December 28, 2012
I know it's been a while since I've last written and that my promise to blog more often hasn't been upheld. I feel bad for letting everyone down but here is a new one for the holidays.
What a fall season it's been... I was quite busy this fall with a handful of competitions and shows that I took part in. To begin my season, I competed at Golden West Competition in California. The event wasn't my best and needless to say, I wasn't really prepared at all. However, it was a good opportunity for me to show my new long program for the season. I received a lot of good feedback from officials and was excited to get back home and train hard for Skate America.
In between the two competitions, I skated for the first time in "Evening with Champions" in Boston benefiting the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. It was a fantastic experience and I love giving my time and performing for such a worthy cause. Skating with some of my best friends is always an added bonus, too.
Two weeks later, I found myself in Seattle/Kent, Washington, for my second Skate America. I was so excited when I was assigned this event in May. It's very special competing in international events in the United States. As an American, you always feel that extra warmth from the crowd which all of us athletes thrive on.
For me, the event had its good moments and not-so-good moments. I would have loved to been able to redo my short program which I was so disappointed with. On the bright side, my free skate was light-years better. I landed the opening quad toe loop of my program which was very satisfying since I spent so much time during the summer working on it. I had a few minor mistakes after that but I stayed off my butt!
Two weeks after Skate America, I traveled once again, to Graz, Austria, to compete in Ice Challenge for the third time. At this point, I know this town and competition so well I could write a travel guide about Graz. Overall, I skated much better in this event than at Skate America. My favorite part of this event is the Ice Gala they have for the medalists on Saturday evening after all the competitive events are concluded. It is advertised around town and they usually pull in a great crowd.
Since then, the holiday season has had its highs and lows. I spent the Thanksgiving holiday in New Jersey with my grandparents, aunt and uncle. Unfortunately, my grandmother was in the hospital the entire time we were there and has since passed. For those that knew her, she and my grandpa were and are huge supporters of my skating. They even traveled with my mom and me to a handful of national and international events when I was younger. I have never experienced a loss of someone this close to me and I am handling it a lot better than I thought I would. She will always be watching over me and my career proudly.
On a lighter note, I am excited about the coming U.S. Championships in Omaha and hope to see a lot of you there. I wish everyone a great holiday season with friends and family and all the best in the coming New Year! Thank you all so much for your support in 2012. Looking forward to 2013!
May 31, 2012
I promised a new blog and here it is. The last time I wrote, I was just getting ready to head out on a vacation or two. I was quite busy in the month of April. During the first week, my Mom and I headed to New Jersey to see my Grandparents, Aunt and Uncle. I always have a good time when I go there and this year, because Passover and Easter fell on the same weekend, my aunt cooked a hybrid meal with a little bit of both traditions. It was fun and delicious!
A week and half later, I went to Maui on vacation with my best friend, Bianca Butler, and her family. It was amazing there and would go back tomorrow if I could. We did some snorkeling and just spent some quality time in the sun and at the beach. I came back with a tan which, for me, is a feat!
I was home for a week before I headed to Cleveland for USFS 2nd National Program Components Camp. I was asked to volunteer as an AAC (Athletes' Advisory Committee) assistant which I was so excited about. After I returned from Cleveland, I spent three whole days at home before flying back across the US to Myrtle Beach, SC, for USFS Governing Council. That trip was especially fun because it almost feels like a big reunion at the conclusion of the skating season. Needless to say, I had a lot of exciting things going on last month. The excitement doesn't end there, though.
Last week, I was assigned to my second Skate America in October to be held in a Seattle suburb called Kent, Washington! I am truly honored to be selected by my own country given the depth that USFS currently has in the men's field. It is sure to be an exciting event!
In the meantime, I am pretty sure that I know what my new music is going to be for next season and it will be choreographed in the coming weeks. I am looking forward to summer and participating in some shows, particularly my home show in Scottsdale and "An Evening on Ice" in El Segundo, CA, held on July 21st, benefitting the US Athletic Foundation. A few weeks after that show, I will likely debut my new programs at the Glacier Falls Competition in the first week of August followed by Champs' Camp at the end of the month. Currently, I am on a plane to Orange County where I am meeting up with Bianca Butler and Adam Rippon for a fun Memorial Day weekend. It is the last hurrah before summer training begins and I am so looking forward to it.
February 24, 2012
June 9, 2011
First of all, let me apologize for the lack of blogging in the past year. It has gotten way out of hand! However, in the day and age of Twitter, it is almost not necessary to blog constantly because I feel like my Twitter feed acts as my ongoing blog. Therefore make sure you’re following me on Twitter: @douglasrazzano. In this blog, I am going to briefly talk about everything that has happened in the past year and mention what’s on the agenda. Here goes…
In the beginning of last season, I decided that I had to start doing things differently because my results were not living up to the way I train and the way that I know I am capable of performing. My coaches, my mother, and I had a meeting and we decided that I was going to start competing later in the season with hopes of peaking at the right time at Nationals. This meant that I would start competing the first week of September instead of at Liberty Competition in July.
Also, I was going to start having a lot of input on the choreography, placement of elements, and timing of my new programs. My coach and I created my long program together and kept adding details as I became more comfortable with what we started with.
My first competition of the season was Golden West. To say that my short program was a flat-out disaster is hardly an exaggeration. It was no where near the level I had competed at the year before at this time but peaking there was not the plan. I just had to remind myself that it is not the end of the world because I am so hard on myself. My freeskate however was so much better. I did a slightly watered-down version with only one triple axel instead of two but made it through quite successfully. I was pleased at how the first performance of this new program went.
