Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

YAMR (1st Half)

I was on the ice today at 7 a.m; we started my lesson around 7:20 or so. We decided to do another moves runthrough (Yet Another Moves Runthrough = YAMR), but just the first half:
  • Stroking -- okay, though Sonya did comment that my second set of FXOs on the CW direction (ones I fell on yesterday) were better than the first set.
  • Edges -- F edges pretty good. BO edges I held my head up nicely, but when I got to BI edges all of a sudden my back was really bugging me and so they were pretty stinky. I've done much better before.
  • FXOs -- Just eh. I fell on the CW ones, partly because I was tired.
  • BXOs -- very scratchy. Sonya commented that on the bad side (that would be CCW) my tempo is twice as fast as on the good side -- I really need to slow them down.
  • 3s -- after the runthough we worked on FO3s and FI3s a bit, not much to report.
I'm a bit concerned. I've noticed this issue with my back bugging me before -- it really bugged me when I took my test, and it bothers me from time to time when I'm skating at public session. I'm pretty sure it's a posture issue since once I'm done skating or if I'm just standing around it doesn't bother me at all. I'm suspecting that my nerves are freezing my muscles up and I'm hunching over and that is what's causing it. I don't know what the fix is though. Obviously it would be to relax, but relaxing is the bane of my existence in general anyway. Oh well.

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Monday, September 29, 2008


I had the morning off so skated an hour at the public session. It's nice to be well-rested before skating, for once. A good session, only 3 adults (counting me).

I warmed up, worked on edges and XOs for a bit, then did a Moves runthough. Eeep! On the positive side, while I was quite tired at the end I was not, I think, quite as tired as when I did the actual test. On the negative side, I was still pretty darn tired, my back was really hurting me, and I fell on the last set of FXOs on the CW stroking. I also probably took slightly longer breaks in between moves than I would get on the test. It took me 19 minutes.

In general the moves were okay. Like I said, I fell on the FXOs finishing up the CW stroking, so that was kind of annoying -- just caught my toepick, but I'd not done that in quite a while. Edges were not bad, I'm remembering to look up a bit on my back edges so that's good. FXOs were okay, BXOs still fairly bad. Waltz-8 was okay. 3-turn pattern was just okay, in some places I was exhibiting a bit more control than in the past but they still could use a lot of improvement.

After the runthrough I had about 12 minutes so I worked on 3-turn pattern and 3s in general for a bit, fell again on an RFO3 (what's up with that?).

Lesson tomorrow.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Zoo

I skated the afternoon public session as usual today. I was hoping that it wouldn't be crowded since it was a beyoootiful fall day outside. Well, it wasn't that crowded ... but the kids that were there were more rambunctious than usual so it was still difficult to get much done :-(.

Skated 1.25 hours in FS blades and a half hour in patch. My RFO edge is really giving me problems right now, I'm not sure what's up with that. I've been working on holding the exit from the 3-turn in the waltz-8 and it's really helping.

No lesson tomorrow, it's moved to Tuesday due to a scheduling issue. I have the morning off though and will be skating on public, hopefully it won't be too crowded. At least I'll be awake!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Edges & Waltz-8

Today's figures lesson was on the 8:15 FS as usual. This is really a great session for this, fresh ice and not crowded. I couldn't ask for better conditions.

Today's lesson:
  • F edges -- as usual. FO edges are still a bit dicey as far as really holding the body position, I'm still falling onto the flat far too often. FI edges are looking and feeling pretty good.
  • FO8 -- just a little time on this. I'm still not getting a good enough push on these and of course my FO edges aren't quite as good as they need to be. I'm really amazed at how much of a difference I can feel between really being on the edge vs. a flat, and how big a difference it makes in my flow and run. I couldn't ever feel/see this difference in my FS blades.
  • Waltz-8 -- I told Kelli I'd done some of these with a 2-foot turn in place of the 3, so we worked on them a bit. They are very rough. I'm doing the 2-foot turn in place of the 3, and also on two feet for the step forward (every time I try to do the step forward as a Mohawk I fall). Lots of room for improvement as my back edges still have a long way to go.
After the lesson I had a half hour to work on all of this stuff. I concentrated more on FO edges since those are my weak point, but also time on the waltz-8 and back edges too. Eeep.

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Monday, September 22, 2008


Today's lesson was moved up to 7 a.m. due to a scheduling conflict Sonya had. I got on the ice at 6:45 a.m.

