Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Monday, May 28, 2007

Gordon's Swan Dive

I skated the 8:15 FS this morning. Apparently it was pretty quiet this morning as the only skaters before us were Christina and Lauren, but there were 3 of us at 8:15 -- myself, Mary and Holly. I had an okay skate; did most of a moves runthrough, then worked some of my problem areas including bad side FXOs, 3s and spins.

Unfortunately about 20 minutes before the end of the session (about 8:55) I was doing a spin and had a nasty fall. I'm still not entirely sure what happened, but I can tell you that I somehow seem to have sprained my left calf; my glasses went flying and I hit my L cheekbone somehow, also, though not hard enough to bruise. I had to have Mary help me up as it was hard to stand.

Now some 8 hours later my calf is pretty painful and I'm hobbling when I walk. Hopefully rest and ibuprofen will help it be somewhat better by tomorrow.

5/29 Update: Went to the doctor today as it was still pretty painful. He's says it's just a muscle sprain/strain and it should be better soon, just keep up with rest, ibuprofen etc.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Blogger Meetup Skate

I skated the Saturday afternoon public at Shiny Rink. Today's skate was special because I met up with bloggers Terri and Lisa! Here's a picture. I took several others, but for some reason this is the only one that was on the camera when I hooked it up to my computer! I don't know what's up with that, but it's not my camera and I don't know how it works, really. I'll be getting one of my own soon.

We had a fun time comparing moves and stuff. Besides Terri (left) and Lisa (center), Mary was at the session too and we had a fun time following Terri around working on our swing rolls! It was like a rather drawn-out conga line :-). Terri skates beeyooootifully! After Terri left Lisa and I compared notes on some of our moves -- she has a very nice spiral! And she spins better than I do (and she's only been skating a year!). Ah well! It was very cool to get to meet folks in person.

I skated the whole session, something I've not done in a while. It was not too crowded, probably due to the holiday weekend. After the session, Mary introduced me to a friend of hers, a pairs skater (Greg?) from Seattle who was down visiting. He worked with her on some off-ice lifts etc. and even let me try one with Mary. Wow! I would have to do some serious work in the weight room to really feel confident about this stuff, not to mention improving my skating skills! Still, it was a lot of fun. All in all a great day of skating!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

BXOs & Spins

I wasn't too enthused before today's lesson. I've had some bad stuff in my personal life, so all I wanted to do was sleep; but I reminded myself that I'm supposed to test in 3 months so this is hardly the time to be cancelling lessons. Besides, I usually feel better when I skate. And indeed, after my lesson I felt a lot better.

Today's lesson:
  • Wide-step weight shift/power step -- wasn't sure what to call this, but I wanted to work on the back lobe of the 3-turn pattern as I still wasn't quite getting the correct weight shift etc. Sonya reminded me that coming into the lobe, I need to really bend my knee and have the free leg close, then get a good, aggressive, powerful push to the other foot. We then worked on the weight shift (remembering to "rotate skinny") and the BXO and step forward. The BXO is a lot easier and smoother when I do a good weight shift. Fancy that! :-)
  • Spins -- About 10 minutes on these. They are slowly coming along. I had one really good one, about 1.5 revs (did I say they are slowly coming along? :-)). Grr. Still working on control, but Sonya seems okay with my progress for now.
  • BXOs - Finished up with these as a good way to tie together some of our stuff. They are really looking a lot better. My initial push is pretty good (when I take my time), the 2nd push is good, and the 3rd (underpush) is improving. I'm getting a much better cross; I just mostly need to work on bending my knees more and getting my weight placed better so that I can eliminate/decrease the scratchiness. These really have come a long way.
After my lesson Sonya and I talked briefly about testing. Sonya said that I need to be sure to work on endurance. She suggested I should try to do a moves runthrough everytime I skate, then go back and work on the things that need the most work. She also said we will work on my warmup strategy since I only get either 4 or 5 minutes to warm up and I'm not used to that.

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Good Luck Tracy!

Best wishes for a successful knee surgery for Tracy... keep your fingers and toes crossed, say a prayer, think good thoughts!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

HBD Mary!

