Sunflower Skates

Tracking my goals and progress as an adult figure skater

Month six - Skating in circles

As my first month back to skating, July was a tough one. It seemed like every time I had a good lesson, it was followed by a terrible one the next week. I felt like I was going in circles - Literally.

Monday 1st July
Skate UK - Level 6
My first time back on the ice was a little hit and miss. I was pleased to find I could still hold my backwards edge and complete 3 Turns on my right foot the exact same as before, so no progress had been lost there. Unfortunately, trying anything on my left was a bit of a struggle. A mixture of it hurting a little, being afraid to push it in case it hurt more, and general left foot phobia held me back a lot, and I got frustrated and stood out a few times. I was a little upset after the lesson that I wasn't able to achieve as much as I normally would have, but still proud that I made myself go in the first place. Small victory - My backwards Slaloms seemed better than a few others who have been in the class for weeks. I wasn't on the register yet, so they will not assess my progress until next week, which is fine by me as it was non-existent this lesson anyway.

Wednesday 3rd July
Private Lesson
Had a good lesson with Anthony. After Monday's lesson my toe was starting to heal quite nicely, however by my lesson today it had split and got quite bad again. At a few points in the lesson it was almost unbearable, and my skates did not feel comfortable at all. I nearly stacked it properly at one point where my legs just gave out from under me - luckily he grabbed me quick enough (even if I did nearly dislocate his fingers) Made a little progress on the Backwards Crossovers on my right foot and had a little go at an inside 3 Turn.

Monday 8th July
Skate UK - Level 6
I'm feeling very frustrated after this lesson, and not entirely with myself. Like last week, the coaches seemed more interested in chatting to each other by the side of the rink rather than actually, well, coaching. They could obviously tell we were getting annoyed with them, as they mentioned at the end of the lesson how they like to give us time to 'practice' on our own. Practice what?? The elements they haven't taught us, then make fun of us for when we do them wrong (no duh my arms were in the wrong place, I had no idea what to do.) On the flip side, Doncaster Dome have started lessons up again, and I have enquired about joining their Grade 4 Adults group. They don't follow Skate UK, but it's worth going to a taster session to see how it is. I did a bit of practice on spins again but it always makes me feel really dizzy and sick. Hopefully it's something I will just get used to over time.

Wednesday 10th July
Private Lesson - Cancelled
My private lesson with Anthony today was cancelled due to the rink having an event on and needing the pad. I don't mind too much as I need a little time for my feet to recover. I'm still not used to my skates again yet and my toes felt very uncomfortable and crushed on Monday.

Saturday 13th July
The Dome - Adult Beginners
Hmm. Hmmmmm. I'm not sure what I think to this. On one hand, it felt amazing to be skating in a group where I was the most accomplished, and very invigorating to do it so early. It put a spring in my step for the rest of the day. The coach seemed very intense (in a good way too) constantly correcting posture and making me go back to absolute basics. However that was also it's downfall. I spent a whole half an hour lesson skating backwards and forwards on one foot, which is Level 3 at the most. It might be nice as a complement to my regular lessons, but I won't be doing it solely. I'll have a proper think next week.

Monday 15th July
Skate UK - Level 6
I think word may have got back to the coaches about how annoyed we were last week, and they were a lot more involved today. I'm still really struggling on Level 6 in general, and I need to spend more time on it than I'm currently able to. I did manage to consistently do 3 Backwards Crossovers on my right foot a few times, and I'm starting to get the hang of the edge step thing too, but it's very little progress. I'm going to have a proper think about quitting lessons until Star, and having extra time with Anthony instead. It's just incredibly expensive, so I really need to weigh up how much faster progression means to me in the grand scheme of things, and take a proper look at my finances.

Wednesday 17th July
Private Lesson
I had a good lesson with Anthony today, even if it did become a little frustrating towards the end of the lesson. I managed to get the 'knack' for Backwards Crossovers (on my right foot only) and now all I need to do is practice on getting them smoother and working on my form. I'm very pleased with that! Unfortunately, after months of avoiding my left foot I am now struggling to do anything at all on it, which is really frustrating. I can't even hold my edge on it anymore, which is something I had worked so hard on in Level 5. I also struggled with the Inside 3 Turns this lesson - I know that something will suddenly 'switch' eventually, like it did with the outside ones, however it's just getting to that point that is annoying. I was getting mad at myself and Anthony was probably despairing of me, although he didn't show it (he's nice like that!) He doesn't want rid of me at least - I did a little spin for him and the end and he laughed and said he can't wait to teach me to jump as I spin the wrong way. That's a good sign at least, that he has faith in my future even if I don't.

Saturday 20th July

The Dome - Adult Beginners
I had an absolutely fantastic lesson this morning. I really appreciate how pro-active the coaches are! Since last week, they have recruited another coach to teach things above the absolute basics. She went through all of my Level 6 elements with me, and I had a real breakthrough when it came to Backwards Crossovers. I am very, very pleased. I also sort-of managed to do some inside 3 Turns on my right foot, so I know they are starting to get there. I think it will be a good idea to keep this session up until I pass Level 6 (as I want to get out of it as soon as possible!) I feel like today had stood me in good stead to pass some elements on Monday!

