We have had some beautiful spring days this past week. It’s hard to believe that last week there was actually snow and sleet coming down. Neither last long, but today I noticed that my hostas have lots of little brown spots, perhaps due to those icy pellets damaging those tender new leaves.
I can remember when that kind of thing would have bothered me more. Every season of gardening brings imperfections and disappointments, like rabbit-eaten green beans or the zucchini that grows big only to suddenly develop some sort of rot. My tender-hearted son told me not to call squirrels “spiteful.” But I know better: they will take one bite out of the biggest tomatoes I have and then leave them on my fence as tokens of revenge for my trying to scare them off with the hose.
As the school year winds to a close, I start to fantasize about summer skating. Not that I will be able to spend hours on the ice; the sessions I usually practice on actually get cut back to a few hours a week. But what changes is the amount of brain energy that I can dedicate to dreaming about how much better I am going to be. It’s like those pictures of gorgeous flowers and vegetables on those seed packets.
I dream big, even though I am now resigned to the fact that improvement will take much more time and effort than I always think it will. There are slugs aplenty in my skating world, and this doesn’t just refer to the fact that I need to skate faster. I have lots of physical reminders of the challenges ahead.
For one, the foundations of my skating continue to need rebuilding. I was just re-reading a post I wrote in Oct. 2015 that reminded me of some of the things that I am still trying to get control over. And this past week, in the wake of Laurie’s comment that I still am not really bending through the ankles, I watched Oleg and Kseniya #73. (Miss their making new videos, but I am grateful that they made so many. There is certainly a lot there that I need to watch again!)
For two, I still continue to work to get mobility and strength in different body parts. Two target areas continue to be my left hip as well as my right ankle. I’ve been reading a lot about how injuries and scar tissue cause other misalignments as well as limit range of motion. One particularly detailed article from “Running Reform” (this version is for clinicians, but there’s a link for a patient version here as well) talks about the ways that limited ankle flexibility restricts the knee motion:
Imagine lowering your body weight in a squat with ski boots on. . . .We would certainly see less knee flexion occur because the ankle dorsiflexion is limited. Since forward progression of the tibia is limited, more knee flexion would result in a posterior displacement of the body’s center of mass. Since the subject would fall backward at that point, knee flexion becomes limited.
This explains why I’ve had a lot more trouble with my right knee, even though my left side has been weaker overall.
Okay, shots fired! But I am going to take a cue from my son, and not think of any of these frustrations as the work of spiteful skating gods (who treat me like those #%#*!!! squirrels do!)
Rather, I will simply defer to the wisdom of the real skating deities! Here’s a great interview that Charlie White did with Scott and Tessa after their free dance this year:
“It gives you purpose, it gives you life, it gives you energy.”
“A big part of our return has to do with our fresh perspective.”
“Taking a step back and appreciating what a great ride that was”
“We didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously coming back.”
“It’s a sport, it’s beautiful, and we love it.”
Here’s to having a fresh perspective on skating: whether you’ve taken two years off competition, or had a few extra weeks of vacation, or are just thinking about a fresh start to the summer season!