Santillan keeps motor running at Indy Pairs

Pairs skater chronicles all the wacky hijinks going on behind the scenes in Indianapolis

Joshua Santillan gives readers the scoop this week from the Indy Pairs Challenge.
Joshua Santillan gives readers the scoop this week from the Indy Pairs Challenge. (Jacque Tiegs)


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By Joshua Santillan, special to
(08/02/2012) - We hope you didn't get too much Joshua Santillan last week in Detroit, because he's back this week at the Indy Pairs Challenge, keeping a daily journal for

Monday, Aug. 6

The last couple days have been really exciting, to say the least! We started off Saturday with a practice on the second surface at the rink in Indianapolis ... conditions were even worse on that sheet of ice! We still had a good practice, though, and got pumped up for the free skate. Since we skated in the last warm-up group, I was able to watch my first group of competitors. I am both an athlete and a fan -- I love watching and cheering for my competitors.

The program met our expectations; we were the only team without a fall deduction, so I'm glad we stayed on our feet. I was really happy with many aspects of the program and feel like we're prepared to make the proper improvements going into Lake Placid.

After the event, we had another critique, so we were able to get good feedback again. Also, we saw the team doctor as part of our Team USA camp activities for a basic physical. The doctor thought I was getting sick, but actually I'm almost over my sickness. Then we went to Noodles and Co., and I grabbed a chocolate shake ... now that competition is over, I can have a treat!

Also, we had our in-depth evaluation. The in-depth evaluation is when a group of officials gives us advice and helps us determine what is best for our season. They also use it to make sure we are prepared for the international season. Working with the judges is always a good experience and is really helpful to understand what we need to do to improve.

Then we went back to the hotel, but not to rest: to work. Olivia and I hit the gym hard for an hour and a half as we are determined to improve on last season's results.

On Sunday, we got up early for more team activities. Led by Doug Williams, we went over all the rule changes, exercises and other things we need to know as members of Team USA. When we were done with that, we went back to our hotel room and packed. After an adventurous taxi ride (the driver only drove off the road a few times), we arrived at the airport. Unfortunately, our first flight was too full, but we eventually got home.

It's been two weeks since we've been home, and we're all really glad to be here. It's almost 2:00 a.m. now as I'm finishing up this blog. Thank you so much for following along with me on my many travels. I hope to write for you again. You can keep up with me on Twitter at I promise to be entertaining!

Friday, Aug. 3

Started my morning off with the most important part of the day: breakfast! After breakfast, we went to the rink for yet another good practice. We got to meet with a sports psych today for part of the Team USA camp activities. It was really cool how he was able to make us cry by saying just one word (kidding)!

After that, we grabbed Panera again. (I bet you can tell what our favorite lunch spot is.) Then we got ready to compete.

We had a solid warm-up. After being sick for so long (I'm still a little sick), it felt good to have good practices and a good warm-up. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to run the program due to being sick, so we lost some levels and elements, but our components were still pretty high, so we're happy about that.

The great thing about Indy is that there's a judges critique after the event. This provides us with invaluable feedback that we'll be able to assess and use for future competitions. We also got to watch the majority of the senior pairs, who were really awesome!

After the day's events, we went to P.F. Chang's and had a nice after-competition dinner. My mom left today after my short program and took the car with her, so we had to walk back to the hotel.

Since arriving in our room, we've been doing our customary rooting for Team USA and visualizing for the free skate tomorrow.

Thursday, Aug. 2

We started the day off with some free breakfast, then got packed up to move hotels. My mom picked us up (she landed today) and brought us over to our main hotel in downtown Indianapolis.

When we got to our hotel, we realized that we didn't have a practice ice for the day! Luckily, there were spots available in the later sessions, so we were still able to find time to skate. After grabbing lunch, we came to the rink to watch the practice groups before us. I love to study my competition so that I can try and figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are. Lindsay Davis and Mark Ladwig were also there -- they looked really good!

We took the ice for our practices, and, boy, were we in for a surprise -- the ice was practically a swimming pool! Indy is infamous for its melted ice during the summer, so we are somewhat used to it.

We warmed up with a 100-meter butterfly race (just kidding) and got our skating underway. Warm ice is really easy to jump on but really hard to push and spin on. As a result, the jumps and throws were really easy, but gaining speed was incredibly difficult. Parts of the ice definitely had paint coming up; one time Olivia fell and she didn't even slide -- she just stuck to the ice where she fell!

I still have the same suitcase of clothes from Detroit, so I was forced to wear a collared shirt at practice, as it was my last clean article of clothing. They had free dinner at our hotel; pulled pork was on the menu.

After dinner, I hit the gym, did my laundry and, of course, watched the Olympics. Now I'm off to bed and can't wait for the short program tomorrow!

Wednesday, Aug. 1

Busy, busy day.

Started off in beautiful Colorado Springs. We skated a couple awesome sessions, then got off the ice and went to the airport.

I found out today that there IS in fact a Mrs. Coffee, from the person at the gate saying all over the terminal, "Paging Deborah Coffee." I had myself a laugh at that; I bet she makes a mean vanilla latte that I could totally go for right now.

We barely made it on time for both of our flights, and there was barely room for us, too. (We fly stand-by sometimes, which is always exciting.) For those of you who followed my blog in Detroit, you know that I choose an album to listen to for my flights. Today's album is titled "Oops!... I Did it Again," and if you don't know who that's by, you should stop reading this and think about what you've done wrong with your life.

Unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced my previous book in Detroit, so today I'm reading Lord of the Flies -- and no, it's not for school.

After landing in the airport, we got a quick bite to eat and decided to figure out our sleeping situation. We hadn't planned on getting here until Thursday, so we didn't have a hotel. Luck would have it that the lady who worked at Frontier baggage claim had a coupon for the Hampton, and that's where we're staying for the night. (Olivia and her mom, Trudy, even got a free upgraded room.) Since then, I've been sitting in my room cheering on Team USA via tape delay at the Olympics; the gymnastics is really quite impressive.

However, we have to move hotels tomorrow, so I'm going to turn in for the night. Stay tuned the rest of the week for more on this competition!