Sunday, 23 December 2012

Goodbye 2012

This is my last post for the year, my first full year of skating. I won't do a 2012-look-back here, since I just did in November on my skating anniversary. But come 2013 and I'll write about my skating resolutions for the new year.

I skated for the last time on the day when the world was supposed to end (again). The ice was sooooooo nice it was like silk, I felt bad skating on it even. I really like practicing those power stroking and power 3-turn moves. I tried out the 5-step mohawk as well even though coach J hasn't taught them to me yet (hope I'm not developing bad habits by myself!)

Waltz jumps felt wonderful. I was really pushing through the ankle and I could feel that extra push right through to the last pick of the toe pick. I wish I could have videoed myself so I can see if it was really as high as I felt, but there were quite a few skaters and I felt too self-conscious. Loop jumps however, felt a little off. I ended up falling more on loop jump tries than actually landing them. My gloves got really wet and freezing cold, and now I have a slight bruise on my trochanter, despite wearing hip pads. I really don't understand how higher level skaters who fall from huge doubles or even triples don't get seriously injured.

Got another unexpected bruise on my left foot toe from working on toe loops. They're less of toe-waltzes now, but I guess the continued picking kept banging the toe on the top of the boot and it bruised. I think I've seen gel pads for toes before and wondered what they're for. Well now I know, and I'm contemplating getting one myself. I hate getting bruises so easily, it makes me feel like I'm fragile, but I want to be strong!

I'll be off-ice for almost two weeks, I hope I don't forget any skills, or lose any muscles!

Happy holidays to everyone, and a happy new year : )

Saturday, 22 December 2012

I'm a real figure skater

That feeling of finally being a real figure skater has occurred so many times as I progress that it's kind of funny. My standard for feeling like a real figure skater keeps going up and up.

I remember the first time I felt like I was really skating was when I figured out how to do a two foot turn by myself, and then also doing crossovers.
After that, the times when I felt "now I'm really a figure skater!" were:

Doing my first jump ever - a waltz jump
My first full rotation jump - toe loop jump
My first pair of real white leather skates!
My first real full rotation jump - loop jump. There's too much room for pre-rotating on toe loop and salchows that I felt the loop jump was the first big girl jump. Yes I do realize that if I'm pre-rotating on those two then that's my problem and I should be fixing it. But the loop just feels like there's much more rotation going on in the air.
First time on freestyle session
Having my own private coach
First time I had the full sheet of ice to myself one day (for three glorious minutes before closing)
First time out in full skater regalia - leotard, skirt, tights and a bun
Passing my first tests

I know the next time I'm going to feel like a real skater is when I perform my own program in a skating dress. Then the next time after that is probably far off - when I can do an axel!

I wonder at what point will I be satisfied that I'm really a figure skater?

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

2012.12.19 Practice video

I got up super early today to drop a friend off at the airport, and then have time to go to the ice rink for a one-hour freestyle as well.

Rink was nice and empty : ) A total of six people on the ice. Spent quite some time going through the forward and backward power perimeter stroking and the power three turns, they're fun. I want to have a lesson so I can know if I'm doing them correctly.

Spent the next bit of time working on making toe loops less like toe waltzes, but didn't get much headway. Then worked on salchows to not have them so swingy. I tend to over-rotate if I don't seriously check the FO3 before the jump, but then if I do check and hold the BI edge, I scratch with the toepick as I try to jump. It's easy to do these jumps, but it's hard to do them nicely.

Worked on sit spins a lot and decided to video myself. I already cut out many, many failed attempts. I know precisely what I'm doing wrong yet it's so difficult to not do it! I lean too much forward and so go on the toepick and catch myself on the ice. Also I really need to turn out that free leg. Coach J has mentioned this before, telling me to think of slicing through the air with the heel as I bring the free leg in, and I thought I was somewhat doing this. Until I look at the video. Nope. Need to work on that turnout flexibility (or rather, flexibility in general).

Loop jumps felt really good, they're my favourite jump. I thought I was doing everything I'd been told to do, but looking at the video, there's still more! For one, I don't know why my skating leg is bent as I go into the jump preparation, I meant for it to be straight and bend only as I jump. And then I think my upper body is still pre-rotating a little bit. Also need to keep left arm and shoulder more forward for checking the jump.

All in all, it was a pretty good practice. I wish I could have skated longer, I didn't get round to practicing flips or back spins. I need to be a lot more worried about sit spins and back spins if I'm planning on taking the bronze FS any time soon!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Why do I like to sleep so much : (

I had everything packed and ready to go to go skating at freestyle before going to lab today, but then I just could not get up! I absolutely hate getting up in the mornings. Usually the only day I manage to go for morning freestyle is the day I have my private lesson, so I have to go. But even then, I'm always just there barely on time (I was late the last time...). When I don't have a lesson, I just can't make myself get up.

I'm sure if I went to bed earlier it would be easier, but for some reason, I always go to bed late. It's not like I'm busy or anything.

New year's resolution - Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier so I can get some skating practice!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Winter holidays

Yes it's that time of the year again - Christmas holidays!

But more to the point - because I now think of everything in terms of skating - it's that time of the year when I complain profusely about public sessions. Friday night public session. It. Was. Awful.

I wanted to skate so much that I braved it despite the amount of cars already parked outside when I arrived. But it was just impossible. For the rest of the year, even when the rink is kind of full, people at least still generally skate around the center, leaving me to practice somewhat in the center. But during the winter holidays, there's just so many people that they go everywhere.

