Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Friday, May 30, 2014

Edge Drill, Jumps

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  This lesson was a makeup from last week.

Today's lesson:

  • edge drill -- we kept working on this for a little bit, especially the RFO.  Bleah!  The right side is a lot worse than the left.
  • toe loop -- we just walked through them at the boards.  I had not even looked at them for a couple of months at least.  Yikes.  
  • loop drills -- also on the boards.  Yikes.  The last drill was RFI3 while snapping the L foot in -- rather like the backspin :-).   Eeep.

I managed to skate every day this week!  That's the first time that's happened in a long time... and it is not likely to happen again for a while.  It was good but a bit tiring.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014


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

Today's lesson:

  • standing start-- this is improving a lot.   I am doing a better job of waiting and holding the edge around.  We also noticed, though, that it seems to work a lot better for me when I have the drawn circle to skate around vs. not -- it seems kinda silly, but there it is.  Still I am being more consistent about getting into the spin and a couple of times I actually managed to hold on and get a couple of revs.
  • windup -- these are about the same as they were.  I'm having a bit of trouble transferring my progress on the standing start to the windup version -- I suspect I'm not bending my knee enough when I step forward and still not waiting quite long enough (though there was a little progress).
It feels like we are making slow but steady progress.  I'm pleased.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Crossover Drill, 3s

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  This session is definitely busier now that school is out, but it was still just 9 or 10 skaters and maybe 7 coaches so busy but productive.

Today's lesson:

  • crossover drill -- ugh.  I am experiencing a total failure of nerve on these and I don't know why.  We literally spent like 10 minutes with me trying to get myself to actually do one.  What a waste of lesson time.  I'm really mad at myself and I don't know how to fix this.
  • 3s -- we started working on these in the context of Bronze power-3s but moved on to just working on 3s since I'm kinda tired of them being so forced and awkward and dinner-for-free (i.e. "no check").  Grrr.  We worked on them a bunch. I did like one that was relatively okay, the rest were pretty much the usual crap.
As you can tell, I am kinda frustrated with my skating right now.  I'm slow, I'm timid, and the things that I do actually do are usually rushed or forced.  Grrr.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I skated the evening public at Arcadia for about 45 minutes of practice after work.  I worked on spins, some edge drills and a lot of miscellaneous stuff.  I wasn't very focused though.  Grrr.

Monday, May 26, 2014


Gilbert had adult skate today and since I was off I decided it would be a great opportunity to skate patch again.  It had been almost 2 full months since I'd been in my patch skates.  Ugh!  Ice was nice and there was a good crowd (about 10) -- nice to see my adult peeps again!

I had a decent skate.  It didn't take me as long to warm up in my patch blades as I feared.  The good news is that things came back to me relatively quickly and weren't too bad.  The not-as-good news is that nothing magically fixed itself in the interim :-).  Still I was glad to get out there and renew my acquaintance again.

Spin Progress!

I had a spins lesson with Lynne on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert this morning -- make-up for last week.  Due to the holiday it was a pretty busy session!  But we managed to be productive :-).

We spent about 20 minutes working on the spin from standstill.  We actually made some progress!  I think one of the keys was that we drew me a small circle to follow -- I had noticed in my practice at Arcadia that if I had a visual guideline I was able to (more or less) follow it but when I didn't I had a hard time making the circle smaller.  So that really helped!   There's still more to do on this as far as getting me into a good position; basically we got to the point where I could initiate the spin but couldn't really maintain it at all.  Still, it's progress.

Next we worked on the spin from windup.  This has improved too.  I think the work I've done from standstill has helped me to be a bit more deliberate.  The hardest part here is committing to bringing the free leg all the way in and keeping it there (and pulling up).  Ugh.  Still it is slowly coming along.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014


No lesson yesterday; I cancelled and stayed home from work because I didn't feel well.  I didn't feel to great this morning either so I cancelled my spin lesson, slept in and then dragged myself to work.  By afternoon I felt a lot better, so I went to the 5:10 FS at Arcadia.

I had an okay skate, but it took me forever to warmup.  I'm really concerned about how I'm feeling lately when I skate.  The comparative lack of ice time lately has been resulting in a lot of freak-out time for me -- I have a high anxiety level, and that tends to make me even more anxious.  Geez!

