Well that explains it….

Turns out I now have the cold/flu thing too. I have decided to take a break altogether till we come back from our trip, then make a new start, hopefully with new ideas and vigor to get my out of my skating rut.

A continual struggle with loss of mojo…

It’s been a couple of weeks since I went to the rink to actually skate…. Why? I am not sure but there are a few factors. I am back with my original teacher and that is good…. And yet…. Every. Time I get on and skate I tire quickly and am unable to do anything decent. ,my first dance lesson in a while showed my how rusty and unfit I am. Going back to skating in the session normally frequented by national level teenagers is daunting….

Plus, we have a flu in the house and it is hard to walk away from sick husband and go skate…leaving him to cope with sick kids….

Plus, I have been spending hours at the rink watching DD1 and it is COLD in there at 6am on Sunday mornings. It does not fill me with desire to go back and skate

Plus, we have a big trip coming up and I am afraid to join the sick list.

Plus, I am just feeling very old all of a sudden. ESPECIALLY on the ice.

Hopefully I will get back in the swing of things next term, when the weather is warmer and our trip is over.

Back into it….

As an adult skater it doesn’t take much sometimes to distract us from our goals. We have our day to day roles and responsibilities constantly calling us back to the ‘real’ grown up world. Earlier this year our rink closed for major renovations. The two weeks seemed insignificant, but then a fire closed it “until further notice”. My coach was not available at the other rink within doable reach for me, and so I settled into skating without instruction for the duration.

The result of this has been the gradual erosion of my motivation. Extra work days and the busy schedule of 4 school aged kids took their toll. My early am Saturday session turned into a tennis lesson with a child. My Thursday coffee club turned into work day, shopping and/or a music lesson (I am a music teacher). It has been harder and harder to make myself make time to skate.

Conclusion? Yes, I need those lessons, not just to improve my skating skills, but to lock in a time to skate and to motivate me to practise. I think this is something adult skaters get from their lessons that the kids don’t need. So to any wavering fellow adult skaters, keep up those lessons! I have found another temporary coach and locked in my session!

Training log 9th August, 2012 – Don’t laugh!

Today’s coffee club session had its highs and its lows. On the plus side, there was a nice sized group there, and everyone is making good progress. Today my Thursday dance partner and I finally managed the swing dance in the correct hold, a great milestone for us!

On the down side, the instructor for the coffee club session is really getting me down. He is a helpful teacher, and has done a lot to help my skating technically. But psychologically he is messing with my confidence. He does this by laughing to himself (quite visibly) whenever I attempt a jump. I know my flip and lutz are bad. I am fine with him pointing that out and helping me improve them – he does this well – but I am NOT fine with being laughed at!!! It is hard for a 40 something mum of 4 to get on the ice and try and jump around like a teenager. I may look ridiculous, but I enjoy it!! I don’t appreciate having my confidence eroded by this man. To all the coaches out there who work with adult skaters – the number 1 rule must be to laugh WITH us, not AT us. It’s called respect.

Training log – Jul. 27

This morning’s training was its usual mixed bag. Blades are still going pretty well, but having not skated during the week, it took me some extra time to get going this morning. We’ve been going to the earliest session (5:30 am start), which means getting up at 4:15 to get there in time. Poor DH is suffering, and I think silently wishing we would give up this mad idea.. leaving my alarm to go off after I got up this morning didn’t help matters… poor man.

This morning I was chuffed when my coach saw me mucking around to someone’s music, doing some jumps. “That’s great, show me again” – of course I couldn’t. I can never produce a decent anything to order. It is very frustrating! Another highlight this morning was our Silver Samba. I love this dance, it’s so much fun. We had it flying around at a blistering pace to “Blame it on the Boogie”. I am on the lookout for some more music (108bpm) to play with for this one. Any suggestions, anyone?

July 21, 2012

Worked this morning on 14 step, foxtrot and European Waltz. I am really pleased with the way the 14 step is going. We used one of my new songs (“Ou est ma tete?”) today and the beat really fit well with the steps. This dance is getting faster and faster now, which makes it so much more fun! If only I could get the Foxtrot going like that…

While working on my sit spin, I was dismayed once again by how low I feel I am, in comparison to how low I actually get down there. Coach says practise getting right down and falling on my butt. Joy. I really need to video more of my skating so I can compare what I feel like I’m doing to the glaring reality. Or not!

