Setbacks, struggles and stress

June 1, 2016 at 7:15 pm 12 comments

While riding to work on Monday a car pulled out of an intersection ahead of me as I was descending a hill at close to 50km/h (according to my GPS). Despite aggressive braking, swerving and yelling there simply wasn’t enough time to do much more than accept that I was on a collision course. I smacked into the side of the car at about 30km/h.

The swerving likely saved me from a more devastating result. I hit the car at an angle, rather than head on. One side of my bars and my shoulder took the brunt of the impact. I left a decent dent in the side of the car and fell to the ground.

By most people’s definition, including my own for a while, I was ok. I came away with grazes on the usual pointy parts (shoulder, elbow, knee), a bit of bruising and a bit of swelling. From a material point of view my bike was a bit askew with the handlebars and levers out of place. Some of my favourite cycling gear was slashed. I also had a fairly large hole in the squishy bottom part of my right hand – my worst injury from the crash. I appreciate just how fortunate I was.

When people asked what happened, and how I was, I said I was ok. After a night off to rest I returned to training with some throwing on Tuesday night. This was after swinging past the bike shop to collect my fully repaired bike ready for more riding. So, I am ok.

Today I went for a run in my lunch break, which had been my intention for Monday. It wasn’t my fastest run, but it wasn’t too far off. So I am ok. Except I’m not ok.

I started my runwith a mindset of just getting in a decent run. No pressure to be fast, I’ve good cause to not be at my best. However it wasn’t long before my mind entered a negative place. Thoughts like:

  • I’m getting puffed running up this hill. Do I normally get this puffed?Am I fit enough? Could I be fitter?
  • My knee hurts when I’m running down hill. I’m favouring it a bit and can’t go as fast as I want. I can’t accept this latest setback. Why can’t I just be free to train as I want to?
  • It isn’t fair that I had this accident now. I’m 1.5 weeks away from heading to London. I had my final prep planned out and now this has happened. What impact is this going to have? Will I be my best?

After about 4km of this I had a bit of an “oh wow” moment. In the last week, on encouragement from our team, I have been getting back into daily mindfulness sessions. I make heavy use of the Headspace app which has a large focus on training the mind to be able to observe thoughts and feelings rather than just living inside them. I was able to put this into practise and step back from my stream of negativity to realise that I was letting a setback get the best of me.

I then stepped back a little further and realised that I actually feel like I’ve been living in a huge cloud of negativity for quite a long time now.

When thinking about my worlds campaign, specifically the last 5 months, my general feeling is that I haven’t been able to achieve what I wanted to. Here’s the training plan I made for myself from February through to Worlds.

Training Plan

As a summary, 1-2 sessions per day (1.5 – 2 hours). Rest days on Friday. Away at a tournament/training roughly every 3 weeks.

When laying out that plan I envisaged my skills and fitness building throughout that entire period. Five months is too long to train consistently so I put in a couple of rest periods.

In the third week of that plan, at SMO, I injured myself. I was forced to the sideline at Regionals and spent 9 weeks working through rehab. I returned to the field at Nationals. Post Nationals I felt confident enough in my body that I re-focused myself on building. I felt like I’d spent the last 9 weeks maintaining my fitness rather than building. I had consistently worked on my throwing but rather than building leg strength, running and sprinting I was doing 90 arabesques per day to try and work through my nerve issues.

Post Nationals I had 6 weeks to get myself as fit as possible. There’s now 2 of those remaining and I’m covered in bandaids.

The point I’m trying to make is that I’m spending a lot of time training in a negative frame of mind. Feeling like I’m not where I wanted to be, and that circumstances have prevented me being all that I can be. To a degree I don’t think that is unreasonable, but what is worrying is that these thoughts and feelings haven’t limited themselves to my training experience.

I’m very busy. The training plan above doesn’t leave me with any spare time. In addition to my own plan I also incorporated sessions from our official trainers and, more recently, mental sessions from the team. I’ve also been trying to plan and book a month’s holiday after Worlds and working the usual 40 hours a week.

As a result I’ve had to leave some of the core parts of myself out of my life. Aside from my commuter, I haven’t touched my other bikes this year. I haven’t been able to support my partner and contribute to our relationship sufficiently. The house and garden aren’t being maintained at the standard I like. Anything that happens outside of my strictly controlled working/training plan is a hassle. There’s no scope for issues to arise and when they do they either need to be dealt with immediately or ignored until the second half of the year.

Those feelings of negativity that I am getting in my training rear up in my daily life. When unexpected things happen I get upset about it, grumpy that there’s yet another thing for me to deal with. Stressed about the impacts it is going to have, and the time its going to take.

I didn’t commit to this campaign without knowing that there would be sacrifices. I knew there would be challenges but I didn’t understand how they would evolve. The discipline and mental fortitude required has been beyond my expectations.  I can’t fathom how the people on my team with children survive. I’m neglecting our pet rabbits enough as it is.

