Laying on the floor of the Etihad gate in Melbourne’s airport is about the best place I can think of to write my final instalment in the Road to Abu Dhabi. The road indeed ends here and it’s time to hit the skies.
I just ordered my coffee where Meagan Green (Sydney International Open trials winner) is settled in on her laptop. EBI star, Lachlan Giles, is reclined near a power socket nearby enjoying PlayStation games. Ben Hodgekinson and Lee Ting just arrived carrying coffees and chatting about weight cuts. It’s already an all-star line up all around me.
The next 6 days are going to be mind blowing as I continue to be surrounded by the best in our sport.
I. Can’t. Wait.
My last week of training leading up to now was and is one of the most joy filled of my life. All the hard work, all the dedication, all the blood sweat and tears… done. Time to coast, stay on track with my weight, stay safe and uninjured (a rare trick for me), time to get my head right and allow myself to be excited.
After all the hard weeks behind me I honestly had no idea what to expect in this final week before departure. One of the things I have done along the way to keep my sanity is to not enquire with my coaches about the plans for the week ahead. Knowing is harder for me. I’m much better off if I’m just told what to do, at the time, rather than see it all stretching out ahead of me. I like bite sized pieces rather than seeing the whole pie (mmmmmpie, I am DREAMING of pie). I’m the kind of person that focuses directly in front of my stride during long runs, rather than on the horizon. And so, this too was my approach to my entire camp.
Every week was like a trust fall.
I trust my coaches entirely. Every week was just like a trust fall. This past week was no different. Taper week. Or, as I like to call it, best week ever. I have never done a taper week before and IT WAS AWESOME.
Training was light and comfortable. I moved but didn’t push too hard. All of our training was playful and about fun and a good positive head space. My S&C training was also fun (in a sprawls/box jumps/ropes/sleds kinda way). Food is totally routine and seeing the scales perfectly on track kept me feeling focused. Easter is a nightmare to cut during. It’s all hot cross buns and chocolate eggs damnit! But I found great replacements in the form of zero calorie treats and low calorie hot chocolate. Vanity helped a lot for inspiration to stay colouring between the lines with food. I’ve never seen my six pack before so she kept me focused.
My week, and my camp, was summed up nicely yesterday with perfect book ends (Easter Monday). I spent the morning training with JT one last time. We talked loads, shared war stories, then trained. Afterwards we planned out my weigh in day refuel, timing and procedure. We hugged goodbye and I couldn’t say thank you enough. What an awesome 8 week mission we went on together. The changes I’ve seen in myself under his guidance are huge. I went from being a non believer to being the converted. I went from doubting myself to being absolutely certain of my abilities. I went from injury to strength to peak fitness. It really has been mind blowing to me what is possible in a mere 8 weeks. JT told me so at the beginning and I have to say I doubted him. I was wrong, he was absolutely right and the right choice of S&C coach.
I walked from The Richmond Gym over to Bridge Road and met my coach Martin for coffee. We talked game plans, timelines and strategy. He gave me a USB full of movies for the plane. I walked home texting my coach in Bali, Justin and my great friend Tiffany Van Soest (Glory World Champion) and we all talked about mindset and happiness.
I got home and received a Skype call from my nutritionist and good friend, Hannah Pickford, who’s currently out in Thailand rocking a training camp of her own. We spoke about food and water for my 14 hour flight. Refuelling and rehydration plans for Thursdays weigh in, all things BJJ and wrestling and caught up about her training over in Thailand. I kept checking in on my headspace and feels about the Competition on Friday. And each time I do, each time I talk about it with these people, these experts, that I love and have surrounded myself with, I feel nothing but happiness.
What. The. Hell?
I can whole heartedly say I have never, ever felt like this before a competition. I am usually a ball of surging anxiety waves. Each set scarier than the last. It is easy to understand why this time is different. I can say with clear conscience that I could not have done more, given more, invested more, focused more, invested more, planned more or trained more than I did for this event. I have given it everything I have within safety and reason. I am 100% certain that this is the very best version of an athlete Jess Fraser that I could put on that outbound plane today. And it feels SO different. So very different. I am so content and at ease. My thoughts are this: If this, my 100%, is enough for the woman I face, then I win. If her 100% is better than my 100%, then so be it. I could not have been more, done more, offered more. And there is real and true peace in that fact. I am ready to ROCK my opportunity to roll against the very best black belts in the World. I’m honoured. And I’m SO EXCITED. I’m so excited that I absolutely feel like there’s nothing to lose. Everything about simply being there, honouring this journey by giving it my all, enjoying every moment, well that’s the win. And no one can take that away from me, no matter what the outcome of each match. This week has been amazing. I am just SO HAPPY to be living my absolute dream life. Being amongst it, being fully immersed in the sport that I love, surrounded by generosity beyond measure, friends that are inspiring and highly educated, in an incredible city with beautiful places to walk and soak in all the good that abounds in Australia. This experience, feeling this fit and healthy, being given such a huge opportunity as to travel to the other side of the world for my passion, I can’t believe how wonderful it is and how lucky I am. I can’t wait to share with you the experience of the actual event. Who knows what lies ahead for me. What I know is, I’m here, I’m in amongst it and I couldn’t be happier.
Thank you all so much for being along for the ride. The fights are on Flow Grappling.
33 Aussies are representing. Definitely check it out.
Words of thanks to all my support crew:
Australian Girls in Gi for all my post training support and clothing (head to the AGIG store, buy the stuff and support my journey with every purchase). Find AGIG here:
Bali MMA, my team across the ocean, whom continue to call, message, video call, advise, support and coach me from afar. #BaliFamily, not just a hashtag.
Find them here: www.facebook.com/balimixedmartialarts/
And also to Mum, she sent me awesome treats and support messages throughout these past few weeks. I love you Ma, you done good. xxx