jo skates

Skating in the key of life

I stand corrected

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Well, not yet. At my last PT visit, my left hip is still out and I’ve noticed that I’m still twisted while sitting, standing, and (probably walking). Still some foot pain, especially after wearing stiffer shoes (big mistake last Tuesday).

Correcting this and my related muscle imbalances on the ice has been a challenge; it seems like there are all these things out of place. Over the summer I was working to build up the gluteal muscles, but now I realize that I need more work on the adductors to hold the joint in place. However, I tend to pronate (flat feet) so I also have to remember to pull up on my arch or I’ll have knee problems.

Luckily I have two coaches who are terrific at figuring this out as well as good sports about my continued alignment woes. I have a lot of fun thinking about them as computer geeks, debugging my memory and reformatting my hard drive. They are also like detectives, putting together clues from the crime scene (my Starlight solo?) and the suspicious actions of my kilian. Or maybe this is more like forensic pathology, diagnosing what is really wrong with the corpse?

Laurie has been having me skate with my arms down at my sides and shoulders relaxed, just so I can concentrate on my hips and core. This felt quite scary at first, but has been helping me really feel my body positions and understand the consequences when I don’t control my rotational energy.

Today while doing these armless but hopefully not aimless maneuvers, I found a “one size fits all” correction: consciously lifting the right hip up so that my hips are level. This may seem obvious, but after years of not knowing what level actually means, it is really quite revelatory. It is effective when I’m on the left leg, of course, because it makes me use the correct muscles without having to think about firing them. But it also makes a surprising difference when I’m on the right leg, and I’m sure my free leg position is much better now.

Watched Ari and Maddie skate together again today, and it’s so clear that the beautiful effortless look they achieve is so much about alignment–having everything balanced from the get-go, and holding it there without flinching (which is what I would do if I had that kind of speed and had to do all those turns). Wow, I thought, their hips are so level. Really, really level. Huh.

Rather than ending with that thought, I’ll use an inspirational quotation because these “recovering from injury” blog entries always seem replete with inspirational quotations. This one is from Bruce Springsteen (I can just hear his voice in the way he piles on those clauses, those commas, taking the phrase and the feeling to the limit) because where I’m from (New Jersey) Bruce is a deity of the first order.

You can find your identity in the damage that’s been done to you. You find your identity in your wounds, in your scars, in the places where you’ve been beat up and you turn them into a medal. We all wear the things we’ve survived with some honour, but the real honour is in also transcending them.

Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

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