Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Still no spins...

I am not a happy Jessi.

This week the ice was MUCH calmer than last week.  (Weird since this was the last practice before the competition for most people).  All my run throughs were okay, but my practice in general was not.  Major screw ups on the scratch spin (I mean- like not even holding three revolutions and doing wild loops down the ice), a few biffed sit spins (those held on for 3.  I just have to hold onto it and not make faces.)  Oddly, my backspin seemed okay.  Honestly- I think I'm ready, and I'm proud of where my loop is now.  I mean, you can totally tell I'm trying to do a loop!

What I'm really looking for is a chance to do my program without all the freaking people in my way.  I have 40-60 pounds on most of the skaters, I really need to learn to just plow through them!  Unfortunately, they have non-broken necks, so they have no fear, whereas I have tons...

Or I could learn to just skate like Tim.  He has such command of the ice, we just give it to him.  He wanted to run choreography of his program, but said he felt bad because "he didn't want to run people over".  I told him to just go, everyone else had done their programs, only M. was in lesson, everyone will just watch you.  Sure enough- as soon as he started, the entire ice went to the wall.  M. kept her lesson going, and occasionally Taylor (a coach/friend, who apparently facebook stalked me to my blog- hi Taylor!) kept practicing, but she wasn't always out there.  Tim had complete command of the ice.  He just walked through the program- no jumps, but his footwork has such power (and he has such dramatic arms and facial expressions.)  Why pay $300 for private ice when you can earn it through respect of the skaters out there.

Yeah, this doesn't work at rinks where there are tons of high level skaters, but a senior man at our rink is a rarity.  (I was also happy that Tim said to me it is evil that Carson makes me do hockey lines after program run throughs. I'm glad someone thinks that-because it is definitely evil.)

In other news, I found out that Carson isn't coming to the competition.  So it really is just the best practice ice there can be- totally empty, no skaters to dodge. No nerves that he'll beat me senseless if I cheat the toe loop combo (I seriously think that is his biggest concern right now.  He doesn't ever get mad at mistakes, but if I cheat the waltz- toe, I have to start over.) I'm ready for this test, and I know it.  I just have to convince my legs to do the steps!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


So I forgot how to skate.  NOT COOL.

Something I did well tonight: toe loop
Something I did okay tonight: loop, backspin
Something that went so badly I wanted to stomp off the ice and throw a hissy fit: scratch spins.

Ever since I fell I have LOST my scratch spin.  It was my BEST element.  It was the most fun thing about skating.  Now it is SO horrible, I hit fewer than 1 out of 5, and those aren't even particularly centered anymore.  WTH happened?  I thought sharpening my blades would help, but it has NOT.

I do NOT have the margin of error to have a poor scratch spin.  That was supposed to be a gimmee! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Saturday Skating...

First, a few blog changes. 
-I updated my comment notification, so I'll get emails about them.  That means i'm going to try to do better about replying to comments! I missed reading a few of them, and feel terrible about it (I'm all caught up now).
-I also made it so that you can comment anonymously AND there is no longer moderation.  Still a captcha to reduce spam (I get a ton) but hopefully the blog will be more comment friendly now.  It makes me so happy when people read the blog!

So Saturday:
Went to freestyle and Carson was skating.  It always makes me nervous because I worry he'll judge my practice habits!  I am usually pretty lazy on Saturday freestyle because, well, I'm barely awake!  Anyhow- after about 30 minutes of skating, he told me to make sure to take it easy, especially if I was doing LTS.  HAHA- the opposite of my worry came true.   Has anyone ever had a coach tell them to NOT practice hard?

I started with 5 minute warm-up and then did a program run through.  The warm up wasn't fantastic, I totally biffed my sit spin (nearly fell over on my head on the entry). The pivots did help the waltz-toe loop though, good addition.  But then my run through was GREAT.  I landed my "loop" on one foot, I hit all my elements.  When I think about my test, I kind of want to throw up, but I think I'm ready.

So the rest of the practice went well.  Nothing remarkable.

