Thursday, July 21, 2011

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Time Event
Saturday freestyle
Skated for about 45 minutes this morning, and it was a mostly good session. My camel didn't work (kept falling over the toepick) but everything else was alright.

I worked really hard on outside mohawks with a pointed foot. Very difficult! Flexing makes so much more sense to me- but it really sounds like it's only a matter of time before I take that fall. If I'm just doing mohawks then I'm okay, but in the 8 step, it's horrible. Andy also mentioned the extension on step 6/7 (maybe) should only be as high as if my knees stay together, and that also makes it very difficult.

My 3 turns were pretty good today. I'm not at all on pattern, but I was able to do them all. At this point, I'll take that.

Cross rolls and power pulls were okay. I need to lean into the edge. But especially on the back cross roll if I lean I can't cross, and if I cross I cut the lobe short. On the back power pulls I couldn't remember which edge my leg was crossed on and which it was extended on. I tried it both ways and neither was that good, so it didn't help me remember. LOL

My left spiral still sucks, but I'm getting better at doing the arm Andy showed me.

Spins went pretty well. I centered most of my scratch spins, from both a FO 3-turn and a wind up. I'm still riding my toepick to get rid of any speed in the entry of the wind up (drives my coach crazy!). My backspins were alright. I was spinning most of them, and able to cross my leg on a few. Does it have to be crossed for the bronze test?

Sit spins were about what they are for me, which means an outside observer might not know I'm sitting :)

Did waltz jumps, salchows, and loops. I'm such a weeny. Even with the padded shorts I just will not let myself leave the ice. Loops I still do from a standstill, but even a waltz jump I can't get into with much speed.

Danilo told me if I pass Bronze and do adult nationals next year, he'll come to. It's driving distance, so it would be one of the few I go to. I need to talk to Courtney about a program for a test- and then I need a sit spin, a backspin, and another jump... (and lenient judges. This might take me a few tries...)

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Time Event
Private Lesson today for group!
Gosh today was a great day. The kids have Christmas show rehearsal so I got a private lesson with Andy. We did silver moves, and you know, as fantastic of a coach as he is, I don't think I'd trade Courtney for him (not that I can afford him). He doesn't seem quite as critical- or maybe it's just because he's not my "coach". But it's really great to have a second set of eyes.

Before I forget- quote of the evening "I'm going to touch you. Like, not in an inappropriate way- just to hold you hand for this". That cracked me up when he qualified the statement.

So we did spirals, power pulls, cross rolls, and 8-step.
Spirals- he had me switch my hand on my left spiral (and maybe my right- I'm not sure what i was doing) and it's really hard to get used to. It makes me feel like i'm stretched more, but it still takes 1/4 of the ice to get to hip height. I'm doing same arm as skating leg. No other comments except to stretch back the heel, like Courtney tells me everytime. That left spiral is miserable.

Power pulls I thought were awful, but Andy was pretty complimentary (maybe it was the bottle of Grey Goose I gave him as a Christmas present- since it's our last lesson- or maybe I really don't suck) They definetly don't increase in power, but he told me that the inside edge was pretty strong, and I should work on getting it to rip, and then really focus on the cut back into the outside edge. Going backward was tougher, but we worked on the "cross" "open" motion of the leg, and I THINK i've got it. Especially on my left side I just have no knee bend, and I really need it.

Forward 3-turns he was very happy that I was setting my foot down before crossing, and I manged to rip on a few of them :) My left side is weaker than my right and my hip doesn't snap, so we worked a lot on the hip snap. When we switched to back I made a face and said "these are bad" and he told me "I know what you're doing- $20 says it's this" and did the pick up foot kick toepick down thing lots of people do. I should have called him on it, because that's not the problem- I don't finish the edge. But since I wasn't doing that he told me that these were actually quite good. So we worked on leaning, and he held my hand and then put his other hand behind my back and had me hold a really deep outside edge. After doing that he told me he thinks I would be able to get a death spiral because of the way I did that exercise, and I laughed, told him that was one of the moves I have always really really wanted to learn to do, but after how terrifying just barely leaning was, I think I changed my mind. Maybe next year, I'll see if he'll teach me one. So we worked on that, and I counter my body against the edge when I cross, and it got a little better, but they need a lot of work.

We closed with 8 step mohawk, and I'm picking my feet up too high on the last couple steps, and on the CCW side he actually stopped me because he said the way I was doing it was scaring him. Apparently I'm flexing my foot before putting it down for the mohawk, and he was just waiting for me to stab the back of my blade into the ice and crash down onto the back of my head. Message recieved- point the foot!!! (This lead into a story about him catching his blade on his other blade during an overhead lift, which resulted in his partner getting 18 staples on her head, and him getting like 14. Way to scare me away from figure skating!!!)

Then sadly the lesson was over. He did ask me for the club show if there was anything I wouldn't wear for a costume, which was nice- but I told him whatever is fine, however I will be pretty pissed off at him if he puts me in a white unitard- but I'll wear it. :) I'm looking forward to see how that goes, and how much actual skating I get to do. We have a 90's disney medley with 3 group parts, and then a national showcase skater solo, a juv pairs solo and an intermediate pairs solo interspersed.

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Time Event
Went to a freestyle session today because LTS was canceled. Call me a snob, but I don't think rental hockey skates belong on freestyle.

I skated pretty well and really am happy with the new sharpening. I did some great 3 turns. I ripped my brand new under armour pants in kicking myself during a backspin.

Having centering issues for scratch spin from 3 turn, and thought I did some good sit spins but the video disagreed.

I did some waltz jumps and some salchows, and some loops. I was really not happy with my loops, but coach saw one and yelled 'I saw that- great job'- so one must have been good.

Then me and another of my coaches students did the waltz jump things where you jump around each other. She's tiny, and wasn't pulling at all, so it didn't get much speed, but when Courtney was demonstrating, it felt really cool. I kind of want to try that again.

Synchro video was posted to facebook- synchro coach says we actually do go faster than that, but man it looks like we skate like snails- though for the most part the program looks great. I must skate really really slow on my own, because i feel like I fly on the team

November 23, 2008

So close...
I am ALMOST done with the synchro dresses. I have 7 of them here and Courtenay has 3. Of the ones I have here the following needs to be done: 7 need 2 hooks and eyes each on the collar but Courtenay gets to do that, and 2 need hooks and eyes on the back lining- and I'll do that tomorrow. Then I am done with these!

I'll trade Courtenay for the three and I think they will all need collars placed, and probably sleeves. 2 need leg and back elastic. And all 3 need hooks and eyes.

I don't know what the progress on the belts is.

All of the dresses need elastic on the sleeve for the finger (maybe I'll give that to Courtenay tomorrow?) and possibly sequins (also to Courtenay!) It's all hand sewing though.

We have dress rehearsal the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, and then Christmas show is December 13th. At the dress rehearsal we'll pin the skirts down, and then after it we'll need to tack the skirts down to the panty.

I just want to be done with these dresses! Especially since I have Christmas presents to sew!

Synchro Dress Front Synchro Dress Front
7 of 10 dresses- done except for hooks and eyes on the collar and belts.
Synchro Dress Back Synchro Dress Back
The back of the synchro dresses- we lined the hole so that those who need to can wear bras!

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Time Event
Note to self
When your ice time is taken away from hockey, do not commit to a new ice time during the week of sectionals. What was a "low" freestyle, suddenly becomes insane crazyness once the skaters return.

My lesson is actually okay- because I have a coach to watch for me, but I don't think I can reasonably practice during this freestyle anymore. Not with a novice man, a junior man, a low-level pairs team, and multiple intermediate-ish ladies. It's just way too fast moving for me.

Lesson kind of sucked. Very frustrating with change foot spins, keeping my leg crossed during loops, and just general not skating well.

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Time Event
No skating today :(
Got sick again last night and barely slept, so my 7:00 session did not happen. Honestly I still don't feel well, so I'm glad I didn't try to skate, it wouldn't have been worth it.

I'm trying to convince Kevin to go to a public session with me tomorrow.
I don't want to sew. So I'm making candy instead.

