This is the summary
If you took the blue pill and you want to continue, here it is.
It all started at 3:00am in the morning.
3:00 am: I woke up, shower...etc
4:00 am: Left the hotel room and went to the hotel lobby. The meet up time was 4:30 am but i did not want to stay in the room. Staying in the room make me nervous.
4:45 am: head out to take the shuttle. During the ride I told my teammates that today is Tyler's birthday. I did not get much responses because most people were listening to music.
5:30 am: Arrived at Johnson's Beach, got my bike, dropped off bike special food bag, pee, and head down to transition area.
6:00 am: I setup everything at the transition. I did a few dry run from swim out to my rack just to make sure I got it in my head. I went to the restroom, talked to my teammates, then headed back to put on my wetsuit.
6:20 am: Headed out to the swim start and warm up. As soon as I got into the water my nervousness went away! My beta male imagination about negative events that may happen... gone! Perhaps my mind was getting focus. Perhaps I realized there is no turning back. After all, chicken out as an Team In Training member is never an option for me. Jokes away, I think I was ready. 10 months of solid training. Two amazing coaches, tremendous supports from family/friends/teammates/donors (not in order)... there was nothing to worry about.
By now I was second away from the start, Coach Paul told us 1000 times to stay in the front of the pack and let other swim pass you. Well, I stayed at the back. I just didn't feel like getting swim over by someone, getting kick in the face and then lose my goggle.
6:30 am: At 08/01/2009 6:30 am, I, Louis Kwan from Monterey Park, finally started my first Ironman... the final exam from a course call Team In Training Ironteam. I just want to finish, kind of like taking a pass/fail option in a class. I am going to improve my time on my second ironman. This ironman is just a test to see if I can finish an ironman without any major issues.
Full Vineman Swim 2.4 miles (3862 meters) 2 loops
time: 01:56:20.8 (~ 1/2 hr for each 1/2 the loop)
time of day: 6:30 am - ~ 8:30 am
Description: This is a two loops course in a river. No sharks, No seaweed to 'grab' your leg, no monster wave. In fact you can actually stand up in part of the course because the river is so shallow.
I started swimming and was uneventful for a while. A lot of people passed me and I did not care. I kept on swimming, 1 meter at a time. After a while I started to see people stand up walking!!! I did not give in and continue to swim. However at the turn around point, I stood up and started walking because a lot of people were walking. Then I felt like I was cheating so I dived back to the water after several steps. My speed picked up as I was now swimming with the current. After 20 minutes I saw the Red Pyramid 'Turn' around Buoy and I was happy. One lap down, one more to go I thought. BUT... when I got to that buoy, I realized that wasn't the 'turn buoy'... the real one was sitting where I started... several hundreds yard away. This totally screwed me up. Right then everything was in slow motion. The next few minutes felt like hours. (below is a diagram for reference, don't look at the cartoon yet... I'll explain in a second)
Eventually I finished lap one and the slow motion thing went away. I continued to swim and I reached to the turn around point half an hour later. Right then I needed to make a decision. I knew I need to pee and I knew I can hold it until I finished the swim. However peeing at the transition area means I need to 'run' to the porta potty and back... thus wasting my time. Since I promised Coach Paul/Rad not to 'mess' around during transition, I decided to pee in my wetsuit so I can saved a minute or two in transition. BEFORE I GO ON I WANT TO TELL YOU THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE PEE IN THEIR WETSUIT. IN FACT MOST OF MY TEAMMATE DO... WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF TRIATHLON! Now the real question is... how? During the season I been trying to pee in my wetsuit with no success. I don't recall my mom saying stuff like 'Pee in the swimming pool, it's fun'. Actually I been trying to pee the last 1 1/2 hr and nothing came out. I tried to pee while swimming... no... not working. I tried to pee while I am just floating (like a dead fish)... no... not working. I concluded that standing up may work. So after the turn around point I stood up and started walking away from other swimmers (I do have my manner you know... I don't want to pee while people are swimming next to me).
