Friday, January 1, 2010

Looking for Urban Gets Diesel?

Effective January 1, 2010... find all my good stuff over at www.whole9life.com. (Subscribe to W9 posts here... and thanks for your continued reading.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The future of Urban Gets Diesel

Based on a good conversation we had with the members of Potomac CrossFit during our nutritional seminar earlier this month, we decided to clarify our thoughts on peanuts, and peanut butter. You can read all about why we don't eat peanuts (and why PB is "out" for our Whole30 program) on the Whole9 site.

On that note... I've been thinking long and hard about how best to provide good information, share my own stories and answer reader questions in the coming year. I used to do everything through this blog, until we affiliated. Then, I split my time between the blog and the 603 site, posting articles in both places. Now, we've got the blog, our new CrossFit site and, most recently, our nutritional consulting site (Whole9Life.com).

Having to split my time between three web sites has proven difficult. In addition, Dallas has been writing more for the Whole9, and he and I have been collaborating on a ton of articles (like the recent "Sexy Met-Con" piece). And I've been stuck having to choose the best site to feature the piece while still trying to keep the others current. So what I've decided, sadly but definitively, is this...

It's time to retire the blog. Or, more accurately, it's time to transition everything I would be writing for UGD over to the Whole9 site. The stories, the articles, the training videos and workouts - the appropriate and inappropriate, the professional and the personal - all of it will move with me. I want readers to have ONE resource to find all of our thoughts on training, nutrition, health and fitness. I'd like you to have some continuity in format and location going forward. And frankly, I'd like a break from having to keep three web sites updated on a weekly basis. So we're consolidating efforts and building a bigger, badder, more complete site to house ALL of our good stuff.

On a few technical notes, the blog isn't actually going away. I'll leave everything here and up, so all the old back-links work. I've also imported all the posts to the W9 site, and will continue to monitor posts and comments here in case someone drops a note.

Finally, I assure you, I am not selling out. Sure, the W9 site looks pretty slick. We wanted something that was clean and professional, easy to navigate and nice to look at. But that doesn't mean all of our posts are going PC. The tone of my writing isn't going to change. The content isn't going to change, either... the next time I fall off my box jump, hit a deadlift PR or break a barbell cleaning, you'll hear about it. You can still ask questions, post criticisms, request training, nutrition or rehab advice. You can still share your stories, offer each other support and (I hope) continue to use us as one of your most trusted resources. And most importantly, we promise to continue speaking our mind about everything from chipper met-cons to the kipping pull-up, the Zone diet to our Healthy/F-Off scale, the CrossFit Games to 5x5 strength protocols.

I'll miss posting here - this blog has changed in so many ways in the last year, and I've loved participating in the community we've built. But, I assure you, none of that is changing. All I'm doing from a logistics standpoint is moving next door, and I'm really hoping all my readers here will follow. So please, check out the Whole9 site, and get familiar with our philosophies and methodologies. Update your links from UGD to the W9. Take a minute right now and subscribe to the 9 Blog. In exchange, we promise to update the site with new posts a few times a week, and continue to incorporate your suggestions, recommendations and requests.

So as of the new year, Urban is getting diesel over at the Whole9. And our first official article of 2010 is all kinds of appropriate after the debauchery of the Holiday season, so stay tuned for "9 things to do when you're all banged up." Hope to see you over at the W9, and Happy New Year, everyone.

Please post thoughts to comments... for the last time here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New article up on the Whole9 site

Visit www.whole9life.com for our most recent blog post, "Beware the Lure of the Sexy Met-Con".

Friday, December 18, 2009

Our official response to the Robb Wolf situation

It's no secret that Dallas and I are Robb Wolf students and followers, and I've been asked many times to personally comment on the Robb Wolf de-affiliation. There's no reason to add fuel to the fire over here, which is why I've voiced my personal opinions in private. I will say, however, that it's a shame for all of us that the CrossFit community has lost two of its most valuable, educated and accomplished coaches. It's also a shame that we, as a group, have spent so much time following the drama - time that could have been spent training, coaching, mentoring and learning.

