The consequence of this fall was an injury in January 2015 which I thought wasn’t serious (despite the pain) but which is still very much with me although I have learned to manage it over the years. I was told by doctors to have a serious operation and to “find another job”. No-one could guarantee I’d skate again so surgery wasn’t an option I considered.
Throughout the first few years I was been limping after skating and I had to learn to “edit” my movements on skates and reduce my week day teaching hours. I used to have occasional sharp pains when skating, walking or moving and for months I ignored them, calling them only “twinges”.
I skated through the European summer season of 2015 and kept strong with my yoga.
But it didn’t get better.
Over the years I discovered that having strong glutes and core muscles really helped to support the injury and make sure my left leg didn’t push out with every skating stride. I propel myself using just the right leg energetically while therefore resting the injured left hip and not allowing it to do any forceful work. Yoga has been essential at helping y build that additional strength and also to release and stretch the muscles on the non-injured side, which have been doing twice the work for years. I am extremely fortunate that my injury responded in this way and I wasn’t completely incapacitated or forced to stop skating. I may have surgery one day, but I’m in no hurry and while I can still skate and work, I will.
When I watch this video of the actual moment when I got the injury I can see exactly what I did wrong. Instead of putting most of my weight on my support leg (by positioning my head and torso over my left thigh) you can see my head going inwards (to my right) and not being over my left skate. If a Powerslide isn’t correctly 85%/15% then it’s not going to work.
This photo shows my mistake even more clearly. At this moment 0:05 you can see that my knee bend on my left skate is incorrect. My knee cap SHOULD be covering my toes and my shin should be pushing into my ankle strap. Neither of those 2 things are happening which confirms my weight was not correctly on my support leg.
The reason why I didn’t put my head and body over my left thigh is very simple. My left thigh muscle was exhausted from filming powerslides all day (I think I did more than 150 power slides that morning in 40 degree heat and had been filming for 5 hours that day already). So to ‘spare’ my muscle the work, I moved my head off my support leg. All this happens unconsciously of course and in the flash of a mini-second.
Why am I sharing this story? I think people watch my skating and think that I never fall over. It’s rare these days because I’m not often pushing myself, but we can see that tiredness (physical and mental) can impact our skating unless we are aware of our own energy levels. Be careful when you know you are tired and try to stop and rest when you are. The irony for me is that I knew I was tired but it was our last day of filming before I left Brazil so I needed to finish.
Even experienced skaters like myself make technical mistakes when we are tired or are not focussing properly on what we are doing. But I think this video shows something very important. It doesn’t matter who you are and what you are doing, if your technique is not correct, you could be risking injury.
Most falls are not serious, but every fall runs the risk of being potentially painful and causing injury. We rarely fall ‘by accident’. It’s usually something lacking in our technique or delivery.
In my case exhaustion played a part but it’s also interesting to notice that this is my weaker side for this skill, so it needs more of my focus than my favourite side and at that moment, my focus was not there.
The personal lessons coming to me from this injury are numerous. I am learning that I need to look after my body with rest and body work if I wish to continue in the job I love. My job requires that my body be fit, healthy and injury free and I know this is time consuming work to sustain but ultimately is turning into an incredible journey of discovery about my own limits, self-expectations and self-compassion.
I believe every injury or illness is here to teach us difficult and valuable personal lessons so I continue to embrace the teachings of my body with love, despite the inconvenience and pain. Perhaps the biggest feeling I have in this process is gratitude. Gratitude to my body for the 15 years it skated without complaint which brought me so much joy and satisfaction.
There will be many more years of me on my skates, of this I am completely sure.
I hope this video will inspire you to improve your skating by searching for an understanding of what is correct technique and how close you are to achieving it. The more conscious we can all be on our wheels the safer we will be.