Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Off-Ice Training

Sonya had been wanting to do some off-ice training with me, to introduce me to some jump prep exercises I need to start doing; so we did that for 15 minutes today (at 8 a.m.), then finished up with 15 minutes on-ice.

  • Jump check -- this is just jumping up, landing on one foot and checking out. There's actually more than you'd think to worry about though -- like bringing the knee up in the right position and bringing the arms through correctly.
  • 1/2 turn -- Jump up, do a half-turn and land, either on one foot (ideally) or two.
  • 1/2 turn - 1/2 turn -- same as above, only two in a row quickly without checking between.
  • full turn -- actually right now more of a 3/4 rev turn. I could not make it all the way around (had a dumb fall).
Sonya said she'd like me to about 10 of each of these before I skate, every time. On the turns it's important not to try to turn, just jump up. The rotation should actually come from bringing the arms in (the snap). I had problems keeping my body aligned straight up and down so clearly I need to work on these more. I had actually been exposed to this stuff when I went to the Zimmerman/Fontana clinic back in Tucson last year.

After our off-ice time, I got on the ice and warmed up and we finished on-ice:
  • FO3s -- about 10 minutes on this. We managed to get them in much better shape. The RFO3s still are weak, though. Corrections were to turn in the circle better, and to bringing the trailing hand into the circle a bit after the turn.
  • Lunges -- the LF one is pretty good, but Sonya said I need to keep the trailing leg straighter. RF is weak; Sonya suggested I think of pushing/keeping the trailing heel back/down.
  • Spirals -- Sonya said my LF spiral is "solid". Need to keep the chin up and feel like I'm pushing the hips back. Sonya says the free leg is almost where it needs to be (yea!). RF is weaker but not bad.
After the lesson I worked on back edges some more, and a bunch of 3s plus some BXOs, FXOs and Russian stroking.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I skated the 6 p.m. FS at Shiny Rink, as usual. As usual it was a fairly full session. I worked on most things (no BXOs, though), but spent most of my time on 3s and edges. I've noticed that I've been tending to swing my leg out on the FO3, which is why I'm having trouble holding the check; so I spent some time trying to turn them with the free leg held close. It helped a lot.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Blog Shoutouts

Mandi has a new blog. And the eloquent Lisa has a blog now also. Check 'em out! For some reason I don't understand a lot of adult skater blogs are on LiveJournal. I feel so left out!

Eeyore Skate

I have decided to call days like to day an "Eeyore Skate", because I feel all grumpy and unenthused, just like Eeyore.

Other than feeling unenthused, though, it wasn't really that bad a skate. I had one stupid fall, working on FXOs. Unfortunately skate buddy Amy had a nasty fall/collision that hurt her ankle, though not seriously. Still she was not happy. I gave her aspirin (sadly I was out of ibuprofen) so that helped.

I worked a lot on waltz-8, FXOs, 3s. My 3s.... I seem to have some real issues with them now. Not just that they stink, but that I'm really discouraged about them. I've been working on these things for years (years!) and they still stink. *sigh*

I worked on waltz jumps a bit, focusing on better prep. I got some really, really nice ones; I think the key was that I went into them slower. What seems to be happening, I think, is that when I go into them fast, my BO edge really curves too abruptly and I have to step forward before I'm really ready, so that the whole prep is rushed. When I go slower I can hold a better BO edge and I have time to do a nice prep. Yay!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

MITF Workout

This morning's FS session was very quiet, just 2 skaters and 2 coaches. Whee! I got to play my own music! Since Sonya's earlier lesson was canceled she took me a little early.

Today's lesson:
  • Edges -- FO and FI edges generally good. I'm getting way too big a lobe on one of them (FO?), and Sonya says I should turn my shoulders in a little more to make the lobe come around a little quicker. Otherwise they are so huge I'm only getting 3 in, not 4-6. Worked extensively on getting a better push on the BI edges -- Sonya wants basically a "crossing-the-T" motion where the soon-to-be-skating foot crosses the other foot at the outset, and a "flick" motion to bring the pushing foot into the skating foot. Beyond that, we worked on getting more tension in the arms on the first part of the lobe (feel like I'm being drawn by the hand). On the BO edges, some of the same principles. I'm still not holding the free foot in front long enough (or, really, hardly at all). Gotta work on that.
  • FXOs -- We did these in the moves pattern to start with. I'm still tending to chicken out on cross & hold on the CW ones, it's just very scary. We also worked a lot on getting a better first stroke with full extension; I'm tending to shortchange the extension. Sonya wants me to work on just doing the cross and hold, and also just skating on the inside edge with the crossed leg lifted off the ice -- really, I think, if I just do them and hold each position for a bit it will accomplish what we're after. She also told me that to fix my problem in the Move where I have problems getting into position for the 2nd circle after the transition that instead of skating a diagonal between the first and second circle, I should come out of the first one straigher and then make use the first push of the new circle to change direction (basically). It sounds more complicated than it is, but I think it will really help.
  • BXOs -- These are slowly improving. Sonya had me work on holding the BI edge with the free leg in the crossed position, just to get used to how it feels, then doing the step. I'm feeling relatively upbeat about these.
  • Waltz jumps -- We had not looked at these in a while. We worked on getting the collect a bit more distinct, with better kneebend and not wide-stepping the step forward so much. We worked on them as a walkthrough for the most part. I can do these really nicely if I just take my time and concentrate. Too often I rush the takeoff prep. I need to hold the LFO edge a little longer too -- again, not rushing.
Sonya said that the areas that need the most work now are the 3-turn pattern and the BXOs. That's encouraging. I still have no idea when I'll be able to test; my 3s are still pretty stinky (for Moves) and God only knows when I'll get this darn 1-foot spin (FS). Sheesh.

