Thursday, March 29, 2012


Well maybe not sad, but not happy.

My lesson yesterday was just okay.  I did good loops in the harness.  Not so great out of it.

But something was going on with my toe loop.  I SKIPPED it in the program.  Just down right skated through it.  The set up felt off, so I didn't do it.  What the hell?  Toe loop is my BEST jump.   I had been landing it two footed before, so then when it felt wrong, I did not want to fall.  Why am I messing up my toe loop?  I am not happy.

Also, my left outside edge is slipping.  I just got my skates sharpened.  They lasted 20 weeks the first time.  This time it has been about 6.  Not cool.  So now I don't kow what to do.  If I'm actually testing (still nothing on the website) I kind of need to get them done now. But it seems too soon.  However, that is the worst edge to be slipping on.  It's my loop edge, and my landing edge. 

Scratch spins were hit or miss- either awesome fast and centered, or holy crap how did I get that far away from my starting point.  Carson told me "Hey- at least you are able to keep spinning no matter how bad the spin is.  I don't care what you do in the program as long as you get your revolutions."  Haha- he's right though. It is rare a spin is so bad I can't eek out 5.  (A few times yesterday I got to 15!  Problem is, I could count every one...)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I think I'm dead...

With so few lessons before this potential test (no information is up yet, so it is possible it won’t happen)- I asked Carson if we could add some lessons, especially if he wants me doing a flip.   So I had a lesson this morning.  I remember why I don’t like lessons on the same day as LTS- I think I’m dead.  Really dead. 
I went to freestyle at 8:00 and skated to warm up.  Carson wanted to start off ice, and to be able to do off ice, I need to be warmed up.  I know it sounds backwards, but off ice is so hard on my knees.  Most skaters use it as a warm up, but for me- it is harder.  I guess that kind of makes some sense, since the purpose of it is  to strengthen me for the jumps I can’t do…
I worked on the step forward for my toe loop, and it is getting better. I am also able to do the backspin well from skating, but I don’t have a very elegant transition to the backspin from the landing edge of my backspin. I also don’t know if it is the rearranging of elements or me just being insanely out of shape- but getting through my program is SO hard.  Did our rink change altitude?

So at 8:25 I get off ice and take off my skates and we do off ice.  Starting with skips, then grapevines, running backwards.  Then half rotation two foot jumps, full jumps with a landing.  Off ice flips.  Then skipping backwards(omg hurts the knees!).  Um okay- this is where the dead started.  And I’m expected to get on the ice now?   Maybe 15 minutes?
We did a couple half flips and went to the harness.  The focus was on pulling back to my toe pick, ‘h”ing my knee.  Even with the harness, I can’t get all the way around.  After about 10 minutes, we do 5 minutes of loops.  Carson says he isn’t pulling the harness at all, and my loops are 90% great.  Rotated, high (for me), and landing on the toe pick.  Plus, I’m skating into them faster.  I clearly don’t need the harness.  But mentally, I do.  I know that if the jump goes bad (and I don’t think any actually did) he’ll catch me.  So when I get out of the harness, I can’t do the same thing.  I need to get rid of that problem.  Sports psychologist?
So when my lesson ends, Carson says he wants to stick with the loop in the program.  Okay- that’s doable.  I still may not be able to do it, but at least I don’t have to learn a whole new jump in 6 lessons!  If the plan was for this summer, it was a bit more approachable.

LTS was fine.  I was dead, but it went pretty well.  My back 3- Mohawk-crossover pattern for FS5 is getting better.  My spirals still suck, and I don’t use my shoulders enough to 3-turn comfortably. I’m too good of a skater to have the 3-turn problems I do.  I love waltz jump-falling leaf-toe loop. I bet it doesn’t look as pretty as I’m imagining though.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Uh oh...

I just discovered a MAJOR barrier to Carson's idea that I not only test on April 28th, but also include a flip.

Well, I knew I was going on vacation- but I didn't really think about how much lesson time I'd lose.  I thought it was one Wed. lesson.  Nope- it's two. Plus two Saturday LTS and a Tuesday LTS.

So what remains? Well, there is this Saturday, and Saturday the 7th for LTS.
Then there is Tuesday LTS on the 3rd, 10th, and 24th.
Then Wednesday lessons on the 28th, 4th, and 25th.

