Sunday, May 25, 2014
Video Update - One-Foot Spin Practice
Sunday, May 11, 2014. Still practicing my 1-foot spins near the low wall. But the improvements are that it's less scary to pick up my foot, I can pick it up faster, I can keep it up a tad longer, and I feel more stable overall. It's a painfully slow process, but I am improving, even if at a slower-than-slow snail's pace!
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Wednesday, April 30, 2014
I haven't blogged in a while. But I have been skating... a lot, actually! Still having my weekly lesson and practicing when I can. I've been making great progress with my jumps and spins! Just this past week, I've managed to take the waltz jump about 6 feet away from the wall. I no longer need to be near the low wall (where I could grab on if I needed to!). I can do the consistently near the higher walls, anywhere around the rink, where I couldn't grab on even if I wanted to. This means I'm getting comfortable outside my comfort zone, if that makes sense! With Coach Dee's help (she stood between me and the wall, forcing me further from it), I did the baby waltz jumps 6 feet away from the wall. But when left on my own, around the hockey circle, I chickened out again. But that's OK, Coach Dee is having me do just the 3-turns and getting the timing right at the hockey circle, then coming back to the wall for the jump, then back out to the circle again. One of these days, I'll just tag that jump onto the end of my 3 turns around the circle, I just know it! Another improvement in the waltz jump is that I can now do the "straight line technique" jump, and then do a half turn and go right into the "no hands on the wall" jump. It's kind of like doing two jumps in a row. Coach Dee didn't know I could do this (I've been practicing it on my own here and there), so she was really excited to see this! The toe loop is also improving, although still at the low wall. But I'm getting more knee bend and correct timing, which is making the jump more consistent and getting a bit more height. Same for the Salchow jump; this one is really improving on timing. I'm realizing timing is more important than I thought, so working very hard on just getting the timing of each step correct. It really helps! Also just this past week, I did my best 1-foot spin ever! Felt very easy to pick up that foot, not scary at all, and I got at least ONE WHOLE REVOLUTION on just the one foot!! Coach Dee and I were high-fiving and hugging all over the place! There will be a summer show on August 16. We are pushing to get that waltz jump away from the wall so we can incorporate it into my program by August!!
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Two-Foot Spins - Video Update
Still working on my two-foot spins.  Still trying to lift one foot off the ground to do a 1-foot spin.  Getting a bit better with that, but the two-foot spins are really come along MUCH better.  Especially doing the spin from a moving entry, as you can see in the last 2 clips in the montage below.  Finally got that hang of THAT!  Whew. :)

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Jump Exercises Away from the Wall

Monday's lesson was really awesome!!  In an ongoing effort to get me away from the low wall, Coach Dee came up with some jump exercises for me to do in the middle of the rink.  I can't actually do the jump part, but this is just an exercise to get me used to being away from the wall, first of all, and secondly to get me used to the different patterns and timings involved in each jump.  Where the actual jump should occur, I'm just doing a 2-foot turn.  Also wherever there is supposed to be a 3-turn, I'm doing a 2-foot turn.  So these exercises are basically a series of 2-foot turns, with proper entry and timing and curvature for each jump.

Waltz Jump:

C-push, C-push, short glide bringing arms to my sides. Weight on left foot, right arm comes around, bend at elbow, 2-foot turn (this is where you'd normally do the jump), left arm comes up, end facing backwards.

Toe Loop:

Forward glides in a straight line...left, right, left, hold right foot out at left instep.  Arms go right, then swing left while doing 2-foot turn to face backwards (this is where you'd normally do an inside 3-turn and then plant the toe pick in).  Immediately do another 2-foot turn to face forwards and another to face backwards again (this is where you'd normally do the jump).


Start facing backwards on the hockey circle ring.  Do a couple of backwards pushes, on a curve, to follow the circle.  2-foot turn to face forwards and then 2-foot turn to face backwards (this is where you'd normally do an outside 3-turn).  Immediately do another 2-foot turn to face forwards and then 2-foot turn to face backwards again (this is where you'd normally do the jump).  The trick to the Salchow pattern is to make sure you follow the hockey circle at all times.  During the turns, don't step outside the circle.  The Salchow is done all on a large curve.

Very difficult to write down what the patterns look like.  I will have to take a video of each one to use for reference.  But actually, even the patterns are fun to do, just with 2-foot turns!  And I can do them easily.  I will focus on timing everything so when it comes time to do the 3-turn or the jump, muscle memory will know what to do with my body already, as far as the pattern of the jump goes.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Waltz Jump Video Update

So I'm working hard on getting my waltz jump away from the low wall.  Coach Dee had me start a different way, which initially helped me.  But now, a few weeks later, I'm finding that difficult as well.  It's so frustrating!  I don't know why I hesitate when I get to the "stepping over" part of the jump.  Here is a video compilation from my lesson on January 20, 2014.  We actually did about 20 runs of the waltz jump, but I had to cut some out of the video because Coach doesn't want to be seen. :)

This might be interesting for the viewer, too, as it shows what I do in a lesson.  Attempting the same move over and over, with Coach's feedback in between runs.  To the average viewer, most of these runs will look the same.  But believe me, they are all different, with different errors.  Some are better than others, but I left them all in there so you can see the effort it takes. 