Today's lesson:
  • Waltz-8 -- Sonya saw me working on these so of course she had to have me do a couple. The main thing she wanted to work on was keeping the free foot close before the step forward. I usually do this, actually (at least on the R foot we were looking at), but I wasn't today.
  • FXOs -- these are getting smoother. The L side still needs work but they are improving a lot, better flow. Need to keep working on them.
  • BXOs -- Bleah. Worked on staying down in the knees, and especially on keeping the chin up. Not much progress though.
  • Spins -- we worked on these both from a 2-foot spin and from BXOs. Not much progress to report. Sonya is still trying to get me to slow these down a bit.
After my lesson I skated until 8 a.m., then during the ice cut I changed to my patch blades and skated another 45 minutes. In my FS blades I worked on the 3-turn pattern and a bunch of other stuff (FXOs etc.). In my patch blades I had plenty of time to work on all kinds of stuff. Still a lot of problems with my FO edges, it's just really hard to be consistent about them. I worked on BO and BI edges too, they are pretty stinky right now. I also decided to try the waltz-8 as well (with a 2-foot turn, I'm not *that* ambitious). Oddly enough, the 2-foot turn was fine, but I fell on the step forward. Duh. Oh well! That's what practice is for.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Zoo

I skated the Sunday public session as usual. Starting in October the weekend public sessions are only going to be 1 - 3:30 (instead of 1 - 4). Grrr. I may switch to Saturdays since it's hard for me to get there at the beginning of the session due to church obligations; between getting there late and it ending half an hour earlier it may not be worth it to me.

I skated only 45 minutes in my FS blades and half an hour in patch. Nothing particularly exciting -- it was pretty crowded and hard to get much done. My 3s do seem to be improving somewhat. Looking forward to my lesson in the a.m.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

BO Edges

Today's figures lesson:
  • FO & FI edges -- just a little work. Still need to improve staying "set" after push-off. The edge is best at the top of the lobe, I tend to be somewhat on a flat the last part of the lobe. I'm thinking this is when I'm bringing the free foot through and I'm not staying set enough.
  • BO edges -- our first look at these. On the positive side I have pretty good flow and a good push, but the edge is pretty horrible right now. Lots of work required.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Today's lesson was on the 8:15 FS. I really should skate this session more often. Sonya and I had the ice to ourselves and it was freshly surfaced! Before my lesson I gave Sonya & Kelli copies of the judge's notes from my test for their reference -- I meant to do this a long time ago.

We started off (I was warming up) talking about our division of labor between Sonya and Kelli in terms of test prep. Since I've been working in my patch blades on figure stuff I'm going to continue that with Kelli. Kelli and I will continue working on figures and if we are able to work on waltz-8 before the test, so much the better. Personally I think it's going to be a while before I'm able to do 3-turns in those things. Still I am seeing some carryover improvements between patch and FS blades as far as edges and pushing so that's good.

Today's lesson:
  • FO & FI edges -- yep, like I said in the title, FUNdamentals. Well, they are a little fun. FO edges I really need to think about keeping the free hip up (or, the skating hip *in*). FI edges are pretty good but Sonya pointed out that when I start the RFI edge I tend to move my arms a bit (on the LFI I stay nice and "set"), which is part of the problem with them not flowing as well. These are looking bigger and flowing better so that's all good.
  • BO & BI edges -- BO edges are looking much better. BI edges I need to remember to set the skating foot perpendicular to the axis so I get a good strike and a bigger/deeper lobe. They are much better than they were.
  • Waltz-8 -- so, back to these. The good news is that the 3s are getting placed further and further out. The bad news is I'm having a hard time checking them. So, after a few runs through the pattern we worked just on the FO3 for a bit, to improve the check and settle back down after the turn.
All in all a good lesson. After the lesson I worked on moves for the rest of the session. My 3-turn pattern was pretty wild and uncontrolled -- ugh. FXOs and BXOs are okayish. Spent some time just working on the FO3s on the circle. I have this fear of keeping the free leg close when I do them (so then it swings around afterward and makes it hard to check) so I worked on that with some success. I don't understand what's going on with these but I guess I will have to be a bit braver about that free leg. Grr.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Zoo

I skated the Sunday public session as usual. I was hoping that since the weather was sunny and warm it wouldn't be crowded, but there was a fairly substantial crowd (though I've certainly seen worse). The ice was rather rutted though, I assume from some hockey game or other :-(.

Skated about 2 hours total, 75 minutes in FS blades and 45 minutes in patch blades. Not much to report really, except that the waltz-8 is getting a little better. In my patch blades I was really skidding a lot on my FO edges, I don't know why. I'm blaming it on the ice :-).

