Sunday, March 16, 2014

The One Where I Surprise Myself

My snowflake dress in action!
The last time the Eastern Adult Sectional Figure Skating Championships was in New Jersey, I was a fairly beginner skater. I'd just started jumping and competing. Unfortunately, Achilles tendonitis not only sidelined me from that competition, but also landed me in a walking boot for weeks. Since I don't travel overnight for competitions, that meant no Sectionals for years.

This year, when it was announced Sectionals were going to be held in New Jersey again, my coaches and I made a battle (and training) plan. I'd only sign up for a dramatic event since those events are all about interpreting the music and we could choreograph around any injuries. I'd be extra careful and train seriously, avoiding any possible off-ice injuries.

I was careful, but, a little over a month before the competition, I developed incredibly painful tendonitis in my left ankle. Because my body has perfect timing.

I could barely walk and, on ice, I couldn't use my left outside edge. Jumps, except for the loop (which takes off and lands on the right leg,) were out. No spins on my left leg, even some of my footwork was out of the question. I really could... should... have dropped out.

But, hey, the entry fee was non-refundable and my coaches and I are nothing if not adaptable. Plus, with the number of skaters in my group, I was guaranteed to medal even if I placed last. Why not skate? (carefully)

Yes, I competed with my ankle taped in double layers of kinesiology tape.

Yes, I didn't skate the fully modified program to my music until the actual competition. We just didn't have the time and I couldn't stress my ankle.

Yes, I relearned how to spin like a lefty for my first spin in the program. (It's not normal to spin in both directions. I originally skated lefty and switched to righty. Because of this, I plan on working towards my lefty scratch spin!)

Yes, I didn't expect to beat anyone.

Oh, the arm flails! My backspin was off because I couldn't push off properly with my left leg, but the last spin was in my "real" direction--we put it at the end so my ankle would be really warmed up before I put that much pressure on it. I only practiced the spin once the whole week, and that was in the last minute of the 5 minute warmup ice.

It's not a great program. I wish I could have shown off my salchows and scratch spin. I wish my footwork was complete with all the twizzles and the spreadeagle. I wish I wasn't so flail-y.


Podium pics (in my lovely ugg-like boots because my ankle ached so much)

I could have dropped out and given up. Cursed my stupid ankle and bad timing. But, instead, given the opportunity to adapt and to go in with no expectations whatsoever, I really surprised myself.

I also had so much fun in the process.

Sometimes, it's about knowing you probably won't win and just doing something for yourself. Sometimes, it's nice to let the world surprise you.

I need to finish snowflaking the hem of my dress. These came a day too late!
Oh well, more sparkles for the next competition!


  1. Woo hoo!!!! You gorgeous fighter girl!!!!!

  2. Great skate despite injuries! Sounds like sectionals was a great experience. Maybe next year we'll run into each other at Adult Nationals?! Hoping for an injury free year of productive training for both of us.