Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Friday, October 31, 2008

Waltz-8 & 3-Turn Pattern

Today's "bonus lesson" was on the 7 a.m. FS, shared with about 7 other skaters including a dance team. It was reallllllllllly cold today! And cold and rainy outside (and dark, of course).

We had originally planned on doing a moves runthrough but I was so disturbed that I'd not been able to retain my waltz-8 progress that we decided to postpone the runthrough to Monday and work on that (and the 3-turn pattern).

Today's lesson:
  • Waltz-8 -- Kind of a carbon copy of last Monday's lesson, but we also worked on the R side a bit. We were able to get this back (more or less) to where it had been, getting the shoulder pulled back on the step forward. I still need to work this more but I feel better about it, and Sonya said my turns were a bit better also.
  • 3-turn pattern -- Sonya suggested I try to make the turns "straighter" to make them a bit less whippy. It helped. Also we worked on the back lobe (I'm tending to get stuck), and Sonya emphasized moving the arms back before the 2nd weight shift so that I'm properly set up to do the BXO. Some progress on this as well.
Test is two weeks from Monday! Monday we will do a runthrough. eeep.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

BO Edges

Today's figures lesson was on the 8:15 FS as usual, shared this time with a dance team. We managed to avoid collisions :-).

We spent pretty much the whole lesson working on BO edges. I'm having a hard time getting a firm BO edge (both sides, really), not wanting to commit to that edge. Grrr. Kelli says that I am standing up straighter than a couple of weeks ago (so that's a start) but still too much up on the ball of the foot. It's really amazing how much the print tells you if you study it-- in this case I noticed that the print from my back edges is much deeper than my forward ones. Kelli and I agreed that this probably means my weight is being concentrated on a small part of the blade (ball of the foot) on the back edge instead of being more evenly distributed as my foward edges are. Hmm.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I had a chance to escape to the rink today during the afternoon public session. It was delightfully uncrowded and great ice. I skated for about 90 minutes and worked on all my hardest elements -- I'm so proud of myself! Bad side FXOs and BXOs are slowly improving. Bad side 3-turn pattern... yech. Still pretty uncontrolled. Waltz-8... okay. I really need to slow myself down on this. I did some that were great and some not so much. Grrr.

Monday, October 27, 2008

XOs & Waltz-8

I was on the ice at 6:35 this morning for my 7 a.m. lesson. I will have an extra lesson this week, on Friday at 7:30.

Today's lesson:
  • FXOs -- per my request. Sonya says these are better (she still wants better underpush on the CW ones and better first stroke). I wasn't impressed, they seem very tentative and sloooowwwwww. Grrr. Oh well, I know what I need to practice I guess.
  • BXOs -- these have improved, definitely. Still very scratchy (very!) but even the bad side are much better, a real cross and the beginnings of an underpush. These need work too but I'm pleased with the progress on them.
  • Waltz-8 -- gaaaah. I really hate this. On the positive side we made some good progress on the back edge/step forward, pulling the L shoulder and hip back on the RBO before the step forward. Finally! I need to solidify this though.
For my lesson on Friday we'll do a moves runthrough. The test is 3 weeks from today, Sonya signed my form this morning. Grr.

After my lesson I worked another half hour or so in my FS blades, then after the Z-break I skated half an hour in my patch blades. Bleah. Not a whole lot of progress there.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Zoo

I skated the Sunday public today as usual. It was more zoo-like than usual, 5 (count 'em, 5) birthday parties! Eeep. The first hour was ridiculous, but after the z-break it calmed down and I got some good work done, actually.

I am testing 3 weeks from tomorrow and I am totally unexcited about it... maybe that's a good thing. I'm a little worried about the waltz-8 though, of all the moves on the test it's the only one that doesn't seem to have improved in the interim. Hmmm.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Edges, Still

Today's figures lesson on the 8:15 FS as usual. Just 3 skaters on the ice and beautiful ice as usual (I'm so spoiled!).

I had picked up my L skate from the pro shop Tuesday with the blade moved in. Today's lesson was all about evaluating how that went. My LFO is much, much better. LBO.... hard to say. I think it's better but Kelli's wondering if we've moved the blade enough. I suggested we let me get some more time on it before deciding on further action. We worked extensively on FO, FI and especially BO edges, still working on much the same stuff -- posture, weight placement and body position. This stuff is coming so slowly, especially on the back edges. I'm tending to have my weight way too far forward.

