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Getting Your Edge Back: A Skating Liveblog:
Never Ask Me the OddsAfter my posting today in the IJAM Ice Skating thread, I thought I'd start a skating live blog about my progress. Me: I'm a mid-20's, 4'4" figure skater, who hasn't taken lessons in maybe 10-15 years. However, my local rink has public skating nearly every day and it's usually nearly empty, and I am intent on taking full advantage of it. I'm usually a horribly terrible athlete, but I love skating, and have slimmed down a lot this year by running so I'm a lot healthier and stronger and have a lot more endurance. Here are some back-posts from my IJAM thread (and yes, I was a little... overenthusiastic in the first post. Bare with me, I was excited): Sept 13: My local public ice rink had their first public skating today. Not only that, the sessions are free. I haven't had lessons in maybe 15 years, but I love skating, and I'm giddy as a schoolgirl. This topic may be, but does not have to, be combined with the topic on hot chocolate. I. LOVE. ICE. SKATING. Oct 8: Well, alright! I guess I'm not the only one here. That is interesting. I checked out some skating books to figure out some new stuff and brush up on technique, and they definitely do seem to help. As I said, I haven't taken actual lessons in maybe 15 years, so I could use it! I'm trying forwards-backwards one-foot turns (what it calls three-turns), and I was interested to realize that (as the book said) you really are more stable on an edge rather than a flat in that sort of situation. Nice! I agree ice skating is much funner than roller skating. Inline skating is nice, but I've never gotten the trick of, well, stopping quickly when you're going fast. I can't seem to do any kind of hockey stop on rollerblades (maybe I need to practice more?), the brake pad is only on one foot, and it's hard to use anyway. Plus pavement is much rougher than ice. Oh, and Longfellow, trust me I sympathize. From the, ah, other direction. There are some things you just can't get in kids sizes. Oct 9: I took figure skating lessons for years when I was a kid and I hadn't learned this, and it still isn't the easiest thing to do (I still can't quite seem to get some of the variations - backwards to forwards, particularly). It does feel pretty cool to get it right, though. Oct 18: ...and not quite so cool when you don't make it and fall down like an idiot. I think I'm going to have a pretty awful bruise or two after today's session. Ouch. But I still stand by the first post, and I am getting better. Next up: Maybe trying a spin? I've already looked up how to do a certain kind, theoretically. Although I predict more bruises while attempting this. A lot more bruises. Today: Back from the rink. I was able to do the spin I was trying for... ah, sort of. Rather awkwardly and not for very many rotations. And the speed was Not Impressive. But at least I didn't go splat on the ice. More than once. And I am getting better. Practice, right? There was also this apparent preteen who came in later in the session and completely showed me up. She was GOOD. Heh. ... Ah, Maybe I should make this a liveblog? —- And so I did. Will continue posting my progress. And whether I've broken a bone, cut myself with my skate, or become sore and black and blue from bruises. Do stay tuned, hilarity will surely ensue.
edited 21st Oct '10 7:07:01 PM by TheGirlWithPointyEars
Fractally longGood luck! I'm gonna try to find some skates and see if I can pick up any figure skating. I'm as tall as you are short so skates my size are hard to come by, and I might slice people in the face if I flail around too much, but we'll see how it goes!
Never Ask Me the OddsGood luck to you too, Longfellow! Apart from just general moving about on the ice, I recommend sculling (also known as swizzles) as a good beginner's way to get used to using your edges deliberately. Back from a session on the ice myself. Didn't have a whole lot more success at the spin than I did yesterday, but, well... I think it's going to take a little time and practice. I did bang my knee a bit, though. And I can do forward 3-turns reasonably on cue. It felt pretty good out on the ice, though. I was actually energized by a couple of very good, athletic skaters later in the session - not preteens this time, my ego is grateful to say. I was also listening to the soundtrack to Evita on my ipod. Unfortunately, my earbuds (which wrap around my ears to keep them in place) kept getting knocked off my ears when I did anything forceful and that was a little distracting when I had to stop to put them back in or hold my hand over them so they wouldn't fall off. Oh well, maybe I shouldn't listen to my ipod next time.
