Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Friday, June 29, 2012

Waltz-8, 3s, BI8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  We rescheduled this from Tuesday since there was no ice, and then I was traveling for work.  I warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual; Lynne came on the ice as I was starting the FO8.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- meh.  I hadn't skated patch for over a week so it was a bit sketchy at times, I had trouble getting over my edge.  Yuck.
  • FI8 -- I actually lost my balance on the first RFI and had to start over!  Geez.  After that it was okay.
  • waltz-8 -- after I did my layout we spent some more time just on the L side, to hold the BO edge longer and stand up straighter.  Some improvement.
  • 3s to center -- we worked on getting me to lean into the edge more, esp. right before the turn so I don't skid.  Some small improvement.
  • BI8 -- these are improving still, but I'm still having issues with a weak push on the L foot.  I really need to bend into it more and not be afraid to push against the edge.
After my lesson I worked a bit on BO8s

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I am in Oregon, and skated the 6:45 a.m. FS at WSC for a lesson with Sonya.  It was a busy session (I think 12 - 15 skaters and maybe 5 coaches) but productive.  It was really nice to see my skate buddies Karly and Regina on the ic e:-).

Today's lesson:
  • toe loop -- I'm really worried about this, if you can't tell.  Sonya and I worked on this for a while, some things similar to what JJ has done and some things a bit different.  She worked on making me get my upper body to follow my R foot around (I'm blocking myself).  I really feel like I'm close to getting this correct but I'm letting fear keep me from getting it.  Grrr.
  • dramatic program -- I ran the dramatic program for her and we worked on finessing/tweaking some of it.  Arms in the two pivots need to be sharper, no bent elbows!  Push more into the swizzles for speed and really move those arms!  Sharper arms on the "4" position glide.  Some other small things.  She said that it looks good, I just need to sharpen it up.  I actually was relatively pleased with the runthrough... I think I most need to practice the RFO3s and the last part (from the half flip).
All in all a good skate and good work with Sonya, as always.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Program Prep

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  We moved to this time as I am traveling this week for work.

Today's lesson just focused on program prep.  We ran the free skate once -- it went pretty well.  I was a little behind getting into the first spin, and a little behind after the waltz-toe (which still isn't happening!) going into the RFI3s; I have issues getting right into the 3s for some reason and it takes too much time.

After that we worked on the artistic; this was the first time JJ has seen it and we ran it twice, I think, with music and then ran chunks of it.  Still behind on this.  It's getting better.

Time's getting short!  I have the remainder of this week, then next week, then I am traveling for 9 days, then back for the week of Cactus.  Eeep!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Cactus Skate Times

The schedule is up for Cactus Classic.  My free skate is Friday 7/20 at 2:30 p.m., and the showcase dramatic is Saturday 7/21 at 5:25 p.m.  Not pleased I have to take time off from work for this but at least I'll be awake to skate :-).


I skated the Gilbert adult skate today to work on choreo with Holly.   Had an okay warm-up, it took me a while to get my boot lacings straight.  Grr.  It was surprisingly crowded -- Chandler didn't have coffee club today so there were some refugees.

We worked for about half an hour on the program and I ran it 3 or 4 times, plus working out some tricky spots.  In general it's really come together.  I'm really happy with how it looks.  Holly says my biggest challenges are to skate harder/faster and push more.  There are also some spots that I just need to practice more so I can remove whatever hesitation I have.  I also got a video of Holly skating the program so if I have questions I can refer to it later.

This is the first time I've had someone other than my coach choreograph a program (heck it's only my 4th program ever!).  In general I think it worked out pretty well; I should have started considerably earlier but I think it will be fine.

In other news I had a costume fitting yesterday and it's looking good.


Friday, June 22, 2012


I skated the Chandler coffee club today (just for 35 minutes or so due to a work meeting) for my back-3 lesson with Lynne.

Same format as usual -- 2-foot turns on the circle, warmup on the boards, out again to the circle.  I actually managed some RBO3s!  I'm not getting any real flow through the turn (I need to let my weight settle better/sooner after the turn) but I am turning.  YAY!  Much better than last week.

