Tag Archives: us nationals

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 😉 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.

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Caroline Zhang Second!

22 Jan

Ok so Caroline is 2nd so far and we are almost done with the second flight of girls. I think Caroline was downgraded on her layback for not having enough rev’s.

New Years and a Return to Skating

22 Jan

Well, I admit. I was very sketchy during 2008. Skating-wise I mean. Now that I have quit my second job (yay!) I have more time and more energy although cash reserve is lower and that is never easy 😉 But, I feel like myself again. I really missed skating alot. I still skated the last 3 months or so but it was more like once or twice a week or sometimes like in the month of December – every other week! You can’t improve with that kind of practice schedule and its hard to stay into skating when you aren’t on the ice. I found that I do actually have skating muscles and that I actually missed those muscles when i wasn’t skating very much. Funny, how I didn’t notice them before.
Now, I am working back up to my old fitness level. My sits are a little higher then they were just because I cant get down low enough to hold them. So I have alot of work to do. However, I have a renewed sense of enthusiasm and actually speed. Yep- I said speed. I am not holding back as much. I am also not being so boring on the ice. Meaning – I am practicing and dwelling on certain things I can’t do well but more often in the last two sessions I have been really just skating to the music like I used to. Like I did when I started.
That freedom I felt to just skate and dance to the music rather then just focus relentlessly on elements and dwell on the small details has returned. So with only skating three times in the last 3 weeks (2 of those being since monday) I find that I am faster, my jumps higher, and moves are crisper.
Maybe I was tired? lol
At any rate, my coach and I are working on my program and that work will continue once I get the actual music cut! Sigh… everything cost money!
We have a great footwork sequence developed which I practice and the first 15 seconds is choreographed! Its a beginning.
The new music is from  the Moulin Rouge 2 Soundtrack and its called Bolero by Simon Standage. I would never have picked it. I like the music but I have had that cd for a couple of years now and I wasn’t very into the instrumental since I had obsessed over it early on 😉

But, the music is very upbeat, striking, and different. Definitely different from my ice castles program. Oh yeah.. very different from that one!

So I am working a little on the program and we are also working on my flip (as usual) and my lutz. In addition we work on my silver moves. One day I will test again 😉 I guess I should by the end of this year since I should try to move up.
I usually test my freestyle and MIF at the same time. Get it all over with. Might as well.
Unlike competitions which I love! I really dislike tests. Judges are no fun to skate in front of.  Yikes..

Ok, in addition to that I am working on my camel, layback and getting my spirals back. It takes more work now to get my leg up in the air then it used to. So I am concentrating on holding the edges, in particular the inside spiral.
Also, I am looking towards my double sal. I really feel that is my strongest jump and I think that if I am going to start trying higher level jumps now would be a good time. My knees are starting to hurt 😉
Well then- this week  is US Nationals and I have Ice network! Woohoo. I have been obsessed since I got the subscription for christmas. So very exciting to see live coverage of sooo many skaters! I love to watch everyone.Tonight is the Senior Ladies free program and Sat night is Freeskate on NBC (starting at 9) So everyone turn on the TV to watch! Lets get some good ratings! Since so much skating was taken off of regular tv this year I think we need a really big boost to show them that figure skating is important as a sport! and that we want to watch it!
It makes me mad to see all the football and hockey channels lined up with multiple games on and figure skating only gets their national and world championships broadcasts. No grand prix except skate america was broadcast on US networks. Thats terrible!
At any rate…. hopefully that will change.
I would like to post some videos from youtube of some of the junior ladies that skated this week at nationals when they become available. They arent necessarily the winners just ones that I thought had some really great programs, good extension, technique etc.
There were a couple that were very impressive although they may not have had 15 triple jumps in the programs. I noticed that the ones who had alot of jumps fell on half but landed the other half and then rushed through their program still did better then a few of the girls who presented a full artistic program without mistakes.
Do I sound cranky? Yes, I probably do haha… work does that for you. Oh… and below 20 degree weather tends to make you grumpy too.

Any predictions on the outcome of the Senior Ladies events? Is it going to be Mirai, Caroline, Allissa, Bebe, Rachel or maybe even Ashley?
I personally love Allissa (please land those jumps!!!) she would be totally unbeatable, same thing with Caroline. But I think its going to be Mirai (if she is on) and Rachel. Poor Bebe she is always just shy of the medal, I think she will be 4th as usual. Ashley will probably be third. thats my predictions. But my faves are Allissa and Ashley although Mao and  Yu-na will more than likely be the winners of worlds. 
Yu-Na is amazing and Mao is just so fluid. I am posting Ashley Wagner’s inspiring short program at Cup of China here. It really shows that she has a range of skating between energetic exuberant skating and graceful/extension and quiet skating.
Anywho- better get back to work – take a look below and drop me a line with your National and world predictions! I want to hear what you guys think!