edited 22nd Oct '10 12:13:50 PM by TheGirlWithPointyEars
Never Ask Me the OddsTime spent on the ice this morning: appx. 40 mins. Injury Report: Fell onto my hip again, but very lightly, don't think it'll make the bruise worse and it doesn't hurt. Banged my other knee and I can feel it. That one will leave a bruise. This time the ice was COMPLETELY EMPTY except for me. Awesome! I left my iPod at home this time so it wouldn't throw off my balance and took off my jacket so I would have more range of movement. Still managed to work up a bit of a sweat. I'm making (slight) progress on the spin, and attempted some twizzles, which I've read are supposed to be harder. But they're chained back-to-back three-turns (forward-backward one foot turns), which I've been practicing, so I started to get the hang of that a little bit already. The only thing is, they also require doing a 3-turn from backwards to forwards, which I still haven't quite got the hang of. I was still doing ok for a first attempt, I think. Verdict: A little progress. I think no iPod and no jacket definitely helped - better balance and freedom of movement. More practice needed, obviously. As always.
Never Ask Me the OddsTime spent on ice: appx. 40 mins. Injury Report: Not really. Did fall, but managed to do it without hurting anything. Knee is still a little bit tender. Progress: Not bad. Was going to stretch out first but didn't, still went pretty well. Definitely making a little progress on the twizzles, even managed to do a fairly decent backwards-to-forwards turn. Needs more control, though, and I kept losing all my speed. Annoying! Also probably made a little progress on the spin, although I'm really not feeling all that secure about it. I need to look over the book again (got it out from the library a second time) and see what it says about positioning and balance! Trying to learn this stuff on your own with no coach is hard. Meh. I was pretty energetic, though - the entire last five minutes I spent whizzing around two circles doing crossovers as fast as I could while Bad Romance was playing on the radio through the soundsystem. Whee!
Never Ask Me the OddsShort post today, short session (abt. 35 mins.), short on stamina. I feel pretty run down and achy. I felt cold inside the rink and it took a while to warm up. I can tell I am getting better, it just feels frustrating to know what you should be doing and not quite getting there, and the progress is slow. I need some hot chocolate.
Never Ask Me the OddsSome interesting things today. Spent... a little more than half an hour on the ice. One, there were a couple of adults using the public rink time to teach basic skating to a gaggle of toddlers (whose mommies were there watching on the side of the rink). Setting up stuff like cones on the ice. Now, this didn't particularly bother me and they stayed out of my way, however - public skating time is really not meant for group lessons. Especially to toddlers. Why? Because, had there been skaters there other than myself, you don't have the room for a group lesson, especially for a group that will probably skate wherever and however they feel like it and have to be watched very closely. Two, and slightly more relevant. The ice was really smooth. This is good. I'm guessing that this has something to do with the fact that it felt unusually bumpy last time I skated there and they refinished it nicely instead of the Zamboni making a cursory pass. Yes, there is a big difference. I also felt a lot more energetic, in good form, and like I'm making some progress. For example, on the backward-to-forward three turns, which I've been struggling with. Now, this could have a few reasons behind it. The aforementioned smooth ice makes holding a nice edge for longer, as well as gliding, a bit easier. Two, I'm rested. Three, I had a piece of pizza and a mini candy bar for lunch (a Crunch bar, if you're interested), and maybe the resulting high sugar/carbs and protein gave me an energy boost. Four, maybe, just maybe, the practice is paying off? Well, I did consciously figure out the real advantage of beginning some of these stunts with a very strong push-off so you don't lose momentum. Five, I just might have felt like showing off for the little kids and didn't feel intimidated. Instead of either being bored because there was no one there or feeling shown up by the couple of really good skaters that regularly come that are better than I am. In any case, no matter the reason, once you do something in good form, it's easier to keep doing it in good form. And I reminded myself about the stunts (one foot turns, twizzles (better but still not quite there entirely), spins (well... better than I have been doing)) I pulled today that I wouldn't have had the slightest idea how to do, especially if I wanted to do it at will, before I started skating again this year. So, I feel really good today. Which is a whole lot better than I felt last time. ...I'm also wondering if anybody's reading this or cares, but, well, that's a different subject.
