The Ongoing Saga of the Ice Follies

First off, the Christmas show I had volunteered for was put off.  Too much other stuff going on on the ice to get the ice time for choreography and rehearsal.  So, show put off to February-ish.  I’ll still be going it, just it won’t be a Christmas show.

I hadn’t had a lot of progress to report lately.  Mostly I’d been consolidating what I had recently learned.  Building confidence and fluidity with my existing technique rather than learning new ones.  But this last session I finally branched out a bit.

Latest breakthroughs in the actual skating.  First was a new technique, one I’d been a bit leery of trying because I’m still recovering from injury–my ankle hadn’t healed quite right from the sprain six months ago and I’m going through physical therapy with it now–so I’d been hesitant about new techniques which have a greater risk of falls and new injuries on top of old.  Still, things were going well with other things I was doing so I thought I’d try it.  Two foot turn on the circle, front to back.  You start going forward, you’re gliding on both feet with knees bent.  You rise up and at the top of the rise where you’ve unweighted the skates slightly (it’s not a jump, you don’t come off the ice) you flip around so now you’re going backward.  Something like this. (Okay, exactly like this):

I’m not doing it well.  By the time I complete the turn I’ve pretty much come to a complete stop.  But it’s at the point where I can practice it with some confidence and I think coming in with a bit more speed will mean the drag inherent in the move won’t completely stop me so I can continue with a backward glide.

The next technique is one I used to be able to do pretty well when I was younger.  As I’ve said before, ice skating is not like riding a bike.  In the intervening years (okay, decades) I’d lost everything I’d been able to do before and was basically starting over.  And it’s harder to re-learn now than it was to learn in the first place.  This is the Forward Crossover:

Here’s an example of forward crossovers in action.  It allows you to accelerate through a curve.  You can see it in action in speed skating as they go around the track:

Forward crossovers is the last of the techniques that I had when I was younger.  Once I have that back, I’ll have everything I could do on ice at 18, plus some.  As I’ve mentioned before, I never learned backward skating when I was younger so I’m already way ahead there.  This will mean that there’s nothing still lagging.

The big challenge of re-learning as opposed to learning when I was younger is that falls that, when I was younger would be a simple matter of getting up and dusting myself off mean injuries now.  And injuries take a lot longer to heal than they did when I was eighteen.  So it’s a balance.  Don’t push enough and I don’t progress.  But push too hard and, boom, injury, which means that progress stops while I heal and I even lose some of what I’d gained.

My daughter suggested pads and I’ve considered it, but the injuries that I’ve had that are likely to keep me off the ice are hyperextensions–sprains–and pads don’t do a lot there.  Bruises?  I can skate with bruises.  I can’t skate with a sprained knee.

So, caution remains the watchword, but not too cautious.

One thought on “The Ongoing Saga of the Ice Follies”

  1. I think I mentioned that I tried to start skating again a few years ago. I played a bit of hockey in college and skated pretty regularly growing up in Western Canada, but you aren’t kidding when you say “it goes away”. I had nothing. Ankles sore, back got sore, could barely push myself around the ice, definitely couldn’t skate backwards (I used to be able to do crossovers backwards and turn at will). Given the inconvenient location of the ice rink (25 minutes from home) and their inconvenient public skating hours, I went twice and that was that.

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