We also worked on LBO3... I can't convince my toes to unclench their death grip on the bottom of my boots :-(.  This might take a while.  Grrr.  Still I'm really pleased with my progress today.

After my lesson I had just enough time to run my artistic program.  It went pretty well!  The RFO3s still need to be cleaner, and the end is still a little weak.  But I'm feeling much better about it.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club today for patch practice.  I think this is the first week in a while that I've gotten the full 3 hrs/wk of patch... I really needed it.

I worked through the Preliminary test as usual -- waltz-8 was really, really stinky so I spent some extra time on that.  Then I went on to BO8s (actually pretty good!) and a bunch of time on BI8 (improving) and finished with serpentines and 3s to center.

The exciting news is that for the first time EVER I managed to do a complete serpentine starting on my R foot!  That is RFOI-LFIO and restart (didn't make it around after the restart :-( ).  Very exciting!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waltz-8, Serpentines, 3s, BI8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  It was really busy!  Lynne came on the ice as I was starting my FI8s from the Preliminary test.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 --  same issues, pretty much.  I *really* need to get my scribe back and start using it.  I'm regressing a little on the progress I made on holding the BO edge, especially on the L side.  Grrr.
  • serpentines --  not as good as yesterday :-(.  My LFO edges were really stinky, in particular, and I keep leaning out of the circle slightly when I bring my foot forward before the change of edge.  Grrr.  Not a happy camper.
  • 3s to center -- not as good as yesterday on these either.  Again, LFO edges are stinky and that's really not helping.   My flow on the RFO3 is not bad though.
  • BI8 -- these are improving (all the work I've been putting in is helping!).  The L side is still weak, especially the last few feet of the return to center.  All in all it's coming along though.

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More Toe Loop & Program :-)

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson was similar to Monday's -- more work on the toe loop, on the wall and out on the ice.  JJ says I'm getting the timing down and getting closer.  It's hard to be patient, it's very frustrating.  We ran the program (only once) and it was okay.  Didn't do the toe loop but at least I didn't fall this time!  First spin was pretty good, second spin not so much.  JJ says I need to really work on making the footwork around the center circle look more solid and confident.

After my lesson JJ worked with me off-ice for a few minutes on the toe loop.  I need to work more on this off-ice to get the muscle memory dialed-in more.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today... it seemed like a long time, and indeed I hadn't had my patch skates on since last Wednesday!  Eeep. 

Coffee club (and all skating currently) was on the South Pole; PIC suffered a pipe break of some kind on Saturday and so the North Pole is just a pool right now.  Hopefully they'll get it fixed soon.  It's a big shame, and especially that it was the NP that they'd just redone.  If this had to happen why couldn't it have been the SP that needs to be redone anyway?  Oh well.

I had a pretty good skate.  The real highlight was that I actually made it all the way around on the R foot serpentines!!  Like 3 times!  I was really jazzed.  My transitions were a little better and I think I just made myself push a little harder.  No such luck on the L foot.  Anyway it's progress.

Monday, June 18, 2012


I skated the Gilbert coffee club today to work on choreography with Holly.  Due to a work meeting I didn't get on the ice until 12:20, so we only had about half an hour of actual time to work.  Fortunately that was plenty!

We ran that program and I had yet another fall (not nearly as bad as last week) going into the RFO3s.  That section just really terrified me.  Holly had pity on me (lol) and decided to change that part so that I could do them slower.  So we pulled out that two swizzles after the spiral and put in a snowplow stop (w/arms) and a two foot turn (w/arms), then push into the RFO3s and continue as before.  So I am doing them a lot slower and that helps a lot.

From there we ran it two more times with music and once without, as well as going over some of the more problematic areas.  It's coming along well, but I need a lot more practice.


Toe Loop & Program

I had scheduled an extra lesson with JJ for this morning on the 7:30 a.m. FS to get just a little more time in.

