How is it that I’ve skated for so many years without really being on an edge?
How can something so difficult, frustrating, and exhausting also be so exhilarating and addictive?
Why is it that I would brave a half-hour drive on icy roads to get to the rink when I am too lazy to go downstairs to make a piece of toast?
Why is it called a power pull if I’m supposed to push rather than pull?
These are mysteries that are just too deep for me to solve these days. I just go with the flow. And I do have flow, because I have figured out at least one or two things that seem to help with everything I do.
One thing is that I need to stay on the “uphill” part of my blade. It’s amazing how much easier it is to push and glide from there.
Another thing is that I still need to work on transferring my weight more effectively. I still tend to “fall” from one skate onto another, rather than actually pushing. This is especially true when I am pushing from right to left. An old injury on my right ankle has made it so I favor that side and don’t really engage the inside edge (or the glutes that are supposed to push).
Laurie told me to think about my skates as being like two canoes side by side. To get from one to the other safely, you can’t just jump or tumble or dive; you have to push smoothly and allow the force to be transferred into the new canoe.
I’ve been working on this off the ice as well, especially as I do lunges: glutes engaged on the “pushing” side as I move the other leg forward, then the same thing in reverse as I move back off the forward leg.
All this sounds a little abstract, but it works for me. I’ve been trying to keep the weight over the pushing side longer, and to make sure I am really grounded and pushing from that side, rather than simply releasing into the new side. It seems to be working, but it’s certainly far from consistent. It’s using all kinds of different muscles (including mental muscles), so by the end of the session, I’m pretty much wiped out.
It’s taken me many years to learn to do it the wrong way–hopefully correcting it will take far less time. At any rate, it’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun contemplating skating’s many mysteries.