Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Two of our favorite things to warm our hearts heading into 2012.  Tara looked radiant on the Today Show and is preparing to teach us all how to skate with effortless speed in a beaded dress while expressing the music of Beyonce at her skating camp this summer.  It is amazing what she could pull off when a two-hour public session was momentarily cleared for her Today Show performance.  Notice how the ice has been to hell and back.  In true Tara fashion, her warm up speed caused gusts of wind requiring major amounts of hairspray.   Video credit goes to WestPalmBitch, who is an invaluable videographer of skating.  Lord knows my hands get the shakes and we'd all be sea sick if I did any filming sans tripod.

And of course, THE comeback of the year:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Foray Into Adult Skating: Pre Bronze MITF Test

Monday, I took (and passed) my Pre Bronze Moves In The Field Test.  For me, it was a small but important step.  Learning to skate has been a fun process, but it has also added a great deal of confidence, passion and joy to my life.  Taking a risk and learning to skate when I feel like a tall giraffe has done wonders for my own comfortability in my skin and provided me with a sense of achievement.

On the day of the actual test, I felt confident but concerned.  I've been back on the ice since October (began lessons end of July/beginning of August) and have been preparing for the test for at least a month.  The back-outside and back-inside consecutive edges have given me fits since I've learned them, but I actually felt relatively confident before the test.  Ironically, I felt much more confidence with the bronze moves.  I believe not having the stress of preparing them for a test may have contributed to the ease I felt working on them daily.  I stopped stretching and conditioning like a beast about a week before after pulling my hip flexor.  I didn't want any issues from over-stretching when it came time to do a spiral in public for the first time.

Dreams of Love

Mao Asada is the champion of Japan for the fifth time..  Finishing second in both segments of the competition, Mao managed to win in honor of her late mother.  Good things happen to good people.  One really has to admire and respect Mao's resilience.  Her heart outshines her immense ability.

Merry Christmas From Moscow!

The Russian Nationals are always a most curious event.  First off, ones needs to remember that Russian Orthodox Christmas is not until January 7th, so while the event is not a holiday conflict for us, it is a package of Hanukkah gold at the bottom of our stockings.

For years, many of the top skaters always managed to avoid Soviet nationals like the plague.  Margaret Thatcher and I discussed this phenomenon in our wild anticipation of this majestic event.

AJ: Katia and Sergei never competed at Soviet Nationals after they won in '87.  They did come back and win in '94.
MT:  Of course they avoided it!  You know what happens when there are three or four Russian judges on a panel.  Imagine the mess that nine of them can have conspiring together.  The third best team winds up winning in the great Russian tradition.

Love, Alexei Yagudin, Olympic Champion, Four-Time World Champion, never a Russian National Champion.

Thus far, Bobrova and Soloviev lead the dance event after Ilinykh and Katsalapov stumbled on a nonsensical piece of choreography.  In the attractive team's tradition, Ilynikh and Katsalapov will likely be looking for partners next week, return to Zhulin, leave Zhulin, vow to stay together, and then they will compete their free dance.

Riazanova and Tkachenko are third.

Segment Results

In pairs:

Bazarova and Larionov lead.
Anastasia Martiusheva and Alexei Rogonov are second.
Stolbova and Klimov are third.
Iliushechkina and Miasuradze and fourth.

In great Russian tradition, Volosozhar and Trankov and Kavaguti and Smirnov are abstaining from this event.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Foray Into Adult Skating: I Love You, I Hate You...

There is an old adage that all figure skaters are crazy.  There are many theories why: the blades, the falling on hard ice, the bitter cold, the amount of time one spends by themselves, and the constant battles with perfectionism.  The again, the carbon monoxide from the zambonis may very well have a lot to do with it.  The CO certainly adds to the level of exhaustion.  Elle Woods' famous quote about endorphins doesn't apply to skaters.  Many skaters actually seem very likely to kill their husbands.

Back in September, I sprained my ankle and was off the ice for five and a half weeks.  I miss skating and tried to work out and was able to keep myself in decent shape for when I got back on the ice.  Deep down, I knew that returning to the ice would be a level of hell I hadn't experienced before.  A few friends let me know, "you're 25...this ankle is going to nag you for a long time."  They were right.  Learning to work through my ankle issue has been a constant process, but it is slowly improving.  Off ice workouts have been key to keeping my body in shape for skating.  There are days like today where I've pulled my hip flexor, fallen on my hip to the point where it is black and blue, banged my knee, stretching my hamstrings to the point of extreme soreness and get back up and wipe out on a spin again.  It may be a form of insanity, but there are times when I do remember that I love it.

Knowing skating may be the worst thing of all when learning to skate.  I decided to take videos of myself for two reasons: friends wanted to see and I wanted to be able to look at the own areas of my skating that need addressing.  When I saw myself on video for the first time, there were so many areas that I wanted to fix immediately.  Frankly, I hated it.  It was worse than hearing your own voice on an answering machine.