Today's lesson:
  • program -- we ran it once and then talked about the places where I'm a bit slow.  There are several... in particular the BXOs before the spiral, and coming out of the salchow into the footwork, and then coming out of the waltz-toe into the RFI3s.  So we  ran it again and I worked on those.  Some improvement; I slowed the tempo on the BXOs down and concentrated on getting a better push, and that helped.
  • waltz-toe -- more time working on getting this fixed.  We spent some time working on it on the wall and then on the ice (I did a bunch in a row).  Immediately after my lesson JJ gave me some time to work off-ice on walking through them and I think that helped.  He wants me to consciously turn my picking foot a quarter turn after I pick in as I'm drawing the feet together.  It really helps!  It will require some effort though to get me to do this on-ice.
I only skated one session this morning as I was going to work with Holly at lunchtime and didn't want to totally wear myself out beforehand.

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Friday, June 15, 2012


I skated the Chandler coffee club today for freestyle practice.  I had a pretty good skate; ran the free skate and the artistic once each and spent some quality time on chunks of the artistic.

The free skate runthrough was decent, the only problem was the waltz-toe -- I'm still not jumping the toe loop. :-(  The artistic was okay for now -- I skipped everything after the last spin and was still probably 8 - 10 seconds over time.  On the positive side I actually remembered all the elements and did them reasonably okay, even the salchow.  So the biggest problem right now is that I need to pick up the pace.  Cactus is in 5 weeks, but I will be out for a week so I really just have 4 weeks.  Eeep.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waltz-8, BO8, Serpentines

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club today.  Warmed up with the Preliminary test and Lynne came on the ice between the FO8 and FI8.

Today's lesson:
  • FI8 -- pretty good
  • waltz-8 -- slightly better.  The R side is not too bad, though I fell on the 2nd RFO3 and had to restart, lol!  L side is still considerably weaker :-(
  • BO8 --  we did a couple of layouts of these; flow was really quite good but I still need to do a better job of keeping the free foot in front in the first half, I'm being very inconsistent.
  • serpentines -- we worked on both the FOI and FIO transitions, for once.  A bit better than last week but I'm still not making it the 1.5 circles :-(.  Grrr, very frustrating.
  • 3s to center -- just a couple of these at the end.  About the same as last week.  RFO3 was not bad, LFO3 not so great.
After my lesson I worked a little on BI8, then I had to leave (only 45 minutes) to get back to work to get some stuff done.

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Toe Loop, Program

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS (we started at 8).

Today's lesson:
  • toe loop -- we spent quite a bit of time on this.  JJ really wants me to get comfortable with bringing the R leg around and not worry so much about the actual jump.  I'm freaking out because Cactus is like 5 weeks away.  Oh well.
  • program -- having spent a good chunk of time on the toe loop, we went to do a free skate runthrough.  It was going reasonably well (salchow came off pretty nicely actually), but on the waltz-toe I didn't properly engage my toe pick for the toe loop and had a nasty backward fall. Grrr!  I hate those.  Whacked the R side of my lower back, my L elbow, L palm and R wrist.  Got up and went to try to finish but I was pretty much out of time (the waltz-toe is not that far from the end).  It took me a couple of minutes to get myself together :-(, then worked some more on the waltz-toe.  I am really hating this right now.  JJ says that I never really got in a good position for the toe loop and that's why I fell.  Oh well.
Ordinarily I would have stayed to the end of the session but between the fall and  needing to get to work a little early to get some stuff done, I left 15 minutes early.  Oh well.  I'm fine now, took some ibuprofen after I got home.  Stretched out a bit.  I'll be sore tomorrow I expect.

I'm still concerned about Cactus.  I was contacted over the weekend as to whether it would be okay for them to combine my free skate with the ladies (skate buddy Melissa!) since we were the only PB free skate entrants.  I said yes and so did Melissa.

I asked JJ for an extra lesson next week since I feel like I really need a bit more time.  We will do Monday and Wednesday next week.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Choreo Cardio

I skated the Gilbert coffee club to work on choreo with Holly... fresh ice and only 5 skaters, so good.  Unfortunately for the other skaters I rather monopolized the ice once Holly arrived and we started working.