AND THAT IS IT.   There is NO WAY I can get a flip in only 8 skates.  Even if I skate for an hour session after(or before) LTS, which I don't always do.

Turning forward to do the toe loop is already a challenge.  What the heck am I thinking?

I'll probably still sign up.  There is a show coming up I was going to do, and the test will only be a little more expensive than that (out of club fees), and it is essentially the same thing- a skate your program opportunity.   But OMG- I cannot go into this expecting much.

I did look up Freestyle ice in Austin (though that only helps the days we are in Austin- which since we are going on a cruise isn't many) and well, I don't know.  It's from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and costs TWENTY-THREE dollars!  The first day we are in Austin I imagine I'll be exhausted from driving, the second we are leaving early morning to go to Sea World. The third is the day we are back from our cruise, so the fourth day in Austin is really the only viable option.  Not looking good for practice.  The adult skates are more reasonably priced, but aren't available any day I'm there. 

I'm beginning to wonder if I'll even get one "pass" circled this time around.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


To whomever found my sit spin and returned it.  Thank you.  However, I did not intend for this to be a "trade".  Please give me my scratch spin back.

In other news, there is a test session in April.  It is the week after I get back from Mexico, but I'm going to try for it anyway- it can't hurt.

Carson thinks we should really try to put the flip in instead, since I get good height on my 3/4 flip.  Please join me in a hearty round of laughter: HAHAHAHAHAHA.  He thinks I can rotate and have a program worthy flip by next month?  HAHAHAHAHAHA.  Still, I'm going to work on it.  We are going to alternate program run throughs with loop and flip.  It is the opening jump, so it doesn't really change anything to do either- I can be flexible.

The other problem is that we changed the entrance to my toe loop- now I preceded it with back crossovers.  No problem, I'll just do a step forward.  Problem.  I like to step outside the circle. Carson doesn't like how it looks. I have to step inside the circle.  So now my toe loop is preceded  by me thinking "don't die, don't toe pick, don't die..."  as you can imagine, this makes the jump slightly more tentative.

I didn't expect to test again until June- so now I feel really unprepared.

Congratulations to M! And some stuff about my skating.

First- I hope all the blog readers will join me in GIGANTIC congratulations to regular reader (and my good friend) M.  M won a gold medal at adult sectionals for her brilliant artistic program.

And now, eight thoughts from LTS.

1) I skated without my brace again :) 
2) I didn't have much of it to begin with, but since the fall, I've lost my nerve to skate around others.  Doing alternating crossover laps TERRIFIES me during LTS.  There are just way too many kids, many of whom have no control or predictable patterns.  I want to curl up in a ball and cry.  Luckily, these are just warm ups, so I doing them slow, and then just chicken out and stop.  But even on freestyle ice, I'm scared (not terrified though).  But LTS ice- terrified.

3) the forward outside spiral, 3-turn, crossover, back inside spiral pattern is a killer.  Even on my good side that 3-turn freaks me out.  I can't do it at speed on both sides if I two foot.  There is just something about coming down from a spiral and immediatly 3-turning that is insane.

4) the back outside 3-turn, mohawk, crossovers is even MORE insane.  On my good side, my arms seem to hamper my mohawk- they are twisted in the wrong direction from the turn, and there is no way to get them in the right place for the mohawk.  On my bad side- no way, no how is that foot coming down for the mohawk.

5) I've finally found a jump sequence that I can kinda do after being introduced to it (rather than a 4-year plan...)  Waltz jump- falling leaf- toe loop.  How fun is that?  I need to work on covering ice on my falling leaf, but isn't that true of all my jumps?  Now here is a question for USFS- why is this FS5 but waltz-loop is FS4?  They should be switched.  First- loop is FS4.  How can you be expected to learn a loop and a loop combo in the same level?  Second, this jump teaches you the foot position needed in the landing of waltz-loop without the pressure of pulling into a full rotation jump.  The progression of skills makes no sense.

6)Making progress on change foot spins.

7) Loving my scratch spins without the brace. They weren't that centered this time, but many were they fast.

8) If anyone sees my sit spin, would you send it back to me?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Break...

Yesterday- the ice was heaven.  We didn't have LTS due to Spring Break, and Burton was at Sectionals (he won his event) so none of his students were at the rink.

