I was off the ice for a week while traveling for work, so I took a few days getting back into the groove. One week isn’t even that long to be away, but I think it was the mental focus that needed adjustment more, because while I was working I wasn’t even able to think about skating, much less go on forums or read blogs.

Practice was pretty good this week. Felt good to have a couple long public sessions where I worked on things slowly and methodically. That’s probably why I won’t ever skate exclusively on freestyles, because I always feel like I have to make the most of the expensive time and it ends up hurrying me. My legs take a long time to warm up when I haven’t been skating much, and they cramp if I rush. I’m so envious of those teenage girls who step onto the ice and are immediately good for a run-through.

Speaking of run-throughs, I’ve been doing a lot of them lately. I finally finished putting together my program (or rather, Coach A did it for me) this week — we’ve been working on it in 20-second batches or so. Our process: Coach A usually choreographs on the spot, listening to the bit of music and having me try out various steps. We’ll narrow down what we like, then run through that portion multiple times to get it into muscle memory. Then she’ll move on to the next clip of music, and we’ll add steps. I’m very slow that first day so by the next lesson I’ll have gotten up to speed; that’s when we tweak the previous portion and add the next.

So. Remember that post where I was laughing about all the difficult elements Coach A wanted me to do? Turns out most of them made it into the program after all. Yikes! On one hand, having both a loop and a loop-toe planned is a bit daunting, but on the upside, doing them in program really forces me to push past my mental hesitation. There’s just no time to freak myself out about it, I just have to DO IT. In fact, I find that my loops aren’t better when I’m practicing them on their own, because I often just ride that RBO edge, waiting, waiting, waiting, and chickening out.

Here’s the layout:
– Beginning poses into back crossover, back chasses, 3-turn into loop
– swingroll, cross rolls, mohawk into salchow
– RFI 3-turn entry into sit spin
– RFO bracket, LFO bracket, crossovers into spiral
– mohawk into loop-toe
– footwork, some dance-y steps, jump sequence: waltz-half loop-salchow-toe
– spreadeagle into spin wind-up
– camel-attitude-backspin

It’s very rough right now and I haven’t managed a clean run-through yet. I have about a month and a half till my first competition, which I think is enough time to get used to the program and tweak it. I hope by then the loop is very consistent; right now I can hit it when I’m super warmed up, but not usually in the first run-through. I feel lucky that my coach is a choreographer as well as a coach (other skaters use her to do their programs), because she has a good eye for working with my skills (read: limitations) while trying to maintain flow and character. But it also means she’s always challenging me to add steps and turns and hops in between elements, and those are tough! Harder than the spins and jumps, even.