Over the weekend, I competed in my first skating competition, which means I have A LOT to process and post about!
The big question first: I came in first place (out of four skaters). Yay! I can honestly say that going into the competition I was not focused on placement, since all my brainspace was dedicated to calming down nerves, visualizing my program, and hoping I got through as cleanly as possible. That said, coming in first did feel really nice, like icing on the cake. I didn’t have a perfect skate, but I’m reasonably pleased with how I performed.
I was a little worried going into the competition because a week before, I wasn’t feeling in tip-top shape. I felt a twinge in my left leg/butt muscle, funny enough not from skating but just walking up the stairs. It felt tight every time I attempted a camel or a sit spin (everything else felt okay), which means I didn’t dare practice them all week — my two most worrisome elements! I also kept practices shorter and lighter — all in all, probably good for the leg but bad for my confidence. Two days before, I was able to do a few tentative spins without any pain so I took that as a good sign.
As with my first performance at the holiday recital, I started competition day with a light practice at a public session at a nearby rink — no run-throughs and nothing fancy, just warming up and getting my ice legs. After forty minutes of that, I headed to the competition rink to register and wait. I made sure to be over an hour early, more for my peace of mind than anything since they were running right on schedule.
I watched a few skaters in the pre-preliminary freeskate, but I was only able to pay them half a mind since I was thinking about my performance, so I gave up on that. I was already dressed, made up, and had my hair done so I just had to put my stuff away, take out what I’d need rinkside, then join my coach in the roped-off section where skaters would await their turns.
I put on my skates pretty early but kept them very loosely tied until 15 minutes before my warm-up. When I tested my Pre-Bronze moves and freestyle, I kept my skates tied during the two-hour wait in between and my feet went numb, so I’m learning with each experience.
Skating my program:
My coach and I had worked out beforehand what I would do during warm-up so I wouldn’t be skating around aimlessly. I started out with a lap of the crossover patterns from the Bronze test, three waltz jumps, sit spin, loop, then a run-through.
The run-through went great and I hit a great camel spin, which had been evading me all week. I finished just as the warm-up ended, so the timing was perfect. I was third in my group, so I headed off the ice to relax my legs and try not to freak out too much.
My category is the segment I was most interested in watching, so I’m bummed that I didn’t get much chance to watch the other skaters. But for obvious reasons, I was preoccupied and can’t say I recall much of their programs. I barely remember mine! I was trying to simultaneously watch them (out of curiosity) and NOT watch them (to not psych myself out), and as a result I remember very little. (I bought the professional DVD more to see them than myself, because my coach taped me. I’ll have that once she emails it to me.)
Then my name was called, and it was my turn. I was less nervous than I’d been for either the holiday show or for my test, so mentally I felt prepared although perversely my legs were totally wobbly. It’s strange to feel so calm in your head and so shaky in body, but I suppose that’s the nature of skating, isn’t it? My first jump was my loop and it was scratchy and a little forced, but I made it and heard my coach cheer. Salchow was fine, and the sit spin wasn’t very low but I managed it.
Footwork was shaky and jumpy, but at least I didn’t stumble! I don’t remember my loop-toe at all so I assume that means it went okay, and then more cursed footwork that felt rattly. The waltz-half loop-salchow-toe loop sequence was a little rushed because I needed to hit my lunge on the music cue, and then the final spin combo. It’s too bad I had to mess up on the last element, but I think I managed a couple revs in a decent camel position before totally missing the attitude (I think I did a one-foot spin instead?), then forcing a shaky backspin. I hit my ending pose, but since I totally went into it off-balance I ended up stepping out of it. Ha. Oh well!
My coach was really happy with the showing — happier than I was myself, I think. Not that I was unhappy. It’s just that I made clear mistakes so there were things to critique. It’s great to have a first-place win, but I can’t compare myself to the other skaters (whom I didn’t watch closely), only to my own abilities, and I know I could do better.
My coach also had an adult skater in Bronze, so I watched her rock her program and then we headed up to see our scores posted. I have to say, it was a really great feeling to see that I got first place rankings from all five judges, and so did she, so my coach had a good day with two rows of 1’s across the board. We picked up our gold(ish) medals and took photos together, and basically just enjoyed the rest of the show now that it was all over.
I have more thoughts about competing and my costume and lots of other things, but I think this post is long enough so I’ll save that for the next post!
Eva @ Eva Bakes said:
Wow – congratulations, Sarah! How fantastic that you received 1st place from all the judges. Keep up the great work!! I can’t wait to see the video of your program. Hooray!!!
Thanks Eva! I hope I’ll have video to post soon. I’m already cringing at the thought of reliving my mistakes, but I know it’s a valuable tool. Maybe I’ll peek from behind my fingers!
Well done! First place is awesome. Looking forward to seeing the video
Thanks Jules! Video will be up shortly…
Great job Sarah, can’t wait to see the video!