Friday, March 11, 2016

Skating Fridays

Recap from Sectionals - Part 1

Wow - what a fabulous weekend! I am back from my Sectionals event and will be recapping it for you all here. If you don't have time to read the whole post, just know that I am happy with how things turned out.

My skating partner and I arrived in town on Friday. I had official practice ice later that evening, and my friend had a practice session for 10pm. I got on the ice, and it felt... crunchy. The ice at my home rink is very hard and unforgiving, and this rink's was slightly softer and faster.

I had a hard fall during an axel attempt and was happy to have finally gotten my mandatory pre-competition fall out of the way. My spins were not good, as I felt I had trouble gripping the ice with my blade. Others made the same observations so it wasn't just me or my nerves.

We finally returned to our hotel around 11:30pm that evening and had to get up at 6am for my 7am practice. Needless to say, I did not sleep well that night. I kept visualizing my program and giving myself positive self-talk.

I had a good practice early the next morning and felt good overall. I wasn't nervous. About 30 minutes before I was supposed to skate, I went to the ladies' locker room and just closed my eyes to visualize my program. I skated everything clean and saw my score at the end of the day - a 27. I imagined the squeal that my coach would give when I told her that I earned 27 points and how proud she would be of me. She would give me a huge hug once I returned home.

Next thing I knew, it was time for my warmup. I was the first to skate in my group, so I didn't do a full warmup. I did some easier elements and went to talk to my skating partner when the announcer said that there was 1 minute remaining.

And to my surprise, my parents, brother and sister-in-law had driven the distance to watch me skate. This was especially meaningful to me since none of them had ever seen me perform a real skating program. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and wanted to skate well for them. I glanced over at them as I took my starting position and then the music played.
Photo courtesy of Pixel8 Studios

I two-footed my axel and had a weird exit on my sit-back sit spin, but everything else felt OK. I had a few wobbles here and there but did fine. I wasn't ecstatic about how I performed, but it was solid enough to not be too upset. I wasn't sure if my score would improve from the last year (around 22 total points). The event coordinators were not announcing scores or placements, so I would have to wait until all 21 of us finished before they posted results.

Finally, the results were taped onto the bulletin board. I marched up, and I looked at the bottom of the sheet. I didn't see my name and started moving up towards the top of the document. To my surprise and excitement, I had placed 13th out of 21! And I had earned a score of 26.38, which is a personal best for me and 4 full points higher than what I had been scoring. I was in a virtual tie with two other ladies and could have earned a spot in the top half. Wow!

Not only did I make a huge improvement from the previous year (where I placed 20th out of 21 and earned ~22 points), but I also was mentally more mature for this competition. Rather than let my nerves get the best of me or listen to the negative voice in my head, I finally started believing in myself. All the hard work, practice and positive self-talk finally paid off.

I am becoming a better skater and am looking forward to making even more progress this year. Things are finally starting to click into place.

Here is the video from my performance.



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