I have a spreadsheet that I track my time between sharpenings with so I'll have some idea how long it's been and how much wear I've gotten. Sadly, since I got my skates sharpened 8/11 I've only logged 16 hours of skating. I know that I was traveling for 9 days in that time, but I had my skates with me. I'm just not getting enough practice time.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

One Of Those Days

Some days it just doesn't pay, it just doesn't.

I intended to skate the 6 p.m. FS at Shiny Rink. This is a short session (45 min) anyway, but due to horrible traffic it took me 50 min to get to the rink, so that I wound up with only 35 minutes to skate.

I felt horribly off for the first 10 minutes or so, after which I got some okay work in on half flip, 3s and FXOs. Toward the end of the session, though, I was skating down the length of the rink and made a poor course choice and had a near collision with a) a boy whose name I don't know (who was on lesson) and b) a skater named Ciara. I attempted to do a snowplow stop, slowed down some and fell over. Sheesh. Ciara graciously helped me up, but it was embarrassing. I really need to work on my hockey stop, as I should have been easily able to stop at that speed with a hockey stop; I was really going too fast to have stopped in time with a snowplow stop anyway. Sheesh.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


I skated the afternoon public at Shiny Rink. While it wasn't really that crowded, there were large numbers of clueless little kids so it felt more crowded than it really was.

I worked on a lot of stuff -- FXOs, 3s, waltz-8, waltz jumps. Quality time on spins and half flip. Nothing exciting to report, though.

Friday, September 15, 2006

MK Sits Out 2006

Apparently Michelle Kwan is taking the year off from competition. She's going to U of Denver, though, which has a really strong skating program from what I've heard. She's also just had surgery apparently.

The real question is, will she come back to competitive skating or not? I'm conflicted.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Backwards Woodshedding

Today's lesson was the first in our new timeslot, 8:45 a.m. Thursdays. This was a nice environment -- only 4 skaters (and 2 coaches) and freshly Zamboni'd ice. I had a nice warmup.

Today's lesson:
  • BXOs and back edges -- We spent a lot of time on this since it's one of my key problem areas. Sonya had me skate some BXOs, then hold the BO edge with free foot in front, then put free toe to heel and face the other way, then step forward. We did make some progress in keeping off the toe and keeping turned in, but much more practice will be required.
  • Spins -- We worked on these both from the windup and also just from a step forward. Sonya showed me how I could work on it against the boards, too, and that helped quite a bit. I need more kneebend and a more pronounced outside edge on the step forward. Again, more work required. Sonya also suggested I should work on just entering a 2-foot spin from a forward glide (on 2 feet).
  • Half flip -- We finished with this. It's coming along. Sonya wants me to practice just the "jump" part, against the boards as needed.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I skated the 6 p.m. FS at Shiny Rink. While there were only 13 skaters, there were four coaches present so a lot of lessons to maneuver around.

I had a pretty productive skate, although for the first 20 minutes or so I was feeling very dorky and thus very frustrated. I spent some quality time on my waltz-8 and 3-turns in general and I'm realizing that I really need to improve my check. It's really hard for me to hold the BI edge without it curving in more sharply than the FO edge did. Frustrating! A little work on the other stuff (no BXOs or spins though), but no breakthroughs.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Skating Vacation

I spent a little over a week in Arizona visiting friends and family. I didn't get to do as much skating as I would have liked, but I did get some good time in.

Labor Day I skated a freestyle at Polar Ice Chandler and got to see Keila's new program. She's hoping to test Intermediate FS next month or so. After that I went to spend some time with Katlynn McNab and her dad. They were just back from Golden West, where Katlynn placed 2nd in a tough field.

Friday 9/8 I skated at coffee club at Tucson Ice. I had a nice time skating and catching up with my skating buddies. I didn't get to see everyone I would have liked, but it was nice to have some time with the old gang. I came back that evening and skated for an hour or so (only about 30 minutes of actual ice time, though) at the 7 p.m. public; it was an exercise in frustration though since the lights were off and the disco ball was on. Skating in the dark just doesn't work for me, it's hard for me to judge how fast I'm going or even where the ice is sometimes. Yech!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

More HBDs

Annnnnd... a big Happy Birthday to Nicole and Lisa, who both celebrate birthdays today! HBD ladies!

I'm in Tucson, going home tomorrow. I'll blog about my skating when I have more time.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

HBD Katlynn!

Today Katlynn McNab has become a teenager! Congrats Katlynn!