We made some tweaks to the program -- we removed the barrel rolls->swizzle section and replaced it with two swizzles followed by two RFO3s, then step forward into the lunch as before.  This was an accommodation since I couldn't bring myself to do the barrel rolls at the speed I need to have coming out of the spiral.  We may revert it back after Cactus :-) -- along with the bunny hops, which are out for now.

Wow!  It was a real workout today.  We must have run the whole program 5 times along with a bunch of individual chunks of it and other stuff, all in 45 minutes.  I was wiped out afterward... clearly I need to do more cardio!


Friday, June 08, 2012


I had my biweekly back-3 lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.

The usual routine -- warm up w/back 2-foot turns, then BO3 on the wall, then try it out on the circle.  Today was a LOT better than last time.. thank goodness!  I'm getting through the first part of the turn but I still need to get my weight a little further back; I'm not coming out of the turn yet.  Basically I turn (mostly) forward and stop.  Grrr.  Still, it's better.  We worked on both RBO3 and LBO3.

After my lesson I only had 10 minutes so I worked on bunny hops on the wall and managed one out on the ice.  Yow.

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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Costume Update

I met with Marlina from 12th Street Costumes & Dancewear this evening to discuss my costume for my artistic dramatic program.  I had sent her a copy of my music yesterday to listen to... Marlina is very creative and extremely talented.  As we talked about what I am trying to convey in this program and what the music means to me, we gradually converged on some ideas for the costume that then became more concrete as we went on.  In just a half hour or so we pinned it down pretty firmly, took my measurements, and agreed on a schedule and price.  I'm really stoked!  It's going to be awesome.


I skated the Chandler coffee club today to work with Holly on the choreography for my artistic dramatic.  We had a great time!  We worked together most of the session (about 50 minutes) and it was tiring... but I'm really really happy with the choreography, it's really terrific.  It also pushes me a lot... but I expected that :-).  Holly says I'm really going to have to push to skate faster and I know she's right.  Since I'm getting told the same thing by JJ... I guess I will just have to!

Here's my transcription (such as it is) of the program as it stands now... hopefully I can get everything in!

  • Opening pose -- center ice, facing judges, lean to right, arms crossed.
  • RF pivot
  • RB pivot
  • 2 swizzles w/arms
  • stroke forward w/arms
  • skate-skate
  • RFO "4" w/ arms - L, R, L
  • LFI mohawk
  • BXO
  • brush back
  • waltz jump
  • step forward, stroke w/arms
  • 4 slaloms w/arms
  • spiral
  • 2 barrel rolls (RFI mohawk/cross/step fwd)
  • 2 swizzles
  • 2 bunnyhops
  • lunge
  • RFI mohawk
  • 1-ft spin
  • brush out, step fwd
  • 2 FXOs
  • RFI mohawk
  • 2 BXOs
  • step forward
  • Salchow
  • step forward
  • hockey glide/arm push (R, then L)
  • half flip
  • glide/curve to the R, tight
  • snap spin
  • brush out
  • back lazy slalom x2
  • back pivot?
  • final pose -- bend to the ice, stand up arms raised, arms to side

I am slightly unsure on the last couple of points as I video'd Holly doing it but then I'm pretty sure we changed the end.    All that in 1:37!  Yow...  covers the ice a lot and it's going to take a lot of work but it will be fun!


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Waltz-8, B8s, Serpentines

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  Less crowded today than yesterday, thank goodness.  Warmed up with the Preliminary test; Lynne came on the ice just before the waltz-8.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- The step forward is getting better; I'm still not happy with the L side though, and I still am not holding the BO edge quite long enough.  Lynne says that my BI edge after the turn is curving out too much.
  • BO8 -- for once, I got a really good push from the beginning!  Not like yesterday where I took a while to warm up.  We were doing these not on the line, and the first set we did I was starting the new circle waaay too early.  The 2nd layout was much better, I was being more careful to look for the mark from my first push.  My tracing is not so great on these right now :-(.  On the positive side I had good speed and flow. Thank goodness for that!
  • BI8 -- the first set was not so bad.  The subsequent ones got worse and worse though... not sure why.  So, we moved on.
  • serpentines -- my transition is improving but I'm still not making it all the way around.. how frustrating!  I'm really not happy with these right now.