So when I got there at 8:45, it was just Y. skating around and Carlos had a student in the harness.  By the time I got my skates on it was only Y.  After a little bit, Y left, but by that time Taylor got onto the ice.  Still- at no time were there more than two of us.  AND the ice was fantastic.

I can ALMOST put all my weight on my right hand, so I decided I was going to skate without my brace.  Since the ice was empty and I didn't have to worry about being bumped, this was the perfect time to do it.  I can say with almost certainty that the brace ruined my scratch spins.  I'd say 80% of them were fast and centered- it was wonderful.  We won't talk about the other 20%...

My backspin was good, and I'm working on skating faster into it.  I seem to have enough control of it that I can do that fine.  I don't need to go from a stop before doing the entry-edge sequence anymore. Still can't cross the stupid foot though.

I worked on camel a bit- and bleck.  Not so good.
I worked on change foot spin, and it has gotten much better- I can change feet!  The problem is I'm tucking my foot to my ankle in the backspin, and Carson is going to kill me for that.

I only jumped a little bit, oweing to the no-brace thing.  I'm working on jumping UP on my toe-loop and I think I'm doing it.  I just have no UP in me.  I don't know what to think of my salchow- does anyone else think it is a stupid jump?  I mean, I look at the tracing and there is some distance between take off an landing, but I feel like I'm just hoping to the other foot.  I don't get it.  Waltz-toe was fine.  I hate loops.  I have a 5 year plan to rotate the flip...

I also worked on turns. One of my problems with the flip is, at speed, if the angle isn't exactly right I can't do the three turn. And that's one of my good three turns.  My bad ones are embarrassing.  How did I ever pass bronze moves?  It's sad.   And now that Carson took my footwork out of my program, I need better connecting steps.

Also- I think taking footwork out was a mistake. He thinks it makes me look slow, and I understand that, but I don't think anything I can do connecting will be any better- but now in between elements I'll be slow.  PLUS, even though it isn't required for the test I think the judges will be expecting a competition style program, and I don't have footwork.  Also- if I compete the program as a "warm up" again I'm sure to get last place- I'll be missing an element and have an illegal jump (because I now have 5 jump elements).  I kind of feel like I should say something, but I don't want to be pushy about it- I just want to pass my test.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Adult Skaters are taking over...

This morning for the first half hour of freestyle, there were 6 adult skaters, 2 kid skaters and a coach (who is a competitive adult skater) on the ice. By the end of the freestyle there were 6 adult skaters, 5 kid skaters, and that same coach.

HAHAHA we outnumber them!  (Also, a lot of the kids were on spring break...and every adult came to ice this morning, but that is beside the point.  And we have a new adult- I think she is in college, a former competitor.)

I had a good, but lazy (I was exhausted from staying up too late last night) freestyle.  Did some work on change foot spins- I can totally do them, but I tuck my foot back on my ankle for the backspin.  Carson will not like that.  I tried some loops, and Taylor told me the problem is that I'm kicking my feet away from each other instead of closing tightly.  I was trying to lift my knee, but I need to lift my knee WHILE getting that position.  Hopefully the harness will be up next Wednesday. That might give me a better feel of what needs to happen.  

LTS was a dud.  The coach who substituted is an excellent coach, but I think he doesn't read the ability of the classes well. He is the same coach who had me and the Basic 7 girl doing power pulls to loops when she couldn't hold an edge...    Anyhow, I called it, and we started on crossovers.  He demands beautiful crossovers.  This isn't a bad thing, but we spent 10+minutes on right over left (our "good" ones) and less than 2 minutes on left over right...  Lots of talk about posture.  Why don't group coaches spend more time on the bad side.  Then came 15 minutes of pointless-  well, not pointless, just not appropriate.  He wanted us to do 3 swizzles, cross our feet on the ice, and do a double 3 with our leg crossed in backspin position.

The problem is, he never pointed out to us this was an exercise for loops.  The two other skaters were focusing on the double 3s (which we've never done in class)- and so they were opening their arms to have the proper pre-rotation for the three turns, which is the opposite of the checked/closed position the loop requires.  I DO NOT do a loop from crossovers, mostly because I get stuck in the ice and can't jump, but this excersise pointd out I cannot double three from that much speed.  The exercise was totally lost on us because we couldn't do the fundamental portion of it- three turning, in a non-pre-rotated position skating that fast.  If it is a valueable exercise, it needs to be built up- first working on whether we can double three at all, and then moving to the more complicated crossed leg position, and then doing it at speed.  In the end, it was over half the class wasted to frustration and annoyance (annoyance from the other gals because they didn't even understand why we were doing these, until I pointed out it was the loop entrance.)

