The horse won’t know how its metatarsal can be whittled by friction with the lake, how the act of skating is part halting glide, part planer blade; or how thick ice melts back to health, its grooves, its scuffed ‘v’s, softening to fill their own wounds. And the horse won’t know how the skating boy, who opens his mouth as he flies, will lose three blunt teeth, two milk, one new; how these teeth, also, will be found. From Kitsune (Blaenau Ffestiniog: Cinnamon Press, 2015)
This photo is of a pair of bone skates that were discovered in Dublin 11th/12th century AD. There is also an interesting webpage out there about Viking-age ice skates, complete with photos of the brave author who tried to reconstruct and actually skate on a pair of these.
Thankfully my skates, however old, are not made of bone and there is no loss of teeth to report here! I have had enough challenges on my relatively high-tech Reidell-MK combo.
Since I don’t have equipment issues to contend with, I have to up the ante a bit. I been trying to make myself work more on things that are out of my current comfort zone. This week, this has mainly entailed skating with my arms in different positions. Laurie has me doing progressives with my arms in fifth position: up over my head, and with my thumbs touching. This makes me much more aware of how used I am to leaning slightly forward and have my shoulders raised. Similarly, I have been doing back outside edge push backs with arms in first position, thumbs touching; again, this makes me realize how much my shoulder and torso have been distorted.
Since my edges are getting stronger, I have also been trying to work on getting better positions in and out of turns. I tend to flatten out edges just before I turn (don’t know why, since it makes the turn much harder).
Still hard at work, but at least my blades are nice and sharp (got them done last week) and made of metal, not bone!
- progressives with arms raised in fifth. Head lifted too. No bobbing!
- push back with arms in first. Watch that you are not setting down your left foot too far forward.
- inside edges and forward inside threes. Be really clear about the edge and starting arm positions. Control rotation.
- mohawk push back, back outside three. No delay on second edge of mohawk.
- alternating back crossover, change edge. On back inside edge, turn in free leg (top of thigh turns in). Knee action to gain speed on the change of edge.
- back to front choctaw, counter. Don’t change over and do a three turn instead of a counter.
- swing roll with edge pull, change edge to quick mohawk step forward. Keep lean into circle, especially on right side.