So now I just stood there pretending to rest and pretend to be busy. Like how you would pretend to chop onion in the kitchen when in fact you are trying to steal food before dinner. Then a hand padded my shoulder, It was my teammate Marie. She said she saw me standing and she wanted to make sure I was ok. I told her I am ok and I was trying to pee. Right then she pushed me away and started swimming (now you can look at the cartoon). I thought that was very funny. I did pee a few seconds later and I was happy. I accomplished something before I even finished my 2.4 mi swim! Anyway, I let some water into my wetsuit so I don't feel like I am swimming with pee. Soon after, I saw the finishing arch and I headed to that direction. As I get closer I kicked harder to make sure blood are going back to my brain. This way I won't feel dizzy when I jump out of the water. Next thing I know, I was out of the water.
T1: Transition from Swim to Bike (07:56.5)
As I was running... well I think I was walking... ok let's try this again. As I was walking out of the water I can hear people talking to me, it was Coach Paul and a few other teammates. Paul said 'It's not that bad right?' and I knot my head. Since I told Paul I am not going to mess around I did not stop for them. I kept on running and focus the task to take off my wetsuit. I took off half of my wetsuit (upper body) and I started running to the wetsuit stripper. In theory, you lay down, get your ass up in the air and the stripper will pull the wetsuit out of your body so you don't have to spend like a minute trying to take it off yourself. I ran up to the strippers and there were a bunch of them. They were all yelling something at me and I heard nothing but noise. I felt like a solider in an amphibious landing. Since I knew what I am supposed to do I just sit down with my back on the ground and let them to do their thing. Next thing I know I was up with my wetsuit on the shoulder. I found a wetsuit stripping video from another race, check out 0:23
Thanks to the dry run I did before the race, I ran straight to my bike and started to prepare for the bike. I grabbed my cycling short and went straight to the changing tent. I got in and there was another guy changing. I notice the curtain was a bit too small for the tent but I didn't really care. I needed to get out of the transition, I don't really care if you see my butt. I took off my tri short and put on my cycling short, then I ran back to my transition area. I was happy that I was in and out just like that. I got back to my rack and did the sequence like one of those Honda Car Robot (the one that build car... not ASIMO... or Strong Machine 2).
I did the following
1. Dry myself (a quick wipe)
2. Change from TNT tri top to TNT cycling jersey (I wasted time to change because I have been biking with the same clothes for 10 months and I don't want any surprise by using my TNT tri top and short).
3. Put on Heart Race Monitor and Nip guard (didn't stick so I didn't put my nip guard on)
4. Put food on my left jersey pocket, (Id, insurance card, cash, eye drop... all in one ziplog bag) and tire repair kit in the middle pocket, and an extra tire tube on my right pocket.
5. Spray sun screen on my body. Apply sunscreen lotion on my face cheek, nose, and my neck (well I did not apply it, I got a lot of it and just wipe it across my face... ONCE!!! just to save time... that's why I look so white on my pictures =P)
6. Put on Glove, Sunglasses, and Helmet, and also turn on my bike computer.
7. Put on Sock, and Shoe.
8. Put my wetsuit and all the other stuff in a bag so that the volunteer can transport my bag back to the finishing area (I did a dry run just to make sure everything fit in my bag so I don't waste my time trying to stuff my bag... smart huh?)
9. Started running to the transition exit with my bike.
Somewhere between step 1 - 9 I heard Paul and my teammates tell me to hurry up. There were actually kind of far away but for some reason I can hear them. I want to tell you guys that as much as I have 1000 steps I was focus to get out fast. More importantly I was making good time. I knew they were trying to encourage me and tell me not to think about this thing too much... but at that moment I snapped and told them to shut up. Seriously, I told them to 'SHUT UP'. Sorry Coach Paul and whoever that were there. I am sorry!
I did 1-9 and started to head out. Since the whole transition area is on a pebble parking lot, I was actually running on carpet. And since I was kind of dragging my bike on an uneven surface my bike was hopping left and right. As I was running to the exit I almost took out a swimmer at the wetsuit stripper station... 5 seconds after I lost control and my bike fell to the ground. At this point I was like... ok... I better 'walk'. So I walked very fast and I actually caught up to the guy in front of me. Since we are all on this one lane carpet I was kind of stuck behind him. I can go to the rocky area and go around him, but I need to carry my bike because I don't want rock to get on my bike (you never know where the next sharp rock is). Right then I saw Coach Rad and I gave him that 'dude this guy is blocking me' kind of look. He told me to chill... slow down, so I just walked out of the transition area. I saw Aubrey, Matt, and Sarah on my way out and they took pictures of me. I really appreciated my teammates. They did the half ironman back in May and they drove all the way up to Napa just to cheer for us. It was awesome! After I walked up this little hill right out of the transition area I got on my bike and I was on my way.
