Monday, July 30, 2012

Woah! Fast.

So this weekend during LTS we were doing sit spins, and I was trying to pull up into a good scratch spin (since a two position spin is better than one, and I need to find some good spins for a bronze program) but kept finding myself off balance.  Carson told me the secret is to not open up my leg, but just pull it straight in.  He's right.  Holy crap- I don't think I've ever spun so fast in my life (and it did stay centered).  It was a little terrifying.  So now I have something new to practice.

I don't remember much else about skating.  The rowing program finally got their "starter package" together -beginning private/small group lessons on erg, in the rowing tank for sweep, and on the water for sculling, so I registered for that and took a swimming test.  Now I have to wait for the rowing coordinator to return my call to schedule the lessons. So far, communication has not been a strong suit of the program, so I'm a little worried (especially since I put money down.)

So here is my rant of the week- my swimming test.  You have to swim 200 yards and then tread for 20 minutes for the "advanced" test.  I did that.  The other option is a regular test- 100 yard swim and 5 minute float or tread.   The form also asks the lifeguard to write down whether you are a weak, intermediate, or advanced swimmer.  The lifeguard freaking wrote I was a weak swimmer!   I am so pissed, because I treaded water pretty much effortlessly.  If I took a perceived exertion test I could have easily sung songs while I was doing it, I could have treaded twice as long.  I got out of the water after the entire thing with NO fatigue.  This is why the lifeguard was asking me why we had to tread for so long and that's like "coast guard level requirements".  So, if I can do that- how the hell am I a weak swimmer?   He clearly wrote it based on my lap swimming- without a doubt, I'm slow.  However, I wasn't so bad that I was too tired to tread for 20 minutes right afterwards.  I could have done another 100 if I had to, though I wouldn't have liked to!  (Beyond that, I'm not sure. I've never even attempted to swim laps before.  It has never interested me.)  The lifeguard wasn't sure if he could even pass the test because it says "use any stroke"- and he says I didn't use any stroke.  Um?  WTH?  That is clearly intended to mean "can swim in any manner", but he said I did breaststroke arms (having watched breaststroke- no I didn't) while using a flutter kick. Kevin demonstrated for me that breaststroke requires a frog kick.  Dumb-ass lifeguard.  Is it common knowledge (if the Olympics aren't currently on) what kind of kicks go with what kind of arms?  I'd say pretty much only people who have been on swim teams know that kind of stuff, otherwise most people swim in a manner that is easiest.  I can do a basic freestyle and backstroke based on trying them when I was a kid (imitating others) but my standard method of swimming is sculling my arms while flutter kicking, which is what I did.  If I was being evaluated for a swim team- yes, I am a weak swimmer.  But if I am being evaluated for falling into the river without a life-jacket on, I am very firmly intermediate.  You could leave me there for a very very long time before I was in danger (unless I also got hit in the head with an oar...)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ice Dancer Adventures: Leave Room for Jesus!

So in Tuesday LTS we are using half the time to work on ice dance elements, mostly just swing rolls, chasses, and progressives.  It is actually quite difficult, because we have to go across the short axis.  Which means I do chasse on one lobe, progressive on the other, chasse, and then come to a screeching halt halfway through my progressive because I'm worried I'm going to hit the wall.  The rink is just too short!  Also- my lobes are too shallow.
One of the things Carson is really focusing on is the extension in the swing roll, and to make sure it comes through straight and close to the boot, and not around the leg.  (Apparently kicking your partner is not a desired outcome?)

Yesterday we did back swing rolls for the first time.  OMG! Are you kidding me?  I have decent back outside edges, but the second you tell me I have to a) keep my torso perpendicular to the axis and b) not swing my leg around, but swing it through, they go to pot.  HORRIBLE.

Carson then decided we should do them in waltz hold, because it makes them easier.  He was right about that, because, at least as we were doing them, my body stayed perpendicular to my partner, but not to the axis.  Taylor was helping with our class, so Carson danced with Elka (she is tall) and I danced with Taylor.  It was pretty funny.  We couldn't figure out where the girl/boy hands went.  We are both used to being girls!  I went home and checked with Kevin, and what we did ended up being right, but it is just different with a guy...

Anyhow- a good waltz hold is close.  Taylor and I were so far away from each other it was comical.  The edges were decent, but Carson laughed at our pitiful hold (Taylor, like Carson, is also new to ice dance, but unlike Carson doesn't have extensive pairs experience, I think she has pre-bronze with Carson, and they are testing up to either Silver or Pre-silver at the next session.)  I said something about "leaving room for Jesus" and neither had ever heard that expression!  Taylor said she even went to Catholic school.  (One of the kid skaters later said they DO use that expression at their church lock-ins, so thankfully I'm not showing my age, which isn't THAT much older than Taylor and Carson. The girl says they are also told girls are red and boys are blue- no purple allowed!)  Anyhow- at Catholic dances, they wanted partners to make sure to stay apart- and not let their hold get too close.  In ice dancing, that is definitely not ideal!

