Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Edges & Waltz-8

Today's figures lesson was on the Chandler coffee club session as usual. There was a hockey game going on on the ice usually used for coffee club, but the staff told me that that's where the session would be. After a while I figured out that the game was only in the 2nd period, went back, and yes, the session was on the other sheet. "Sorry, we didn't know". Geez.

Today's lesson:
  • F edges -- started with these since I was warming up. They were a bit rough but improved. Outside edges in particular are a bit rough.
  • B edges -- we had not looked at these before. BO edges not so great, I have a really hard time holding that position. It was hard for me in FS blades so of course it's not going to be easier in patch blades! We worked a bit on holding that position (BO edge, free foot in front) -- it's still a problem area for me that needs work. BI edges were actually amazingly good, so we moved on.
  • waltz-8 -- Lynne asked to look at these, even though I can't do 3s in my patch blades yet. I am working on 3s in my FS blades -- I should ask JJ whether he wants me to work on them in patch also or wait until I've made some improvements in FS first. Anyway we looked at them with me doing a two-foot turn in place of the 3. They are about as stinky as ever.
  • FI8 -- finished up with these. I need to push better, but other than that not so bad.
After my lesson I spent some time working on my pushoff. The RF glide from push is a lot weaker so I worked it for a while and it improved a bit. I need more practice. Next week things should be back to "normal".

I had a couple of dumb falls today, once in the waltz-8 (step forward) and once on something else. No harm no foul, it just always amuses me. I think this was the first time I fell in front of Lynne, so at least she knows I'm not fragile :-).

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jumps & Spins

Today's lesson on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert as usual. Session was much more crowded than usual (school is out), probably 12+ skaters and 4 or 5 coaches on the ice, including a dance team at the end. Skate buddy Melissa was on this session too, it was nice to see her! It's been a while. What with the holidays I had not skated since last Wednesday (!) but in spite of that I warmed up pretty quickly and had a good skate.

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- still working on control of the entry and keeping the leg back and out. These actually were surprisingly good. I'm doing a better job of keeping over the L side. When I bring the leg in I'm not keeping the edge very well though. I did a couple of good 2-rev spins. Once was quite slow and controlled, which I found encouraging (I can speed it up later).
  • waltz jump -- we'd not looked at these in quite some time. I wasn't too happy with them because I wasn't too consistent with them -- not getting good spring and the landings were not as solid as they have been. Still we made some improvements toward getting them back to where they have been.
  • toe loop -- again we had not looked at these in a while. Still cheated. I'm getting good spring off of the toe, though. We worked a lot on the entry, since it appears that part of my issue with cheating it is not being on a good solid edge after the 3.
And that was all we had time for.... I need more ice time! I know I will get more time in starting next week, it's just been frustrating.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Figure Frustration

I had my lesson with Lynne at Chandler coffee club as usual. At the beginning of the session there were 3 skaters (there were more later) and we were all working on figures! It was amusing to see.

Today's lesson:
  • FI8/FO8 -- the bulk of our time. Partly because I'd not practiced since my lesson (trips, sickness, general Christmastime rush) they were just not good. We worked a lot on my push to get my knee bent more (a lot more) which helped a bit. I'm still having trouble getting a really good edge and *keeping* it. It always amazes me how much harder this is on patch blades -- one minute I'm good and then I'm flat, and skidding. It's really tough. So besides working on the push we also worked on trying to keep my body position consistent. Lynne emphasized that I really need to not hunch forward, but keep a nice upright line (what Kelli would have called "staying seated"). When I can actually feel like I have my body position and placement correct it's really great but it was not happening (much) today.
  • Serpentine -- we worked on these just a little at the end, working on the change of edge. We just worked FIO since I was having a lot of issues with my FO edges earlier. These need a lot of work; I tend to initiate the edge change okay but not getting my weight shifted enough to get firmly on an outside edge. Grrr.
This was a very frustrating lesson. I feel like I am making no progress.. but I reminded myself that I have had very little practice in my patch blades and it's unrealistic to think that the little time I've had in them is going to produce results. I need a lot more time on them. Next week I will start having more (and more consistent) practice time.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Today's lesson was on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert... we've agreed this is our usual time slot. It was a bit more crowded than in the past since school is out, but quite do-able.