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Free Skate

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 - 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  I saw JJ before I got on the ice and he asked if we could do my lesson at 8 a.m.  Since I was planning on staying for the 2nd session I said "sure!".  Had a good long time to warm up, which was good since I was feeling a bit out of it at first.

Today's lesson focused just on the free skate program.  We ran the first half, and the 2nd half, and once with music, and a few other chunks also.  I had an annoying fall on the waltz-toe -- failed to engage the toe pick on the toe loop and WHOMP down I went.    Managed to get up quickly though and finish the program, so I was happy with that.  No harm done.

The consensus is that I need to skate faster, especially in the first half of the program.  The addition of the spiral in that part wouldn't make any difference if I had speed, but as it is it's too slow.  On the positive side the spiral itself seems to be just fine.  In the 2nd half the good news is that I'm doing fine on the salchow.  The waltz-toe is still pretty iffy.  All in all I think it's coming along fine and I'm not too worried about it.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  Due to a work conflict I only had 45 minutes to skate :-( but I was pretty productive.  It was a bit crowded today!  12 or 13 skaters and 3 coaches.

I ran the Preliminary test, then spent the remaining time on BO8, BI8, 3s to center and serpentines.  BI8 were about the same as last week (I'll call that a good thing), I retained my progress on getting a better initial push and larger (slightly) circle.

Monday, June 04, 2012


I skated the 8 a.m. FS at WSC this morning, and Sonya was kind enough to make time for a lesson for me even though she usually doesn't teach on Mondays.

Fresh ice for this session, and just 4 skaters and 2 coaches so it was pretty nice.  A good warmup, worked a bunch on spins and then on the salchow.

Today's lesson:
  • toe loop -- some time working on this.  Sonya worked with me on the wall and on the ice to bend the picking leg and then straighten fully, while bringing the free leg through/up ("h" position).  Not really much progress but at least I get the idea.
  • free skate -- we spent the rest of the time polishing the free skate.  I ran it for her and actually it went quite well.  We worked a bit on two main areas:
    • exit from the first spin -- I'm just sloppy.  Sonya had me be sure to push back firmly (brush out), glide back, then back-snowplow stop before the program goes on.  It does look a lot better, and anyone who's skated with Sonya will tell you how much she can't abide not finishing the move!  She says the judges don't like it either :-).
    • footwork from the salchow into the waltz-toe -- removing scooter pushes I was doing after the sal, Sonya wants me to just push onto a nice glide w/extension (*straight* leg), first left then right, then into the mohawk etc.  On the back progressives she worked with me to really point my toe (gotta sit back on the blade so I don't scrape my toepick!), then do a cross step on the last one before the BXOs.

And with that we were out of time... good lesson, and good skate.  I think JJ will be pleased (assuming I can do all that!).

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Friday, June 01, 2012

SFSC Club Ice

I was back to Sherwood for the SFSC club ice at 5:10.  There were only 8 skaters.. beyootiful ice still :-).  I was a bit tired from my day so I didn't accomplish a whole lot, but I did work on a few things.  It was really nice to see Quanah, Mickey, Tatum and Bree though :-).

Nice Ice

I skated the 6 a.m. (yes, I did!) FS at Shiny Rink (a.k.a. Sherwood!).  As usual, beyoooootiful ice, and just me and my home girl Madison the whole time.

I worked a lot on toe loop, a bit on salchow and spins.  Did program pieces including practicing that barrel roll Holly is putting in my program.  Also ran my free skate once... yech.  Oh well.  All in all a great practice and nice to share the ice with Madison again... she showed me her double loop (awesome!).  She's got a great work ethic, it's very inspiring.