Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hi, I'm still Skating

So it's been awhile. I apologize. The holidays hit early, with me landing a gig lighting a holiday show, and frankly I didn't want to bore the Internet with the ongoing tale of me being interminably stuck in my skating. But I'm still at it, slowly chipping away at my current roadblock.

Which isn't to say I haven't picked up some new skills since the backwards crossover. I can do those pretty good, and I'm starting on the new "advanced" forward crossover which is kinda scary. In fact, I'd say I've picked up a pretty wide, if awkward, set of skating skills.

Let's go over the things I can do with a degree of skill:

I can do a pretty decent spiral. I can get both legs to hip level, and my right leg will actually get up a little higher.
I can do a decent Shoot the Duck. No, really. I can. It's pretty funny, because when I was showing someone they asked if the face I made was part of the element. I said yes.
I can *almost* do a lunge. Today I felt my right boot touch the ice, not just dragging the blade, and I counted that as a victory over my obstinate hamstring and quadricep.
I can do a Bunny Hop. Seriously. It's actually kinda fun after the first one.
I can do a Side-Toe-Hop from a LBO edge.
I can kinda spin on two feet. I can get around about three times before I get hit with the "Oh god where am I" sensation of dizziness and terror and I pull out of it.
I can do FO, FI, BO and BI edges, usually without looking unsteady or terrified.
I can kinda stop going backwards without hitching up on my toepicks. (And THAT was a tough habit to break, let me tell you.)
Yes, I can T-Stop. Even on a fresh edge, I can do it.
I can almost waltz jump. It's more like a hop/turn/ta-da kind of thing, but it's a start.
I can almost do forward crossrolls.
I can stagger through backwards crossrolls, which I figured had to be the same principle as forward, only backward. And it worked.

Now let's go over the things that are holding me back:

I can't turn. Which encompasses a vast blockage of skills.

I can do a RFO 3 turn with some regularity. I can do a LFO 3 turn, but I don't glide into or out of it. I just hit that edge and wing into it, throwing my free foot down before disaster strikes.
I can do a Right Mohawk but it's rough. There's no glide to speak of. Left side? My free foot stubbornly refuses to hit the instep of the skating foot, falling behind the skating foot and outside the circle. It's forced and awkward.
Inside Threes? Don't even ask.
Choctaw turns come to a grinding halt before I manage to get the free foot down.
Back to front mohawks do the same thing.
RBO three's give me nightmares, but I spend a few minutes doing back to front two foot turns every so often, just to feel myself "turning on the heel."

Turning is what is keeping me back.

I've identified a few culprits in my lack of turning ability.

1. I'm afraid to fall at 90 MPH. Speed is no issue, I'm not averse to going fast. In fact, I pick up speed pretty well. It's turning while moving fast that's the issue.
2. I don't have very good turnout to begin with, but on the ice it's magnified by 1000x.
3. I don't like to twist myself around. Master Shifu says I get stuck, and it's the terrible truth. I can't count the number of times I've found myself physically immobile and panicking on a rapidly deteriorating edge.

But before we get all maudlin about this, let's go over a few other things that have gone positively for me in the past few months.

Remember how I said I wanted to lose 35 pounds? Yeah, I've lost 38. I've taken eight inches off my waistline. I've gone from not being able to run three blocks to pushing three miles, three or four times a week. I'm registered for a damn 5K race, which my Running Friend encouraged me to do. I don't think I've ever been this healthy. Ever. Master Shifu asked if I'd done any other sports besides this, and the answer was "Competitive drinking." (I didn't say that.) Not the case now. Now I have a preferred tea. While stating this makes me feel as though my Butch card has been permanently revoked, physically I've never been better. Which isn't to say I don't still enjoy facets of my old life. The cooks at Five Guys love to watch me jump for joy as they proffer my bag of delicious junk food.

My left side which is my weaker, chickenshit side, had strained hamstring incident following a light hang and focus, which revealed a hip problem in physical therapy. The therapist said I was missing a significant degree of motion on that side, so I've been working on strengthening and loosening up that side. I have to stretch it out before and after (especially after) skating or running. While it looks like I'm being professional (or weird) with my post-skating hamstring and piriformis stretches, I'm actually just keeping myself mobile. If I don't do it, my left side is stiff and sore for the rest of the day. Part of me is a little envious of adult skaters who can wander off and on the ice without doing any warm-up or cool-down, but whatever. I roll with the punches. Besides, no one from the rink has seen me do Turnout Exercises while wating for my commuter train.

And now I can finally enjoy myself. The lady I used to skate with has since departed for another coach, but that's a longer story that I don't want to get into. (I have my theories.) But she was pretty competitive, and so I felt like I had to work myself hard just to keep up. With her gone, I'm more relaxed. Maybe I won't be crying in the car on the way home anymore. Can't turn? It'll happen. Eventually. My OCD has fits when I look at my practice videos, but even there I can see moments of improvement from week to week. Of course, now I worry that I will bore Master Shifu to tears, but hopefully the checks will stave that off.

I really like skating. When I skate in the mornings, the clock ticks to 6:55 and I think, "I need to get off and stretch but I want to stay here. This is more fun." I know there are people who must think I'm crazy to skate as much as I do, but other women do yoga or Zumba or pole dancing like there's no tomorrow and no one bats an eye. If this is the athletic activity that gets me off my ass, so be it. (Pole dancing is weirder.)

As an adult skater I feel a little removed from the Common Drama of the Rink. It's there, but it's largely background noise. It doesn't really affect me beyond Ice Time. I talk with the other moms, and I hear the "Competitions are expensive" and "my daughter is skating in the Freestyle 2 class but can't pass Gamma" and "I don't know what my daughter's coach is thinking," and I smile and nod. There's not much else I can do.

They ask me what ISI level I'm at, and I reply that I don't really care. (I'd peg myself as Gamma with some Delta skills, but I also have some FS1 skills. I'm all over the map.) ISI isn't really important to me. Let's test with the Big Kids.


  1. What a great list of skills and accomplishments! You might try wearing wrist guards and knee pads when you skate. Those things helped me get over the fear of falling. I don't wear the knee pads any more (I was using the volleyball kind, which are flexible and stretchy and thin (gel filled), but I do still wear the wrist guards except occasionally when I'm practicing moves for a test and want to work on arm positions. They are very reassuring.

  2. To this newish adult skater you look pretty confident when you skate. All the things you can't do now will come eventually (so I am told anyway.) The important this is that you enjoy it.

  3. YAAAAY!!! So happy you're back!=D
    Congrats on getting into shape, too. It's really inspiring.

  4. Awesome to see you posting again, and congratulations on getting into shape and progressing so much with your skating!!

  5. Oh! Oh! Oh! I'm FINALLY getting through all the posts in my RSS feed and here you are again! Yay! Welcome back. I love seeing all the great accomplishments you've achieved. You are an inspiration!