary.
  • Back crossovers -- ugh! Anna says I still need to pull the right hip back on the bad side (CCW) BXOs; for the CW ones she says I need to take my time more, don't rush, and hold the extensions. In general I could use more heel pressure.
  • Edges -- we ran through all of them. FOs not too bad, although I wasn't impressed with the right foot. Still tending to rush the rotation on the FI edges, and I'm not holding the free hip up as well as I have in the past (sheesh!). BO edges, Anna really got on me to hold the initial position longer before the rotation, and to keep the free foot close until coming back to the line. Eep! This made these a lot harder! Anna says they are (or will be) more controlled though. On the BI edges, Anna says I'm not really getting over my skate/hip on the R foot -- and again, need to keep the free foot close and not let it wander. Also, for all edges, pushing onto a bent knee, slight straightening for the "set" and then bending again.
  • Waltz-8 -- we'd not looked at these in a while, but since I'm going to have to test them at some point we are back at 'em. Anna drew me a circle to use though, which really help me in visualizing them. The diameter of my circle is roughly the center point of the hockey circle to the outer edge. Having the circle to trace really helped. With these the hard part right now is the step forward -- the 3 is trivial, the 2nd step (after all my work on the 5-step Mohawk) is easy too. It's getting that step forward that is hard, but we made good progress. Key seems to be a) ride that BO edge (2nd step) all the way, don't cut it short, and b) make the step forward just a step, not a push. These were pretty improved by the time we finished.
All in all I felt much better about things, and I was pretty tired -- Anna gave me probably 10 extra minutes. During my warmup I worked some waltz jumps with indifferent results. Next lesson is Thursday at 6:30 a.m. -- eep!

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Saturday Zoo

I went to the Saturday public session as usual, about 2 hours of skating. It was quite crowded and the ice was pretty bad, as usual.

I'm definitely feeling stuck right now. I worked a little on 3s, FXOs, and stroking, and a bit on spins.

Friday, August 19, 2005


I skated the adult session today, about 70 minutes of skating. Worked on FXOs and 3s, mostly, and also did 10 waltz jumps. The FXOs are improving slightly I guess. I really feel like I'm on a plateau right now with my skating. It's a bit frustrating. Lord knows I've been on them before though, so I guess I will just have to stick this out. My next lesson won't be 'til Monday now, maybe I'll talk to Anna about it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Shout Out To Renata

I finally had a chance to check out Renata's skating blog. Check it out, it's pretty cool!

Alas, my work schedule this week (and last) is really playing havoc with my skating :-(. Hopefully I'll skate Friday and Saturday, then I have a lesson Sunday a.m.

Monday, August 15, 2005


I skated the adult session today. Good ice conditions, mostly, with just a little fog. I had a pretty good skate -- Dana was taking a lesson, drilling her Prelim. Moves so it inspired me to work on stuff. Worked on forward and back crossovers (slight improvement), also Russian stroking (slight improvement). Worked the alt-3s, of course, and a little on the spin entrance. Did 8 waltz jumps (5 standing start and 3 from the entrance). Also worked my perimeter stroking a bit; managed to get the tempo for 6 strokes pretty much right on, and even got the end crossovers placed just-right (twice!). So, good stuff. All in all a good workout.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Saturday Zoo

I skated the Saturday public session; between Z-break, late arrival and early departure, probably about 1.5 hours of skating. The ice was dreadful when I arrived, but after the Z-break it wasn't too bad. It was quite crowded.

I had not skated since Monday, and I'd gotten my blades sharpened, so my main goal was just to get back on the ice and get used to my blades. I did a few waltz jumps, some 5-step Mohawks, and some work on FXOs and alt-3s. Nothing much to say, it just was.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Basics & Small Jumps

Today's lesson, in a somewhat foggy rink:
  • perimeter stroking -- we'd not looked at this in quite a long time. Extension was much better (but still room for improvement, of course). Anna said the tempo was good but I need to be a little quicker; we worked on the placement of the end crossovers. Due to some traffic I had trouble doing the CW pattern, but I managed to do the CCW pattern once through correctly, which made me really happy.
  • FXOs -- just once through them. Anna was sufficiently pleased that we got to move on without doing them again or any comments (yea!). Of course, that doesn't mean they were perfect but they were definitely improved -- the best I've done so far.
  • BXOs -- still working to get more leading with the inside hip on the CCW ones. CW not too bad, but Anna wants more weight on the inside foot still.
  • Russian stroking -- these have improved as well. Anna says I need to work on bringing the crossing foot through closer to the skating foot (not so wide). This was the first time I'd felt a real sense of flow doing them, so that was good.
  • quick change -- Anna wanted to show me this -- it's not a Moves pattern, it's just a pattern she wants me to work on to improve my edges. Basically it's Russian stroking but with different timing. The timing is slow-slow-quick; so in this case it's FO (slow), XO to FI (slow), FI (quick), repeat. So Russian stroking but really holding the first two edges much longer than for the usual pattern. Also Anna said that for this she wants the beginning and end of the lobe much more vertical toward/away from the wall. It's a bit tricky. I did a couple of okay ones in isolation but doing them in succession is hard.
  • bunny hop -- Anna wanted to revisit "small jumps" so we started with these. I really dislike them! Nevertheless, I did my 3 in a row so Anna was satisfied. Later in the lesson, though, she wanted me to do them on the other foot -- eeep! Not so good. Usually I've done them jumping from the left foot, but jumping from the right foot... yikes. Needs work.
  • mazurka -- revisiting these for the first time in a long, long time. I can still do them. Anna had to remind me to look up, once, doing them right to left. Left to right was easier.
  • double bunny hop -- we had done these a while back to help me prep for the waltz jump, but hadn't done them in a while. Just jumping/landing on the left foot. These seem pretty dorky and uncomfortable.
  • RFI3 - hop -- we just started looking at this when the Zamboni break hit and we had to leave. I'm not sure what this really is called, but basically Anna wanted me to do an RFI3 and then jump to the L toepick like a bunny hop. We worked it a little against the boards and then we were out of time.
Anna is out of town so our next lesson won't be for almost two weeks. Eeep!

