Archive | August, 2009

Adult Skating: An Addiction to Pain

25 Aug

As an adult skater we assume we know the risks associated with skating. We assume that we are going to fall and we assume that we will accept those injuries, heal them, and then get right back on that ice and skate again. Sometimes as an adult we are riddled with skating injuries over and over again and yet, we still skate. Our legs ache, our ankles burn, our side hurts and we still skate. Yes, it is very much like a professional skater or any athlete except we’re older and there really aren’t any medals or fans. I’m not singing a sad song, its just the nature of the adult skating beast.

If you started skating after the age of 18 you are an adult skater and you know what I am talking about. You know and hear the stories around the rink. This one broke her leg, he broke his wrist, she sprained her ankle, she broke her arm and they go on and on. As adults we live very busy lives but yet still strive to skate and train like any of the kids. We still strive for that single or double jump (and yes, I said single jump). We are obsessed and we are riddled with the scars of trying to twist our bodies into strange and unknown positions for the sake of our obsession. Seems kinda silly, doesn’t it? Why would we do this to ourselves for a sport that is extremely unfriendly to adult bodies?
For that matter, young ones as well but I would say particularly adults as they are not nearly as quick to recover.

In my own experience I have had my share of falls, a broken leg, two fractured feet, a sprained ankle, etc. Now, I have a new injury to add to the collection: a lovely tiny bone spur which will result in arthritis eventually – a direct result of skating and undeniably, yes, the token of my obsession. Its a bone spur formed from a previous fracture on my foot from skating. Apparently skating makes it worse. Surprise, surprise!

This news was a little depressing given that I was just getting back into the swing of things, progressing in my program, and moving towards more advanced spins and jumps. Now, there will be no more skating until I feel better. Maybe 2 weeks, 3? I don’t know. I do know, that I can’t explain why I am so obsessed with a sport that is so obviously destructive to my body. Why not take up swimming? I think running is out of the question, as is dance from the ankle injuries. Why not bicycling? Why not something else less straining? As an intelligent adult my mind is practically screaming over the past 9 years: Hello? why do you do this to yourself? All this for a lutz or an axel or a perfect camel? It’s totally not worth it, so stop now before you break something else!

Then I think, but I love figure skating, I love committing to the challenge of perfecting that spin, of being able to express myself on the ice and yes, the element of risk just adds to the allure. Its addicting, its thrilling, and yes, skating just might be a drug that the sane adult in us should quit. But I just can’t quit and even though right now I can barely walk more then a 1/4 of mile without a pulsating pain in my right foot, I will be out there skating again in a few weeks or months (however, long it takes for the pain to dissipate) because I love it. That’s it. Plain and simple. Stupid, but there it is.

I love the feeling of skating on smooth ice, the feeling of accomplishment, and the feeling of comradeship on the ice. I love the hard work it takes, I love the smell of the rink, I love the feeling of belonging to a sport that is as beautiful as it is tough. Because there is no doubt about it, you got to be tough if you skate. Its not apparent how tough skaters are because when it is done right skating looks effortless but each and every skater has withstood all types of injuries, the likes of which any football star or basketball phenom would shudder in horror at.

I admit, I could be a little crazy, after all I am only 30. I have many more years in which to enjoy the fruits of my falls and breaks (which I am sure will not be pleasant) but in the end I know I will still say it was all worth it with or without that damn double.

I’m not saying all adults feel like this, but I would bet more then half would nod their head and agree. Its the adult obsession and determination that keeps us all out there on the ice. We keep spinning, gliding, and jumping despite our injuries and despite our hectic lives.
Why else would we do it? No medals, no accolades just a burning need to get out there and practice just as hard as anyone else for nothing more then our own enjoyment, self-gratification, and maybe just a little self-torture too.

Crazed Adult Skater below “Bring it on!”

So Long MK, Sniff.

4 Aug

I was so disappointed that Michelle Kwan wasn’t going to make a bid for the Olympics. So sad. However, at the ripe old age of 29, it would have been difficult to compete with the likes of Yu-Na, Mao, and others. In the jump department that is. I am still a strong believer in Michelle’s ability to wow the crowd with her artistic ability and to draw the most stoic audience member into her performance. I never did see her perform live, so I am even more sad.
No one has really achieved her domination over the sport in ladies skating and certainly no one has been able to be as consistent. Speaking of consistency, we’ll turn to Sasha Cohen. Miss Inconsistent, has returned to the competitive world of skating. I believe she will do extremely well. Her flexibility and ability to make even the simplest move beautiful always impresses and amazes me. I look forward to seeing how she handles the pressure this year.

Last night, I saw USA Today’s youtube video “Yoga with Sasha Cohen.” Great Vid!

I tried to follow some of the moves and today I find myself nursing a slightly sore back. Her flexibility extends to the off ice exercises as well and as such I should never have tried to twist myself into those positions! However, I thought it was great conditioning idea for the figure skater. Yoga is perfect not only to build core muscles but also to increase flexibility and calm the skaters mind.
At the moment I am hoping our own rink will start a Yoga for skaters since it would allow adults and kids alike to take a class suited for both ages and with the rise of Sasha on the Olympic horizon what better time then now to start a new conditioning class for skating.

Does anyone else have a yoga for skating class at their rink? If so, let me know how it helps you and your skating.

Well, I believe it is onto bed. I did manage to make it to a 6:45 am morning skate session. It was bliss, and I landed the lightest flip jump in years. I just skated to the music and practiced the basics and it all came together for once. Camels and laybacks were also on hand today, so the stars must all be aligned! Wait till I really get back into practicing, I’ll get so picky that nothing will be right! Nature of the beast I guess.

Happy Skating all.