Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Update On My Knee

As I think I mentioned previously my right knee has been bugging me for about two weeks, and so I took this week off from skating.   I went to the doctor today about it.

The summary is that while it might just be a muscle strain, the appearances are that it is a (small) meniscus tear.

If it's on the edge of the meniscus and small it can heal itself.  If it's a lengthwise tear or a large tear it probably won't and would require surgery.

After some discussion we decided to give it some rest for a month or so, with ibuprofen and ice as I feel I need it.  The doctor (he's a sports doc) said that some leg exercises (leg presses, etc. that don't involve any twisting) would help as they would promote blood flow.

So, not sure how this translates as far as skating.  I'm pretty paranoid right now about anything that involves twisting my knee which would seem to rule out turns and jumps and perhaps spins.  I may still be able to work on patch if I leave out waltz-8.

I'm going to take the rest of the week off from skating while I consult with my coaches.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I had my back-3 lesson with Lynne this morning on the 8:15 FS at Chandler; we postponed this lesson from Monday as I was out of town for PCAS.

I had a difficult time warming up, it seemed to take me forever to get my feet under me.  Considering that it's spring break the session wasn't too crowded, about 9 skaters.

We warmed up as usual, 2-foot turns on the circle and BO3s on the wall, then out to the circle again.  Considering I'd not practiced these hardly at all they weren't bad, i.e. they were about the same as they had been; and the LBO3 is slightly better in that I can at least make myself (occasionally) start the turn though I'm still too far forward on the blade to actually turn.

For the last few minutes Lynne had me work BI3s at the boards... eeep!  That "turning outside" feeling is kinda scary! :-(  The RBI3 actually feels like it might be somewhat do-able though, which surprised me.

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Ice Folly

Lexi Rohner shared this article on her FB page.  It's terrific.  Of course he is a much better skater than I! Ice Folly: Facing middle age and an expanding belly, Chicago mag writer tries figure skating

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Test, BO8, Serpentines

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I was running late due to the papal election (!) so basically I got on the ice and we started my lesson with no warmup.  Also I forgot my scribe!

Today's lesson:
  • Preliminary test -- under the circumstances it seemed it might be a nice opportunity to do the Preliminary Figures test since lack of warmup can somewhat approximate for nerves.  Since I'd not skated patch for something like 2 weeks it was a pretty good test.  Edges were okay; FO8 was okay for the most part.  FI8 was okay except the 2nd time around on the R foot I got way forward on my blade and wound up putting my foot down -- crap!  And on FI too, which is usually my best and favorite figure.  Waltz-8 was not great but perhaps the best I've done in a long time. 
  • BO8 -- these were a bit rough at first, I am trying to improve my posture and I am still struggling with this.  After a while I finally managed to get back to something that was more-or-less acceptable.  Keys are still to hold the free foot in front for at least 1/3 of the circle, and to keep the skating shoulder firmly back until the rotation.
  • serpentines -- these were actually really good!  I actually managed about 2 complete times around starting on the R foot, which is really a first.  Now, I realized later that my circles were probably a bit small (no scribe) but still I was really pleased.  We were short on time so I didn't get to try the L foot.
All in all a pretty good lesson considering my lack of practice.  I'm still really frustrated with the waltz-8.

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My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson:
  • PCAS debrief -- we took some time to discuss my PCAS skate and how it went, and future plans.
  • backspin -- we spent a fair amount of time doing some wall exercises to prep the backspin.  Ugh!  This seems really scary to me... grrr.  Basically, just holding the feet crossed and finding the rocker; this is really hard for me.  Also he suggested some stretches (FXO position, basically) that will help.
  • sitspin -- just a couple of minutes looking at this; JJ said that I need to feel the glute engage to get a good sitspin, not just the quads.  Hmm.  
I think I really will need to up my off-ice training to accomplish this stuff.  I've known that for a while but it it's reinforcing that.

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

PCAS 2013 Showcase Dramatic

I skated my Showcase Dramatic program "100 Years" today at Pacific Coast Adult Sectionals.  I was skating against a division I skater (21-30); although he has not yet (if I remember correctly) passed his Bronze test he had skated in the Bronze free skate but Pre-Bronze for this event.  It was just the two of us, and I skated second.  We shared a warmup with a group of Pre-Bronze ladies who skated after us.