However, Dallas and I felt that as a registered CrossFit Affiliate, we needed take a formal position on recent events. We decided that Dallas would act as our official CrossFit Whole9 spokesperson, and issued a statement in response to Robb's de-affiliation announcement.

______________________________________



Dallas Hartwig
Posted December 16, 2009 at 7:12 am | Permalink

Robb,

You and Nicki have been good to us, and we appreciate that. We have and will continue to be vocal supporters of your training methods, professional conduct, and (science-based!) nutritional practices. You’d be proud – I ate ~4000 calories of good, clean, Paleo food between 7PM and bedtime last night. Greg’s programming is making me HUNGRY.


Posted December 16, 2009 at 8:07 am | Permalink

Dallas!
How the hell did you do that!? Give us a break down on the damage.

Thanks for the support WTW.


Posted December 16, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

Robb,

Here’s the breakdown from last night’s madness:

Post-workout Meal 1 (around 7:30): 6 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 2 medium-large sweet potatoes.

Meal 2 (half an hour later): 10 oz local, organic, grass-fed sirloin steak (rare, of course!), 12 oz broccolini, 4 oz almonds, 1 pear.

Meal 2.5 (dessert from Meal 2, really): 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk, 3 oz walnuts, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup frozen raspberries.

Meal 3 (about 90 minutes after 2.5): the second 10 oz sirloin steak I grilled for Meal 2, 2 Jazz apples with about half a jar of Sunbutter, and about 1.5 cups of sweet potato mash.

Meal 4: 5 hard-boiled eggs, 6 oz fresh blackberries, a big handful of brazil nuts.

Meal 5: 8 oz smoked salmon, half a honeydew melon (a DELICIOUS combination, BTW), and some sauteed zucchini/onions with fresh basil and lime juice.

“Meal” 6: an unrevealed (but very large) amount of Purely Decadent Mint Chip coconut milk “ice cream”. This stuff is CRACK. Be warned. Melissa introduced me to their Chocolate Explosion flavour, and we’ve been spreading the Decadent Love ever since.

And… I woke up RAVENOUS this morning.

Be well, my friend.


Posted December 16, 2009 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

dude…you are a MACHINE!! All hail The Dallas!!



Renee
Posted December 16, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

@Dallas: Try Coconut Bliss’ “Mint Galactica” next time. I prefer theirs to Purely Decadent.

Posted December 17, 2009 at 6:15 am | Permalink

@Renee,
I’ll try the Coconut Bliss, if for no other reason than they make a dessert with the word “Galactica” in the name. That’s just over-the-top enough to get my attention. Though, if it’s any better than the Purely Decadent, I might be in trouble. Thanks for the recommendation.

Robb, have you noticed how I’ve ever-so-subtly distracted folks from the un-fun discussion of HQ politics by talking about frozen desserts?


Robb Wolf
Posted December 17, 2009 at 6:31 am | Permalink

Yea dude, and they made haste in your direction. I nominate you for the next cult leader. This one will be based around ice cream.

I’m in.


Jesse
Posted December 17, 2009 at 9:19 am | Permalink

Ice cream cult? Brilliant! I’ve even got the Catechism right here!

We begin our profession of faith by saying: “I believe” or “We believe”. Before expounding the Church’s faith, as confessed in the Cream, celebrated in the Ice and lived in observance of Ice Cream’s commandments and in prayer, we must first ask what “to believe” means. Faith is man’s response to Ice Cream, which reveals itself and gives itself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life of creaminess.

(I could go on, but I wouldn’t want any roman catholics out there to hate me too much)


Posted December 17, 2009 at 10:17 am | Permalink

Robb, let me say in this public forum that my Coconut Cult will learn to quantify their frozen desserts in a very precise manner. Or else. You still in?


Posted December 17, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

dude, it’s ICE CREAM. So long as I can weigh and measure by the litre I’m in. No smaller increments however.