I know it sounds weird, but this is FUN for me! LOL  Seriously!  I love giving it my best shot, getting the feedback, then trying to correct and do better.  I am quite sure I will be able to accomplish a waltz jump away from the wall this year...after all, it's only January, and these attempts are better than 2013's already! 



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Monday, January 6, 2014
Notes on 2-foot spin - strong core!

Now that 2014 has started, Coach Dee and I are back to working on jumps and spins.  Specifically, getting a stronger 2-foot spin, so that it can grow up to be a full-fledged1-foot spin.

After 3.5 years of skating, I am just now getting the hang of how a real 2-foot spin should feel.  So much about skating is inexplicable, you have to "feel" it.  No one can really describe the feeling, either.  They can TRY, but only YOU can actually feel it.

Only recently have I felt that I'm finally getting some centrifugal force in my 2-foot spins.  I've "heard" that this is a key element, and now that I've have a bit of that feeling, I agree.  The centrifugal force is what keeps you spinning.  The secret that I was probably missing all this time was to keep my body and muscles tensed the whole time, especially arms and core.  This really seems to help.  So here are my notes on getting a good 2-foot spin, revisited:

  • Get a good C-push, or two, to begin with.
  • Don't be afraid to use force!
  • Keep whole body tensed, especially arms, core, and butt.
  • Lean "into" the spin...that is to say, as you start spinning, lean into the circle, this heps with getting that centrifugal force going.
  • Imagine your left shoulder being pulled backwards, even though all your body stays perfectly aligned.
  • Imagine there is a string pulling you upwards, to keep that alignment straight.
  • Keep arms strongly tensed and shoulder height.  I notice if the arms drop or get out of alignment, the spin gets off center.
  • Find the "sweet spot" on the blade (around the ball of the foot) and stay there!  It's OK to scrape the bottom of the toe pick on the ice for balance.
  • Keep weight mostly over left leg; this is in preparation for the 1-foot spin.
  • Keep a very strong, solid, tensed core.  This has been the biggest improvement of all, for me, so far.
  • Start the spin with outstretched arms, and then quickly pull the arms in, using the right one to "pull" yourself around.

Keeping all these points in mind, during my last lesson, I was able to briefly pick my right foot up off the ice.  This is the beginning of a 1-foot spin.  I was doing this a bit before, BUT I never felt confident.  By keeping such a tight core and strong arms and upper body, I felt much "safer" and confident, and it was much easier to pick my foot up.  At least it seemed Coach Dee was impressed.  We will work more on it this week.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014
Happy New Skating Year 2014! (Waltz Jump Notes, New Technique)

Happy New Year!  2014 will be an exciting skating year!  I've set some skating goals and am already on the path to achieving them.

Here are the goals:

1.  Skate at least 3 times a week, more if possible.
2.  Do a waltz jump away from the wall.
3.  Do a toe loop jump away from the wall.
4.  Improve the salchow jump at the wall.
5.  Do a 1-foot spin.
6.  Bonus goal:  Get several revolutions on a 1-foot spin.

Whew, that's a hefty list.  :)

I had my first lesson of 2014 this morning.  When I mentioned my goal list to Coach Dee, she said the ONLY goal I really needed was the first one....the rest will follow the more I skate.

First we ran through all the jumps at the wall.  She said there's absolutely no reason I shouldn't be able to do the waltz jump away from the wall now.  I'm not even using the wall when I do it.  But for some reason it's a mental block thing...the wall feels like security to me, and once I move too far away from it, I get paralyzed and can't do the jump!

So Coach Dee took a minute to think, and then she had me do something completely different.  She had me start the jump a different way and use my arms in a different way, too.  I followed her instruction and completed everything easily.  Then she looked at me and said "you realize you just did a waltz jump away from the wall, right?"  I had to think about it...oh wow...I did!!!  Once my focus was on the new arms movements, and not my feet, I could do it easily!  My feet already know what to do, when I wasn't thinking about how I could potentially trip over my toe pick and go crashing to the ice, I was able to do the jump with no problem!

I was so excited!  We did several more of the same in a row and I did them all successfully!!  I'm not all the way out in the middle of the ice yet, but I am not within touching distance of the wall, either.  It's a good compromise, and this will build up my self-confidence so that I can eventually move even further away from the wall.  I really feel I took a huge step towards this goal today!

