First of all, for those of you who sent me texts, and other words of encouragement in person or virtually before last weekend – thank you. You have no idea how much your support means to me. It’s comforting to know that there is such a strong adult community out there to lift each other up in this crazy sport. Thank you.
If you follow me on the Eva Bakes Facebook page, you already know the results, but I’m going to recap everything here. Bear with me!
During the morning of the competition, it felt like an ordinary day. I made breakfast, prepped for lunch and got Addie ready for dance. My husband and his sister, who was in town visiting, took her to dance so I could chill out. I got my hair ready, painted my toe nails and watched my alma play college football.
When they returned from class, they went to the pool and told me to stay home and relax. I watched more football and eventually took a nap on the couch. Since I wasn’t competing until 6:30pm that evening, I had a lot of time to potentially freak out.
Thankfully, I kept busy and kept my mind as free as I could. Whenever it would start to wander, I’d try to center myself and be in the present. I’d observe everything around me and say to myself, “I am here (in the present).”
A few hours went by and soon enough it was time to get my dress on and head to the rink.
The rink wasn’t too cold, and I went into the dressing room to stretch a little bit. I closed my eyes a few times to zone out and tried not to get too distracted with all the excitement that was going on.
Next thing I know, it was time to take my warmup.
All week, my camel spin had been failing me. I’m not sure why I kept rushing the entry, but it just wasn’t working. I tried a few camel spins and they still didn’t hook correctly. I warmed up some jumps and they felt shaky. Then I finally hit one good camel spin and left it at that. It was time to leave the ice.
Three Silver ladies took the ice while I waited by the boards. I was the first of the Gold ladies to skate. I took my spot and off I went.
My first spin went wonky and I didn’t hit it like I normally did. The choreographic step sequence felt fine, and then I took my time going into the change foot combination spin and hit my camel! The rest of the jumps felt a little unstable, but they were all landed. And my final spin went fine. All in all, it wasn’t my best performance, but I skated in the present and met that goal. And how did I meet my other competition goals? Let’s see…
- Stay in the present – I don’t think I’ll ever be at 100% here but it was certainly improved. I stayed in the present and did not think ahead. When my mind would start to wander, I’d center myself again and bring myself to the present.
- Focus on myself (and myself only) – This was also improved. Normally I am doubting myself when I see others but I tried to zero in on my breathing, my warmup and my own elements. Every once in a while my mind would try to wander and my eyes would dart away to watch others, but I caught myself and tried to fix it.
- “Be one” with the music and use facial expressions – I did my best here and know that this is going to be a long journey. But, it was better than where it has been.
- Full extensions on all jump landings and spin exits – My jump landings felt a little unstable and spin exits could have been better. I’m not checking this box off.
- Deep edges and adequate knee bends – I probably got too much knee bend and skated too “heavy.” I need to work on being lighter and taller.
- Straight back and improved skating posture – I’m still bent over too much and need to focus on skating tall
- Improved speed and clear transitions – Several of my skating friends said this was the fastest they’d ever seen me skate a program, so that is good. I still need to work on improving my speed though because my coach said that I was too slow!
If you’ve read this far, thank you! Despite all my self criticisms from above, I placed first (out of 3 skaters). This is a big deal and a lot of “firsts” for me:
- First time placing first in a freestyle competition (granted, there were only 3 of us)
- First time getting positive Grades of Execution in my choreographic step sequence
- I received my highest technical marks to date
- First time competing with the -5 to +5 GOE system, and not receiving any -5!
- First time executing two new spins!
- First time performing my new program
All in all, there was a lot to be proud of. Of course, there is still a lot of work ahead, but I am only encouraged by it all. Having my protocol is helpful so I can see what I need to focus on in the coming months, but it was a great experience.
I’m willing and ready to make some significant improvements this season. Hopefully the results will come with the hard work!
PS. If you’re looking for a video, I’m still trying to figure it out. My esteemed videographers for the event had phone issues so they weren’t able to record the full performance!