A few weeks later, I found out I would be heading back to Graz, Austria to compete in Ice Challenge for the second consecutive year… When I flew to Graz, I was skating really well and just wanted to have better performances than I did eight weeks before at Golden West. I also hoped for equipment that stayed intact unlike my broken blade the year before.
My short program was great except for a fall on the quad toe but overall a huge improvement. My freeskate was not as great. I shouldn’t say that because I recovered from a messy opening and finished the second half clean which as any skater knows, is extremely hard to do mentally. I was happy with that and happy that I made it to the podium this time and finished second.
On to Greensboro… Heading into Greensboro, I had never felt more prepared and confident in my life. I was doing clean to almost-clean run-throughs every day in practice and just knew that I could do it. When I arrived in Greensboro, I had nearly flawless practices and was just business-like about everything I did.
My short program was clean. Finishing my program and seeing people stand was one of the most invigorating moments of my entire life. I have chills just writing about it. I finished the evening in fifth place which meant that two days later I would be making my long-awaited NBC debut. I was so excited that I could hardly sleep that night.
Two days later was the freeskate. I was nervous but it was a confident nervous and not a scared one as I had experienced in previous events. I just knew what I had done in practice at home and during the competition and used that to fuel me through. I unfortunately had an awkward fall on the second triple axel which I still kick myself for when I watch it. There was no reason to fall down! Also unfortunately for me, the level of the event was higher than ever (in my opinion) and my mistake cost me a few places. At the end of the day, I was so honored to be a part of such an incredibly talented and deep field of US men. I think we have a bright future in men’s skating.
Since Nationals, I was invited to participate in a few shows and loved them. I love doing shows because it is a nice break from the demanding short and long programs we have to do and it’s nice to get on the ice and have fun. As for my training, I have been keeping it pretty low-key and trying to repeat everything that worked last season. All in all, the changes I made have proven to be beneficial and successful as I peaked when I wanted to. I think I have finally found a pattern that works for me.
In the next few weeks, I have my local ice show to be held on June 10th and 11th in Scottsdale. As for the rest of summer, I will be competing my short program only at Glacier Falls Competition in the beginning of August which is also held in conjunction with one of the five Team USA Summer Camps throughout the summer. That will be followed by Golden West and then hopefully an international.
I think that pretty much wraps it up for now. I will make a concerted effort to blog more often! Hope everyone has an enjoyable summer. Talk soon!
May 10, 2010
A few weeks later, I found out I would be competing at Ice Challenge in Graz, Austria at the end of October. I was so pumped for this event. It was my first SENIOR international assignment and the event included some prominent European skaters. Before I left, USFS asked me to be the "athlete blogger" for the week and I gladly accepted. You can read my blog about my/our (US Team) experience in detail on the event page for Ice Challenge.
Unfortunately, I had some bad luck once I got there. During my first practice, I came down to land a triple axel and snapped my landing blade right in half. Afterwards, it was a big fiasco trying to get me a new set of blades in Europe and ultimately, I skated my short and long programs with two different blades on my right foot. It was one of the most difficult set of performances of my life. I finished in eighth place which is not what I trained for, but given the circumstances, I guess it was OK!
Other than that, I am ready for summer to be here and ready to begin summer training. My first event will be Golden West this year in order to hopefully peak at the right time this season. I want to thank all of you for your continued support of my skating and of course for reading my blogs. I hope this year is one to remember.
Follow me on my twitter page under the username douglasrazzano.
Talk to you soon!
August 31, 2009
A few weeks later, I jetted off to Colorado Springs for Broadmoor Open followed by a week of training. I flew up to the Springs on Thursday and competed in the senior men's jump competition the next day. This was a really fun event to participate in. The format is one person goes at a time and must do an an axel (double or triple), a solo jump (triple or quad), and a three-jump combo and each person gets two chances at each. The judges then judge on the best of the two attempts. Ultimately, it came down to who landed the most quads. Ryan Bradley won the event and landed four or so. I stepped out of the first attempt and landed the second after not landing any on the 6-minute warm-up. It was comforting to know that I can land them regardless of what happens on warm-up. I placed second and was pleased with how it went.
Later that weekend, once the event was over, a group of us from Arizona got in the car, drove up to Denver and spent the day at Elitch Gardens (Six Flags). It was a really nice day and we all had lots of fun before our intense week of training began. The week was really productive and I always leave there with something new and different. The weekend was exceptionally fun. The Fourth of July was on Saturday and the Gilleses threw a great party. Unfortunately, the weather was awful. However, it didn't stop us all from having the ultimate water-balloon fight. Later in the evening, we all lit off fireworks in their cul-de-sac. It was a wonderful way to end a hard week of skating. I went home the next day and had a week and a half before departing for Liberty.
On Monday, I went in to skate and felt like garbage! Coming down from altitude is really hard because you always feel heavy. By the end of the week, I was feeling much better. I left for Liberty on Tuesday of the next week. My mom and I flew to Newark, N.J., spent the night with my grandparents, and then drove down to Philadelphia on Wednesday. I practiced Wednesday and Thursday before competing the short on Friday evening. On Friday, my practice was not so hot. On top of it, I have a nagging injury in my leg and it just happened to flare up that day. I wasn't worried though as I was almost testing myself to see how I would handle the situation. I say that because usually my practices are flawless and then I go to compete and often don't have the best results. I figure I should test the waters at Liberty as opposed to Coasts! I went out to skate later, just relaxed and let it fly.
I was debuting the new short program and was excited about it. The short went really well and I just went down on the quad. I landed a great triple axel and triple toe-triple toe combo. At the end of the event, I saw my name in first place and was completely blown away by it. It was just really nice to know that without skating a perfect program I still did enough well to win. It almost takes a bit of the pressure off!