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Saturday Zoo

I skated the Saturday public session; between breaks and arriving a little late, probably 2 hrs 15 minutes of skating. I was tired after...

Other than a lot of socializing, I worked pretty obsessively on those darn alt-3s. In a way it's silly since there's no way I'm ever going to to test them (the rules are changing, so I'd have to test 8/28 in order to test them); but I did make some progress on them. Worked on a few other things -- crossovers and a little on the spin entrance, a few waltz jumps. It was fairly crowded so I was a bit inhibited on what I wanted to work on.

Friday, August 05, 2005


I was going to title this post "Self-Torture" but I refrained... Despite an 11 a.m. meeting at work, I managed to get almost an hour of skating in at lunchtime. I worked mostly on alt-3s, still trying to get the step forward. I made some small progress, I think.

Dana was having her lesson and I noticed she's working on a lot of the same stuff I am. She's testing Preliminary at the next session, at the end of the month. Her power-3s are sooooo much better than mine, though! She actually places the 3 at the top of the lobe! Ahhhh!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Spins, Edges, Turns

Today was not the best day to have a lesson; I had a noon meeting so I wound up not even getting to the rink until after 1 p.m. The last half of my lesson was on the public ice... yech!

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- a two-foot, 1-foot, and backspin. Anna harangued me about looking up during spins, after which I proceeded to do the best backspin ever (2 revs, I think).
  • spin entrance -- I'm still amazingly, tantalizingly close on this. At one point Anna held my hand, I pushed onto an LFO edge, and she whipped me into a spin so I'd know what it feels like. Despite that I still couldn't quite get it. It's getting closer. I feel like I never get any quality practice time lately, but I really need to get some time in on these spins. I feel like if I had a good practice session where I actually felt "on" I could probably get it.
  • edges -- we ran through all of them briefly. On the BO edges Anna said I need to work to get a better "draw" through, still. On the BI edges, I need to keep my feet closer together when stepping to the new foot. The FO and FI edges were okay.
  • alt-3s -- just a little time on these (FO3s only). Anna told me to trying making bigger circles, which seemed to help a little. It's really the LBI edge; when I come out of the LFO3 I can't seem to get an open hip position, but I can on the RBI from the RFO3. Anna had me work on really trying to pull the free leg/hip/arm back after the turn, and that did help a bit. Anna told me I need to do the step forward every time I practice these, even if it's out to the side. I guess I need to get over thinking that I have to do the right step forward or not at all. Grr!
Not my best lesson, mostly because I was distracted and somewhat out of sorts. Oh well!

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Monday, August 01, 2005


Today's lesson:
  • Spirals -- I'd asked to look at these since it had been a while. We worked on the Pre-pre pattern, which is just an LF spiral for the first half (lengthwise) of the rink followed by an RF spiral. Anna says my extension and flexibility has improved a lot, so I guess all that stretching is having some effect. Yea! I'm still tending not to put my foot down on a good flat when I go to do the RF spiral. Gotta work on that. Anna says I need to lift the free shoulder a little more, and feel more tension/stretch down the whole free side (from the armpit all the way to the toe).
  • FO Spirals -- the PM pattern. These aren't too hard. Anna says I should do 5 lobes down the side of the rink. Still need more stretch and extension, with the skating shoulder/arm leading the edge. I need to work more on the transition between feet, also -- it's pretty awkward.
  • FI Spirals -- the PM pattern as well. These are a lot harder than the FO spirals! Anna said to experiment with which arm I feel most comfortable leading with; I tried it both ways. If I remember correctly, the skating arm leading felt like I was going to fall off the edge, and made it curve harder. I'll probably go with the free arm leading.
  • FXOs -- decided to get these over with for the week. Some improvement but I still, still need a better initial push and first crossover. Once I get into them they are not so bad.
  • BXOs -- Anna's still riding me to sit back on the inside foot more, to look over my shoulder more/better, and to point the free foot/toe on the CCW ones.
  • Waltz-8 -- the hardest part of these is to find your way back to the center! Anna reminded me to push more "out" on the second step (and the third step to some extent) -- similar to feedback I got on the 5-step Mohawk. Also she reminded me that I still need to "set" my steps, especially the BO edge; I tend to just step to the BO edge and then rotate and then have to sit on the BO edge forever. I think the other hard thing for these is just to have some idea where you are on the ice. Still, I'm pleased by how much easier they seem than in the past -- I think that's due to my work on power-3s and the 5-step Mohawk.
I was pretty happy with this lesson. The ice was good, although still incredibly humid and therefore foggy. My glasses kept steaming up if I didn't keep moving :-).

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