Posted December 17, 2009 at 9:12 am |

I hereby decree that members of my Coconut Cult (”CocoNutties” – thanks Melissa) will quantify their frozen dessert ONLY by the litre. (Robb, I like the way you think.) If you are unable to commit your Dessert Soul to this worthy cause, you will be excommunicated and will bear the title of Dessert Infidel forever more. Jesse, apparently you instilled some potent (read: dangerous) religious fervor in me. Ha.

______________________________________


And therein lies our official position on recent events. What have we learned from this unfortunate situation? Dallas eats A LOT. Robb likes ice cream. Anything with "Galactica" in the title is probably delicious. And I am good at coming up with clever names for made-up entities like Dallas' new Coconut Cult. I hope you agree that this has truly been time well spent.

Author's Note: I'd like to add that, while Dallas' coconut dessert choice isn't technically "Paleo"... we also don't care. Sure, it's processed and includes some emulsifiers... but as a dessert choice, and as a dairy-free, gluten-free substitute for "real" ice cream, Turtle Mountain's "Purely Decadent" line is a winner all around. I recommend the Mint Chip, which gives Breyer's a serious run for its money. The ingredients are below - Grok may not have eaten it, but WE sure as heck will.

INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC COCONUT MILK, ORGANIC AGAVE SYRUP, CHOCOLATE FLAKE (BEET SUGAR, COCONUT OIL, COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, SOYA LECITHIN, VANILLA), CHICORY ROOT EXTRACT, CAROB BEAN GUM, GUAR GUM, MINT FLAVOR.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Maureen Martone Rule

A few times here on the blog, I’ve referenced “The Maureen Martone Rule.” (As in, “I haven’t dropped the f-bomb here since the inception of the Maureen Martone Rule”.) This story’s background proved to be one of the most important and defining moments in my life as a professional fitness coach, and one I’m happy to share here with you.

Some of you who have been reading the blog since the beginning (July 2008) may know a bit of the back-story. I had switched over to blog format from the CrossFit message boards, where all content was constantly monitored and censored. I wanted the blog mostly to track my own workouts, but I also liked to share funny stories and random musings. Trying to tell some of those stories on the message boards was frustrating, because the rules of posting limit both content and word usage. So I decided to move this party over to the free-for-all that is the internet… and I was determined to use the crap out of my freedom of expression.

I swore. A lot. My use of creative profanity was often excessive and gratuitous, but it didn’t seem to bother those of you who were, at the time, following along, and I was childishly excited to finally be able to speak my uncensored peace. I thought my colorful language added flair, and since I knew my in-person manner was professional and family-friendly, I figured my on-line alter-ego could afford to let loose a little. After all, we’re all grown-ups around here, right?

Fast forward to October 2008, when I met the Martone family (Jeff, Maureen, Kristina and Mike) at my first kettlebell certification. I spent a good deal of time with them that weekend, both socially and during the cert, and really enjoyed their company. Jeff and Maureen proved to be amazingly talented coaches, and when I asked them for some business advice during dinner, they were encouraging and supportive and not afraid to give it to me straight. I decided then and there to try to learn more from them in whatever form I could.

The very next weekend, I was working the gymnastics cert with Tucker at CrossFit Boston. Jeff and Mike Martone were also attending as participants, so we got to spend a lot more time together. Over dinner, I planted the seeds for an assistant coaching gig with Jeff, offering to come help him and Maureen at an upcoming local cert. I’m good at demonstrating, I love public speaking, and I’m professional and responsible – so I figured I had a good shot at scoring an assistant coaching spot.

And then Jeff mentioned that he’d been reading my blog.

I was flattered that he’d spent some time poking around on my site, and he was initially complimentary of the style, quality of writing and the community I was building. But then, without warning, he looked me straight in the eye and dropped the proverbial hammer. "You know what, Melissa? Gotta clean up the language if you want to come work a cert with me. It’s a family affair, y’know what I mean?"

