GORUCK Heavy Class 29

1 Apr

Due to an injury, a brother of ours couldn’t participate and he graciously allowed me to go in his place. I wouldn’t have had this awesome experience if it weren’t for his generosity so… to that Veteran who will remain anonymous… Thank you. His organization of choice: Please visit and consider donating.


This was my first GORUCK event so I had mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness about starting with a Heavy. The little directly related experience I had going into this was the Beyond K Ruck March and Walk that I started recently and, most of all, the 31 Miles for 31 Heroes event that changed my life in August of 2013 under the leadership of Terry Ford. I just might make a post about that one day. It’s just hard to describe something that means so much. I want to do that right, if at all, so I’ll hold off on that until I feel moved to do so. Checkout The 31 Heroes Project.

My ruck weighed 51 pounds at the start of Class 30 (3/28/14 – Washington D.C.) and was down to 39 pounds by the end. I packed too much of some stuff and not enough of other stuff. Correction noted for next time. I honestly hadn’t prepared properly for that much weight and distance. Like I said, This spot opened up for me not long before the event date so the specific training required for such an event had to be severely compressed. My training style mainly consists of high-mileage swimming, cycling, running, and high-rep bodyweight exercises. That isn’t very high-value fitness for rucking. I do feel like it had prepared me for the mental endurance part of it all though. We all felt like we were ready to just tip over and cease to exist at the end, but I know for a fact that if the cadre required 40 more miles of us I would’ve sucked it up and finished… crawling in all the pain of being physically broken, but I would’ve finished. What makes me feel so great about doing more events like this or harder in the future is that plenty of the team would be right there with me… helping me give my all and, I, the same for them. Teamwork! That is what I learned the most about at the Heavy. We all know the dictionary definition of teamwork, but this ain’t a kids after-school program and I never fucking liked Barney. It’s about military-styled teamwork. It takes going through an extremely difficult set of circumstances with a team to truly understand and feel what teamwork is. The cadre helped us visit a place individuals can’t survive in; a place in the spirit where you either give all to be a contributor to the team’s success or find some nasty limitations that need to be worked on. I’m proud to be in league with a group of folks who’ve decided that they want their lives to be about team successes and dwindling limitations of the human mind, body, and spirit. About 45 Miles and just over 27 hours of real ” good livin’ ”  is in order for us. 😉

I decided to do something creative with the bricks used to help create the minimum required weight of 35 pounds. I didn’t think of it until the night before the Heavy so I’m not done with them, but the idea is to write the names of people, organizations, whoever, whatever, that I feel I’d go to Hell and back for if necessary on the bricks. I want to live my life in support of things greater than myself and that go far beyond my own set of circumstances. This is just a way of symbolizing that. I’ll post an update of them after the next GORUCK event I attend.
Two bricks were required for the 31 Miles for 31 Heroes event. One for the loss of the 31 American Heroes and one for the burden the families bare, having lost their loved one.

IMG_20140331_210935_868Kahri Smalley IMG_20140331_211127_173

IMG_20140331_211416_234 Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 22

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 19 Bag checks

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 18
Brief for the pre-ruck  fitness test

ImageImageKahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 35Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 36

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 40

Through Georgetown, headed to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O) Towpath

I forget exactly when this was, but it reminds me of a Churchill quote. “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.”

Squats in the canal with the rucks over our heads

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 37
The team climbing back out after another round in the Canal.

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 41

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 32
Keepin’ the flag high, especially when we feel low!

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 34Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 33Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 31 After what seemed like a trek across the world, we got into the “down and dirty” of what you’d expect in a Heavy. We did squats with the rucks over our heads while standing in the canal, crab walks and bear crawls up and down a small wooded mountain… facing both forward and backward… team log carries. It’s pitch black out and really cold out during all of this just to give you an idea of the conditions. Later it would rain for about 12 hours straight, which is basically the entire second half of the Heavy. We learned quickly not to complain because, as the cadre were sure to tell us, “It could always be worse”.
Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 43

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 46

Good ol’ Log PT (Cadre had NVGs)


Headed out for a mission simulation.

Cross the canal to negotiate with a potentially hostile or friendly force.

Infil through a drainage pipe

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 29
Cadre Lou and Brad watching how we proceed


Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 30
7.62? 5.56? Naaaw that’s a stick.

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 28
Carrying simulated casualties after an IED blast and an ambush. The cadre told us about the mistakes we made and how their real SOF group would’ve handled things. Looks like all fun and games, but we gave it the respect it deserves. Each and every person in that Heavy Class was well aware of how so many great people of American and coalition forces have been lost to IEDs and how mental sharpness despite being exhausted is not optional for the men and women in harms way. Land of the free because of the brave!

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 25Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 26
Cadre Aaron explaining more details from our mission simulation.

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 27

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 24 Exfil from mission simulationImage
A teammate helping me back into the drink! One by one we all gave it a go.

Swimming across the canal after Cadre Brad’s demonstration of how to use a rope to safely get people across a body of water. (Cadre Lou pictured) After the swim I realized that the cold water made me feel a lot better so most of the way back I tried to find big puddles to step in to numb my feet and ankles. There was no shortage of them with all the rain. Good stuff!
Combat Side StrokeKahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 45
Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 20

A huge fallen tree that we probably could’ve lifted with a crew twice our size. I’d like to see that happen!

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 44

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 21
The 18-20 or so miles back from the simulated mission were the hardest. At this point I found out that when both my ankles are busted and my feet are swollen… I can still go a really long way. It was a little disappointing because I felt good from just above the ankles up. I should have worn my boots for more stability on the uneven terrain. Lesson learned!