A big shoutout to skate buddy Mary, who turned... I'll never tell how old she is! Happy birthday Mary!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Skate

I got away for a while in the afternoon and skated for about an hour at the afternoon public. It was not too crowded, but I was a bit tired so perhaps not the best idea. I did work on my bad side FXOs a lot; I have real problems trusting that edge. Grr. Also worked the 3-turn pattern a bit and the waltz-8.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

3-Turn Pattern

Today's lesson:
  • Back edges -- we started off with this since I wasn't very warmed up, and I had some issues with them. For the BI edges, especially, we worked more on the first push-off; it's improving. The key seems to be to bend my knees a lot more than I think :-). Sonya also reminded me to bend my knee coming back to the line so I can get a better push on the subsequent lobes. These didn't feel as flowing to me as they have in the past.
  • 3-Turn Pattern -- the bulk of our time. While they have a long way to go, I'm really quite pleased at this point that I can at least do them, even the bad side. Just a few weeks ago I might have despaired of ever doing the LFI3 side, so there is some progress here. On the RFI3-LFO3 side, placement of the 3s is okay but I need to work on holding the LBI edge rather longer. On the LFI3-RFO3 side the LFI3 is much too early (but like I said, I was just pleased to do it at all!). On both sides we also worked on the back lobe; there is a weight shift there that I don't think I fully understood before, but now that I do it makes the BXO a lot easier and the rhythm is much better. It needs a lot more practice though.
  • Spins -- just a few minutes on these to finish up. Still trying to hold that free leg back longer and get all the pieces together. Currently it looks like I can bring it all in for a rev or so and then I chicken out and open up out of the spin. Grrr. I'll have to go back to the two-foot for a bit I think and work that to get the feeling.
I felt pretty good about today's lesson even though I didn't skate yesterday (I was ill) or Tuesday. I have a lot to work on. After my lesson (it was at 8:15 instead of 8:45 as usual), I spent the rest of the session working BXOs, FXOs, and some miscellaneous stuff.

In about a month the rink is going to start its "Rush for Regionals" program, which is a summer thing they do where they have basically an ongoing camp for 10 weeks or so every morning. This means the freestyle schedule will be a little curtailed and more than likely I'll have to skate earlier if I want to have non-zoo conditions. *sigh* Of course my test is right in the middle of all this. I may try for some time over at Valley just to get a little more sleep in.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

XOs & Spins

Today's lesson:
  • FXOs -- in the Moves pattern. We worked a lot on the clockwise (bad side) crossovers and holding the crossed position. It's so hard! We made some good progress though. Sonya reminded me to try to get good extension from the very first push into the crossovers so that I will get started looking correct and then I'll remember the whole time. She said the CCW XOs are looking passable, so we just need to get CW fixed. Phew!
  • BXOs -- Sonya had me take a deliberate pause between each XO; after the step into the circle, just hold for a second. This really helped me slow my tempo down and be more deliberate, and the result was a lot better XOs. As Sonya said, I was doing a bazillion crossovers and I only need 4 for the test, and she'd rather see 4 good ones that a bazillion bad ones!
  • Spins -- per my request, we finished up with these. I had a couple that were almost placed correctly, but I'm still having a great deal of difficulty finding the sweet spot.
This was my makeup lesson for last week. For Thursday Sonya wants to look at the 3-turn pattern (what a surprise :-)) and spins again.

After my lesson Sonya and I had a talk about motivation and relaxation. I've often thought that my biggest problem in skating is being able to just relax and let go; so often my brain gets in the way and I hold back even from things I can do well. She suggested I try some visualization, and also just work on getting more comfortable with the things I'm doing. She also gave me a good (and welcome) pep talk about not comparing myself to others, just to where I am and where I've been. It was a good reminder not to take the progress I've already made so lightly.

Before my lesson we also talked briefly about testing dates and I think we agreed on 8/12. I'll have to confirm with her when we get closer.

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Sunday Non-Zoo

I skated the Sunday afternoon public session. Due to the Mother's Day holiday (presumably), it was remarkably uncrowded. I skated about 1 hr 45 minutes, including some time on the Waltz-8, FXOs, BXOs, 3s, and a smattering of jumps. Nothing really exciting, but since I'd been off the ice for a week (sheesh!) it was good to be back. The new boots are doing better, they only hurt a little now -- but they still feel pretty strange.