LTS was good.  I worked on backspins and had some good ones, some okay ones.  The okay ones still get 3 revolutions though, so I'm happy.  Then we did waltz jump- loop.  I get better spring on this than my regular loop, but my weight is very central, which means I have no chance to land on one foot.  I'm totally two footed.  Still it was okay progress.  Then I went onto normal loops, and they were okay.  I am getting a little better at landing on the front of the blade, rather than the back, but still no toe pick take off or landing.  I've been instructed to just do releves to work on the feeling of going off the toe pick, and I can totally see the problem- the high cut of the back makes it nearly impossible to releve.  I should have got the cut down boots- the Finesse.  (But I bet that would be terrifying landing jumps...)  

After my test, Carson wants me to get used to skating with the top hooks of my skates unlaced.  He thinks it will give me better ankle bend in the sit spins, and fix this problem for the loop.  But it is terrifying, and we aren't changing anything right now.  (There was something else he said we were going to do after the test- I don't remember what it was.  Maybe backspin technique?)

And amazing news- even though no one in the class has a waltz-loop, and the other girls in the class need sit spin and backspin work, Carson is starting Freestyle 5 with us next session!  Thank the lord- I thought I'd be Freestyle 4 forever :)  (Of course, I haven't technically passed it...)  I am so excited to work on new skills.  Unfortunately, one of them is spirals.  Spirals make me sad, because I remember what they were like before I hurt my hip.

Still no schedule for the competition on Saturday.  I'll be there all day volunteering so it doesn't really matter. I just told the club President I needed an hour before my event to get ready.   Test time is 10:20 on Sunday, I am third after an ice scrape.  There are only 6 freeskate tests- the three high level ones are before 8:00, then there are the high/mid level MITF.  Then an ice scrape, then the low level freeskates.  Then lots of low level MITF.  I thought it was weird the high level freeskates got the worst time, but one of the girls in my group is pre-juv contingent, so it makes sense she would have needed to do MITF first. 

After the test session is a basic skills competition that I got asked to judge :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Skating Report

So after skating on Wednesday I was MUCH happier than Tuesday.  I came home Tuesday and said "I don't want to be a skater anymore"  I came home Wednesday and talked my head off about the ice time.  (I also hadn't seen Kevin yet since the morning, so I tend to get chatty.)

Since Carson has really been wearing me out during lessons, I got to the rink before club ice and skated 30 minute of Freestyle ice.  It was crazy.  Less crowded then club ice ended up being, but absolutely crazy.  I think nerves are high due to tests coming up, but some of the kids were just plain misbehaving.  The yellers were yelling in full force (at their coach), the eyeroller was eye-rolling like mad!  And generally at people she should have been yielding too, but she is an ice queen who thinks the whole thing should be hers, and the foot stompers were stomping away.  Man was it a moody ice session.    I ran through elements, and did my program once.

Club ice was a little better as the drama queens went home- but it was the most crowded session I have ever seen.  Carson lectured me on being more aggressive, and from what I could tell at least 4 other skaters got that same lesson!  It was difficult to do anything without someone being in the way.  The level of skating at the mall has gotten higher, and a few EIFSC skaters were down there too (their ice is currently an indoor football arena.  Or the hockey team's ice is, so their ice is now the hockey team's).  Lots of kids getting ready for novice moves.  Plus Tim was there.  He is never in the way, but he is FAST, so it makes me nervous if I lose spot of him, because I don't know where he will be next.  None of the high level guests were problems, but a few of the lower level ones had no concept of space or yielding.  Our local skaters were really more the issue, but also that I don't think any of us are used to ice this crowded.  Plus the hula hoop thing!  And in the span of my 30 minute lesson, they did their routine THREE times, and they weren't in lesson.  I heard quite a bit of grumbling about that.  Our little club might be getting all grown up, and may need some rules...

