Dirt in your skirt blog

Day 96 & 97… A Long Day to Remember

Posted on September 13, 2011 by Margaret Schlachter
Words like epic, emotional,transformative, reflective and many more could be used to describe this pastweekends events in NYC. It seems when I take the time to sit down and writeabout most of my more recent profound experiences I always want to prefacewith, where do I begin, as so many others will I am sure when trying to recountback the last 48 hours or so. So instead of lingering on where to begin, I justwill start it might not be the absolute beginning but it’s my story.


After a late night onFriday and a wonderful morning being lazy and sleeping in at MScan’s apartment.She was nice enough to give me her room for the night while she slept in herroommates. Her bed is magical as I got the best nights sleep I have ever gottenin NYC. Katy came over with “Mini Me” her protégé and we spent mostof the day eating and sitting around.
We arrived at the GORUCKNYC HQ around 6pm to prep for our 8pm class. Upon arrival we were informed achange was about to happen as one of the Cadre’s had to leave town last minuteand our class was being merged with two others. Our new departure time would bemidnight. We were also told that if the whole class showed up we could beheading out early. Thus began the hurry up and wait stage of this challenge.For me it was no big deal reminded me of years as a ski racer sitting in lodgeswaiting. Some funny moments ensued over the next couple hours, but that’s notwhy you are reading this blog. You want to hear the action.
Around 2330 we gathered upand headed outside to form up as a class outside of 385 Broadway. My bag was packed with my bricks, water, and tons of snacks, probably weighing in the range of 30lbs give or take dry. Our camera crew following us, one MScan and Mini. Extra weigh was distributed and we had our coupons. Coupons are special little add-ons distributed by the group. Then our Cadre, Jason, came out and we werequickly in two lines (two sticks) and running down the streets of NY. GORUCKClass 063 was off.
Quickly, we learned that notworking together had it’s punishment, the first form was push-ups as a group,when we couldn’t get that down we digressed into bear crawls, and when thatdidn’t work we did inchworms. My new least favorite thing. Inchworms are a formof push-ups done in a line where the person in front of you has their legs onyour shoulders and you are on the person behinds shoulders. For me I had one ofthe largest guys on me the first time we did these. The whole goal at this point was to break down the class until we became a team. We lost the ability to verbally communicate with each other for a couple hours and had to learn towork as a team with actions and not words.
After the group did theinchworm for what was easily over a half hour we progressed back to a bear crawl which we proceeded to do around Washington Square Park for over an hour,as the same time we were doing these we also did Indian Sprints. If you are not familiar with Indian Sprints it’s when the people from the back break off ofthe line and take over the front. This would happen each time the cadre saidGO. If the incorrect number of people went, we went back to inchworms. If theline was broken, we went back to inchworms. The entire time we were around Washington Square many people were wondering what these people were doing, andI have no doubt I lain in urine more than once. At some point we did push-ups on the curb again, time meshed together during the evening.
Finally, we progressed back to our feet after a couple hours not walking but into walking lunges, still unable to talk toeach other we had to figure out how as a group of 41 to do this in unison. Ittook about an hour for us to get it correct, at which point we were allowed to take a break and get water and talk to each other again. I refueled my body with gels, bars, water, and more. Ready for the next revolution. I had never been so happy to be able to walk/run in my life when we lined it back up and left Washington Park.
At this point we were back in jogging Indian Sprints it was probably about 0300 and the drunk people were out taking in the spectacle that was us. Each time we reached a street cornerand we could not cross for traffic in unison we did squats. Along the way wemet the other class that was out and passed off the LOG. This log was huge andweighed about a thousand pounds. It took over 15 people at a time to carry it. We procured the log somewhere near NYU and proceeded to carry it back to it’s homein Brooklyn over the next four and a half hours over the Manhattan Bridge through a part of Brooklyn and laid it back on the sand. During this time we did many more inchworms and most of the way over the bridge we lost the ability to use our shoulder straps if we weren’t carrying the log, because we were not moving fast enough for the cadre. The sun rose while on the bridge and we reached the beach in Brooklyn around 8ish in the morning. Four and a half hoursand a couple miles later of carrying the log we were done with the thing.
After we lay the, at this point mother effing, log on the rocky ground we formed a line and took on a time honored tradition in the East River, flutter kicks in the morning. I maybe sterile after getting in the river, but it was worth it. McCabe and I were arm in arm trying not to get the water in our mouths as we kicked. Not only did we get the pleasure once but twice to kick in the East River together as a class.As we kicked we took in the skyline of NY and took a moment to remember the 343 who lost their lives around that exact moment ten years earlier. At this point the whole thing became more powerful and meaningful. Looking over at the vacant space where the Twin Towers once stood brought it all into prospective. We were doing this in remembrance of those who lost their lives protecting others.
Once we got out of the water, we formed back up and headed towards the Brooklyn Bridge to continue our journey. We had progressed to now fully walking and talking together; until formation was broken then we got to do some more inchworms. Then we got together for the time-honored tradition of buddy carry. At this point, I was relieved of my ruck and on the back of one of my classmates. One might think I got off easy but in fact this killed my back trying to stay still for my carrier. We did this for three quarters the length of the bridge. We stopped along the way to take a group picture and think about the gravity that the day held. The original plan was to go to Ground Zero but with heightened security and the time of day we did not want to disrespect the families instead we took a moment to remember why we were doing this and who we were honoring. One of my classmates carried a flag that flew while he was stationed in Iraq all the members of our team who have served got in the front and the gravity of this moment was not lost to anyone. I watched Katy unroll the flag and the moment overwhelmed me as a tear came to my eye. As we headed off the bridge I was overwhelmed by the moment and proud to be able to share this experience with an exceptional group of people. But our journey was not over.
As we headed up towards Union Square, we did again have to carry our packs not on our back and again did more squats at lights. Hit up a Starbucks bathroom as a group along theway. This was interesting. We carried our bags in are hands and basically atthis point just did whatever we were told to. No one knew when it was going to end but we couldfeel it getting closer. When we reached Union Square chanting “U S A” a wave of Patriotism came over all of us. Our Cadre Jason had a few words for us. It wasat this moment a sense of accomplishment came over me, and the tears began. We gathered up for pictures, cried, hugged and realized it was all over. Before heading back to GORUCK HQ we took a moment as a group of silence to remember all those lost not only on this day ten years ago but all those who have lost their lives to allow us to complete this challenge on that day. It was powerful moment that is nearly impossible to describe.
Before concluding this opus of a blog post I must thanks some key people, Keith Jolly for getting me into this class. Thank you I could not have had this experience without your work.Katy McCabe, it was still all her idea. MScan and Mini for following us along, even though they didn’t do the challenge they were as much a part of it asanyone, and they shared our emotions at the end. Thank you to the rest of GORUCK Class 063 and Cadre Jason for making it happen. Finally thank you to all those who continue to fight to maintain our freedom and protect us domestically and abroad. Video to come for now you have to link from here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuCCMftiSls. Our journey officially ended just before 1100 on Sunday morning.

This was a truly specialway to remember and experience 9/11/11 and will never be forgotten.