Friday, May 20, 2011

Candice: The Honeymoon Phase

So I finally bit the bullet and got out of group lessons and took up private coaching. I'm pleased to report that 100% certain I made the right choice for the following reasons:

Reason #1- I need to find out if I'm one those unlucky people that just suck at spinning. I don't want to use the excuse of "we only spent 5 minutes on it in class," anymore. Sink or swim. Am I a Lambiel or a Joubert?

Reason #2- I'm really bossy and I think my fellow classmates were going to murder me if I decide another half of a class should be devoted to what I love most (footwork).

Reason #3- Despite being incredibly sarcastic, my coach is quite fond of Yoda-like pronouncements about skating. I've already talked about his theory on trying, and during our first lesson he gave me his philosophical stance on whether or not you should say you're doing something "wrong." So really, the half hour I spend with him is the closest I'll get to starring in an inspirational sports movie.

We had our first lesson this week and I'm sure the title of this entry gives you a good idea of how it went. I mean, I do sort of wish that the first lesson had morphed into a montage so that I went from stumbling around on the ice to nervously awaiting my dark horse debut at Adult Nationals in just 5 minutes. But there was enough of a noticeable result that I'm happy to stick with it even though patience has never been one of my virtues.

Unfortunately I met this new development by kind of faltering on my practice regimen. So I can't report to you a stunning triumph in my skating, just a list of things I should continue to work on (I'll spare you). Too much real life burn out after about a month of going full throttle. However, after this weekend I am rested, refueled and feeling like I've got something to prove.

As an experiment this week I'm going to skate four days in a row including my lesson and just see what happens. Do I get better? Do I get frustrated? Do I get lazy? Do I get motivated? Do I, at long last, get scouted for the Geezerlympics?

I'll let you know.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kate: Tears Dry On Their Own

Putting it out on the front street: I cried after skating class today.

Thankfully not at the rink. I may not have much dignity, but my pride allowed me to keep a stiff upper lip and talk to my fellow classmates and not bawl into my disgusting smelling skate bag like a little kid that had dropped her ice cream. No, I waited till I was in the car with Candice and she forced me to talk to her, and that's when the weeping began.

See, we've been skating together for a year, but I am suddenly very, very far behind her in skill level. Today we were working on jumps and the coach made me practice my bunny hops and waltz jumps (jumps I learned months ago) because they need improvement. Candice was doing much more complicated stuff. I spent the whole class feeling like a frustrated failure.

Here's the truth though: I was not a failure. I finally mastered the 8-step, which is a step sequence that we learned two weeks ago that's basically this:

- 2 crossovers
- forward inside mohawk
- back-step
- backward crossover
- backward inside mohawk

I was having so much trouble with it and today I finally got it. I was doing it fast, too! My jumps were much improved, my footwork is suddenly developing much more rapidly. The reason for all of this improvement is happening is that I got new skates. New skates that fit right - my old ones were a FULL SIZE too big, which was part of what was holding me back. Lack of practice also held me back, I'll admit it, but the change between the skates is huge. The feeling is totally different. I feel much more in control of my feet with these skates.

So, why was I crying like a big old baby after class?

I've had a lot more time off the ice than Candice due to health problems and travel issues, but I feel like if I had taken care of this six months ago, maybe I'd be at the skill level I feel like I should be at. I talked to coaches a little about my skates and was generally told "Oh, don't waste the money to buy new skates, just get some insoles and you should be fine". That was also a big part of why I was so upset - I felt a little betrayed by the crappy advice and frustrated with myself for not being more assertive. I have a long history of not being assertive, and this time it really came back to bite me. I could tell something was very wrong about my skates and I wish I had listened to my body instead of outside commentary from people who could not experience what I was feeling.

You can't go back and change the past, however, so I am going to take another round of Adult Workshop and work these skates like a BOSS. I hope that in eight weeks I can report that I have mastered the elements for the pre-bronze test and am on my way to actual competing. Cross your fingers, my beloved three readers.