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 42

Kahri Smalley GORUCK Heavy 23
My left ankle was really bad and needed some patch work. Luckily the team came through for me. Mackenzie Badger provided the medical supplies and David Wallace wrapped it pretty good and I was able to finish strong. I went about 22 miles on it. As someone pursuing a combat medic career, that meant a hell of a lot to me. It wasn’t combat, but it definitely was a mental and spiritual battle to get back across all those miles to something that resembled civilization. Thanks again bros!

We all shared supplies as needed and helped each other instantly and without question. We gave each other the appropriate “kick in the ass” when necessary to keep us going too. I really hope more people in this world learn the simple, but tough lessons that events like a GORUCK Heavy can teach or reinforce.

Image When I thought about how hard things were at any point and started to feel down, other than my teammates there with me, what kept me going was recalling the names, faces, and families of so many great American military heroes lost since 9/11/01. I’d think hey… SOC Kevin Houston would get through this easily! LCDR Erik Kristensen would too! IT1 Jard Day would smoke this! Tech Sergeants John Brown and Daniel Zerbe would crush it! … and so on through that unfortunately long list of true American heroes as well as living inspirations like the absolute beast, David Goggins. My brother, Akiel Smalley has always been a perfect example of having heart along with professional athleticism no matter what circumstances are counteracting. “Quitting” will never have a chance with all that motivation.

All thoughts considered, I’m definitely a better man and American than I was before my first GORUCK event.

Kahri Smalley after GORUCK Heavy

GORUCK Heavy Class 30

GORUCK Heavy Class 29 – About 45 Miles and just over 27 hours of good livin’



Michael Murphy WOD

27 May

RED WINGS – Series of Workouts leading up to Memorial Day


LT Michael P. Murphy (SEAL) 29
Patchogue, New York

Please help keep the memory of LT Michael Murphy alive by making a donation to his Memorial Foundation or by purchasing one of his challenge coins or patches. Thank you!

– 100 PULL-UPS
– 200 PUSH-UPS
– 300 SQUATS

After that I’ll do the ERIK S. KRISTENSEN WOD again. Our nation with men like these two and their teammates working on its behalf will always be grateful and supportive in every way possible. God bless their families, friends, and teammates.

English: Michael P. Murphy, Medal of Honor rec...

English: Michael P. Murphy, Medal of Honor recipient. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, killed...

Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, killed in action on 28 June 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grave of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, U.S. Navy, Con...

Grave of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, U.S. Navy, Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Calverton National Cemetery, Section 67, Grave No. 3710. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: President George W. Bush stands with ...

English: President George W. Bush stands with Dan and Maureen Murphy, parents of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, after the Navy SEAL was honored posthumously with the Medal of Honor during ceremonies Monday, Oct. 22, 2007, in the East Room of the White House. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Honor Them

27 May

My short list of good organizations to give to. Please forgive me. I know I’ve left some great ones out. How about you add to this and spread it as you like?

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Memorial Day MURPH
The Wounded Warrior Project
The Navy SEAL Foundation
Operation Hawkeye
The Red Circle Foundation
LZ-Grace Foundation
The Green Beret Foundation
Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation
LT Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation
Erik S. Kristensen Scholarship Fund
Lone Survivor Foundation
That Others May Live Foundation
The MSG Jared Van Aalst Memorial Foundation
Navy SEALs Fund
Adam Brown Legacy Fund
SEAL Legacy Foundation
Houston Memorial 5K
The USSOCOM Care Coalition
Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor
Warrior Dog Foundation

Matthew Axelson WOD

26 May

RED WINGS – Series of Workouts leading up to Memorial Day

STG2 (SEAL) Matthew Axelson 29
Cupertino, California

Matthew Axelson
May 26th WOD

1 Mile Run
29 Minutes between Pushup Planks & Wallsits
2900m Swim
1 Mile Run

STG2 Axelson (right) with Lt. Michael Murphy.

STG2 Axelson (right) with Lt. Michael Murphy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Requiescat In Pace

Danny Dietz WOD

25 May

RED WINGS – Series of Workouts leading up to Memorial Day

GM2 (SEAL) Danny Dietz 25
Littleton, Colorado

Danny Dietz
May 25th WOD

2.5 Mile run
25 Pushups
25 Situps
25 Pullups (25 sec. flexed arm hang on last rep.)
2.5K Swim
25 Pushups
25 Situps
25 Pullups (25 sec. flexed arm hang on last rep.)

Requiescat In Pace

Erik S. Kristensen WOD

24 May

RED WINGS – Series of Workouts leading up to Memorial Day

LCDR Erik S. Kristensen 33
San Diego, California

Erik Kristensen
May 24th WOD

3 Mile Run
33 Man Makers
33 Four-count Mountain Climbers
3K Swim
33 Four-count Flutterkicks

It was a humbling honor to have met Erik’s parents as well as some of his other family and friends at the 2013 Kristensen Klassic. Seeing the Gonzaga brotherhood in action showed me some of what made him a great brother to his SEAL Teammates. Make your way to one in the future. I sat writing this for almost an hour, wondering how to say what I’m thinking and feeling. To avoid understating it all, I won’t attempt to make words match something so powerfully spiritual for me.
To Erik!

Requiescat In Pace

Michael M. McGreevy WOD

23 May

RED WINGS – Series of Workouts leading up to Memorial Day

LT Michael M. McGreevy, Jr. 30
Portville, New York

Michael McGreevy (BUD/S 230 Honor Man)
May 23rd WOD

3 Mile Run
30 Burpees
30 Handstand Pressups
30 Pullups
3K Swim
30 Burpees
30 Handstand Pressups
30 Pullups

Requiescat In Pace