So why is this in the skating blog- well I don't want to sew synchro costumes :)
I have 3 more that need a lot done, 1 that needs a collar, and 4 that need finishing touches. All need leg elastic.

I want these done by Thanksgiving though, so that I can sew Christmas presents, so I guess I should get to work. But candy is really pretty chocolate roses. I got red candy melts and am putting them into a mold and then filling the rest with yummy milk chocolate.

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Time Event
Just got back from a fantastic lesson. We did all silver moves except power pulls (no cross rolls and power pulls in the same lesson if I can't be broken- and synchro is at 9). Courtney skated behind me the entire time during fwd cross rolls yelling "rip, rip, rip" and you know what- I actually did! They sounded so purty! She also skated behind me on the LBI 3s yelling "don't put your foot down, don't" and I didn't. Do you think the judges would notice if she just skated behind me the whole time?

The whole test rates as mediocre (more than anything else- that left spiral!) but I can do everything on it- it just has to get good.

Then we did some loops which she told me are getting better. Funny, she said something about how I need to really hold my edge before I hop, and it just cracked me up. It's supposed to be a jump, and I'm hopping! (Which is so true, but humor me and say jump!)

Then before the zamboni came out I did 3 backspins and spun on all of them with a crossed leg, and managed to pull in on the last one. These aren't good yet, but at least I'm spinning fairly consistently.

Time to sew- then synchro.

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Time Event
Ice Show castings
I didn't go skate yesterday because I was feeling very sick- so this was quite the skate free week- just group class and synchro, no skating on my own.

Anyhow- we got the ice show castings last night. The theme is "Night at the Oscars" and each skater is in two group numbers.
The first group I'm in is the 1940s, and although I don't know who one of the skaters is, it looks like it's all the adults: me, Danilo, Ryne, (and another woman I don't know). I've heard of the coach but never met/seen her.
The other group I'm in is the 1990s- which is a Disney medley- and it's a mixture of kids/teens/ and Ryne is in this group too. There are 12 skaters. The girl who I skate with in my group classes is in this group too- which is exciting, because we kind of convinced each other to do this, so I'm glad we'll get to do it together. And all of the skaters from the club's (2) pair teams are in this number. While I'm way outclassed by the skating in the adult number, I'm most definitely bottom of the barrel in this group (though I don't know 2 of the names). I'm wondering if it was a choice in putting me in this group (which mostly has intermediate-novice level skaters, but one or 2 low level, with doubles, then me) or with teeny kids. Anyhow, Andy is the coach for this group, and he knows how I skate.

I'm excited though. Wish for good weather and clear roads this winter since I'll have to go to CR to practice.

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Time Event
I can barely open my eyes this morning. Late night skating is NOT my thing (on the other hand, early mornings, I can do that).

Synchro was fine last night, and I was only falling asleep during the first 10 minutes of on ice, then I kind of woke up and skated pretty well. I missed the waltz jump, bracket step in the circle footwork twice, though, and I normally hit that. The biggest issue is my spins were very wobbly, and I was getting really dizzy, so I was coming out of it a bit stunned, and then I wouldn't catch the pinwheel in time.

I pulled my shoulder, and it really really hurts this morning. I think I know when I did it too... ouch.

Still terrified of the spiral/lunge pass through. If I could spiral on my other leg I'd be fine, but right now if I even get my leg off the ice it's barely at my knee...

Is it March yet? I hate hockey. yawn...

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Time Event
I don't like switching feet!
We did advanced turns last night in group lesson. Brackets, Counters, and Rockers. I didn't have much luck on the rockers (we were doing them CCW though)- the counters the circle was CCW, but the rotation was CW. But all of these turns seem like if I worked through it they'd be easier then a mohawk.

I kept doing counters instead of a bracket (on the circle, on a straight line I was doing the brackets okay). But when we did the brackets on the straight line I realized that I'm really improving. I used to only be able to do them from completely still (essentially in place), now I can give two pushes then do 3 brackets in a row. Yay me! Even though this was the right inside bracket, and I think our synchro one is the left outside, I think synchro must be how my brackets improved, because I haven't been working on them.

It was a fantastic lesson. Very in depth about the edges and such. Afterwards I told Andy I really thought he did a good job, and he said he thinks I might have been the only one who understood it, and that he thinks it might have been over everyone else's head (kids and adult)

Anyhow- I think that it doesn't matter what the turn is, if I get to do it over my right shoulder, it's fine with me.

I'm just so glad we did turns. I've had something going on lately, not cold/flu sick, but something wrong- so I've been back and forth sick, and wasn't going to be able to skate if we did jumps and spins. I'm not 100% sure I'll be able to do synchro tonight, but I'm going to go and see how I feel

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Time Event
Morning sessions work well for me
Today was kind of a mixed bag. I've felt lousy all week, and felt really sick for 90% of today. Just very very dizzy, and a constant headache.

BUT I did get a fantastic skate in! The morning freestyle has been extended to 2 hours and now starts at 7:00 a.m. I decided to wake up early and go at 7, because normally when I skate an hour session I'm only on the ice for 30-40 minutes, due to boot problems, stretching, water breaks, laziness- etc, and I figured this way, I could do 2 hours, and be on the ice for an hour.

Last night I made a CD that starts with Les Mis songs (upbeat ones), transitions to a few RENT songs, then goes into classical music, then a few Shakira songs. It was a fantastic idea- as the Les Mis REALLY woke me up, and got me to skate fast.

So I was on the ice at 7:00, did some laps, some progressive style crossovers and really got my blood pumping. I ran through moves, I ran spins (not so good on the camel, or the backspins, but I did do one backspin that I managed to cross my leg AND pull in my arms. I hate pulling in my arms, they make it go to fast), and at 7:45 I took a few minute break. I skated 45 minutes without stopping. That NEVER happens. My right boot was really pressing into the side of my feet, so I took it off and relaced.

I put my pads on and got back onto the ice and did a few waltz jumps and salchows. The slow ones were okay, but I two footed all the fast ones. I was really freaking out. The pads experiment isn't working. Then I did some sit spins and realize the pads don't extend far enough down my butt. They cover my tailbone and my butt bones, but the painful falls from the sit spin is the side of the upper thigh.

I ended up leaving the rink at 8:20, confident that I got a full hour in on the ice. I went home and took a nap until 10, and woke up really really sick. Was supposed to go sew synchro dresses today, so am very disappointed in myself for not going, especially since I'm busy next Saturday, and time is getting tight. (Though the dresses are getting there, and looking mostly good)

I'm thinking I want to start another program. I watched my two youtube programs and could not believe how SLOW I was in the first one. Granted I'd only been skating a year, but it was pathetic. Sadly though, I think my spiral is actually lower now then it was then, but the spiral was so slow I'm not sure how I managed to balance! I just need to find music- and that part is never easy. (I wish I could keep the Pocahantas music, but politics...)

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Time Event
Hockey wins...
I meant so many times to post about last weeks skating- oops.

Anyhow today was my first experience with hockey getting preferential treatment at the rink. Well, not really preferential, but at least screwing my schedule up.

For quite a few months now, the rink manager has made sure everyone knew that the schedule will be changing November 1st- youth hockey begins, Ice Hawks really picks up steam, Adult leagues start. It's winter- of course there will be lots of hockey. During the summer he talked with synchro about either paying what hockey pays (and it sounded like if we paid equal, we would get the ice- pretty impressive, really- but we don't even pay close to that right now) or moving to 9:00 ice time. We knew that starting November, until I think March, we are 9:00-10:00 (yawn!).

BUT today my old coach emails out the new schedule this week through middle of December, and TODAY the public session was cut short by an hour. Of course my lesson is normally in the last hour of this session! Thankfully, I was able to call my coach and get the lesson rescheduled, but I was super annoyed because the rink did nothing to notify people of this. I was there Tuesday and yesterday and no schedule changes were posted. The internet schedule wasn't changed. Thank goodness Burton still emails me (as annoying as the contestant reminders of ISI competitions and Des Moines ice time are it really paid off this time).

