Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

BO8s & Waltz-8

Today's figures lesson on the Chandler coffee club as usual.

Today's lesson:
  • BO8s -- I'd wanted to look at these last week but we didn't get to it.  Since the BO8 attacks one of my big weaknesses (holding the BO edge with the free foot in front) we spent some time on it.  Aaaaah!  It's so hard for me to hold this position without hunching over!  We also worked on the push a bit to try to get right to the outside edge so there's no flatting, and to try to keep the skating knee soft.  We did make some progress but there's a lot to do here.
  • Waltz-8 -- having spent all that time on the BO edge we went back to these.  They continue to (slowly) improve; I have more control on the step forward, but still usually step to a flat (at best) not an FO.  Grrr. 
All in all a pretty good lesson but there's so much to do, it is frustrating sometimes.  I fell a number of times on the step forward which I had not done in a while.  Oh well!

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      Tuesday, June 29, 2010


      I skated Chandler coffee club as usual for patch practice.  After this morning's "eeyore" skate I was a bit apprehensive, but I had a pretty good skate.  Getting a smidge more control on the waltz-8; also worked a bit on back edges as well as the usual time on F8s.

      Eeyore Skate

      I skated the 8:30 a.m. FS at Chandler this morning ... like last week, pretty busy though not as bad as last Friday.  Pretty hoppin' though.

      I had a pretty awful skate.  My spins were really, really horrible (and after they were not bad last night!), I only managed one "okay" sal, biffed several more and fell on one.  Geez.  I tried a program runthrough and that was pretty bad as well. Geez.

      Monday, June 28, 2010

      Perseverance/Costume Stuff

      I skated the 5:10 FS at Gilbert as usual.  Before the session I had a chance to talk to JJ about costume stuff.  We have a couple of different options we're going to pursue.  Also I am going to have my lesson this week on Thursday, then 2 lessons next week, and one each the week of the 12th and 19th (which is the week of the competition).  So I have 5 lessons left... eeep.

      I had a reasonably good skate, got some good spins (and some not so good).  Did 2 salchows but couldn't really get myself to do more :-(.  I don't know what is up with this but I told JJ and we will work on it on Thursday.

      Friday, June 25, 2010


      I skated Chandler coffee club as usual for patch practice.  FO edges were being stinky :-(.  Cheryl gave me some helpful feedback though -- she was watching my waltz-8 and mentioned that when I turn my head to look (before the step forward) I'm turning my whole upper body and it's throwing my balance off.  I think I knew this subconsciously but I never thought of it that way.  Anyway I tried to just turn my head and it really helped!  I'm still stepping to a flat or FI for the most part but it does help the step forward to be a bit smoother and less scary.  Cool!

      FS Zoo

      I skated the 8:30 a.m. FS at Chandler today... wow!  I haven't skated a session that busy in a lonnnng time.   It was even busier than the old Tuesday evening FS at Sherwood!  I counted 16 skaters and 7 coaches.  It was pretty intimidating at first but it settled down and/or I adjusted.  On the positive side it was... invigorating.  Lots of energy and I actually got to play a good chunk of my 80s mix CD per Juliana's request :-).  I had to smile a little since the music was older than most of the skaters!

      I worked my usual stuff, though I only did 2 salchows.  The first was just okay and the second was a bit rough  but it was actually in the context of a program runthrough that I did at the end of the session when it was a little quieter.  I had a number of pretty good spins which was very encouraging.  I also worked a little bit on a mohawk step sequence that JJ had given me a long time ago that I think he might want to use for the second half of the program.

      Thursday, June 24, 2010


      I had intended to skate this morning but I got back from a trip verrrry late so I slept in.  As it happens my usual 1 p.m. meeting at work was canceled so I skated at coffee club.  It was weird to be there at coffee club with my freestyle blades... but kinda fun!