edited 1st Nov '10 1:05:20 PM by TheGirlWithPointyEars
Welcome to Purgatory!Four, maybe, just maybe, the practice is paying off? Well, it sounds to me like it's certainly making a difference. Best of luck, don't give up, stay focused on your goals, and all of those other cliche words of encouragement.
Never Ask Me the OddsThanks, Endark I appreciate it.
edited 2nd Nov '10 12:30:48 PM by TheGirlWithPointyEars
Never Ask Me the OddsI felt in good form and fairly energetic Wednesday and today, as well (I went on the ice a little over half an hour each day). Even though the ice was rather bumpier today... must be a Friday thing, maybe they resurface the ice over the weekend. I started each session with a few laps around the entire rink, warming up (in both senses... the rink can be cold and cramp the muscles! Going nice and fast around for a while tends to ameliorate that) and stretching out. Getting better at keeping speed and going into tricks at full pace. Still having trouble with backward-to-forward turns, the spin, and the twizzles, but they are slowly but surely getting better. Worked a lot on balance today, which is key. I did a lot of backwards skating on one foot, especially on a curve (which is a prerequisite to the backwards-to-forwards turns I've been working on ); I can feel it's much better. Partly, I realized it's just using (remembering to use, anyway) my arm as a counterweight for balance. I tried to use that consciously in a few other ways as well. Simple, but very effective. Slipped and fell a few times, but didn't hurt anything. And at the end there was a guy who'd come onto the ice with his three-year-old son who was pushing a crate (but he seemed to be doing ok and not gripping it for dear life) and the man was clearly proud of him. Ok, yeah, I admit it, it was cute. Looking forward to whatever ice adventure next week brings, The Girl With Pointy Ears
edited 5th Nov '10 12:16:48 PM by TheGirlWithPointyEars
Never Ask Me the OddsOkay, folks. I'm back. I skated Wednesday and today. I'm getting a better hand on those backwards-to-forwards turns and the twizzles which they're a part of. Able to do them reasonably on cue now and coming out of them with reasonable momentum instead of all momentum ceasing the instant I execute one. Still a little disappointed at the speed which I'm doing them at, though. Ah well. Reasonably good form today. Skated 40 mins. Towards the end there was one of these older (older than teens, anyway), very athletic skaters on the ice with a same age coach. I was a little scared about us colliding into each other as we were both skating backwards rather quickly about half the time and tried to be careful, but it ended up working out ok. I did watch them closely and immitated a few of the maneuvers they were working on. Maybe I wasn't as fast, athletic, or graceful/limber, but I think I held my own, so that's ok. Not entirely sure how I'm doing with the spin, though. I kept trying it a bit and it's maybe getting a little better, but it's not coming easy. The ice was indeed a bit scratchy (it really does get bumpier as the week goes on, I'm sure they must resurface over the weekend), but it didn't hinder me too much. Plus, I seem to be collecting fewer bruises. The one on my right knee is finally getting a chance start losing its black and blue!
