Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 8 - Tallinn, Estonia

So it turns out that after a week of warming up in the icy cold, we discovered the very well heated (and very well hidden) ballet room which came to good use. We worked on the long program with focus particularly on the whip instersections and lifts. In the middle of training we took a break to warm up with hot chocolate (a part of training that I'm sure I'll miss once we leave Tallinn). And the rest of the day was free time for the team to explore, eat, sleep and/or attempt to do uni or school work; emphasis on the word "attempt." ;) A little group decided on a little expedition to the local laundromat. The language barrier caused just a bit of an issue. This afternoon we analysed the short program videos from training and spent the night session drilling the no-hold and pivot blocks. During a section of the program the team pulled off an awesome pivot block. Dinner for most was a cuppa soup and bread rolls accompanied by the yummy hot chocolate that half the team snuck downstairs to get. For the rest of the night some of us chilled in our rooms while some others got together to watch Ice Age for the thousandth time on a channel that plays nothing but Ice Age day in and day out. I think many of us have leant to quote parts of the movie... "That's right sweetheart, welcome to the Ice Age!" Written by Dani Baret.

Day 9 - Tallinn, Estonia

Today was another average day in Tallinn. It was a double training day, meaning that we had two training sessions, meaning that we didn't have fitness in between, woo hoo! Our training sessions are really coming together which is very exciting for us. We are slowly adjusting to the cold (probably a little too late...) but the negative temperatures are still a little annoying. During the break many people used their time to further explore Tallinn. Chana and myself tried to get ourselves lost in the old part of Tallinn but it proves very difficult when all streets lead back to one main square! Our second training session was much shorter so we were all looking forward to it. That was until Kristina alerted us to the fact that we would be doing 2 short run throughs followed by a long run through followed by two short run throughs followed by a long run through and finally followed by 2 short run throughs. We were less than impressed. It was however April Fools and as we worked this out we decided that maybe we should get Kristina back. We had a plan to convince Kristina that we weren't getting on the ice and that her decisions to push us this hard had made us decide that we weren't skating anymore! So of course, we sent our trusty captain Briar Harold to do our dirty work for us. Our good old captain was shaking like a leaf trying to make the plan go through. When Kristina came around to give us a talk about how disappointed she was, we were less than convincing and could not contain our giggles! This April Fools brought our team together and we trained amazing! Written by Elizabeth.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 7 - Tallinn, Estonia

Another beautiful morning in chilly Estonia. The day started with a light pre-training breakfast in our hotel to fuel us on for our day ahead. Some team members also participating in the new morning ritual of "sneaky sandwich making". Focaccia bread and a sneaky filling of choice for a nice light lunch in the comfort of your hotel room or someone elses :). After breakfast kicks off the days first number off; with some daring skaters trying their luck at the Finnish translation of their number. Then comes the bus trip, full of mixed energy levels, some skaters opting for a pre-training power nap, others chatting amongst each other, or singing off key (thanks phoebe :) ), while others just take it all in and try to wake up! Our pre-trainng warm up is a very important part of the session, staying warm in our own personal indoor freezer is harder than it sounds with this morning's temperature being a chilly -6 C! But with a little bit of help from Ike and Tina Turner, our blood was soon pumping as we danced up a storm to the Nutbush. Today's session was a mixture of both the free program and the short. It was a good arm workout as we spent a good amount of time drilling lifts and getting more consistency and shape. It was a very productive session, with lots of videos taken from different angles, allowing for better critiquing. Back on the bus the daily awards were awarded. Today the award going to two people for "Outstanding Edges." Flea and Saara, were the only choice! After training we returned to the hotel for a light dynamic and static stretching session, taking over level 8. Free time allowing our sneaky skaters to enjoy their earlier made lunch, whilst others took naps, went shopping, did school work or ate out. In preparation for our surprise visit back to our training venue for a curling lesson and a few rounds against each other. The team purchased tickets for the local bus to take us to the "rink." The skaters, coaches, management and parents all taking part in this icy, tactical, slippery sport. Our instructors showing us some helpful ways to get the "stones" to the opposite end of the scoring circle. Some skaters with a natural flare for the sport, while others learnt and improved as they went. And as for the coaches and parents....Well, they tried ;). After some teams admitted defeat while others basked in their glory, our time was over and after a quick team photo, we walked to the bus stop, waited and waited and waited for the number 15 bus. For some it was all too much and a little nap on the bench was necessary. Finally the bus arrived and we all squished into the over crowded bus, just. While the daring members of the team went to another shopping mall, others went back to the hotel for dinner. The team then met up for our daily video analysis, wrote in our notebooks of handy things to remember and to correct in the programs and an early night was needed and deserved by all - except for those with school work to FINNISH!!! :) Written by Tania. Advised by Flea.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 5 - Tallinn, Estonia