Monday 22nd July
Skate UK - Level 6
Such a great lesson!!! My trip to The Dome on Saturday has really paid off, and I did really well this week. I wish I had my lesson with Anthony on Wednesday as he will be so proud of me! I passed my 2 Foot Spin on the first and only try (easy) my Slalom and Backwards Crossovers are on 'good' (both ways!!! Somehow I pulled it out of the bag tonight on my left foot) and my Edge Step thing is on 'fair'. I don't think I have a mark for the 3 Turns as I didn't attempt them properly. But I am so pleased about the crossovers. I went from almost crying at the side last week because I couldn't do them, to being one of the best in the group this week. I'll have passed them next week for sure. Big smiles tonight!

Wednesday 24th July
Private Lesson - Cancelled
Cancelled due to the rink wanting more room for the brats this summer holiday...

Saturday 27th July

The Dome - Adult Beginners
I am not impressed. At all. It was as if last week didn't even happen. We were back to having just the one instructor who made us practice one foot glides for the entire lesson. Again. I have cancelled my membership as it just seems insulting at this point, as well as a massive waste of money.

Monday 29th July
Skate UK - Level 6
A horrible lesson. Once again I am really irritated with the coaches. Our lesson is supposed to be 7:30pm - 8:15pm, yet this week we didn't even start until 7:45pm. It always starts a little late due to the changeover times from the group before, but the 15 minute delay was due to the coaches simply chatting to each other, again. It's taking the piss now! I actually ended up sitting out of most of the lesson, as I felt so discouraged and like I couldn't do anything. The Inside 3 Turns really have me beat. I also feel upset because another skater who I passed months ago has now caught up to and surpassed me. A really awful lesson that's left me feeling so bad about myself. I don't know what to do.

Wednesday 31st July
Private Lesson
Today was my first 1 hour lesson with Anthony, and my last time skating before I go on holiday on Friday. After half an hour of practicing basic backwards edges, forwards crossovers and forwards step to backwards, we moved onto some of the Level 7 elements, which I really enjoyed! I loved learning the Continuous Edges, and quite liked the Crossrolls too, even if they were quite difficult (I have a video here!). Level 7 seems like really good fun, so I'm hoping to get out of 6 as soon as possible now so I can get started for real!

Fighting imposter syndrome on the ice


I've been having a few weird feelings recently that I desperately need to get off my chest. Despite being (on the whole) such a warm, welcoming community, I've been struggling with feelings of intimidation and imposter syndrome since I started ice skating.

Let me explain.

I'm very fortunate in the way that money has never been a problem for me throughout my time skating. If I want nice practice wear, I buy it. If I need extra lessons, I have extra lessons.

Being able to spend more money on extra lessons has allowed me to progress faster than is the norm through the Skate UK levels. I haven't yet been skating 6 months and I'm creeping towards Level 7, something which would usually take 9 months to a year at the very least.

I feel like I don't deserve to be here. That I haven't worked hard enough, for long enough to be allowed to skip through the levels so fast.  Why am I wearing the 'proper' tights that hook under my skates and jackets with rhinestones on, when the rest of my group are in leggings and a jumper?

I keep trying to prove my dedication. I've joined Facebook groups and subreddits, I've started an Instagram account. But I hate feeling like the 'new girl' who hasn't been skating long enough to be allowed to do these things.

Sometimes I feel like the coaches hate me. Most of them are the same age as me, a few are actually younger, which is really intimidating at times. I don't want them to get the idea that I'm full of myself if I whine about being stuck in one level for more than a month. I set myself very high standards for someone who's never skated until the age of 21.

I'm trying my hardest. This feels like more than a casual hobby to me. It's something I am determined to be good at. I want to learn how to jump and how to spin. I want to take NISA tests. I want to be proud of myself.

But on the other hand, I need to chill out a bit. I need to accept that figure skating is a skill that takes years to become good at. I need to laugh at myself when I fall down, and celebrate every little victory no matter how minor it may seem.

I'm in it for the long haul. I do belong here.

Month five - A minor setback

I had a nail avulsion operation in June and had to suspend my skating for a few weeks whilst I healed.

Monday 3rd June
Skate UK - Level 6
My first Level 6 lesson went as well as it could have done. I was absolutely terrified and had to talk myself into going, but I'm glad that I did and it was fun to try so many new things for the first time. I think I'm going to be okay with Backwards Crossovers. I was very scared at first to even try, but I just kept pushing myself to take it slowly, and was able to do three little ones in a row by the end of the lesson. I also started to build up towards the "backward outside edges step to forward outside edge on a circle" (what a mouthful, I'm going to refer to it from here as Edge Step) which felt impossible at first, but I took baby steps through the motions whilst standing still, then going very slowly. The Two Foot Spin was the absolute worst - after four or five attempts I thought I was going to puke my guts up. I must remember to take a travel sickness tablet before lessons from now on!

Thursday 6th June
Surgery
Had the surgery today. Painful AF. Bad news too - they say it will be at least a few weeks until I can skate again. Heartbroken.

Wednesday 12th June
I am really, really missing skating a lot. Had to go back to the doctor's this morning as it's not getting any better. Might be a few more weeks before I can skate again. Very sad.

Wednesday 19th June
Depressed.

Sunday 30th June
Tomorrow I am going back to skating. My toe isn't better, far from it, but I'm refusing to let it stop me from doing what I love any longer. Watch this space.