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.


Gracewanderer said...

They should give you an opsec briefing when you get there, but in case they don't, keep in mind that blogging about things that are going to happen in the future (and even sometimes things that have already happened) can put people's lives in danger. For example, "We were going to X today, but some guys are getting ready to head out tonight so we couldn't" - if the wrong people read that, it could tell them things we don't want them to know.

I am not trying to call your judgment into question or anything like that, but it's something that a lot of people (including soldiers) don't usually think about.

I'm looking forward to reading how things go over there!

Melissa Urban said...

@Gracewanderer: Thank you for those thoughtful guidelines. I most certainly would keep my notes to cert specifics, and perhaps some human interest stories about the soldiers we are working with. However, I know for a fact that all our external communications (including blog posts, photos and videos) need to be approved in advance, and fall under very strict guidelines. I'm totally on board with that, of course.


Gracewanderer said...

Cool, so you already got the briefing =)

I'm super excited to follow your trip! I'm headed over there... at some point in the future *cough* (almost ignored my own advice). It's good to know there will be CrossFit gear waiting for me.

Kevin said...

It's funny but I was just about to post the same thing about OPSEC. It is great that you guys are doing this. When I was in Iraq there was a guy running a "CrossFit" class but when I heard what he was up to I knew he was just using the name. It will be great for the guys (and gals) to get top level training from certed CFers.

Good luck and thanks for what you are doing for the folks fighting the war. I'm in no hurry to go back but if I do it would be good to get to a place and be able to train like I would at home.


theresa said...

I think what you guys are doing is nothing short of awesome, and I commend you for it. There's a lot of talk of soldiers, but there are plenty of Airmen at Bagram too. In fact, some who work for me and with me at Travis AFB are there saving lives in the Craig Joint Theater Hospital. Will they be included in the training your team will provide?

zfitblog said...


I was in Afghanistan in 04-05. We flew in to Bagram and left out of there as well. Bagram is absolutely huge. Wait until you see the massive DFAC. There is no shortage of food there.

If it is at all possible, and since you aren't military, I doubt it is... but if.. you should try and see if you can get out to some FOBs with Marines or Soldiers on it. That's a Forward Operating Base... these are the places where Grunts are working out of and living day to day... out in the wilderness.. without the glories of a massive chow hall, a/c, heat, and all the other comforts that you will find enjoyed at BAF.

If you want any more information, drop a comment on my blog. Take care, good luck... and this is really great what you are doing!

Kassandra said...


If you're going anywhere in a C130 make sure you have some sort of small pillow, jacket, soft thing to put under your rear because your tail can get pretty S O R E. The seats are just basically canvas (unless you're lucky and get a plane with seat-seats.)

Kassandra said...

Also, I wouldn't recommend any extra trips anywhere. I get what zfit is saying and agree that it's awesome to see and great for the other troops to get the opportunity to see some CF'ers but remember that extra travel brings extra risk. That risk applies to you and to all of those people who will be protecting you and escorting you everywhere.

From my experience/understanding, they will likely (at least try to) take you somewhere else if you ask, but why chance it?

Don't mean to be pessimistic or anything, just wanted to put it out there :)

Sully said...


What a friggin' adventure! You gotta tell me, though-are the innoculations you have to go through really horrid? I heard there was a lot of them.

I hope you leave the donation links up; i agree with you on the tobacco (I'm an ex- smoker, you see) but I hope we have the chance to keep the Paleo kits and equipment going over there on an as-needed basis, not just for this trip!
Thank you, all who serve--we owe a debt that we can never fully repay.

Nick said...


I really enjoy your blog. I'm only dissappointed to find out that you are going to Bagram. I left there about 6 months ago and spent 15 months there. If you are worried, I wouldn't be. Bagram is pretty boring, pretty damn safe, and just about everything you need is there. Most excitement you might get asides from hanging out with a bunch of awesome people, your pilot flying you into to bagram on a military plane might do a "combat landing". Long story short, you will know it when it happens. It's fun though. If you get quessy when you fly I suggest a barf bag as part of your packing list for your carry on. You might just meet Pukie as result of the Airforce! I'm sure you are talking to a lot of people regarding Bagram already but if you have any questions please ask them in this forum or find me by my google account.

Keep the posts coming. Oh, and you will be able to stay paleo there! I did it! Plenty of fresh fruit, salad bar (albeit weak on greens but plenty of color). The meat is obviously not grass fed or anything wild but it fills the need for protein.

Have a blast! You will enjoy it!