Anyhow- my skating.  I started with my 5-minute warm up, which was kind of cheating, since I had already been skating.  I missed my waltz-toe (well cheated it, but I think that is Carson's most hated offense) so now the FIRST part of my warm up is landing positions to pivots.  If I do those, I rarely miss the jump.  It's a good idea.  Then I did my program.  There were a lot of people to dodge, so I ended a little late, and forgot the end of my footwork, but the footwork isn't required, so I wasn't worried.  Because I nearly ran into Burton I was thrown off and missed the waltz-toe again.  So Carson had me do a hockey line (for extra tiredness...) and the a waltz-toe and a loop (because yeah, that's going to be a reskate no matter what). He thinks if I skate at least 90% and the judges are nice, I'll pass.  Tough judges I really shouldn't- I mean, my loop isn't really a loop. 

Then we did program parts.  Lots of loops.  After 20 minutes of lesson my sit spins were failing me, I was TIRED.  But otherwise, other than being exhausted everything went well.  Sometimes the backspins were better than others, but they spun.

I was going to go home after that (having already skated an hour), but seeing Tim take fall after fall and keep going motivated me to stay.  I was a little lazy, but ran through all my elements again, and program parts.  Then, in the last 5 minutes of ice time no one was running music, so I did the program again.  (So yeah- I got two programs on one session too- but not while people were waiting, and not 3 times in 30 minutes... and one was in lesson!)

So I think I'm ready.  Next week I bet my lesson is brutal.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How big is the pyramid?

Tim was at club ice again last night.  Man- he is an amazing skater.  I was doing hockey lines* and he landed a triple-triple right in front of me, just absolutely huge.  And then he apologized for landing in front of me.  No apology needed!  Anyhow- he once again drilled 3As- a few of them would have counted as landed (one crazy shoot the duck save), but none were clean.  He told me he just wants to get a video of one clean one.  Somehow our conversation got into "making it" and I said it was really motivating to watch him, and he was very modest and basically said he hadn't "made it to the top", only 11th at Nationals. I pointed out that in the grand scheme of skating, he was definitely part of the top, even if it seemed there was a long way to go.  As he was denying it, two girls sheepishly came up and asked him to autograph their skates!  SEE! Told you.   It must be very frustrating being an elite skater.  How long do you keep at it?  As an adult skater, I have no schedule, but as an elite- there has to be some point where "real life" needs to begin.  Tim told me "this is the year I would have graduated college" but he hasn't even started that.  Skating is so demanding, and so expensive.  How long do you keep at it, wondering if the rewards will come?

But then that got me thinking- where am I on that pyramid?  And really, I consider myself a beginner, not that great (have you seen my jumps?) But I think that if we lined up all the people in the United States (I'm not going to focus international right now) who had ever put on ice skates (and are still alive) I think I might be in the top half.  I consider the base of the pyramid to be anyone who has gone to a public session, then there is a layer of those who have ever had a lesson.  Finished Basic 4 (a major cut off it seems), Finished Basic 8, taken a MITF test, taken a freeskate test.  That's about where I fall (2 MITF tests, 1 freeskate).  Now, anyone who has ever skated seriously is above me.  But in the grand scheme of skating- I guess I'm not that bad.

*Terrifying hockey lines- the ice was so crowded last night it was impossible to skate as fast as Carson wanted me too.  At one point, two girls were walking through a duet that they use hula hoops on, and I'm skating back dodging two rolling hoops- they do the thing where you let go of the hoop and it rolls back to you.  But honestly with that many people on the ice- you shouldn't be allowed to let go of props like that!  I actually asked the club president to have the board consider a "if X are on the ice, you cannot rehearse with props" rule.  It was down right dangerous.

In interest of having a shorter post- I'll post my practice report tomorrow.  But I'm much happier than I was Tuesday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


So pre-test suckitude is normal right?

Because man was I utter crap tonight. Probably the ONLY thing I did well was toe loops. And I made okay attempts at loops. But otherwise- dreck.

My scratch spin has gone crazy. I blame my brace almost entirely. I took it off for 3 spins, and one was a bit wild, but the others were much better. With it on, I travel half-way across Iowa. But I can't risk fall on my wrist, so I have to wear it when I skate. Still, scratch spins are the thing I'm good at so this pisses me off.

Sit spins during LTS were great, Carson said I was getting lower now, and they were fast and centered. But then during my own practice AWFUL- I was high and falling to the inside in giant loops. Not cool.

Back spins- I don't know what to say. They aren't pretty.