Vineman Bike 112 miles (180 km) 2 loops
time: 07:45:49.3 (~ 3:30 for 1st loop 4:15 for the 2nd loop)
time of day: 8:30 am - ~ 4:15 pm
Bike Course (Click here to view full size map)
My Garmin Connect Player... if you want to see a little dot moving thru the course (click to see my actual pace for the bike)
The first few miles were all mental. Since I got off the swim late there wasn't any biker around me. I wanted to bike as fast as I can but I told myself to resist. My time will come, I need to pace myself. I was cold and I regret not riding with a bike shell. My back was a bit tight and I did not pay much attention to it. While I was on River Road car will pass by and yell Go Team! That's always nice. At around mile 5 I started to catch up the slower bikers. By then my back started to hurt and it made me ride slow. It did not help at all when there are rollers in this part of the course. I bike up, down, up, down, up, down. They were by no mean big hill but it drained the life out of me. I wanted to stop and stretch but decide to push forward. I told myself to ride out of it. I calculated that if I were to go at this speed, I will not make the cut off... I need to at least keep moving.
It took forever but I managed to get to the first aid station at around mile 20. I throw away one of my bottle and grab a bottle of water from the volunteer. It was a little scary because I was riding and grabbing the bottle at the same time... something I did only twice (in case you are wondering, people do this to save time!). I drunk some of it and poured some of it on my jersey to keep my temperature low. Then I caught a break. I rode out of the back pain!!! Yay! I am now going at around 18-20mph instead of the 9mph that I was doing. I continued to ride and passed more people. At around mile 29 I caught up to Marie.
At mile 43 I arrived Chalk Hill, the biggest hill in the course. Since my coach have been giving the team tough love, I got up the hill with no problem. I rode further, then saw Jen, Tom, and Kelly cheering at the sideline. By that time I was making very good progress. I was actually passing people on an uphill when I saw them.
At around mile 51 I saw someone in trouble and I stopped to gave him my CO2. He was very happy that I stopped because he ran out of CO2. I had extras in my bike need bag (waiting for me at mile 56) so I was happy to help out someone.
I started biking again and I was riding pretty close to the 2 girls in front of me. Right then I heard motorcycle behind me. Concerned about race official I slow down to get out of the girls' draft zone. Next thing I know the official were writing down the girl's race number in a little notebook!
After a few miles I decided to stop and to pee. I stopped at an aid station and lay my bike down (because road bike don't have kick stand). Then I realized my back are in a lot pain... to the point where I cannot bend my back!!! Great, what am I going to do? Keep moving forward I must. I went to porta potty, got back on the bike, and started riding. I stopped at the half way point to resupply myself. I needed to put the bag on top on my aerobar because I cannot bend my back. Balancing my supply and bike... with my back hurting like hell... is definitely a balancing act. I swapped out what I needed and took off.
I was going so slow I was discouraged. Marie passed me and asked me if I am ok. I told her I am ok and told her to go ahead. But I wasn't. I was going ultra slow but I continue to make progress... 1 meter at a time. You see that big blue square on the map... that's where I was hurting the most. Freaking rollers did not help either.
Eventually I told myself to screw this not stopping thing and stopped. I stretched my back and got a little better.
By now you guys are probably bored with this going forward stuff, but that's what I did... moving forward.
At mile 73 I got back to the aid station and a ton of teammates were there to cheer for me. Matt went up to me and cheer for me as Pikachu. Coach Paul/Rad were there. Sarah and Aubrey was there. I stopped and the girls hold the bike for me. I said I wanted something to drink and I think Coach Rad went to the aid station and got me some water. I told Paul/Rad about my problem and they said to just stretch it out and go smooth. I took sometime to stretch my back and it was helping. They kept on telling me that I was doing a good job but I did not feel like I was doing well because I was going so slow. I think Captain Awesome and Caroline were also there to cheer. I am sure there were more people over there but those are the one that I remembered. Sorry if I forgot to mention your name! All your support was well received.
