Sunday, October 01, 2006

FDNY Tunnel to Towers Run

NYC is the only place in the world that you can visit, eat any food you want (including lots of Italian and street hotdogs), drink all the beer you want, and you come back having lost a pound. By the time the day of the Tunnel to Towers Run came around, I'd walked approximately 57 miles through Manhattan, my feet were sore, my hips were aching, my calves were burning... But as soon as the race shuttle drove through Battery Tunnel and came out on the other side in Brooklyn where the start of the race was, I forgot all the aches. The energy was insane. 15,000 of us got ready to run. Our group of 9 were towards the front with the firefighters, police and military runners, and we were directly behind a sea of red shirts worn by the crazy firefighters from London who kept lifting each other up to moon the rest of the crowd. I'm pretty sure they'd hit the bars before the run. :-)

When the doves were released and the horn blown, we all took off, into Battery Tunnel. The tunnel is only big enough wide for two cars, and because it goes under water it starts off going steeply down, then right back up again. It was 1.5 miles long, and the tunnel was HOT. I was right in front of a group from West Point all running in cadence. The sound of them singing and the footsteps echoing in the tunnel were incredible. When they passed me ('cause I'm SLOW), the group of Marines caught up singing cadence as well. On the incline of the tunnel the NY firefighters were all in their dress blues were lined up on the right side, every other one holding a flag, and the other every other one holding a large banner with the picture of a fallen brother on it. 343 firefighters were killed on 9/11. All those banners were almost too much.

That second picture is from after the race, but those are the same guys who were in the tunnel. Anyway, the tunnel was brutal enough that I really wanted to walk some of it, but there were so many people that if you stopped running you'd get run over. When we finally (finally!) were close enough to see the light outside the tunnel, the sound of the FDNY bagpipe band echoed in the tunnel.

For the rest of the race there were fire engines and ladders at every intersection, cheerleaders, high school bands, rock bands... And when we came into Battery Park the FDNY fire boats were on the Hudson spraying water.

The run ended at the World Trade Center site. When I ran over the finish line I noticed a man leaning over a railing shaking hands. Rudy Giuliani! And I shook his hand!

There was a big festival at the finish line with all kinds of free food, a few famous people (Kelsey Gramer for one), music, and some speeches. We were so hyped up after the run that we decided to hit a bar instead of heading back to the hotel to shower up. The best way to find a bar? Ask a local. The best way to find an insane party? Ask a firefighter. We got adopted by a couple of FDNY guys who took us to a bar called Suspenders. The place was PACKED with firefighters.

Girls, let me tell you, this was any female's DREAM. I was one of a handful of women in a bar filled with burly manly men in uniforms. Um, YUM. The bar bought drinks for everyone for the first two hours, and it took just about that long to get completely out of control.

Pictures of that next time... :-)


Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty said...

What an incredibly fantastic experience! It must have been a little bittersweet with all those pictures of the fallen firefighters and the bagpipes in the tunnel.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Janet said...

hmmm...I was married to one firefighter and dated another (a NYFD firefighter, actually) and neither one of them was a dream LOL! But maybe that's just cause of me ;-)

7:48 AM  

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    I'm Amanda. I'm an engineer in an industry full of men, a professional wedding and family portrait photographer, a firefighter's wife, a traveler, and a dogMa.

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