I bet you didn’t know I used to be a figure skater?
Figure skating is where my life as an athlete all began (and consequently my life as a lover of spandex and maybe where my Skirt Sports obsession began? What young girl doesn’t want to be a famous ice skater wearing gorgeous beaded ice skating dresses?).
I started learning how to figure skate at the age of 2. My mom spent countless hours at the skating rink knitting and waiting with the other moms while my sister and I spent time on the ice. We practiced before school, after school and on weekends. I wanted to be the next famous female figure skater, the next Nancy Kerrigan (well perhaps before the Nancy Kerrigan scandal with Tonya Harding).
I spent hours doing “PATCH” or what you might know as doing figure eights. Patch required intense precision and focus to learn how to beautifully use the edges on the sharp figure blades. Patch was a repetitive exercise to learn skill. It was quiet and meditative. When we were not practicing loops and figure eights I spent hour after hour practicing jumps and spins, footwork and ice dances and even pair lifts with my coach Karen. Learning how to successfully complete a jump meant spending a LOT of time on my rear end on the cold ice only to have to pick myself up to try again.
Figure skating was my first exercise in mental toughness and focus. I am a perfectionist and I had to learn that even though a jump that might not be perfect on the first try could be perfected with hard work, determination and a TON of practice. And it was not a place for quitters. I had to learn to leave the bad practices on the ice and to start the next skating practice with a positive attitude and a willingness to try even if what I was learning was out of my comfort zone (Anyone would be out of their comfort zone learning how to hurtle their body through the air when learning a new jump such as an Axel or double Salchow–you had better be ready for a crash landing and some bruises.).
These early lessons as an athlete are what I carry with me today as a runner as I head out on the trails or on race day. Not every day will be perfect. Some days will be much harder than others but the end reward after putting in all the time, focus, and hard work will be AWESOME!
And now to demonstrate . . . it has been many years since I have laced up my figure skates but check out what I am still able to do. This is what determination, motivation and hard work will get you!
Do you have any hidden talents that have taught your motivation, determination and hard work?