After a few minutes I left that aid station and continue my ride. Again, I started feeling better and I started to go faster. Then my chain came off. While I was fixing my chain Irene passed me and I was happy to see a familiar face. When I got to the next station I stopped for a minute and I stretched.
By now I started to talk to the cyclist around me because we were kind of at the same pace. Actually I was faster than them. But because I stopped at water station we ended up going at the same pace. There were a few people that I like to mention.
Girl A: I think she was 26 (from looking at the age on her leg). She was struggling. I tried to talk to her but she did not respond =(
Woman with Lavaman jersey: I actually talked to her for a bit. She was a TNT alumni.
The older Cyclist: We were about the same pace. He usually passed me on the up hill and I would passed him on downhill and flat. We joked and encouraged each other. We rode near each other for maybe a good 15-20 miles before I needed to stop and pee.
After 7 hr and 45 minutes, I finally finished the bike. I was happy just to get off my bike!
Overtaking the cyclist in front of me: actually I just stand up in front of the camera to look cool =P
T2: Transition from Bike to Run (05:54.9)
After I dismounted I ran to my rack and rack bike. I was looking for a change tent but I don't see one so ran with my biking short. I don't remember the exact sequence but I did the following.
- Remove Helmet
- Remove Grove
- Remove Cycling Shoe, Cycling Sock
- Took off my cycling shirt and put on my TNT SGV Marathon Purple Shirt with the phase '4 Tyler' on the back
- Try to put on nip guard again but it won't stick!
- Put on Running Sock
- Put on Running Shoe
- Put on Running Belt (the Belt where it has the number attached)
- Spray Sun Screen. Put on sun screen lotion on my face... again... just one wipe! (Now that I look at the picture I look like a Geisha!)
- Took the Garmin Watch off the bike and put it on my wrist
- Put on my Mountain Hardwear Cap (Like I said before, I want a part of hiking on me)
- Put on my running belt (with half a bottle of liquid)
then I took off... well... before I really took off, I went to the porta potty to pee. Then I ate like 1 oreo at the aid station at the transition exit, then took off.
Vineman Run 26.2 miles 3 out and back loops
time of day: 4:28 pm - ~ 10:30 pm
Run Course (click for full size picture)
My Garmin Connect Player (Click to see my actual pace)
As soon as I ran out to the street I see a crowd of people cheering. I saw my LA teammates and the Northern California Ironteam. I continue to run and saw a lot of Ncal Ironteam people cheering for you at around mile 1. I liked how the guy ask for my name when my name is on my shirt. I ran a little and saw Eurie. I asked her if she is ok and she complained about something that I can't help. I asked her do you need this, this, or this instead (stuff I do have). She said she was fine and gave me one of those 'If you don't disappear RIGHT NOW I will never eat Korean Fried Chicken with you' kind of look. Since fried chicken was on the line I ran away from her as fast as I can. I saw Sharon and we ran together for a little bit. I then saw David and we ran a little bit. I saw other teammates as they were finishing their first loop already. Anyway, since this is a 3 loops out and back course (meaning you go from point a to point b... then back the way you came), I got to see everyone in my team. Everyone was looking good!
I stopped to pee, eat, talked to cow, and then I reached the turn around point. Stopped at every aid station to eat something, pour some water on me, pee, and then I finished lap 1.
I moo at them during the run and they look at me funny. photo by: The Zen In You
orange mountain hardwear cap: To show my passion for the mountain. To show my hiking friends that they can also run marathons and do triathlons if they want to.
Team In Training Purple Marathon Jersey with the phase '4 Tyler' on the back: My root for doing endurance sport. The reason why I sign up for an Ironman.
Team In Training Purple Marathon Jersey with the phase '4 Tyler' on the back: My root for doing endurance sport. The reason why I sign up for an Ironman.
On lap 2 I chatted with a few more people and had even more fun at the aid station. Unlike a marathon aid station, an ironman aid station has water, gatorade, and cola. They also have energy block, power bar, oreo, tortilla chip, and fig newton. So I usually mix and match my intake. Too bad they don't have hamburger =(
I wasn't tired but my pace was very slow. I average about 2 hr for a little over 8 miles. I did not give it much thought since I know I will make the cutoff. I was actually in la la land because nothing was hurting so I was just running and walking. However, some of my teammates were in pain but they keep pushing forward. They inspired me!
