Saturday, October 31, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
An added benefit that I wasn't expecting was weight loss. I am quite chubby. Always have been. Probably always will be. I never was a dieter and instead try to eat well balanced organic whole foods in smallish portions. I find I feel better if I break my meals up into small snacks instead of sitting down and sating myself into a stupor. I try to eat at least two fruits and three or more vegetables a day. Since I have a wheat allergy the normal junk foods are pretty much off the table (pun intended). Yet I remain chubby. My husband was musing on this the other day. Wondering why I weigh so much when I eat so well. He was giggling when he asked if I consumed boxes of donuts at work when he wasn't looking (the answer is no since I would be horribly ill). It is just the weird metabolism that God gave me and I am stuck with. What I had forgotten is how well my body responds to weight lifting. The other night when we were walking around a mall killing time while waiting for a table at a restaurant, my underwear started working its way down. Thankfully I was wearing pants so it didn't have far to go before getting stuck. Then it struck me that I was hitching my pants up constantly as well. I had lost weight!! Since I generally don't go near scales as a rule I had no idea what the weight lifting was doing. Plus muscle weighs more than fat so even if my scale weight has gone up I might have lost fat since I know for a fact my muscles are getting bigger. The next day I had the joy of going pant shopping and got to pick up both trousers and underwear in the next size down. Monday when I got to the gym I stepped on the scale and saw a weight I hadn't seen since prior to the car accidents. I must have dropped at least four pounds and probably more since starting the new regimen. How exciting! For me regular exercise just doesn't cut it for weight loss. When I started skating I dropped ten pounds and then got stuck. I always lose a few pounds at skate camp but I am on the ice three hours a day which I can't possibly do while holding down a full time job. Weight lifting is the only thing that does the trick for me. It changes my metabolism and burns more calories even when I am sitting around. Now I am skinnier and my sit spins are getting pretty good as well.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Last night my skating dreams were neither as elegant or even relevant to the real world. I skated yesterday for about an hour practicing spins and the beginnings of my program. Last night I couldn't sleep because I was so excited about my lessons today. No wonder I dreamed about skating. But I didn't dream about my program or doing figure eights like other nights, instead I was in a strange rink where they had laid down fake ice mats on top of the real ice. I tried to skate on the stuff but my fancy blades got stuck in it like I was skating on couch cushions. The mats would move rather than my blades. Suddenly I was up in the stands naked (don't you love those naked dreams?) and they started taking the mats up revealing the lovely ice underneath. By the time I got dressed and got my boots on the Zamboni came on to resurface the ice and I didn't get to skate at all. I was very disappointed. (I am hoping that this dream is NOT a premonition of things to come.) Then as suddenly as all dreams go I was in Lake Placid with my family eating beef wellington in a cafe after being in the 1980 rink at the Olympic center, which is completely odd since I neither eat cows nor wheat although I did like beef wellington when I was a kid. In my dream it was quite tasty and I finished it all up without any of the normal digestive consequences which is what makes dreams so wonderful.
Today I am very glad my skating did not go like it did in my dream. I did a double session today. Two hours solid of skating. I am beginning to find that one hour is just too short a time to practice everything that I would like to do. The two hours allowed for some serious figure time. I did FO, FI regular and serpentine 8s, then some FO 3 turn eights. I didn't get to back 8s since I got distracted with loops. I have rather large drunken loops. They lay on their side. From the tracing it looks like I am going into them too late and exiting too early giving both lobes an odd tilt. This is when my coach came over for my turn in the "group" lesson. Turns out I was skating the entire figure too large. When I shortened it up to closer to the correct size they became easier to do. She also told me that the figure is actually traced with the free leg rather than the skating leg and the turn is initiated by pushing into the ice rather than bending the knee (I still don't really get that bit). I kept doing loops and they magically straightened up. She told me that I have a much better sense of them than the kids trying to learn them for MIF. I am actually doing the edge work rather than just swinging my leg around forcing the turn. since she doesn't give out complements lightly this made me very happy.