I did work on all my drills. I did get one really nice spin (from windup) that was nicely centered -- only 2 revs as I chickened out even though I had a good position. GRRR.  I also spent some time on FXOs and finally (after a bunch of practice) was able to get my CCW ones to be decent (with an underpush).  It took forever though.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


I skated the evening public at Arcadia for some practice.  Just like last week, the first 15 or so minutes on the ice were awful... felt like I could barely skate.  Yuck.  It got better though.

I worked on most of my drills.  The edge drill is getting better.  Toward the end I tried a spin from windup and while it was just two revs it was nicely centered.  Weird.

I met an adult skater, Emily, and had a nice chat.  She's only been skating for 3 years but has a solid forward spin and the beginnings of a good backspin.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


My spins lesson with Lynne on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  This is generally a nice, uncrowded session... we'll see what happens when school is out (soon!).

Today's lesson:

  • standing start -- no joke, we spent almost 25 minutes working on these!  Aaaaggh.  We did make some good progress though -- by the end of that time I was bending my knee a lot more and holding the edge longer AND getting the free leg out and back where it's supposed to be.  The difficulty now is to get my weight up to the ball of the foot at the right time.  Urgh.
  • from wind-up -- these are actually not that bad right now. I'm not sure why the difference from standing start, though.  I did a good 3-rev spin and a couple others that were okay.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Basics, Still

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

Today's lesson:

  • edge dril -- this is slowly getting a little tighter.  I need to spend more time on it even though it's boring :-).
  • crossover drill -- ugh.  just a little time on these.  I really need to get over my mental block on these.
  • half loop drills -- we continued working on these, first the drill standing and jumping, then gliding backward and jumping.  At the end we worked on the actual entrance -- RBO3 (eeek!), RFI3, jump -- on the boards!  Argh.  This is going to take some time, no question.
I really need more ice time... although today was certainly better than yesterday as far as comfort level on the ice.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New Rink (Sort Of)

I skated the 5:10 FS at Arcadia this afternoon.  I didn't make it to Oceanside this morning so I ran over to this FS after work (Arcadia has these Tues & Thurs).  Ice was decent and there were only 3 of us, which was nice.  $12 for 40 minutes is a bit steep though!

I had a decent skate.  For the first 10 or 20 minutes, though, I felt really tentative which was pretty disturbing.  After that it got better.  I worked on spins as well as most of the stuff I worked on with JJ last week.  Spins from a standstill were not too great, but I did a couple from a windup that were actually pretty good (3 revs!).

Thursday, May 08, 2014


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

Today's lesson:

  • standing start -- we continued to work on spinning from a standing start, especially on holding the entrance edge.  We were starting from the line, and I tended to be a bit diagonal; so one correction was to look and start straight ahead and let it curve around more.  I actually managed to do a better job of holding it around, after some work.  I really need to work on deepening the edge, though, and that's a weak point right now.  JJ has me working on this too with the edge drill he gave me.
  • windup -- Lynne wanted to work on the windup as well because obviously we will want to connect the windup into the step forward that we are working on w/the standing start.  The windup itself is actually pretty good (if you manage to ignore the crappy mohawk and scratchy BXO).  I think Lynne was relatively pleased with that part, but the step forward and what comes after is of course the issue...
All in all good work.  This is going to take a while, but I'm used to that.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014


It's my 11th Skativersary!

11 years ago today I first set foot (er, skate) on ice...  Here's that very first post.  I have to think this is one of the longer-running skating blogs out there, though alas not the most interesting, probably.

It's been a long road.  For a middle-aged guy it's pretty interesting, really.  I went from being a geek/nerd/couch potato to being a geek/nerd/skater :-).  I mean, it's really tough to remember what my life was like before skating.  What did I do with all that extra money? :-)