The next day was the long. I had a practice in the morning and then competed around 2 p.m. This program had its moments of brilliance and moments of "blah." I fell on a triple Salchow. Really? Who in senior men falls on a triple Salchow? It was a really silly mistake and it won't happen again! However, I did stay on my feet on the quad which was exciting! I ended the event in fourth place which I was also surprised with considering the amount of little mistakes that plagued my program.
Approximately one hour after stepping off the ice, I had to go back on for my in-depth evaluation with a judge and technical specialist. I got a lot of good feedback as I usually do. These sessions are really helpful when it comes to levels and such. Adam Rippon also was getting his evaluation at the same time and it was fun to share the ice with a friend and a great skater.
The next day, I flew home for a mere six days before heading off to my next summer venture. After being home for almost a week, I then got back on a plane headed for Germany. I was flying there to do the Alexei Mishin Camp in Mittenwald, Germany. Mittenwald is a small town in the extreme south of Germany just two miles north of the Austrian border. It was insanely beautiful there and the camp was awesome. I had two private lessons with Mishin and I was fascinated to see and hear the way he teaches certain elements. It is not anything like the way we learn in North America.
At the end of the week, I participated in the gala exhibition that they hold at the end of every week at every camp. I did my short program and it went very well! I had tons of fun at the camp and made some new European and Russian friends too! Also, I was able to see Evgeni skate while he was there before he departed to do Yu-Na's show in Korea. He looked good and I am sure he will be 100% ready when he needs to be come October. I spent a week in Germany and although I had an amazing time, I missed my friends and America and was ready to go back home.
I flew home all day Saturday, spent a brief 19 hours at home in Scottsdale, before my friend and fellow skater, Max Aaron and I flew back to Colorado Springs for another week of training. Thank you so much to the Flatt family for letting us stay at their house for the week! :) The two of us both had a great week of skating but mine I think was some of the best I have done in my entire life! I skated completely out of my head that week. It was so great to see and skate with good friends! I was sad to leave.
So, this kind-of brings me to today. I have been home training really hard for Golden West next week and am very excited to go and compete. I think I am in some of the best shape that I've been in in a while and I sure hope it pays off! With that, I believe that wraps-up my thoughts for this blog! I hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend and beginning of the new season and I promise that I won't have this large of a gap between blogs next time! Thanks to all who read my blogs and support me! I couldn't do it wothout you.
April 30, 2009
I hope you are all doing well and have enjoyed the last few months! I certainly have. I have gotten a new short program mixed in between a few much-needed vacations. I left off my last blog talking about these last few months and of my travel plans and that's where I will start this one! I am currently sitting in Buffalo, N.Y., at my first Governing Council. And no, I am not writing this in the middle of any meetings! Here goes the last few months....
So, the first of my many travels began in Winter Park, Colo., where I enjoyed a week of great skiing and relaxation! The weather was great except for one day and on that day, we got massages instead of hitting the slopes. Overall, it was a wonderful trip and a great week away from the rink. Many thanks to the Curzon family!
I returned home for a week and a half and was then off to LA for Worlds. I was really excited for this trip. The atmosphere at these competitions is very inspiring and definitely a good motivator. The best moment of the event, by far, was Evan winning the gold medal in the U.S., and his own hometown. The electricity in the building after he finished his freeskate was so overwhelming and emotional. It was just an amazing moment for him and everyone in attendance. I flew home on Sunday and trained for a week before jetting off to Toronto to work on a new SP.
I arrived in Toronto on a wet and rainy Friday afternoon. Like I said in the last blog, my new short program is to the music of "Claire de Lune." I was really excited to choreograph this program. I have always wanted to skate to this music and I was really anxious to see how it would turn out. I absolutely love the program and am already starting to feel comfortable with it. That music keeps me very calm and that's what I need to be successful.
We also worked the free skate a little bit because jumps needed to be changed around in order to accomodate a second triple axel. We made some slight changes to my footwork so they move faster across the ice.... Just little things that we think will improve the program as a whole. I spent six days on the ice and accomplished everything that I needed to. Also while I was there, Mirai Nagasu was getting her programs choreographed. All I can say is that her new programs are absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to see them in competition!
I flew back to Phoenix one week later and had the travel day from hell on Good Friday. I won't discuss.... I do not have the attention span to write everything BAD that happened that day. Let's just say that I was supposed to arrive home at noon, but didn't arrive until 5:15ish. Argh.
The next week for me was rough. I was so burnt out from skating after the week in Toronto that being on the ice that week was almost a chore. I just was not happy or motivated. Still, I did all of my elements just fine, I just was not enjoying myself out on the ice. I feel like every elite athlete goes through this at times during their career as it is so incredibly difficult to stay completely focused and motivated on the ice all the time. It is natural. Once again, I needed a major break. I know I probably sound uber lazy, but it is what I needed at the time. Luckily, I was going to Hawaii the week after. I was really excited to just get away and clear my mind of everything that was clogging it. And I did, I had a wonderful time in Kauai, went on an amazing helicopter ride, and came back home happy and ready to skate.
I arrived home on Saturday (yes, five days ago) skated for two days, and then departed for Buffalo on Wednesday. All of the meeting business starts tomorrow and I am excited to see what really happens at GC since I have never been to one. We all depart late on Sunday afternoon so that we can go visit Niagara Falls early in the day. I have never been to Niagara, so this will be a new and exciting place to visit. I will be back home in Scottsdale for a grand total of 11 days and then will head back out east to New Jersey to visit my grandparents which will conclude my crazy two months of traveling. So, the next few months for me will include: my rink's annual ice show, a week of training in Colorado Springs, and Liberty, most likely.
I think that pretty much wraps up this blog. I thank you all so much for reading my blogs and supporting my skating. Have a happy month of May! Talk to you all soon...