      I had a pretty good skate.  Worked on waltz jump at speed... it's happening but very sloppy and not much "jump".  Grr.  Salchows.. did a couple of good ones, then several I couldn't get to happen, so I took a break from them, had a talk with myself (lol) and came back and did 2 or 3 decent ones.   I'll call that progress.

      I'm realizing that Cactus is now just a month away, and I only have like 5 lessons left... eeep.  I really need to get the waltz-salchow sequence solid and that's going to take some time.  Still looking for a shirt to wear also. Grr.

      Wednesday, June 23, 2010


      Today's figures lesson on Chandler coffee club as usual.  The session was very deserted -- most of the adults were in the patch class on the other sheet so when Lynne and I started my lesson it was just us and one other skater.  Pretty neat!

      We spent the whole lesson working on layouts -- starting on clean ice with a start that was not on any line or mark.  We did about 5 different layouts, I think it was 3 or 4 for FI8 and 1 or 2 for FO8.  In general it went pretty well!  I still need a bit more control especially on the FO8, and I need to be careful about not cutting off the bottom of the circle on the FO8s.  In general, though, I am doing a pretty good job of getting my circles the right size, getting back to center, and tracing my previous circles.  I was pretty happy with it.

      Here's a pretty neat article about figures way back when.  Czech it out!

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      Tuesday, June 22, 2010


      I skated Chandler coffee club as usual for patch practice.  I was a bit distracted today for some reason so I wasn't as focused as I should have been.  Still I got some good work on F8s and waltz-8 and also did a little bit of back edges for the first time in a while.

      We all had some excitement (the bad kind) when newbie skater Amy fell and hurt her ankle (she twisted it underneath her :-() and she needed some help to get off the ice.  That kind of thing always stinks :-(.  I hope she doesn't get too discouraged.

      Spins, Whoa!

      I got my butt out of bed at 6:30 and skated the 7 a.m. FS at Chandler (no lesson this week since JJ is on vacation).  About 10 or 11 skaters and 5 coaches I think. 

      After my warmup, I did several spins... and the first 4 in a row were all quite good!  "Only" 2 revs or so but nicely centered and they felt... comfortable.  Of course this freaked me out :-) and of the next 3 only 1 was good.  Still... I think I did like 24 spins and probably 2/3 were pretty good.  Wow!  I'm hopeful this will "stick". 

      Other than that (which made me really happy) the other highlight ("lowlight"?) was that I am still struggling with my salchow.  I only had 2 okay ones and several where I didn't really jump.  I really need to work with JJ on this when I get back.  I think it's mental, but still... gaaah.

      Monday, June 21, 2010


      I skated the 5:10 FS at Gilbert as usual.  I had intended to skate this morning instead... but I slept in.  Oh well.

      I had a decent skate.  I'm trying to overcome my block on the salchow.  I did like 4, plus two more that didn't really jump.  Hmmph.   The ones that more-or-less work feel pretty spinny and I'm worried that I'm just doing a "spin-cow" but maybe that's what I have to do for now.  No lesson this week (JJ is on vacation) so my goal is to get the waltz-salchow combo workable.  Eeeep.

      Spins... about the same.  Waltz, toe.. about the same.  Didn't get to run my program today.  Eeep.

      Before the session I was talking with Sarah's mom and she said that it seems like I've made good progress since I started working with JJ.  I am so bad at taking compliments!  I don't know that I remembered to say "thank you".  Grr.  I have to work on that.  It was nice to hear though!

      Friday, June 18, 2010

      Perseverance Pt. 2

      As usual, skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  I had a pretty good skate! Spent about 40 minutes (yes, 40 minutes) on FO8/FI8, starting at various places on the ice. I'm trying to get more control over my upper body and have it be quiet/still.  It's getting a little better.  Spent the last few minutes on waltz-8, these continue to improve but the FO edge after the step forward (it is still more like a flat most of the time ) is wildly uncontrolled.    I build up a lot of speed.  I think I really need to be more deliberate and think of it as a step and not a push :-).