Now that I think about it, I think I was slower because my body was trying to save reserve. Being a hiker I can never go all out. As many hikers agree, reaching to the top of the mountain is only half way, you have to have enough energy to come back down... safely! I rather go slow and not hit the wall.
During the second part of the second loop, this shirtless man came up to me and started talking to me. It was the older guy on the bike!!! We talked a bit and he disappeared. He walks fast, very fast!
As I am finishing off my 2nd loops some of my teammates were already finishing up their last lap. I saw Pikachu and a few other teammates. I saw Captain Awesome and Caroline. Coach Rad was cheering for me. I was just doing my thing. I had a cola at this station and then gatorade/oreo at the next. Life is good.
By the time I finished my 2nd laps the crowd got thinner and it started to get dark. I put on my Petzl e+LITE so I can see the road. Then it got dark.... very dark. Which did not bother me at all because I am used to hiking in the dark. Also I am not scared running in the dark. I usually scare myself when I am on the mountain because the cave people may come out and eat you (Damn you Ronnie for making me watch 'the descent'). But I am in the city so I am good... at least that's what I think =P
Getting Dark!!! Photo by The Zen In You
By now there were even less people running so the volunteer at the aid station were very... I meant... very attentive! When they see me, they would yell 'What would you like'... and I would yell 'Cola and Water'. Then the volunteer would have it ready for me when I got there.
Soon I am at the turn around point on lap 3. The guy who's was manning the turn around point is actually a Leukemia Survivor. I stopped, he said Thank You for doing it (he knew I am part of TNT from my shirt), I shook his hand and told him 'Thank you, you guys gave me the courage to do this', then I ran away.
As I was running back I want to make sure all the rest of my teammates were there doing their last lap but it was too dark to know who's who. One person I did saw is Ncal blogger Friend/Teammate Jennifer Jay. There were probably 5-6 people running with her!!! Talking about support!
As I was getting closer to one of last aid station I wanted to thanks the volunteer in a different way. I had been thanking volunteer and officers (they direct traffic) all the day and I want to do something different, so I came up with a plan... When I stopped at that aid station the volunteer asked me what do I need. I pretended to think and I said. 'I needed a high5 from everyone of you'. The volunteer bust out laughing. Good Job Louis.
Next thing I know I was 1 mile away from completing an iron distance event. I saw Coach Rad and he wanted to give me a high5. Since my arm was kind of tight I told him I didn't want to give him a high5 (sorry Rad). Pikachu also came and ran with me (apparently Matt finished his shift and now we have Efren the Pikachu). I started running faster and faster, then I was in the Windsor High School running the last 100 yard of the race. I wanted to go as fast as I can but I stopped because there was a person in front of me and he just crossed the finished line. I waited until the volunteer was able to hold up the ribbon thing, then I dash for the finish.
I crossed the finish line after 16 hours 3 minutes and 57 seconds. I just finished an ironman. But that wasn't the thing that make me happy the most. What made me extremely happy is that I wasn't that tired at all. In fact I still have several hours of energy in me! 4 hours back I knew Ironman is durable and I know I can do another ironman. Crossing the finish line just confirmed that fact. You can argue that the reason why I wasn't that tired is because I didn't go as fast as I can. Well my goal is just to finish and I do not care about my time. I will go faster next time.
What happened right after Vineman
After I crossed the finish line, I received a medal, removed my timing chip, picked up a finisher shirt, got a cup of water, and then I was surrounded by my teammates and my coaches. My awesome Campaign Manager Rachel pinned my ironman finisher pin to the medal. I told her I needed to go check out and she said I'll take care of it. Sarah went to pick up my stuff from the swim... Javier (Carlo's friend who I met at the LA Marathon) video tape me and he actually waited for me when he was freezing his butt off. In fact everyone was freezing their butt off... including me. So my first order is to get warm. Since I have no 'concept' of getting warm inside the medical tent, I went to the only place where I can get warm... my transition bag. I went to the transition area to put on my mountain hardwear beanie and my mountain hardwear shell. I also put on my shell pant and opened a package of handwarmer for it to get warm. I then pack up everything and pushed my bike out of the transition area. I was going to push my car to the truck but Sarah (or was it Aubrey) came to the rescue by pushing my bike to the truck.