Lessons focused on 3 Silver MITF patterns: Spirals, cross rolls, and power pulls.
Everything is promising, nothing is good. Left leg spirals are just awful- I'm so insecure on the leg. The forward power pulls were actually better then the back ones, and this is the first time I've gotten help from a coach on these. I'm not losing speed on my right side anymore (still on the left) but I'm not gaining speed yet either. Going backwards I "dance" too much, but Courtney really talked about how to use the lower body to do the edge pull, and I think I understand. Man, they kill my knees though. Cross rolls is just an issue of hip flexibility on my left side and edge security. They are improving though, I think.

Synchro last night was a lot of fun. Courtenay and I are making progress on the costumes and I still have hope they will be done by the Christmas show. I was the end of the straightline pinwheel last night- and when we were just pumping it, and not traveling it, it was SO much fun. I love love being on the end of non-traveling pinwheels. Traveling ones not quite as much, though it hurts my wrist less then being in the center!!! (It's just so hard to stay in a straight line, even when it's a short 3-spoke line). We worked a lot on our waltz jump- bracket-three move, and doing that so many times in a row kills my achilles tendon. I wish I had never worn those Bunga pads and that problem would have never come up.

I wore my new GK Elite dress to the rink. Courtney said she really likes it, and I love it. I need to shorten the straps about an inch though. Oddly the medium seems to fit larger then the large does. I guess it's all about the material used. The 2nd dress I added isn't as pretty as it was online, but for $12 I'm happy with it. The one I wore today was the $16 one. I'm SO glad I bought it. The GK elite tights aren't great- they are a bit shiny, kind of thin, and the waist band rolls, but for $4 they'll do.

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Time Event
Practice Videos:
Just skated 45 minutes of freestyle today. Now that pairs is not going to happen ( :( but expected) I just really don't care about jumping. My achilles was alright today (and Thursday) but then at a Girl Scout thing I did something getting into my car that made it pop and now it hurts like crazy. I am back to the half Silipos pads for skating, which kind of sucks, but because of an issue at work, I'm not going to be spending money for new ones just yet- need to make sure I'll have the money later! I've decided I'm going to work on Silver moves in earnest. I have a hard time practicing without a goal- so that will be my goal. The camel spin has left me so i'm going to work on that more too.

So today's scratch spin:

Backspin attempts (focusing on exit- the first two were okay, and snapping my hip to cross my leg- the last one was good. The third was a lousy spin, and I had to pause for a second to get out of someone's pattern).

Cross rolls on the short axis- If you read regularly, you'll recall just being able to put my foot down in back has been a HUGE step forward (haha).

and last- a video from last October, and a video from today. This is the forward inside to back outside 3 turn pattern. Quite honestly, its not even a good pattern for right now, but it was alright. But the difference in speed and comfort on the ice is amazing! So I thought I'd post both. This is why I love to video myself. It's fantastic to see improvement, because I expected to watch them and see about the same thing- and Kevin was watching with me, gave me a funny look and said "same thing? there's a huge difference" and even though the pattern still isn't good- he's right, there is a huge difference.


Last Year:

[sorry blogger folks...the videos are on youtube]

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Time Event
Passed Freestyle 3!

Tuesday was a fantastic day- I FINALLY passed Freestyle 3! I was pity passed by Burton before Andy even started teaching the group lessons (maybe December? I think it might have even been before then, but I can't find the date) Either way, I didn't have a backspin with a crossed foot, and my inside 3s only worked sometimes. Now my inside 3s always work when that's all I'm doing (on the silver move pattern is another story) and I can cross my backspin MOST of the time- during our test I crossed it on 5 backspins in a row, and got 3-5 revolutions on all but one of them. So I can now be stuck in Freestyle 4 for the rest of my life- since it has a loop in it :(

Andy tested us, since I think he's getting pretty tired of Freestyle 3 things- even though we don't generally only work on level elements. So two of us are in Freestyle 4, and two are in Freestyle 3. (Except the other girl in FS 4 with me has an axel and a double sal, but she hasn't done all the moves elements.)

After we did the test, we worked on sit spins. I did some- until my knee started hurting, but apparently that's not a good indicator of when I need to stop, because the next day, they hurt really badly. Anyhow- none were good, I ended up on my butt after every one of them, but that's an improvement over my "what do you mean I'm not sitting" spin, where I'm not even close enough to the ice to fall. Andy is having me support my weight by putting my hand on my knee, which does make it easier to sit, but seems to mess with my balance a bit. I really want to get this, but I also don't want to wreck my knees. After my knees were done I worked on backspins, and was able to get a good enough position that I started working on the exit- I can either get the "down" or the "kick" but not "down and kick", so I'm still stuck in a backspin with no exit edge. I'm still super happy though because the backspins were fantastic.

After the lesson I put my pads on and worked on jumps. The novice level skater who occasionally skates at our rink, was practicing, so didn't I feel silly wearing pads for waltz jumps while he was working on triples, but it's the only way I'm going to get these jumps to move! (And he was the one who first suggested I wear pads.) Anyhow- I really feel like the waltz jumps are going further across the ice. Maybe they actually aren't, but they feel better. The young girl I always skate with suggested I "stop putting my foot down to land so soon". I'll work on that :) My salchows didn't go well though. I tried a few flips, and I think I need more height on the half flip, because I can't get the full rotation. Then I did some half lutzes, and while I'm sure they don't really leave the ice either- they FEEL the highest.

Now the bad news- although skating was fine, when I took my boots off I was in so much pain I could barely walk. I had done something to my achilles tendon (pull? strain? what's the right word) and it hurt so badly that I didn't sleep almost at all Tuesday night, because I kept waking myself up. Today (thursday) it still hurts walking downstairs, and a bit while I'm walking, but I'm going to try to skate. I can't figure out what would have caused this, except that I switched my ankle pads. I lost a pad last wednesday, and got Bunga pads instead of Silipos (that I previously had) as a replacement because lots of people say they are better, and Jenskates had them for the cheapest padding price. Well they are a little bit thicker, and I think that messed up the feel of the boots. When I took the pads off I had bruises around the edges of the pads, plus this achilles tendon problem. It's the only thing I can think that was different.

So Wednesday I went to synchro off ice, and walked through the program (even though THAT hurt too, I tried not to twist on the foot to make it worse). We learned a bit of easy new footwork to add to the circle, so I could have picked that up next week, but practice is so much better when everyone is there. Then I watched the first 30 minutes of on ice, while they worked on a traveling straightline pinwheel, I tried to listen to what the coach was saying about how to travel, and caught some of it from the sides of the rink! I'm glad I didn't skate because my tendon still hurts today, but I hate paying for ice time I don't use. I need to decide soon whether or not I should cancel my lesson tonight.

I made a new dress this weekend- a mock up of our synchro outfit for this year. I'm still having trouble with bunching at the waist, but overall it's a pretty dress. I need to hem the sleeves (they are about 6 inches too long) and add the snaps. Then I'll post pictures. Making dresses is fun!
Pro Shop Plug
Just wanted to post a little plug about

I ordered my maxiflex from them, and my new bunga pads. While I HATE the actual pads, I have to say that the customer service at Jen Skates is fantastic. I sent them an email, just with my complaints about the pads- saying I understood they were non returnable, and within an hour I had recieved a reply and an apology and store credit. Their shipping is also lightening fast, and prices are cheaper then most online.

So if you are looking for a pro shop to buy odds and ends- give them a look.

(Also- on the maxi-flex. It's a pretty good stretcher, and I use it often. I haven't noticed a huge difference though because it doesn't strength train. However, as a little extra, if you just need the motivation to stretch, I'd recommend it. Stretching biellmans on it hurts my standing knee though...)

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Time Event
Oh, Under Armour
For Christmas I am asking pretty much anyone who offers to buy me a gift for Under Armour coldgear leggings. My Target leggings are not warm enough for the winter, and no way will I shell out $50 for a pair of pants that will be attacked by my toepicks the second I fall. I went to scheels today to try them on- they are HEAVEN. They are so warm, and so soft. And they look good on my legs, well as far as skin tight leggings can, they look better then the cheap ones. Oddly enough, the small and medium fit the exact same, but the medium were longer. I think I'll go with the longer so I can pull them over my laces.

