Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Coffee Club

I had the morning off, so I stretched that a little to skate at coffee club. I had a nice skate, worked on pretty much the same stuff as yesterday but felt a bit more relaxed and at ease. My CW FXOs are slowly improving. I really want to work on my toe loop with Sonya on Monday.

I saw Kelli after the session, and she mentioned that she's going to teach a figures class starting in Feb.; it will be Saturdays at 11. I'm pondering this.... more ice time on this would be nice but it might be a bit much schedule-wise. On the other hand maybe I'd switch from Sunday afternoons to Saturday afternoons since I'd already be there. Something to ponder.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back In The Saddle

I skated the 6 p.m. FS tonight, my first time on the ice since 12/18. I hate being off the ice for any length of time! Fortunately it didn't take toooo long to get my legs under me again. Worked on moves mostly -- BXOs, FXOs, edges, a little of the 3-turn pattern and some time working on my back mohawks. At the end I did a couple of toe loop attempts. I actually have the timing for this okay, it's just I am unwilling to really draw my feet together. Grrr. I'll keep working on it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Back Edges

Figures lesson today, on the ice at 7 and lesson at 7:15. The rink was cold, but warmer than Tuesday... 34 degrees!

Today's lesson:
  • BO edges -- these are still my weakest point. Kelli held my hand through some of them so I could get a better feel for them -- this really helped! I'm just not getting my weight firmly over my skate and standing up straight. We worked on these most of the lesson and they are improving but I need to work them a lot more.
  • BI edges -- just a little time on these. These are a lot better than the BO edges. We worked on posture and keeping the arms more in an "L" shape.
My last lessons for the year! I'm traveling etc. so I will be off the ice for about a week and a half, and be back in lessons Jan. 5th.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Spins, Moves, Jumps Again

We've been having a major cold spell with a few inches of snow, so I had postponed my lesson from yesterday to today; even so it was an adventure getting to the rink. I was on the ice at 7:15 for a 7:30 lesson. The rink was REALLY cold... 32 degrees! Eeep!

Today's lesson:
  • Spins -- we started with these. I had forgotten to do any in my warmup... which must have helped, or something, as I did TWO REVS! Whee! My first time ever. Of course I only did it once, but it did happen... very cool! We did a few more. I'm doing a better job of keeping the free foot in, but I'm still tending to leave my R side behind. More stuff to practice.
  • BO Mohawk -- Back to working on this. It's slowly improving. On the R side, especially, I need to keep the free arm from creeping around on me; need to hold it back after the step forward. On the L side the big thing was to keep the free foot close after I pass the arms through; when I let it extend back I'm up on my toe.
  • Waltz-8 -- just once through, since we had worked on the step forward. Did one complete pattern and it was not too bad. Sonya says it's better but I think it still needs more work. I'm also not happy with the 3s, especially holding the edge after the turn.
  • Forward perimeter XOs -- I had not done these in a lesson in a looonng time, but I had practiced them sometime recently. They actually were not too bad. Sonya wanted me to work to get more power on the underpush. I was actually able to do so, which surprised me. I was going relatively fast for me and doing a better job of controlling it, which made me happy.
  • Back perimeter XOs -- I had done some of these in my warmup. Sonya's really pleased with how these are progressing. I'm getting better/deeper lobes and doing a better job of setting up the BXO so it's better. Yay!
  • Toe loop -- just our last few minutes on this. Sonya had me stepping through it and then trying it slowly. We actually made some progress on it, so that's encouraging. Still not bringing my feet together very well, but it's coming along.
All in all I was really, really happy with this lesson. I felt like I was skating really well and I'm really happy with my progress. Since it's my last lesson for the year, I couldn't ask for a better note on which to go out.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Edges, Still

Today's figures lesson...
  • FO edges -- we worked on these for a long time. Still working mostly posture issues and push-off. Kelli wants me to start with my feet totally together... eeep! I feel like I'm going to fall over! We worked a lot on standing more upright.
  • FI edges -- these are a lot better than FO. Same issues though.
  • BO edges -- just a little time on these at the end. They are pretty stinky.
I'm pretty frustrated with figures right now. I'm spending so much time just doing very basic stuff! It's frustrating and makes me feel dorky. I don't know why it's so hard for me. I'd be tempted to give up on them but I really think I need to fix this stuff in general for my skating overall.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Coffee Club

I took the morning off (burning some vacation time) and skated at coffee club today. Nice ice and not crowded at all :-). I worked on a bunch of stuff, including waltz-8 and those darn back mohawks. I seem to have real problems looking over my left shoulder. Grrr. A little progress maybe. Also, did a few laps of back Russian stroking (a.k.a. back perimeter XOs). These are starting to improve and be more consistent. They are a lot fun, but rather tiring.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual. Not too crowded tonight. I worked on a bunch of stuff... waltz-8, FO3s in isolation, FXOs, some BXOs... a lot of time on BO and BI mohawks (stepping forward). Eeeep! These are kinda scary. I am tending to drag my toepick on the BO which makes me think I'm not-so-subconsciously slowing myself down. The BI ones are a little better (scary), but I'm not stepping very straight at this point. Bleah!

