Sunflower Skates

Tracking my goals and progress as an adult figure skater

Month one - Taking my first steps

I stepped on the ice for the first time in years, bought my first pair of figure skates, and signed up for adult ice skating lessons with my best friend after an amazing taster session.

Since writing my post on picking up a new hobby as an adult I decided it would be productive to start keeping a little diary of my abilities and my feelings as I learn and progress in the sport of figure skating. I'm really excited to be able to look back on these diaries in a few months time and see how far I've come.

These entries probably won't be very coherent as they are copied exactly out of my handwritten notebook, but they are raw and real, capturing my thoughts at that moment.

Monday 11th Feb
Before Lesson
I am very nervous for tonight. I enjoyed my taster lesson last week, but this time Em isn’t coming. I have so many questions that I need answering. I don’t even know where to get my skates sharpened.
After Lesson
I feel like everything went wrong in my lesson – my technique is all wrong, I didn’t wear the right clothes, my skates are wrong. I have enquired about one-to-one lessons, and I will give it 6 weeks before buying some high quality skates. I am determined. I will do this. I won’t let today be a setback. Small win – I got my skates sharpened and the guy in the shop was absolutely lovely.

Tuesday 12th Feb
My sister came with me tonight as I went to practice. She hasn’t skated in years, but was just so confident, skating around as I just stood there and watched people. I felt like a fraud. My new skates also hurt my feet quite a bit. I didn’t notice it whilst skating, but once I took them off the sole and big toe of my right foot was so sore. I wish I hadn’t spent £50 on them, I’m such an idiot. On a positive note, I went very fast and didn’t fall!

Monday 18th Feb
Before Lesson
I am really looking forward to the lesson tonight! Em managed to sign up last week so she will be there too. I didn’t go to practice this weekend as I don’t want to develop any more bad habits. I’m a little bit nervous as I have to drive myself, but I’m mainly looking forward to it.
After Lesson
I really, really enjoyed myself! I seem to be progressing really fast too. I am going to be assessed next week to see if I am ready for level 2. Em is still very nervous and my old skates were too big for her, but we are both learning and having lots of fun.

Saturday 23rd Feb
We both went to practice at Em’s closest ice rink today 0- I felt like I progressed a LOT. I’m becoming really confident with trying new things, and even attempted going backwards. I did fall when attempting to show off, but it felt good to push myself. I’m definitely ready for the assessment on Monday now! I’m very much thinking about private lessons too as this is something I’m starting to feel really dedicated to. When I’m on the ice I feel free and confident and beautiful. I love it.

Monday 25th Feb
Before Lesson
I am so looking forward to going tonight! Each week the nervousness disappears more, and I’m becoming more confident. I must remember to remind her about the assessment. Unfortunately, Em thinks she will not be ready for it. She said she doesn’t want to hold me back. I love her very much.
After Lesson
I feel frustrated, I can (literally) skate circles around everyone else in my group on, and most likely those in level 2 as well, yet I still haven’t been moved up. I’m paying to be in lessons with people who are learning to go forwards, while I’m trying skating backwards. No disrespect to them, but I feel like I'm being kept back for no reason. We had our assessment, but weren’t actually given the results!

Wednesday 27th Feb
I went to practice at the Dome. I don’t feel like I made any progress at all – the Dome is just too busy and full of chavs racing around. I may have to move my practice sessions to the Lammas rink near Em as it was much nicer, or keep driving to Sheffield. I did make a little headway with attempting backwards skating and reverse lemons, however I still cannot stop!

Thursday 28th Feb
No skating today, but I did purchase my first pair of ‘proper’ Graf 500 skates from the Ice Locker store inside of the Ice Sheffield rink today. I was very naughty, and decided to skip waiting another few weeks and just buy them now. They fit beautifully, and I am very excited to begin using them. Hopefully I will be able to fit in a practice session before my lesson on Monday as I’m a little nervous that they will be too stiff for me at first and I’ll fall. Em has decided that she won’t be taking lessons any longer, which is a huge shame as I enjoyed learning with her, but she is still coming each week to support me. She's my Skate Mom now.

Starting a new hobby as a (sort-of) adult

When you think about the word ‘hobby’, usually two different scenarios come to mind. You either imagine children, going to gymnastics and swimming clubs, or older people collecting stamps and bird watching. It’s not often that having a hobby is considered an ‘adult’ thing to do as it’s widely accepted that adults are very busy – they don’t have time for extra curricular activities.

I’m at a weird stage in my life where I am absolutely not an adult (can’t cook, live with parents, scared of making phone calls) but at the same time, completely am (engaged, full time job, steady income). So I’ve hit a little bit of a rut. I’ve been in the same job for almost three years, slowly progressing, but still not sure what I want to do with my life.

It doesn’t help that I’m still in the same mindset from my teenage years. I love to learn and I feel stale when I haven’t discovered something new for a while. I want to develop new skills and try new things, but as far away from a ‘school’ environment as possible. All whilst working 40 hours a week.

Luckily I do have a lot of free time. Unlike the majority of young professionals, I don’t have a long commute to work. I also only work office hours, leaving the entire weekend open.

So what have I chosen to fill that time, and add a little excitement to my daily life?

Two words - Ice skating. Yep, my lazy and utterly ungraceful self has not only started going to public skating sessions, but I've even convinced my best friend to sign up with me for proper lessons too. How hilarious is that? But in all honesty, it's something that I've always wanted to do since I was about eleven, but it was never feasible at the time. Lessons were too expensive for my parents to pay for. Good ice skates cost upwards of £100. And I couldn't expect my dad to drive me 20 miles each way three times a week, so I just forgot about it.

Ten years later, I now have the income to afford lessons, equipment and clothing. I drive and can make my own way to lessons and practice sessions, without having to rely on bus timetables or my parents taking me (although my gorgeous fiancé has run me around a lot so far.) I have the determination and motivation to learn something new, and to my absolute delight I seem to be quite good at it, which inspires me further.

I've made a lot of mistakes already. I've discovered that my technique is all wrong, the cheap skates I bought aren't right, and it simply isn't practical to turn up to the rink wearing only a dress and thin tights, but I'm learning and that's what matters.

I'm really excited to see where this takes me, especially as for the last two weeks it's been all I can think about. I've been constantly researching tips, watching technique videos and posting in adult ice skating Facebook groups for advice.

I'm hoping this won't just be a fad, and will become something that I am genuinely proud of and can enjoy for a long time.