I was shocked. I think I may have even blushed. I mean, sure, I swore on the blog, but I certainly didn't behave like that in person, especially not when working a certification. He could certainly see that from the weekend, as I worked the room helping Tucker coach, demonstrate and spot. I assured him my in-person coaching presentation was nothing but professional, but Jeff just shook his head. “I can see that, but if I just read your blog, I might have thought differently. I mean, my wife thinks you’re great, but I wouldn’t send Mo over there to read your stuff. She wouldn’t like that language at all.”

At that point, I was flat-out embarrassed. I liked Maureen an awful lot, and the thought of her reading my writing and being disappointed was an awful feeling… kind of like when you do something your Mom doesn’t approve of. And I was kicking myself, thinking that I may have lost my chance at participating in something amazing (assisting Jeff at a cert) because of the impressions I made via my blog. So I thanked Jeff for his candor, and went home to think long and hard about our conversation.

That conversation, and its implications for me as a coach, a mentor and a business professional within the fitness community, prompted a post called “A Public Apology to My Mom”. There was much discussion after that post, with people commenting things like, “It’s your blog, and if people are offended, too bad” to “I second the idea that you don’t have to swear to be edgy or funny.” I wondered at the time whether readership would drop, or whether I would have a hard time being as creative and entertaining without using profanity. But from that day forward, I was committed to reflecting a higher standard of professionalism in my writing.

It’s been over a year now. Readership continues to grow, affiliates continue to link… and when was the last time I dropped an f-bomb here? You’d have to dig way, way back, people, and I’m pretty sure I apologized for it up front. And now I’m proud to have a site that everyone – Maureen Martone included – can visit and reference.

The MMR is enforced as follows: If I write a questionable sentence or use a potentially offensive word, I say to myself, “Would I be comfortable with Maureen Martone reading this?” If the answer is no, I edit. So far, it’s worked beautifully – and although I haven’t spoken to Maureen in a few months, I have been working certs with Jeff. I asked him what he thought of the blog while coaching at North Shore CrossFit in August. His response? “I’ve been keeping tabs, Melissa. Good for you.” I’ve heard the same feedback from a few others, including Dallas’ Mum, who told him she’s glad I’ve cleaned up my act. You know what, Mrs. Hartwig? I am too.

Do you miss the colorful language around here? Did you even notice when it went away? Do you employ something similar to the MMR at your affiliate, or on your blog? Post thoughts to comments.


With the always classy Jeff and Maureen Martone

Monday, December 14, 2009

Whole30 Seminar at Potomac CrossFit

While we were on the road waiting to hear about our Afghanistan trip, we decided to pop in and visit a few of our favorite mid-Atlantic affiliates. We'd kept in touch with Erika and Siddharth, trainers at Potomac CrossFit, since our gymnastics cert there in January 2009, so we invited ourselves over for a workout. Turns out, PCF was a gym in need of some nutritional motivation, with many CrossFitters just one week into their own version of a "Paleo Challenge". Dallas and I were happy to help out, and hosted a Whole30 seminar for 20 of their members on Friday night.

Normally, we travel to introduce our Whole30 program, and outline the plan for those affiliates looking to host a dietary clean-up using our guidelines. Since PCF was already into their nutritional challenge (and this wasn't most members' first nutritional rodeos), we spent most of our time answering questions and helping to clarify some of the more confusing aspects of diet for CrossFitters. We talked cortisol management, eating well on the road, why a Splenda habit is hurting fat loss efforts, the sneaky effects of dairy, and injury, inflammation and dietary factors. We spent almost two hours answering questions and offering our best advice on how to wrap your brain around this new way of eating.

As an aside... I haven't talked much about our consulting practice here, mostly because things over there have been on hold while we planned for Afghanistan. Our web site is still very much a work in progress, despite the fact that I'm linking to it all over the place. (It's the equivalent of having company over while you're renovating your kitchen. Don't mind the mess.) And our services are still not as defined as we'd like them to be - we're hard at work on new client questionnaires, weekend long intensive programs and developing smaller, more casual "boutique-style" sessions, held outside of a CrossFit gym. But we're working while we're figuring it out, and Potomac was the perfect gig - fun and casual, with some smart and motivated clients and dedicated trainers. (Special hello to LeAnn and Kassandra, both blog readers and frequent posters. Thanks for the warm welcome, ladies.)