What a day! Early morning training as usual; we worked on the long, specifically the lifts. Huge improvements with everyone, which was great. Nice work, Blaise, for the "Great job" award! We came back, most of us pretty tired. Spent most of the day resting, doing homework, or just chilling. Can't forget our super sneaky sandwiches from breakfast :) At 6pm, we had video analysis, and tore apart the short program, discussing what we need to work on and improve. The box intersection is improving, which is really good! We need to work on a few things but with the effort we are all putting in, we can easily achieve these things!!! Next came the late night training. We arrived at the ice rink and warmed up with a game of musical modest body movement statues and the Nutbush dance. We got on the ice ready for a warm up then short program. We all trained hard and worked on the spirals, ina bauers, pyramid and pivot block. After training hard, we got on the bus and it seems that not only are we improving on our skating, we are improving on our skills of counting to 19. We arrived back at the hotel, ready for soup and a bread roll before we get ready for sleep for another day of training :D Emily Thomson :)

Day 4 - Tallinn, Estonia

To start off with, we had a great session this morning!!! Even though it was early and extremely cold, we managed to pull off some good run-throughs, watched enviously by a small crowd of Estonian figure skaters from the side. Since the rink was like a freezer, it was extremely hard for our muscles to warm up but on the bright side, we're slowly acclimatising and so by the time we arrive to Finland we will be used to training in the extremely cold conditions. It really helped that there was the lovely mid-hot-choc break in the middle to warm up our nicely chilled bodies. After training, we layered up and Andrew led us in a very fun scenic run around a park with a frozen lake down to a gorgeous monument featuring a lovely angel; it was a very beautiful sight. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to admire the statue as we had to keep moving to keep from freezing to death. We also improved our agility by dodging and running on ice. We then had a lovely nice and long rest which gave us plenty of time to get ready for a team dinner and team bonding sesh in an italian restaurant within Old Town. The language barrier didn't stop us from having a fantastic meal, we also received from Maxi sized pepsi instead of what we thought we ordered which was pepsi max. After a video analysis session, most of the team leapt to bed, readying ourselves up for the early (and chilly) morning ahead.

Written by Jade.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 3 - Tallinn, Estonia

Oh what a day. This morning we had our first encounter with an Estonia ice rink. Oh boy was that an experience. The ice rink which we will be calling home for the next 10 days is an old Soviet missile factory and makes Canterbury look like Tajmahal. The rink looks like a warehouse and is covered in spray paint, and the temperature inside is the same temperature as outside, this morning being -6. We had 2 sessions today and the parents spoiled us with a much needed hot chocolate break in the middle of our morning sesh. After our morning practice we had free time whilst we were trying to defrost our toes and got to venture around Old Town or just stay in and study or chilaxxx :). Once we got home (hotel) for the night we had another greatttt big family dinner and some amazing ice cream for dessert again. Then finally we had a great ending to the very eventful day with some heaps cute bonding which consisted of us making and decorating our own envelopes. The Asians were really good at it and we were all jealous. In the next few days we'll be writing awllll nice things about everyone and putting them in everyone's envelopes. Yay for self esteem! :D Oli kiva kirjotella! :) <3 Saara Written by Saara

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 2 - Tallinn, Estonia

First of all, a huge happy birthday to Jenna as she celebrated her 20th birthday with us here on a gorgeous day in Tallinn. After only semi recovering from our massive journey here, Kristina, Jo and the parents put together a mini Amazing Race style scavenger hunt for us. The parents all joined in at the checkpoints handing out our clues and tokens as we ran around the Old Town in Tallinn in the -5 temperatures but still managed to work up a sweat. There were a few tricky questions in there and a few controversies as some teams managed to skip clues and still somehow end up in the right place. The course showed of the old town's amazing landmarks including the Viru gates, St. Catherine's Passage, and a Disney inspired clue of 'Tangled with the King and Queen' lead us to a 15th Century castle tower before our final destination of an outdoor ice rink!!! We don't really know who won...but as I'm telling the story, we technically got to the rink first, TEAM BLACK BOOTS wins (Flea, Sammi, and Rachael). For only 3.30 euros we skated for an hour with rental hockey skates which saw a lot of us ending up sitting on the ice, which turned into lying on the ice as it had been snowing so it was perfect conditions for snow angels. :) After lunch and a quick nap, we migrated to the hallway for an afternoon fitness session lead by Andrew (Kristina's baby daddy :) ), because there's no gym here at the hotel, we did a massive range of exercises taking over the 8th floor. We had a sneak peak at the rink today on a video taken by Kristina. It's in an old warehouse and is the same temperature inside as it is outside. We just finished dinner and are all looking forward to a good nights rest before our first training session in the morning.

Written by Rachael Reading.

Day 1 - Tallinn, Estonia

19 pairs of skates, 57 skating dresses, millions of crystals and 19 skaters arrived in Tallinn, Estonia, after 3 airplanes and 20+ hours in the air. Although it was a long long trip from Sydney, one of the great refliefs early on in the day was to get off the small 2-engine prop plane in Tallinn safely at 8:00am. We were greeted with -2 C weather and lots of snow on the ground. The ride to the hotel was short (another great relief) and we all were able to check into our hotel rooms super early (another great great relief!). Lunch, walking around the shops, exploring Old Town, enjoying the freezing cold weather, watching the snow fall, and then an early dinner made up the remainder of day #1 in Tallinn.