Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual today. I was supposed to have a lesson with Sonya, but alas she is sick :-( so I just worked on stuff. I worked a lot on toe loop and discovered that if I slooooow it down I can get an uncheated jump! I'll keep working on that. I also worked on spins but all but the very last were bad, and the last one was only 2 revs. Sheesh.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

APB Moves Test -- "Pass"!

The headline says it all... I passed my Moves test. Yay!

After my entry from last night, I did some shopping, grabbed some dinner, went back to the hotel and read/watched TV/surfed the web for a while, then went to bed around 11. I had a lot of trouble sleeping, I was very keyed up. I did sleep some but it was fitful. I tried not to think about it... and I mostly succeeded, actually. I didn't feel horribly tired for the test.

I finally got up around 7:30, checked out of the hotel, grabbed an Egg McMuffin and headed to the rink... I got there around 8:20 (Medford is a small place!). And waited... the rink didn't open until 8:45. Got in, paid for the FS session, got my skates on and was on the ice promptly at 9. I had 15 minutes with Donna to work on my stuff (she had 2 of her skaters testing as well, so she gave us each 15 minutes). Ran through most of the key points, then for the 30 minutes on my own I ran through pretty much everything. There were only 9 (I think) skaters testing (one of them was taking 2 tests, there were 10 tests total) so it wasn't that crowded compared to some I've been on -- but there was still a lot of room for "I'm sorry!" as we got in each other's way occasionally. Everyone was very courteous and kind. They are a really nice bunch at that rink.

After the practice ice I hung out in the lobby, ate an orange, and tried to relax. Wonder of wonders they were actually running slightly ahead of schedule (!) because they called the 3 of us for our warmup 3 minutes early! I had given a fair amount of thought to what I wanted to hit in the 5 minutes and I did some stroking with end crossovers, BXOs (good warmup), once around each side of the waltz-8, and some of the L side of the 3-turn pattern. I think I did some FXOs as well, just the CW (harder) ones. Then time was up.

I then waited while the two other skaters did their tests (I was last of the 3). The first skater was taking pre-juv moves and fell on the back perimeter crossovers... but she got up and continued and did a nice job recovering and not letting it affect her. They asked her to reskate those and she passed. Then the 2nd skater went on and I was just working on staying warm etc.