Today's lesson:
  • Power-3s -- I suggested we work on these since I'd not had a chance to skate since last week and we've been hitting freestyle pretty hard. So we spent the whole lesson on these and there's a lot to do! We worked a lot on my nemesis, controlling the placement of my 3s. We made some good progress on this! We also worked on starting the R side of the pattern which I have tended to avoid (bad skater!). Still much to do on these and they are very slow... but some definite improvement.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just Figures

I had my first figures lesson with Lynne today, on the coffee club session at Chandler. It's a good environment for this since there were about 5 or 6 skaters and 2 coaches on the session and the ice was freshly surfaced before. Lynne brought her scribe but we did not wind up using it.

Today's lesson:
  • FO/FI edges -- I was working on these to start with so of course Lynne wanted to look at them. We worked on getting my weight placed a bit further back on the blade (I was too far forward), getting a better push (get feet closer together at the start) and especially keeping the free shoulder/hip back until the rotation at the top of the lobe. These were pretty rusty to start with but improved quite a bit by the time we were done.
  • FO8/FI8 -- as usual my circle size and tracking are reasonably good (at least for now) but my push and body position are lacking. Many of the same issues as on my edges. I'm amused that there's a definite dip in the middle of the rink that I didn't really notice in my FS blades but in patch blades it becomes quite obvious!
All in all I think we did some good work. I clearly need to get more practice time in my patch blades, though, if I am going to make progress. Alas, that's not happening this week :-( but after the holiday crush I am going to try for an additional hour of patch time per week in addition to Wednesdays, perhaps half an hour at coffee club and another half hour or 45 minutes after my FS lesson. I would try Friday mornings but the ice quality at that session would be too frustrating.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Private Ice

My lesson with JJ was at 7:45 this morning (7:30 session). I had private ice! There was one skater on the session before me but she left at 7:30 and I had the ice all to myself the whole session... whee!

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- pretty much what we worked on last week, but trying to solidify things. JJ is making me keep the leg out and this seems to make me slow things down a bit so that I'm not hitting my toepick so much. I had a good 2-rev spin and a couple others that were not bad. It's a work in progress but the entrance is a lot stronger and like JJ says we have to get that right before we can get what follows. I'm encouraged.
  • salchow -- again, pretty much like last week. I made some pretty good progress though! I did a couple that were not too bad, though the landing wasn't on the same curve as the entrance. I'm holding the BI edge though and jumping at more-or-less the right time/place. I'm slowly getting a feel for the timing on this jump. I'm very encouraged.
And that was all we had time for! A very encouraging lesson. Unfortunately with the upcoming holiday and an out of town trip I will probably only skate tomorrow (figures lesson) before my lesson next week.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Patch Blades, Oh My!

I skated the 8:15 a.m. FS at Chandler this morning. It's my regularly scheduled time but between my trip last week and having been off the ice for a while, I'd not been at this session for like 6 weeks!

Had an okay skate, it took me a while to warm up. Worked mostly bronze moves -- my 3s were not cooperating at all today (I was actually working on the power-3s) so I spent some time just on them and improved them a little bit. A little time on salchow but I couldn't get back to where I was in my lesson on Tuesday so I will have to ask JJ to go back over them again.

For the last 15 minutes of the session I put on my patch blades since I have a figures lesson with Lynne next Wed. My notes say I had not worn them since February! Eeep. Actually it was not quite as bad as I was expecting (didn't even fall) but it did take a good 10 minutes just to be able to even move comfortably. Grrr. Ice was not so good so I just worked on edges and that was plenty for now.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Beginning Again, Yet Again

I had my first regular lesson with JJ this morning. The plan is that JJ will be my primary coach, working on freestyle and moves. I'm going to work with Lynne on figures and perhaps on moves at times as needed. I'll start those lessons next week due to a schedule conflict on my part. Lessons with JJ will be either Tuesday or Thursday mornings in Gilbert. Lessons with Lynne will be Wednesdays at coffee club in Chandler.

Conditions for the lesson this morning were very nice, most of the time only 3 skaters on the ice. I was on the ice at 8:15 to warmup and our lesson was at 8:30 (session is 8:15 - 9 a.m.). I had not skated since last Friday but felt reasonably good. I warmed up with Bronze moves.

