Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  I hadn't skated patch for over 3 weeks!  yow.  It was a little rough at first, especially with my toe hurting.  I warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual, then spent the rest of my time on BO8 and BI8.

BO8 has wonderful flow but I'm having a lot of trouble finding my center again; I need to concentrate more on looking for my takeoff mark.  BI8... needs a lot of work.  My initial push has gotten a lot better but the L foot is still weak.  I'm competing this in less than 4 weeks!  Eeep.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Competition Reflections

I've been thinking about my experiences at Cactus this year, and especially how I reacted (or didn't).

I was much, much less nervous than I have been in the past.  While I did have some feelings of anxiety and dread while waiting to compete, when I went out for warmup (both times) I didn't feel particularly nervous or anxious.  I am not sure whether this is because I was distracted by the pain in my toe, or the anticipation of pain in my toe (lol!) or whether I am just getting more settled as a competitor.  I guess I'll find out more at Sherwood next month.

Skate buddy Tracy watched my dramatic program and said that's the fastest she's ever seen me skate.  Yay!  On the other hand, she pointed out that I'm still looking down almost all the time.  I really do feel that I can win with this program (the dramatic) if I do a better job of selling it -- and that's all about presentation, not really about my skating skills at this point.  Of course that's why I decided to do this program -- to work on those skills. I really need to make it happen.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cactus Classic 2012 Showcase Dramatic

Today I skated my showcase (artistic) dramatic program at Cactus Classic at the Ice Den.

I was at the rink early to watch various sk8r friends, then I had my own practice ice at 12:15.  I put my costume on, then got my boots on early enough that I could let the pain from my toe subside a bit.  Went and checked in for practice ice, and drew number 15 for music so I was pretty sure I wouldn't get my music played.

I had a pretty good practice.  This was an "open" practice, but the one after was "medium/high" so it was mostly low.  Unfortunately my experience is that low skaters (especially the little ones), while they aren't moving as fast, are much, much worse about watching out for others.  I did witness a near-collision between a skater who was doing her program (her music was playing AND she was wearing the belt) and a very clueless young girl going through her program.  Fortunately no one was hurt but I felt bad for the skater trying to do her one chance at skating to her music and having to deal with that.  I was able to be fairly productive, and I ran through pretty much all the pieces of my program at least twice.

After practice I changed out of my costume since I wasn't skating for 5 hours.  Had some lunch, then met up with some friends and watched more skating.  About 4:30 I went to take my 800 mg of ibuprofen (per doctor's recommendation) and changed into my costume.  Killed some time talking with Jose and JJ in the locker room, then got my boots on half an hour before skate time.

Went out and checked in with the ice monitor and met up with the rest of my warmup group -- all the adult dramatic programs (5 of us) were warming up together.  Time came and out we went for our warmup!

Warmup went well, my toe wasn't bugging me too much most of the time.  Ran through the program elements.  I was feeling pretty relaxed, actually.  Came off at the 4 minute mark since I was skating first, took off my jacket, got some last minute advice from JJ ("look at the judges! and keep your head up!") and a drink of water, did our little ritual, and they called my name and off I went to my starting pose.

Music started and off I went.  I looked right at the judges as I was skating forward in the swizzles... it was a little unnerving actually :-).  Then off I went, slightly behind.  Waltz jump was a little ragged in the landing, but okay.  I went into the spiral relatively fast -- I actually did the two pushes first that I'd been avoiding all week, lol :-).  Spiral was okay but I felt a little unsteady.   Into the stop, spin, RFO3s and they were okay.  Lunge was slightly shaky I thought, then into the spin... which was GREAT!  I was so happy!  I wanted to look at the print but I made myself not look and just keep going.  Salchow was okay though my position seemed a bit off afterward, then into the push-push and the half flip, came around and I was out of music so I skipped the final spin-in-place and just bowed.  Went over to center, bowed to judges and audience, collected tossies and left the ice.

Hung out and watched Melissa and the rest skate, went and checked results.  Same as the free skate, Melissa first and me second, straight 2s across the board.

All in all I was very happy with my skate, especially considering my toe injury.    Holly wasn't happy I skipped the final spin, and she's right, I have 3 seconds of cushion so I could probably have done it.  I think this is a good program and if I can do a few things a bit better -- especially, look up and engage judges and audience more, and smile -- I can win with it. 


Friday, July 20, 2012

Cactus Classic 2012 Free Skate

Today I skated my Battle for the Beat program at Cactus Classic 2012 at the Ice Den. 