Here are my notes on the "new" waltz jump technique steps:

1.  Start next to wall, facing towards the back of the rink.
2.  Left arm at 11:00, right arm at 3:00 position.
3.  Do two counter-clockwise C-pushes, keeping arms in that position.
4.  Two-foot glide, bringing arms down so they are a little further back than hip position, slightly bent elbows.
5.  Keep left arm down by hip.  Start the left foot going at an arc.
6.  As the left foot goes out, the right arm comes up and in front, chest height, bent elbow.
7.  As the right foot kicks through, left arm comes up to balance, and right arm unfolds out at elbow for balance
8.  "Check" the jump by following through with hips as I've already learned, to land the jump.

The tricky part is coordinating the arms and legs, but it wasn't too bad and I'm sure with time muscle memory will take over.  I'm just so happy that this wasn't scary to me!!  It gives me hope for a near-future full-scale waltz the middle of the rink!!!

Bring on 2014!


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Monday, December 16, 2013
2013 Holiday Skating Show - Video

I did it!  I did my 2-minute program in the holiday skating show, without falling.  :)  It was soooo much fun, I can't wait to be in next year's and be able to (hopefully) do even more with the program!  As soon as it was finished I wanted to do it all over again!!  I had many co-workers and friends there, along with my husband, so it was a fabulous day of skating, socializing, and they had plenty of goodies to eat after the show, too.  So here is me and my routine, taken by one of my co-workers who was sitting closer to rinkside than my husband was.

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Friday, December 13, 2013
2013 Holiday Show tomorrow!

The time has come.  The 2013 holiday skating show is tomorrow at 3:30 pm.  I am doing my 2-minute routine.  I'm the 3rd skater, so thankfully my part will be over soon and then I can relax and watch the other skaters.  

Yes, I feel ready and confident....right now.  Let's see how I feel at 3:00 pm tomorrow, when I'm putting on my skates and running through my routine in my head.  Let's see how I feel warming up on the ice during the 6-minute warm-up before the show starts.  

I have a LOT of people coming to watch me!  My husband will be in town (he works out of town most of the time), specifically to watch this event.  I have 5 or 6 friends coming, and about 4 or 5 co-workers, too.  I love that I have such supportive friends and family, I just hope I do well and make them proud of me.  

I also want to do well for Coach Dee's sake.  This is a chance for her to show off her coaching skills, too.  It's not all just about me and my skills.  She's the one who taught me those skills, so my performance also reflects on her coaching ability.  I'm sure she'll be proud of me no matter how I perform, she's just that way, and it takes guts to even be out there performing in front of an audience so that in and of itself is an accomplishment!

It will be such a fun afternoon of skating, socializing, and eating (the skaters are all bringing some food to share, potluck style, with us and the audience, after the show). 

I've been running over my routine in my head and I am sure I have it all memorized.  Now it's just making sure I stay calm heading into the waltz jump (If I rush it, I can't do it well), and also get centered going into my 2-foot spin (this is not a consistent move for me, so I have to "feel" it in order to do it right!).

Above all, though, I intend to HAVE FUN, SMILE, and PROJECT CONFIDENCE throughout the program!  :)

I will post a video some time after the show, when I can get a copy of it.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Costume is Finished! Whew. (Photo)

After two whole weeks of not skating, I had a lesson today.  Actually, most of the lesson was used for working on my costume.  I was afraid Coach Dee wouldn't like the way I worked out the costume, and I was also afraid she would sort of "overdo it" with adding a bunch of things to the costume.  Thank goodness (whew!) she agreed to keep in basic and simple.  Even more simple than we had initially planned, which is awesome!

The costume is a Middle Eastern belly dance style, consisting of a plain black long-sleeve stretchy exercise top, onto which a silver necklace is sewn along the neckline area, and onto which a silver coin belt is sewn along the bottom hem.  The pants are my regular fleece-lined skating pants, but with a silver and black shawl sewn to the top of the pants, so that it hangs down at an angle underneath the top.  That's it, other than a decorative silver chain thing that I'm wearing on my head.

We took out the turban I was going to wear on my head; Coach Dee said it was too distracting.  We also took out the burgandy vest I was going to wear around my shoulders; it just didn't look right and wasn't very comfortable to skate in.  We also decided not to use the zills, since you can't hear them over the music anyway...and being so new to performing on the ice, I have enough to think about just staying upright without the added distraction of trying to play zills in time to the music while also trying to remember my choreography and trying to look at ease and elegant!

So I'm a VERY happy camper with my costume right now!  I'm soooo grateful Coach Dee was open to keeping it very simple and easy.  There are still a couple of things that need fixing, though, which I'll have to work on this weekend.  The shawl fringe is a bit too long and doesn't look right while skating.  Coach Dee wants me to cut it at 1.5 inches below where it comes to a point above my right knee, and then cut the fringe all around to angle the same as the edge of the shawl.  Also, because of the way it was sewn onto the pants, there are these funny-looking "tails" of fringe in two spots that just need to be cut off completely.  I'm going to have to wear the pants and then have my friend Cat do the cutting, so it will be the right length.