      I skated the 8:30 a.m. FS at Chandler this morning.  With the new schedule there is a Z-break right before this session, which is nice.  The timing is a bit inconvenient but oh well..

      I had a pretty good skate!  Worked on all my stuff.  Ran my program once, was setting up the waltz jump and had to abort due to a girl coming at me... too bad it was going to be good! Oh well.  I also worked just the very beginning several times so the 2-foot spin is a bit faster now.  And I spent some timing trying to work out an end move.  Hmm.

      Spins were cooperating a little more than usual today, while I didn't get any really good ones I got quite a few that were 2 revs and relatively controlled, at least.  Hmmph.  And I managed to do my 5 sals although they were rather inconsistent.  There is just not time to do everything I want/need to do in an hour!

      Wednesday, June 16, 2010

      I'm Famous (Again)!

      So... there is a small writeup on me in the June/July issue of US Figure Skating's magazine, Skating.  It's on page 13.  It's about skaters who blog (or bloggers who skate).  I don't think it's available online.  Czech it out!


      Today's figures lesson on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  They seem to be taking more time with the Z-break these days and the ice is a bit better than it had been.

      Today's lesson:
      • FO8 -- we spent 2/3 of the lesson on these, and laid them out in 3 different spots on the ice.  I am getting pretty decent at choosing arbitrary spots on the ice and skating from them, which is good :-).  FO8 was not too bad today although I am pretty inconsistent and I still need to work on controlling my upper body better.  The actual edge is getting better though.
      • FI8 -- finished up with these -- boy, these are a breeze after the FO8s!  Sooo much more comfortable although I am still fighting that free hip too often on the LFI8.  I need to just think of tucking the free foot/ankle in behind after the push and that seems to help a lot.
      The figures competition in Portland is coming up!  Less than 2 months to go and I have a lot of work to do if I can hope to be competitive on the FO8 and FI8 (just doing those two figures).

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      Tuesday, June 15, 2010


      I skated coffee club at Chandler as usual for patch practice.  Didn't get any patch time on Friday so it had been a little while and my FO edges were a bit rough at first.  Waltz-8 is coming along well, the biggest issue now is to try to get the "FO" edge (quotes because it's often a flat or even an FI) under control so that I can continue.  Several falls today including a dumb one on FO8 -- hit a big bump in the ice and went right over.  Oh well!


      Today's lesson on the 7 a.m. FS at Gilbert as usual.  This is a pretty good session, only 5 skaters and maybe 4 coaches.  It fills up pretty dramatically at 7:45 though :-).  There was a pretty nasty collision right when my lesson was starting -- a girl was doing the Junior back power circles and slammed into another girl on the glide-out.  They both fell down and the smaller girl (that was hit) was kind of shaken up, but they were both fine.

      Today's lesson focused entirely on the program.  We worked through the first part and I managed to pretty much do it (wow this needs more work!) including a good waltz jump at speed.  Then we worked on the second part a bit including a good (but of course, still cheated :-() toe loop at speed.  For the end it's looking like I'll do a lunge-3 (LFO3 in lunge position) and then stand into a closing pose.  Longtime readers may recall we used to call this move the "Gordon" back in the day :-).  We still need to add some variety to the arms etc. going into the toe loop but we are mostly set.

      We also spent some time talking about costume etc. so I am going to see if I can get some help for that from a friend.  The competition is like 5 weeks away so I am starting to feel some pressure...

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      Monday, June 14, 2010


      I skated the evening FS at Gilbert for 45 min. as usual.  Had a pretty good skate, ran through my program once.  A bunch of spins including a couple that were almost okay.    My first sal of the evening was pretty good, second just okay and 3rd and 4th were pretty bad.  Geez :-(.  Not sure what to think about all this, but lesson in the a.m. so we'll see.

