I had high hopes for the fall. The leg was feeling good. I was crazy-energized to train hard and get back to those dance patterns. Starting in September, I skated three hours a week. Skills I had completely lost were starting to come back little-by-little. I was taking lessons here and there and doing absolutely everything Dmytri demanded. Then the pain and weakness started to come back and I thought, “Not this time!”
The writing was on the wall. (The etching was in the ice?) Skating was the problem. Stop skating - Complete physical therapy - Feel better - Resume skating - Aggravate injury - Repeat.
I was determined to break this cycle, so I tried something new. Instead of trying to push through when my leg started feeling bad, I took a week off. I lifted weights, I ballet danced, I stretched (things I can do pain-free), but I did not skate. After a week, I felt stronger and got back on the ice. Perhaps I didn’t make any skating progress during that week, but I also didn’t lose anything. Given that my prior track record is to lose everything and start over, this time I felt a little bit ahead of the game. I wasn’t starting from scratch.
So that’s how I’m skating these days. It’s a very slow, tedious process. I can feel incremental improvements; trust me, no one’s seeing them. And often it’s boring as hell. But try as I might, I can’t quit skating. There’s something about the ritual of skating - going to the rink, taping up my skates, feeling the cold air - that’s just become what I do. Even though I do it poorly.
If slow and steady wins the race...let me be the tortoise.