Last, we did one pass across the short axis of power three turns.  He did point out to C. that she "goes spaghetti"- something she needs to hear. She is a good skater, but has no confidence on the ice.  He had her repeat it once more with a better body position.  Then we had time for a single sit spin. 

I KNOW I need work on them, but I hate spending class time on crossovers.  I spend my own time on them now.  There is just only so many times a coach can tell you "bend your knees, lift your chin" before it gets old...  (And I have darn fine crossovers in class.  The problem is I can't transfer them to my other skating.  Kind of like three turns- I can do them all on a certain path, but once that angle changes, even slightly, it all goes away- which is why the FS5 spiral sequence is a nightmare.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012


So we are reworking my program for Quad Cities this summer.  The footwork is gone.  In it's place is a waltz-side toe hop-salchow, and we are lengthening all the connecting steps between elements.   There is talk of adding in a flip, so hopefully one of the flip/loop works.  

So about that flip.  This is actually my idea.  Carson didn't want me doing flip before I got loop, because it is basically the same thing.  I have to jump off my left leg, and I lack the strength of it.  But he agreed that we should work on it, because loop is improving, but it could be years, and half-flip is my only jump that visibly leaves the ice.  So I did some half-flips and we worked on lifting the knee.  I figured he'd introduce flip in the harness (he actually did want to do the loop in the harness...) but oddly, the harness was missing yesterday. (Where does a harness go?)

So after 3 or 4 half flips, he said "okay do a full one". Um?  How do I go about that?  "Just go all the way around instead of landing"  Oh!  Well, by that logic I should be doing quads!  I mean, just keep going around! 
I have a severely under-rotated, two footed flip.  Holy crap this jump is hard.  BUT it is still higher than my other jumps, so it shows some promise.   I had attempted these in Detroit, but never really worked on it before, so we'll call today Day 1.  I mean, the loop only took 3 years or so (maybe longer...)  I should have this by the summer, no problem :)

Not having to focus solely on program we also worked on camel (the first 2 revs are okay, but my weight is too inside, I need to pull my leg out), change foot spin (not nearly as bad as my last attempt) and jumping higher.  For my test, he wanted to focus on power, so I skated fast into jumps, which made me hesitant, which made them small.  Now, we are reworking, no longer concentrating on speed into the jumps, but jumping as high as I can.  So for waltz-toe, salchow, and toe loop, I'm only supposed to focus on jumping UP.  Apparently I can do it (they are still small), but to combine the two is going to be tough.

All, in all, I feel like I don't have nearly enough ice time to practice everything. I need to start working on better turns too- because we really need to pick up the connecting steps if I'm not doing footwork.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


So apparently I'm more disappointed than I thought I would be.  I mean- I knew going into the test my loop sucked, and if the judges really held the standard I shouldn't pass.  But I also knew I'm as good as most of the bronze skaters in the area, and the day before one of the judges told me I'm better than one of them...  I guess it was kind of disheartening because, really, if the judges expect a fully rotated loop, and I can't make it up by the strength of my other elements (a judge on skating forums says this is a "serious error" and requires a retry) then I won't pass this test.  I am not going to be able to do a full loop.  And that really doesn't matter to me.  I don't really enjoy jumping, and I certainly don't enjoy jumping on my left leg.  It hurts my knees and my ankles.  But apparently there isn't going to be a "good enough".  I'm not going to not try the test again, but it looks like I'm just gambling on lenient judges...  Adult nationals might not be in my future...

But I digress.  So yeah, I'm more bummed than I thought.  I nearly cried on the way to skating today.  I just didn't want to go.   It made me think of the scene from "Center Stage" where the Mom pulls the 'chubby' girl from the academy "Ballet used to make her happy."  Yeah, skating used to do that.  Now I come home crying.  Or go there crying.

Why am I doing this?

It used to be hard, but I liked it.  Now i'm just frustrated with it.  I'm not good at anything anymore.  In basic skills, I was good- I could balance and picked up skills relatively fast.  In low freestyle, well I sucked at jumps, but I had decent spins.  Now- nothing.  My spins aren't even good anymore, and they just frustrate me.