The other thing I need to change is the front of the belt.  The original belt is just coins on a cloth band.  The big section of coins hangs down my rear end like a belly dance belt (well, it IS a belly dance belt, after all).  The coins don't go all around the belt, they stop almost at the side of my hips.  Perhaps if I were thinner, the coins would go all the way around, but because I'm NOT thin, there's all this extra plain material, which is fine......BUT!  At the very ends of the belt, at the ends of where it ties, there are 4 coins (2 on each side) and a couple of silver beads.  And since the belt is sewn onto the shirt, those coins and beads just hang down in a really funny and odd-looking way.  Actually, they hang down right at my crotch!!  LOL  Coach Dee and I were calling them my "crotch coins" or "crotch beads" today, it was really comedic!  So those definitely need to go away, since right now they just draw tons of unnecessary attention to my crotch area!!  Coach Dee had a good idea of sewing 2 coins each, onto each cuff of the long sleeves.  I also think that will look good...but I can't sew.  Not even enough to do that simple thing.  So I'm going to have to have my friend Cat help me again to get that done.  But I think having those coins on the cuffs will look neat.

And yes, we did work just a bit on the routine.  We ran through it one whole time without music, and then one whole time with music.  I'm still having some difficulties at the part where I need to do the waltz jump along the wall....I can't seem to get the timing right on that one....but we still have 4 more lessons to go until the show, so I'm sure I'll get the hang of it soon.  On a positive note, the first part of the program is now coming very easy, even the front-to-back turn which was throwing me off 2 weeks ago.  And, the very last part of the routine, after the waltz jump, where I do 3 or 4 turns to get to the middle and then the flair finish is timed just right!  Yay!

Here is a photo of the front of the costume.  The back is pretty, but I couldn't get a good picture of it. :(

Exciting times!!!

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Saturday, November 30, 2013
I Miss the Ice
So, even with the holiday program looming quickly in just a little over two weeks, I haven't skated for the past 10 days, and probably will go one more day without.  This has been due to several reasons:

1.  Coach Dee was out of town all this past week for the Thanksgiving holiday, so no lessons this past week to force me to go to the rink.

2.  I've been fighting a cold/flu/laryngitis thing for almost 2 weeks now, so didn't want to overdo things and make it worse.

3.  There wasn't much skating going on over the Thanksgiving weekend, except public skating, and I'm guessing it's a zoo there.  Parents probably drop their kids off to skate for 3 hours while they go Christmas shopping or Black Friday shopping.  No thanks!

So, one more day off, tomorrow, then I intend to get back to it with a vengence on Monday morning.  I think I'll be having 3 lessons this week, to make up for no lesson last week...then 2 lessons next week before the show on Decemeber 14th. 

Thankfully the routine is all choreographed.  I just need to practice to make it smooth, and do a couple of dress rehearsals to make sure the costume works (I'm not sure how I like it...we shall see).

Now if I could just clear up this darn laryngitis!!!  :(
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013
More Questions and Answers

Just before going to sleep at night, I usually think about skating.  I go over some of the moves, I try to go through my whole routine in my head, and I try to think of new things to do, or things I need to work on in particular.  This sometimes leads me to questions, then I ask Coach Dee at my next lesson.  Here are today's Questions and Answers:

Q1.  How to do a faster waltz jump without using the wall.  Skate skate skate jump.  Where to put my arms? 

I'm not sure Coach Dee understood I meant without using the wall, because all she did was have me start further away, take more skating strokes up to the wall, at a faster pace, and then do the same jump I've been doing (which I need to touch the wall for).  Still, it was good to try it.  My first pass was TOO fast for my comfort, but I did a second one with a little more speed than usual, and got it done.  When I go faster, try not to "kick" the free leg out, or to fling it behind me.  Concentrate on a solid landing with free leg at 7:00 - 8:00 position.  My arm placement was fine as is.

Q2.  Tips for the waltz jump away from the wall?  Are my arms correct?

Yes, my arms are correct.  Just keep practicing.  I guess there were no "special tips"!  Just make sure to rotate upper body as I push off on the left foot, right arm stays forward to "spot", and then lower body rotates to land.  Don't forget to pigeon-toe the right foot in the air, to prepare for landing.

Q3:  Can a spin be done from a backwards start?

NO!  (loud and clear! lol)

Q4:  Can I learn to exit a spin backwards instead of forwards?