As I was leaving I bumped into Lauren, who I'd not seen in a while. I got to wish her a happy (late) birthday in person!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual. Not too crowded, only 10 skaters. I had a pretty good skate, and worked on most everything. Biggest single frustration is that I'm still not getting a good enough push on the last third of the waltz-8 (the FO edge) so I'm having difficult making it back to center. Grrr!

Before the session I picked up my remounted L boot for my patch skates. I'll get to check it out on Thursday.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Stroking, 3-Turns, Edges

I was on the ice at 6:40 to warmup for my 7 a.m. lesson. Good ice, only 7 skaters.

Today's lesson:
  • Stroking -- Sonya wanted to go over this because we never do... so we did! Reminders to keep the head up (of course). In general she's happy with it. I usually do 6 strokes per side, but Sonya had me try 8 to get me going faster. Of course it was a little scary doing the FXOs going that fast but Sonya gave me the "comfort zone" lecture complete with diagram (Anna used to just use hand gestures, LOL!).
  • 3-Turn Pattern -- started with the bad side. These actually are quite improved. Of course I still need to hold the entrance edges longer, and Sonya told me I need to hold the exit from the FO3 longer too. The back lobe is not bad, but I'm inconsistent. I can do them really well, but 1/3 of the time I don't really get my weight shifted and then the whole rhythm is off. After the bad side, we went to do the "good" side and as I went into the first turn I had an excruciating pain in my upper back just below the L shoulderblade. Ouch! I'm not sure what I did, some kind of muscle spasm or something. So we stopped for a minute and then went on to something less stressing...
  • B edges -- BO edges are not bad; Sonya reminded me not to rotate early, hold that check position to the top of the lobe. BI edges not too bad either; Sonya reminded me to not let the free foot come around until the top of the lobe -- gotta hold it in front or at most by the skating foot. In general my flow on these has definitely improved.
After my lesson I stayed until 7:40, then left and went home (with a stop at work). Stayed home and took ibuprofen and used my heating pad and took a nap. My back is better now although still a little twingy. Grrr.

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Friday, October 17, 2008


Today's lesson was on the 8:15 FS as usual, and as usual it was a great session with beyoootiful ice. It was a very foggy morning outside!

Today's lesson:
  • Blade alignment -- I talked with Kelli about my concerns about my L blade, and she had me skate some edges (FO, FI, BO, BI). We agreed we should ask Jim to move the L blade in a little bit. I'm hopeful this will help my issues with my LFO and LBO.
  • Waltz-8 -- we spent the remainder of the lesson on this. On the L side we worked mostly on the RBO edge, holllllllllding it all the way across. We made some good progress. On the R side (which we had not really worked on at all!) we had to spend some time on the 2-foot turn as it was a bit wonky. After that we worked on the BO edge -- since it's the LBO (see above) the edge itself was pretty bad but the position is okay. The step forward is a bit problematic and a toepushed once and the next time I toepushed again and I fell, LOL. After that I managed to fix it.
I'm going to drop my skates off on Sunday hopefully to get the blade moved.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual. Since Regionals is this week it was a big quieter than usual, only 7 skaters. I had a reasonably good skate, worked a lot on FXOs, BXOs, waltz-8 and 3-turn pattern; all the usual suspects!

I spent some quality time working on the bad side BXOs, doing a cross and hold. Scary stuff! I think it really helped though, that and going verrrrry sloooowly. I need to work this a bunch more.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Waltz-8 & 3-Turn Pattern

Today's lesson was moved to 7 (from 7:30) since Sonya had no 7 a.m. lesson -- didn't want her to have to wait plus this way I get more ice time. So I was on the ice at 6:45 a.m., lesson at 7, skated until 8, then during the z-break I put on my patch blades and skated another 45 minutes in those for a total of 2 hours of ice time. Yay!