Never Ask Me the OddsIt's Monday again, and you know what that means. Time for another issue of Pointy's Pointless Skating Blog. Where the humor is always edgy and the readership is apparently like my ability to do a proper spin: hard to find evidence of. So, what annoyed me this week? Well, the tyke brigade was out in force again with their teachers. Yes, I get the appeal of trying to teach your toddlers at a time that won't cost you money. Yes, they are cute. But with several very fast skaters around (yes, there were quite a few more people this time. The colder weather must be making more people think about it.) changing direction in an instant, it can also be dangerous. Seriously. Also, the zamboni apparently malfunctioned and there are these annoying ridges in certain places on the ice. Wonderful. At least they weren't that annoying once you got used to them. Now, if you're just skating along, this isn't such a problem (and what you'd get on natural ice is probably as bad), but I don't want to try anything difficult on them. Now for the good. Backward-forward turns progressing apace. Although it can still stop my momentum a bit. Backward skating in general better. And the spin I've been mentioning as difficult, including at the beginning of this entry? A bit better, I may be starting to get the hang of how to balance it properly. Still needs speed. On that note, I'll sign off until Wednesday. Tune in then for the next episode: Defrosting Ice Queen or Cold Comfort?
edited 15th Nov '10 12:24:27 PM by TheGirlWithPointyEars
Never Ask Me the OddsPointy's Pointless Skating Blog, Wednesday Edition: Smooth Skating That's right, apparently the Zamboni was fixed since Monday. I am so relieved. It felt so much better. It didn't look like the ice-hockey players were on the ice immediately previous either, which... also helps. But not half so much as not having those annoying ridges, yeesh. Spent about 35 minutes on the ice, nice and vigorous with an initial workout whizzing around in both directions forwards and backwards. And then followed up doing figure eights as fast as possible for about five minutes. Got me nice and warm. Once I got to the tricks I was going to practice, it still took a minute to get into good form, but then I felt good. I was going a good clip even doing turns backwards and forwards. And I'm definitely starting to get a better hang of the spin. Practice, practice, practice - will get you slow and steady progress. Emphasis on the slow in this case, but hey. I'm trying to do this with no coach here. Alternating skating days with running days. Hopefully they will prop each other up and I'll have stamina, general fitness, and flexibility. Now, the next thing... I'm not sure what I'd like to attempt next. From the book I read's section on jumps, I have done this thing called a bunny hop, which is just, in a straight line, jumping onto your toe picks and jumping back down onto the ice and continuing to skate. Sort of like standing on tippy-toe. I'd like to try a jump at some point, but I don't know if I'm ready yet Well, my bruises are healing and I've got to acquire new ones somehow now that I'm no longer clumsy at the moves I have been doing... Oh, and I had most of the ice to myself except for a little kid who was getting a lesson. I know I've disparaged group lessons on public skating time, but at least with one pupil the teacher can give full attention and it's easier to keep track of where everyone is. And as I've said, little kids skating are cute. So, I'll sign off. Next post should be on Friday. Until then, stay cool. Skate hot. And I'm going to take a soak and get some hot chocolate.
Never Ask Me the OddsI skipped a couple skating sessions again and haven't been running either. I've been a bit of a soggy blob, in other words, not good for the week before Thanksgiving. I also stayed up Sunday night and read all night, which may have something to do with my willingness to be idle. Good reading. Love reading. Adore reading. This leads to exhausted Pointy. Yeah. Now. Onto skating. Like I said, this is the week of Thanksgiving and the schools had a half day today, which means everybody and their little sister has congregated on the public ice skating session which is normally all but deserted. Okay, fair enough. Lots of little kids having races, skating backwards, and generally making it hard to get up any steam without fear of crashing into someone. Admittedly, most of these kids are pretty good at getting out of the way, if they have the skill to get up any speed. On the other hand, they also like to crash. Enough said. Despite this, I was able to do a lot of my regular workout. Backwards crossovers, Backwards and forwards three-turns merging into twizzles. Some spin practice. I felt like I was actually getting a lot better at the spin, not as good as I'd like but I'm getting some revolutions and speed. The three-turns are getting more second nature and I can do more turns on the twizzles which chain them together. In both cases, I think it's better balance and control that's making the difference. I also started to try another kind of turn called a bracket turn. It's like a three-turn but instead of the outline you make with your skate being shaped like a three, it's bracket shaped. It requires changing the direction of curvature (clockwise or counterclockwise) right before changing from backwards to forwards skating, (and then reversing curvature again) so it's a little more complicated. Plus I haven't tried it before. So I got a bruise on my elbow, and marginal success, but again. It's just one of those things I'm going to have to practice.