At times I get glimpses of the mindset that I want to achieve. I realise that thoughts of “what might have been” don’t matter. I realise that I’m choosing to focus on negative thought processes rather than accepting that I have done the best I can in the circumstances that arose. There’s not long to go before Worlds and I’m apprehensive about the pressure. I really hope I can get some more clarity and refocus myself into a more positive frame of mind in the coming weeks. I’ve worked really really hard for around 12 months now and this is going to be an amazing experience, if I can allow myself to notice.


Entry filed under: Ultimate Frisbee.

Nationals WUGC 2016 vlog

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. forumjoe  |  June 1, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Wow, this is a great insight, Jase. Thank you for having the courage to compose and post these thoughts when obviously every bit of time pressure is sensitive. It’s no mean feat you’re undertaking and we’re all wishing you the best.

    My only wish is that during the tournament, and after it, you get to enjoy the positive feelings of what you are achieving. It’s a massive achievement to even get to worlds, I really hope you can enjoy it for what it is and not let the negative feelings of a single drop or a bad play ruin it for you. We’re all behind you 100 percent!

    Also, when you get back, we should go out for a beer. 😉

    • 2. Jase  |  June 1, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      Thanks Joe. After talking about this a bit with Maz I realised that part of the issue is that I was expecting to be feeling fulfilled and have positive feelings throughout the whole process. This has been the case for me when training for events in the past but the difference is that I’ve always been improving and getting results. This time I’ve often been overcoming obstacles rather than improving. So now I’m relying on the tournament to provide all the fulfilment! I’m sure it will.

      Beer sounds most excellent. I’d really like that.

  • 3. Glenn  |  June 1, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Hey Jase,

    Sorry to hear of your run in with the car, glad you weren’t too badly hurt. Hopefully the dent will remind them to look out for riders in future.

    A great blog post as usual mate, and if I don’t see you before, get out there and smash it. I’m sure you will give it your best and be a real asset to the team. Do us all proud no matter the result.

    Be great to catch up over a few beers when you get back. Maybe even a Tour De France night.

    All the best

    • 4. Jase  |  June 1, 2016 at 10:38 pm

      Thanks Glenn! Appreciate the comments. Looking forward to having some spare time once we get back so would appreciate a catch up (or several!). We won’t be back until after Le Tour is over though!

  • 5. Matt  |  June 1, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Hey Jase.

    Enjoyed the post as well but bummer about the obstacles thrown in your path. From my perspective, I’m all too familiar with the feeling of not being the best I could be. I’m also not going to the UF world’s so there’s that. 🙂 You are a champion. Believe it!

    Wishing you the best of luck in London. We’re all cheering for you and know you’ll do a great job – thats what you do regardless of what that negative voice says.


    • 6. Jase  |  June 2, 2016 at 10:21 am

      Thanks Matt – appreciate the comments 🙂

  • 7. Charlie Prevost  |  June 2, 2016 at 12:51 am

    Jase, I wish you the best of luck for the tournament. One memory I have (from a few years ago now) that I think is pertinent is when I caught a block against you in indoor frisbee. You had the composure to immediately start a stall count (and I remember being caught completely off guard). I guess what I’m trying to say is that at that time, you exhibited perfect composure in a negative situation. Trust in yourself that you can repeat this if negative things happen, and that you, and you alone have the control over whether a mistake has lasting effects, and that you in fact have the power to turn it around into a positive. Now go and kick some ass at worlds. 😊

    • 8. Jase  |  June 2, 2016 at 10:22 am

      Hehe – what a great memory! Catching a block is pretty impressive to begin with! Thanks for the comments.

  • 9. Dahlia  |  June 2, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Go Jase! A tip I stumbled upon about happiness is to say “yes” to everything. Train up that happiness muscle. Accept what happens. Don’t fight it. Great that you’re using headspace! Did u subscribe? I’ve been pretty good at meditating daily. I’ve also been in a bit of a negative slump too. Not really about grumpy but for me it’s more anxiety. But I’ve been trying to get to the source of that. And yeah saying yes to the negative things that has happened day to day has helped. It’s like another way to come back to the present.

    • 10. Jase  |  June 2, 2016 at 11:25 am

      Thanks Dahlia! I haven’t subscribed to Headspace. I find the 10 “free” sessions are enough of a prompt to take me through a session whenever I need to. Mainly I use it as a guide. I could nearly do away with it completely I think.

      There’s certainly anxiety mixed into my grumpiness. I get performance anxiety before any event so Worlds is bringing it on.

      I like the “say yes” idea. Seems to be a simple way to work towards more acceptance, which is something I could benefit from.

  • 11. John  |  June 3, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Love this Jase- the fact that you are articulating this journey means you can see it for what it is and overcome it, When you step up for your first point at Worlds, you will feel a huge kick of Adrenalin and energy- it’s always better having this surge on defence, so I hope i’m on the line with you when that happens, cause i know how hyper-alert you’re going to be, anticipating every move and running anything down. From there, focusing that energy- it’s a doddle. I’m smiling just thinking about it! See you soon homey

    • 12. Jase  |  June 4, 2016 at 10:03 am

      Thanks Greeny! That sounds amazing. I’m looking forward to it for sure.


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