jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Hard times come again no more


I feel astonishingly tired, considering I didn’t skate very hard this week. I got tied up with work and was late to several practices, and at times I found myself unable to concentrate even when I was on the ice. Mid-week I did a little too much stretching and lifting of my free leg, and wound up tweaking something in my right side. As a result, I backed off plans for free leg renovation for the rest of the week.

I didn’t tell Laurie and Ari about the muscle strain. But perhaps they picked up on it, because both my lessons were really focused on things that didn’t actually require a lot of exertion.

Forward outside loops. I am still just scooting around circles, so we worked on two very basic things. First, the initial body position: I have been pushing onto the left forward outside edge by dropping down into the right side and opening up slightly. Laurie had me put my right hand right in front of my navel and then just move it forward. I realized that I have not really been fully over the left skating side, which makes it hard to then turn my body into the loop. Second, deepening the edge into the loop: this entails keeping up the pressure of the right arm across the body and not allowing myself to open up. I have to keep thinking about skating with my core aligned over the skate and letting that do the work, rather than trying to drag myself around by the upper body.

Step forward into outside left three turns. There are so many things that are still difficult for me on these basic moves. But I have noticed that this has more to do with that left forward outside edge rather than the turn. Some of the core alignment that we worked on for the loop seems helpful here. I’ve been trying to use some of the breathing techniques that Sarah gave me, which are quite helpful (both in terms of centering my body and calming myself down).

Outside-outside closed mohawks. Ari had me doing these as part of a figure eight pattern: outside-outside mohawk, cross in front, step forward, progressive, outside edge, outside edge and repeat in other direction. One thing that I’m still not doing is keeping my weight correctly into the circle going into the mohawk. Another thing is the placement of the new foot (more behind the old one). But the big thing is the timing of my weight transfer, which happens into and through the turn, not after it’s all over (grrr…)

Forward inside three, back outside three. We did this both with bigger edges and as more of a twizzle without the additional bend into the back outside three. I’m not sure which I dread more. I still have a lot of trouble controlling the inside edge coming out of the back three. I know it’s about keeping my hips under, but I don’t quite have it yet.

Not the easiest week, but hey, I did make it to the rink! And really, that is such a very good thing for me.

Here’s the song of the day. Some time ago, I heard this version of Stephen Foster’s 1850s parlor song on our classical music station. Before sweet baby James got to the second verse, I was in tears. But it’s good to cry sometimes, especially when there are such amazingly beautiful string harmonies by Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O’Connor backing me up.

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.

2 thoughts on “Hard times come again no more

  1. Those outside loops and forward inside 3s are hard! The outside-outside Mohawks aren’t as bad if you do them as part of the 8-step Mohawk pattern in the Moves in the Field test.

    Hoping your free leg heals up soon!


  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Eva. Yes, that MITF is a good one for outside-outside open mohawks. I have a tendency to put all kinds of weird extra curves into the closed ones, which I used to think were easier. Luckily the free leg is getting better–back to those glute exercises!


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