Waltz jump toe loop works fine if I'm warmed up, cheated if it is the first jump out of the gate. I need to do some pivots first.

Salchow was okay. Carson had me do a new exercise where I 3 turn, then pivot, but all the pivot weight is on the outside foot, the toe pick is just lightly in the ice. Apparently it mimics the weight of the take off.

Loops. Well, I don't have a loop. But the 3-turn, hop, 3-turn I'm doing is getting better.

I hate to be negative, but there is no way this test will be anything but a practice test. At least I get to skate my program. I mean, it only costs as much as the Christmas show :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The importance of a Zamboni.

Skating was AWFUL this morning.  Well, actually the freestyle session was delicious.  Mostly because I ate a cinnamon roll instead of skating.  (And I wonder why Kevin is doing so much better losing weight on Slim Fast than I am.) 

I got there at 8:00 and there was about 3 feet of clean ice in front of the zamboni door.  The other adult skaters are peering into the ice rink through the zam door.  A few kids are skating, but most are milling about the lobby.   The ice looks HORRIBLE.  It is clearly remnants of a crowded Friday night public session, at least there are no pock marks in the lutz corner.

The zam honks!  Woo! Our savior.  He is going to scrape the ice (sucks for the 7:00 lesson group...)  He gets on the ice, and goes about 1/2 of the way around the outside edge, then the ice stops getting smoother.  UGH.

So I lace up my skates, and decide, if anything, maybe I can spin in place.  The two adults who had been checking the ice out decide to go to Panera- quite a few kids call it quits.  A few more step onto the ice, and Burton starts up lessons.  I do a few laps, and decide even the "good" ice sucks.  Another adult takes my suggestion and spins, hugging the wall, on the only clear ice.

At 8:45 I tell myself "you test in two weeks- go do backspins"  so I do.  About 10 minutes of backspins, anda few scratch spins.  The ice is so bumpy, they are pretty awful.  At 9:00 the zamboni horn honks again.  YAY!  It is fixed.  (Also deja vu to the day I sprained my wrist- bad freestyle ice, scraped for LTS). 

He does the first lap- the ice is smoothing behind him.  He does the second lap- it is looking nice.  He goes for the third.  Nope, that is ugly ice left in the wake.  The zamboni retreats again.

We do LTS with three stripes of good ice alternating two stripes of horrible ice.  The bad ice is dirty too- there was broomball the night before, so tennis shoes have tracked all kinds of debris up there.

LTS was a disaster.  Carson asked us to do 3 laps to start, and I was terrified.  In addition to worrying about awful ice (it was like skating on asphalt it was so bumpy) the first session has gotten really crowded.  It used to be Burton's huge class, 2 adults, and then the 3 of us in freestyle.  Now it is Burton's huge class, 2-5 adults, 3 freestyle, Carlos has a class of about 8 and Taylor has a class about 8- I would guess those are Basic 7-Freestyle 1 by level, but skills are lower than that, and then the 3 axel-plus kids warm up during this time.  The crowds, combined with trying to stay on good ice made it just horrifying.  The only thing that went well was loops, because those don't take much space.  We did waltz jump-toe loops and it was just like "where"- there were just people EVERYWHERE. 

So test is in two weeks.  I'm going to do my best, but I think it will likely be a practice test.  That's okay- quad cities in the summer is another shot.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Triple Axels...

...are really big. Really big.

I'm not sure if it is inspirational or just depressing. But Tim was back in Coralville, and working on them. I know he's landed a few, but I don't think I saw any landed tonight. But even to see one rotated, is just freaking amazing.

What's weird is today EVERYONE was in my way. It was a really frustrating lesson, I kept having to skate around people, scoot around people, or just plain stop what I was doing and start again. Tim was probably the only person who didn't get in my way. But I think it is only because he whizzes by so fast, by the time that I see him he isn't there anymore. However, anytime I was holding a spin, he would fly by- I would freak out and have the following conversation in my head "OMG! He's going to hit me. NO NO keep spinning. If you stop, then he'll hit you, but if you just keep spinning, he'll go around you." It was kind of funny.