Finished up with some spins. Sometimes it seems like a minute takes forever, y'know? It was 6:44 (session ends at 6:45) and I was doing spins and I swear I'd done 3 and when I looked up after each it was still 6:44! So I did a 4th and then it really was 6:45. Not much progress on spins though :-(.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Spins, Jumps, Moves

It was very foggy this morning! Wow... As usual, the 7 a.m. time slot, on the ice at 6:45. Today's lesson:

  • Stroking -- continuing to work on improving posture, we did CW this time (last couple of times were CCW). I feel really dumb but Sonya says I look much better holding my head up :-).
  • Spins -- a couple of two-foot spins and then on to one-foot. Working to get a softer knee on the step forward, and to actually step onto a FO edge. My prints these days are more like spiral (like a seashell) than the curlicue that they had been -- when I pointed this out to Sonya she grabbed her marker and drew a snail into the "shell". Who says we don't have fun in our lessons?
  • Back Russian stroking (back perimeter XOs) -- this is a Bronze move. We worked on it for just a little bit; Sonya reminded me of the correct placement of the BXO. I need to get a bigger lobe on the left foot. These are fun!
  • 3-turn pattern -- bleah! Wow, these were really not so great. Even the R side was not too great. We'll need to work on this more.
  • Step forward from BXO -- we worked on these briefly, in part because of the judge's comment about not finishing my BXO pattern appropriately (I think. This occurred to me later, it's not something Sonya mentioned). I really wanted to bring the foot out and then step forward, but Sonya made me actually do it right from the BXO (so the foot is behind and you have to bring it out and open the hips). Eeep, this was a little scary. More practice required.
  • Waltz jump -- we had not looked at this in a looooooooonnnnnng time. The first one was not so great but the second one had a reasonable amount of spring to it. We worked on getting a softer knee and holding the LFO edge a little bit before the jump. Some progress though, and Sonya seemed happy with them (for now at least).
When I got on the session I started playing my holiday mix CD. During my lesson we got to the point on the CD where Adam Sandler's "Chanukah Song" was on, and I whined at Sonya that I'd put that song on just for Tay and she wasn't even there! (she has the lesson right after mine) Lo and behold, 5 seconds after I say that, who do I see getting on the ice but Taylor. I had to laugh, it was pretty funny, it was like she was waiting for her cue! Ha!

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Short Skate

I skated just the first half hour of the public session today. I have a lot going on today and time is short so I went to the rink straight from church, only to find I had brought my patch skates instead of my freestyle skates. I had planned on spending an hour skating, but at a public session a half hour is about all I can stand in patch blades.

I worked on edges and FO8, FI8. I especially worked on getting a stronger push and keeping the free hip up.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Today's figures lesson was at our new timeslot (7:30 a.m.). I got on the ice about 7:10. While it wasn't crowded, after 2 hours of FS the ice was pretty torn up and it's really hard to see tracings. So this session isn't so good as the 8:15 for our purposes. Oh well! Kelli said we may be able to move back to 8:15 in a few weeks. I hope so.

We worked on a bunch of stuff (we were kind of unfocused, in part because I'd not skated in my patch blades for 3 weeks! Eeep). First we worked on BO edges, working to get my placement right. My RBO is actually pretty good since I've worked on it so much in conjunction with the waltz-8. The LBO is not as good.

After that we worked a lot on FO edges, but especially on weight placement and getting a better push. I guess I had gotten a little sloppy with my T-position. Kelli had me really pay attention to how I'm placing the pushing foot (digging in w/the inside edge) as well as the skating foot. She also had me put my arms in an L shape instead of leading/trailing as I'm used to doing. This seemed to help me get a better push and be more consistent about keeping my weight placed in the middle of the blade.

The summary of all the stuff we worked on was mostly about where I place my weight on the blade. In general Sonya and Kelli agree that it's often too far forward; thus our work today.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008


I skated the 5:15 FS (off a little early from work) and had a pretty good skate even though it was pretty crowded (12 or 13 skaters and 4 coaches). Worked a lot on CW FXOs, stroking w/good posture, a lot of spins, and some edges etc.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Filling The Cracks

Today's lesson was at 7 a.m. as usual. I was on the ice at 6:45 and had a chance to debut my new Christmas skating mix CD. Yay! :-) Sonya and I continued working on our program of strengthening my problem areas from the test.

Today's lesson:
  • Spins -- per my request. I told Sonya that if I only worked on moves for the next few months I'd go bonkers. Plus spins are my weakest FS area. Anyway, we worked on these for a few minutes. First a two-foot spin; Sonya had me work on keeping my head UP! Then on to the one-foot spin. I'm still at one rev and out, but we fixed some issues with the entry. We'll keep chugging on these.
  • BO edge/step forward -- more work on these. Sonya worked with me on really sitting on the BO edge and making it more secure. We also worked on de-scratching the push on the step forward (pushing with the whole blade and not the toe) and made some good progress.
  • 3s -- per my request, since these are another weak area. We worked on the FO3s in the waltz-8, trying to hold the entrance longer and to get a better up-down-up knee action. Some progress, but there's a lot more to be made.
  • Stroking -- finished with just a lap around the rink, working for better posture (chin UP!) and more speed. I think we are making some progress. I'm sure we will keep working on this.

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