|Extension: Fair. My ass is doubling up on yoga and ballet.|
Apologies for not writing last night, but I passed out in a stress-relief coma after getting home from work, eating my Cheerios and catching Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte square off. Yesterday was a long day. A good day, but a long one. Oddly, my knees felt fairly present during my moves test yesterday. My upper body as another story.
The practice and warm up went reasonably well. I don't think I ever made it through my spiral sequence once on regulation-sized ice without a child or synchro-destined skater cutting me off, but I managed to be relatively calm. Of course, Natasha thought I looked nervous and asked me if I felt like working so hard to fail my test. She said I looked like _________________(insert name of chubby, questionably talented student.) I told her that I don't believe in eating and flashed her quite the look. My next attempt at power fulls was infinitely better.
Oddly, my coach was not nearly the most entertaining one there. When you take 'real' tests with three judges watching up top, your coach is alone with you near the ice and likely having a heart attack. Yet, there is a fabulous British ice dancer from the 1976 Olympics who was commenting that she needed a gin and tonic to get through her 'dreadful' student's test prior to taking it. Her students may be too young to fully comprehend her humor, but I cannot get enough of this well-coiffed diva.
Tiger Mother Alert: One Asian mom dressed her tiny son in a suit and fought with him to do his hair in the lobby. He was as shaky as could be with still being absolutely adorable on his moves test. He passed and they were both very happy.
My eight step mohawk was skated as conservatively as possible. It certainly wasn't by design. My body decided that I would be taking small steps and leaving nothing to chance. My rhythm was slightly off, but I frankly did not care. It was over and I felt like any mistakes I made after that point were my own damn fault and due to pure nerves.
Cross strokes were fine. I remembered to keep both of my hip bones forward for dear life and escape the wrath of my coach. Since I practice on smaller ice, there is always a spacing issue when I get to tests. Last time, my five-step mohawk was extra shaky because I was terrified that I would run out of space. My back cross strokes could be longer and bigger. I will make them that way eventually, as I love to warm up with this move. I always tell myself to think of Maia Usova's instructional VHS on this move, but somehow it never turns out the same ;)
It was now time for the forward outside to back inside three turns in the field. Praise Jesus. Natasha was not liking the size of my forward three turns with the nerves and adrenaline, so I was slightly worried I would take up half the rink on my first three turns and have three more to go. Luckily, my body cooperated as nervous as could be and got through the first side. As I did each one, my confidence built.
I was not as nervous for my forward inside to back outside three turns. I focused on all of my corrections and one judge even wound up giving me a 2.8 for the move (if it is good you get a 2.7, slightly deficient, 2.6) My nerves of Masha Butyrskaya (and knees) relaxed a tad and I could not believe that I had finally gotten through all 16 backward three turns on the test without messing up. I've been consistent for the last 4-6 weeks, but I was terrified about doing them on the last after not being able to feel my knees (or behind my knees) on my bronze moves in the field test. Frankly, I've been slightly haunted by that horrific feeling.
In practice, Natasha always tells me to make my spirals very good in case something goes wrong elsewhere and I need to make up points. Thank goodness she insists on having a Nicole Bobek moment, because the score sheets later showed I was in the hole due my shaky first side of outside to inside three turns. Two judges awarded me 2.8, one gave a 2.7. I am very grateful, as my leg decided to drop midway through one of the spirals. I need to thank one of my obsessive compulsive readers who told me to hold my spirals even longer than I was last week. One of the judges wrote that I held them longer than a senior lady. Check plus. There's a gay adult skater for you. Next stop, I-spin.
My power pulls were decent, albeit conservative and shallow (shaky on the inside) on my forward right side. It is amusing, as that side came easier to me. Just a note about my intensity: my weaker initial side has a way of becoming easier than my good side due to the 'more attention' I'm continually instructed to give it.
I'm not really the warm of fuzzy type, but I grabbed my coach afterwards in sheer relief. It was a Bela Karolyi-bear hug moment.
My pre-bronze freestyle was the easiest test I have ever taken. I've never been so relaxed. The judges went on a lunch break, so I had so much time to kill on the ice. I was doing sit spins, loops, etc because I ran out of things to warm up. I then got off the ice and went back on briefly before my test. Besides two footing my salchow, it went smoothly. I repeated it and nailed it. Life has been good ever since I switched from a three-turn entrance to a mohawk.