The seminar was a success, and gave us a bunch of good ideas for blog posts. (Stay tuned for Dallas' tips and tricks for when you're all banged up.) We're also making some changes behind the scenes, to better integrate my blog with what we're doing over at the Whole9. I know things have been quiet around here, and I don't like it any more than you do. I'm looking forward to some fun posts, regularly scheduled training and working on the new consulting stuff.

So a special thanks to Erika and Siddharth for organizing and Brian for hosting - we really enjoyed our time with you. And to all the PCF members who hit our seminar - how's your challenge coming along? Keep us posted!


Dallas, Erika and I, getting our gymnastics on at PCF.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Operation Iron Cross update

After a very stressful and uncertain week, I am really sad to report that our trip has been called off. The entire scenario was out of our hands, and the way things played out couldn't be helped. Here's the background.

Our flight out was dependent entirely on the Air Force, and ensuring we could secure a plane to get all seven of us and our cargo to Bagram. That having been said, as we were told several times... it ain't like flying commercial. Planes come when they come, and they're used for what is most important - and all of that can change at the drop of a hat.

The original departure date we were given was November 23rd, just before Thanksgiving. A week prior, we were told our flight had been bumped out to December 3rd, give or take a few days. We proceeded with that date in mind, collecting donations, supplies and equipment to make the 3rd deadline. And then last Tuesday, President Obama announced the Afghanistan troop surge, and we were told that our departure was now set for December 8th. Or 9th. Or 10th, at the latest.

While it stretched all of us a bit thin to leave that late, at that point we were all en route, and so invested in the trip that we decided to wait it out, and hope that our flight came earlier rather than later. And then, a few days later, the final word came... planes were needed for people (soldiers) more important than us, and our flight out was bumped to December 18th, at the earliest.

At that point, none of us were able to make the journey. Tucker has certs booked in Japan and New Zealand late in December, which doesn't leave him enough time to make the trip to Afghanistan and return in time to keep his committments. As for the rest of us... we all had jobs that we put on hold for a week, hoping to catch a flight out. To stretch our leaves to the end of the month was simply impossible. So we made the difficult decision to cancel the trip at this time, and try to reschedule our visit for after the New Year, when transportation would be easier.

Here's the good news... the care package we put together (including the TIBs, rings, bands, jump ropes, Paleokits, kettlebell DVDs, coffee and gymnastics supplies) is still heading over to the troops on the 18th. It'll be like a CrossFit Christmas present for the men and women serving away from home, and all of the new soldiers who will soon find their homes at Bagram. The materials are being coordinated by personnel at Fort Bragg and Bagram Air Base, and we'll soon have some pictures and stories to show you. We still plan to publicize our efforts in the CrossFit Journal, and plan to get ourselves in country next year to properly train the 7th Special Forces Group as we originally intended.

To say we are disappointed is an understatement. We all worked so hard, putting in so much effort, to pull this trip and these donations off in a very short period of time. We got SO close to our departure, and to be told at the very last moment that we were unable to complete our mission was devastating for all of us. The worst of it is thinking of the men and women we have to disappoint... those already registered for the cert, and so looking forward to the training. That's the worst part by far. But after the disappointment wore off, we took stock of our efforts, and what we were able to accomplish. We still collected an enormous amount of equipment, supplies and donations, we're still sending them over to the soldiers in time for Christmas. And we'll get back over there as soon as we can, to do what we promised to do. So I'm trying not to be too bummed. I'm still, however, pretty bummed.

The only ray of sunshine in this entire week has been the affiliate tramping we were able to do while waiting to hear about the trip. We held a Whole30 Nutrition Seminar at Potomac CrossFit in Arlington, VA on Friday, and hit our Oly at CrossFit Full Circle with Jason Struck on Saturday. We didn't have time for anything else, but I'll write more later this week about the awesome reception that PCF gave us, and how Struck won the old man division of his BJJ tournament. (It was awesome.) Until then, I'm going to head towards home and send my thoughts and wishes to the men and women at Bagram. I miss them already.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Operation Iron Cross update... and some affiliate tramping

We have been super busy with the final details of this trip - here is an update on where we stand.

