Coach has me doing alternating 3 turns down the length of the rink as a part of my warmup. These are fine. With the exception of the lobes resembling eggs at times and fighting my wonky turnout problem, I can do these. I've been focusing on holding the back edge, really turning my upper body, arm position and keeping my head up. This last part is hard, because when I'm trying to set my foot down in the right place, I want to look down and see where it's going. So, all of that is happening and it's working okay. I can tell because I'm getting some "molo dietz!" which I remember from studying Russian some years ago is a good thing.
But then Coach asks me to put my arm up; The arm that goes up is the one over the turning foot. Well, this will make looking down harder, but more than that, coordinating my upper half and lower half in concert has always been problematic. My feet can learn steps just fine, but ask my arms to do anything at the same time and my feet suddenly forget what the hell was going on and my arms seem to do nothing more than flail for support or waver in confusion.
And this is precisely what happened this time. What had been happening with some normalcy and semblance of grace now looked like a dying bird pitched from a plane. But Coach is a patient man, and urged me to try again. "Better this time, now do the crossover." Okay, so it's three turn right into a back cross, alternate and do the other direction; hold the back cross and free leg, slow it down, put the arm up, turn to forwards, and do it again the other way. I beg myself to straighten up, because the sound of my toepicks is enough to wake the dead.
"Work on that," Coach implores me to stop. "Try to stay on the flat of your blade, and straighten your back. Putting the arm up with help you stand straight, which is important for jumps." I like the way these little exercises get explained to me, because knowing where they fit in the grand scheme of things makes me more liable to be diligent about them.
But the arm problem has been a consistent one. Power stroking was fine until I got asked to use my arms, at which point I suddenly forget how crossovers worked. Mohawks on a circle were nuts for awhile, as I couldn't discern which arm went where and when, and more often than not I ended up trapping myself in a closed body position that needed to be out. Putting my arm anywhere other than out to the side invites disaster on a grand scale, as I typically find myself throwing my weight backwards and off the blade. The compensation for this is skating like Quasimodo, which Coach does not like. This new Three Turn Arm thing will require some work and possibly a little Irish in my morning coffee thermos.
After my lesson, one of the freestyle girls was struggling with her music on the CD player. I hate that thing, it reminds me of something the Beastie Boys might have carried around blaring Brass Monkey at full volume. "Can you play my music for me?" she looks at me imploringly.
"Sure, but tell your coach that you're out here on your own in the mornings, and to put thirty seconds of something before your music so you can hit play and get in position, okay?" I plug everything in and cue her up, she poses and smiles at me. I press play and she's off, yet another program to "Let it Go," a song which I like a lot but I have a feeling I will hate by August.
When she's done, I put on some disco remix and work on spirals and back power stroking to relax. I even put my arm up on the back edges. I entertain the notion of competing myself for a moment, as it was one of the things I said to Coach when I first talked to him. "Maybe two competitions a year," I had stated as a worthy goal. He had agreed with me, saying that learning programs was key to learning speed and to start thinking about what kind of music I wanted to skate to.
Freestyle girl puts her music on again, and I debate replacing one catchy tune for another, skating to the closing song from Avenue Q. On the way home I decide that this would be terribly inappropriate.