At the end of the session he walked through a program, but did his footwork full out. I was off the ice at this point, but at least 4 people were in lesson, and two coaches were working on the hickory hoedown. By the time he finished, everyone was pressed against the wall, and applauded him.

Yes, as this blog post characterizes it, we are a "fun rink". Seeing someone skate at this level, and this fast- is impressive to all of us.

As for my own skating- I'm ready for the test, but I think this will be a practice test. The loop just isn't there and I SUCK when I'm nervous. We've been practicing with me nervous. I get on the ice with a 5 minute warm up and do the program right away. The warm up gets me shaking- the pressure of having ONE chance to do each element, and do them right. Then I enter the program from the boards (on a freeskate test, do you go talk to the judges like moves? Or straight to the opening?) and that gets me nervous. At least I have practice there.

I'm also pissed off at my scratch spins, but I swear it is the brace. It has to be, I am SO thrown off, and I can't pull in normally at all.

I slipped off my back outside left edge 3 times today- it was freaky. Thank goodness I'm getting a sharpening this weekend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wrist update...

I skated for a second time with the brace on Saturday.  It went MUCH better than Tuesday.  Everything is pretty well back to normal, although my scratch spins are a little off.  However, I've done enough good ones to know that I shouldn't be off, but I do think the way my brace requires me to pull in to the left shifts my body weight.  I just have to adjust for it.   Backspin is spinning again, but my foot isn't staying out.  I'm just happy it is spinning.

I also did some jumping.  I only did two loops, and one was landed one footed, but the rest of my jumps are okay.  Just tentative.

I found that I was very scared to jump.  It is weird, because I didn't fall jumping, but I guess the thought is that I can't fall. 

I did a no-loop run through of my program, and it wasn't awful.  I had a cold, so my stamina and ice coverage was terrible though.  I need to work on aerobic capacity!

I'm beginning to think I won't have to do the test in the brace.  I have 3 more weeks.  The only problem is, if the test is the first time I skate without the brace- is it going to throw me off again?

My wrist has a fairly useful range of motion back.  It still isn't perfect, and twisting motions or heavy weight baring motions are difficult but I can do most things.  I can write again :)   And while I haven't done it yet, I plan to tie my own skates tonight.  (Kevin does it wrong. It's too loose or too tight, and it is very difficult to communicate how to tighten them without tightening over the ankle, or too hard at the top of the boot...)

I participated in a charity quilting day yesterday and I think I pulled the muscle under my thumb.  I believe it is the abductor pollic brevis.  I had no idea it was possible to overwork this muscle- but it was screaming by the end of the day.  I'm guessing that was a result of the wrist.  I need to take it easy and remind myself I'm not recovered yet!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I got my refund for Iowa Games today.  The competition is on the 11th.  I bet I would have been fine to skate by then (maybe in a brace) but it is unlikely I'd be able to practice before then.  I will definitely skip my private lesson again next week, but am not sure if I should go back to groups (which are essentially private or semi-private).

Kevin says I shouldn't go to skating until I can tie my skates, but that might leave me off the ice for a LONG time.  My test is March 4- I NEED to practice.  Especially my backspin, which had gotten reliable and then failed me.

Overall, the wrist is much better.  I go all day at work on just 1 ibprofeun, and then take a Lortab at home.  Today I've started using my right index finger to type (slightly quicker than only left hand).  This morning, I put my own socks on.  I still can't do a lot though- turn the key in the car ignition, hold a pencil.  It's going to be awhile.  

I do have some upward bend now- maybe 5 degrees, and the downward bend might be up to 30 degrees!  The bruising has shown up- my wrist is pretty much entirely yellow.  Kevin tells me this means the bruises were deep since the red/purple bruises never appeared.  I'm kind of glad it bruised.  Everything I read about sprains was that moderate sprains would have a lot of brusing (a severe strain is a tear... I'd call this severe, but there is no tearing, I don't think).   No way this was a mild sprain- I've lost all function, but until yesterday, no bruise.

Oh, I take that back- I probably shouldn't type more than a few words with the right hand.  It kind of hurts now.  More like it feels tired...