Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A small epiphany.



So it's been three weeks of multiple chiropractic adjustments per week, plus a long and growing list of back/hip/leg exercises with a stability ball every day.  And while it's early innings I can't resist looking cautiously if somewhat pessimistically for signs of improvement on the ice.  Last night I got the first hint when I wasn't looking.

I was warming up my legs during the opening thirty minutes of a busy freestyle session prior to my weekly ice dance lesson.  There are still a few events left in the competitive season and so both our home skaters plus ones from surrounding clubs were out in force getting their licks in before the next fixture on the calendar.  As anyone who has skated one of these sessions knows, being on a collision course with one or more skaters is fairly common.  As I rounded one end of the rink I noticed a young diva heading my way on a beautiful back spiral.  Without thinking, I shifted my weight to my left skate and raised my right skate off the ice in anticipation of a last minute change of course.  In the end we passed each other by a comfortable margin; no foul no penalty.

And then my brain telegraphed this little whisper into my consciousness:

"Dude--you're gliding on a left flat AND YOU"RE NOT VEERING ALL OVER HELL"S HALF ACRE!"

In a "pinch me, I must be dreaming" kind of way, I purposely repeated that left flat glide several times in a row.  Yep, it was the real deal! Fingers crossed that it's here to stay and not one of those skills that seems so solid one session but is MIA the next...

For those of you reading this who have their Axel, Gold MIF test, double jumps, and quiver full of achingly beautiful spins ticked off the list, being able to glide in a straight line on one foot may not seem like a big deal.  Well it is to ME!  Especially if we're talking about my left side.  I can glide effortlessly, with control on my right flat 'til the cows come home but no amount of blade shimming or position tweaking on either my old skates or the current ones could solve that issue when gliding on the left skate.  After the last session of blade tweaking proved unrewarding, Mike Cunningham looked at me and said "There's not much that I don't understand about ice skates or ice skaters, but you're one of them."

So, yes it is the skater and not the equipment.  At this stage of the game I kinda knew that.  But finally an answer and   a glimmer of hope.  Today I can glide on a left flat.  In the future, as the left side of my body responds to continued treatment and exercise, who knows?  I might just be able to confidently commit to a deep back edge on the left blade.  Some day in the distance future I too may posses a scratch-free CCW inside forward Mohawk.

Will I eventually need to have my left blade realigned to a more neutral position (currently that blade is set with the toe well towards the inside)?  Can't predict.  At this stage I'm just thrilled to be able to track down the ice on that leg in a straight line.  I feel just like a wide track Pontiac, fresh from the alignment shop after a long dull winter of potholes!

13 comments:

  1. Three months of physical therapy and my right hip is letting me do CCW mohawks. The daily therapy pays off.

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  2. As someone who is also doing the off-ice intense reworking of neural pathways thing, I am THRILLED to hear of your success. First of many! Hooray!

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  3. Thanks Babbette and Jo. I can't get back to the ice until this Saturday, but if my glide is still flying straight I'll be a v. happy camper!

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    1. Thanks Accordion3. Small victories!

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  5. One of my coaches didnt let me do any backwards crossovers until I had managed backwards and forwards one foot glides L + R so I also say that they are essential. I got a compliment for my nicely done backwards crossovers at my first skating test.

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    1. @Anne: What? I should wait until I have every minor element under perfect control and admit defeat in the on-going war against myself? Never--I'm no quitter! ;-)

      PS: Glad to hear that your skating is garnering compliments--keep up the good work!

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    2. Patience is a virtue :-) .... these things take time, indeed.

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  6. Yay! Hope you continue to see progress on the ice. Just think, if you weren't a skater you wouldn't have tried to fix that problem, but I'm sure it will benefit you in many ways to have that side stronger and more responsive.

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  7. Thanks Mary! You're quite right in your assumption. None of my other activities, including racing small sailing dinghies, places the level of demand for symmetry required by figure skating. If not for skating I would have probably lumped along in total ignorance until that unhappy day when I would wake up to more than just annoying levels of lower back pain. Of course by then I'd have a much longer row to hoe. I'm hoping that action taken now will stave off or at least delay further decline.

    My subjective improvements out on the ice seem to be real and lasting. Being able to hold a left flat has proved durable and repeatable. Additionally, it seems to me that forward edge pulls on my left side are also improving. I'm still looking forward to better CCW Mohawks!

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    1. Congratulations.... I am also working on CW mohawks and CW Spread Eagles/Ina Bauers. My hip just doesnt want to do them, yet! CCW is decent :-)

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    2. Congratulations.... I am also working on CW mohawks and CW Spread Eagles/Ina Bauers. My hip just doesnt want to do them, yet! CCW is decent :-)

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    3. Thanks Anne. I have good days and bad days on the ice depending on my leg, but it seems to be responding to treatment. I now need to clean up a lot of bad habits I adopted to compensate for the weakness in that leg.

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