Finally it was my turn. The judge called me up to talk to me and told me since I'd been waiting so long she would give me 2 minutes to warm up some. What a godsend!! I quickly did some stroking with crossovers, back crossovers and and LFI3. Then we started. Below for each move are the judge's comments (in italics, with abbreviations expanded) and then my own. For comparison, check out the feedback from test #1 and test #2.
  • Forward perimeter stroking -- Your strokes give you good power Relax into the crossovers :-) . I felt pretty good about the stroking, I did a reasonable job (well, Donna might say differently :-)) of keeping my head up. I really felt the nerves though on the crossovers, my feet/ankles/knees were shaking a little and I was a little wobbly. I was soooo happy after I finished this move!
  • Basic consecutive edges -- FO: good push - nice edge FI: good edge - push good - good upper body control BO: good - watch posture BI: strong pushes! She also wrote a comment in the box to the left -- Don't be afraid of pushing into your edges - Edges are your friends! I've always considered my edges to probably be the strongest element of the test, and they tend to calm me down (always a good thing); so I was happy with them.
  • Forward and Backward Crossovers -- Forward: good xovers - both patterns Backward: xovers strong but scratchy - good transition work on mohawk entrance I was really happy with these comments, especially the "good transition" comment since I had worked on that (it was feedback from my Tuesday critique -- so that showed value right there!). The mohawk is not my strongest, although ironically it was not as bad as it has sometimes been. Oh well.. and of course my BXOs are scratchy so that was spot-on.
  • Waltz Eight -- Needs more push & speed -- more ankle -- watch pattern (she drew a diagram here) back edge should be longer Ha! Her comments leave out the story here! If you read the story of my first two tests you'll know I failed them both because I put my foot down on the waltz-8. In each case I lost my balance on the FO edge after the step forward, got a reskate of that element, and did it AGAIN. So... this move and I have history. When I had talked with Sonya about it I'd said something like "I'm not going to put my foot down no matter what! I'd rather fall." I said something similar to Donna before the test, noting that "besides, you get sympathy for a fall." Anyway... I started the move and the first side on each side went reasonably well, although as she noted I didn't hold the back edge as long as I should have (or as long as I have been in practice). So I started the 2nd time around on the L foot (it's 2x on each foot) feeling reasonably okay... and then I stepped forward and I was not on an FO edge, I was on an FI edge and could... not... get.. on an FO edge and I was struggling and losing my balance and hoping maybe I could just barely make it there anyway and I was NOT going to put my foot down... and so I fell! It was almost funny but not. Anyway. I got up and finished the move (did the R side) and went back to Donna, who gave me some encouragement that there was still another move to go and I had to put it behind me. I was thinking about her skater who had fallen on her move and what a great job she'd done of putting it behind her.
  • Forward Three-Turn Pattern -- 3's scratchy - watch body positions to check 3s I went into this and the left side... well, it's never been good. It certainly wasn't as bad as it has been but it was not great. The R side was better and then.. I was done! I went to talk to Donna but I was hoping they would ask me to reskate the waltz-8 and wondering if I could manage to fix it.
  • Reskate -- as I hoped, the judge called me over and asked me to reskate the waltz-8, just once around on each side. She also took time to say that it was not essential to return to center, that if necessary I could push before I reached center rather than fall :-). So with that, I went out and started the move... the step forward on the L side was a little wonky/unbalanced but I managed to fix it, then did the R side and it was fine. I skated back to the judge and asked her if she needed me to do anything else, and she said no, so I skated back to Donna and got off the ice. I was so happy! At that point, even if they didn't pass me I was just happy that I'd skated the dang waltz-8 and fixed it. I was really happy!
  • General comment -- at the very bottom of the form the judge wrote in, Love the blue laces! That made me smile!
So, after I got off the ice I went and talked to Donna in the lobby. I thanked her for helping me and gave her a card with a small thank-you gift and a check for her coaching. Then I got a picture of the two of us and sat and waited for the results... the runner came out and handed the forms to Donna and myself (they give you 2 copies at Medford, it's nice). I was a little afraid to look, but Donna looked, gave a big smile and fist-pump and said "you did it!"... PASS!

We went over the results and talked about them a bit, then I started to take my skates off etc. The runner came out and said the judge had asked me to stick around so she could talk to me. She came out a little later and gave me and Donna some feedback. The biggest points that I remember were her talking about posture (which is definitely something I need to work on) and also flexibility in the ankles and being able to use the ankles esp. on 3-turns. Good points to remember; when you see a good skater do a 3-turn it looks just like a little flick of the ankle and it's done. It's really all about the edge too (she talked about that at length also). Of course this is stuff I've heard before, but not quite put that way. I hope by writing it down I'll remember it later.

Anyway, after many thank-yous to the judge and Donna and the test chair I hit the road for home. It was a beautiful sunny day and I felt pretty sunny inside, too. As soon as I got in the car I texted Sonya and Kelli and a number of friends to let 'em know the good news.

I can't say enough about how nice the folks at Southern Oregon FSC were, and especially Donna. They were very kind and welcoming and made me feel at home. I really appreciate it.

So... now that it's over.. I'm pretty happy. More than that, I am just plain relieved and I feel very free! I think I didn't realize how much this test hanging over me was weighing me down. I'm so glad it's done and I can move on... like, to getting my spins solid and testing APB freeskate! Much to do... but for today, time to savor an accomplishment.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Foreign Ice

I'm in Medford. I drove up today and found the RRRink after a bit of confusion (there's been some freeway work that Google Maps didn't account for :-().

I got to the RRRink around 3:45. The competition was not quite over so I watched the last four skaters or so, then found Donna and introduced myself. Pam (the club's test chair) also introduced herself. There was a ceremony after the competition -- Tai Babilonia was at the rink to present an award (she lives in nearby Ashland!). I finally got on the ice around 4:40 or so and Donna and I had a half-hour lesson starting around 4:55. We went through the whole test, paying special attention to the W-8 and 3-turn pattern. Not surprisingly neither has improved much since yesterday :-); they are about the same. The ice at the RRRink is quite hard -- Sherwood's is fairly hard but the RRRink's is harder still. Since I had my blades sharpened just last week I felt fairly secure, though -- but I'm really glad I had some additional time to skate on this ice and get used to it.