February 24, 2009
It has been around one month since Nationals and felt it was an appropriate time to write a new blog with updates about skating, and well, life. First of all, I would love to thank all of my fans and supporters who read my blogs and support my skating. You keep me going during tough times and are constantly inspiring me to be better and better. I will start this blog in Cleveland.
When I arrived in Cleveland, I was so relieved to finally be there. It is really hard for me when I am the last one to depart (from my rink) because I just want to be there so badly. We landed in some light snow, which was a nice treat from someone coming from Arizona. My mother and I, with my webmaster Jamie, got on the train and were off to the hotel before accreditation closed. We got to the Renaissance, checked-in, got credentialed, and headed to Novice Pairs to watch a fellow club member compete. Once again, I was just so happy to be there! I saw so many of my favorite judges and friends. Nationals is one of my favorite weeks of the entire year!
Moving on, the next day, I had my first practice at the Hoover Arena and it went really well. I felt very comfortable, relaxed, and in-control. My jumps and spins were great, but had quite a fall on the circular step sequence during my short program. I fell completely backwards and directly onto my tailbone. Ouch. My back was a little sore the rest of the day. After the practice, we had the draw for the SP. Draws always make me nervous. I drew number 15, which was first in the last group. I was hoping for an early draw but it is what it is.
The day after, Thursday, I had my first and only practice in the Q. It was at 8:10 in the morning, but I didn't care. Stepping onto the ice, in the big arena, does so much for me. I am always so overwhelmed and inspired which, for me, is the best feeling. Skating around, looking into the audience, and just taking in the surroundings and atmosphere is so amazing to me. It almost feels surreal and often ask myself, "Am I really doing this?" I don't know, maybe I am weird, but getting on the ice for the first time in the big arena, is so special. Anyway, I had a great practice considering how early it was, and then relaxed for the rest of the day. I watched some events, stayed up late in preparation for the next day, then headed to sleep.
Friday morning, I took my daily walk to Starbucks and sat in the hotel lobby, relaxed, and watched people walk by. For all of you that have been to Nationals, you know that it is the best place to people-watch. That's exactly what I did. Later, I watched Junior Men's Free and then went to take a nap. My short program event began at 8:00PM, which meant my warm-up group didn't go on until around 10:50! I was first to skate and my program was just OK. I was somewhat disappointed because I had done so many clean run-throughs in practice and didn't quite understand what happened in my program. After the event, I went to the hotel, stopped in at the Memorial Fund party, and then went to sleep.
The next day, I had a great practice and felt confident going into Sunday's FS. That night, I watched the fantastic ladies FS from my hotel room and then dozed. When I woke up, I was jittery with nerves and anticipation. I knew I was prepared to do this program well, and just had to keep telling myself that. My free skate was also, just OK. I was a little disappointed with a few things but one really erks me to death. THAT BIG SINGLE LOOP! WHAT WAS THAT? I NEVER do that and when I say NEVER, I mean it! If I had done the triple loop like I am capable of doing, I would be ok with my performance. All I can do is promise that I will never do a single loop again! I watched the rest of the event and finished the day in 14th place. That's not what I wanted but it was the best I could do that day. Later on, back at the hotel, my mother and I sat in the lobby bar and socialized with so many of our good friends. I spoke to a lot of judges who I know and whos' opinions I respect. I received a lot of good feedback and a new inspiration from what a few of them had to say. So, I may not have skated my best that week, but I learned a lot of things that I hope will benefit me in the future.
Now that I have reviewed Nationals, my life away from the rink has been filled with new and exciting things. A week after Nationals ended, I started real estate school so that can begin to make money, aside from coaching, to help support my skating. I currently have one class left and then must take two tests in order to receive my license. My mother is in the business and was the primary reason that I even started doing the classes in the first place. The classes are boring but I just have to make it through.
Also, I am moving out of my house to be closer to the rink. I currently live 26 miles from the rink and after nine years of making the drive daily, I am ready to be nearby. Kelsey Syme, who is Danny Curzon's girlfriend, and I will be moving into a townhouse in a week or two. Weird combination right? And it just happens to be that the townhouse is owned my/our coaches! We were looking at apartments but decided to rent from people we know very well without having to worry about them raising our rent, etc. We get the keys on the 1st of March and in the last few weeks, I have been on one big buying gig. I had to buy a new bed and everything because I will still be keeping a lot of my stuff at home. I now have two residences! She and I will actually be moving in upon our return from a skiing trip in Colorado. That's next.
During the next few months, I am going to be on a traveling whirlwind! I will be home, gone, home, and so on. My travels begin in two weeks. I will be going to Winter Park, Colorado, to go skiing with Danny Curzon, Kelsey, and Chelsi Guillen as his parents partially own a home like three feet from the ski resort. We are all so excited and can't wait for the 9th! We all return on Sunday, the 15th which is when Kelsey and I will be spending our first night in the townhouse.
I will be home for a week and half and then fly to LA for the latter part of Worlds. I believe I will leave on Thursday morning and arrive there in time for the men's free skate and the rest of the free skates/dances. I will come home Sunday, then will stay home for a week before flying to Toronto to choreograph my new SP. (I will discuss the new SP later in the blog.) After I return from Toronto, I will come home for a week, before going to Hawaii for four days! Once again, I will be traveling with my good friend, Bianca Butler and her family to the island of Kauai. I get home Saturday morning on the red-eye from Honolulu and then will depart five days later to Buffalo, NY for Governing Council!