The second hour was my private lesson which was mostly consumed with breaking down the Salchow jump and the back spin. First just doing the entrance three turn over and over again until I got all the body bits in the right place. Then she would add the next body movement which I would repeat over and over and then the next. This was all done in slow motion until my skating leg ached. I never actually completed the spin and I only jumped one correct but minuscule Salchow but I feel like I have made a lot of progress. I have a lot to practice and I am over the idea of it has to be perfect and fast the first time. Now I have given myself permission to do things in pieces, go as slow as I want and two foot any part of it. She said I am very close to having the spin in the backspin and I will eventually be able to jump. I trust her absolutely so I know these will come eventually.
Just when I thought my right glute was going to cramp into a pretzel we started on my program. I showed her the stunt I learned from watching old John Curry videos, a spiral into an attitude, which is much harder than it looks since you have to have tons of control to execute the slow lift from the spiral to the attitude. She loved it and immediately put it at the beginning of the program. Now I am doing the spiral from a dead stop into the attitude. This helps tremendously since I just do some forward stroking and crossovers to get myself some speed for the spread eagles. This is much smoother and easier for me than last week's pivot into back crossovers and then the spread eagle. I could never hit the forward edge quite right to smoothly get into the spread eagle. Now it was easy. Next comes the three turns down center ice with the ina bauer and sit spin at the other end of the rink. Man, I hit that sit spin dead on. It was such a good one I stayed with it and made myself totally dizzy. It was awesome! She then added on two edges, one three turn into a waltz jump. When I caught my breath I did the whole thing again from the top. I was tired this time so it was much more sloppy and I had to stop dead after the sit spin since I missed the entrance and was off balance but I made it through without forgetting any of the steps. Boy does it need work. She then had me try back cross steps which are from the silver MIF which I haven't even started practicing for yet. Since I could do them reasonably well she added a pivot and the steps which will eventually lead into the salchow. I had skated the entire hour. It was over. I was pooped, sore, out of breath, and very very happy. Next week she is going to teach me how to do a change edge spiral. I have good spirals both forwards and backwards now I need to get fancy with them.
Until next week I hope I have more axel dreams.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Today we started on the choreography for the program. Now, you have to realize that even though I skated as a kid I never EVER did a program. I skated in lots of group numbers in the club ice shows but never my very own program. When you are in a group number the choreography is done for the lowest level skater in the group making most of the steps very very easy. I am very excited about doing my own program as a grown up. I am skating to "Dawn" from Pride and Prejudice. I am keeping the slow start and end but cutting out one of the fast bits in the middle. I am only allowed 1:40 of music. What is left after the edit I am going to digitally stretch to fill the time since with the edit it is only 1:30. This is going to make a nice slow tempo for it, more like a ballet piece than a manic skating piece. Just right for me ;-)
We started with the straight line footwork. It is simply two three turns into a power crossover repeated twice with an arm flourish during each three turn. Once I got this down she added a pivot on my toe pick into back crossovers into an outside spread eagle then an inside spread eagle. This got added to the beginning of the three turn sequence. It is working out that the spread eagles are done around the hockey circles and then the three turns head down the rink kitty-corner where I end up at the other hockey circle. She then added an Ina Bauer at that end into back crossovers into a sit spin. I ran through this a couple of times dodging people along the way. I couldn't believe how klutzy I was suddenly. Then I realized that I am used to performing these as individual elements which means I get to take my time setting them up and getting out of them for each individual stunt. While I have performed every single part of this well and some of it for years, it is more like playing scales up and down the piano rather than launching into a good Rachmaninoff piece. Way different! During the run throughs I stumbled over my own feet and then lost the arm movements altogether during the three turn sequence. While I did manage to get through the whole little bit end to end, from a performance standpoint it looked like crap. I am going to have to practice this a lot, starting quite slowly. This was also done without music which is going to add another stress on top of me tripping over my toe rakes and forgetting my arms. I suddenly have a new admiration for the kids whipping through their programs. I am going to have to ask for an ipod for Christmas so I can skate to my music the odd times I get the ice rink to myself during a public session.
To go back to the music analogy, I know the notes now I just have to learn the song.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I went for my second visit Tuesday and while I didn't do anything out of the ordinary she kept me going at a brisk pace that soon had me sweating buckets. I miss working out on the ice. It is much cooler in the rink. I felt like I was trying to exercise in a sauna. Very weird being that hot.