Practice ice tomorrow morning at 9 for 45 minutes; then the testing starts at 10. There are only 10 skaters testing. I am warming up with2 other skaters (pre-juv and preliminary MIF) at 10:41 (I am last of the group to skate :-().

Friday, April 24, 2009

Club Ice

I skated club ice tonight as usual. It was pretty quiet since a lot of skaters are at the competition in Seattle this weekend. I went through all my moves and reminded myself of my various points to fix. I'm still concerned about the 3-turn pattern but there's nothing more I can really do about it.

I'm leaving for Medford tomorrow late morning. I'm supposed to have a lesson with Donna at the RRRink (what a great name!) after their competition is done, then off to check in to the hotel and relax, grab some dinner and maybe look around. I should be able to blog from the hotel since it has wi-fi.

3-Turn Pattern

Today's Moves lesson with Kelli, on the 8:15 FS. We spent all of our time working on the 3-turn pattern; mostly working on the same stuff as yesterday -- hold the check from the FI3, don't drop the shoulder on the exit from the FI3, collect the feet for the step forward and hold the position (L hand back, R hand forward) for a bit before the RFO3. Geez. For something that goes by so quickly we spent a lot of time on it! Oh well.

I've picked my music for Cactus Classic and will be sending it off to be cut next week. It's from the Apollo 13 soundtrack. It's pretty neat.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Moves Polishing

Today's lesson was on the 8:15 FS... as usual, excellent conditions. Before my lesson I warmed up with some BXOs, stroking, edges, and FO8/FI8. Today was all about applying some of the feedback from Tuesday's critique.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8/FI8 -- I showed Sonya my traces from my 8s and commented that I'm still crossing my circles at the center (they should not cross). She gave me some feedback on my push that should help.
  • FXOs -- mostly we focused on posture and the transition between circles, making it shorter. We made some good progress. On posture I doubt I'll be able to do much about it (it's a longstanding problem) but the transition is relatively easily fixed and I should be able to retain that.
  • BXOs -- mostly the transition. This is a little more challenging for me (I'm tending to get going pretty fast) but we got it pretty much where we want it.
  • 3-turn pattern -- we focused on the step forward to the FO3. I really need to bring the soon-to-be-skating foot in closer than I think and get a good step/push onto the FO. I also need to be sure to stop the rotation (check the FI3 better). We made some really good progress on this; I need to reinforce it tomorrow with Kelli.
  • BO/BI edges -- we looked at the pushoff (stepdown), trying to keep the feet closer. This is mostly an issue on the BI (although it's present on BO as well). I was able to bring my feet a lot closer together and I think it's a fix that will stick, so that's good.
  • Waltz-8 -- just a minute on this -- placement of the 3 is pretty good, I'm doing a reasonably good job of holding the BO edge (although another couple of feet would be nice!), on the step forward the same corrections apply as from the 3-turn pattern.
All in all a really good lesson. I need to reinforce some of this stuff tomorrow, then just relax and let it flow. Testing Sunday a.m.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Today I had the APB Moves critique at 5:45. I got to the rink early and was on the ice at 5:15 and had a good warmup. The judge (Joan) showed up around 5:40, so I went and talked to her briefly, then finished warming up. At 5:45 Sonya and I met up with her and we talked briefly about upcoming changes in the adult testing structure. I told Joan I am working on figures and she thought that was great. With that, we got started. The format was that I would do a move, then come back to talk to Joan and Sonya. They stood together at the door to watch, and Sonya took notes that she has promised to write up.
  • Stroking -- Joan had me come talk to her after the first one (CCW) and said that it was clear that I'd improved since my test (she was one of the judges from my November test). She reminded me that I need to keep my head up (especially on the crossovers, I do better on the straightaway) and to look confident and relaxed. Ha! So I went and did the CW stroking and it was better.
  • Edges -- I did the FO and FI edges and came back and talked. Joan thought they looked pretty good, good lobe size and good posture. Then I did BO and BI edges. Joan mentioned that I am really widestepping my push (esp. on BI but also BO) and that I need to keep my feet closer together.
  • FXOs -- Joan's feedback was mostly that my transitions take too long, and it made my L circle (CCW) bigger than my R circle (I start with the R). She asked me to do them again and I made some improvement I think.
  • BXOs -- Similar to the FXOs, main feedback (that I remember) was that I wait waaaay too long to start the 2nd circle. Joan suggested no more than a two count in the transition before starting the next circle. I tried it and it was shorter but not short enough.
  • Waltz-8 -- this actually went well (it's been my nemesis). Joan wanted me to hold the entrance and exit to the turn much longer, and to watch the step forward -- once again I'm not keeping my feet close (in spite of having worked on that a lot lately, grrr). She had me come back and just do some FO3s holding the entrance and exit and I held them realllly long, longer than I usually manage (Joan counted to 4 slowly). RFO3 not nearly as good as LFO3 in this respect.
  • 3-turn pattern -- we were really short on time by this point. I did the LFI side and it was dreadful, just dreadful, but I went on and did the other side which was merely bad for the first couple and then I made myself slow down and they were better (so yay me on that part). Came back and talked about it and worked it a bit with Sonya and Joan watching.
And with that we were out of time. We talked a little after and Joan gave me some encouragement and I thanked her and gave her a thank-you card. She asked me if I had any questions and I asked her what the single most important thing for me to remember would be and she said "confidence." She reiterated that a skater should come out looking confident and sending a message to the judges that "I know what I'm doing and I'm going to do it for you." I agree... and I think this is one of my weaknesses. Hmmm.