I am really excited about being on the AAC (Athletes Advisory Committee) and the opportunities it has offered me! This sport has given me so much and I would like to give back what I can. I will spend four days in Buffalo and then fly home. Following GC, I will stay home for two weeks before taking my annual trip to New Jersey to visit my Grams and my Aunt. I have done this trip as long as I can remember and, of course, must keep the trend going! It is fun for me. I go into Manhattan, "down the shore," and just spend some quality time with people I love. After that week though, the leisure travel will be over and then it will be training time.
My new SP, as I discussed earlier, will be to the music of "Claire de Lune." I have always loved this music but never felt that I was ready enough to skate to it. I feel that I am now ready and am very excited to see how it turns out. I have asked Shin Amano, who choreographed my Red Violin FS, to also do this program. He does a great job and I know that he will produce an amazing program. On that note, I will be keeping my current long program through this coming season. This year, I will be competing at Broadmoor, but only in the jump competition. In the middle of June, my coach and I feel that it is too early to be competing programs. The week following the event, I will be staying in Colorado Springs to train in the great atmosphere that the World Arena provides. I believe I will be doing Liberty but not 100% sure. I will let you all know when I have more info...
Well everyone, that's just a little update about my skating and my life! I hope you are all enjoying your Februarys! All of us here in AZ sure are. It is February 24th, I am sitting outside in shorts as the high temperature today will be around 85! Beautiful! Once again, thank you so so much to all of you who support my skating and read my blogs! You all mean the world to me!
January 2, 2009
I hope you all have thoroughly enjoyed your holiday season and had a great New Years. Where did 2008 go? It is scary to me how the years seem to go faster and faster as I get older. Anyway, I depart for Nationals in T-Minus 18 days and thought I should give you all a little update about what's been going happening.
When I left off, I had just competed in Coasts and was ready to head back east for the Thanksgiving holiday. Since then, nothing has happened other than intense training, the holidays, and New Years. When I returned from New Jersey, I felt refreshed, renewed, and ready to work really hard. We built back up to doing full programs, and then eventually back-to-back programs.
Unfortunately, during the holidays, our rink devotes much of its ice time to hockey tournaments. The entire week of Christmas is filled with games and more games. Therefore, I flew to California the day after Christmas in search of ice. I stayed with my good friend Bianca Butler and skated just as I would at home.
The day I arrived, Friday, I started feeling the symptoms of a cold. I tried every immune system booster known to man, but had no luck at all. I caught a cold. Thankfully, I caught it during the weekend and not right in the middle of the week. When I went in to skate on Monday, I was still quick sick and my programs were significantly more difficult to get through.
I flew home yesterday, New Years Day, and am feeling so much better now. My normal schedule will resume on Monday and then I will be departing to Cleveland before I know it.
I have been training very hard for Nationals and hope so much that it pays off. I want to skate two programs that I am proud of and that's all I can ask for. That's all for now. I will write a blog after Nationals hopefully with great news! Once again, Happy New Year to all, thank you for your support, and see you in THREE WEEKS!
November 20, 2008
I hope everyone is enjoying their fall and the cold weather it brings with it... It is still 85 degrees here in Phoenix today! Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK and I will be heading back out to New Jersey for the final time in 2008! Then before I know it, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's, and Nationals will be here. Oy. Anyway, now to the real purpose of this blog...
Last week I competed at Pacific Coast Sectionals at my home rink in Scottsdale, AZ. It was an exciting and stressful week, of course, but I learned a lot about myself and how my brain works from the event. First of all, I have been nervous about this competition for months solely because it was at my home rink. Skating in your home rink is so much harder than many people think it is. Leading up to the event, so many people were saying how I will have a "home-field" advantage over everyone else. Well, that is semi-true, but at the same time it is so much harder mentally. I was just worried that I would not be able to get myself into competition mode because I felt as if I were training.
In order to prepare for this event, I trained my programs and my brain so well. I did so many clean run-throughs of both programs in practice and felt extremely well-prepared for this event. And for me and anyone that knows me, the way I practice on a daily basis is usually the way I compete. Because of this, I felt so ready.
The beginning of the week was strange for me. On Monday, the first wave of people arrived to practice. I would login to Facebook and read my friends' pages and see "packing" and think to myself "what am I doing?" Usually, I am the one packing to travel somewhere, but not this time. On Tuesday, the bulk of the competitors had arrived. The freestyle sessions were crowded with different faces and it was then that it started to feel like competition was coming. I saw many of my friends and went out to dinner with a few just as I would do in a normal competition setting.
On Wednesday, official practices begun. My SP official practice wasn't until 7:00 PM, therefore I bought a session of unofficial practice around 1:30. I had a great practice with many good skaters on the ice. I love skating on crowded sessions because there is so much energy. I would much rather skate with 30 people than 5. Later on, I had my official practice. It was another great practice. I did a run-through with just spins and footwork because the callers were watching. The triple axels were great and I landed a good quad as well. I was pleased with how the day went.
The next day, Thursday, was the short program. I skated in the morning at a rink near my house for about 20 minutes just to go get my legs under me. Since my 20 minute warm-up was not until 5:00 PM, sitting around all day was not going to happen. After my brief jaunt at the rink, I went to the mall and walked around a bit just to keep busy. A few hours later, I headed up to Scottsdale to watch the Junior Men's SP and then left to go rest before I had to skate. I did my warm-up, then waited to a little bit to compete. I was so confident going into this program. I did a great 6 minute warm-up, waited one skater, then went. From there, I'm not sure what happened. My music started and off I went. The first element, triple axel, was glorious. After that, I just completely lost concentration. I splatted, and I mean splatted, on my next two jumping passes. I was stunned by what I had just done because I had trained so well for that moment. I finished the program and got off, still in shock and extremely disappointed in myself. The event finished, I got my protocol, and went home in 4th place.