I had not skated since the day before; no practice ice today as I figured I was better off getting a good night's sleep, especially since DST kicked in Saturday night.  I think it was the right call.  I was up around 7:30 to watch skate buddy Melissa skate, then had plenty of time to prep for my 12:15 skate.  I changed and got my skates on around 11:30 and took some time to loosen up and focus.  During the (large) group before mine I checked in with the ice monitor... and waited.

Finally it was time to warmup.  Out on the ice, and I had a pretty good warmup.  As I anticipated I needed a little extra time to feel the ice since I'd not skated that day yet.  Fortunately I feel pretty comfortable with the Dramatic program elements.  Warmed up spins, jumps and practiced a couple of chunks from the program.  Time was up and I went off the ice, waited, drank some water and took off my club jacket.

Time to skate!  Went out to my starting position, said a quick prayer and off I went... again it's mostly a blur.  Waltz jump felt okay, I set it up a bit better but it wasn't particularly high.  I had a small issue on the first of the RFO3s but nothing major.  I think the spin went pretty well.  Salchow was okay.  In generally I felt that I was moving pretty fast (for me) and I finished right on time, which made me pretty happy.

In generally I think that's the best I've skated that program -- even a little better than Autumn Antics, since this was full ice and I was right on time, and I think I looked up a little more and my movements were at least a little crisper.

Got a silver medal (or I will -- they ran out of medals! sheesh) but I'm happy with my skate.  I'll post video of them both when I get them.


Saturday, March 09, 2013

PCAS 2013 Free Skate

I skated my "Battle for the Beat" free skate program this morning at Pacific Coast Adult Sectionals.  I was in a combined group of 3 (Pre-Bronze Men II-III-IV).  I was skating first, which concerned me until I discovered that our warmup was combined with the preceding group (Pre-Bronze Women V).  There were two women in that event, so I was really skating 3rd.

After my practice ice I relaxed and ate a banana and an apple, then about 30 minutes before I got my skates on.  About 15 minutes before I checked in with the ice monitor and waited to go out to skate.

Finally it was time for the warmup.  Went out and my first thought was "wow! Fast ice!"  Although I'd skated on it twice before, this was clean ice, not chewed up, and it was quite fast though fairly soft; really good ice actually. 

I had a good warmup; ran through some spins (I got a really, really good one, 3 revs easy) then warmed up salchow with some indifferent results.  Left that and went on to warm up toe loop, then waltz-toe.  I actually got a good waltz-toe (I smiled over at Tracy and Melissa, who understood how important that was) and then went back to salchow and spins.  Then they called us off the ice.

Finally it was my turn to skate; I went on the ice after the previous skater was done but had to wait a bit since they had to announce our event.  Finally they called my name and I skated out to take my place.  My music started, and off I went..

It's mostly a blur at this point.  The first half of the program went really well and I was skating pretty fast!  Got to the first spin and it didn't really happen... grrr!!! so I had to kill a little time before the punch-punch-punch thing in the program.  Off into the salchow (not so great), then around the circle into the waltz-toe and I LANDED IT.  Woohoo!!  I was really happy about that.  Off into the traveling RFI3s and final spin (which I think was kinda short, again) and finished right on time.  Yay!

Took my bows, and skated off...  watched my two competitors after me.  The first, Mark, had nicer jumps than me and did waltz-waltz instead of just one, and a sal-toe combo as well as a single sal that looked pretty nice.  The second one, William, was a little rough in spots but had great spins and a flip!  Yow.

When the results came out, it was another last place finish -- a bronze medal for me.  I'm a bit disappointed, but only a bit.  I think I skated that program the best I've ever done, by a long shot, and landed the combo, so I'm really pretty happy with it.  It's a good note to retire that program on.

Tomorrow I'm skating my dramatic program at 12:15.


PCAS Practice Ice

(N.B. I will post on my actual free skate separately).

I had 6:30 a.m. practice ice this morning for PCAS.  My plan was to use this time for free skate practice since it is right before.