Maybe, but not yet.  I already know what to do as far as shifting my weight to my right leg and doing a sort of c-push with my left leg.  But since I can't yet do the exit on one foot, Coach Dee said it just looks awkward and not very elegant, and to not worry about it right now.  She prefers me to exit the spin forwards as I've been doing.  (sigh, guess that goes on the back burner for now.)

Q5:  Tips for turning forward to backward with more speed?

Do more of a "wind up" prior to the turn.  So, when turning counter clockwise, get a good knee bend going, bring both arms across to the left, and think of an "up/down" motion when doing the actual turn.  Make sure knees are bent again after the turn.  Easier to do on a curve, so it's OK to curve off to the left while doing the turn.  I will practice this at various increasing speeds, maybe around the hockey circle for guidance.

We also ran through my whole 1:40 minute routine today!!  We even included the baby waltz jump near the wall.  Wheeeee!  I was soooo out of breath at the end of it, but I think it was more from excitement than lack of stamina.  It still needs work, but coming along nicely.  5 more weeks to practice before the holiday show!! 

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Thursday, October 24, 2013
Lessons Twice a Week! (... and some routine notes)

When I first started out with Coach Dee, over a year ago, I was only doing 15-minute lessons.  I did that for about a year, then I went up to 30-minute lessons.  Recently I've had to make up a few lessons (my choice), so we did a couple of weeks where I'd have two 30-minute lessons a week, and we also did one lesson for 1 whole hour.  I realize now that having 2 lessons a week really increases my progress!

There are now 7 weeks until the Holiday Show on December 14.  I've decided to have 2 lessons a week for the next 7 weeks, so I can make sure my program is really, really good!  On top of having 2 lessons a week, I'm going to do my utmost best to practice the other 1 or 2 mornings before work at Oceanside, and also perhaps either the freestyle on Saturday morning or the Public Skating sessions at Chandler Polar Ice.  The more I skate, the more I love it, and the more I want to do it!

In today's lesson we worked a lot more on the Program.  I think it's going to be great!!  I just hope I don't get nervous in front of an audience.  My old belly dance days should prepare me for that, though...and I have to admit, I'm a ham, so I actually love people watching me (as long as I'm confident in what I'm doing!).  I want to make sure I know my routine perfectly, though, so I'm not struggling on the day of the performance to make it work!

The Routine will be set to a 1:30 piece of instrumental music, Middle Eastern theme.  I'll be wearing a costume which includes a jingly coin belt, a shawl over my hips, and a turban on my head.  Oh, and I'll also be playing zills (finger cymbals) during the program!!  It's a lot to think about and coordinate!  The Routine will also include the following elements:  forwards skating, backwards skating, 2-foot turns, forward crossovers, crouched gliding, forward 1-foot glides, a couple of 2-foot spins, and .... a baby waltz jump!! 

Coach Dee wanted to put a toe loop jump in there, too, but we haven't even practiced that one away from the wall yet, so we don't think I'll be up to speed on that element to be able to include in this year's show.

Yesterday I learned the beginning of a Lunge.  It doesn't seem too hard, so we might also try to include a lunge in The Routine.  Coach Dee had me stand at the low wall, both feet facing the wall, toes against the wall.  Then extend my left leg back all the way, while bending my right knee, so my left leg "drags" behind me.  The hardest part was getting back upright, but the secret is to do a little "bounce" before raising up, so you get some upward momentum.  I sure hope I can do these by the time of the program, they look very impressive in a performance!

Oddly, my biggest concern at the moment is how to end The Routine!!  I'm not good at stopping short, although that looks the most dramatic.  I don't want to just come to a slow glide stop, that looks weak.  Hmmmmm.  Maybe I could somehow get into a slow backwards glide, heading away from the audience (facing the audience), and do the backwards toe-pick stop.  It won't be very sudden or dramatic, but it's the stop I feel most comfortable with.  Strike a nice pose at the end, and Ta-Daaaaaaaa!  We shall see. 

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013
I Survived a One-Hour Lesson

Today I had a full 1-hour lesson!  Last year I was having 15-minute lessons.  Earlier this year I graduated to 1/2-hour lessons.  I wasn't sure if I could last a whole hour lesson, as that's a lot of skating and concentration.  But it was actually GREAT!  It was much better because we weren't clock-watching the whole time, we could relax and do more of each element (yes, over and over and over again! LOL).  In fact, we ended up NOT having enough time to do much with my program, which was high on our list of things to cover.  Oops!

We did a little of everything, though.  Here's a summary:

Backwards One-Foot Glides:  Greatly improved!  I no longer need to hold Coach Dee's hands at all, not even for moral support.  I feel confident and comfortable, even though I still don't pick my foot very far up off the ice.  But getting better!