Problem is- the rink is cold NOW and Christmas is months away. But like I said, I'm not paying for them! However, once I get them, I'm thinking I'm going to need the Heatgear ones for the summer, because man are these way better then my target leggings (perhaps 10x better- the price difference). I totally see how once you have one luxury, you need another. Because the cheapo ones are fine for the summer, and already I want to upgrade :)
Saturday skating (and the rest of thursday)
So I never posted about the rest of Thursday. After my lesson I stayed and skated for about 25 minutes. I ONLY jumped during that time. Well, "jumped". I want everyone out there to pause, and think that when I say I want my jumps bigger and faster, it is bigger and faster in comparision to my current jumps, which I'm sure a snail could beat me at, not in comparision to what skating should look like. Take away any illusion you have that I leave the ice, or that I'm whizzing halfway across the rink into a set up. I'm talking 3 crossovers, and an inch or two away from the ice.

Okay, now that that is settled- I'm jumping. This is a huge deal. I haven't jumped outside of group class for over 3 months. The motivation to get these jumps was the pairs skating thing, but I don't think that is going to happen anymore (at least he hasn't said anything further from "oh, I'd really like to do it, let me check my schedule") but I still want to be able to jump!

So Thursday, I jumped for 25 minutes. And all the jumps got faster and bigger. And I only chickened out of maybe 1/10 of them. But I still didn't fall. I think I need to fall. I'm scared of falling, and I think falling a few times would help, but I can't MAKE myself fall...

So Saturday-
Saturday started with moves warm up. Um, these are awful. Power pulls slow down as they go across the rink, EASY PEASY spirals look like crap on the left foot down side (pretty nice on the right foot down side), 8 step mohawk is tenative and slow, cross rolls are way better then they were last week, but still pretty bad, and 3 turns are slow and I didn't manage to do a single BI one on either side. Still, everything is improving. I'm so proud of getting my foot down on the back cross rolls. I managed to do an entire lap of the rink (more then I need to) without having to stop and get resituated. But still, I require 4-5 times more crossrolls to get down the side then I'm allotted- they are teeny tiny and slow. But I'm doing them! I'm really disappointed with the 3-turn pattern. On my FI 3s I'm turning at the top of the lobe, but the FO 3s are off centered. The BO 3s are good on one side, but lack power on the other. I can't make it back to the axis. Like I said I didn't manage a single BI.

Then I did some turning. Not much luck with the camel, though I got a few with 3 revolutions. It was a bad backspin day, but now a bad day is a few revolutions uncrossed, rather than just not spinning. I crossed a few and got 3+ revolutions, but I can't exit it. I tried an attitude spin and it feels better then it looks on tape- which is BAD. It didn't even make it to youtube. I did some sit spins which felt good, but upon video review (on youtube) have no sit at all. I think it's the second one that at least looks like I'm sitting, but the others what I thought was deep kneebend is barely visible.

Then I jumped. Not as well as Thursday, sadly, but jumped. My salchows weren't working. I think I was swinging too much, but I was chickening out on them, or else just not getting off the ice when I attempted to jump. My waltz jumps were better when I went back to them, and a few were "big" but not much. My toe loop, I'm not picking behind me, and that's causing big problems. I was happy with my half lutz, though Courtenay pointed out I was jumping up and coming down on exactly the same spot. I've never really tried to do that differently though. Half jumps are stupid- but at least that one leaves the ice.

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Time Event

Thursday Lesson

I had a 30 minute (well 25, my coach was running late, but had a student at 6:00- I'm paying her for 30, since it hasn't happened before... she under charges anyway, but since I can't afford anymore, I'm glad) lesson and about 20 minutes of practice yesterday.

So for the past few weeks I've always had a "why my skating is going to be bad today" excuse. (For example- last week, half of my face was numb from the dentist, and my eyelids were drooping. A few weeks before the test I was on muscle relaxants and loopy) This week- my eyes were dilated and I was having trouble focusing- it wasn't too bright, though the reflection off the ice didn't help.

But the lesson went really well. We did freestyle last week, so we did moves this week. I wasn't hoping to focus on them, but I asked her to spend a few seconds on back cross rolls, since this summer I couldn't put my foot down, and this week on Tuesday I kind of figured it out, but didn't want to be practicing it wrong.

So we started with forward crossrolls. They weren't too bad, and improved a ton in just the 5-10 minutes we spent on them. They need so much more knee bend then I have. What I should really do is TRUST the ankle bend, because I can get good ankle bend, I just won't let myself, because I worry I'll fall. We talked a lot about throwing my hips toward the wall, and I can do it well on one side, and not too well on the other. She also talked to me about pidgeon-toeing my foot when I push it over, and how everytime my foot touches or leaves the ice the push can't be wasted.

Then we moved onto back crossrolls. We spent a lot of time on these, actually, and it wasn't nearly as frustrating as it had been this summer- I made great progress. I was doing too much "toe-blade down", and while Courtney conceded later in the lesson- that that is indeed how the motion goes, she thought that me focusing on it, was a bit scary as I had too much toe in! So I can't think that anymore. Courtney is having me put my foot down towards the side of my body, and then pull it across the back- what's funny is that when I did that overexaggeration, I wasn't able to do IT properly and actually did the correct cross roll. I also really need to think about not bending my back leg, but really really sitting on my front leg. I go at a snails pace, but can go faster holding on (which pissed her off- she wants me pushing the whole time. I however think it's perfectly reasonable to speed up when fear of falling is taken away) so there is some sense that maybe I'll get better at these.

Then we worked on progressive-style forward crossovers to help me get the most out of each push. Andy really wants this style crossover as well. I can do them okay on the circle, but when I stroke around the rink, it's nearly impossible to not pick my foot up to cross on the ends. I don't know what the difference is. I also need to really focus on picking up my hip and leaning into the circle, as I drop my hip AND lean away from the circle. It's a wonder I can stay on the edges.

Last we did a couple power circles. First off, Courtney showed me exactly how she wanted them- standing in the center and watching someone skate around you is the most dizzying thing I have come across in skating. Laybacks have nothing on this! And then, when I do power crossovers, my knees completely seize up and I skate on peg legs. Need to fix that!

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Time Event
Tuesday and Wednesday
So "M in Texas" tells me she checks my journal most days, but I usually update once a week. I love when blogs I read post more frequently then that, so I'm going to try to too. I skate 4 days a week. I can post more then one of them!

First off- the balance ball workouts are killing me! (We get to skip Thursday, since Wednesday is my "late night") Yesterday morning was Abs, and mine are SO sore today I can barely stand up straight.

Second- it's a wonder I'm able to skate. I played on a friends Wii fit, and I apparently have horrible balance. And i balance better on one leg then two- so I guess that helps the skating.

Okay, skating.

Tuesday group lesson started with salchows. My jump confidence was really shaken (is that a word?) last week. Courtney really got on me about the fact that not only was I doing my jumps painfully slow, and barely leaving the ice, I was having really poor technique on all of them. My waltz jump doesn't kick through, my salchow is swingy, my toe loop doesn't have the pull together, my loop is non-existant. So I was stressed right away at the suggestion of jumping on Tuesday. Andy first worked on my arms- my right arm was really weak. He gave me two different ways I can do it, either holding the right arm in front the entire time, or having the right arm in back before the 3-turn, and "catching up" to it when I do the turn, so its then in front and I don't really have a preference, but he said he prefers the "catching up" way- so I just started doing that, until Courtney tells me otherwise- please the coach. Having the strong arm makes a big difference. I could get a bit off the ice, and felt more secure.

So then he made me go faster. I'd do 4 crossovers into the 3-turn, take a fast 3-turn then, terrified, jump. Then get told I skidded so much on the 3-turn that I slowed myself down and the jump wasn't any faster. Oops. I finally got the clean 3-turn, not slowing myself down, and then I was too scared to jump. I think I managed to increase my speed, with the jump at the end, a bit by the end of the lesson. And got a few "goods" so I must have been doing what he wanted.