With that Joan left and Sonya had another lesson to give. I spent the remaining 25 minutes or so of the session working on some of the things Joan had mentioned, as well as a little time on toe loop and spins.

After the session was over, Sonya and I talked for several minutes about Joan's feedback and talked about what things we want to work on in the limited time we have available. After that we went to the pro shop to talk about ordering me a spinner. Sonya has suggested this several times and I had never wanted to, but now I'm thinking it's kind of stupid for me to not do this if it will help (and several people have suggested it probably will help). I was concerned that I don't have any safe place to work with it (my house is not big enough), but I realized I can take it into the yoga/pilates/aerobics room at the gym at work and use it there and there should be plenty of space.

All in all I was quite pleased, all things considered. I was kind of tired, and I had a really horrible day at work, and the session was quite busy, so for me to have done passably well (I think) in spite of all that gives me confidence that I can do okay on Sunday. I felt some irony in that many of the moves (especially FXOs and some aspects of the waltz-8) were the best I'd ever done. I guess that is a good thing, but it made me wonder what the feedback would have been like otherwise!

Special thanks to Karly for moving her lesson time so I could have Sonya at this time. Also a number of folks both at Sherwood and also my Tucson homies have been really supportive. It means a lot.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Zoo

I skated the afternoon public session as usual. I skated for an hour and 15 minutes (until the Z-break), then took my skates to be sharpened. After that I skated another 30 minutes. A lot of skating for today!

I had a pretty good skate. Worked on toe loop and also some time on RBO pivot. I'm such a chicken on these but did get myself to do a couple where I got maybe 3/4 around. Need to keep working them... Also some time on spins, very frustrating until the very end when I got a couple decent ones (2.5 revs). Besides the usual (don't go in too fast), I had to remind myself to go in with a more bent knee and not straighten too fast. That really helped.

Figures Class #10

There were only 5 of us for today's class. Today was a follow-on to last week; we worked on "stacking" circles. Unlike last week's lesson (staggering), in stacking circles you choose your center by moving along the major axis of the previous skater's circles. So, it's easier than staggering. We worked on this and I did pretty well, although the first time around I couldn't see my center mark and it wasn't so great -- but I was able to fix it the 2nd time around. This led to a good discussion about what to do when your first circles aren't so great. The answer is to fix them the 2nd time and then stick to that fix. Don't just pick a new center.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Club Ice

I skated club ice tonight. I had missed for a couple of weeks due to other commitments so it was nice to be back. It was a fairly crowded session ( I think there were 16 skaters and 3 coaches) but it was fun. I had a pretty good skate; I worked a lot on toe loop and spins. Unfortunately I only got a couple of decent spins; the rest were up on the toe again. I spent some time working on my RBO pivot in hopes it would help me with the toe loop. I did get a couple decent toe loops, yay!.