My Favourite Patterns #1 – Jalie 2214

Jalie 2214

Jalie Pattern 2214 – Great for beginners

This versatile pattern can be used to create a great number of great looking, individual dresses. Spice it up with different fabrics, extra skirt layers, trims, sequins, stones, applique. The only limit is your imagination (and your budget!).

The instructions given are very straightforward, and all sizes from toddlers to large ladies are catered for. This also allows for easier size adjustments for us adult skaters. I am 2 sizes bigger in the bodice than the hips, and this poses no trouble with the Jalie patterns.

In essence, here are the steps to follow:

1. Measure up and choose your size.

2. Choose your fabric

3. Trace your pattern and make any adjustments

4. Cut out your pieces.

5. Follow the sewing instructions. Instructions are given for inserting the elastic too. That is really the hardest part, and is not as hard as you think!

6. Decorate your base dress. Watch out for my post on applique….. coming soon!

7. Look fantastic in your ‘custom’ dress!

Made with Jalie 2214 – Added beaded fringing, flowers and crystal accents

Sewing your own Skate & Gymnastics Wear – getting started

Hints and tips for sewing skating dresses and leotards

As a skater, and a parent of both a skater and a gymnast, it didn’t take me long to see the benefits of learning to sew leotards! It is really not as hard as it looks, especially when you have a good pattern. Here are some ideas to get you started.

What you’ll need…..

– a reliable sewing machine with good zig zag ability. Or an overlocker/serger if you are lucky! The overlocker is great to speed up projects and give them a more professional look. They are not essential though!

– lycra or stretch velvet fabric. Lycra is easier to learn with. If buying stretch velvet, make sure it is good quality and preferably 4 way stretch. If buying 2 way stretch, make sure stretch is generous and even in both directions. Panne velvet does not have good stretch and patterns will usually need adjusting to allow for this, so if possible, go for the good stuff. Panne also curls and is a general pain.

– a good pattern. Jalie and quik sew have some good ones. I will try and post some of my favourites to help fellow beginner sewers. Click HERE to see some of my favourites!

My favourite ‘non-compulsory’ tunes for ice dance

A collection of my favourite “non-compulsory” music for ice dance. Bound to spice up your lessons! More as I find them..

Dutch Waltz – 135 bpm

  • Kissed by a Rose – Seal
Swing Dance – 108
  • Bang Bang – Roisin Murphy
  • Vianne sets up shop – Chocolat soundtrack
  • Home Improvements – My Friend the Chocolate Cake (Yes, that’s an Australian band!)
  • Beautiful night – the Waifs
14 Step – 112 bpm
  • Blame it on the Boogie – the Jacksons
  • Jive Talking – the Beegees
  • Ou est ma tete? – Pink Martini (very cute!)
Foxtrot – 100bpm
  • Superstition – Stevie Wonder
  • Chor Bazari – Love Aaj Kal
  • Rawhide – The Blues Brothers Soundtrack
European Waltz- 135 bpm
  • Butterfly Waltz – Bella’s wedding processional, on “Wedding Day Music” from iTunes.

Ready, set, go!

This week I have had brought home to me the importance of having your blades set and sharpened by a specialist. After buying new blades a few months ago my skating was instantly beset with new difficulties. I put my it down to adjusting to the new blades and persevered.

After 3 months, things were just getting worse. Weren’t these new blades meant to improve my skating? The blades had a death wobble at speed, fell in and refused to lift in my loop jump, and my one foot back slaloms would only go in circles. My spins were gone, and along with all that went my confidence and trust for my skates, which before the change had just started to feel like natural extensions to my feet. My boots now had so many holes in the sole, filling was needed. One screw became fixed in the filler. The blades no longer were sitting flush with the sole of the boot. In places there was a gap between. I could feel movement and creaking even off the ice standing still. Time to take action.

I am fortunate that near my home lives a semi-retired skate technician. This man, an 89 year old ex engineer and professional skater, is a perfectionist and takes his blades seriously! It is where I should have taken them to start with….but time constraints prevented it.

After an hour of painstaking (and vocally colourful) work, my skates were in perfect alignment, and sharpened beautifully. He showed me how woeful the rink sharpen was, how the angle of my blade to the boot and to the ice looked like a year 7 geometry lesson gone wrong, and made me feel lucky to be still in one piece!

The proof was furnished on taking them for a spin yesterday. No wobble, no creaking, no falling in. Safe as houses, they felt solid as a rock.

The morals of this story:
* make the time to get your gear sorted by an expert.
* the set of your new blades is more important than any fabulous features they may have. Like a car, crooked wheels will not drive true no matter how expensive they are!!