I had practice ice at 12:05.  I got to the rink about 11:35 and got my boots on with plenty of time to let my toe settle down.  I did the random drawing for music and got spot #13.  I was discouraged because it seemed unlikely I'd get my music played, but decided to hope for the best.  Went out for practice.... what a zoo!  I did manage to get some good practice in, and then, best of all, I managed (just barely!) to get my music played -- the attendant was nice enough to start it even though we only had a minute left in the session; so I was finishing up as the next group of skaters was taking the ice.  The runthrough went reasonably well.

After my practice ice I went to grab some food, then got back to the rink, took my double dose of ibuprofen (per doctor's recommendation), met up with JJ, got my boots on and got set.

The warmup was me, skate buddy (and my competitor) Melissa and clubmate Jose (he was doing a Silver exhibition but was sharing the warmup).  Warmup was okay except it took me like 5! tries to do a decent salchow.  Geez! spins were good though.

Came off at the end of the warmup, Melissa was first so I talked with JJ and tried to relax.  Then it was my turn... got on the ice and skated out to position and off I went!  It's mostly a blur.  The first half went pretty well and actually got a really good spin that I had to stop so I could do the punch-punch move.  Off to the second half and I totally biffed the salchow... not sure what happened.  Grrr.  The rest went pretty well though and I ended on time with a good spin. 

Bowed to judges and audience, collected a couple of tossies (yay!) and skated off pretty happy.

Waited around with Melissa until they posted our scores -- Melissa got first, I got second.  I got all 2nd ordinals, but I expected that -- Melissa has much more complicated elements (backspin, loop) and I don't.  Took a picture and collected my medal, and another free skate is in the books.

I'm back tomorrow for the dramatic program -- first time competing it so I'm a little nervous.


Thursday, July 19, 2012


I skated Chandler coffee club for my last practice before Cactus.  Just 45 minutes of skating, but I did take time to run my free skate with music.  It was a good practice and it went pretty well.  I feel reasonably well prepared considering my toe :-(.  I think it will be okay.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Final Program Prep

I skated the 7:30 a.m. FS this morning for my last lesson before Cactus Classic.  As has been the case this week it took me significantly longer to warm up due to my toe and feeling generally unsteady. 

I wore my new dramatic program costume.  It looks pretty spiffy!  I'm very pleased.  I ran the free skate first -- it actually went very well!  I was pleasantly surprised.  Slightly behind on the first part, but overall it went well.  Spins were quite good.  JJ and I agreed to pull the toe loop for now both due to the toe injury and also due to it being a bit weak right now.

After some debrief, I ran my dramatic program.  This was just okay.  I biffed the spin (grrrr!) and was generally a little slow, especially in the first part.  I really really need to push harder, but of course I'm not really inclined to with this injury right now. Oh well.

All in all I'm feeling relatively prepared and I think it will be okay.  I'm going to skate tomorrow at lunchtime, just for 45 minutes or so.  Then practice ice Friday at noon and skate at 2:30 p.m.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Perseverance & Pain

I cancelled my figures lesson for this week (would have been today) and just skated for 45 minutes at coffee club.  The toe is pretty much as painful as it was yesterday.  Didn't run program with music, just ran chunks. Strangely enough I had several really good spins!

After work today I'm going to go pick up my (hopefully) finished costume for the dramatic program.  Yay!

Monday, July 16, 2012


I skated for half an hour at coffee club today.  Only a half hour, because I'm in pain...

I was traveling last week, and Sunday  7/8 I was staying at a friend's house.  I woke up early in the a.m. and went to use the restroom and whacked my L pinky toe into my suitcase, which was on the floor.

I'm pretty convinced it's broken. It's been really hurting all week.  I did my best to stay off it and to wear comfy shoes etc. but since I was traveling that was not very possible.  Needless to say the timing could not be worse :-(.  I made a doctor's appointment but I can't get in until Thursday morning, which is pretty useless.  I have the toe taped to the other toe which somewhat helps.

The good news is that I can skate.  The first 15 minutes were pretty scary, since I had been off the ice for 10 days anyway.  Getting my boot on was rather painful.  Once I was skating around it wasn't that bad, but I was pretty tentative.  I only skated half an hour since I didn't want to overdo it.  I didn't run my programs at all but I did do all my jumps (except waltz-toe).

Grrr!  This really stinks.

Friday, July 06, 2012


I skated the Chandler coffee club (just 45 minutes) for my back-3 lesson with Lynne.  I did a 4-minute warmup and then skated my dramatic program -- it went okay except that I biffed the Salchow :-(.  Oh well.

Same drill as usual -- two-foot turns forward and back on the circle, then work against the boards, then out to the circle again.  I'm making progress on the RBO3; right now I'm on the turn-and-stop phase.  That is, I'm turning but there's no flow after the turn so I stop.  Still it's improving I think.  We spent some time on the LBO3 but not much to show for it.  I will need to spend more time just working on the LBO I think so that I can feel really comfortable on the back edge w/free foot in front; I need to be able to get my weight off the ball of my foot!