I talked with Sonya and Kelli before the session and we have some consensus on music for my program. I'm going to take the weekend to think about it. Sonya is going to send me the info on getting it cut (she is not cutting music anymore but has someone who she says does a great job) and also double-check the APB program time. I think it's 1:40 but I'm not positive (don't have a current rulebook, mine is a year old).

Test Prep

Today's Moves lesson with Kelli on the 8:15 FS. Before we started I did some FI8s in an arbitrary spot on the ice. They looked really good! Tracings were pretty close, usually 3 - 6 inches and often less. Centering was good. The only real issue was on the RFI8 the back half of the circle didn't line up very well with the circle from the other foot; it was a bit shallow.

Today's lesson:
  • Stroking -- I'm getting a little toepushing creeping in, need to be sure to push from the arch/middle of the blade. Need to bend knees more on the FXOs and push more to the side (esp. on CW), not so much back.
  • Edges -- FO and FI pretty good. BO I need to keep a little straighter and not let the rotation get in too earlier, especially on the L foot; and of course work to hold the foot in front or at least at the side longer. FI not too bad, but same comment about rotation.
  • FXOs -- Bend knees more and roll the ankle for a softer cross; push more out and not so much back.
  • BXOs -- Need to keep working to reach for a true BO edge on the CCW BXOs and to "stay seated" as Kelli always says. I got going really fast doing these and it was a little scary :-).
That's all we had time for today. After my lesson I worked on waltz-8 some more and a little bit of 3-turn pattern. Waltz-8 is coming along; I worked on holding the BO edge longer and straighter across the top (esp. on the R side). It's coming along.

I'm pondering making "flash cards" to remind me of 1 or 2 (no more) key points for each move to take to the test, since Sonya will not be there to put me on.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

3-Turn Pattern, Spins, Toe Loop

Today's lesson was on the 8:15 FS. Before my lesson I gave Sonya a CD with some music (there were 13 pieces), candidates for program music for Cactus Classic in Scottsdale. We also discussed some issues with my test (eep, it's coming up soon!).

Today's lesson:
  • 3-turn pattern-- I told her about the issues I had been having with the back lobe, so we started by working on back perimeter XOs and got that issue fixed. I think it's a combination of things, I need to straighten the one leg fully and really bend the knee on the other leg to really get my weight shifted all the way over. After that we worked on the pattern. My L side was a bit wonky and I'm still bending over a bit coming out of the LFI3. I was doing a better job on the step forward to the RFO3 though.
  • Spins -- we started with 2-foot spins. Sonya had me try a couple of different options for starting, neither of which I liked very much. I was having some issues with them. We eventually moved on to the 1-foot spin. Bleah. Not much progress there.
  • Toe loop -- just a quick look at these. Sonya suggested I spend more time working on the RBO pivot and also exercises on the boards to get the draw through to improve.
After my lesson I worked on most of my moves. Of course, I got a really terrific 2-foot spin since Sonya wasn't there to observe.. grr.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual and had a reasonably good skate. I worked most of my moves (at least briefly). They all look good except that the back lobe on the L side of the 3-turn pattern was just awful. I could not get my weight shifted all the way to the left foot. I tried it in the pattern and then I tried just doing back perimeter XOs and either way it just wasn't happening. On the positive side the LFI3 -> RFO3 was actually relatively controlled. I was pretty happy with that.

I worked on toe loop and spins also. Spins... eh. Not happening tonight. Toe loop, on the other hand, is coming along nicely. I got 2 that were not cheated. Yay!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Skate

I skated for an hour at the afternoon public session. Since it was Easter it was pretty uncrowded :-). I had just an okay skate, though. I worked a lot on spins (not much doing there), toe loop (ditto), waltz-8 and 3-turn pattern. I have definitely improved my 3-turn pattern a bit since I'm remembering to bring my foot in before I step forward after the LFI3. Not widestepping means I am generally on an actual RFO, which means the whole thing works better. Yay me :-)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday Zoo

As usual I skated the afternoon public session for about an hour and 15 minutes. I had a pretty good skate! Worked a lot on toe loop -- I really love doing toe loops! Only got a couple that weren't cheated but overall my rhythm and timing continue to improve. Worked a lot on spins, and got two that were about 3.5 revs! The rest were all over the place, I have no consistency at all on these yet. The only general principles that I can figure for doing the better vs. worse ones is to slowly straighten the knee like Sonya told me, to come in slower, and to bring the arms together better.