Today's lesson:
  • Waltz-8 -- we spent a lot of time on this, working on holding the exit edge of the 3 longer and working on the step forward. We actually made some reasonable progress.
  • 3-turn pattern -- flowing out of the waltz-8, we worked a bunch on just FO3s and holding the entrance and exit longer. Sonya had me skate them on the hockey circle, hold for 3 counts and then turn. Eeep. Then we went on to the 3-turn pattern and worked both sides, trying to hold the entrances to the 3s longer. A smidgeon of progress.
As I said, after my lesson I skated another half hour in my FS blades, working on FXOs and BXOs, edges and some more on 3s. In my patch blades I worked on all my edges and waltz-8. I'm becoming convinced that I need to adjust my L blade on my patch blades since I have a hard time getting on either an LFO or an LBO. I'll talk to Kelli about it.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Zoo W/Blue Corn Lights

I skated the public session today as usual. Skate buddy Lisa was there, and young Stef also. Had a pretty good skate -- quality time on bad side FXOs and BXOs, waltz-8 and misc. stuff also. The title is a little in-joke between Lisa and I -- the rink was playing some kind of Disney on Steroids CD including a very jazzed up version of "Colors of the Wind"...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Coffee Club

My morning meeting was cancelled so I had a chance to zip to the rink and skate at coffee club. Unfortunately it was a rather crowded coffee club! Still I had a pretty good skate. Worked on edges, BXOs, FXOs, a bit of 3-turn pattern and waltz-8. Amy had drawn some circles with her scribe so I worked on FO8 for a bit (even though I was in my FS blades). It was good to get some unexpected practice in.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Edges & Waltz-8

Today's lesson was on the beyoooooootiful ice at 8:15.
  • FO, FI edges -- FI edges looking good. FO edges, I'm still working on keeping the feet close and getting a better push with no wobbles.
  • BI edges -- after some flailing around these are starting to look a bit better. I'm still tending to have small lobes and having trouble managing the rotation.
  • Waltz-8 -- still with 2-foot turns, of course. We worked on getting a bigger circle and a better BO edge, holding that BO edge longer and with more control. Some success on this.
After the lesson I spent more time on the waltz-8, and especially working on my CW 2-foot turns -- eep! They are bad, not surprisingly (it's the 'wrong' direction).

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tuesday (FS) Zoo

I skated the 6 p.m. FS session as usual... with NWP Regionals next week and other stuff, it was quite the zoo, about 15 skaters and 4 or 5 coaches! Worked on edges, waltz-8, FXOs and BXOs. Nothing exciting much but I was glad to get some time in.

Monday, October 06, 2008

BXOs & Waltz-8

Today's lesson:
  • BXOs -- really just the bad side. Really working on trying to eliminate the toe-scratching. We worked on trying to get me to keep the front foot more in front, and bringing it across while keeping the weight on the back foot. Not much progress. I'm very frustrated with these. Sonya wants me to work on just doing back C-cuts with the foot in front.
  • Waltz-8 -- I'm doing a better job of keeping the free foot close on the BO edge, so now we are working on the step forward. I am waaaay up on my toes on this, I don't know why. The result is not only a bad step forward (too much "out", not enough "around"), but also a bad push so I don't have enough oomph to make it back to center. Some small progress.
All in all I feel very frustrated. I have been working on this stuff for soooo long and it still is stinky.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sunday Zoo

I skated the Sunday public session as usual today. It's only 2.5 hours now (1 - 3:30) and they did the z-break at 2:30. I didn't get there until 1:15, so I had an hour and 15 minutes in my FS blades. I worked on a bunch of stuff, but it was hard. It was somewhat crowded, and between the (overgrown) hockey boys tearing around at breakneck speed and the little ones with no supervision running around in center ice, it was frustrating.

After the z-break I skated about 15 minutes in my patch blades, just a little work on edges and 8s.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Edges, Edges, Edges,

Today's figures lesson was on the 8:15 FS as usual. Today's lesson:
  • FO -- still a bit wonky at times but getting better. I'm setting the edge better from the start, but my push-off (a.k.a. "thrust") is sometimes a bit too much toward the toe.
  • FI -- these are looking pretty good. The last set I did were actually quite fast, at least for me. Whee!
  • BO -- these need a lot o' work. Tend to flat a fair amount or even force the edge. Also (as Sonya has also noted) I'm tending to bend forward (break at the waist) and look down too much.
  • BI -- we'd not done these before, but Kelli was really happy with them. Mostly because my posture is much better than on the BO! I'm staying over my skate pretty well and reasonably secure. Lobes are pretty small, though.
I really need to get more time in! I know, I keep saying this, but right now it's about 1.5 hours or 1.75 hours a week on patch and it's just not enough. I need at least another hour a week..

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