What bugged me even more was the fact that there were actual skaters doing this too! (Definition of actual skater: anyone not wearing rental skates.) I would have thought that skaters would be more considerate of other skaters because they skate themselves and understand. Apparently not. There was a point that really scared me. I was doing (trying) a scratch spin when this teenage skater decides to rush around me literally within 1.5 feet of me. I know I don't have a sign up saying stay away at a 5 feet radius when I'm in a spin, but I thought it would be common sense to not get that close!

I gave up after an hour of mostly just stroking or standing around and waiting, but I think my blades aged five hours in that time since the ice was so rough from too many people. I also pulled my right back muscle probably from continually aborting jumps in mid-air to avoid collisions, but that's much better now.

Well at least my rink is thriving. A holiday outdoor rink was set up five minutes drive away, and I think the rink was a bit worried about the competition to business, but judging from what I saw on Friday, they're fine.

Must get myself out of bed to go to morning freestyle so I can actually skate!

Friday, 14 December 2012

After pre-bronze

Now that I've passed both my pre-bronze MITF and FS, it's finally time to do things other than test elements in private lesson. My first (and only until next year) lesson with coach J after the test, she said she wanted to teach me some stroking patterns, which are commonly used even by higher level skaters to warm up. It was a combination of stroking and crossovers which seemed oddly familiar. So did the power 3-turns that she taught me next. I came home and checked the bronze MITF elements and lo and behold - there they were! I had just learnt the forward and backward perimeter power crossover stroking and the forward power 3-turns, three of the five bronze MITF elements.

I don't know if it's just because they are new, but they are so much more interesting than the pre-bronze elements. But then, I never found consecutive edges and waltz-eights to be interesting, so maybe my liking for the bronze moves is genuine lol. I'm looking forward to practicing them, but it's hard to practice on public session since you have to go around the perimeter but not in a straight line.

I haven't thought of when I'm going to test bronze, I might take it a little slower this time. I sort of rushed into it for the pre-bronze, and all I did in the last month or two in private lessons was working on these. I got quite sick of it honestly. Good thing I take group classes too, so there was still the balance of working on "fun" stuff of jumps and spins. Hopefully, I can get both bronze MITF and FS done by the first half of the new year.

It will be fun to be able to focus on other things too. I think I'll be doing the rink recital at the beginning of March, so I'm super looking forward to having my first program! Coach J assigned me holiday "homework" to find some music for my program. If only all homework was this fun! I already have quite a few songs I'd love to skate to.

Private coach J is away and then it will be Christmas, also I'll be missing next week's group class, so no lessons/classes for me for a while! I'll still be skating, but it'll be a little break after the test. Look forward to when I get back to lessons/classes next year!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Adult Sectionals - to go or not to go

Adult sectionals this season is pretty much as close as it's ever going to be to me. There's only one other rink that is closer (besides my home rink which I don't think is quite fit for such a big event unless they redo the ice properly). So it seemed a great opportunity to give it a try - except that I have absolutely no experience at a performance at all, and sectionals is at the beginning of March.

After my test, I finally summoned up the courage to ask my coach's opinion on this. She thinks that it would be better if I get some experience first before going to something that big. Especially since I tend to get really nervous, it might be just a bad experience for me, which is probably right. So no adult sectionals for me this time around. I don't think I'll be testing bronze that soon, so my first program should be for the rink recital. Not sure if it will be the March one or the one after that though. We'll see.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Pre-bronze FS passed!

Yipeee! One more test down!

After running out of time on the test session where I did my pre-bronze MITF, one of the judges was nice enough to come especially for me to take the test. So almost two weeks later, we meet again, but this time, my test is on public session!

It was a Friday afternoon public session. Oh. My. Gosh. There were so many kids. Most of them were below my chest height so I couldn't see them half the time. I was literally shaking in my boots as I did the test, not because of having to do the test elements, but because I was in constant fear of running someone over. I had to go around the center three times before I could finish doing backward crossovers, and my toe loop jump ended up squashed in a corner and I almost lost it. But in the end, everything was fine and I passed with all her comments basically being "Good". I didn't get a video this time, so I don't actually get to see for myself how (not) good I really was : p

I passed, I passed, I passed. YAY!
No more two-foot spins!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Pre-bronze MITF judges comments

I didn't get the judges comments for my MITF test until much later, so here they are as a record:

(For those who're coming over from skatingforums, yes, this is the exact same thing)

Forward perimeter stroking
1. Good flow and smooth crossovers. Could use more extension on long edges.
2. Good flow, could use more extension - nice glide on strokes. Crossovers tentative
3. Good beginning knee bend on crossovers - push through with all strokes. Good flow - keep working towards extension.

Basic consecutive edges
Forward outside edges
1. Good steady curves
2. Good
3. Nice lobe size. Steady edges
Forward inside edges
1. Good control on edges
2. Nicely done
3. Steady edges. Good posture.
Backward outside edges
1. Edges ok, lobes round with T.D.
(This T.D. - touchdown? - comment could actually belong to the BI)
2. Smooth
3. Good lobe size
Backward inside edges
1. Shaky, got better by last one. Reskate - Better
2. Nice reskate - a bit wobbly but good for this level
3. Keep working to stay off toes. Work on free leg placement for this.

1. Forward - Left ok, right stepping too high. Backward - Ok, smooth flow
2. Good flow, a bit tentative
3. Nice and quiet forwards. Also back. Good flow at this level. Good start with knee bend - keep working.

Waltz eight
1. Come back to center. Circles ok, but could be traced better
2. Mostly good edges. Wobbly/wild at times
3. Work on control after three turns and mohawks for higher tests.

1. Right - Barely high enough - free leg bent. Left - Better, free leg extension ok.
2. Right - weak. Left - very good.
3. Keep working on extension for higher testing. Edge was adequate. (But I was skating in a straight line on flats...?)

1. Pass
2. Pass
3. Pass

Yay!!! :)