Sunday, 23 March 2014

Got my new skates... Let the Break In Commence!

As the title suggests, I finally took possession of my new skates. I got a phonecall early in the week to say they were ready, and my friend also got a call saying hers had come in, so off we went back to Sheffield to pick them up. 

We did one final check of the fit, and I was told I was on a permanent mount, so could spin and jump as much as I wanted - woohoo! I really didn't want a third trip, or to have to get out the cordless screwdriver to add more screws later. They'd sharpened them for me too, to a 3/8ths grind, which was cool. I also got myself some new soakers - tie-dye ones with a reinforced bottom. 

So, after we were done in the shop, we went out onto the ice to test out or new purchases. I absolutely loved my skates - there are some sore spots, but I'm not moving around in the boot anymore, and feel really secure. Only problem was, it was a busy public, with a lot of hockey skaters whizzing around so I daren't do anything more than some lemons (swizzles) crossovers and inside edges. They all felt great though, I didn't go over my toepicks and I didn't have any trouble adjusting to a shorter blade. 

I can't wait til Tuesday, when I'll be back on my home ice, and can REALLY start testing these babies out! 

But, of course, every silver lining has a cloud, and I've got to break them in first. I had a really easy time with my Jacksons, one sore spot where the boot cut into my calf, and some pinched toes, and that was it. Break in was a piece of cake. The Edeas actually fit me correctly, so I guess this will be my first REAL experience of breaking in figure skates. 

So far, after skating in them yesterday, I've been wearing them in the house for 15-20 minutes at a time. I really need some more skating tights, as they were what I wore to get fitted for the skates, and everything else I have is either too thick, or too thin. I have, however, found and ordered 2 pairs of skating knee-highs from Mondor, so that'll help me with things to wear.

I have heard all kinds of crazy ways to break in skates - heating them in the oven, using a hairdryer on them, among other things. I plan to simply wear them while watching TV, and skate in them as much as I can. It'll take time, but it's the only way I know. 

I do think I need longer laces though, I can barely tie a bow in these, and find it easier to simply tie off the ends in a double knot, but I'm not sure if that's OK? Anyone got any idea on that? I'll pick up some laces tonight when I go and watch the ice hockey, and try them out this week, just to be safe. 

Not much has happened skating wise, coach was away this week so I went for a practice and met up with a couple of skating friends. We had great fun holding hands and doing synchronised spirals (it was a quiet session). I also wore my skating dress on the ice for the first time, and it felt great. 

So that's my week, here's to an easy break in period for the skates and some skating progress! 

PS: To the girl doing waltz jumps on the busy public yesterday: not a good plan. You also nearly took me out by launching yourself backwards into a spin entry. Look, it's public. Save the spins for a patch session, alright?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Adventures in Skate Shopping

OK, so I've had a pretty exciting week, lots happening. Let's get the skating out of the way first, as the other stuff will take a little while to get through.

Waltz jump is coming along nicely, and I've actually done the entire entry and jump sequence a few times now, without holding my coach's hand - woohoo! There are still things that we need to fix, like the fact that I'm sometimes not landing on the back outside edge, and not really landing or taking off from my toe pick - have you seen the picks on a Jackson Mystique? They're very small - I find it hard to get onto them properly for anything!

The one foot spin is, at the moment, the problem child, the work in progress, call it what you will. It's the one element for this spin, jump, spiral competition that isn't where I want it to be. I can do the entry, and I feel really confident with the entry, but the actual spin? Not happening very well yet. I think it's being on one leg that's the scary part. Anyway, hopefully we'll get there before April 26th - competition day!!

The spiral, I actually really enjoy! I need a little bit more height, but my skating leg and free leg are both doing the right thing, so that's good. Inside 3's are still an issue, which is not so good, but I'm sure I'll get there. I will, of course, blog about the competition, and hopefully be posting photos or video, if I can get someone to take them of me. 

So, that's the skating, now the good stuff. A couple of months back, I noticed some space in my boots that wasn't there before - I've been losing weight so not too surprising some has come off my feet. Anyway, it got to the point where I no longer felt secure in my skates, and was wearing two pairs of socks to compensate. 

A friend of mine also needed new skates, and offered me the chance to go with her to a very reputable skate shop, who fitted her and her son for their skates from day one of them being on the ice. I jumped at the chance, and we headed there yesterday.