I was sore today from the workout. Not bad but I could tell my muscles had a good workout yesterday. I was very glad that I had arranged for a full body massage tonight. Boy did that feel good. Well, not during. She is a deep tissue worker which means she digs into all the bits that hurt the worst. It feels wonderful when she is done. I have more range of motion now and the stiffness is gone. Of course I could well wake up in the morning feeling like I got his by a bus. This has happened in the past and I haven't had a massage since June. But right now I am reveling in warm soft pliant muscles. Time to go park myself on the couch for the evening and watch Glee.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
- Too much weight lifting on Monday
- Not enough sleep (always a problem)
- That two day old yogurt I found in my lunch bag: blech, why did I eat that thing?
- Boots too tight
- Boots too loose
- Too much skating over the weekend? (I uncharacteristically skated three days in a row which is usually results in muscle weakness but three days later??)
- Forgot to take my vitamins this morning?
I just want to plead temporary insanity on the part of my muscles. They've lost it. Forgotten everything I've learned this past year in the space of two days. Fortunately this is a temporary insanity. Friday I had a great skate and practiced my spins from a standstill until I got them back. I was even doing small Salchow jumps. When I have days like Wednesday I just have to leave the ice (usually in disgust) and try again another day.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
We started with my scratch spin which has seriously deteriorated over the last two weeks as I have gotten used to my blades. Here is my list of corrections from my coach and things I remembered I'm supposed to do:
- Go slow
- Take time on entrance edge
- Look slightly to the left
- Step into the center of the circle
- Turn 180 degrees in the three turn BEFORE starting the spin
- Look straight ahead
- Keep everything lined up over the skating foot (no sticking the hip out)
- Keep skating foot turned in (which in my case makes it straight: I have a wicked turn out)
- Lift knee up, cross legs keeping knee forward
- Slide the free foot down the skating leg
- Exit gracefully
After much practice I finally managed a tight centered spin.
- Same entrance as above
- Keep low with leg behind until I make the 180 degree turn
- Come up quickly on skating leg
After a few tries I did a couple of three revolution turns. They aren't fast yet but they have much better form than they used to and more importantly I stopped skidding on the entrance three turn.
- Same entrance as above
- Sit, pull free leg and arm around at the same time (don't fall on your butt)
- Sit more and pull leg around more
- Turn free foot parallel to ice and bring heel over the center line of the supporting leg
- Hold, hold, hold
- Stand up and finish with a scratch spin
I'm still getting used to the feeling of this one. I am always shocked when I manage to do this spin without sitting down on my butt. When I was a kid I fractured my tailbone trying to learn this spin because I didn't have the strength in my quad to sit and hold the spin and my coach would yell at me to do it over and over again. Now that I am an adult I must be much stronger and I also don't have someone yelling at me to get lower than I am comfortable with. I have no idea what it looks like. I am sure I am up higher than I should be and my legs aren't close enough together but I am just happy that I am actually spinning in a position that loosely resembles a sit spin. My coach was happy with it as well. She didn't have many corrections to it at all. At least not yet.
- Take a left forward inside edge with the free foot in front
- Step into a right forward inside three turn
- Turn and set the back edge
- During the turn snap the free foot in front of the body and the arm around
- Once the edge is set bring the arms in and the knee up to start spinning on the back outside edge
This was my very first lesson on the back spin. So far I have been only futzing with it on the ice copying one of the other adult skaters which it turns out wasn't doing it quite right. My coach had me do the entrance one step at a time. First just the three turn, then the three turn and the back edge and then everything in my list. My last spin actually had a revolution in it before my toe pick caught and stopped me in my tracks. The whole thing felt much better than what I had been doing on my own.
A very happy skating day. I feel well enough to start double sessions next week. There were only four people on the ice after our group lesson. I am finding that one hour isn't enough time to practice everything I want to do. I hope my blades get fixed soon so I can do better edges. My spread eagles suck right now due to the right blade being in the wrong place. Patience!!!
Friday, October 2, 2009