Some of the positive things I've gained from skating:
  • Courage.  While I still struggle (I imagine most adult skaters do) to overcome fear, still, I am a lot braver than I was, and a lot braver than I thought I could be.
  • Perseverance.  I've been slogging a long time on some things (spins, anyone?).  I have been working on spins longer than many of the kinds I know have been alive!  Argh.
  • Friends.  I have met some amazing people and made some awesome friends (of all ages!).  It's been quite amazing to me the depth of the friendships one forms in skating, even (in my case) with people a lot younger than me.  Since skating is at heart a very lonely sport the social aspect has been very meaningful and gratifying to me.
  • Freedom.  As any skater will tell you, there's nothing quite like that feeling of freedom when you're skating.  It's amazing.
  • Laughter.  Okay, a lot of that laughter has been at myself (when I fall, for example) but really, I do laugh a fair amount.
  • Muscles. While I am currently not in the best of shape, I certainly have a lot more muscles than I did when I started.  Awesome.
  • Balance.  My balance has improved a lot, not surprisingly.
Of course, there have been some downsides to skating, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention them:
  •  Money.  I could figure out, if I chose, how much money (approximately) I've spent on skating... I'd rather not!  But I would conservatively estimate that it's been about $70,000 over the time I've been skating.  I could have bought a Mercedes with that!
  • Injury.  If you put together the on and off ice injuries related to skating, there have been a broken wrist, a broken foot, a badly injured knee, an injured quad, and any manner of aches/pains/sprains and bruises.
  • Scorn.  As a male figure skater,and an adult, I've definitely had my fair share of ribbing (some of it light-hearted, some not), weird looks, and assumptions that I'm gay.  Let's say it hasn't helped my dating life.
  • Frustration.  I've been frustrated a lot.  I'm a slow learner and it's not pleasant to see people who have been skating a short period of time zoom past you, skills-wise -- and not just kids, but adults also.

I had certainly hoped/expected that I would be at least solidly in the Bronze category after 11 years, but I am still a lowly Pre-Bronze skater.  On the other hand I have skated probably 30 events (most competitions I've done more than one event) including showcase light and dramatic, free skates, several figures, and a duet.  I've (mostly) learned to control my nerves and get out there and do my thing, which is no small feat.

Now I'm in the middle of a rebuilding period where I am re-focusing on my skating skills.  It's my goal to conquer some of my weaknesses and build a firmer foundation for what lies ahead.

When I was skating with Olivia last weekend, she said something very interesting to me.  She said she didn't think I'd really found out who I am as a skater.  I think she's right.  It's something I really need to do if I want to take things to the next level. Go big or go home!

Keep On Keepin' On

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  Just 4 skaters (and 4 coaches!)

Today's lesson:

  • edge drill -- I showed these to JJ.  They are getting a little better; my circle is  a bit tighter than it used to be.  The L side was better than the R.
  • crossover drill -- we spent a good chunk of our time working to uncross after the cross.  Ugh.  I managed to do a couple on the boards that were correct, but none off.  On the positive side, I actually was able to do the cross fairly convincingly off the boards.
  • half loop drill -- an intro to this. It's just standing at the boards on the R skate with the L foot in the air; jump off the toepick and land on the L foot.  Not as easy as it sounds, unfortunately.  Ugh.
  • waltz jump -- finished up with these.  I tried hard to keep my head up and do better prep.  The first one was not so great, and JJ asked me to do one with more speed.  I actually did a pretty decent one though I still dropped my head :-(.
Some progress.... hopefully I can start getting more practice.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

New Rink

I actually dragged my butt out of bed today and made it to Oceanside to skate before work.  I was concerned about the traffic, but while there were some slow spots it wasn't that bad.

Once I got to the rink I saw a lot of familiar faces, both coaches and skaters, refugees from Chandler mostly.  The ice was a bit bumpy and of course it was hard hockey ice -- but at least it wasn't too crowded.  There were about 8 skaters (including two dancers in lesson, eep).

I had an okay skate.  I worked on spins for quite some time and they were all pretty bad.  I worked on the stuff JJ asked me to but was only able to really do it off the boards once.  Geez.  Oh well.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Santa Fe Skate

I was visiting Santa Fe and skated the Genoveva Chavez Community Center (GCCC) rink today.  My friend Olivia coaches there and with JJ's blessing we did some work together.

The rink is pretty nice -- very open and spacious.  I skated the afternoon public which was not too crowded (at least by Phoenix standards).  I worked on some of the stuff I'd been working on with JJ and also some spins (they were uniformly horrible).

Olivia and I worked on a number of small things.  In an effort to get me to not look down so much during my waltz jump, she asked me to hold my chin up with my hand (sort of a "Thinker" pose) during the jump. Eeep!  Amazingly enough though I actually did manage it.  And it did help my landing, at least, as the landing edge felt really good.  Hmm.  We also worked on spirals and lunges a bit.  She showed me a sort of a "kick" (not the right word) to do as you enter the spiral -- straighten the skating leg and kick the free leg up and higher.  Eeep.  It was okay though.

All in all it was a lot of fun! GCCC is a really nice rink.