After a short while, everyone came in. Yup, everyone in my team finished. That's very important to me. Later I found out that Doctor Harned had 5 flats, fell in the dark during her run, and still managed to finish the race with blood dripping off her knees. Good Job Doctor.
My VIP teammate award go to Eurie. Eurie is freaking awesome. Before Ironteam, she never race before, not even a 5k. She went to the info meeting wanting to sign up for a half marathon but ended up signing up for the Half Ironman, then she switched to the Full. She inspired me.
After we took a group photo, we all headed back to the hotel and slept.
A few teammates weren't around when we gather for the picture =(
What I learned from the Ironman experience?
- You don't need a six pack to do an Ironman
- You can join the Ironteam even if you don't know how to swim, bike, and run
- You don't need any racing experience to join the Ironteam
- You can eat whatever you want during your ironman training. You just won't lose weight *_* (I thought you can eat whatever and lose weight =P)
- You can achieve anything you want if you put your mind into it
- People pee in their wetsuit and people pee while they ride... yes girls too...
- Mt Shasta is still the toughest thing I ever done. Actually this is not a fair comparison because I did not train 10 months for Mt Shasta. The Cold, The Wind, The Lack of Air up at 14,000 ft, The 17 hours day... ya it was tough for me.
The most important thing I learned from this Ironman training is.:
- battling cancer is much harder than doing an Iron Distance Event
Don't get me wrong, Ironman is not easy and all my teammates deserves a big high5. Below is a few comparison that I came up with
Ironman training: 10 months of training and a 16 hours day
Cancer treatment: treatment can last for years.
Ironman training: wetsuit, bike, shoe, helmet, nutrition... maybe several thousands
Cancer treatment: $10,000 for a dose of chemo. Think you have insurance? Think again. A lot of insurance policy has a life time cap. I know a cancer survivor (she is in her late 30's with 2 kids) who is going to run out of insurance coverage because she is reaching the life time cap (1 million dollars)
Ironman: During the last 10 months I vomited a few times, experience nasty back pains on my back (I compare the pain as doing a bone marrow transplants... even though I never done one before) and I broke down maybe just once or twice because it's too hot or I did not drink enough water.
Cancer Fighter: Lost of hair, lost of strength (people stare at a man when his wife carry all the grocery), vomit during chemo, radiation, staying at the hopsital
Ironman: Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!
- commander Collins, USN (1978)Cancer Fighter: Nothing. Do you think people brag about how many chemo they completed? One is too many for me!!!
Ironman: When you are tried and you can't go on, you tell yourself to keep moving. If you really want to give up, you can. Seriously, I do it because it's fun.
Cancer Fighter: They cannot give up. Because losing the battle is not an option. They need to constantly move forward.
There you have it. Why I have so much respect for people who are battling cancers. Why I think health is more important than most things in life. My first half ironman and ironman are my tributes to people who are battling cancers. They taught me to continue move forward and not focus on bad things that already happened. They are my heroes.
Tyler Cordova, the toughest kid I know! He is currnetly in City of Hope doing radiation and chemo.
Messages for my friends
- Get out there and do something that you always want to accomplish. No need to lose 5 lbs first, no need to wait for a better time. No need to get an expensive bike. No need to join a gym membership first. The best time to do something is now.
- If you want something, you need to work for it. There is no magic lose weight program. You cannot eat whatever you want and get lapband a week after. If you want to lose weight, you need to exercise and eat healthy. I am sick of watching all these lose weight and self help commercials.
- Thank you for your support, thank you for reading this.
The Next Step
I am going to be the mission/photo captain for the 2010 Ironteam. I am planning to do the Wildflower Half Ironman and Full Vineman again. This time, however, I am doing it for myself. Part of me want to do Ironman Japan in 2010, but I want to have more experience first before going international.
Now that I finished this race report, I can go clean my room!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ExtrasJavier actually video taped me
My Official Race Photos (I did not carry a camera during the race)
My roommate Edmund made a video. Check it out. You'll get a sense of what went on that day (You need to use firefox to open... I think)
Edmund Vineman Video
This youtube video kind of sum up how I felt before my race. Also my shout out to the troops.
- Everyone was nervous leading up to the event
- Coach Paul/Rad gave us last minute instruction before we took off.
- Coach Paul/Rad told us to be happy
- Bad things may happen, but we are trained to deal with it