I tried to practice dances on public afterwards, but it was a mess.  About 25 freeskaters leftover from lessons, and then a bundle of publics.  And one of the freeskaters was in lesson doing power circles, which pretty much rules out everything, since they take the entire center ice.  But I did do step behinds around the rink, and they are getting a little more comfortable. I just cannot shift my weight to my left side.  Getting my right foot to 'slip' out after my left sets down is impossible if I'm not holding onto the wall.  Hopefully it will be fine when holding onto Carson. That's the same as a wall- right?

In other news, yesterday was an awesome spin day.  My scratch spins were all awesome and centered, and any that started out bad I was able to correct in the spin to get on the right track. I'm pretty excited about that- being able to correct a traveling spin into a centered one I think shows a lot of control.  Or maybe luck?  But I'm doing it a lot more lately, so I think control.  My sit variations were also good, although Carson really wants the pancake to be pancaked.  I pointed out to him in the 90s before Lucinda Ruh started leaning over, a lot of people did front (and back) tucks sitting upright.  But he said "it looks like a pancake, judges are going to expect you to be in a pancake!)  Urgh.  Taylor urged me to extend my arms backward when I put them behind my back, so I started trying that.   I also had some good progress on my change foot spin.  Still can only do it from a snail's pace forward spin, but more and more I'm keeping the backspin going, and my leg is not tucking back.  It still isn't crossing though!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dangers of Ice Dancing: Evil Step Behinds

Any long time reader of my blog will know I hate the step behinds from the Rhythm Blues.  I blame my hip injury on a fall I took on these (it's when the pain started...) and that put me off the ice for over 6 months.  It also ruined my ability to do spirals.  Step behinds suck.

Well, yesterday I started doing them again.  And this time, they weren't painful to me, but to Carson.  I'm working on them at the wall, but he also wanted me to try them partnered.  Carson was a high level pairs skater- he can pretty well hold me up through anything.  So we did the Rhythm Blues end pattern, and although too slow for the dance, I mostly did the step behinds.  I also apparently dug my elbow into his back.  Sorry, Carson...step behinds hurt, I guess.  (I have no idea how I did this, I even tried the hold at home to figure out how I was tightening up to stab him in the back with my elbow, but without the scared feeling, I can't recreate it...)

Going back to dance though has shown me how much better of a skater I am than the last time I tried this.  With Courtney, I could not fill the rink with the Dutch Waltz, maybe just half rink (since it doesn't start all the way at the end- I could get the pattern to 3/4 rink).  Now, I often overshoot the pattern, to the point where I need to think about deeper lobes, rather than length.  This power, however, means I sometimes chicken out on the end pattern progressive.  But partnered, I'm not chickening out at all.  Courtney never really felt confident partnering with me, so we didn't do it much- but I had to Dutch Waltz in a show with Andy.  I remember him hissing under his breathe "you're fine!" and he took me through an end pattern edge that was surely going to kill me.  Perhaps Carson didn't take the edge so deeply, but I had no problems at all doing the dutch waltz in hold with him, on first try.  (I'm sure my butt was sticking out, and I know I was looking down, but the steps were good.)

I need to fix the looking down issue.  However, I tend to turn out and swing my legs, and have horrible proprioception, so only by looking at my feet do I know I'm not about to kick Carson.  I don't think he'd appreciate that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


So I noticed something today.  I've actually noticed it before, but I decided I'd post today.  ALL of our LTS coaches are male.  Carlos, Sergei, Burton, and Carson.   Does anyone else skate at a rink like that?  In such a female dominated sport, it seems really weird.   Our skating director said she's had complaints, because the girls in the class don't 'relate' to males, but that's silly.  They need to deal.  The coaches have such different styles.  Sergei is strict, Burton is fun, Carson requires good technique from freestyle, but is fun with little ones, Carlos really drills the basics.  None of them are intimidating (maybe Sergei?).   I think it is probably really good for the little boys in the program, though we don't have too many that stay to freestyle.

But serious- all the coaches are male.  We don't even have any female private only coaches right now.  (Taylor, but she's on vacation.  Tonya comes down occasionally, but she is really out of another rink.)  Weird.

My skating- well, I'm at a bit of a crossroads.  When I am skating, I feel good about it.  When I am not, I wonder if I want to stay skating. I really want to go back to ballet, but I don't think that is a good idea.  My hip holds me back there, and I'm fat and would be in a leotard with sixth graders.  I doubt my ankles can handle pointe anymore.  Ballet is a pipe dream...  I should just stick with skating, but I need a goal.  I think first two dances will be the goal.  At the wall, I tried RB cross behinds today.  I hate those things.