jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Jo skates and whines (and calls for help)


So our rink has been, as they say, wicked cold. It doesn’t help that it’s only in the fifties outside; everyone is coming in shivering and complaining that they have to wear their winter gear. I’ve been annoying my skating friends (Sonia and Tom, you know it’s true!) by saying things like, “You know, it’s not that bad” and “I’m just glad to be here.”

So I don’t brand myself permanently as Miss Angel of Good Cheer (Glinda is truly the most annoying part about Oz, after all), this post will be full of pain and angst (“which I am also quite good at,” she said cheerfully).

The pain is from doing power pulls midway through my last lesson.  I’m supposed to start slow at one end of the rink, then accelerate. The goal is to make it to the other end of the rink on one foot. I’ve been using too much shoulder action–while the shoulders do move, they do not establish the curve. Instead, I need to allow my leg to rotate in and out and use knee and ankle pressure into the edge (rather than shoulders swinging around) to create the edge pull.

At yesterday’s lesson, after doing edge pulls for an eternity, Ari told me to do the man’s Euro-pattern and I nearly fell down. My cross strokes were pitiful (instead of bending both knees to push into the cross, I bent forward and got–oh no, the bobbing bird!) And I was totally missing the back inside edge push after the three. What’s worse, I was so tired from the power pulls that when Ari in his infinite patience helpfully pointed these things out to me for the zillionth time, I just whined, “But I’m sooo tired!”

Today I didn’t whine (it takes too much energy, which I needed to conserve in order to maintain a viable core temperature since the rink is still really c-c-cold) but when I got on the ice I did contemplate how sore I can be even after taking a couple of ibuprofen (which I rarely take these days). I was sore not just from power pulls, but from having another off-ice exercise class with PT Sarah that has emphasized a whole new set of muscles on my left side (ones that I would have completely overlooked if not for the wall springs that they were attached to).

I was not only sore but also full of angst, which went hand-in-hand with realizing that I was missing “pushes” or “pulls” in sequences such as the following:

  • My new exercise of the week: inside three, step forward, cross to inside [like the first part of a progressive], repeat on other side. I am leaving out the first push into the left inside three (out of continued fear and loathing for that edge), the push into the step forward, and the push into the cross. No push, no glide. No glide, no fun.
  • Creepers. I am missing the edge pulls in between the three-turns, which is why Ari made me do edge pulls across the rink (I was hoping he wouldn’t notice, but dang, the man is sharp) in the first place. I’m not bending my knees-both my skating leg and my free leg after the turn are stiff as boards, which makes continuing to skate really really difficult. I’m also not leaning back into the free leg on back edges; instead I’m doing the bobbing bird again (there’s a theme here–the only place I seem to be bending is at the waist).
  • Euro-man: I need to bend both knees on the cross stroke, and aim straight, not forcing the edge around for the three. And there’s that inside edge bend after the three. . .

Okay, there were just too many problems and I rapidly started to lose whatever angelic qualities I had left. So rather than turning to something stronger than ibuprofen, I decided to call upon my awesome adductor muscles for help.


And do you know, activating those mighty adductors really made a difference. Not that all the missing pushes and pulls were completely filled in, but at least I was stable enough to try to get more out of them. I could actually feel my leg muscles kicking in (you know, the ones that were sore from the torturous power pulls and wall spring-things).

Is there a moral here? That when all hope seems to be fading, I should not only look deep into my soul but also call upon my inner thigh muscles for help?

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.

4 thoughts on “Jo skates and whines (and calls for help)

  1. Those power pulls are killer. My coach makes me do them on one leg down the entire length of the rink. My legs start burning after I am halfway down. And a cold rink doesn’t help loosen up those muscles either. Ours has been frigid as well – long sleeves, fleece jacket, fleece pants, thick gloves, two pairs of tights and earwarmers still don’t keep me warm enough!!


  2. The things we do for skating! I like your skating wardrobe–everyone else thinks it’s all about the glittery dresses, but really, a fashionable pair of ear warmers is just the thing!


  3. Too much arms and shoulders and not enough knees and ankles– story of my skating life. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been told that… And it definitely shows up in power pulls, which by the way kill my knees! I only practiced them just enough to pass them on the silver test (my worst element on that test). I really have to go back and improve them sometime soon, made a slight effort this spring. Guess what, when I do them right, without using my arms much, there is virtually no power!


    • It just means we have buff arms and shoulders, Mary!!! Sorry to hear about your knees. Mine were really giving me trouble for a while, but the adductor exercises have really helped (which I didn’t expect–but is a good bonus for correcting the hip misalignment). Great to see your AN reports!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s