      Friday, June 11, 2010

      Friday FS Zoo

      I skated the Friday a.m. FS at Chandler.  The schedule has changed a bit and now that summer is here it was pretty crowded.  Well, not really that many skaters but it felt very hectic and busy -- about 12 skaters and 6 or 7 coaches.  Maybe I'm getting a little wimpy :-).  I got quite a bit done anyway though.

      Worked through my list of stuff.  Salchow... I did several that were just fine but also several where I went in and didn't even really jump; not sure what's going on there exactly but it was weird.  Spins -- hmmph.  Toward the end of the session I really tried to relax and think about the stuff I worked on with Sonya on Monday and that helped a bit.

      Thursday, June 10, 2010

      Salchow, Spins, Program -- Sound Familiar?

      Today's lesson on the 7 a.m. FS at Gilbert (postponed from Tuesday since I was just getting back from my trip).  Session was quite deserted at first (just me and Jenna), though more people did show up later and the 7:45 session was quite crowded (like 10 skaters and 6 or 7 coaches).

      Today's lesson:
      • salchow -- we started off working these based on my work with Sonya on Monday.  We worked on holding back the free side a bit more firmly after the turn, then bringing it through (not around) and not bringing the skating hand in, just having the free hand meet.  I proceeded to do like 5 pretty good (for me, for now) sals in a row!  Cool! 
      • spins -- more work on these, again keeping the free leg/arm back on the step forward until the hook.  I'm still struggling with this -- what a shock :-).
      • program -- we then ran the program (sans music) albeit in fits and starts as I tried to incorporate some of the feedback I'd gotten about placement on the ice.  We need to find a new/better ending, not sure what that might be at this point.  We have like 6 weeks to get this stuff finished/finalized so I am not too worried.  
      All in all a darn good lesson.  There's so much to do, though!  I need to solidify some parts of the program -- biggest worry is the waltz --> salchow -- and work on getting the thing to gel and not just be a collection of elements strung together.  I think it will be fine, though.  Also I have GOT to figure out what I am doing for a costume.  Grrr I hate that stuff.

      As I was leaving I bumped into my old Tucson skating buddy Lauren!  How awesome.  Lauren is an AMAZING skater (I think she's tested through Senior) and just one of the nicest people you could hope to meet so it was really awesome to see her.

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      Wednesday, June 09, 2010

      Same Ol' Same Ol'

      My figures lesson with Lynne at Chandler coffee club as usual.  We were on the "South Pole" instead of the "North Pole" that we usually skate on.  SP's ice is harder (hockey ice) but it was freshly zammed at least.

      Today's lesson:
      • FI8/FO8 -- We worked on these with an emphasis on picking arbitrary starting points on the ice instead of "easy" centers.  FI8s are okay, I still have an occasional challenge on the LFI8 to not let my free hip get forward on me.  FO8s are still a work in progress and weren't very good today.  Lynne says I just need to keep working on them and they should get better.  I sure hope so!  I spend about 30 minutes or so on 'em every patch session (3x/week usually) and I do think they are getting better but it's very slow.  Grr.  On the positive side my circle size wasn't bad and I do a reasonably good job of tracing and coming back to center (esp. on the FI8s).
      • waltz-8 -- still working these and they continue to improve.  My 3s were actually not bad and I'm really good about stacking them in the same place on each side.  The 3 exit is also getting better and the step-down to the BO edge is coming along.  On the other hand I'm still tending to wide-step the step-forward and I'm still mostly stepping to an FI edge or at best a flat and it's hard to bring it around to an FO edge to come back to center.  Oh well, it's slowly improving.
      No coffee club Thursday or Friday so no patch time for me :-(.

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      Tuesday, June 08, 2010


      I skated coffee club at Chandler for patch practice.  Got there a little late, but got a solid hour's worth of practice in.  FO edges are still being kinda ukky.  Waltz eight is coming along nicely; I spent some time working on getting the BO edge to not curve in so much and to hold the free leg in front at least briefly and had some success.