Meanwhile, I have been battling a groin/adductor injury since June. During my program, on those two splats, I hurt it even more. I woke up on Friday morning in quite a bit of pain, and then had to go practice at 11:15. I did as much off-ice warming up as I could but it wasn't really working. I went on the ice, did my usual warm-up and then did bits of my program. Jumping was tough because I was so sore. Triple axels weren't happening because I was tentative and was worried that I would hurt myself. Later on, I did as much therapy on myself as I could. I sat with the electric stimulator machine for hours on end hoping I would feel a little bit better.
On Saturday morning, I went to skate near my house again to get my legs under me. Thank goodness I was feeling somewhat better that morning. Jumping was sore, but manageable. I knew that as long as the pain was manageable, I could do it because adrenaline takes care of the rest. I spent the rest of the morning at home relaxing and watched a bit of TEB on icenetwork. I took a short nap and headed up to the rink in the afternoon. I loaded myself up on Advil and went out to practice. Amazingly, I made it through the practice problem free. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing.
After practice, I went to Starbucks, had a power bar, and waited nervously to compete. I was much more nervous that night and had a competely different mindset leading up to it. I did my six minute warm-up and again waited one skater before I stepped back onto the ice. While I waited, I just kept telling myself to take one thing at a time and that I have done it so many times in practice.
They called my name, the crowd roared, and then I started. I was so calm in my program and just took my time with each element as it came. I listened to the music and it carried me through the program. When I finished, there were so many emotions going through my head. I cried, as I usually do after a great performance, took my bow, and got off. That night was so overwhelming in so many ways. I was worried about an injury, I was nervous about my program, I had so many family and friends there, I came back after a subpar short program, and most of all, the pressure I put on myself was lifted. Those were the reasons for the tears. It was just one of those moments I will never forget. I support and love I received from everyone I knew was amazing.
Later in the event, Nick LaRoche skated an amazing program and received a standing ovation from the audience. I have so much admiration for what he's done — considering the tragedies that he has dealt with in the past six months. The event finished with me winning the freeskate and finishing 2nd overall. It was a great event and had zero falls in all the five skaters that competed.
Here I am today, eating my lunch and writing the longest blog I have written to date... My groin is still very sore but I will manage. I am excited to get back to heavy training and of course for Nationals. Thank you so much to all who support my skating and read these blogs. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season. God Bless all of you and see you in Cleveland.
October 5, 2008
The next day, Friday, was my short program. The event started around 9 PM or so, which meant I had a long day ahead of me. I practiced mid-day in Artesia, which is Michelle Kwan's rink. That was my first visit to the facility and it was amazing. Later, I went to compete my short program and it was mostly good. One problem: Double toe+ double toe instead of the planned Quad toe+triple toe. I lost quite a bit of points because of that but I was happy with the rest of the program and with the levels and PCS scores that I received.
Saturday evening was the free skate. Once again, another long day but this one wasn't as bad. My practice on Saturday morning was not one to marvel at. My foot was bothering me and I was having some groin pain on top of it. I felt stiff and the jumps weren't really happening for me. Those of you who know me know that I am not one to make excuses but it just was not my morning. I got off, had lunch and tried to put that session out of my mind. My freeskate was decent. I wasn't thrilled about it, but I wasn't totally disappointed with it either. It was on the same level as my Liberty program with some elements better and some worse. Once again, I was happy with the PCS scores and the components. I really have worked hard since January on those two aspects of my skating. Golden West: Complete.
August 13, 2008
The summer is pretty much over and I felt that it was time to write a new blog about the excitement of the last 6 weeks. When I left off, I was training in Colorado Springs. I finished my week there and left after a long and solid week of training. Training in the altitude is always helpful with an event right around the corner.
The following week, I was back at home getting ready for Liberty. I felt ready and prepared considering it was July. At that point in the season, no one is in tip-top form but I felt OK with how I was doing in practice. I arrived in New Jersey on Tuesday and then drove down to Pennsylvania with my grandparents on Wednesday morning.
My first practices were that afternoon and they went smoothly. The quads felt really good so I was pleased. For the most part, my practices there were strong.
The first of the ordeals came when my mother arrived in PA with my costumes. I had not tried on my new outfits on the ice and had not had them since my mother and I pinned them six weeks prior. So, I put on the new short program costume and could barely get it on. Luckily, I brought a back-up in case of this. Next, the long program. This one fit a little snug, but was wear-able and I wore it for my free skate on Saturday.
On to the competition. The short program is always on Friday evening and I don't always feel so good throughout the day. I was nervous and occasionally got a bit nauseous but still felt confident despite of my nerves. The event went well. I landed a great triple axel but my combo was not really a combo and then almost fell on my loops in both, hear me BOTH step sequences. I was ok with how it went but I was in no way thrilled.
The next day was the long program. Let me just say that Saturday afternoon at IceWorks was a fiasco. The compressor went down during the event before mine which meant bad news for the Senior Mens' Freeskate. Unfortunately, I had the good fortune of skating dead last in the whole group. Throughout the 2.5 hours that the event lasted, the ice got more wet with every skater. Half-way through, they did a dry cut of the ice but there was no point. So I went on for warm-up with six other skaters and prayed that I would not fall and did everything in my power to prevent that from happening.
Thirty minutes later, I stepped back on the to the swimming pool of an ice rink and started my program. Triple axel: check. Next was the quad toe and all I thought going into the jump was "Oh my God Puddle." I fell but it was very close and had a very wet left leg afterward. Woo 4 minutes to go with dripping wet pants! The rest of the program was somewhat messy and I just made stupid mistakes. Considering the circumstances and the fact that I was starving after not eating all day due to nausea, it was decent. Not what I would have liked, but decent. The next day, I flew up to Boston for another week of training.
