Sunflower Skates

Tracking my goals and progress as an adult figure skater

September 2020 - Teapots & bunny-hops

This month I restarted my group lessons, learned how to hold a Teapot, had a breakthrough with spinning, and covered my knees in bruises!

Tuesday 1st September
Lessons Update
Er, not a great start to the month. I'm guessing that things have to get worse before they get better, right? Today I received an email from Sheffield City Trust confirming that my lessons would indeed be restarting on the 14th (yay!) and that I could sign into their portal to view my new lesson time. Well, signing in was a complete bust. The system wouldn't recognise any of my information, and their phone lines were completely engaged after waiting on hold for ages. Typical. The big disappointment is that I've heard through the grapevine that the new Adult's lesson time is at 8:55. Why is it so late?! We'll all be absolutely shattered from being AT WORK (that's what adults do, duh. Why do they never understand this) I'm also completely terrified of driving home so late at night after the session, just as it's starting to get dark and miserable in the evenings. Shigh can't even make it at all as she has to be up very early for work the next morning. The whole thing is just a bust.

Wednesday 2nd September
Yoga Class
Just a quick entry to say I had my first yoga class back and really enjoyed it! I don't usually write about those as I don't think they're relevant to this blog, but I'm making an exception tonight as I found all my off-ice work with Kelly those first few weeks of lockdown really helped me tonight - I was even able to go into a split (everyone looked at me and my foot did a huge squeak scutch on the floor, how graceful.)

Saturday 5th September
Public Session
I've had another lovely day with Dani and Katie! The 10am session was empty as usual, so we had a lot of room for spinning and trying out teapots (and spending a lot more time with my bum on the ice!) They're both so much better than I am. I'm still not feeling very confident at all about jumps, I think I really have developed a fear of them since being away, which is really weird as it was always spinning I was terrified of before. It's a shame, as I was really starting to get the hand of them before and now I'm back to square one. I still had a great day though and they invited me out for tea as well which was really nice! I went to Wagamama for the first time and I think I may have a new obsession!

Wednesday 9th September
Public Session - Cancelled
I was supposed to be going to the evening session at Sheffield tonight, but I'd had such a draining day at work (2 hour video meeting. Yawnfest.) that all I wanted to do was go to sleep as soon as I got home. Gutted, as I'd already paid and it's not cheap, but I wouldn't have enjoyed myself or been in any fit state to drive.

Saturday 12th September
Private Lesson
Well, not quite private. I tagged along to Shigh's lesson with Karen today and really, really enjoyed myself. Karen is a lovely coach! She explains exactly what you need to do and is always full of praise. We worked on basic forward and backward skating, crossovers, 3 turns, spins and a little bit of jumping. Everyone still thinks it's so weird that I spin the opposite way to which I jump, but really I'm happy rotating either way and just can't stand on my left foot is all! I think I may have a go at spinning on my left, even with the inevitable falls. Shigh talks herself down far more than she should. Everything she does is so graceful, even if she can't see it, especially the way she exits spins and goes down into drags. I'm looking forward to having Anthony back for myself, but I did enjoy myself with Karen too. I think I just thrive off Anthony's energy the most.

Sunday 13th September
Public Session
I went with William to The Dome today as his first lesson back is next Sunday, and my Auntie Lou was worried about him not having had any practice before then. It makes me chuckle how kids really are fearless, but have absolutely no spacial awareness for other skaters, he nearly bowled over everyone around us! Shigh joined us and took a cute video of me and him dragging together. She also took a video of me in a drag on my own, but honestly it made me feel terrible. My arms look wooden and bent at weird angles, I don't sink low enough, and I always have such a resting bitch face whilst looking at the ground. I wish I would be effortlessly graceful. But I'm not.

On a more positive note, Anthony is out of isolation and we have arranged a lesson next Sunday! Hooray!

Monday 14th September
Skate UK Star - Bronze Free Skating
A really, really great first lesson back. I saw Ami-Lee for the first time in months, having missed her so much!!! We're planning to go out for tea on Thursday before our sleepover in preparation for Friday's camp. Also, I got my teapot!!! I can't hold it for long as I don't have the strength, but I did it twice and they were definitely 2.5/3 seconds each time. I don't think I was shifting my weight far forwards enough in my practices, so I really focused on it today and voila! There was a lot of things I struggled with in the lessons, spirals and jumps mainly, but I tried my best and managed some of the best spins I've done in ages! The only problem is how late the lesson was, I am absolutely exhausted now (writing this the next morning) and I'm really nervous when it comes to driving there and back in the dark/rain. I shall have a practice tomorrow for Bev's masterclass.

Tuesday 13th September
'Back On The Ice' Adult Masterclass
Although it wasn't what I expected, I had a really nice time tonight with Bev. There ended up being only five of us, so it was great having properly tailored instruction for an hour and a half! We did a lot on spinning tonight, and I managed to spin from just an outside edge for the first time ever. Bev has also shown me a different way of going into a spin from a left three turn and one backward crossover. I'm looking forward to working on it properly.

