Sunflower Skates

Tracking my goals and progress as an adult figure skater

Month ten - Doing great on eight

November was a great month where all my hard work finally paid off! I passed an element every week for four weeks straight, then moved into Bronze three months earlier than I originally aimed to do so.

Sunday 3rd November
Private Lesson
A proper breakthrough with my spin today! We worked on skating into it more as a lunge, and putting pressure on my right outside edge until I almost trip myself up, then flinging the free leg round. It works! So I'm looking forward to trying it again tomorrow in my group lesson.

Nothing much else to report today. Anthony is pleased with my continuous 3 turns, both sides on insides and outsides. I just need to work more on keeping them fluid and rhythmic (and keeping my head up!) by the end of the lesson I'm pretty sure that they're ready to pass. I'll be quite frustrated tomorrow if they don't. I still hate the step sequence and I just can't get it to feel natural or fun, I think I'm overthinking it and just need to try and enjoy it a little more.

Monday 4th November
Skate UK Level 8
I AM OVER THE MOON!!! What a fantastic lesson! I passed my Continuous Outside 3 Turns (both sides!) my Step Sequence, and I am so comfortable with my spin now! I can go into it with some speed - I don't know how or why but it suddenly just clicked and I am so proud of myself. There was a hiccup with our coach asking for 3 rotations for it to pass (the curriculum says 2) so I do believe I should have passed it tonight, but I'll get it for sure next week! All that is left now is the Continuous Inside 3 Turns and then I'm ready for the Star levels! I have decided I am definitely going for Freeskating first as I think it will come a lot more naturally to me. I am so happy and proud. I wish someone had been there to film my spin for me as I am just so pleased with myself.

Friday 8th November
Public Skate
I booked the day off work today so I could practice with Ami-Lee ahead of the lesson on Monday. I am so desperate to pass my spin and the inside 3 turns! I had an absolutely fantastic practice session with her, even if it was nearly cancelled due to the floods. I really managed to crack my spin today (which she videoed) and I also practiced my Waltz jump on both sides, which was cool. I didn't work on the 3 turns as even though the public session wasn't as busy as weekends, I still felt unsafe with all the hockey skaters tearing about.

Saturday 9th November
Skating Elements Masterclass
At the last minute, I signed up for a skating masterclass ran by Emily, who is one of the coaches. I wasn't too sure what to expect as the post on Facebook had been quite vague, but I was assured that it was suitable for my level. Erm. It wasn't. It felt pretty bad to be the worst person in the group, however I still enjoyed myself. We first had an off-ice warm-up consisting of jogging and exercises on the steps (hated that not going to lie) which was then followed by a flexibility session in the dance studio which I really enjoyed! I will endeavour to come to the ones by Kelly sometime. It was also nice to properly chat to other skaters. I often tend to keep to myself, so I made a real effort to spend time with a group I would love to be a part of, but I'm normally too shy to say hello to!

When we got onto the ice I struggled a lot with the exercises - I don't think Emily was expecting such a mixed-ability group as there were some kids who were NISA level 7 there, alongside a handful of adults in Bronze. I enjoyed it, but I struggled overall.

Sunday 10th November
Private Lesson
My legs are hurting today! The flexibility class really took its toll on me. I had a difficult lesson with Anthony today, but I think I needed it. It was quite an emotional one and I had to stop myself from crying a couple of times when he told me that I'm a good skater and I shouldn't have such low self-confidence. He's noticed that I have a tendency to beat myself up about the smallest things, and that I should be more proud of myself. Almost immediately after that talk I managed my first ever Bunny-Hop into a Drag, I could feel my eyes start to well up as I've thought for so long that I'm too fat and inflexible for a position like that.

He tried to teach me another jump, I think it was a Salchow? I can't actually remember, but we didn't have enough time to go through it properly. I noticed that my boots didn't feel safe enough to support me when trying it, so I popped along to the shop. Turns out my Graf 500s aren't suitable for an adult learning to jump and I'm going to need some new skates very soon. It's a shame as I've barely had these six months, but hopefully I will be able to sell them on Facebook quite easily as they're in great condition.

Monday 11th November
Skate UK Level 8
I passed my Spin!! I really didn't think I was going to as everything seemed to go wrong tonight, but luckily Emily called me over at the end of the lesson and told me I'd passed it as I'd done a couple of nice ones for both her and Jess. I am so pleased and relieved! I'm a little bit frustrated tonight as I hoped to pass my Continuos Inside 3 Turns too, however they were left right until the end of the session and both coaches weren't able to get round to everyone. I think I will push for them to be done first next week as I feel I should pass them now, they've really come a long way from a couple of weeks ago. I'm also a little bit sad as I heard there's going to be a Christmas Party and I haven't been invited, but it's only my own fault for not making an effort with the others.

Sunday 17th November
Private Lesson
I had a fun lesson with Anthony today! I told him how I couldn't decide between Free Skating or Ice Dancing for when I go onto Bronze, so we did a couple of bit from each. We went through Spirals and Waltz Jumps for Free, and also Forward Clossed Chasses and Forward Progressive Runs for Dance! I think I picked everything up quite quickly, and I enjoyed learning the Progressive Runs, which I didn't expect to enjoy as I was leaning more towards Free. I do think I'm going to do Bronze Free first, then Dance Free, then decide which to continue for Silver. If I even get there, that is!