Never Ask Me the OddsBack from my usual Friday skate. It was crowded again, as was easily predictable. A lot of people are off from work and school, what can I say? It was actually kinda fun to be in the middle of the crowd and feel the energy, though. I stayed a little longer than I have been staying, about 40 minutes instead of 30. And I managed to keep a little piece of the ice in the middle relatively clear to practice some of the more tricky moves. Didn't try anything new, but it felt great. And that's all I'll say for now.
Never Ask Me the OddsSkipped yesterday, so I went to the rink today. It was mostly deserted at first (until a group showed up later with a really good little girl), which was good for practice. Or it would have been had not one of my ankles been bothering me. When I first tied my skate, something felt wrong (like I had a bunch in my sock around my ankle), and eventually I decided to re-tie it and get the bunch out, which felt better. But the ankle still felt a bit weak, like the damage had already been done. I used to get sore ankles all the time when I was a kid, it was my least favorite part of the sport and so far I've been avoiding that side effect. Trying to tie my laces rather tightly so there's plenty of ankle support and wearing nice cushy socks, etc. This was probably just an anomaly, but oh well. I'd say I wasn't doing bad at the stuff I had already been doing, but no particular progress today. Oh, and when I was leaving and taking off my skates, the toddler who had been skating in a smaller beginner's rink was also getting his skates off to leave. He (I think... I'm not sure of the gender) said he'd 'never seen somebody dance like that on the ice'. Okay, that had to brighten up my day. ... Anybody reading this? Ah, well.
⚙I just started reading this, and I'll definitely be keeping up with it. There's no liveblog like this one.
Never Ask Me the OddsHey! Glad you like it Back once again from the skating rink. Started out not feeling too good, but felt better after I'd warmed up. Yes, in both senses again - I even took off my jacket (I had a sweater on underneath, though). Practiced a lot of backwards skating this time, backwards crossovers and one-foot circles. Zig-zagging on one foot while skating backwards. Of course, backwards three-turns. Always helps to get more stability and balance. I'd also gone to the library just before and looked up a book in the kid's section on skating, not the book I'd been reading since that's checked out to somebody else. I didn't take it out, since it wasn't as in-depth as I wanted, but it did give me a tip to help with my spins. Make sure to start with the foot which is not on the ice up fairly high, and then bring it down to increase your speed. I tried it, and I think it did help a bit. Overall, not a bad practice. Still not making a ton of progress with the bracket turns, ugly things. I may need to take that book out from the library -again- when it's returned. Now, my usual discussion of the other rink patrons. There was a guy there with (I presume) his girlfriend. He seemed to be a pretty good hockey skater, quick, going easily backwards, etc. She looked a little shaky. But she was doing okay, he seemed to be showing her some things. I'm all for people learning, anyway. :) 'Til next time. Be cool. Be slick. Glide on.
edited 3rd Dec '10 2:53:01 PM by TheGirlWithPointyEars
Never Ask Me the OddsWent back and did some skating today too. Not bad, there was a variety of people there but not too many. I was doing pretty well. However, about 20 mins. in I took a spill while trying to do a three-turn too fast and ripped my pants with my skate. I have a little bit of a cut on my leg and banged my elbow (ow), but it was mostly the pants I was concerned with. They're not expensive pants, but I happen to like them, they fit well and I had them hemmed so they're actually the proper length. So I left the rink (I wasn't going to continue skating with ripped pants...) and went on a search for iron-on patches. Which I finally found in the fourth store I looked in, and now my pants are almost as good as new again (thank goodness they're just plain black, which is easy to find a patch for... and that patches are cheap). Sigh.
