Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Progress Report

Oh, how I've missed classes! Those wonderful moments where you get some instruction and then you're left alone for awhile to digest it. The class coach will eventually make his or her way back to you, but you've got a few moments to let it sink in. Classes also serve to fill little gaps in your knowledge, like a Half Toe Walley. After one class session, I had a serviceable half toe walley. I still need to work on rotation, but it kinda goes.

And it's reinforcement of what your Private Coach might be doing with you, like spinning and Half Lutzes. Half Lutzes continue to flummox me, but they're getting better. Again, it's not being afraid of the rotation.

The Kid's Class is exactly what I needed, it's more focused and less jokey than the Adult Class. Believe me, I joke around a lot, but not when I'm getting skating instruction. Skating costs money, and I can make my own jokes for free.

The Package Deal comes with Moves&Flow Class and Power Class. Each of these is a half hour long. Moves class is great; it's edges and figures and arms, things I need reinforcement on. I like Moves Class. I just have moments of biting my tongue when the coaches ask questions of the kids and I KNOW the answer but I'm not sure if I should speak up or let the kids fight it out. Usually I stay quiet. Patch Coach Yoda heads up the Moves class so I think he's aware of my knowledge.

Power Class is thirty minutes of high speed terror. One the first few sessions I was incredibly grateful for Freestyle Coach's literal shoving and pulling me faster and his insistence on confidence in turns. Without those things, there would be no way in hell I could do this class. I keep telling myself it's good for me, even as we're all flying the corners with arms over our heads and praying everyone's balance holds, lest we start to resemble Mass Start Speed Skating. (And I have to watch out for the ones that are three feet high..)

Out of my way, Munchkins!!

I never thought I would ever reach complete physical exhaustion of my ankles until last week, when I got a fit of uncontrollable wobbling. Ever see that and wonder what's going on? Awfulness, that's what it is. The muscle set is so tired it literally just gives up for a little while. And we were just doing slaloms!

The new Strauss Program I am chipping away at. It scares the hell out of me, but I want this really bad so screw the fear! Jump! Bounce! Be happy! Ballet jump in the wrong direction, it's okay! We had it all nearly choreographed and I thought it was hard but nothing I can't do with some time and possibly Valium... and then Coach threw in a Left Back Inside Three.

Shit, are you serious? I took the RFI3-toe-RFI3-toe steps, I took the mohawks all over creation. Hell, I even took a backwards spiral that ends in me setting my free foot down right on my skating foot, and I didn't complain. But this?? And I made some remark that I wasn't good at those back inside threes (as in, Can't Do) and he says with a smile, "I know."

Yeah, typical.

So, back inside threes are now on the plate, not just at the buffet.

Plus, I had to break out a practice skirt, since the Skirt will be a big part of the routine. There's moments where I will grab my skirt and play with it... which is harder than you think when you're winding up for a waltz jump/mazurka or balancing grapevine steps. Comedy! (And it's even funnier when Coach does it. I'm going to ask him to stop, the laughing distracts me.)

But as scary as it all is, it's kinda mind blowing to finish up a practice and think, "Did I really just do all that?" Don't get all excited, everything is super rough and kinda slow, but it feels like things are really coming together. That backwards spiral? Nary a toepick to be heard. That's Patch for you. Those mohawks all over the place? Super fast and getting smoother all the time. That's Power Class. And everything happens because I'm just crazy enough to keep on trying.

"So, do you want to compete with this program?" Coach asked me of the Strauss music.
"Yes. I want to compete."
"Okay, then that's what we'll do. Adult Pre Bronze program. I need to remember what those requirements are. Can you send me a reminder?"

And off we go! With any luck, Strauss will take me to Nationals in 2016!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Skating Class!

I'm trying out a Freestyle Skating Class again, my first session is Saturday. The last class I took was Beginner (Adult) Ice Dance. It was okay, I definitely got something out of it, but Ice Dance just isn't for me. After ten weeks of endless counterclockwise Waltzes and Whatevers, my sports med guy looked at me and said, "What's going on? It used to be your left glute was the weak one. Now it's your right. What happened?"

Ice Dance. Ice Dance happened.

But that's done and I can say I gave it a fair shot. I like Freestyle, thanks! So I'm taking a bold step and trying out the "Saturday Package" deal. It's Moves/Flow, Power and a Freestyle Class all in one big swoop. Stitch did it when he skated, and it's a great bargain, a serious workout, plus you get to work with a bunch of different coaches so you get a variety of skating input. While Freestyle Coach is the Final Boss on what I do, it's fun to get some different viewpoints. Saturdays are also the Big Social Days at the Rink. Everyone, Pre-Alpha to FS6, shows up on Saturday, so you can meet and greet and see friends.

Here's the Hitch: I'm taking the class with the kids. For the record, I do not mind skating with kids. I really don't. I share Practice Ice with kids all the time, it's not that big a deal. But taking a class with kids can get a little dodgy. I took an Ice Dance class with kids and at times it was very unpleasant. Head Coach of the class tended to direct all his instruction to them and left the adults to the rear. It felt... weird. Dance wasn't constricted to any given level, so there were Beta Level skaters sharing the ice with FS6 people. We had some kids plowing at 90MPH around people struggling with Outside Edges. (I nearly ran headlong into a kid who decided to do a spin out of nowhere smack in the middle of the traffic flow.) Plus there was the Parental Peanut Gallery in the stands, which isn't normally there during Practice Ice. That was also weird.

But I'm thinking that the Freestyle Classes tend to be a bit smaller, and have less a wide array of skillsets represented. I'll be in Freestyle 2, and everyone else there will be at that same level. The Parental Peanut Gallery will still be there, but I think most everyone knows me at this point so it's just something I need to get over.

The two Coach's names that came up as to who might be teaching it are both cool. One of them I've already taken a class with and I like her plenty. The other I've never been taught by, so it will be totally new if it's her, but from what I've heard she's great. I'm so excited, seriously. I can count on not being left in the rear by these two!

I've stated that I test USFSA, but Home Rink teaches ISI.. so I'll be doing ISI FS2. These things are (in no particular order):

Ballet Jump - I struggle with this. I can't throw my leg out sideways if I'm trying to. Put me on an 8 and tell me to do FO3's on it, and my leg swings out to the side like it's his job, but jump up and straighten it sideways? Nuh-uh.

One-Half Toe Walley - What. I'm pretty sure this is that really cute step I'm dying to know ever since Skate America.

One-Half Lutz - Working on it. I just need to be sure I'm really on that Outside Edge and that I'm really rotating the full 180.

One-Foot Spin - Inconsistent, but 1000% better than it was a year ago.
Two Forward Arabesques (On either foot – and on either outside or inside edge) - Inconsistent, but happening. Outside edge Spirals are easier than Inside Edge Spirals for me.

Dance Step Sequence - Someone showed me this once... I think it's a crossover and an edge and an inside mohawk business. Eh, okay.

So yeah. This seems doable. I'm thrilled to be on the Big Ice, doing big Ice things. Coach tells me I'm pretty fast, so hopefully I'll be fast enough to keep up this Saturday!