Then we had a "demo"- and I had to do salchow-half loop. WHAT! We weren't working on combos! Problem is, I can't remember how to do a half-loop. So I did what Andy deemed a "salchow-really bad landing forward loop". We didn't spend the time working on the half-loop, however, because everyone did a different combo.

Then we moved to spins, and everyone does a different spin. I was set to work on backspins. I actually crossed my leg the first time!! Now, none of the spins were great, but I had more success then I've had in a long time. Part of my issue with pushing my foot down is that I had my foot turned out, and he wants it turned in- and that's weird. When I do get it crossed, pushed down, I am pretty much stuck spinning for the rest of eternity, because I can't exit the spin. Uh- bend and push, doesn't work when you've got no knee bend, and have no push. Stupid power pull.

Afterwards I did about 20 minutes of spinning on my own. Did some laybacks- and I'm not watching my leg anymore! Of course, they are really more, recline slightlys, then laybacks, but maybe someday I'll have an attitude spin. Not much luck on the camel though. And I tried a few CCW one foot spins, and that's just funny. How do CCW people center? I just travel and travel if I can get spinning at all.

Moving onto Wednesday- Synchro!

First- our pattern is in!! I took it from Courtenay and I'm going to try making it this weekend, just as a trial run. Issue 1: That skirt is SHORT. Like REALLY SHORT. So even lengthened, it's going to be short. I'm a bit worried about the fit of the flat skirt not looking too good on larger thighs, but hopefully the way Courtenay extends it, it will look okay. She assures me she can alter patterns- a skill I do not have.

Then in off ice we learned our circle footwork. And then we come out into a pinwheel and end the program- so the program, which is completely awesome, is also done! The circle footwork is everything we did all summer- waltz jump to crossed feet, then bracket- three. We also do our "star" 3-turn, which completely terrifies me. (Favorite part of the night: Brianna says "Jessi, you're doing it fine, I don't know why you look so scared" and I told her it's because everytime I turn, I see a foot really close to my face and think I'm going to get kicked. Caroline then assures me that she can't kick high enough to kick me- but I tell her it's not height- it's distance to the face from the foot. So Brianna talks about how you really have to keep the foot BEHIND the butt, and use the hips to bring it around, not the rotation of the leg itself. So then Caroline goes "Oh, I might have been doing that." So while she probably wouldn't have ever actually kicked me- my fear based on foot being in the wrong place, was correct.)

On ice- we just did circle and block. When we do the circle footwork with Brianna counting, I can do it fine. I even got quite a few "goods" on the bracket-3. Once the music is on, I can barely do the waltz jump, so then my bracket 3 is messed up. I'm next to Jen for the 3-turn star, and although she pulled me really hard the first time, I mentioned it to her, and now it's actually really comfortable. I'm glad to be next to her in this case, because it's not a comfortable move, and I am happy I don't have to worry about the person next to me while doing it.

In the block footwork we start with a (slightly) forward toe hop, and while side toe hops are my friends, forward ones are not. I was so scared to jump, my toe pick wasn't getting onto the ice, meaning I was hopping on my blade, and scaring my coach (because that's a good way to wipe out, even if it SEEMS less scary). Caroline was doing it too, so we worked together to get the hop on the toe pick. Then we did bunny hops, and LONG legs Caroline is making me look like a weenie. Brianna told me I need to really bend my knee up high to match her. Since I've never done bunny hops with a bent knee, just bending the knee was terrifying (who thought up bunny hops- they are evil) much less bending the knee and trying to get it up high. But in the block Caroline and I skate fairly well next to each other, which is a relief, because heightwise we are the most off match on the team.

So last night, except for being sad that one of my friends is being WAY too hard on herself in terms of how her skating is going, which made me sad, was actually a pretty good synchro night. Based on how the year started, I'm really please with that.

Lesson with Courtney tonight. I got my crash pads and am ready to jump.

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Time Event
Camel spin
This is my camel spin- it's VERY new. My main focus is to BEND in the entrance. The video shows me I need to lower my upper body more.

[sorry blogger folks, it didn't transfer, but you can find it on youtube]

This is from the little cheapo camera I got for passing my test. The quality isn't fantastic, but I think it's a better option then bringing my good camera to the rink, so this is probably what my videos are going to look like from now on. They won't be sideways after this one though- I had the camera oriented wrong on the rink boards.. oops

I had an okay practice today. The ice was nice, and I skated mostly well. I didn't jump well- I could barely leave the ice, it was very frustrating. Also, since I don't have a test coming up, I don't have a very structured practice and I spend a good amount of time wondering what to do next.

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Time Event
Well, I decided what to get myself as a "yay you passed your test" gift. I didn't go with either dress- I bought padded shorts. I think so much of my jump problem is just that I'm scared of falling. Hopefully this will take a bit of the worry away. And man are those things expensive... and I absolutely refuse to believe it will cost rainbo sports $11 to ship them to me. Oh well, if it helps, it's worth it- right?

Had a freestyle lesson last night. My coach wasn't feeling well, so she coached from the boards. My jumps are just pitiful. We worked on waltz jump, toe loop, salchow, and loop. I don't think I have anything good to say about any of them.

Then we did some camel spins, and those went mostly well. I eeked out between 3-5 revolutions most of the time. She had me try camel-back camel, and I could never quite get the back camel position right, so that half only had like 1 revolution, but I never completely flopped over either. I really want to be able to get this spin. I just want to spin. Jumping is stupid.

Afterwards I talked to Ryne and he was complimentary about my camel- he said he was impressed I was able to keep spinning after I lost the position, and then regain it. I guess most people just fall? Then he said something about how he noticed I was working on my loop. Well that's a positive- at least the jumps I'm trying to do are recognizable as the jumps I'm trying to do. He could have said "and what the heck was that weird hop you were doing".

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Time Event
I went to the rink early yesterday to practice (I wanted to do backspin, and work on spinning CCW just in case the pairs thing works out. Andy says we can mirror on everything but pairs spin we have to pick a direction) but the ice was SO bad, that I gave up after one lap. Sue said there was a church group of 150 earlier- so thats why it was so awful. Danilo still needs to find out if he has time/money for pairs, but it would actually be pretty cheap- Andy charges his regular rate and we split it. I figured he'd charge it each, since it's not like a semi-private, it's a specialized lesson.

LTS went really well. We started with 8 step mohawk, and I don't think I have a bad side anymore. Both sides are about even. That's a HUGE thing. I need to be careful not to do the ISI 3 footwork though! And Even though the entire time I'm thinking "bend" apparently I'm not doing it, because Andy once again told me I look like a "stupid penguin"- so not even a regular one. :( But the mohawk actually seems easier than the inside one- at least until I clip my blades and get too scared to do it. The concept of quickness is going to take a long time though!

Then we did camel spins, and Andy explained it in a way this time that finally made sense. First off- I was rising too early, the bend has to happen until after the 3 turn is finished. (And once again, even though my head is saying 'bend bend bend bend' my leg doesn't always do it) - and then the right shoulder and left hip have to feel like they are pulling together the entire spin, otherwise the leg comes out to the side. My huge loopy inside edge traveling ugly has gone away, and I actually did one well enough to get a "good, that's exactly what I wanted"- though I'm sure it didn't really look like a camel. Still- I was very excited.

PASSED! Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Time Event
My stomach is quite upset this morning. I'm heading to freeskate right now. Run the test twice- go home. I might sneak in a few spins, but it's going to be about 30 minutes of ice time, just to make sure the 3-turns work today.

Test is at 12:50- I will leave here at about 11:00, so I get to CR about an hour before my warm up. I'm ice monitoring after the test, so I won't be home until like 4:30.

In other news- I found out today that Alissa Czisny won her first Grand Prix of the season. That makes me SO happy. I want her to have a successful season, because she's one of my favorites to watch. It's never fun to watch the favorite crash and burn.

Alright- time to get the skating outfit on... BREATHE jessi...
I passed!
Passed Bronze MITF!!! The test felt really good. I did the entire thing without going for a water break (I had been having a hard time getting through it in practice) and although I was pretty nervous, I don't think it showed too much in my legs :) I wasn't NEARLY as nervous as I was for Pre-Bronze, so maybe all the freaking out ahead of time took care of that.