I also spent some time on LFI3 and the LFI3 side of the 3-turn pattern. I realized (again, I think, I'm pretty sure I've noted this before) that I want to do the RFO3 quickly because I'm not really balanced over my R side to do it well; this is also partly because I'm widestepping the step forward. So I worked on holding the LBO edge, then bringing the foot to the instep (like Leone told me) and stepping forward. This resulted in RFO3s that were at least not quite so rushed, even if they were still a little rough.

Figures Lesson #9

There were 7 of us for class today. We worked on layout for competition -- staggered circles. So if one person starts at a specific circle, the next person has to choose a center that's not along either axis from the person before. The 3rd has to choose a center that's not lined up with either of those and doesn't overlap their circles too much, etc. It was interesting. I choose what I thought was an okay spot for my circles but after I started (we were just doing FO8) I realized that I forgot one of the other cardinal rules for figures -- stay away from the ends of the rink! The ice on the ends is often bumpy (it certainly was today!). Oh well! Actually while my center wasn't so great my circles were traced fairly closely so I was pretty happy with them.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Stroking & 3-Turn Pattern

Today's moves lesson with Kelli, on the 8:15 FS:
  • Stroking -- we talked about the test and Kelli asked me what I'm least comfortable with and I told her how nervous I get about stroking, especially the FXOs on the ends since I'm going fast. So we worked on it for a while. Kelli says my actual stroking is pretty nice. My CW FXOs are a bit clunky (no surprise there) and we worked on that a bit.
  • 3-turn pattern -- the bulk of our lesson. We started off and I did a really nice LFI3 - RFO3... and then it was quickly downhill from there. For some reason I could not for the life of me convince myself to do a good back lobe, so from there the next LFI3 lobe was ukky and it just got worse. I went ahead and did the whole pattern (so I felt good about that at least), then we came back and started working on fixing things. I'm tending to lean forward into the FI3, which is why I'm a bit off-balance coming out and then it's hard to step forward. We made a little progress on that and we pretty much fixed the back lobe back to how it used to be (like, earlier this week!). Sheesh.
After my lesson I spent some time on spins and toe loop. No good spins (sheesh, this is disturbing), a couple of almost-good toe loops.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Toe Loop!

Today's lesson was on the 8:15 FS. Before my lesson I was working on my FO8 and FI8 and they are actually doing quite well. It's very gratifying. Sonya and I also talked at length about testing etc. It looks like I can either test my APB FS on 5/24 or 6/14. We will decided in early May which we will do. Sonya can't be at the 5/24 test session, unfortunately.
  • Toe Loop -- started off with these. Still working on bringing the feet together. I did have a couple where I actually did get my takeoff in line with my toepick, which counts as a REAL TOE LOOP! I was very happy. Now if I could just do that all the time! Sonya also had me try waltz/toe loop and toe loop/toe loop combos. The first wasn't too bad, actually. The second was a bit rougher but went okay. I'll keep working on it. We both agreed that the toe loop should be usable for my program in July. Salchow... we would need to spend a lot more time on it so we'll see.
  • Spins -- my main point of concern for FS testing at this point. Sonya's main feedback was that I'm rising too quickly in the spin so I throw myself off balance. I'm trying to go into it slower as well. I didn't really get any good ones today though, which was disheartening. I just need to keep plugging away I guess.
  • BXOs -- Sonya's pleased with my progress on these, and so am I. The CCW ones are still too rough but they are improving. Sonya reminded me to take my time, really pull the crossing foot across and not be in such a hurry to move the back foot across for the next stroke.
  • Inside spread eagle -- we spent a couple of minutes on these because Sonya says I need more options for connecting steps in programs. Eeep! These are scary and I have a hard time getting myself to try them. I'm sure we will revisit.
After the lesson we talked about spirals and lunges and how I'm stretching. Sonya showed me a glutes stretch (mostly looks like a pyriformis stretch I know) and also a hamstring stretch (just a forward stretch on a ballet bar or whatever's handy, being sure to keep the hips square).