No lesson tomorrow, it's moved to Tuesday due to a schedule conflict.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Edges and 8s

Today's figures lesson was at 8:15, postponed from yesterday due to a work conflict I had. Since Kelli had another lesson to give at 8:45, I was on the ice at 7:30 to warm up so we could start promptly at 8:15.

Today's lesson:
  • FO edges -- these are still kind of uncomfortable but they are improving. I'm doing better about staying on the edge and my flow is improving.
  • FI edges -- these are a lot better than the FO. I did a set that was really, really nice so we moved on!
  • FO8 & FI8 -- these are coming along. I'm still not getting all the way around (it's now more like 7/8 of the circle) but the push off and edges are generally improving.
In my warmup I started working (shhh, don't tell Kelli :-)) on back edges since I know she's going to want to start 'em soon. They are scary but not as scary as when I first played with 'em a few weeks ago.

Kelli and I were the only ones on the ice during my lesson and the music was off -- wow. You can actually hear when I go onto a flat instead of being on the edge. Not just feel, but even hear. We had such nice ice... this session is golden. I gotta skate it more often.

All in all a terrific lesson. I'm really pleased that I'm finally making some progress with this. Now if i can just learn to do 3s in these blades I'll really have something :-).

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When I got to this rink I was told that one of my fellow adult skaters had a bad fall and broke her ankle! They had to CUT HER BOOT OFF! Like Kayla said... geez! Boots are expensive!

Anyway, this is really sad to hear. I hope she makes a good and quick recovery.. but geez! Sonya said she was working on back 3s or something. *sigh*

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Little Progress

I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual... now that summer is over it's a bit more crowded but since the competition was last weekend I think a number of skaters took the week off, there were only 12 of us or so.

I worked on a bunch of moves stuff, didn't have energy for jumps today. I worked on not letting the free leg get away from me on the BO edge on the L side of the waltz-8 and some some good improvement (though I still tend to get on my toes a bit). Worked on my BXOs, especially the bad side, and saw some improvement as well -- the key today was really working to stay down in the knees. On the 3-turn pattern I worked on fixing the back lobe, but I'm still pretty inconsistent. When I actually remember to bring the arm back and do the 2nd weight shift the BXO is nice and the whole thing works, but I have trouble remembering to do that. Grrr.

I spent a little time on figures even though I was wearing my FS blades, and I'm seeing some real improvement. I got all the way around the RFO circle! And on the others I was quite close, even though my circle were HUUUGE for some reason. I'm glad I'm seeing some improvement.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Moves & Spins

Today's lesson was the first in our new timeslot, 7:30 a.m. Mondays; I was on the ice at 7. Since there was a competition over the weekend it was quite quiet and for the last part of my lesson Sonya and I were the only ones on the ice.

Today's lesson:
  • Waltz-8 -- I was practicing these before my lesson so of course that's what we started with. The good news is that the 3 is looking better and it's better placed. We worked mostly on getting the BO edge on the L side to be more steady; if that's better the step forward works much better. Sonya observed that on the R side (which is much better) I'm letting the edge curve around more and keeping my free foot close. On the L side I'm tending to bend forward on the BO edge and my free foot is extended. So we worked on trying to make the L side more like the R side :-). Some small improvement.
  • 3-turn pattern -- I knew we would back to these pretty soon. They actually aren't too bad. Still trying to hold the entrance edge for the FO3 longer, it tends to be rushed. The other real area for work was on the back lobe, working to set up the BXO better by bringing the arm back AND shifting the weight (and turning the head) all together. When I actually remember to do this, it helps a lot!
  • spins -- we worked these from the windup, and also a little from a T-position and a 2-foot spin intro also. I guess I'd summarize by saying Sonya is trying to get me to slow this down a bit so that I can be more relaxed in it and not rush it. Trying to get me to hold the LFO edge on the step forward, then snap into the spin. Eeeep. I have a lot of difficulty finding and staying on the sweet spot. Also we observed that the LFO tends to be not a very good edge and sometimes it's a bit flat... which led to:
  • FO edges -- I used to never have issues with these at all but lately I seem to have a problem keeping my free hip up. Hmmph. We will probably look at them more and of course Kelli and I have been working on them as well.
I have some stuff going on at work this week which make keep me from skating until Friday. Grrr.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday Zoo

The Sherwood Invitational competition was at the rink this weekend so I was at the rink a good chunk of the time, volunteering and cheering for the homegirls.

After the end of the competition today I did manage to skate for an hour at the public session, my first time on the ice for a week and a half! Eeep. Between work, being out of town over Labor Day and being sick I've been out for a bit. It was good to be back, just working on basic skills.