Waltz Jump:  Greatly improved!  I can go into the jump with more speed and keep it precise.  Coach Dee thinks I can do it this way away from the wall, but I balk in the middle of the ice.  But even next to the wall, if I keep the jump small enough, I don't have to touch the wall at all anymore.  I can go forwards, turn to backwards, then turn to forwards and jump all smoothly without touching the wall.  Yay!  One thing I do need to work on is keeping my shoulders and arms completely level (not dipping the shoulder as I do the turn).

Toe Loop Jump:  Coming along very nicely!  I can sometimes do the inside 3-turn without touching the wall.  The jump itself is looking smoother, without the hesitation between the 3-turn and digging the toe pick in and jumping.  I'm also doing much better incorporating the intro to the jump as well (skate left, skate right, skate left, right foot in front, 3-turn, dig toe pick, jump).  Yay!

Salchow Jump:  Still working on it.  I guess I must practice this one the least, because it's the one that I can't always do consistently.  Today Coach Dee had me trying the intro to this jump, which is skating forward, turn to backward, turn to forward, then jump.  Can't quite do this very easily or smoothly yet.  Will work on it!

One-Foot Spins:  This is where I made the most progress today!  It helped that Coach Dee went into more detail and explained that I should feel that I'm on a back inside edge with my skating foot.  I think she said this before, but it didn't click until today.  I have to feel like my skating foot is "going backwards" even though I'm not moving across the ice.  She demonstrated how it looks to be "forwards" and then "backwards".  It's a very subtle thing, but we practiced it a lot, and I think I finally got the hang of it.  It was too scary to try lifting my foot away from the wall, but next to the wall I did at least two VERY good 1-foot spin, with almost 1 full revolution.  I have to say, keeping that "backwards" motion in mind helped a lot, so a huge thank you to Coach Dee for finding a way to make it click for me!  I definitely will practice this more and more.  I reallllly want to do 1-foot spins so I can learn a camel spin and sit spin!!!

Then we worked on the program, which is still kind of hard for me in the timing of it to the music.  Definitely will practice on my own!!  But what a great lesson today!  I wish I could afford a 1-hour lesson every week!!  Wow...I'd be improving by leaps and bounds (and jumps and spins!!).     

posted by Noorah101 at 04:40 | in:
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013
One-Foot Spin Dream

It's been a while since I've had a skating dream, but I had a very vivid one the other night.  I'm still having trouble doing a 1-foot spin in real life.  In my dream, Coach Dee was holding me from behind and we were spinning together, me on one foot.  I was getting the hang of it, and we spun that way several times around the rink.  Then she let me go, and I was doing it all on my own!  I went to several different spots on the rink, and could very easily get into a 1-foot spin!  It was very easy and effortless.  When I woke up, I really felt like I knew where my balance should be and how it would feel to do a really good 1-foot spin!

Unfortunately, when I skated in real life this morning, I was still too chicken to pick up my foot.  Bawk bawk!

I almost wish I could learn the 1-foot spin from a proper entry, rather than having to do a 2-foot spin and then pick my foot up.  I don't know why, but in my mind it seems like it would be easier to skate "into" the spin as it is normally done, rather than just pick up one leg like a stork.  I'll have to discuss this with Coach Dee.  She already knows I sometimes have an odd way of learning things, so maybe she'll go for it.  I can only hope!


posted by Noorah101 at 03:35 | in:
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Small Updates

Skating has been on and off recently.  After my last post, I did indeed have two 1/2-hour lessons last week.  One on Monday and one on Wednesday.  Prior to that, I managed to get some practice in one day at Chandler Public Skate (yuk, hate public sessions!). 

Last Wednesday's lesson was REALLY good, though!  My baby waltz jumps have improved so much that I'm consistently doing them away from the wall, without Coach Dee's help!  And they are easy...meaning I don't have to put as much thought or effort into them as I used to.  It was a sudden improvement, too!  She tried to get me to do the jump a bit faster, doing a few forward strokes ahead, before jumping.  I can do this by the wall, but I chickened out in the middle of the ice.  The baby jumps are much tamer, and I'm starting those from just doing a 1/4-side turn, which seems to work really well.

The other great thing is that we worked a lot on my program for the holiday show.  We now have 30 seconds choreographed, and I love it!!  What a challenge, though!  It's very hard to get the timing right when the music is playing.  On dry land, you can step out the beats of the music, but on ice, you glide along and you have to pace yourself just right, or you'll miss the beat of the music!  It's challenging, fun, and a lot more work than I imagined!

