Operation December - Luke Brown

Operation December - Luke Brown

To be honest, I was far, far off the mark. It was Utah - biathlon trials - in October. The leaves
were beautiful and the training was good but when it came time to race, I was nowhere to be
found. I was, of course, on the course, roller skiing and shooting, but my brain and body both
seemed to be elsewhere. Thus, I was also decently detached from the results. Which doesn’t
mean I wasn’t bummed. But it does mean I wasn’t devastated. I came back to Craftsbury and
while laying in my bed staring at my ceiling, reflecting, I knew some things had to change. I
needed to build momentum. I needed to get in the game.

I thought, I prayed, I journaled, and came up with four goals to set the tone for the 1.5 months
that I had until my next chance at IBU Cup qualification in December. They were as follows:

1. Celebrate the small victories - find the good things in training. What went well? Celebrate
it. Do a little dance, smile, share it with someone. This is necessary in order to stay
positive and let momentum build.

2. Go for it - it’s time to do the extra rep, dig a little deeper - go to the well and drink the
lactate. Get the mind to fight. Want it. Don’t hold back. In shooting, stop being overly
analytic and perfect. Shoot faster, be confident, go for it on the mat. It’s more fun that
way too.

3. Rest well - if I’m going for it, I gotta rest. Put the legs up, recline, recover.

4. Trust - this can mean a few things. One is to trust that the work I do on a given day is
enough and I don’t need to think about biathlon the rest of the time. Another is to trust
that God will get me to where he wants me to be.

Over the course of the last 1.5 months, I tried to do these four things. I recognized the good
things from training sessions and fist bumped my coaches. I cleaned an American test and gave
my parents (they were visiting) high fives. I reviewed workout video showing technique
improvements and said, “Let’s go!” I hit the hard workouts hard and threw up after a few of them
(I probably need to do breakfast better). Bounding, rollerskiing, ski erg, explosive jumps and
more explosive jumps. I pulled high lactates and liked it. I shot faster and had more fun doing it.
I snacked well and drank too expensive recovery mix that was essentially just chocolate milk. I
got off instagram and focused on where I was and what I was doing. I did mental work - writing,
thinking, praying, meditating - striving for a healthy and productive mindset for training and
racing, and more importantly, just for life.

It of course wasn’t and isn’t all perfect and it of course took other people to help me with these
things - coaches, teammates, friends, and more. And of course, there was still no guarantee of
success. That’s one of those beautiful things about sport that’s really hard to accept when you’re
in it - knowing the outcome is still uncertain. And so I really tried to cement all these things that I
was proud of doing and accomplishing in my mind before trials happened. That no matter what,
I would feel good about how these goals propelled me forward and no matter what I would be
thankful that the Lord blessed the work of my hands. These goals and the workouts I did weren’t
anything mind blowing or new. But for me, these past 1.5 months were a time of growth, and
that’s one of the things I want through sport - to grow as a person by being an athlete.

I messed up the first trials race - I was too frantic and eager. I skied really fast but shot poorly.
They take your best two of three races though so the pressure was on. While my mind was
trying to jump to what the rest of the season would look like if I didn’t qualify, I tried to stay
present, I tried to trust. The next two races I slowed down, calmed myself on the skis and into
the range, and while they were nothing special, I executed just good biathlon and put myself in
the mix. And I’m content with that. I’ll head to Switzerland at the end of the month for Open
European Championships.

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(Photo credits to Phil Belena)

We could talk about the racing more but we don’t need to because to be honest, the coolest
thing for me this winter so far hasn’t been the racing but everything else that I already
described. Now, I’m in Craftsbury - training - in January. The leaves are gone, it’s just
man-made snow loops and it’s about to rain. But all that’s fine because I’m right here, about to
sit down to set my goals for this next chunk of training to see where this momentum will take