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- we had not looked at these in our intro lesson. I did one for him and from that he had me work first on two-foot spins from feet together (not from a pivot), working on not getting the upper body ahead of the hip and lower body. After some work this way we worked on them from a pivot. My first one from the pivot was really nice! JJ pointed out that my problem with going onto my toepick is because my upper body is getting ahead of my hip. Interesting. We went on to do a one-foot spins from the windup and had some success although I'm still bailing too quickly. JJ asked me to try to hold the free leg/foot out to balance me out on the outside edge before I hook the spin. I was actually able to do this to some extent (which surprised me).
  • waltz jump -- we went on to these. The first couple were not so good, I was not really getting down in my knee before the jump and the landing was somewhat on the flat and wonky. After that I managed to do a couple of nice ones where I had better setup and the landing was really nice.
  • salchow -- I didn't really want to look at these (I'd have rather looked at toe loop) but JJ thought we should. First he had me try one from the mohawk entrance I've been using and it was about as bad as I remembered. Then he had me try one from the LFO3 and while it had most of the same issues at least it wasn't a "spin-cow". JJ told me to think of the jump itself as just another 3-turn (after the intro 3) into a waltz jump. this really helped, for some reason, and I managed two or three that (while not good) at least took off a lot sooner and landed more-or-less in the right direction.
And with that we were out of time! I was really excited about my progress on the salchow.

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Visit "Home"

So I'm on vacation in Portland, a quick trip up here to visit friends. "Home" is in quotes because while I never really felt at home in general in PDX, I do have to say that I did feel very at home at the rink in Sherwood and I do miss my skater homegirls, skaters, skater moms/dads and coaches here very much.... they are such wonderful people! It's been a great visit though much too short.

Friday a.m. I got to the rink at the tail end of the 8:15 FS and got to see Karly and Emmy working on their routine for the holiday show. After that I had a nice breakfast with Sonya and a wonderful convo. Back to the rink for coffee club (see below), then off to change etc. and back to the rink at 5:30 for the holiday show.

I'd forgotten what a big deal the show is at Sherwood! Well, at least I'd forgotten how quickly the parking lot fills up and they have people out directing you where to park! Seriously!

It was a WONDERFUL show. So many great moments... Karly and Emmy's routine ("Cool Yule") came off wonderfully well, complete with the flip-over and some other really cool tricks. Nice unison in their jumps and wonderful presentation. Besides that so many other people I knew performed.... Alee, Kayla, Carrie, Erika, all 3 Fernandi (lol), Annie & Alyssa, Sierra & Casey, the production team... it was awesome. Amy and Madison sat w/me and we had fun.

After the show a bunch of us went out for dinner and had a wonderful time.

Karlyism for the day... at dinner I was explaining how I thought the song lyric was "like my eyeball's stuck on replay" when it's actually "like my iPod's stuck on replay" (yes, I am dumb that way); and Karly just looks at me and says "Gordon, Gordon, what are we going to do with you?" :-)

The Old Ice

I'm on vacation in Portland, and I skated coffee club at Sherwood. A very empty session but I did get to see several people I knew, which was nice. Worked a little on Bronze Moves and a couple of jumps. Still trying to take it easy so nothing too major. The ice had been freshly surfaced before the session... OMG I had mostly forgotten just how spoiled I'd been at SIA! The ice was SO gorgeous. Just beautiful and so much better than the ice I've been getting back in AZ. *sigh* On the other hand it was a bit colder even than usual for SIA, a crisp 36 degrees! Woo!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Easing Back In

I skated at coffee club today at Chandler, just 45 minutes. I took it easy, mostly worked on moves. I did do a really really nice waltz jump straight off the bat! I should have left it at that, the second one wasn't as good.

I saw Linda, who used to coach in Tucson and is up once in a while. It was really nice to see her! I also saw Lynne briefly and talked with her about lessons in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Cleared For Takeoff

I went to the podiatrist again this morning and he says things are looking good and I can start easing back into my routine (his emphasis was on "easing" as in "don't start doing all the stuff you used to do all at once!").

I'm going to be traveling a lot in the next couple of weeks so I won't get too much time to skate anyway but I'm looking forward to getting back on the ice, perhaps even tomorrow!