Off ice, I've been working on my costume for the show.  I have a silver coin belt, which Coach Dee wanted me to sew onto a wrap-around, floaty type skirt to wear over leggings.  That is not going to happen...why?  Because I went shopping for a plain black long sleeved leotard and a wrap-around skirt, and everything was WAAAAY too small for me.  Even adult size XL was way too small.  ARGH!  Why do manufacturers think that dancers, skaters, and performers are all tiny, petite people??  Soooo annoying.  So I will have to come up with another plan for the costume, as it's not going to involve a leotard or floaty skirt.  I'm thinking of wearing my black leggings with maybe harem pants (if they don't look dorky with skates on), a shawl around my hips, and then the coin belt over that.  As for upper body, I have no idea...definitely have to experiment with that.  I plan to wear some kind of turban-type thing on my head, I have the material and jewelry for that, so I think that and the coin belt will be my focal points.  I also have a silk veil that I think will look gorgeous floating behind me as I glide!  How to incorporate that with the music, though......something for Coach Dee to work on!

Since last Wednesday, though, I haven't skated again.  I hate public skating on the weekends (too crowded and very bad ice), and it's just sooo hard to get up early enough to go before work!  I think Coach Dee is off this week, so probably no lesson this week...and then 2 lessons again next week to make up for it.  But I really do need to practice.  Hopefully tomorrow and Thursday will be the days I can get up early and make it to the rink!

posted by Noorah101 at 11:14 | in:
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Thursday, September 26, 2013
Getting Back into the Routine of Life

It's so hard to get back to the routine of daily life after vacation!  I spent 2 weeks in Turkey from Sept 1 to Sept 14.  Today is Sept 26 and I'm still having a hard time!  My body clock is taking longer to adjust than normal (can't be age, right?? LOL).

As for skating, I had a lesson on August 28, before I went on vacation.  Then no skating or lesson for the following 20 days.  Had a lesson on Sept 18, and it was fine, although I was a little timid on the ice...but at least I hadn't really forgotten any moves.  In fact I did so well on the waltz jump that Coach Dee said definitely away from the barrier next lesson.

Then I didn't get a chance to practice at all, until I was supposed to have a lesson on Sept 25, yesterday.  but I'm still soooo tired in the mornings!!  I went from waking up at 3 or 4 am that first week I came back, to now feeling over-tired in the mornings and wanting to sleep as late as possible; I hate to even get up at 6:30 for work.  On top of feeling so tired (or because of it, who knows), yesterday morning I had some kind of upset stomach issues.  So I cancelled the skating lesson and went back to bed.  Barely made it in to work on time, and by 3 pm I still was feeling under the weather so left work early.  Went home, had some soup, and went to sleep around 5:00 pm!  I woke up for a while from 7:30 to 9:00, but went back to sleep and now this morning I feel back to normal, thank goodness!  Hopefully I'll be OK from now on.

Since I missed my lesson yesterday, Coach Dee said she will schedule 1 hour for me next week!  I thought she meant a 1-hour lesson (could I survive that??), but later on she texted me, saying she would schedule two 1/2-hour lessons on two different days.  Actually I was kind of looking forward to a 1-hour lesson, I'm sure we'd get a lot accomplished, although I'll be exhausted.  But really, either way works for me.  I NEEEED to get to the rink this weekend to practice, though!!  I don't think I'll have time Saturday, but maybe Sunday. 

I think I also need to get back to the gym.  I did so much walking and stair-climbing in Turkey, that I lost about 6 pounds.  I think these past 2 weeks of being back home, trying to deal with jet lag, work, skating, and some other issues, are taking their toll.  I need to find time to work out! 

I'll report back after my lessons next week!

posted by Noorah101 at 09:31 | in:
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
She's a Jumper, not a Spinner

So I overhead Coach Dee telling someone at the rink today, about me:

"She's a jumper, not a spinner.  That's not to say her spins are bad, they aren't!  But her jumps are better than her spins".

Wow, who would have ever thought I'd hear something like that about ME??  Certainly when I started skating I never even thought about jumping, and my goal was to do a 2-revolution 2-foot spin.  I never imagined I'd be a stronger jumper than spinner.

Always wonderful to hear such great remarks.  Great ego-booster.  :)

posted by Noorah101 at 05:50 | in:
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Backwards 1-Foot Glides

It's been a while since I blogged.  This month is Ramadan, so I'm doing my best to fast.  Therefore, I'm taking it a bit easy on the skating this month.  I'm not skating at public on the weekends, I'm not going to extra morning freestyle sessions.  I'm only going to my Wednesday morning lesson with Coach Dee.  I don't want to lose my skills completely!

And, since I'm trying to fast, Coach Dee has been taking it easy on me.  We've been going back to some basic skills which will help my higher skills in the long run.  One of these basic skills is the backwards 1-foot glide, which I've yet to master.

So last Wednesday and today that is ALL we did.  I have to admit that this week I improved over last week, which is great for not having practiced at all in between.  Last week, Coach Dee was holding my hands firmly the whole time.  This week, she only held on lightly, then I only held her empty glove, and then finally she would let go of the "free leg" hand while it was held up, alternating back and forth as I switched from one foot to the other.  That seemed to work out great, as I could get the feeling of not holding on, but still have confidence while she's holding my other hand.  It also helped me focus more on getting all my weight over my skating leg.