I don't know what to do to get back to happy with skating.

Maybe the answer is remember Saturday.  I was freaking thrilled on Saturday.  How quickly the tide turned...

Also, I want my scratch spin back.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Not this time.

I did not pass.

I thought I skated well (though I two footed my loop in the program).  It was not as good as yesterday overall, but I thought the elements were just as good (I haven't watched yet.)  I know I skated slower, because I was behind the music, and I was shaking a bit today.  I took the mohawks out of my footwork because of these two things.  If I was skating with the same power as yesterday, taking the mohawks out would have had me ending late, and I didn't...

I did get a reskate, but knew that I would as soon as I landed my loop.  Originally they told me I needed to do another jump for the reskate- I could do a waltz jump.  I skated over to Carson and said "well, I passed this- they are letting me do a waltz jump to reskate for the loop!"  But then, they called me back over and said, "oh, no it has to be a single revolution".  Well, damn. And DUH!  I knew that was the rule.  (They did tell me I could try a flip instead- hahahaha).  So my reskate loop I thought was very good. Carson agreed.  two of the judges did not.    I guess since that is the only thing they had me reskate it somewhat means it is the only thing holding me back. 

The only thing I'm really pissed about is not a SINGLE comment on the toe loop.  I have worked my butt off to stop cheating that toe loop. There are not many low level adults who don't toe waltz, and it appears it doesn't matter that I don't.  I think that deserved a bit of credit...

Judge 1 (Retry) - This is the judge who placed me first yesterday...
Tech: 2.4, Jumps were small.  Loop jump is not completely rotated.  Nicely controlled backspin.  Reskate- Needs more height and complete rotation.
Presenation: 2.4 Program needs more flow across ice.  Nice smile.

Judge 2. (Retry)
Tech: 2.3 Loop jump underrotated. Sit spin not low, but in a sit position. Reskate: loop sitll under-rotated. Other spins okay (not sure why it was in that order- I didn't reskate spins)
Presentation: 2.4

Judge 3. (Pass)
Tech: 2.5  Loop is underrotated. Spins were nicely executed. Sit could be lower but speed was nice.  Reskate- loop- better.
Presentation: 2.5  Happy attitude on the ice. Nicely presented.

Program video:
Reskate video:

Okay- just watched the videos.  I am pissed I got marked down on presentation (not like I would have passed anyway...) I thought it looked fine.  My scratch spin traveled pretty badly.  And I'm not entirely sure my reskate loop came off the ice...  But one of the judges, and Carson, both thought the reskate was good...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Absolutely thrilled!

I skated SO well today.  Probably my best to be honest.

I came off the ice absolutely ecstatic.  I am READY for my test.  If I skate like this, I am pretty sure I have a pass.

I started my warm up with possibly the WORST scratch spin ever- barely two revolutions, falling over on the inside edge, huge loops traveling down the ice.  Embarrassing for sure.  I told myself "this is not the skater you are!" and got to work on everything else.  I ended the warm up with a great scratch spin.

So the actual program- yeah, my scratch spin isn't fantastic, and since it used to be, I'm a little annoyed, but my loop looks like I'm going for a loop, and was landed on one foot.  I didn't cheat the toe loop in the combo, my sit spin was decent, my backspin was decent, my toe loop wasn't cheated at all, and actually looks like a jump.   It was GREAT.

I did have competition, and I got 2nd.  But here's the thing- she's been bronze for a year, and has gone to adult nationals.  I think I spin better than she does, but she jumps much better than I do.  But my program was a test program, and hers a competition program.  Once the test is out of the way (please please please let me pass, skate gods) we'll add combos to it, my sit spin will become a sit-upright, my backspin a change foot.  I have so much else I can get out of this program, and yet, already- one of the judges put me in first!  Knowing this competition was a warm up for the real thing, the test tomorrow, seeing that first place ordinal was like getting a gold medal.  I couldn't believe it.

Sorry the lighting is bad in places- we have huge windows that back light, and Kevin told me I kept skating into the wrong light...

I am going into tomorrow thinking that I skated great today, I've had good run throughs, I can totally do this.  But I am going to cry if I only get one amazing skate per weekend and I used it up today.