All donations of supplies and equipment are packaged up and ready to go! We're sending them over to Fort Bragg to have them prepared for transport. Tucker and crew has built some special containers to leave with the troops - they're called "TIBs" (The Iron Box). They're 6' x 2' x 2', and built to withstand all kinds of weather conditions, keeping the equipment inside dry and sand-free. They hold everything from bumpers to rings to chalk and tape, but that's not the best part. Flip the lid and the box becomes a giant box jump for up to 6 people... remove the lid and it becomes a narrow but stable platform for jumping rope, pressing, squatting, etc. We've stenciled the lids of the TIBs with "Operation Phoenix", as a reminder of everything the organization has done to support these efforts.

Inside the TIBs, we've got all the equipment from Again Faster (rings, bands and speed ropes), all 500 Paleokits from Steve's Club, and the chalk, grips and tape from Rage Fitness. We've also been lucky enough to score some material from Jeff Martone's Tactical Athlete! Jeff personally dropped off some H2H and Tactical Athlete t-shirts and DVDs for the troops. Thanks to Jeff (CrossFit's kettlebell SME) for the support.

Finally, we've got TEN sets of the new EXF Rings from Tyler Hass at RingTraining.com. I've been working with a set of these rings for about a month now, and love the grip design and easy set-up. (My false grip pull-ups are so much easier on the rubberized grip. Muscle-up, here I come.) I brought a pair with me to one of the last gymnastics certs I coached, so the participants could test them out. Tucker said, and I quote... "I like the shit out of these." So we were psyched to score a few sets from Tyler and RingTraining. Thanks so much for the donation!

Last but not least, Operation Phoenix also donated money for us to build 15 sets of parallettes to take with us. The men and women at CrossFit Fort Bragg worked their tails off to get these built in time for the trip - well done! Check out what the full booty looks like here:



I'm glad we managed to get everything organized in time, although it looks a though our flight out MAY be delayed for a day or two... which means we may be doing some affiliate tramping around the mid-Atlantic while we wait for the Air Force to show up. We'd like to visit CF Potomac and Oldtown on our way down, and maybe see our boy Struck in Richmond too. It's all up in the air right now, but we're hitting the road tomorrow as planned, just in case the plane shows up on time.

We discovered that once we arrive, we'll be coaching literally around the clock, to accommodate everyone working the day and night shifts. I've never coached gymnastics at 2 AM... I hope my pajama pants don't get all tangled in the rings. Holy crap. We don't expect to sleep much while on base, but that's A-OK. We're there to run as many men and women through these certs as possible, and if that means long hours, we're all up for it. It's an honor and a privilege we don't take lightly, and we'll do whatever we can to serve while we're on base. I'm especially excited to talk nutrition while I'm there - I know how hard it can be to eat well while deployed, and I'd like to take a crack at putting together some Good Food meal plans for the soldiers while I'm sitting next to them in the dining hall.

That's all I have time for today - more updates as they become available. Thanks again for all of your support. The comments and emails I've been getting mean a lot to me, and to the entire crew heading overseas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rage Fitness, and some disjointed ramblings

I'm happy to announce that Paleokits are on their way to Fort Bragg - all 500 of them. We'll be able to pack them up and bring them over with us next week, thanks to the generous contributions from of all of YOU!

My company (the insurance shop who gets me from 9 - 5 Monday through Friday) is also sponsoring my efforts, covering my vacation time and making a donation to Operation Phoenix and Steve's Club. I'm happy to be able to give a little something back to both of these groups, whose support will be greatly responsible for making this trip a success.