Monday 18th November
Skate UK Level 8
A horrible lesson. There was indeed tears. I was supposed to drive myself to the rink but my car was all frozen, which stressed me out to begin with, then I flunked every single element in the lesson. I was so scared at one point that they were going to un-pass me. I'm also a little tired of certain people getting special treatment in the lessons and having a disproportionate amount of time spent with them, when I've been working on the same things as them for the past couple of weeks. Ami-Lee passed tonight, even though she had more to go than I did. I feel like such a failure and like I can't do anything right. I was so hoping that I would figure it all out tonight. They've promised to help me next week.

Sunday 24th November
Private Lesson
I had a nice lesson with Anthony. We went through the C. Inside 3 Turns on my left again in preparation for tomorrow, it took me a while but I really think the majority of it is down to having the confidence to actually put all my weight on that leg. Once I figured it out, they went a lot better. I will try my absolute best tomorrow and pray that they are lenient with me! We did some more work on Forward Progressive Runs and Backwards Crossovers in preparation for the figure of 8's I will need in Bronze. Somehow I have lost the ability to spin, which was weird, but hopefully it was just stress!

Skate Hunting
After the lesson I went to the shop to try on some new skates! I tried on three skates for the next level; Jackson Elle's (a horrible shape! Far too wide with a painful tongue) Risport Electra (nasty skinny laces that cut my fingers, and a moulded instep which didn't fit me right) and the Edea Overtures. The Overtures were lovely and comfy, but I'd read that my weight would break them down quite quickly and that I didn't mind paying more to slightly 'overboot.'

I tried on the Risport RF3 (same nasty laces) and then the old model of the Edea Concerto. They were wonderful! I absolutely loved them, they fit beautifully snug and comfy. She said I could possibly have them for cheaper as they were old stock and I could bend my knees easily in them so they wouldn't be too strong for me. She has ordered in some Edea Chorus for me to try on alongside them again next week, so hopefully I will have new skates by the end of the month! Yay!

Monday 25th November
Skate UK Level 8
I did it!!! I finally did it! I was so nervous and didn't want to ask them to watch me, and I really messed it up at first, but as soon as I chilled out I managed to do four inside 3 turns and I PASSED! I went up into Bronze Free for the last half of the lesson and it was so difficult! At first we did Waltz Jumps, which I'm too scared to attempt now that I know these skates aren't safe, then we did Forward Progressive Runs and Backwards Crossovers. I did struggle a bit and it really wore me out - everything is at a much faster pace. Hopefully I'll start losing some weight at this rate. I'm so pleased and proud. I'm not putting any time limits on myself, I just want to try my best and enjoy it, no matter how long it takes. I might have a go at Dance next week with Anthony and see what I think to it. No word on the new skates yet, so I'm hoping they will be in on Wednesday.

A great end to the month!

My figure skating insecurities


Much like my post on fighting imposter syndrome on the ice, this post is based on thoughts and feelings that have been swirling around my head the past couple of months. In fact, it's almost an antithesis to that post entirely (strange how feelings can completely change in such a short amount of time.)

When I wrote that post, I felt like I had progressed too fast in a short amount of time. Now, four months later, I feel the exact opposite. I feel like it's taken me far too long to get to where I currently am.

I'm starting to fall behind on my goals. A combination of fear, injury, inability and extraneous factors have slowed down my progression, causing me to spend 11 weeks on Level 6, and I'm now going into my 6th week on Level 8. My overall skating goal was to pass Skate UK within a year of starting, and even though I have only one element left on 8, I'm starting to worry that I won't hit my February deadline, especially since a lot of skaters who started a few months after me surpassed me weeks ago.

And speaking of other skaters, I constantly worry that none of them like me. I've made one very good friend, and there's a couple of others who I'll chat to and practice with intermittently, but every so often I'll scroll through Instagram and see photos of groups of them together and wonder why I wasn't invited. I wish I'd made more of an effort to make friends when I first started, but feelings of insecurity, not being good enough to be friends with them, held me back. And now it's too late. I cringe at the idea of them finding this post and realising what a huge loser I am.

Another big (no pun intended) root of my insecurity is my weight. A recent trip to the doctor revealed that I now weigh over 13 stone, putting me towards the far end of the 'overweight' category for my BMI. It doesn't help that my current skates aren't built to support such weight when jumping, and I need to fork out again for new ones after only 8 months. I'm also incredibly self-conscious - it took me up until level 6 to allow myself to wear leggings to practice.

Finally, and possibly the worst insecurity for me is my bust. Skating is a sport focused heavily on posture, and I've spent so many years holding myself in positions to minimise and cover my chest that the thought of skating with my shoulders back and chest out makes me feel physically sick. I don't want to be noticed. I make self-deprecating jokes about remembering my sports bra so I don't knock myself out when jumping, but it's a real concern. I often worry about how I'm going to fit into little outfits for shows and competitions. The majority of figure skaters have lithe, petite bodies, and competition costumes simply aren't made to fit an L waist with an XXXL chest.

I'm not sure yet how I'm going to start working on these insecurities. I know I want to progress, lose weight and make friends, but I just don't know how. It's helped to write these things down though, so hopefully that's the first step towards conquering them.