Friday, 28 September 2012

GAM Select's first outing

So I skated in them today and I luuuuuuurve the Ultima Legacy blades! The edges grabbed the ice so well I just felt really solid on the ice. It seemed to do the turns for me almost. The bigger toe picks still scare me a bit, so I'm a little timid of jumping, but they definitely help, I could feel it when doing my toe loop.
The GAM Select boots are still under observation, I don't have much thought on them except being happy that I don't have to lace so tight anymore.

The first time with the new boots on, I laced out of habit really tight like I used to on the breaking-down old skates. I went out to skate and the arches of both my feet hurt, and almost got cramps. After ten to fifteen minutes I couldn't stand it anymore and had to go sit down and take them off. I was about to cry at this point because I thought the boots were not wide enough, even though they are the exact same size/width/brand. After resting and retying more loosely, it was still a little sore but not to the point where it hurt, thankfully. So I guess it was just me lacing too tightly around the arch area! Phew!

Asides from this little problem, I had no trouble "breaking in" the boots. In fact, I don't think I was breaking them in at all. Asides from adjusting to the new blade, the boot didn't really feel much different, just a little stiffer and more supportive. I laced all the way to the top after fifteen minutes, and could bend my knees and ankles just fine, on jumps and even sit spins!

I hope this doesn't mean that I'll break them down in less than a year...

So equipment stuff aside, I have a bit of skating news.

I did a camel spin today!!! Only one revolution but definitely a camel spin!
And my sit spin has progressed to 3 revolutions, and it was actually right on the sweet spot too!!
The Ultima Legacy blade does wonders!

Goodbye GAM Horizon, Hello GAM Select

I skated for the very last time in my first real figure skates - GAM Horizon.

GAM Horizon: 2012 Jan - 2012 Sep

They lasted for nine months, which I was not expecting. All of a sudden I had to get new skates. They aren't really all that bad, they're hardly even dirty yet. It's that big crease at the ankle on the right foot (my jump landing foot), and the fact that they are only stiffness rating 25 that's the problem. I was starting to wobble occasionally on landing and had to always tighten the laces really tight, otherwise I wouldn't be able to do things like loop jumps. So it was time for new skates.

Had a very bad time deciding whether to get Jackson Freestyle or Jackson Premiere. Got lots of advice from the nice people at skatingforums, some for and some against. There were a few people who seemed to be around the same level as me who were in Premieres, so it seemed alright at the beginning to get something so stiff. Also the pro shop guy thinks at the rate I'm skating at, I'll break down the Freestyles in another nine months, so at first, I was really leaning towards the Premieres. But in the end I still went with the Freestyle level, reasons being:
1. I asked coach J what she would recommend had I not said I'd like my new skates to last for a while. She said considering my abilities now and where she thinks I'll be in a year, the Freestyles.
2. Even though apparently, coach J thinks I jump pretty high (yay!), she thinks that the skates should be able to last at least  a year. Hopefully she's right and the pro shop guy is proved wrong!
3. I'm getting new blades too, going from a Mark IV to an Ultima Legacy with scary toe picks. I feel like there's going to be enough to adjust to with blades, I should take it easy with the boots.
4. Even though a few others have Premieres, I think I'm the only one who's jumping from something so low level as the GAM Horizon up to Premiere. That's what worries me, is that the change will be too much. (Stiffness rating from 25 all the way to 65!)
5. I'll get to keep the Ultima Legacy blades whenever the new boots die (when I will probably get the Premiere), so overall, I'll have spent an extra $220, but for a lot more comfort and hopefully more progress for a year. That's not too bad.

So anyway, Premieres are postponed to the future boot. Right now, I got the GAM Select, which is the GAM equivalent of a Jackson Freestyle. The pro shop did not have Freestyle in my size in stock, and I had GAMs to start with which fit me very well, so why not stick with it.

I deliberated between Ultima Legacy blades and Ultima Matrix Legacy blades for a bit too, but in the end decided that the extra $80 was not worth it. Also saves me the dilemma of deciding whether or not I want pink blades! Plus the pro shop had Legacy blades in stock but not the Matrix Legacy blades and I didn't want to wait any longer. First time I've seen cross-cut toe picks up close, they're really cool!

So here it is - my brand new skates. Second pair as a figure skater.

GAM Select with Ultima Legacy blades: 2012 Oct - ?

I'll be skating in them starting tonight. Can't wait!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Back on the ice

I was off the ice for three whole weeks since I went home. Not skating and not even exercising at all for three weeks wasn't the best idea. I felt like noodles when I first got on the ice. Plus the fact that I had a headache for a week and jet lag, I felt more like overcooked noodles.

Last Thursday, public session + adult group class
I stepped on the ice for the first time and was like whoa, this feels weird. I had no strength, no edges and couldn't stop (not much of a problem really since I couldn't go fast in the first place!). Good thing most of it came back after a few laps around the rink. Crossovers and three turns were still okay, so I tried a waltz jump. Good, still there. Toe loops have always been the most stable and so were still good. Can't say the same for Salchow and loops though, they were iffy and I only landed half of them. I landed one flip and didn't even dare try a Lutz. I'd finally gotten more used to spinning and not getting so dizzy but that's all gone now! Sooooo dizzy when I tried the simplest one foot spin. And I got so tired so easily, it's like all the muscle and strength I've built up over months had disappeared in three weeks! I also had a massive fall on my butt and could not sit down without feeling pain for two days after.

Sunday, public session
Was a little bit better than the first time. Jumps were more stable, but I still didn't want to try flip or Lutz. Still got tired easily so I decided to just skate for an hour. The ice was getting resurfaced and because I could not resist the perfectly smooth ice, I hung around to skate for ten more minutes when it was done. Bad idea. I had not done a spiral since basically a month ago, and felt that smooth ice was the perfect time to try them out again. I guess I was over-excited about gliding over the ice and over I went as I tripped over my toe pick. Wham! Full body slam flat on the ice. (This is actually the second time I've done this...) Both my knees and one side of my hip bone really hurt (as was my dignity on making such a spectacular splat on a crowded session). The bruise on my right knee is now dark black/purple and even after four days, still hurt when I just  completely bend it.

Tuesday, private lesson
Was not planning on jumping since it would hurt when I land with that bruised right knee. I couldn't even walk up and down stairs without pain. Spent the session going over pre-bronze MITFs and coach deemed me fit to take the test at the end of November. Perimeter stroking and the two forward edges were already passable, and the rest she felt I will be able to polish up within two months. Finally learned the last element of the MITF, the Waltz-eight. Having learned the consecutive edges properly now has helped with this so much. I'd tried it myself ages ago (before starting my private lessons), and they were a joke! Hopefully it will all come together soon!