Friday, May 11, 2007


A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to Tracy and a belated one to Briana!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Life Interferes

No lesson today, I had a flat tire and couldn't get to the rink for my lesson. It's fixed now, but grrr!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Year In Review

So... originally I was thinking about doing a retrospective on my skating for my Skativersary, but it seems like it would be better to do that on my 5th anniversary next year. Instead, I think I'll just talk about the last year and how it went.

It's been a 'building' kind of year. Last year I reflected back on lots of changes. Since then, I found my current coach, I really dug in and started skating more frequently and regularly, switched rinks, and made some new friends. I also got new blades and new boots, finally!

Accomplishments for this year--
  • Coaching -- I found a really good coach. Thanks Sonya!
  • LFI3 -- all the hard work has really paid off, and while they aren't great, they are reliably there, and I'm not scared of them anymore. Sheesh!
  • FXOs -- these really are much, much improved; still some improvement required but almost there.
  • BXOs -- these also are much improved, though they still need work.
  • Half flip -- I learned this jump and it's pretty much okay.
  • Toe loop -- started working on this seriously and it's coming along nicely.
  • Spins -- I'm still not where I want to be but I think it's coming.
  • Off-ice work -- I started doing Pilates 3x/week (more or less) in July and it's helped a lot. Sonya also gave me some off-ice jumping stuff to do and that's helped too.
  • Ice time -- it's still a challenge to get ice time, and I'm still not reliably getting the 6 hours or so per week I think I need.
  • Spins -- sometimes I think that I am not going to be a good spinner. Maybe jumps are more my strength? I don't know.
  • Back 3s -- these things are going to be a real challenge, I can tell.
  • Salchow -- this one just seems to be tough for me.
Goals for this year:
  • Test -- I think I've had this goal every year and it's not happened. My goal is to test Moves in August and FS in, I think, January. I really need to work to make this happen.
  • Compete -- Pacific Coast Adult Sectionals are at my rink next March. What a perfect opportunity! I don't want to miss it, even though it will probably be terrifying.
  • Salchow -- I have got to learn this. It will be tough.
  • Spins -- I can't pass the FS test without a solid spin.
  • Toe loop -- I think I should be able to reliably do this by this time next year if I work.
  • Edges -- I've seen from a number of things I'm doing that I need better edges, especially back edges. This is a foundational element.
  • Speed -- If I have better edges, hopefully I will have the confidence to skate with more speed and vigor.
That's it! Ambitious goals, I know. It's all up to me to make it happen.

Monday, May 07, 2007


So, today is my 4th Skativersary!

Yep, 4 years ago today I first set foot on ice. I've been blogging since the very beginning, so I have a pretty good feel for what I've accomplished.

I'm pressed for time today, so I'm not going to blog a lot about this, but tomorrow I hope to blog at length, including
  • highlights
  • low points
  • memorable moments
  • accomplishments
  • goals
Stayed tuned!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sunday Zoo

I skated the Sunday afternoon public today, the first time in quite a while. I only stayed for about an hour's worth of ice time, though. Still, it was nice as a bunch of my skating buddies (Amy, Mary, Christina) were there. Didn't work on anything interesting, just still breaking the boots in a bit but feeling very unmotivated.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I was back on the ice today for the first time in 2 weeks, and of course I'm still breaking my new boots in, so all in all I felt like a baby giraffe! So we decided to go back to basics... but first, we did a quick double-check of my blade alignment. Sonya says they're okay.

Today's lesson:
  • Stroking -- (told you it was basics!). The new boot/blades are apparently much better aligned, with the result that I get a lot more oomph for each push, and therefore a disturbing amount of speed. I tend to chicken out on the FXOs when I'm at speed; I need to work on speed and being able to handle it better. My extension is a bit better though.
  • Forward edges -- These are looking pretty good actually.
  • Back edges -- Lots of work on these, especially on the push-off for both BO and BI. We also worked on not hunching over (keeping back straight etc.) and especially on bringing in the free foot and keeping it in front. This has been better before :-(.
After my lesson I dropped my skates off for permanent mounting.

We talked before lesson briefly about testing, and we agreed to work for the August 12th session for APB Moves. Sonya feels this is pretty doable for me, with the FXOs and BXOs needing the most work. Surprisingly she said she doesn't think the turns will be an issue.

If anyone has some brilliant ideas (other than "just do it!") for how to handle speed, I'm all ears. I think bending my knees more will probably help but it's a bit difficult in my brand-new boots at this point.

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