AST Skater Spotlight Series – Meet Liz

Our Adults Skate Too Skater Spotlight Series is a bi-weekly blog where you get to know your fellow adult skaters from all over the world! For our next edition, you will get to meet Liz! She’s a marketing whiz from Boston who hit the ice again after her wedding. Read more about how she is handling skating during a pandemic, her favorite off-ice workouts, her exciting skating moments and more!

What’s your name? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?

My name is Liz (@lwitta6) and I’m 31 years old. I live in Boston, MA. I am a marketing campaigns and events manager for a software company in the suburbs of Boston.

What’s your story? How did you get into figure skating?

I took a handful of learn to skate classes as a child, but never really got past learning crossovers. I always liked it and loved to skate backwards. I was always pretty comfortable on the ice, and was able to stay upright and moving on public skate sessions! I bought a pair of cheap skates off Craigslist in my early 20s but pretty much just went to public skates a few times a winter.

After my wedding in fall of 2017, I was looking for something to do in a New England winter, since I wasn’t planning a wedding or working on a million crafts! I signed up for learn to skate lessons in January 2018, with those same cheap skates on my feet. It was really fun and rewarding to relearn old skills and learn new ones as well! I went in to those lessons thinking it’d be fun to learn a spin or a jump, and then come back to them the following winter. I was wrong. I was hooked and kept skating after the learn to skate session ended and the rink closed for the season.

I am fortunate in that there are tons of rinks in the Boston area, so I started taking private lessons with my learn to skate coach. We found ice time here and there. I bought my own real skates with actual ankle support. I joined the Winchester Figure Skating Club and took and passed adult pre-bronze moves and free skate in April 2019, then bronze moves in August 2019. I had hopes of competing in March 2020 but the competition was canceled due to Covid. I do hope to compete in the near future!!

What does your skating schedule look like?

These days I skate once a week or so, whenever I can find ice time. I am fortunate that rinks have been open here since the summer, except for a two-week shutdown at the end of October. I like to skate in the morning, because I am a morning person for the most part! Pre-covid, I was able to skate 2-3 times a week for an hour, and I’d do a half hour lesson once a week or so. I miss skating that much! I try to cram in as much as I can in an hour, so generally I work on moves for 20-25 minutes, spins and jumps for 20-25 minutes, and mess around the rest of the time with footwork or my program.

How have you been keeping yourself busy with the stay at home order?

When rinks were shut down from March – maybe August? I just did a bunch of at-home workouts, and I still do now. I put my skates on every so often to make sure they still fit LOL! I did a lot of yoga, HIIT-type workouts, then I got a spin bike in May so I added that in too. Pre-covid I loved trying out different workout classes, so I’ve tried to keep doing that from home since many studios have great virtual options! I love using the Peloton app, and I do zoom spin classes 3-4 times a week. Shoutout to #RideWithRach and Ameanspinn for some awesome spin classes right from my living room!!

What has been the most rewarding or exciting moment in your skating career?

Probably passing my bronze moves test four months after passing my pre-bronze test. I worked really hard to learn everything, and testing is so stressful. Nothing prepares you for being on the ice by yourself in front of judges, in deafening silence. You can hear EVERYTHING. I can’t even imagine what my heartrate was during that test!!

Another rewarding moment was performing in my club’s holiday show. I’d never performed or competed, aside from a group number in my childhood learn to skate days (my Learn to Skate class skated to “The Impression That I Get” by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones), so just being able to put myself out there was crazy. I’ve now participated in the holiday show twice and seeing how far I’ve progressed is amazing. My program music is the theme from one of my favorite video games, Skyrim, which I was super excited to use and develop over time.

What was the most difficult moment of your skating career and how did you overcome it?

I haven’t overcome it yet – but landing my loop jump. For whatever reason, the loop is so hard for me, and I’ve been working on it for almost two years. It’s been a rollercoaster. I’d love to land it clean this year. Working on back 3-turns and backspin I think is helping – I’m much closer than I have been. Edge jumps for me are a love-hate relationship. I used to hate salchows but now I think they’re my favorite jump. So maybe someday I’ll love loops.

I also really struggle with artistic expression, so making my skating look less robotic is something I am always trying to improve. I’ve done some really great movement workshops which have helped. I think over time it will become more natural.

What’s your favorite element to practice?

I actually love working on moves. They’re such a foundation for everything else. I LOVE spirals especially. I remember the day I learned a catchfoot spiral and I thought it was the coolest thing. People who don’t skate are so impressed by them LOL. They’re beautiful and a fun party trick! Weirdly I also love power 3-turns.

And of course I always do way too many salchow-toe loops every time I skate. It’s my favorite jump combo.

What is your favorite off-ice exercise to practice?

So I don’t do any skating-specific off-ice exercises, but I think yoga has really helped me. I used to not be able to do a spiral or lunge without FEELING IT the next day so working on flexibility is paying off. As I mentioned before, I also really love taking spin classes, I think they’re really great for endurance.

What motivates you?

Seeing how far I’ve progressed is a great reminder of what I can accomplish, so self-improvement is big. I grew up doing a lot of team sports so being able to do something for myself is so different and rewarding in its own way. Skating has been there for me in good times and bad, so I love having that hour or so just for me, and I look forward to it every week!

How has skating impacted your life?

I’ve met some amazing people – my coach, other coaches, some fellow adult skaters from near and far. I love having a little network of people I can talk skating with, commiserate with when I need to, and who can help me become a better skater and person in general.

Mentally, skating has really helped me. It’s a new challenge every day and it’s a great outlet for whatever mood I’m in. I can always step off the ice and feel even a little bit better than when I got on. It’s an hour that I can just shut off my brain to the outside world and just be present.

Physically, skating has made me more self-aware of my strengths and weaknesses. It’s movement that’s unlike anything else, so even learning the most basic skills are a humbling experience.

What’s the best advice your coach has given you?

I know for a fact she would say “bend your knees.” And I know I need to bend my knees more, every time, at all times.

What has skating during the pandemic taught you?

Don’t take ice time for granted! I can think of more than a few times when I did not use my time to the fullest, or felt like I didn’t belong on a freestyle session, and I totally regret it. Establishing a good warmup sequence and an overall plan for your session is a good idea. I run through a bunch of things every time I skate, and having structure is really helpful for me. And know that you belong on the ice, no matter your ability level or age!

What’s your advice for other adult skaters out there?

Never feel like you don’t belong on the ice and never compare yourself to others. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, backgrounds, athletic abilities, etc so it’s not helpful or productive to compare!

If you’re curious about skating and need somewhere to start, Learn to Skate lessons are a great bang for your buck. My rink had a group just for adults which was great to start learning, since adults learn and skate so much differently than children. I had a great experience in LTS, and never would have continued skating if I didn’t start there!

And, lastly, bend your knees. You’re not doing it enough. I’m not doing it enough. It will only help you. LOL 

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