Tag Archives: Knee Pain

Here’s to 2014 and Better Skating!

9 Jan

I’ve been skating over the last few months a lot, indoor, outdoor, small and large rinks. We are talking about at least 3-4x times a week up until the holidays. Now that the holidays are over again, I am back to the rink! I’ve skated twice this week with another two sessions planned. A year ago this would have been a dream and now it is finally a reality. My knees while not perfect are so much better now then what they were and now that they are I can practice everything I wanted to do two years ago.

This is so exciting to me! I’ve been taking lessons weekly and have been learning so much and big surprise, none of them have been about freestyle. The younger me would’ve freaked out by this and I admit, I am still dreaming about those doubles and layback spins but for now I will focus on my basic skating skills like a good student ūüėČ and soon I will return to lessons on beloved jumps and spins.

This blog has been left to it’s own devices for a few months again and this time I am determined to update regularly. I think it’s important to keep a record of skating lessons as we go on because it is so easy to forget the details and we all pay so much for them!

So to begin with, the last few months have been a whirlwind of technique changes in stroking, crossovers and practice patterns for the silver mif test. ¬†And…yes, I am still working on that same test. I am happy to say, that now with my knee pain under control and with so much diligent work on my stroking that I have improved in leaps and bounds and can honestly see and feel the change in everything I do skating wise. I can also say laying off of the jumps and spins probably gave my knees a break as well. While I will still practice my freestyle, it is only for 15-20 min of an hour or hour and a half long session¬†and I do believe that has helped. ¬†I have also been seeing a massage therapist every week or so and that has helped relieve a lot of my muscle tension in my IT band and back which I believe has been a large driving force behind the knee pain. If you have patella femoral syndrome (runners or jumpers knee) I highly recommend seeing a massage therapist. It may take some time but you will see a huge difference in the knee pain. Targeted Stretching (I mentioned Bikram too in earlier posts) before and after skating, vitamins (yes, I am talking about glucosamine) and a change in diet has all helped my knee pain. I will go into this in more detail in another post but suffice to say, everything is so much better now that the knees are under control and I am able to skate pain free for the most part. (Knock on wood! ha.)

But back to the skate lessons, my warmup every day on ice is to stroke around the perimeter once or twice to get a feel for it and then I launch into what is essentially the pre-juv and adult bronze Forward and backward perimeter power stroking. These consist of¬†alternating forward crossovers with a strong inside edge hold down one side of the rink, two crossovers around the end of the rink into a right inside mohawk. Then going down the other side of the rink I start alternating back crossovers with a strong back inside edge hold till the end pattern which consists of 4-5 back crossovers and then turning forward and stopping. I do that at least 5-6 times sometimes even more in a day. When I first started doing it, it was not a warm up, it was half my session! It’s not even on my test but when I first started doing them I could barely control my forward inside mohawk and my left forward crossover took me down more then once on a a session as did my first back crossovers because I neglected my underpush. ¬†I’ve been doing back crossovers for 10 years confidently however, with technique changes I struggled to change the way I did things. This move is not on my silver test but this alone has improved my basic skating skills so much that I wanted to note it here for future reference. I realize now that when I took my bronze test that I did NOT do these correctly. That may be why I barely passed that test! You should have speed and power and each crossover backwards and forwards should point you towards one side of the boards or the other never diagonal. 3 months of doing these sometimes for 15-20 min a day has made forward crossovers 10x better and faster and they will make yours better too, I promise. Just make sure you do them right aka get a coach to show you and wow, what a difference in just getting from point A to B going to do a jump or stroking.

This is my base to warm up everything else for the silver moves. In one of my next posts I’ll talk about the silver moves, at least the ones that I have somewhat mastered. Exciting stuff. Yep, I know. Where has the young freestyler gone? Well, she hasn’t gone anywhere, just waiting for her chance to leap high in the air once she masters the basics! I’m chomping at the bit but holding myself back!

My boyfriend bought me tickets to the Figure Skating Nationals in Boston for the Women’s and Men’s free so I hope to see some truly awesome skating to inspire me even more! I’ll be taking photos and I hope to post some here as well.

Here’s to 2014 and better skating!

Till next week.

Let’s Skate!

26 Feb

It’s been a long hiatus from skating and my blog! I haven’t had a private lesson in a year and so I haven’t had any new lessons to share. For the first time in a very long time though I’ve skated at least once a week for the past month and a half. So, I have been working on getting some of my moves back and thinking about updating my blog.

First, the knee is not healed. Nope, no miracle there BUT it’s getting to be manageable.¬†So, what have I been doing for the past year?¬†Well, I’ve been going to a chiropractor for my alignment issues and that has seemed to help with my hip and lower back although maybe not so much directly for the knee. Most recently I have been seeing a massage therapist and that has really helped loosen my IT band a bit which has helped the knee. Finally, I have been doing bikram yoga again. That seems to be the absolute key to¬†maintaining¬†my knees.

In my last post a year ago I wrote that I would be doing bikram in an effort to help with my knee pain for skating. I can honestly say it helps tremendously with the knee issue but I will admit to having avoided it till this past November. If you have ever tried bikram you’ll know that it can be somewhat painful to lay or bend in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes. ¬†I tried running and swimming and generally everything but bikram in an effort to get into shape this past year without dealing with the knee pain/skating issue. So while I¬†successfully¬†avoided having any knee pain with those¬†activities,¬†any time I did any exercise with skating the knee pain would flare again so I avoided skating all together. Exercise while moderately enjoyable (I do like running) was pretty much just plain exercise without skating. I realized skating was just too much fun as a sport and too much a part of my life to just not do it anymore so I’m back with the bikram. ¬†I’m doing it once a week with skating 2x a week now to see if it keeps the knee pain in check. I admit I’ve been stubborn, I should have done this last year but I thought I could avoid the bikram heat and somehow find my way back to skating another way. Dropping the weight with running last summer certainly helped but nothing gave my knees the relief that bikram yoga does. I do have to admit that bikram is not all that bad. I get an amazing stretch and I always feel so much more energized afterwards.

At any rate, I’m back skating for now with the bikram and I have been working on my camel spin all by my lonesome. I’ve also been working on getting my sit spin back to what it was in a lower position and I’ve been working a little bit on my 8 step mohawk sequence and spirals.

At any rate, I was at the outdoor rink near me a few weeks ago and I had my oh so patient boyfriend record my camel attempts. I’ve posted one below.

It’s one of my rare good attempts and I’m keeping this one to show myself that I will eventually be able to do a decent camel spin. I just need to hold that outside edge and learn to stay down in the knee before popping into it. We also recorded my loop jumps but I’ll save those for another day ūüėČ I’ll be looking into private lessons soon if the knee continues to stay in check.

In other related skating news…¬†I just received a MAC eyeshadow called “Let’s Skate” from a friend of mine. It’s a pale pink and shimmery, very skaterish if I do say so myself but not overly gaudy. Now, I’m not a MAC person and I typically do not skate around with makeup on but I have to say I was pretty excited by this little pot of shimmery goodness. I took a photo for those of you obsessed with anything skating related even a pot of eyeshadow!¬†

"Let's Skate" MAC eyeshadow
“Let’s Skate” MAC eyeshadow

Gotta share the skate love!

Till next time!