I slept pretty well last night (yay!) other than a moment of panic when my iPod alarm went off warning me of a half hour before practice ice.... except that the iPod was set to MST still, so it went off at 5 a.m. PST and woke me up.  I had about 2 minutes of freaking out thinking that I only had 30 minutes to get to practice ice; I kept thinking that I had forgotten to set my alarm for the daylight saving time change.  After a couple of minutes it hit me that the DST change isn't until TOMORROW.  Ha!  So I laid down again for about 40 minutes, then got up and got ready and went over for my practice ice.

I had a pretty decent practice.  It was nice that I had had practice the day before, I felt pretty good.  I worked on program chunks, spins, and a lot of time on the salchow and the waltz-toe combo.  My results were a bit inconsistent; I got some, then I wasn't getting any.  Finally right at the end of practice ice I got a good waltz-toe and decided to leave it alone and got off the ice.

Friday, March 08, 2013

A Dollar A Second!

This afternoon I had a great time hanging at PCAS and watching some really great skating.  It always challenges and inspires me to see the better skaters.

At one point we were watching some Gold ladies skate and there were some unsupervised small children being very noisy in the bleachers... jumping up and down, banging their feet, etc.  Finally I couldn't take it anymore, so as the little boy was noisily running toward me on the bleachers I stepped in front of him and said firmly, "Stop!  Stop running!"; then made a shushing gesture and told him to be quiet... and he did!  He went back next to his sister and was quiet.  Meanwhile a number of people in the  bleachers quietly said "thank you!".  It was kind of amusing.  I was glad I said something; it was really rude to be making so much noise while people who had worked so hard were trying to do their programs.

I had the pleasure of meeting blog reader Susan today.  It was nice to meet my other reader (lol!) besides skate buddy Melissa. :-)  In the course of our conversation we were discussing competition, why we do it, what we get out of it, etc., and Susan mentioned that we pay a dollar a second for the privilege of competing!

My initial reaction was -- that can't be right.  But then I did the math, and she's right.  I paid roughly $200 to do this competition (just the entry fee -- doesn't include practice ice, goodies, travel, costumes, etc., etc., etc.).   That $200 buys me two programs each 1:40 long, or 100 seconds each, so times two is 200 seconds of competition skating.  A dollar a second!  Eeeep!  Definitely a new perspective on this thing we call competitive skating.

PCAS Practice Ice

I had practice ice at 12:15 p.m. today.  I wore my Dramatic costume and worked just on the Dramatic program (I have practice ice tomorrow morning before my free skate, so I'll work on that then).

It took me about 10 minutes to get warmed up and resolve an issue with my L boot, I just couldn't get it right.  Sheesh, what a waste of time.  That stuff drives me crazy!

After that I had a pretty good skate.  This ice is rather softer than I'm used to; it was pretty nice really.  I worked on spins, waltz jump, and salchow, and then ran the Dramatic program in chunks; they were not playing music on practice ice.  There were about 16 people on practice ice; it really wasn't bad, actually.  I felt reasonably good about the program by the time my half hour was up.

I am skating first (of 3) for the free skate and the 2nd (of two) for the Dramatic on Sunday.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Last Practice

I skated the 6 a.m. (eep!) and 7 a.m. freestyles at Sherwood for my last practice before PCAS.  As usual the ice was soooooo gorgeous!  I could write poems about how much I love SIA's ice.  It is consistently the best ice I've ever skated on.  Thanks to the talented Roy Ranna for keeping it so!

I ran each of my programs once and spent most of my time working on jumps and spins.  My salchow is really in some kind of deep hole right now :-(, I don't know what's up with that.  Waltz jump in isolation was good, toe loop is just not happening right now.  Spins -- meh.  All in all not the best practice I could have hoped for by any stretch, but it is what it is. 

I really enjoyed getting to see more of my homies from Sherwood (it's my old rink) -- Madison, Carole, Anna, and coaches Krissy, Kristen, Alexis, and Queen Leone.  It was really nice.

I'm leaving for Pasadena tomorrow at 2 with skate buddy Melissa.  Whee!  I have practice ice Friday, then again early Saturday.  Free skate is Saturday am.. and dramatic is Sunday mid-day.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


I am in Oregon today and tomorrow, so I had a lesson with Sonya on the 5 p.m. FS at WSC.  Fun times sharing the ice with my homies Amber, Sierra, Emmy and Regina, and got to see Coach Kelli also :-).  It makes me absurdly happy.