As a final exercise, so I can practice on my own, she had me stand facing the low wall.  My exercise was to give a gentle push away from the wall, without doing any swizzles or anything for speed.  Just a gentle push so I was gliding away from the wall.  Once away from the wall, I was to pick up one foot and put it down again, then return to the wall and do the same on the other foot.  On my own, I can't hold the glide very far, but the exercise worked very well, and I was able to do that, alternating feet, without Coach Dee's help.  It felt great!

At the end of today's lesson we also did about 10 minutes on the Waltz Jump.  With all the backwards skating I'm doing, and lack of practicing, I'm losing the jumping skills a bit. .  It took several attempts to get a good waltz jump, and that's just a simple one using the low wall.  I did a few good ones, and then suddenly my left leg was staying too far forward on the landing, throwing my balance all off.  I would have fallen if I hadn't been right next to the wall.  Ugh. 

I really need to go back to practicing on the weekends.  There are only 8 more days left of Ramadan, and only 1 more weekend of not skating.  After that, I intend to go to every public session available.  During the rest of August (after Ramadan ends on August 8), there are 3 Saturday sessions and 1 Sunday session available.  There are also 2 Friday night sessions, and as much as I disliked the one Friday I went to, it might be worth it just to get even a 30- or 45-minute practice in.  Every little bit helps.  I will also have 3 more Wednesday morning lessons with Coach Dee.  And, I will do my best to get up early and go to any other morning freestyle I can manage (there are 9 available days).  Wouldn't it be amazing and awesome to go to ALL those available skating times, both freestyle and public??

I'm only counting up to August 30, because on August 31 I'll be heading off for a 2-week vacation to Turkey!!  Wheeee!  No skating there!  Coach Dee wants me to leave my skates with her to get sharpened while I'm gone.  I've never had anyone but Dave Kimmel do it, so that's a bit nerve-wracking for me, but I'm not using my skates anyway, and I'm guessing it will be OK.  It will feel weird not to skate at all for 2 whole weeks.

When I went to Turkey in 1997, I lost the will to belly dance, so I quit immediately upon my return.  I hope that doesn't happen with skating!!  (I'm sure it won't.)

posted by Noorah101 at 05:27 | in:
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Thursday, July 11, 2013
Off-Ice Exercise for Waltz Jump

I had an impromptu 15-minute lesson with Coach Dee today!  Kind of spur-of-the-moment type of thing.  First we did about 5 minutes of off-ice training, then 10 minutes on ice to practice.

The off-ice exercise simulates the waltz jump.  Facing as if my back is to the low wall, I'm to bend my knees, swing my arms, upper body, and head first to the left, then to the right, then to the left again.  On the last swing, when the left arm is almost straight out to the side, then step on the left foot heading in that direction.  Do 3 hops on the left foot, in an arc formation, to get to the top of the arc.  At that point, rotate 1/2 turn counter-clockwise, and switch to the right foot.  Do 2 hops to get around the rest of the arc, and on the 3rd hop, land with both feet on the ground.  I am sure this off-ice exercise will help a lot with the timing of the jump, which seems to be my most difficult thing to learn now.

Do not kick the free leg out!  For some reason, I started doing this on the ice.  I have no idea why.  It's a new error for me!  Keep the free leg close to the skating (or hopping) leg.

On the ice, we practiced this at the low wall.  Eventually Coach Dee said I don't need to swing my arms, I get enough "oomph" just taking the arms to the right and then left.  I did several good ones next to the wall (without touching the wall), and then Coach Dee took me away from the wall.  First I used her scarf to hold on to, then her glove, and I could do the jump without too much trouble.  But Oh My!!  If you don't give me that little bit of fabric to hold on to, I freeze and can't do the jump.  Soooo frustrating!!!  I know that she's not supporting my weight, she's not guiding me, holding on to a glove does absolutely nothing for me, so I have NO idea why I can't do the jump on my own, away from the wall?!  Coach Dee thought maybe it was a frame of reference thing, so she stood right behind me, as if the wall were behind me, but I still couldn't do it.

Anyway, the lesson was very productive anyway.  When the lesson was finished, I used the remaining 1/2 hour to skate around and practice on my own.  I still practiced the waltz jump a lot, but I also did a few toe loops and Salchows along the wall.  I did a few spins, both near the wall and away from the wall.  Did a few forward 1-foot glides, and attempted a few backwards 1-foot glides.

I am going to diligently practice the waltz jump off-ice.  I'm also going to ask Coach Dee if we can stop doing the jump from a standstill. I really feel like that's throwing me off.  When practicing on my own, I seem to do so much better when coming at the jump from a backwards glide.

posted by Noorah101 at 01:43 | in:
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