Well, I'll start us off, actually beginning with my Friday lesson and competition on Saturday.
Old Man Winter: On Friday afternoon, I went for a final lesson before the comp. I was still sick, my asthma was in full bloom, I was cranky as all heck, and on top of everything, nobody cut the ice at the main rink I skate us PLUS the kid's synchro team was practicing!! I tried running through my program three times without music, and it was a disaster every time. I couldn't seem to get my feet under me, my breathing was awful and everytime I went to one end I'd almost run smack into the synchro kids. By the time my coach came over for my lesson, I was in tears and in no shape to even skate. Being the wise and wonderful owl she is, she managed to calm me down, the synchro team finished, and I was able to run the program through (the full thing as set, for the first time) to the music twice. It was far from great, but at least I felt better and felt I could probably skate the comp. I had been ready to withdraw just prior to the lesson.
Spring had sprung: The next day I felt a little better. Mercer is a semi-outdoor rink in a state park and the temperature was already 55 degrees at 7:00 AM. We were, literally, skaters in the mist at practice!! I practiced OK, and felt a little better. My first experiences at judging were a lot of fun and a good learning experience. Skating wise, I had interpretive first, (against the book), and that was fun. The music was the same as for the kids, "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" from Lion King, so I played it strictly for comedy and pretended to be a terrified Beginner/Pre-Alpha skater skating her first program. Apparently, I was convincing, one of the ice monitors told me a couple of women watching me commented "Oh, look at that poor woman, she's terrified out there!!!!!" Then came the Artistic competition...
Both my competitor buddy and I were just plain scared to go out there. Our programs were new and very raw, we're both perfectionists, we looked like a couple of lambs going to slaughter in the locker room. This time her coach was the wise owl and reminded both of us that this was our first comp. with the programs and we shouldn't expect to be perfect. I skated first. I was more than a bit shaky, but I pulled off the salchow and the waltz-waltz/combo, my flow was pretty good and my spirals looked good from what I was told. Not a great performance, but no major mistakes. Anna skated solid, and after watching her, I was pretty sure I was going to come in second again to her. I did, but I was doing the happy dance, too--she won by only one tenth of a point!!! Seriously, two judges tied us, and one gave her the edge. I have 16 years in age on her and she's very accomplished, and this was the closest I've ever placed with her in competition, so I was thrilled. Later we competed in Interpretive Spotlight which involved wigs, a scarf and "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" by Shania Twain. I played it for fun (lets just say my booty did the talkin'...) and in the end I scored my first victory in our competitive history together. It was just the two of us in Freestyle 2 Adult, so we insisted on getting our medals on the podium so we could be together and be silly and each have our turn on the top step.
I'm very grateful to Anna. Earlier in the week we were together at Mercer's exhibition, which she skated and I didn't because of the respiratory infection. I was feeling so low and awful and we got on the subject of our competition with a couple of our coaches. She said something that really touched my heart. She reminded me that we compete WITH each other, not against each other, and she's right. We get nervous together, we cheer each other on, we're really supportive of each other's skating. With all my traveling lately, work stress, trying to get the program finished and then getting sick, I'd lost sight of the fact that I do this for fun. I'm very grateful that she helped me find the fun again (with a little help, too, from my coach and hers). In the end it was our best competition.
We did, however, agree on one negative. NEVER AGAIN do we want to compete on outdoor ice when its that warm again!!! The mist cleared, but the ice was soft and tended to be wet and tacky. It was very difficult, literally, to get a grip on it with blades and at points we were "skating in a lake." How often does anyone come home from competition with muddy boots??????
Anyway, I've gone on too long. Time for a sharpening and getting back to work on improving that program. How's YOUR week going?