The ice was WEIRD. It was super fast- not the chunked up ice we usually have to push through, which might have been why I never got so out of breathe, but I was prepared for that- but it just felt different. Like you skated on top of it instead of in it. It looked kind of slimy too. Very strange, but it didn't affect it. Also- is an olympic rink shorter than an NHL rink? I kept feeling like my patterns were off and too big. That is NEVER a problem, so it was weird.

The test session ran WAY ahead, so while I was thinking I had about an hour to go, the test chair comes over and tells us to get our skates on, we'd be up soon- that was a bit of unexpected nerves, but I think it was good not to sit and wait. Courtenay came with me and was a big help to keep the nerves down... She taped 3 of the 5 moves (but said she forgot to do the first two) so I'll put those on youtube soon.

Here are the judges comments:
Forward crossovers- 2.5- Nice positions but more knee -- push!
Backward crossovers- 2.5- Again positions good but bend knees
Forward power 3 turns- 2.5- Less toe- more knee. Check 3 more
Landing edges- Ok- little flat/shallow
Five Step Mohawk- edges/ext ok- should flow not step/march

Overall comment- Don't be afraid to use your knees & get speed.

Guess I need to bend my knees ;) The passing average for the test is 2.5- so I was at it for all of them. Kind of sad to see flat on those back edges, because that has always been my most secure move- guess I've been doing it wrong.

I have a locked entry after this. (M- I'll send it to you in an email, since I know you don't have an LJ account)ETA: Sorry blogger locked entries going public.

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Time Event
A week of skating
I figured I should post my week in review today, because tomorrow I will either have great news to share, or be in a really bad mood and not want to talk about it :)
So here goes:

The adults I am teaching are doing really well. One is really struggling on the half swizzle pumps forward and on backward glides, and I'm not sure what to tell her other than keep trying. But she's making great progress. We did the pre-pre edge pattern (kind of) as a "challenge" and they both did really well. I'm just really happy that the "get" the idea of edges.

My class was all on moves. One of the young girls is testing Saturday, and so am I, and the other adult isn't interested in doing tests, but for today we did moves instead of freestyle. Andy gave me some good advice on the forward crossover pattern- to aim for the corner instead of the boards on the last inside edge that way the crossovers don't get stuck going around the end. It really makes a huge difference. He also wasn't incredibly please with my lack of underpush on the power 3s. Apparently I put my weight over really well for the first step, shift it slightly for the next step, and then on the last back inside edge instead of keeping the weight there, I move it back to the other side. It really needs to stay over so that I'm on a true inside edge. With him pulling my arms I was able to do the edge, but then I couldn't set my foot down to step into the 3-turn! He had me work on alternating 3 turns to work on opening my hip and shoulders, and man that made me glad those aren't on the adult moves tests!

I added an extra lesson with Courtney this week, after a bad practice last Saturday. Other than a ton of dodging (man were kids annoying- I can handle public skate kids, they don't know they are being annoying. But I have zero patience for the figure skaters who just won't stay out of peoples way on patterns and programs. I stay out of their way when I'm just practicing- they should do the same. ) it was a really good practice. We ran all the entrances and exits, and then we ran the patterns. Courtney told me it's one of the best she's seen for the test and that she's never seen me push so well. YAY me!

Of course, the next day my knees were KILLING me. They did NOT appreciate the good practice. But it was a good practice.

Synchro. First bad news: We're a really small team this year. We recruited someone new, and then 3 possibles- one who actually came and skated with us once and decided to ice dance, and 2 who just decided they were too busy. The new recruit, who said he really liked it, well turns out he can't do it. A local club (which I'm a member of) has decided to have their spring competition on the date of ISI synchro nationals- so he has to coach then (and possibly ANOTHER team member would also have to coach, but that's not definite) and then he can't do Christmas show either because that's USFS Junior Nationals and it's highly likely he'll have to coach a team there. And that's a really really good excuse not to do a show. (I think local competition isn't the best excuse, but it's his job, so I guess it is...)

But good news: I get to do our move in isolation. Since he was our feature spinner, the girl who is REALLY good is taking his spin, and I'm taking her spin. And the entrance that our coach is having me do makes it WAY easier to center than a wind up. (It's a FI 3-turn and then step into the spin). Synchro has been really frustrating for me, because I'm not very good at it, so getting to do this makes me feel really good about myself. Of course the hardest part is that now I'm not in the pinwheel when it gets moving, and have to catch on while it's already up to speed. The catching is difficult, but the most difficult thing is not being flung to the ice because they move FAST.

We also learned our block footwork and I really like it. There is a toe hop that's very difficult, but a bunny hop that is much easier than I expected. I have a hard time doing them on my own, but in formation, even just holding onto one person, it was really secure. We also get to do arms and I love em.

I had my normal lesson last night. One of Courtney's coworkers wanted to come watch, and she was there to "make me nervous" so that I could simulate testing. Problem is, she was so impressed it didn't make me nervous at all :) She has never ever been ice skating and only seen it on TV, so she was so amazed that adults started skating, and now wants to do lessons. She was asking me if it was difficult (often when I was completely out of breathe) and saying that I make it look so easy, but it's probably not- right? It was kind of fun. She also "critiqued" me and while Courtney yelled "PUSH" she'd say "SMILE!"- which was useful, because then I'd start trying to always be smiling so I wouldn't be able to be corrected. So it was useful to have a watcher.

The practice itself went alright. Once again there were only maybe 8 other people on the ice, and only ever on the left side of the rink, but MAN did they get in the way. I'd have an awesome first side of the pattern, and then pretty much have to stop because it was like they were TRYING to get in my way. And only ONE of them was a public skater. All the rest had lessons sometimes in the past or next hour (though only one was on lesson at the time). I was so annoyed at that. But failed dodging aside, I mostly did well. I'm exhausted at the end of the test though. I really have to be perfect because I'm never going to make it through a reskate!

So here's a question: How many times do you have to yield to someone on program? If someone plays their program 8 times in a half hour, do I really have to get out of their way everytime if I'm in a lesson and they aren't? This isn't club ice, it's a public session, so technically there are no rules at all, but because these kids drive me crazy getting in my way, I try to stay out of theirs.

My test is tomorrow. Skating-wise I'm feeling great. Nerve wise, I'm okay right now. I just really want to pass. I'm so tired of these moves!!!

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Time Event
Skating went really well tonight. I wore my new dress and my coach said it looks cute (but she thought the skirt was too long...)

Lesson was mostly running moves. I'm having trouble getting the backward perimeter crossover stroking fit the ice, I have no underpush on my left side and so it's off pattern and short. I CAN do it- I just really have to remember to think about it and PUSH. Everything else was pretty good. The 3-turns don't feel good, but she says they look fine. My coach doesn't know what the adult standard is (I don't either) but she says that I would have a good chance of passing these moves on pre-juv, so I should be fine for the adult test. (I couldn't pass pre-juv though- not with power pulls and 3s in the field...)

After the 30 minutes I was exhausted- fall down on the ice and go to sleep exhausted. My legs were shaking, but she told me to run the moves one more time. I did, and they were sluggish but I kept going. On the 5-step mohawk, I seriously considered quitting after one side of the pattern ,but I finished it.

Then the GREATEST thing happens. One of the guys who works/skates at our rink and is testing his pre-juv moves next week- came up to me and told me that my mohawks were really good, and he has such a hard time with the 5-step, but that mine looks great, and the mohawks look quick and sharp. And this is based on the pattern where I felt like I was going to collapse!

MY MOHAWKS!! Someone, who knows what they are talking about, complimented MY MOHAWKS.

I'm just floored, and can't believe that what used to be a move I could barely even do is now argueably my best move on the test. (I think landing edges are probably my BEST move, but 5-step is up there now)

Dumpy Dress : Sept 15, 2008

Here is the dress-
I still need to
1) put elastic into the neckline
2) redo sleeve that is puckering
3) figure out how to take in the bodice so that it's a tighter!

Do you think I should take the red off the sleeves entirely? That will be easier than fixing it and trying to make them even. Then I'd hem the sleeve shorter.