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I skated the 6 p.m. FS as usual today. Worked on moves (stroking, w-8, 3-turn, edges, etc.) and spent the last half or so on toe loop and spins. I'm getting a nice rhythm on the toe loop but I'm worried that I have something wrong, I've not had a lesson on it in a month or so. Hopefully I will get my lesson this week (if work doesn't interfere :-(). Spins... I only got a couple okay 2-rev spins at the end after a lot of bad ones. Grrr.

Monday, April 06, 2009

YAMR & Testing Update

That's Yet Another Moves Runthrough. I skated the 8:15 FS and after a 15 minute warmup, I did a runthrough of the Adult Pre-Bronze Moves test. It took me about 18 minutes. The summary:

  • Stroking -- I know it's dumb, but this is probably my least favorite. Weirdly enough I had some issues with the CCW stroking (should be the easiest!) and only did two crossovers on the end instead of 3. The CW was actually better. How bizarre!
  • Edges -- these were fine. BO edges still need more work to hold the free foot in front, but they are passable I think.
  • FXOs & BXOs -- passable. I still need to work more on getting down in the knees, especially on the BXOs and especially on the weaker side.
  • Waltz-8 -- I had to do these twice as the only other skater on the ice (!) decided to start her program exactly where I wanted to do my w-8, twice. Oh well. The L sides were pretty good, the R side a little weak. Still, passable (didn't put the foot down!).
  • 3-turn pattern -- L side was not so great (although it probably would pass). I'm not sure why I was so off but it was pretty ukky, especially the back lobes. The R side was better as usual.
All in all I think it would probably pass as-is but I would still like to improve things a bit. After the runthrough I spent some time working on the problem elements (did a lap of CCW stroking, a waltz-8, and some 3-turn pattern). Then I worked on toe loop and spins. I did get one relatively good spin and a bunch of not-so-good ones.

On the toe loop, I had a realization that I was tending to jump "out" and not "up" so I decided to try fixing that, and I had some good success. I'm getting some nice spring out of this, though it would be nice if I could do that and also bring my feet together. Grrr.

Sonya and I had a talk last night about testing, considering the dates that are available and my goal to compete at Cactus Classic in Scottsdale in late July. I need to pass at least the APB moves and freestyle tests to compete (it's really, really doubtful I could pass any of the Bronze test at this point). We decided to shoot for the next test slot available, which is down in Medford (southern OR) on April 26. Sonya will not be able to come but she has a coach friend who may be able to put me on the ice.

The advantage of that date is that a) if all goes well it's out of the way, and b) if it doesn't I could still test again May 24th at Mountain View (28 day rule). I'm thinking I should pass this time. What a relief that will be! Then it's on to passing the FS test and... oh yes, learning a program! Eeeep, lots to do!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Saturday Zoo

I skated the public session as usual today for an hour and 15 minutes. I worked a lot on toe loop and spins, some on waltz-8 and 3s. I got a couple of decent spins so that made me happy. I think the biggest thing holding me back on these now is that I'm still not getting my R side around. Still it was a good skate and I was happy with it. I also did an amazingly great 2-foot spin, the first one I'd done in a while, 4+ revs and solid. Yay!

Figures Lesson #8

Today was the start of the new semester for Figures. There were 6 of us, Kelli was teaching. I worked on FO8, FI8 and waltz-8. I did my own circles (no scribe for me!) and I have to say I've gotten fairly good at doing my own (at least, fairly good for where I'm at). My FO8 and FI8 are coming along nicely, but my biggest problem is consistency. Still, since I'd not skated since Tuesday (I was sick this week and had to cancel my lessons with Sonya and Kelli) I was happy. Waltz-8 is coming along, my 3s are improved and placement is now acceptable to me, biggest area to work on is the step forward and keeping the circle a circle and not making it an egg :-).