ZzzzzzzzzzThis is fun to read, Pointy. I haven't skated in yonks and yonks, and back then it was always on a natural pond, so ripples, and leaves and sticks and grass poking through. Not the place to try anything fancy a-tall a-tall.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Never Ask Me the OddsGlad you like it, Madrugada! I've never been skating on a natural lake, myself, only on rinks. Not that it doesn't get cold enough around here, but it's very iffy and isn't likely to be cold enough for more than a couple of months a year. If it were more inland... My dad tells me he used to go skating on ponds when he was younger, and he grew up farther south than I am, but Global Warming and all that.
ZzzzzzzzzzI grew up in Northern Illinois, and it wasn't a lake — it was a low spot in the neighbor's pasture that they'd flood just before a hard freeze was predicted. So it was really rough ice...
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Never Ask Me the OddsI see - you did mention sticks and grass poking up! Yeah, I can definitely imagine how that would be a bit of a problem trying to do anything tricky.
Never Ask Me the OddsI skipped my regular Monday practice and came back to it today. There were a lot of kids there - I wonder if they had a half-day or something today. Or maybe it was something special. Anyway, I'm still getting frustrated by that scratch-spin. I don't know what it is about it that's so difficult for me. Otherwise, I was mostly trying to get myself back in the skating frame of mind and mood. I've been very inactive, that can't be good for it at all, although I wasn't feeling tired at all by the end. Worked up a nice heat going around fast, though. I managed to bang my elbow again, which was still a little tender from what I did to it Friday. Not very humerus (sorry, the pun was irresistable). In fact, when I hit that particular spot it really tends to hurt. With stuff like this and Friday, I have to choke back a 'goddamit!', not necessarily from the pain but just 'cause falling like that will really piss me off (especially if it rips some of my good pants!). You never hear harsh language in a skating rink, even when people fall. I have this image of someone falling down and hurting themselves and shouting real vitriolic profanities that echo across the whole rink and everybody falling completely silent. I almost have the urge to do it, but the image it creates in my imagination is surely better than the actual thing. I did manage to procure a different book on skating technique, though, which looks promising. First thing I noticed was the stress it put on being able to turn your toes out (like a plie in ballet). You *need* to do that really well to do those toe-out glides around the arena you always see in professional skating; you can even do it with your toes out more than 180 degrees to circle a point to your back, which just makes me cringe thinking about keeping that position. In fact, I'd noticed toe-out positions when I was taking lessons as a kid, but I was never that great at it - flexibility was not my strength. I'm doing pliés on solid ground to get more flexible, though, as well as attempting them in the rink, so hopefully that will pay off. Anyway, I'll look at the book better before Friday. Until then, stay warm.
edited 8th Dec '10 12:43:15 PM by TheGirlWithPointyEars
Never Ask Me the OddsI'm glad I got to the rink early today, because as the time got later, there were a lot of little toddlers with their parents today. Maybe because of the time of the year? They're only now getting wind of this? I don't know. I didn't run yesterday, like I should have, but I was doing okay. Inside and outside edges, good balance, backwards one-foot skating on all edges. Good speed, although not so much for the tricks. Worked up a healthy warmth after five to ten minutes of going around so I didn't feel cold. I did manage to fall in a way that my skate tore the leg of my pants and gave me another small cut, though - a favorite pair of skinny jeans, that fit perfectly. At least I already had patches so I can still wear them, although this time it stands out rather more. I hadn't realized torn pants were a hazard of ice skating, or maybe it's just a fluke. This time I stayed on the ice for a while after, though. Ah well. I think I am getting a bit better at a turned-out-toes posture, that's never been my favorite and I need to develop flexibility. I also need to figure out why my balance is off on my spins. Haven't gotten into this other skating book like I want to. It was another OK day of skating, though. But nothing to write home about. I'm afraid about the next two weeks, though. there will probably be a lot of kids as schools let people off for winter vacation. But it might be better if I can actually keep up my exercise routine! NOTE: I'm transferring all of this to the new liveblog system. Here's the new address where I'll be continuing it: 
edited 10th Dec '10 3:00:10 PM by TheGirlWithPointyEars
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.
Total posts: 25
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