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 Megan! She is a graphic designer & second chance skater from Pennsylvania who came back to the ice at age 25! Read more about her journey back to the ice, her stolen skate incident (they were recovered!), her favorite advice for other adult skaters and more!
What’s your name? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
My name is Megan aka @four.foot.ten.skater. I’m from western Pennsylvania. I live in a small town about 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh. I’m a graphic/web designer for a venture studio in Pittsburgh.
What’s your story? How did you get into figure skating?
I’ve always admired dancing from a young age. When I was 10 years old, I fell in love with figure skating after watching the 1998 Olympics. My dream was to learn how to skate and compete but I never had the guts to really pursue it. I actually tried group lessons for about a month when I was 12, but even then felt that I was too old and had already missed my shot of ever being able to go the Olympics or do anything extraordinary, so what was the point? LOL Little did I know, I would be back at that very same learn to skate class THIRTEEN years later and actually end up sticking with it this time. At 25, I started consistently going to group lessons once a week, that was all I could manage with my current work schedule and financial situation. It was definitely a struggle to progress with only being on the ice once a week, but if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s persistence. After about 2 years, I got a new job with a much more flexible schedule and was inspired by other adult skaters to start skating more. I soon transitioned into private lessons and the rest is history! I began testing in late 2016 and competing in 2018. I have tested through Adult Gold in Moves in the Field and Adult Bronze Freeskate. I have competed and medaled in 10 competitions to date! It may have taken me 2 years to get comfortable to do a waltz jump, but I am living proof that hard work and determination can get you where your natural abilities are lacking!
What does your skating schedule look like?
Well, pre-pandemic I would skate anywhere from 6-10 hours a week.
How have you been keeping yourself busy with the stay at home order?
I’m actually overwhelmed with things that I want to do! I don’t think I could ever be bored. I’ve been making serious progress on some organization projects that I’ve been meaning to do for years now. Baking is another hobby I enjoy and I’ve had fun trying out a lot of new recipes that I normally wouldn’t have time for. And of course, I’m focusing on a lot of off ice exercises to maintain my stamina and strength. My coach has started doing online skating fitness class via Zoom which has been really nice to have a scheduled group activity to look forward to! There are also so many free classes and workouts available right now, it’s hard to choose what to focus on! I want to do them all! I recently did a beginner ballet class which was really fun.
What has been the most rewarding or exciting moment in your skating career?
The most rewarding and exciting moment for me was nailing my sit spin at the end of my program at 2018 Adult Eastern Sections (my first competition!) I was so nervous about competing because I had no idea what to expect or how I would perform under pressure. I was most nervous about my sit spin as I was only able to do it well in my program run throughs about half the time. I ended up skating a very clean program for what I was capable of at the time. I honestly couldn’t have skated better. I had this peace and confidence while I was performing and I knew that I wasn’t going to mess up. (Haven’t had this experience since, btw!) When I went into the final spin and hit that perfect spot of my blade, I instantly got a huge smile on my face and I knew I had done it! I didn’t care about my placement, that wasn’t even on my mind. I had skated to the best of my ability and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I’ll always remember skating off the ice and immediately hugging my coach. She was so excited she picked me up off the ground in our hug. LOL And to top it off, I did end up placing first!
What was the most difficult moment of your skating career and how did you overcome it?
In November of 2019, I was on a cross country road trip with my husband (destination Phoenix, Arizona) and our car was broken into at night and my skating bag was stolen. It had my new Edeas and ALLLL my skating gear. There was a good $1500+ worth of gear in that bag, not to mention sentimental skating items like competition pins and lesson notes. I was absolutely devastated. I’ve never felt so personally violated in my entire life. They just had to take the one thing in that car that meant the most to me. Long story short, I ended up getting just my skates, guards and soakers back! It was truly a miracle. I overcame this challenge by first off, calling and leaving my information with every place in the area I could think where they might be turned in, one of them being the local rink. I also allowed myself to be sad about the situation but also come to the realization that my world is not going to end if I never get my skates back. It was a good a lesson to learn as this hobby can sometimes take an unhealthy priority in my life. Anyway, about a week later, while my husband and I were at our road trip destination in Arizona, I got a call from the rink in Albuquerque that there was a lead on my skates! A man had supposedly “bought” them on the street and was hoping to turn them in for a reward. It was all very sketchy and I had to personally talk this man on the phone which was terrifying. But, he did end up turning them into the rink for $50 in return. And the rink later shipped them back to my home in PA. This was so insane and it blows my mind to think about the fact that I actually got them back! If you take one thing from this story, NEVER leave your skates or skating bag in your car overnight, no matter how safe of an area you think you are in.
What’s your favorite element to practice?
Spins! Spins bring me so much joy, especially sit spins! They took me quite awhile to get comfortable with, but they are the element in skating that I have been able to progress the most with and I think is the most impressive during my performances!
What is your favorite off-ice exercise to practice?
I’ve really been enjoying any type of plyometrics (skaters, squat jumps, broad jump, box jumps, etc.). There are so many different exercises that you can do that are perfect for improving your skating skills, you can never be bored! Specifically during this stay at home order, I’ve really enjoyed incorporating jumping rope into my off ice routines. I warm up with basic single two foot jumps and them move on to one foot jumps and then attempt double unders with a few singles in between. My goal is to eventually be able to do the double unders with no singles in between!
What motivates you?
I’ve always been a naturally self motivated person who just likes to feel like they are accomplishing things. With skating specifically, as selfish as this sounds, I think I’m motivated the most by my desire to prove to my 12 year old self that despite my size, lack of natural athletic ability, flexibility and coordination, I can be confident and learn and master new things. However, this can often turn into an unhealthy, addictive relationship with the sport. So I try to shift my motivation more around being inspired by other adult skaters who are working hard to bring balance between skating and adult life.
How has skating impacted your life?
I’ve experienced very positive impacts both physically and mentally from skating. From a physical stand point, I’ve gained a lot more coordination, flexibility, strength and body awareness. This may sound silly, but I don’t drop things as much. I can usually catch them before they fall a lot more than I have in the past because my coordination is better. My body is overall stronger because I’m becoming more aware of all my muscles and which ones need strengthened and used for different skating elements. From a mental standpoint, my problem solving skills have definitely improved. Skating really keep you on your toes mentally and I’ve noticed my thinking improve in my work and just in daily like. I’ve also come out of my shell quite a bit. I’ve always been extremely shy and quiet in person and embarrassed to really put myself out there. Skating has helped me to be more expressive and show my personality more in everyday life.
What’s the best advice your coach has given you?
Don’t make yourself crazy by trying to skate a “clean/perfect” program in competition, instead try to skate a “good” program.
What’s your advice for other adult skaters out there?
Take your time and don’t compare your progress to others. We are all different. Just like flowers, we bloom and grow at different paces, how God intended us to. Skating (and any sport) can be a lifelong hobby! Oh and point your toes. And the more bling, the better. 😉