IT’S A LIFESTYLE!

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As an Adult Figure Skater, I am proud to wear this shirt, “Keep calm and skate on!” Although I cannot remember the talented lady I bought it from, I am proud to be a part of the adult skating community. They are a different part of my extended family and I appreciate each and every one of them. We might be in competition with each other while competing, but each adult skater still has a heart for his or her fellow competitor. It truly is a remarkable thing to be a part of and I have no intentions of walking away from it…ever! I intend to skate as long as I am able and hopefully that will be well into my 80’s. I am 55 now and although the higher level moves cause me to work harder, but it is like that for the younger skaters too. So really, we are not doing anything differently. In fact, I think it takes a whole lot more courage for adults to get out on that ice and master difficult moves. I have been working on my Silver Moves in the Field for three years now. I hope to test in the Fall. Three years is a long time to devote to one test. But, I cannot advance until I pass it. So, I have to maintain my composure and keep myself aligned with my coach and do what he tells me to do. I am ready to add another day of practice which has been much needed for a long time. But, having other commitments, I have not been able to devote myself to the ice like I want to. So, it is a matter of priority.

Skating is not a hobby as some people like to think. It is a lifestyle – from dance, to bike riding, to not exercising as much as I should, or even stretching as much as I know I need to, to eating right and drinking more water is also part of the process. I need to be strong and I need to be healthy. But, I also cannot let the opinions of others who don’t think I should skate, or who do not like my skating attire stop me from the sport I so dearly love. Yes! This happens. I guess some people think women my age should dress more age appropriately out on the ice. Which doesn’t even make sense.  I wear yoga pants and general workout clothes. What the hell am I supposed to wear, loose clothes that could get caught on my blades? God forbid, I show a bra strap. I am actually (in my opinion) very modest. I know other younger girls are out on that ice too and I do not want to offend anyone in what I wear. But, it still happens. My presence to some of the younger crowd is offensive. But paying for the ice time, I still belong out on that ice. I have goals that I will complete. I plan to start competing next season, contingent upon my passing my SMF test. Adult skaters skin has to be a whole lot tougher to stick it out and that makes us pretty special people when we do!

Till next time,

Juliana

 

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SPIRIT OF COMPETITION

Russia being banned from the Olympics…Wow! Although I do not understand all the “doping” charges…but to ban them, their flags, their anthems is downright cruel and in my opinion, will adversely affect the other countries competing.  Russia brings some of the best competitors to these games and without them, the spirit of competition will not be the same.

Only those who were caught “doping” should be banned and for only one season. But to take such drastic measures, it is like they are punishing Russia and not just for “doping.” Russian athletes are as previously stated, some of the best athletes in the world. It is unfair for some of them to have to register as “neutral.” What if they win? There will be no flag to salute, no anthem to sing…so very sad. What would be the point of the Olympics without the Russians? Sorry! But I think it will only be half of what it normally is.

The countless hours these athletes, or any athletes give to their sports is astonishing. To be denied the right to compete for their beloved country is heartbreaking! I am so sorry Russia!

Juliana

FIND THE GOOD!

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A week ago, I had the best practice in over 18 years.  The proof of it all, is in the earlier blog. My practice yesterday was one of the worst. All the progress I thought I had made a week before, seemed to have vanished into nothingness. My coach kept trying to cheer me up. But, there was no cheering. I simply could not be consoled. I was too disappointed in myself. I skated off the ice after the lesson in defeat.

How many times have we done this same thing? Defeat is only defeat when we give up and quit entirely. But, something had to be done. So, I took an inventory of how I was feeling. First of all, my feet hurt and they hurt bad. For a woman who cannot feel her feet, it is rare that I feel any pain at all. But both feet were so sore, I could only concentrate on the pain. My pride did not allow me to tell my coach that. I thought I could just work through it. In talking with a friend and another coach, she asked me if I was tying my laces too tight. Having new skates, it is possible I pulled the laces harder than I needed to. My older skates had arch support that I have not yet added to the new skates. But it was also a fatigue factor. I had spent the previous few days moving heavy boxes. As it turns out, I am not super woman. Though I would like to think I am at times, I am human. I must make human adjustments and take human breaks. Pushing myself too hard, is one of the reasons I spent 15 days in the hospital and two days on a ventilator. Those memories will haunt me forever. But, I also need to learn from them.

I have asked myself over and over, “What do I need to do to improve my stamina and my skating skills?” I never consider my age. I never say, “I can’t do something.” I think about it and then work on the necessary goals to achieve them. Then, I go about doing what I need to do. I now spend more time stretching; more time off ice on cross country walking and hiking; I have stopped fearing the fall. My 8 step pattern, and the backward three turns have caused me great stress in the past. But the one good thing that came out of yesterday’s practice was,  I have finally mastered my 8 step to an above passing score. I am not afraid to pick up the speed necessary to have nice flow on the mohawks. I am confident, I am rounding the corners like I need to now. So, the only thing left to master, are the backward three turns. Which, I really only have to work on the outside ones. So, why did I feel so deflated, when so much good came out of what I perceived to be negative? It’s because my focus was only on what I could not do, instead of what I did do. I think sometimes our human nature works against us.