On Sunday morning, I flew up to Boston or Manchester, New Hampshire actually. I flew into that airport because the prices into Logan were ridiculous. My good friend and fellow FSO skater, Juliana Cannarozzo picked me up at the airport. So, I get to the baggage claim and I have no luggage. US Airways lost my bag in Philadelphia for my 45 minute flight to Manchester. Bad news. We go to the claim office and talk to the lady and she informs us that it will be delivered to her house when it arrives. The bag was delivered at 11:30 that night and was sitting in front my door in the morning.
I woke up on Monday morning not wanting to skate at all but went anyway. (Side note: I usually take two or three days off after a competition.) Note to self: Never skate after a competition with only one day in between again. It was the biggest waste of time. I popped, fell, and everything else that would receive minus GOEs. Soon after, I asked my coach, Doug, who was also there coaching, if I could leave and just come back tomorrow. Thank God we left. The rest of the week was mostly successful but by Friday I was feeling fatigued. I worked with Tuffy (Christine) Sweeney on my choreography and expression and met with Wendy Enzmann about levels and such. Overall, it was a fun week and I enjoyed myself.
Now I am home, and just returned home from a long weekend in California visiting my friend Bianca Butler. We skated but also went to the beach and relaxed. Golden West is in two weeks and I am training, training, training. Thank you to everyone who reads my blogs and supports my skating! It means the world to me. Hope to see some of you in LA.
June 30, 2008
I hope everyone is well and enjoying the summer!
The title of my last journal entry included "Liberty questionable...". Well, since the injury, I have totally recovered and am back skating and jumping normally. My doctors said that I healed amazingly well and exceptionally fast. Liberty is a definite and I have been training really well and feel like I am in great shape. I am just so happy that I can actually skate and jump again. I was beyond bored for three weeks on the ice. It was awful!
Currently, I am in Colorado Springs for a hard week of training with many of the best skaters in the country. I always enjoy getting out of my rink and skating elsewhere especially with such an awesome group of people. I will go home on Saturday, train back at home for one week and then leave for Liberty on July 15th.
This summer is flying by!
The week following Liberty, I will training in Boston at Skating Club of Boston with a few of the other skaters from Arizona. Other than that, nothing exciting is happening... In Arizona during summer, there is only so much you can do. I have been swimming, laying out, and playing pool basketball frequently!
Later in the season, I will likely be competing at Golden West in LA around Labor Day. Hopefully, I will receive a Senior B event and maybe a Grand Prix event later in the series. Time will tell!
Thank you so much for reading and supporting me! It means the world to me.
See some of you at Liberty!
May 19, 2008
It has been a while since I have written and a lot has happened since then. The last time I wrote, I had not yet gotten my new programs and now I have them!
I went to Toronto and had my free skate choreographed by Shin Amano. I am skating to The Red Violin soundtrack and I love the program so much. The first day I was there, we choreographed one footwork sequence and it took THREE hours! Some days I was on the ice for 4-5 hours. I was exhausted because I never skate beyond 2.5 hours on a regular day. The program is challenging but very do-able.
Last week, I got my short program from Renee Roca at home so I didn't have to travel anywhere. I am skating to "Etude in D Sharp Minor Patetico" by Maksim. The choreography is exciting but there is just not enough time in the short program to have long sections of choreography because of footwork and spin requirements. Otherwise, the program is really nice.
I have some bad news to share... Some may have heard already but I broke my collarbone on Mother's Day last weekend. I don't know how long I will not be able to jump for but I am still on the ice skating around. I did have to learn my entire short program wearing a sling. It is not a bad break but will still take weeks to heal.
What is amazing is that I have absolutely no pain at all. I have not taken Advil in almost a week and have not had any pain! I am supposed to compete at Liberty in eight weeks but am unsure if I will be ready in time. I do believe I am healing well. I have been doing everything possible to aid the healing process! We will just have to wait and see.... What a pain!
Currently, I am in New Jersey visiting my grandparents and resting my shoulder. Hopefully with a solid week of rest, I will feel great when I go home next week. Thank you all for reading and supporting my skating. Hope everyone is doing great! Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and I hope to see everyone and be skating at Liberty!
March 28, 2008
Thank you so much for reading my journal and supporting my skating! I hope all is well! It has been about a month since I have written a journal and during that time, I took an amazing vacation to Hawaii!
To start off, Hawaii was wonderful! The weather was perfect and we only saw about 30 minutes of rain throughout the entire week which is unusual for the island of Kauai. We kept busy with many activities including zip-lining, kayaking, and hiking through this crazy forest where I was eaten alive by mosquitoes! Unfortunately, the island of Kauai does not have parasailing so of course I was disappointed. When we weren't out doing crazy things, we spent the rest of time laying out, listening to waves to crash up on the shore, and watching the pristine sunsets. (I will post photos later.)
There was only one issue I encountered. On the trip home, I had scheduled a seven hour layover in Honolulu because I wanted to leave Kauai when Bianca and her family were leaving for simplicity reasons. So, when I landed in Honolulu, I left the airport and went to the mall at Ala Moana Center in Waikiki to kill some time. Meanwhile, I checked my flight status on my phone and saw that my flight had been delayed for three hours. Time passed and the delay ended up to be about four and half hours. I was supposed to depart Honolulu at 10:55 PM but didn't depart until 3:15 AM. OMG! I wanted to shoot myself! Finally, I arrived home completely exhausted. To conclude, it took me around eighteen hours to go only six. OUCH!
Since then, normal training has resumed and I will be headed to the Granite Club in Toronto on the 21st of April to get my new free skate choreographed. The short program will be done sometime during the beginning of May. Currently, I have just been pushing along, working on new spins, and actually choreographing some footwork sequences for my coach's other students. I am discovering my creative side!