All in all a good lesson.  Due to travel, competition, etc., we won't get to work on these again for a month or so.

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Thursday, July 05, 2012

Waltz-8, Serpentines, BI8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual; Lynne came on the ice as I was finishing the FO8.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- a little bit wonky but okay.
  • FI8 -- nice; good tracing.
  • waltz-8 -- ugh.  I am so inconsistent on these!  When I actually count they are not that bad.  The L side is a little better; I need to take my time on the push to the BO edge that I am standing straight up and not hunched forward.
  • serpentines -- about the same.  Change of edge is a little better but I'm still anticipating it too much and leaning out of the circle right before.  We also spent some time on the FIO change -- R foot is not bad, L my upper body is totally uncontrolled!  Grrr.
  • BI8 -- these continue to slowly improve.  The weakest point is the return to center on the L foot, it's still pretty difficult.  I'm tending to rotate out of the circle as I'm coming around and it pulls me off my edge.
After my lesson I spent some time on 3s to center and BO8. All in all it's slowly getting better, but I need to work on waltz-8 a lot more I think.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Toe Loop & Off-Ice

I had my regular lesson with JJ this morning -- due to the holiday it was on the 8:15 FS, not 7:30.

I did a 4-minute warmup, then ran the free skate.... actually not too bad.  I am still slightly later than I'd like getting to the first spin; and the waltz-toe is still not happening.

We spent our on-ice lesson time working on the toe loop.  I feel like I'm really close, I'm just lacking in courage :-).  JJ says for now I should really just concentrate on bring the R arm around/through and trying to stay on two feet (well, R foot and toepick) longer (be patient).  I am bringing it around and the position is right but I'm not jumping.  Grrr.  I feel so dumb.

After our ice time I took off my skates and we worked on off-ice stuff for about a half hour.  JJ has pulled some stuff from STARS (USFSA training stuff) and we went through the ones he wanted me to do.  Yow.  There's about 8 things.  Jump rope 2x ways, agility, some push-uppy things..  Actually it shouldn't take that long to do, I just need to be organized. 

I stopped at Dick's afterward and got a ladder-thing for my agility stuff.  They had some clearance-priced Reebok "cold" shirts suitable for skating on clearance -- I picked up 2 in black for $15 each :-).

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  I ran through the Preliminary test as usual, then worked on BI8, BO8, serpentines, 3s to center, and then some more time on waltz-8.  Nothing horribly exciting.  I think I really need to start pounding on waltz-8 more so I can get this darn test out of the way.

Program Prep & Waltz-Toe

I had an extra lesson with JJ this morning on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert, since I will be on vacation next week.  When I first got on the ice I did a 4-minute warmup and then ran the dramatic program.  It was okay.  I finished slightly late but I think within the 1:40 time.

This lesson was a lot like the last several.  We ran the free skate, it was reasonably okay other than the toe loop not happening.  We worked a bit on the salchow; JJ wants me to hold the RFO swing roll around until I'm heading for the wall so I will have something to push off of for the LFO into the salchow.

Then we worked a bunch on toe loop.  I actually did manage a couple of okay ones -- they felt halfway between the old cheated kind and what I imagine a "real" one feels like.  JJ was pretty happy.  I only managed a couple.

After my lesson I worked some more on toe loop and did a couple that were okay, several that didn't happen at all and a couple that were old-style cheated.  Grr. 

I worked a bunch more on moves for the rest of the session, ran through pretty much all the Bronze moves.   It had been a while since I'd done most of them...yow.

Another lesson tomorrow a.m., my usual day but later due to the holiday.  JJ wants to work on off-ice stuff after the session.

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Monday, July 02, 2012


I skated Chandler coffee club today for freestyle (not patch!).  Had a pretty good skate although it took me a while to warm up :-(, what's up with that?

When I first got on the ice I did a 4-minute warmup, then ran the free skate.  I really need to be more focused on my warmup.  Bleah.

I ran each program once with music.. eh.  Not too happy although I didn't fall or anything but I'm too slow, still.  Waltz-toe not happening and I take to long to get into the RFO3s on the dramatic program.  So I practiced all my hard spots of choice and also worked a bunch on salchow.

Sunday, July 01, 2012


Gilbert had some afternoon freestyles today (very unusual!) so I managed to get in about 75 minutes worth of skating (I was running late to the 3:15).

I worked on program stuff mostly, including toe loop (of course), program elements, and I ran the dramatic once with music -- okay but I was probably 2-3 seconds late ending.  Eeep.

I also spent a little time on power-3s just because I really needed to work on something else for a while..  All in all some good practice.

I saw JJ while I was there and we moved our extra lesson for this week from tomorrow to Tuesday a.m.