Sunflower Skates

Tracking my goals and progress as an adult figure skater

Six months of skating

August 4th 2019 marks six whole months that I've been ice skating! From my wobbly taster lesson, right up to learning my first spins, it's been a real rollercoaster ride.

Progression
When it comes down to the raw elements of figure skating, what have I achieved over the last six months?

To track my progress through the Skate UK levels, I have been using this online diary (to record the in-depth details) and a simple spreadsheet to record how long I spent on each level. In my first 3 months of skating I passed 4 Skate UK levels, which I was really pleased with as you're *supposed* to spend 6 weeks learning each level (meaning I picked it up twice as fast as I expected.)

My fourth month of skating, May, brought my first big challenge. Up until then the only element I had briefly struggled with was Backwards Stroking, which resolved itself as soon as I figured out how to lace my skates more comfortably. The entirety of May was spent battling with my backwards edges, which were needed for almost every element in Level 5. Luckily, one day I suddenly just 'got' it and was signed off on the next lesson.

Unfortunately, my progress was put on hold in June. I had an operation to remove the big toenail on my left foot, and it left me in so much pain that I could barely walk, let alone skate. I lost three weeks of lessons due to this injury, and had lost a bit of confidence when I returned to skating in July, causing me to struggle a lot with the level 6 elements.

Personal Goals
Have I achieved any of my short term goals?

It's been three months since I laid out all of my goals as an adult figure skater on paper. I'm pleased to report that I have achieved both of my short term goals!

I passed Level 5 in the last week of May and started Level 6 lessons at a later time in the evening, something I had been dying to do as it made me feel like I had 'made it.' Secondly, I have also learned how to do basic Backwards Crossovers around a circle. They still need some work to become smoother, but they're getting there.

Physical
After skating twice a week for six months, has my body changed in any way?

Firstly, I wish I had thought to take measurements of my body before I started skating! I'm going to take them now, so hopefully I can compare them properly in another six months. Other than that, I can only base this section on how I feel and what others have told me. Both of my parents have commented that I'm looking slimmer around my waist and that my calves and thighs look strong. Giving my thighs a slap and a wiggle, there's no way near as much jiggling as there used to be, and I've felt quite confident to wear shorts this last Summer, something I haven't done for a few years!

Skating has helped my body image a lot. I hadn't worn a pair of leggings since I was in primary school and spent my first couple of months wearing knee-length dresses to lessons as I was too self-conscious to wear anything else. Once I bit the bullet and purchased my first pair of skating leggings, I slowly got used to wearing them every week and not caring who could see my bum and thighs (especially as everyone else was wearing the same!)

Emotional
How has ice skating helped me mentally and emotionally?

Skating makes me feel amazing. When I'm skating fast around the rink with my arms out wide, I feel so beautiful and graceful. Every lesson makes me feel good about myself when I do well, and my fiance has commented a few times that I literally glowing after a decent practice session. When it's good, it's really good.

Unfortunately, when it's bad, it's horrid. If I struggle with an element or find myself exasperated, I get annoyed with myself and it makes me feel useless. I'm working on trying to enjoy myself no matter what, and it's definitely been easier since I had to have those few weeks off after the surgery. It reminded me that ice skating is for fun, and I should appreciate it and not take it for granted.

Financial
The nitty-gritty details of how much figure skating has cost me over the last six months

Skating is NOT CHEAP by any means, and I made a lot of mistakes and unnecessary purchases before I figured out how to properly budget for it. I've been tracking all of my spending on a spreadsheet and the first month was by far the most expensive, as it contained all of the initial purchases needed to begin my lessons.

Overall I have spent just over £900 on ice skating. I definitely didn't need to spend as much as I did. I could have had all the necessary basics (skates, guards, leggings, socks and group lessons) for under £400, breaking it down to a cost of around £60 a month. However to me, my private and intensive lessons are invaluable and I'm in a position financially where I can afford to treat myself to the level certificates and cute scrunchies for my hair. The only things I really regret buying were the clothing items that I didn't need at all (Fabletics leggings, leotard) but hopefully I will find a use for them outside of skating.

The next six months...

I have a few ambitions for the next six months, a couple of which are straight from my Adult Figure Skater Goals blog post I wrote in late April, but that's a post for another time!

Most of all I am really looking forward to having a lot of fun with skating as I move towards the more difficult elements, whilst creeping closer to the end of Skate UK. I'm incredibly determined and excited to see where the next six months take me in my skating journey!

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