I'm torn on whether I like this dress or not. It kind of looks dumpy. But then in some views (my mirror more than the picture) I think this is a good skirt.

Either way, I'm now convinced enough in my sewing abilities that I can help with the synchro dresses for all side seams, set in sleeves, and elastic to the leg line. I cannot help with skirt to panty, or skirt to dress, or neckline line elastic. I can also cut and line.


This is the dress I posted about yesterday. I haven't done elastic on the neckline yet, and I need to redo the sleeve which is puckering because I used too tight of a stitch and it stretched.. It is Kwik Sew 3502 (I think). I made the medium, without any alterations, and the bodice is too big for me. I'm thinking I'll have to take the skirt off to do any alterations which sucks.
A slightly less flattering angle and a weird faace because I didn't know the picture was being taken- but hear you can see the sleeve which is not puckering. Do you like the red? Or should I just take it off the sleeve entirely (that would be the easiest option... rather than trying to make them even.) I raised the neckline an inch from the pattern- I can't imagine how low it is supposed to be! It's going to be very open shouldered- which is a bit of a problem since the dress is loose. Maybe I can take in from the center seam instead of the side?

Edit to [livejournal] add: I figured out why I think it's "dumpy". Other than the fact that it's too big, which I don't think you can see, so much as I can feel (There is no negative ease- it just fits. Won't work for activewear) the problem is that the skirt fabric makes it look very homemade. That fabric would be better as a bodice, I think. I made the dress upside down, essentially. Maybe I should cut the small in opposite colors and see how it turns out.

Comments: Okay- the red is coming off the arms entirely. I'm still trying to figure out how to take in the sides. I think I'm going to have to take off the skirt to do it (and then it will be easy, but I really don't want to take off the skirt. That's the PITA part!

Now I've got to get the neckline elastic in!

A whole week of posts: Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Time Event
Week in skating
I got to skate 4 days this week. Since we've moved my lesson to Thursday, that might be the norm now.

The rink was in HORRIBLE shape. The mall is apparently trying to cut expenses and did so by turning off the food court a/c overnight. So in addition to the rink a/c working super hard to cool the food court, it caused incredible fog and condensation in the rink. When I got there the glass was completely fogged up, and there was a row of speed bumps- probably 30 of them? down the right side of the rink- my only guess is that the roof formed condensation, and then it dripped- repeat all night. Awful. There were also two huge drip spots in the back of the rink, probably from actual roof leaking, since it rained the night before. Oddly enough, as the morning went on, the fog got worse. The visibility was about 3/4 rink at 8:00 but only about 1/2 rink by 10:00. And, to add another complaint, the rink opener (sort of- people usually get on the ice way before staff gets there, but I won't- the idea of liability worries me) forgot her keys so she couldn't get into the office and we didn't get any lights during freestyle. It was very difficult to see. Oh- and because the food court a/c was off the temperature was really really warm, so getting off the ice for a rest was like walking into a sauna :(

Okay- so rink conditions were horrible- actual skating wasn't nearly that bad. I didn't do any full practice of moves, I wanted to avoid those speed bumps at all costs, so I did everything down the left side of the rink a few times. I had some issues gettting back crossovers big enough (I think I've always done an extra? I hope not) but no major issues. Mostly I wasn't feeling well and had a hard time trying to decide on things to practice. The fog always makes it difficult for me to breathe, so I wasn't being too athletic. Tried a few spins, and just got dizzy.

Lesson was with Jessie this week. We started with scratch spins and I had a few nice centered ones, and a few that traveled so badly I had time to write postcards home. I can't tell what I'm doing that makes these different.

We did waltz jumps, and I mostly just didn't do them. I just couldn't get off the ice. Then we did toe loops and I want to cry. I can't get my feet to pivot at all. Jessie talked about "picking on the way up" and that's even more frustrating, because then I really don't know how to pull my feet together if my pick can't sit. I hate hate hate jumping and would be happier if I never had to do it again.

Then we did some waltz 3s, some back outside 3s and I realized that I like both BO 3s equally. But going forward I hate hate hate one of them. In fact, I'd rather do either BO 3 then my left FO 3.

Then we did spirals. My inside spirals are laughable. My outside spiral with my left leg supporting is laughable.

My lesson comes in the last hour of a very long public session. It's probably been 3-4 hours since they cut the ice, if not 6 hours. The ice was very bad. But it is extremely uncrowded and a pretty good time to have a lesson. We started by running the moves test. I got yelled at a bit about no power in power 3s, but otherwise did okay. Courtney went over my warm up with me, and then I asked her if she didn't have anything specific to work on can we do ANYTHING but moves. So we did silver moves- 3 turns in the field. Although I've done these on the short axis, this was my first time doing them on the long axis. I do NOT have the power to be a silver lady!!! But, I did better than I expected, and I think better than Courtney expected. I really need to get my back edge out of the FI 3s to be smoother and more reliable, but my BO 3s were once again quite nice. I do occasionally break at the waist, which will need to be fixed. My BI 3s weren't so good, I don't think I did the left one more than twice, though the right is becoming more reliable.

Then we did a few minutes of backspins and I crossed most of them. That spin is SO hard. I think I was doing better with it last december than I am now.

Synchro was okay. We didn't do anything new and I still can't do that stupid mohawk. Otherwise the program is pretty fun. I'm having issues with the traveling 3 spoke pinwheel, because I can't maintain the grip in the center. I'm traveling it correctly though.

Lesson with Andy was mostly good, although frustrating. We worked for almost 20 minutes on backspins and it took me about 15 to cross my stupid foot. Then I actually did a few good ones that got complimented. I guess the good thing about my backspin is it's usually centered. Then Andy had us make up spiral sequences- with one fwd, one backward, and a connecting move. So I had to do my laughable Ina bauer (it just travels in a tight circle) because a spread eagle or shoot the duck is out of the question. Then we worked on inside spread eagles. I got complimented on my great position against the wall, but all my turn out comes from my knees. When I told him that he said "well it's got to come from somewhere". Um, no- when moving, it;'s not going to come from there, so no spread eagles for me.

Practice was just for a few minutes because the rink had the zamboni on the ice and running moves on a fairly crowded session was tough. Did each pattern the best I could and mohawks and 3s twice.

Blades sharpened :)
This is just because I always wonder how often I get them sharpened (I think it's every 8 weeks, but hey- I'm gonna keep track this time) but never remember to write it down :)

They didn't REALLY need it, just kind of need it- but with a test in 2 weeks, they'd really need it by then, and this way I have time to get the "bite" off them
Decided to make a dress...
I got the pattern traced and cut, the fabric cut, and about 1/2 of the dress sewn up. It should be done tomorrow afternoon. It's a cap sleeve, scoop neck dress with a circle skirt. The skirt is a red crushed velvet (well, panne) and the bodice is black spandex. I'm putting a line of red on the sleeves too- to bring the color into the top of the dresss. (I wanted to do it on the neck too, then decided curves are too hard!) I'm not 100% the sleeves will work- but they use so little fabric I can always recut.

I also tried my overlock stitch I didn't know I have- and it works perfectly- no more zig zagging for me! The zig zag always causes bunching and I guess I never realized I have this stitch. The only worry now is that each seam isn't done twice- so now I have to worry about rips. I did the skirt with the two rows of zig zags, and of course it bunches- even though I don't stretch while I sew (that makes it bunch BAD, but lots of people tell you to do it)- so tomorrow my lunch hour will be ripping it out. I think it's worth it to resew the seams- it will make it look a lot better.

YAY- new dress :)

(I am mostly making this to get some more practice in so I can help Courtenay with the synchro outfits- especially if we want them by Christmas. So far I've made 3 wearable dresses, but one totally not wearable dress. So I need all the practice I can get.)

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Time Event
Zamboni Awareness Month is NOT cool.
Is it really necessary to put the zamboni on the ice? Does it really have to take up a hockey circle?

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Time Event
Not a great saturday.
Today's skating wasn't very good. I didn't skate particularly well, nor particularly badly, but mostly I just didn't have fun.

