Im Going Outward Bound Once Again- Well, Sort of

Im Going Outward Bound Once Again- Well, Sort of

Friday, 26 October 2012



I have been skating for about five years now.

Having being brought up where it rarely freezes in the winter, there was one ice arena for the town  and surrounding communities, and the only time I got to the that arena was if the school had a field trip-so I guess you can say uo until five years ago, I have skated about 10 times during my life time. 

Five years ago when I started skating I was hanging onto the sides of the board as I went around the arena. I am doing better now but I had also noticed that I was not feeling both edges of the blades, as one is supposed to. I also roll in on my ankles, and I wear orthotics in my shoes…

So I had been thinking about going to get a new pair of skates that my orthotics will fit in. So I go to a small local sports store and speak to the clerk about my issues, he informs me that my orthotics will not fit into skates, but he can move the skate blade in a bit so that I will have a better balance point. The next day I bring my skates in and the clerk asks me to put them on and walk in them so he can see where the issue is.

As I am putting on one skate on my left foot, he looks at my right foot, looks back at my skate, measures my right foot, looks at my skates again and then says, “Well that’s your problem, your skates are 3 sizes to big”. Well, I was surprised and felt a little silly. I explained to him that when I got these skates at another sports store, the clerk asked me what size shoe I have, I told him 8 ½, and he told me I take a size 7 ½ skate. He brought me some skates; I tried them on and got the ones that were most comfortable. He never asked me where my toes were, or converted that fact that women’s shoe numbers are two sizes smaller then men’s…thus- ill-fitting skates.

So, now back to the present and back at the store- I try on a pair of skates my size and walk in them, they seem ok, but don’t feel great. The clerk informs that he thinks a different skate would fit me better, but they don’t have any in stock. He will order them in and I can come down to try them on. 

The next day I get a call that the skates are in, so I go down to try them on. The clerk watches me as I walk around in them and they do feel much better. He comments about my right foot splaying out a bit and asks if I have injured that foot- I have, I fractured two bones in that ankle and have a plate and seven pins in it. I then take the skates off and the clerk heats them in the oven- to warm up the glue between the layers, and then I put them back on, bang the heal of the skate down, so that my heal is right against the back of the boot-where they are supposed to be. The clerk then does up that skate nice and tight for me, I do the same with the right skate, and this time the clerk bangs my foot and skate down for me, as he wants to make sure that my bad ankle is right at the back of the boot so that when he does up the skates, and they cool and form to my foot, my right ankle has the best support it can get. I wait for the skates to cool and then I go walk in them, they do feel weird, better, but weird.

I wear my skates two nights later at the ringette practice. It feels so weird, and it takes me time to adjust to them, but after a while I am feeling more comfortable with them. As the practice carries on I notice I am able to stop better, have more control and one time I turned my head to the left and I actually turned left. There was no rolling over on my ankles and I am able to feel both edges of the blade. Needless to say these are a much, much better fit and I love my new skates.

Later that night, in the wee hours of the morning when I could not sleep I thought about the skates being three sizes too big. That would be like me walking around in a size 11 ½ shoe, it would be very inefficient. Trying to run and jump in would be very difficult, especially trying to go upstairs or drive a car.  It would be awkward, my balance would be off and I would have to compensate for that.

As I think about how nice it is to  have the right fit with my skates, I realize it’s important to have the right fit with other things in my life.

Five years ago when I got the first set of skates, I was somewhat dissociated all the time and so disconnected from myself I could not even feel my feet. I also could not have anyone touch my ankles without being triggered and having flashbacks. With support from good therapists and Dr’s- who were a right fit for me- and a lot of very hard work, two weeks ago I was able to go down to the sports store and get a very good fitting pair of skates. I was able to work with the clerk, and was comfortable with what he needed to do - hold my ankles, tie the skates up tight etc- to make sure I had a good fit. Like my therapist, he was able to notice a weakness – this one being in my ankle and work to help support that, so that I could have more success with my skating.

Skating in these new skates feels a little strange and different, but like therapy, it is a better and healthier fit for me. As you can see, this is more than just getting a pair of skates for myself.  This is about the celebration of having the ability to go down and get a good pair of well fitted skates and stay in the present. I have come a long way. I  have had many ‘adjustments” to do, but these adjustments, like the skates will better support me and allow me to have a more successful and happier life than ever thought possible… 

I hope you all find a fit and support in whatever area of life you may find yourself.

Those are my thoughts for today.
Cheers and be well