First Group Lesson – Not What I Expected!

Since I couldn’t attend the group class I signed up for on Thursday, I went to the Adult class today.  I got there early to pick up my skates and try the new edges before the lesson, and I’m very glad I did!

When I first got on the ice during the practice session, I felt very off-balance and uncomfortable.  My back hurt, I wasn’t stable, and while I could still get through the moves I tried, nothing felt right.  I wondered if it was the fact that my blades got sharpened, but that seemed silly, as sharp should feel better…

After about 15 minutes, my feet started killing me. I got off the ice, took off my skates, and spent a few minutes googling.  I learned that if sharpened blades make it hard to skate, you likely waited to long to get your skates sharpened.  That seems reasonable considering I’ve skated on those blades 4 times, but prior to that, know nothing of their history.

I also read about boot fit being a reason for sore feet, but this hadn’t been a problem before, so I considered that maybe it was something as simple as not lacing my skates to the appropriate tightness.  I loosened my skates and tried skating again.  My feet felt much better, but now my heel was slipping in my boot.

This is what I get for my mother always lacing up my skates – I don’t even know how to properly lace my own boots!!  I solicited sage advice of a skating mother/daughter pair and the daughter told me to keep the foot looser and tighten the ankles.  Thank goodness this was the magic combination.

I went out to skate for the last 15 minutes of the practice session and things started feeling better.  I am so glad I had that time to work out the kinks.

When the class started, everyone just went to their groups, but I didn’t know where to go since this was my first time.  The adult group was large and they divided into three sub-groups: the first-timers, free-skate level, and an in between level that would be working on crossovers.  I noticed the one free-skate level skater was doing toe-loops, and that seemed too advanced for me, so I initially joined the middle group.

The middle group had three skaters doing “forward half-swizzle pumps on a circle,” basic skill 3B.  I did those and the instructor said I did very well, so I glanced over at the free-skate group and noticed there was only one student.  While I knew I couldn’t do toe-loops, I hoped moving to that group would be productive.

And, it was!

The instructor asked me how long I had been skating, and I explained that I skated for about 7 years as a kid, but just started again after 30-years.  I told her I remembered a good amount, but not the details, and I didn’t think I was ready for a toe-loop!

She asked if I could to a waltz jump (basic skill 8E, FreeSkate 1E from crossovers) and I was thankful I had tried a couple on January 2nd (from crossovers, the only way I know to do them).  My jumps started out not too great, as I didn’t really remember what it took to jump well.  The teacher was super encouraging and gave me pointers to make it better.  She talked about taking-off from a bent knee and starting with my arms back and bringing them in front of me as I jumped.  Once I figured out how to do this, the jump started feeling better and better.

Then, she asked if I wanted to do a salchow (FreeSkate 2F, pronounced sow-cow).  I told her I hadn’t done one in 30-years and I don’t remember how!  She showed me and I marked the steps and then worked up the courage to try.  It wasn’t pretty, but it kind of worked.  Again, she encouraged me and gave me pointers, and I tried again, bending my knees to get some height….

But I guess speed and height together was a bad combination and I fell – my first fall since I started skating again.  I hit my knee on the ice and it really hurt (getting old is no fun).  It reminded me of my one outing two years ago, where I ended up bruised from head to toe.  I took a second to get my confidence back and then I did another little one.  The instructor suggested I slow it down, so I did, and I was able to bend my knees and jump – without falling!

I was very proud of myself for not getting discouraged from falling and actually making progress on improving my salchow!

Then, she showed me a “side-toe-hop”, and I remembered that as a basic skill I tried on Monday, number 5F.  She wanted me to try waltz jump, side to hop, waltz jump combination (FreeSkate 1 bonus).  Like the other jumps, they started off kinda iffy, but with her encouragement and pointers, they got better!

We finished up by working on edges.  I did my outside three-turns (basic skill 4D, FreeSkate 1C) and then my inside three-turns (basic skill 6A, FreeSkate 2C).  She said they were pretty good considering, but the inside ones were really clumsy. She had me work on those making an arc on the hockey line (I think from stopped is the basic skill, and doing them at speed is the FreeSkate level).  The slow ones were actually harder than doing them at speed, as I had to put my free leg right next to my skating leg.  I definitely have a balance issue there!

We were about to try mohawks when time ran out, but that was fine, as I was exhausted!

I was really excited about how my first lesson ended up, after practice started so terribly.  It was strange – it was like my body just took over when someone was teaching me.  It seemed to remember what to do!  I had no idea I could do any of that stuff, but when it was demonstrated for me, I just did it.  Having the teacher tell me my first attempts were good and give great feedback that actually improved my technique helped me as well.

I am so excited by today’s class and I look forward to practicing on Thursday, if not before!!

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