Back to the Ice Follies

(Note: “Ice Follies” is my somewhat self-deprecating term for my ongoing attempt to learn to skate at the ripe old age of 59.)

The local rink finally opened again last week. I wasn’t able to go then, but I was able to go yesterday and today.

Back before the virus issue closed everything down I was working on my backward edges, backward crossovers, and two-foot spins. Basically working my way through the “Adult 5” curriculum. I also was just starting some preliminaries on trying to learn hockey stops which I’d missed in “Adult 4”. I wanted to see how much I’d lost in the interim with the enforced layoff.

First thing I noted is that I didn’t lose as much of my balance as I feared I might. I think the various one-leg partial squats and other exercises I do to build strength and suppleness in my legs might be helping with that. I did have a bit of an issue on front-back balance, occasionally catching the toe picks or “windmilling” to avoid falling over backward. Rink wasn’t terribly crowded so I was able to spend some time working the circle so I could work both directions. I played a bit with backward edges and they were shakier than they had been, but not too bad. I didn’t try backward crossovers. I think I want to get a bit more stable on those backward edges first. After some initial shakiness, I was able to do forward crossovers in both directions fine. When doing them, I don’t aim for power and speed. Instead I aim for “smooth and graceful.”

A perennial problem I have going backwards is getting my weight too far forward and dragging the toe picks. I’m not sure if there’s anything specific I need to do to correct that or if it’s just a matter of practice. (Any suggestions?)

In the end, I was able to skate for a good 35 minutes before fatigue caught up to me and I started getting dangerous–an accident waiting to happen and not being terribly patient. Before the layoff I’d been going a good hour in a session. At my age, conditioning falls off fast] in the absence of continued work.

Classes resume in mid-July. That gives me a little bit of time to get back up to speed before returning to them. And I hope I’ll be able to continue helping with the Snowplow Sams as I was doing before everything shut down.

I only wish I progressed as well as this young lady in my first year back.

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