Checking out the Aerodrome

There was a public skating session on Wednesday at the Aerodrome, and I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to check out the rink.  I took the Beltway after work and it only took ~15 minutes to get there.  The public skating session was crazy… There were fast hockey skaters zooming around, people hugging the wall, new skaters using walkers for balance, a couple of figure skaters trying to maneuver in the center, and the most insane thing I’ve ever seen – blue sled contraptions.  Most of the people using the sleds were teenagers, who were pushing each other across the rink.  I guess beggars can’t be choosers, so I tried to make the best of the crowded rink, but I quickly determined that playing dodge person isn’t my strong point.

My goal was to go through as many of the USFSA basic skills as I could to get a better idea of where I am prior to starting a beginner class.  I was excited that my back wasn’t bothering me much at all, and I felt I had better balance and strength on the ice, as compared to Monday.  My stroking felt good; I could get some decent power from my legs.  My front crossovers (in the skating direction) felt solid.  I was determined to watch all of the basic skills videos I had found on YouTube, one by one, and demonstrate each skill.

I ended up only doing the Basic 1-Basic 4 skills in order.  For fun, I tried a couple of the skills from the higher basic levels, but those don’t really count because I didn’t look up the videos to make sure I was doing the moves correctly.  I felt pretty good where I am starting, but I definitely saw some areas to work on.

Snowplow stop – Oh how I used to take this for granted… I quickly learned that my outer thighs are really weak, as I couldn’t push out very well, especially with my right leg.  I think the right leg is worse because my ankle is still weak from the sprain, but I seriously need to get stronger in both legs.  I think strength will come from working on my skills, but I may want to supplement with some outer-thigh exercises at home.

Two-foot spin – I guess when you consider only two revolutions are required, I was able to do this, but for me, it wasn’t good enough!  I can’t remember the last time I even attempted a two-foot spin, but I definitely feel I should be able to do better.

Backward stroking – I think I was motivated more by fear of going backwards, but stroking backwards was very difficult for me.  I look forward to trying again on a less crowded rink!

I also need to work on the length of my one-foot glides, both forward and backwards.  My forward crossovers in the clockwise direction (against the traditional skating direction) were terrible.  I felt clunky and uncoordinated.  I wasn’t really sure how to work on these in a crowded public session, but they definitely need help.

The extra skills I tried (without verifying the videos) were pivots on both feet.  I had zero problem with pivoting around the left toe-pick, but I really struggled on the right.  I also did the inside three-turns to correspond to the outside three-turns from Basic 4.  The inside three-turn on my right foot was really weak.  Maybe my struggle on the right side is because of my ankle, but my backward crossovers felt fine in both directions, so I’m not sure.

I skated until I started to feel my back ache and that was probably a few minutes longer than I should have skated.  The rest of the evening, I was plagued by a sore back.  Luckily, my second chiropractor appointment for Sunday night’s back issue is today, so I expect to be back in full skating form by the next time I go to the rink.

I have decided to sign up for the Thursday night beginner class to meet people and make sure all of my basic skills are up to snuff.  Then, I can figure out the next steps.  I was excited to learn that this rink has an adult “Theatre on Ice” team.  I hope this is something I can do in addition to my individual skating!

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