Since I had sent my critique notes to both JJ and Sonya,  I was expecting that Sonya would want to work on presentation... even half-expected to see the long-threatened cervical collar (makes you look up) from what Sonya's student Taylor laughing called "Taylor's Torture Tools" -- i.e. Sonya's instruments of torture for Tay (and all of us).

But no!  She wanted to work on more air in my jumps.  So.. at the boards we worked on really getting up on that toe in the waltz jump (as an example, it applies to all jumps really).  Sonya emphasized bringing the free leg through ("h" position) and getting up on the skating leg alllll the way to where you lock the knee as you jump off it. Yow.  After that we worked on refreshing waltz jump technique... prep, collect, arms back and through.  Then combining all that.  I really did jump substantially higher, I think.  After that we tried to work them in the context of the jumps in the programs, which made is substantially different.  Eeep.  I think it helped, we'll see.

I'm skating at my old rink in the morning, yay!

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Saturday, March 02, 2013


I was down in Tucson this afternoon as the Tucson FSC hosted an exhibition for our PCAS and AN competitors -- myself, Jose and Brenda.  We had a half hour of ice to skate our programs.  We were privileged to have one of the Tucson judges join us for a critique.

We had a 5-minute warmup (I swear it's the fastest that 5 minutes has ever gone by!), then Brenda and Jose skated their free skates, then I skated mine.  It went pretty well, actually -- I got something resembling a toe loop, which I hadn't in practice.  Then off to change costumes while Brenda and Jose did their dramatic programs!

Next I did my dramatic program.  It went pretty well, and I actually ended on time.  Then Brenda skated her light program (it was really cute!) and we were done.

Afterward I had the chance to say hi to some friends that came to watch (my friend Tim and his wife, my stepfather and his wife, and fellow TFSC-er Lisa and her baby boy!).  Then I had my time to talk with our judge about my skating.

The three main points that I took away were all ones that I've heard before, or already knew; but it was good to hear them re-iterated and hear his perspective.  I'd summarize them as:

  1. Spins are too short.  I'm usually getting 1.5 - 2 revs and I really need to have 3+ if I want to get credit.  I know this, of course.  In my free skate, for example, I might have gotten more revs in my first spin but I had to stop to align with the music.  Usually though my spins are just not that good.
  2. Not enough air on my jumps.  I really need a bit more height.  I am capable of that on the waltz jump (need to be more collected), not yet on the sal or toe.
  3. Slightly behind the music on the dramatic program.  This was a bit of a surprise to me, although JJ and I have discussed it a couple of times.  In general I need to really watch the gestures and be sure they are 'on'.
  4. Presentation, presentation, presentation.  He said that I could be a winner (well, probably) if I could just "sell" it more, look up, look more confident.  Again, nothing I have not heard before.  He said I have great potential but I really need to get over this.
All really good feedback.  Only the last two are things I can really hope to fix in the next few days, IMHO.  Well, #4 I can't probably truly fix in that time but hopefully I can at least improve it. I'm tired of always being last.

After the critique I had about 45 minutes of ice time so I worked a lot on toe loop and sal and spins.  I was really tired though.

Friday, March 01, 2013


I skated the 8:15 FS at Chandler for my back-3 lesson with Lynne (postponed from Monday).  Had a quick warmup, then we started our lesson.

The usual drill -- 2 foot turns on the circle, BO3s at the boards, back out to the circle.  RBO3 is about the same; I don't feel like I'm really making any progress here.  I can turn but I don't get any flow out.  I have a hard time reminding myself to turn my darn head!  And I have to engage my core otherwise I break at the waist.

LBO3s, maybe some slight progress.  I actually was able to at least start the turn all by myself, sometimes.  Then I had Lynne hold my hand and that's much better, still.  Still, not too consistent and not really turning yet.  Grrr.

After our lesson I had about a half hour so I worked on my toe loop (mostly).  Not much different than yesterday.  Ran each program once and that was just so-so, but at least I remembered all of the dramatic and didn't blank out in the middle.  I didn't get the toe loop off.

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