Of course, we can't conduct gymnastics training without the appropriate gymnastics supplies too. As most of you know, things like pull-ups, skin the cats and muscle-ups are pretty tough on your hands, wrists and forearms. We wanted to bring materials over to keep these soldiers in good working order - chalk, tape and hand protective gear. Enter Rage Fitness Supply, a CrossFit affiliate and equipment supplier based out of Denver, CO. Todd Halderman and Tamera Smith immediately rose to the challenge, writing:

"We are happy to make a donation to support our troops! We will be donating three cases of tape, one case of chalk, and 15 sets of gymnastics grips.

Rage Fitness is honored to contribute training equipment to this incredible group of people. It makes us feel closer to our troops abroad knowing that we are all training together. The big difference is that at the end of our day we are back in our cozy homes, while our troops are out there in the field defending our country. That is why we are happy to support these amazing men and women however we can."

A big thank you to Todd, Tamara and the folks at Rage Fitness Supply for their support. And another big thank you to you, the CrossFit community, for your continued reading, comments and support of this effort.

________

On a personal note, I'm stressed about the logistics of a trip of this magnitude, worried about how it's all going to work, and excited about the amazing opportunities we'll have to work with these men and women. (Mostly the last part, although every time I review the paperwork we have to complete, I revert back to stressed and worried.) We've been so busy completing all the requirements for obtaining clearance from the Army that none of us have had time to think about the practical stuff. What's the weather like? (Kind of like New Hampshire, actually.) What should we wear? (Hiking-style gear is acceptable, normal training clothes for coaching, bring plenty of warm stuff, and yes, there's laundry.) What stuff haven't we thought of? (Ambien and ear plugs for the plane ride over.)

I've also been in touch with some men and women stationed at Bagram, to ask some questions about how the base works and what we should know before our visit. I'm mostly interested in what else we could bring that would make a difference. I've heard requests for everything from calling cards to sunflower seeds, but we've also received plenty of requests for tobacco products. I have some objections to a volunteer mission based around health and fitness showing up with a suitcase full of Kodiak. Sorry, but not my suitcase.

I think I expected the base to be more... rustic. But apparently, we have heated barracks, nice shower areas and laundry facilities. I've heard there's even a Subway and a Dairy Queen on base. Huh. There are also computer facilities, which is good because I'd really like to blog every day and keep a record of what we're doing at the certs, and what I'm learning from the soldiers.

That's it for now... not my usual put together post, but we're all scrambling to get two months worth of work done in two weeks time. Stay tuned for more updates, and to hear more about some of the cool gear we're bringing over with us as the result of generous sponsor donations.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Whole30 Sponsor a Soldier SUCCESS!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Because of your efforts, in just ONE WEEK we have raised $2,700.... enough to purchase 500 large Paleokits for soldiers stationed at Bagram Air Base! A special thank you goes out to Get Built Chattanooga CrossFit, for their generous donation last night.

Steve's Club is busy putting the order together now. We need to have these on base at Fort Bragg by Thanksgiving, so he's expediting shipping... and probably putting his other customers' orders on hold for a day or two to get this done for Operation Iron Cross.

On that note, if we have any extra in the fund, I'd like to donate whatever we have left back to Steve's Club. Because of the generous discount they are giving us, Steve's Club charity wasn't planning to take or keep any proceeds at all from this giant sale. That just doesn't sit right with me - one charity taking a hit in order to support another. So I'm happy to report that any extra funds collected will go right back to Steve's Club, as a small token of our thanks.

Now that the Paleokits have been arranged, I can take some time to tell you more about some of our awesome sponsors! We'll be featuring Tyler Hass of Ring Training, CrossFit equipment suppliers Rage Fitness, Jeff Martone's Tactical Athlete and more next week.

I'm also going to take a break from the business end and talk about what it's like to participate in a trip of this nature. There is so much behind the scenes work involved, and it's been an absolute roller coaster of "Yes, we've done that", "Oh, I guess we need to do that again" and "Crap, we didn't know we had to do that". I'll pass some of that along, and a few notes I've received from men and women stationed overseas (and their loved ones), in the coming week.

Again, on behalf of the men and women of the 7SFG... THANK YOU for your generosity. This community never ceases to amaze me, and I am honored to be a part of it.