So, the next time you have an off day – dissect it. Take the time to analyze your lesson or ice time. I am sure you will find that instead of it being 100% all bad, the ratio will be more like 60% good – to the 40% bad. Are those not better ratios? Find the good. You will if you look.

Till next time,

Juliana

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS!

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A week ago, after 15 solid months of working on my Silver Moves in the Field test, after practice, I literally had to drag myself to my vehicle. I was depressed with my practice and for the first time in 18 years of skating I asked myself, “Is this worth it?” That question both shocked and scared me at the same time. I have never doubted whether it was worth it or not to continue skating. I loved it so much. It never crossed my mind, up until a week ago that is. I was even dreading my lesson yesterday. But something magical seemed to happen and I cannot even tell you what that magic was. Everything that needed to click, clicked. I was focused and not afraid. For the first time since trying to learn these moves, I was able to run through the patterns and two of them that I could never get the flow of, I did. Those backward three turns are even starting to look like they are supposed to. My spiral sequence was done without stopping. It is the first time that has ever happened and my back cross-strokes, Wow! They were impressive. After my awesome coach helped me tweek the 8 step, I finally was able to process the information to my feet and I found I could actually make a noticable circle. In freestyle,  my scratch spin, finally looks like a scratch spin – though I am still working on adding more revolutions.

I guess you could say, for the first time in 18 years, I floated to my vehicle after practice and I finally felt like a “real skater.” When I finally do take this test, I know I will be ready for it. I don’t know what happened between last week and this. Perhaps it was the extra stretching, or the power walks, or the drinking more water, or the way I knew in my soul that there was no way I was going to quit. I am determined to be the best skater I can be and I say that for myself. I have my own goals and ambitions when it comes to skating. I do intend to compete here soon. But, my coach and I want to get more of these tests passed first and as of yesterday, I finally had the confidence and the hope that I wil soon pass the Silver Moves. Which all in all makes me want to try harder and to do what I need to do, to get myself into better health and fitness. I may be turning 55 next month, but I am still incredibly young at heart. I can do this and so can you. We just cannot quit. Because, Wow! What a difference a day or a week makes.

In conclusion, I MUST give a shout out to my A.C. my awesome coach. He is my shining star in all of this. I am so blessed that he accepted me as a student. He is kind, strong, an amazing coach and skater and he helps me to see my potential. We laugh together, cry together, we stopped trying together to just doing together. We are both looking forward to what the future holds for us, out there in the Adult Figure Skating world and all of the amazing opportunities that awaits. It’s a wonderful community to be a part of. I am indeed incredibly blessed by it and all of you!

 

Happy Skating,

 

Juliana

FOR THE LOVE OF THE ICE AND MYSELF!

I am an Adult Figure Skater (54), who skates with only younger (mostly teenage and young college) skaters. I had to get over the fact that I was not going to fit in, regardless of my growing skating ability. Although, it would be nice to have other adults to skate with, right now that is not the case. So, why do I skate? Is it to fit in; make friends;  to be  part of a team; for exercise; to be able to go to competitions etc.? Actually, I skate for myself. Figure Skating is so embedded in my soul that I cannot imagine a life without it. I had to get over the feelings of, “What do you think you are trying to prove here?” I have to look pass what I perceive are judgments from other people. Having Traumatic Brain Injury, let’s face it, I am a little weird anyway.  Then to add Figure Skating on top of that, yikes! This lady is nuts.

Yes! I am crazy enough to think I belong out on that ice just like everyone else. I do not care if you are 5, 50 or a 100. I do not care if you are thin, fat, short, tall or what ever kind of body type, gender or sexual preference. Ice does not discriminate – people do! Ice does not cut down, put down or call us names, bully us or try to shame us – people do! Ice does not tell us you are too old to try this sport – people do. Wouldn’t it be great if we, as people could use that energy to encourage others instead of causing others pain? Do you have any idea how much courage it takes for someone to get out on that ice and skate, especially if they are overweight trying to get in shape? Do you have any idea what kind of resolve it took, for someone like me to get out on that ice for the first time in years, not having any feeling in my left leg, hands or feet? The first year I was back, I spent most of my time crashing on the ice than the time I skated on top of it. People laughed and to be perfectly honesty, some still do. But, I do not skate for them. I skate for myself. As an Adult Figure Skater, there are so many amazing opportunities available, and a great big world out there to be a part of. But it is up to me to do the work. It is up to me to get beyond the naysayers and not allow myself to let them pull at my self esteem. Listen, you and I, we rock! We have the courage, the strength and the fortitude to get up and get going. It doesn’t mean it is easy. This is one of the hardest sports on the planet. Yet, here we are. We lace our skates up and we go out and practice; take those tests in front of judges as our nerves most of the time work against us – but no matter how many times we  have to take the same test – we do until we pass. Why? Because we are not quitters. How many of you have suffered illnesses and injuries and have had to work through the agony of missing the ice? Yet, you still have the determination to get back out there after you have had a setback? How many of you feel you are overweight and still, you go out there and do something good for your own health and well being? You, are the real heroes and by God, please do not let anyone ever tell you otherwise. Do it for yourself, for the love of the ice. The next time someone tries to shame you, love them anyway. You are too busy loving yourself and the ice to worry about what other people think.

God Bless You,

Juliana