It's over an hour away, so I really hoped they could help. I called in advance and told them a little about myself, my level, what I was looking for etc. They were really helpful on the phone, so I was looking forward to the trip.

After the drive, we walked in, and WOW! Dresses as far as the eye could see, Zuca's all round the walls, a wall of gloves, another of guards and soakers. Boots everywhere, a blade cabinet, a little corner for hockey skates (the main hockey part of the shop was in another building) and lots of space to try things on and walk around. 

First I got them to check what sharpening was on my current blades - apparently I could easily drop down a couple of increments, so I might do that with the new blades. Then I said I needed some new skates, explained why, and the real fun began. The lovely man who was helping us looked at my boots and said that the Freestyles and other higher level skates I was thinking of were out - I had barely broken the ankles in on the Mystiques. He then took out my insoles and commented that the boots were way too big for me - I had a lot of space at the end of the insole. 

Now, this is where I found out some stuff - when I bought my skates, I asked for a UK size 6, my shoe size. The shop I went to, sold me this, as far as I was aware. No, they did not. They sold me a size 6 1/2, and while that may have fitted OK when I was my heaviest weight, as I shrunk, and my feet changed, they became worse. Nice skate fitter man commented that he was very surprised at the condition of my skates. Boots that are too big will apparently break down quickly, and can even lead to injury, so really, I've been quite lucky. 

So, we decided we'd start at a UK size 5, and go from there. I tried the Edea Overture, in boot only form, and it actually fit, right there and then, better than my Jacksons did. No painful bits - pressure, but not pain, particularly in the ankles and my little toes. I was asked to lace them up, and the fit was checked - you can barely get a finger down the back of the boots when they're laced, and they felt very supportive. I was told to keep them on while he helped my friend with her skate buying, and then we'd see if I wanted/needed to try anything else, although he said we'd be hard pressed to find a better fit than that. 

It took a LONG time to find skates for my friend - she's got very unusual feet. She doesn't care if her skates are ladies or mens, so in the end she got a pair of Jackson Marquis on order. 

I decided I was VERY happy with the fit of the Edeas, and chose to have them teamed up with some Coronation Ace blades. My blades will be 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Hey! What's going on?!

I know, I know, I've left you all for ages without an update again. I'm sorry! So, what's been happening in the wonderful world of skating? 

Well, two rather big things have happened. I've put my name down for a spin, jump, spiral competition at the rink. Yep, I couldn't believe it but I found the courage to fill out the forms and submit the entry fee to my coach. We are having two events: one is for people who are on Skate UK, like me, and working on the higher levels. We have to do a waltz jump (from backwards crossover entry), one foot spin (from proper entry) and spiral. Then for those who are on Skate UK Star, they can do a 1min 30 routine to music. It's going to be interesting to watch everyone, I'm really only doing it for fun, so don't mind where I place, if I'm honest. 

The only problem is, the entries have now closed, and I'm the only one around my age competing, so I suspect I'm going to have to skate up with the 30+ crowd. I don't mind that really, I'd rather skate with older adults than with the kids - they're seriously good and would wipe the floor with me!

So, the other big thing? I bought a dress :) Just a plain, keyhole back skating dress in kingfisher blue. I love it, and can't wait to wear it for the competition. The only dilemma I have is: over the boot, or footed tights? I have a pair of each. 

Alright, enough of that stuff, on to the skating. We've taken a break from inside 3 turns in my lessons, to focus on the competition elements. The spiral is going really well, only attempted for the first time on Tuesday, but my coach says it's great already, just needs a little more height. The one foot spin? Scary, scary times. I'm fine with the entry, but having only ever spun on two feet (not very well, either), I'm not 100% sure where my weight needs to be or how to stop myself. But again, coach isn't too worried, we've got time to work on it. The waltz jump is going well, starting to do more of the entry sequence without having my hand held. I got some new wrist guards yesterday so now feel better equipped to go and practice the jump without my coach. 

Our dance group is also going well, we're working on a routine for competition day to "Puttin' On the Ritz" and boy, is it fast! I'm pretty much OK with everything, except the box step, and the sheer speed of everything else! I will need to start attending Wednesday night dance again for a while, to work on it with all of the skaters present. Hopefully my friend who helped me out with getting home from rehearsals for the Christmas show, can help me out this time. I also need to find a 1920's Charleston dress, as that's our theme... 

So, until the next time I skate, I hope you all skate safe, enjoy your skating and have an awesome time on the ice :)