In my quest to differentiate Half-Fast from the many other running blogs out there, I am debuting a new feature today called Emergency Procedures. There are many excellent running blogs around that offer sound coaching (Runner’s Lounge), scientific analysis (Science of Sport), humorous poop stories (Lawsons Do Dallas & 21 Days), and “hydration” advice (Booze Hounds Inc.), but no one is giving advice to runners about what to do when faced with an extreme emergency. That all changes today. Emergency Procedures will be an ongoing feature that will appear here at Half-Fast on a random and inconsistent schedule based loosely on its popularity. Today’s topic as you may have already guessed is Quicksand!
First let’s start with a couple of preventative measures that you can take:
1. Do not fall into quicksand. Avoid running in areas where there might be quicksand. Warning signs of quicksand to look out for are sand, water, mud, marshes, swamps and signs that read ‘Danger: Quicksand!’ Also be sure to avoid the Fire Swamp which is the only known location in the world where ‘Lightning Quicksand’ exists and is the natural habitat of the R.O.U.S.
2. Tie your shoelaces tight. This will not prevent you from falling into quicksand but it will prevent you from having to buy new shoes when you’re extricated, and I think we all know how expensive new shoes are.
Now let’s take a look at what you should do if you were stupid enough to ignore my preventative measures or if you were cast as the damsel in distress in an old Tarzan movie. In the event that you find yourself trapped in quicksand or maybe even a sinkhole while you’re out running, please follow the emergency procedures outlined below.
1. STOP YOUR WATCH. The most dangerous thing about quicksand is that it can really mess up your splits, which is why it’s critical that you stop your watch as soon as you realize that you’re caught up in quicksand. If you’re wearing a Garmin hold it up above the quicksand as high as you can (because it’s expensive) and maybe it will tell the satellite to send help (no it won’t).
2. Don’t panic. You’ve stopped your watch so you’re not losing any time off your run. Despite what you might think, now is the time to be cool and collected. Catch your breath and rest your legs so that you can finish your run strong when you get out.
3. Take pictures. No one’s going to believe your awesome quicksand story without some visual evidence.
4. If you can still reach your waistband, retie it a little tighter. You don’t want those pants coming off when you are pulled to safety.
5. Yell and scream for help like a little girl.
6. If someone shows up to assist you, help them to remain calm by cracking jokes. For example, when they ask you if you’re stuck or need assistance, tell them “No, I’m not stuck, my legs were running too fast for my torso and now I’ve lost them, have you seen them?”
7. If no one shows up to help you, the best solution is to try to remember what you’ve seen on survival shows on TV, and not what you’ve read here at Half-Fast. I think I once saw someone lay on his back and pull his legs up out of the quicksand one at a time, give that a shot.
8. Do not dive back in to retrieve an item of lost clothing (unless it’s your Garmin, because those are expensive and worth the additional risk).
I hope and pray that none of you will ever find yourselves trapped in quicksand while you’re running, but I am confident that you will survive it now that I’ve armed you with the information you need.