Friday 18th September
Mark Hanretty & Vanessa Bauer DOI Camp
The day started out strong as our first session was with Mark and Vanessa, working on basic skating skills. I don't know if it was nerves, but I started to feel really faint so I went to the toilets. In my hurry I didn't put my guards on and completely blunted my blades on the tiled floor. I didn't feel safe on them when I got back on the ice, so I sat out for the last 20 minutes of the lesson.

Next up was fitness with Ashley, which I sat out of too as I was feeling so upset about my blades that I wanted to go home. I'm glad I sat out as it looked hardcore! We then had a lovely stretch and flex session with Kelly. I was shocked at how much flexibility I have lost since going back to work and not keeping up her classes!

As luck would happen, the shop was open just before the next class and I was able to get my blades fixed! Oh I was so relieved. Especially as the Performance On Ice class (with Kelly again) was the best out of the day in my opinion. I really came out of my shell, learning about performing and showing off. I never dance, but I truly enjoyed myself and would very happily take another.

After lunch we were back with Mark and Vanessa for a choreography class. The thing I said about never dancing? It returned for this class. I couldn't keep up with even the beginning of the movements and got embarrassed and sat out. It was fun to watch though!

The last class of the day (my last class, I snuck home early before the final dance lesson) was more great fun. 'Transitions' with Mark and Vanessa. I think it was just a big excuse to fool around with knee slides and hydroblades (my knees are now bruised to hell!) It got very difficult towards the end of the class which was a shame as the whole day was advertised for all levels, but it definitely wasn't suitable for a lot of us.

Overall a looooong day. Very enjoyable in parts, stressful in others. Overall I would say it was worth the money and the day off work, as well as the sleepover at the Premier Inn last night with Ami-Lee! 

Sunday 20th September
Private Lesson
I had a lovely lesson back with Anthony today! It was so great to see him properly again, and he really liked the little present I got for him. We had a good lesson working on getting back to basics - trying to get me to spin from an outside edge mainly! Alongside seeing if I can get my jumps back. They don't seem quite so scary when he's there and he was full of praise which was great. At the end of the session I showed him my teapot, and he taught me how to get into it without bombing down and it was miles better. Katelyn took a great video of me falling out of it with a flourish.

Monday 21st September
Skate UK Star - Bronze Free Skating
I think I will stay in Free for the time being, I am really enjoying it (apart from spirals - strong hatred.) I tried a backward teapot for the first time and held the edge until I started spiralling round in a circle, which was good fun! I do wish they would resurface in-between lessons as the ice is in no fit state for practicing spins. I've made a little more progress on my jumps with help from Jess and Rebecca. Rebecca showed me an exercise to practice moving my arm and leg at the same time. The problem is I am absolute certain there is something wrong with my boots now. I simply cannot stay on a left outside edge, it's impossible. I'm worried about it and I hope it won't be too expensive when I go to see Alison in Blackpool!

Thursday 24th September
Public Skate
Had an absolutely insane breakthrough with Shigh tonight at The Dome! We tried spinning whilst keeping our arms held out and it improved both our spins tenfold. It was so simple and obvious yet so effective. I'm quite angry about it actually as it's exactly what I did when I was first learning, until a certain coach made fun of me for it in front of everyone... We also had a load of fun with drags, teapots and knee slides until the jobsworth in a yellow vest told us to stop filming. My backwards teapot is coming along quite well! (I also wore a size 10 top!!!)
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A bit of fun with @shighskates!

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Sunday 27th September
Private Lesson
Not great, but good. We worked quite a bit on trying to get me to spin from an outside edge. It seems so pointless to me - I just can't get it. It's probably been a year now since I started learning and it's impossible. I feel so useless. Bleh. Had a brief go on Twizzles and Slip Chasses, I hadn't practiced either of them at all since coming back and forgot how much fun they can be. Finished the lesson with jumping, and I do feel like I made the smallest amount of progress. I do get very stressed that I've been working on a bloody waltz jump for the best part of a year and it's still going nowhere.

I stayed on the public session with Dani and Melissa for another hour after the lesson, and had a really fun time playing around with drags and knee slides and splits on the ice. I didn't think I could split anymore, but got quite a good photo which I have used as the header for this post!

Monday 28th September
Skate UK Star - Bronze Free Skating
I enjoyed myself tonight! I'm getting pretty good at backwards teapots now, and did some lovely bunny-hops into drags. I must ask if I can get that signed off at some point, I haven't actually taken in my booklet since we've come back. These 'Adult advanced' sessions feel awkward, like we're not being marked on any progress at all. We don't have any criteria on the online system either. I do start wondering if it's a waste of money, until every once in a while the perspective from another coach really helps me. I feel like I'm still not trying my absolute hardest sometimes, like I need to switch off the self-conscious/anxious part of my brain and just go for it. Next month will be the one!

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