…I went skating. By myself. Then came home and collapsed and slept for three hours.
But I feel pretty good about it. I went to Lloyd and skated for about 45 minutes. All I did was skate forward and try to get used to that weird-shaped rink. I talked to the staff and they are all good with me. They will stash my dog next time and were very friendly and encouraged me to try “hooky club” and they gave me info about that.
I got off about a half hour later than I had planned, but I had to get three kids out and going this morning, first. But I settled on the train with a book and the ride does not seem that long if I’m occupied. I travel without my dog and with a cane on occasion, its not as if I can’t do it, but it takes a lot more work and concentration. Just stuff like, it took me forever to find the thingy that scans your fare card at the train station. With my guide dog, I just tell her to find it and she walks over and stands next to it and “points” at it with her nose. So it was constant little stuff like that.
Concentration would be the word for today. A tremendous amount of energy and focus was needed. I haven’t been to Lloyd for….I’m going to say about 7 years. Its still a pretty active mall, its not dead. Its both the same and different as when I used to skate there often. I kept waiting for steps and fountains and other key things that I used to use as a guide that don’t seem to be there anymore. But it was also very familiar. I walked around the whole new skating area/benches/locker/restrooms for a bit, just to get used to it. All of this with my cane, before I went up and paid for my public session. When I got there, there was only about 3 or 4 people on the ice and they were all decent skaters, but soon, little kids and families came who could not skate. Always more trouble for me are little kids who can’t skate. They are so short and unpredictable! I guess for some districts, it is still Spring Break they said. So there were not a huge amount of people, but more than usual.
Skating in the oval was weird. At first, I just swizzled around the outside edge to get a feel for it while holding on to the rails. The boards are shorter and see-through. Its a challenge. I can’t really see the boards at all unless I am right next to them. I started using some of the things I could see and hear as guides. There was a red light, which I believe was the star logo for Macy’s. There was one of those island store carts with a blue light on it. There was a block off of light from where an escalator was. There was the zamboni garage thingy, which was not really a visual thing but an auditory or sensory one. It did not feel so open there. There was a speaker that was playing music, much louder on one side than the other. After a few times around holding the boards, I started to get the pattern and placement of these things to keep me oriented.
Once I got my speed up a bit, I really felt the smallness of the rink, though. You don’t get too far on the straightaway and there is no crossway to speak of. You go down the length of the ice and you pretty much have to come right back. The oval shape was somewhat disorienting. I kept trying to go backwards, but between the little kids (who won’t always be there) and the short width, it feels like you constantly have to think about turning and where you are on the ice.
Still, it felt like old times. The vibe there was familiar. The rink was warm and bright, like I remember. And I could run a lot of errands while there, or grab a bite to eat with someone. I ended up meeting my husband, Nik, downtown for lunch after I skated.
As for my skills, its hard to say where I am at because so much of today was just concentrating on orienting. My feet hurt the first 20 minutes as usual. I felt ok skating forward and doing a little slaloming, but not much else. I noticed that my left leg is much stronger than my right, probably because I always have a guide dog on my left. Nik says the same thing when he lifts weights with his legs. The left is much stronger and he also uses his guide dog on his left.
I’m a little sore, but that is also because I stepped up other training as well in the last three weeks. Right now, I feel like I could go to Valley on Friday, but I’ll have to see where everything is. I can go skating in the AM after setting the kids up, but sleeping for three hours when I come home makes skating take the whole day, and that will make me too behind on my job/kids/other responsibilities. So, the first item on the training agenda might be to improve my stamina.
However, much of this exhaustion is from having to mentally focus so hard on traveling with a cane, talking to people, and skating. I’m hoping after I acclimate a bit more (and take my dog next time!) that this level of energy will decrease and get easier.