Other than that, skating and life are pretty low-key right now. The weather here in Arizona is fantastic. 85 degrees everyday and sunny! Its pool weather! This weekend, I am going skiing with my dad in Lake Tahoe which I am really looking forward to.
I think that's all for now! I will update after I get my new program in about a month! Talk to you all soon!
Thanks again for your support!
February 19, 2008
It has been a few weeks since Nationals and I feel like it is time to write a new blog. I have started skating again and actually started only a few days after I returned from Saint Paul. Whenever I feel disappointed about a competition, I always feel like I need to go skate and not take time off. It has been like this since I began skating so it's nothing unusual.
This last week, I began teaching private lessons which was very exciting for me. During that week, my coach, Doug Ladret was in Korea at Four Continents so I actually was sort of his substitute for the week. I really enjoyed doing it too! It was a nice change from my usual Basic Skills classes.
In a few weeks, I am going to Hawaii (the island of Kauai to be exact) for the first time! I am going with my good friend and fellow FSO skater Bianca Butler and her family. I leave on March 9th and will stay for five days. I am exceedingly excited to go parasailing and zip-lining! I'm not so sure about snorkeling though... I don't know if I
Two weeks after, I will go skiing in Lake Tahoe with my dad for a few days. I love skiing so that will be another fun trip!
On the skating side, I think I have decided about free skate music and still am undecided about the short program. I better decide quick. Is it just me or does it feel like time goes faster and faster each year? Liberty is only 5 months away... It will be here before we all know it! Ah!
January 29, 2008
Nationals, for me, definitely had its ups and downs. My practices were fantastic all week long and my short program was the highlight of the whole week. I was so calm and it really was fun to skate in the same warm-up group as Evan and Johnny. I think all of the energy from the audience was a positive for me.
On the other hand, my free skate is not one I really want to remember. I was a completely different person than I was in the short program. I was a lot more nervous and was no where near as calm. I felt like I was tripping through the entire program and never really found my balance. I missed both triple axels and ended up in 16th place overall. Of course, I was very disappointed but I am constantly learning from all of these experiences. Skating is definitely character building.
Junior Grand Prix Final caps off whirlwind fall
January 5, 2008
Wahoo! My official Web site is now open!
Many thanks to all who support my skating. Your support means the world to me!
Wow! This fall has been an absolute whirlwind for me as it was my busiest and most demanding set of competitions ever. I started off in Estonia and my first Junior Grand Prix event of the season. My short was not what I had planned and on top of that, I got a bad call on one of my jumps. So, I moved on, had a day of practice and rest and Saturday was the free skate. The practice was early in the morning because the event started at 9:30am which I think is rather unusual. Anyway, at about 12:30, it was my time to skate. I went, I skated, and made a few minor errors but overall it was very good. I went into first with one whole warm-up group left to skate. I watched and waited and at the end of the event, I sat in fourth place! England, here I come!
Four weeks later, I departed for Sheffield, U.K. Surprisingly, I don't think we saw rain the entire time! I think that's probably unusual for England. By the time the short program rolled around, I was coming down with a cold. I spoke with our team doctor and he loaded me up on Airborne and cough drops. I skated the short cleanly but not feeling 100%.
Two days later was the free skate. By then, my cold had become worse and was sort of taking over my body. I was very nervous and nauseous. I went on for warm up and felt awful. I then went on to compete feeling awful. I had so many doubts, but I was so well trained, I swear, I was out of my body while I was skating. I was very strange. I made it through my program almost clean until the last element. I stepped out of DOUBLE AXEL and then left off the double toe double toe after it. At that point, I was dead and happy to have made it through so well. I sat and watched the rest of the event and finished in second place by about 2.5 points. Lesson learned: don't leave off double toes. Later, I had the award ceremony and then had a birthday celebration because my birthday was the following day. I had a fantastic time in England.
So, because I got second in England, I was then forced to go to Sectionals and became the first alternate for the final. When I arrived at sectionals, I heard rumors that one of the Russians in the JGP Final had broken his ankle. I found out all that I could before the short program because I could have been byed to Nationals if USFS had received official word. It never came through. I skated my short program perhaps the best ever and recorded a major personal best and sat in first place!
The next day was the long. In one word I would describe it as disaster. I fell three times and stepped out a few times as well. It was not one of my finer moments. I didn't want to see the result page because I thought I would not make it. I did and thank god! The final was in two weeks, I had better get to work.
On December 3rd, I left for Gdansk. I arrived the next day to dreary, cloudy, and cold weather. On top of that, the sun went down at like 3:30. I practiced unofficially that day because we didn't know if ice was available the next day. I skated extremely well and felt really good considering I had just traveled for about 20 hours. The short program was on Friday and I skated first because of the new starting order rule. I skated clean and so did everyone else that followed. Eight clean programs! I sat in seventh at the end of the event.
The next day, I skated second because they go in reverse order of standings. I started out with triple axel triple toe! Woohoo! I finished the program almost clean again except for triple lutz. I doubled it. Once again, I was very pleased with how I skated and I recorded a new personal best. I finished the event in fourth and got to skate in the exhibition the next day. I came home, took a week off, went to California to visit my friend Bianca, came home and started training for Nationals.
Here we are today. Chugging along toward St. Paul. Training was hard over the holidays because the ice schedules were wacky. Its all good now and things are back to normal. Three weeks to go! My goal for nationals is to skate two clean programs because I definitely not favored to win or anything. I would also like to be selected for the Junior World team. That's all for now! Thanks for reading and thanks again for your support!
Happy New Year!