On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mid-week diversion

This has nothing to do with running.

I mean, I could make some sort of convoluted analogy and connect it to running, but it would be a stretch.

I had a rather interesting Saturday:

What you see right there is my leg, complete with an open femur break with active hemorrhaging. But Tracy! How did you then run a 10k on Sunday? Oh, come on, you can tell that it's fake, right?

A few weeks ago, when the Red Cross emailed and said that they were looking for 200 volunteers to participate in a plane crash drill at JFK, I jumped at the chance - even though it meant waking up at 5am on a Saturday to head out to the far end of Queens. The trek from Harlem to Queens - well, I wouldn't even run that far! (There you go: your connection to running.)

Let me tell you, 5am-7am on the subway were dark hours of me regretting signing up to do this. BUT THEN! When I actually arrived, they told us that we needed to rush to register so that they could prepare our makeup. Makeup! Yes! Suddenly I was literally jumping around with excitement.

Basically, each of the volunteers was playing a plane crash victim (survivor or not) in various states of distress. The police moulage team applied fake injuries to us to give it that kick of authenticity. (By the way, don't ask the moulage team if they "do makeup full time" like I did. No. They're police sergeants by day and moulage artists as needed.)

I asked for something exceptionally bloody. Why not?

Sadly, the best injuries - torso lacerations with exposed intestines, scalp injuries - were found on the dead people, and those volunteers didn't get made up. The crew was running short on time, so the casualties just hung out.

They herded us all onto buses to take us into the secure part of the airport. Interestingly, it was the same section of the airport that I'd previously said I "really wanted to go to" when I did the runway run. Wish: granted. And boy, was it worth it.

First, they set a few test planes on fire to put them out:

Several times:

Then, they "rescued" us, slowly assessing our injuries (by reading off of the cards) and assigning us a status: black for dead or green/yellow/red, depending on the severity of our injuries. The greens walked right off. Those of us yellows or reds (woot woot!) were carried off in a sledge:

My turn! I'm sure you were hoping for a photo of my stomach, no?

Once I'd been removed from the scene of the accident by the firemen and set up with the other reds, the EMTs assessed my condition and deemed me actually a yellow. I tried to tell them that I was actively hemorrhaging, but I'm not sure they appreciated me repeatedly saying, "I'm not going to make it! I need medical attention!" I rather suspect that I died waiting for care. (All I wanted was to ride in an ambulance, which I never have.* Can you blame me?)

After the exercise was over and I'd claimed my "I participated in a drill" t-shirt (not kidding), I did what any other New Yorker would have and took the subway home, scaring children the whole way. And no, no one got up to give me a seat on the subway...

One 20 minute shower later and I was fresh and whole once more.

*Yes, this is true. And yes, my father was a paramedic until his retirement a couple of years ago. I guess it's a good thing I've never ridden in an ambulance.

One last note (and it is running related): I added a new feature to my running log, which is my rolling stats. So finally, finally I can say I've achieved a goal I've been looking forward to for a bit (100m for the month):


  1. Wow! 100 miles this month! That's a lot! :) And 15:21 total is speedy! Way to go! :)

  2. You ran 32.3 miles in 5:06:02 over 7 days? That's a 9:28 pace!! I am more impressed with that than the 100 miles.

  3. Oh yeah the 100 miles is even a faster pace!

  4. You guys are funny.

    It doesn't include the days when I run without a Garmin, and I don't care enough about my average pace to calculate it (I can't turn the "time" feature off on RunningAhead that I've figured out).

    I think Christel figured that one out pretty easily in that I'm very near an ultramarathon record there with my 100m in 15 hours :)

  5. I got to ride in an ambulance once, but my biggest regret is that I don't remember it at all. (Head injury from a car accident.) No fun!

    Also: woohoo for 100 mile months! I don't think I've ever hit that.

  6. dude. so crappy. glad you were just a volunteer. ha!