I got there in time to have my skates on and ready to go for the 8:00 session. (Which some people get to at 7:00, but it makes me nervous to skate when the rink isn't officially open- I wonder how the liability works there.) Anyhow- the ice SUCKED. It was brittle, and already pretty torn up from the 6 people who had been there for quite some time. I did a few laps stroking, and tried to start my moves, but I just wasn't into it. There was a couple dancing, which is always really difficult for me to dodge, and someone else on the harness- which takes out a quarter of the patterns, so it just wasn't working.

So I tried to spin, and those stank. My throat hurt and I was having a hard time breathing, so after 30 minutes I decided to call it quits and go to starbucks. At that time, Courtenay got there, so I figured I should get my skates back on and at least try to skate some more. I stroked around the rink a few times with her (she's hard to keep up with- especially if I''m on the outside) and then we fooled around with some footwork.

THEN I went and got my starbucks, hoping that the heat would help get the gunk out of my throat. I taught for the first time holding a drink in my hand :) (Also- I finally figured out why starbucks steamed milk tastes better than made at home steamed milk. They use whole milk! Calories are yummy.) The beginning adult class did well, with everyone away from the wall now!

Then I did low freestyle. Carson was subbing for this class, so I took from him two weeks in a row. He always seems very nervous, and like he doesn't quite know how to explain things (which makes sense, since he isn't a coach, and a very new instructor- albiet a very accomplished skater) but the way he says things makes sense to me, and he's giving me some of the same corrections I hear from all the other coaches- so he's picking up the right stuff! Anyhow, we worked on scratch spins- and just like in the salchow, I'm not holding the 3-turn long enough. Overall he was complimentary of the spin, and helped to show me how to hold that edge longer.

Then we did waltz jumps, and I got told my upper body is correct, and I'm using my arms right, now all I need to do is really bend my knee and JUMP! I laughed, because I have NO interest in that JUMP part :)

Last we did backspins and they weren't as good as last week, but I did cross a few. Once again, it's a lack of a secure entry edge I think.

Courtenay and I have a theory, based on Andy and Lisa, who are always in caps, that if we wore a baseball cap to practice we'd be better skaters- but then Carson demonstrated a gorgeous backspin, and he didn't have a baseball cap on, so we are back to the drawing board- it probably has something to do with years and years of hard work and dedication, but it sure would be nice if it was just a magic hat!

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Time Event
Well, I did something wrong last night, I just have no idea what. My left shoulder- from the neck to the bottom of the shoulder blade is screaming in pain if I lay directly on it (flat on my back) or turn my head (either slightly to the left or extremely to the right). I have no clue what I did, or why this hurts, but it is killer! Sharp stabbing pain, not the dull ache of muscle tightness I normally have.

Anyhow synchro was mostly fun. I'm incredibly frustrated that I still can't do a fast mohawk, or get close on the back lunge.

I had issues with the traveling 3-spoke pinwheel that I'm the center of. First off, I think we are moving too fast in the center, but since unlike a regular pinwheel where you step on your own speed, in the traveling pinwheel you have to move along with the line, I'm not entirely sure the center is controlling the speed- at least I can't figure out how I'd be able to go slower and not snap my wrist off (which is what happens if the line gets ahead or behind me and my arm is not straight.) The other HUGE problem is that my hands are too small to grip the other center skater well enough, and I have no hold. At the end of one of the pinwheels, I broke early because I literally flew off the middle of the pinwheel. Falling off ends makes sense, falling off the middle? I don't know what to do about that. I can't fix my grips, the nerve damage is done, and I can't make my hand bigger to be able to wrap all the way around the other person's arm.

I also had some problems in the straightline footwork where I was getting bent over at the end of the line. I think it was just that I couldn't keep up with the two people on either side of me and so my arms got ahead of the body. I really have to figure out how to fix that.

I'm on the lunge side of the lunge/spiral pass through- and was so terrified I just dipped. But I lunge in Thriller!!! What the heck is going on with me? It just seemed like the gap was too narrow to lunge in.

Wow- that was a lot that was bad, but really, I thought it was mostly fun. I didn't pull any leg muscles this time! We had time to stretch after off ice.

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Time Event
Tuesday the 2nd
Lessons last night went well. My adult class doubled in size :) So I am now teaching an Adult 1 (who is going to move to Adult 2 next week with extra work on stopping) and an Adult 3 (which is the highest level I've taught). The higher level adult told me that the way I explain things is so different from any of the other instructors she's used, but that I'm saying the same thing, just in a way she understands. That made me quite happy.

I did a REALLY stupid thing though. The higher adult has a bad habit of hitting her inside edge on about 50% of her t-stops. She knows its the outside edge, and can occasionally do it, but usually it's inside. I was showing her how to really tilt the foot to the outside edge, flexing upwards to keep the toepicks out of the ice and the blade level, so that the inside edge doesn't have a chance. Then, as I set my foot down, I realized I about to fall, so I said "M... can I have your hand" held it gently, and sat down. Thankfully I was going slow enough that I could just glide, but I set my blade down on the back of my OTHER blade!! That was a good "what not to do" I was so embarassed, but so thankfully I didn't fall hard.

Then in Snowplow the kid who has been in hockey skates and unable to stand up on his own for the last two classes finally came in figure skates!!! But after two weeks of being picked up and held up he had NO interest in doing it on his own. I let him push the box (the kid is 40 lbs, I CANNOT hold him, and have a bad back today from the time I did) and then would take it away from him to make him stand on his own- WHICH HE DID!!! Then he could do about 2 steps on his own. He cannot, and WILL NOT even try, to stand up on his own. I have to let him use the box, because I can't pick him up, he is just too heavy. It's easier to help pick an adult up, because they help you, he just lays there like a sack of crying potatoes until someone picks him up. My lower back is not pleased with the number of times I fell for that trick (crying kids on the ice are not a good thing). Thankfully his Mom called me to bring him off the ice after 25 (LONG) minutes, and she was very complimentary of me for the time I took with him. Sandy taught the rest of the kids with Ryne, and thankfully there is a lot of help, because otherwise this kid would be out of luck.

My own lesson also went pretty well. We started with crossovers, and my left foot is working again (last week I couldn't get it to cross!) and my right progressives are back to being okay (no more stompy foot picking up here). My back crossovers feel great, but Andy says I'm not shifting my weight enough. I don't really know if that means I need to move my body, or just hold the edge of the underpush longer to show that I'm on that foot.

Then we did jumps, I hate jumps, and never practice them (oops). My waltz jump is not very good. I'm trying to keep my arms from going over my head (I finally realized a waltz jump IS a tour jete- which has arms over the head 90% of the time and so I have 15+ years of that ingrained) and my balance is completely off as a result of trying to keep them to my shoulders. My salchows were much better this week, though still not good. I'm not holding the entry edge long enough, I guess I can't tell where I am in the turn until I look at the tracing, and it's never all the way around. My toe loop is horrible, I just cannot pull my legs together.

On to practice- I did about 40 minutes, which is a good amount for me after LTS, and my knees aren't too bad. I ran all the way through moves once, and did all the patterns twice. My goodness that was difficult- there were lots of lessons (maybe 6) and about 5 little kid public skaters who could go fast, but not stop, and then about 6 other skaters practicing. I'm not used to dodging anymore after summer! The hardest part was trying to stay out of the way of the lessons, it was difficult to find a time to start a pattern, or to find a place to spin.

But all the patterns were pretty good. I really think I'm ready to pass this test (well until test day nerves come into play). My 3 turns felt good, my mohawks felt good.

I did some spins- crossed my leg in my backspin everytime! My backspin feels much further back on my blade than my scratch spin. The spin is smooth, toward the middle front and I don't feel like I control it (does that make sense?) where my scratch spin it's a bit louder, rougher, but I feel like I have control of whether or not I stay spinning. My toe pick is slightly in the ice (the first one) for the scratch spin, but not at all for the backspin.

Then I did synchro mohawks. My problem with these is 1) they are barely on an edge, and 2) they happen so quickly. I didn't do them all the way to speed, but tried to count 1-2 and make sure I did my first foot on one and turned on 2, the were awful, jumpy, and ugly, but I got turned around. Now I need to up the speed 5-10 times! EEEK!

Gotta go to work!