      Monday, June 07, 2010

      Spins, Salchow, Program

      I was visiting Portland and had a lesson with Sonya this morning.  JJ had asked me to have her look on my program, and I also wanted to work on spins and salchow.  Lesson time was 6:30 a.m. (on ice at 6:15).

      Today's lesson:
      • spins -- we worked mostly on trying to get me "untwisted."  I've usually approached this by trying to bring the R side around more but Sonya instead had me work to bring the L arm/hand around more, which actually helped a bit.  Some small progress and I did have one nice spin in particular.  I'll have to work on these more.
      • salchow -- we worked mostly on getting me to hold the exit of the 3 longer and then to get a bit more curve before the takeoff.  We talked a lot about my aversion to doing this jump; Sonya thinks if I can figure out why that is it might be very helpful.
      • program -- finished up with this.  We ran it with music first and actually, it's the first time I've pretty much done the whole thing from start to finish and it was almost okay, in spite of the fact we've not really choreographed the 2nd half.  Nevertheless it went pretty well actually and I got everything in more-or-less.  I know I forgot some of the arm stuff that JJ had already given me and I was a bit early finishing the first part but I was still pleased; except that I tried the ending I had worked out and Kelli thought I had fallen!  And Sonya thinks it's a bit too melodramatic for a freeskate.  So we will have to come up with something else.  After that we worked on some things especially the waltz jump-salchow transition and Sonya made some suggestions on arms and flow.
      It was awesome to have a lesson with Sonya again  I don't think she had really seen me skate since I left in Sept., and she said she sees a lot of improvement, which was nice to hear.  I was really pleased the lesson went so well, especially since I got to bed very late and didn't sleep well at all so I probably had 3 hours of sleep!

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      Friday, June 04, 2010

      Club Ice

      I'm in Portland for work and also some vacation, so I got to skate at Sherwood's club ice tonight.  It was wonderful to see many of my Sherwood homegirls!  Karly and Sonya were in Seattle for a competition, and Emmy and Sam and Aziza were elsewhere, but I did get to see almost everyone including Krissy and baby Micah!

      I had a pretty good skate, only did 3 sals and only one was half-way okay.  One pretty good spin and the rest just so-so.  Some good waltz jumps and toes (well, as good as they currently are).

      Wednesday, June 02, 2010

      F8s & Waltz-8

      Today's figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  The session started late, there was a Z-break (quickest I've ever seen, I think it was 8 minutes!).  I was feeling more than a little off -- kind of shaky/dizzy/weak.  Still it turned out to be a pretty good lesson!

      Today's lesson:
      • FI8s -- these were pretty good as usual.
      • FO8s -- these were about the same as last time.  Still need lots of work but they are getting there.  Mostly I'm still struggling to get the edge correctly from the outset.
      • Waltz-8 -- these are coming along!  I didn't fall once, though I did chicken out of the step-forward a few times.  I did manage some relatively good ones though and it's very encouraging.
      • BO edges -- finished up with these... they are a lot more secure and are coming along well.
      I will be traveling so won't get to work on figures again until next Tuesday. Grrr.

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      Tuesday, June 01, 2010


      Today's lesson on the 7 a.m. FS at Gilbert as usual. The session is a bit busier now that school is out -- 10 or 11 skaters and 4 or 5 coaches.

      We spent the lesson working on the first half of the program, and running it a couple of times.  JJ reviewed the arms position with me going into the spin and I got it under control.  He also gave me some feedback on element placement.  In general I feel like I know the first part of the program reasonably well but I need to work on the waltz-salchow as the salchow is really lacking right now.

      I  got registered for Cactus yesterday so it's official, I'm committed to doing this program!  I'll be in Portland this weekend, hoping to work with Sonya on Monday.  It's nice to have cooperation between/among current and former coaches!

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