Murph… Not just another workout

Memorial Day Murph

It’s been over a week since I had the honor of completing another Memorial Day Murph with my Crossfit family.  I’ve sat down to write this post a number of times, but it seems like every time I started words just seemed to fail me.

I think it’s because this WOD isn’t just another workout.  It isn’t just another day at the box.  It isn’t something I want to chronicle so I can compare my time and scaling to last year; it’s something I want to write about because it means something to me every time I find the strength to do it.

The short version is that this year the workout was harder than I remembered.  The day was hotter, the box was much more packed, and I finished slower than I did in 2013.  I did ring rows instead of kettle bell swings (the scaling we did in 2013), and I did all the pushups starting and finishing on my toes.  After 100 that felt like a bad idea.  After 200 I couldn’t take my bra off and had to enlist my husband’s help, but I’m glad that I did it.

My Crossfit family is amazing.  Around me for the entire workout were fellow members sweating and cheering me on.  We were all deep in the suck together, but no one quit.  In the end, as one of the very last to finish, I had my own cheering section and even a personal coach who “ran” (if you could call it that) the last mile with me.  She had already completed her workout, but pushed me along just the same.

I get a little emotional every time I think about the mental aspect of this workout.  Physically, it’s challenging.  But mentally, the number of times that I had to push myself to keep going, to talk myself out of just quitting, or of cutting it down a few reps, or any number of other ways I could have “cheated”, was really the biggest challenge for me.  It’s amazing how our inner demons, the voices who tell us we’re not strong enough or good enough to do something, really come out when we’re struggling.

Which makes me wonder what our soldiers hear in their heads during their tough times.

In the end, so much of what helped me through was thinking about that.  Murph is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.  It’s one of the biggest challenges I will ever face, and one of the toughest things I will ever need to conquer.  Talk about a blessing.  When doing a hard ass workout, that I PAY a facility to subject me to, surrounded by friends, and fun is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done I KNOW I lead a great life.

I have so many things.  So many freedoms.  Like everyone I have so many problems, but unlike some of our soldiers, mine are really inconsequential.

While this is a post about a workout, this is really more of my trying to say thank you.  To express my gratitude to those who have served and are serving for all they stand for a represent.  To remember those who won’t ever come home to us, not that we don’t remember them for at least a moment daily.

So thanks guys.

5.27.2013- Memorial Day Murph

There is so much I want to say about this day and this workout.  I’m certain that I won’t be able to get my thoughts out coherently, and likely will forget much of what I hope to convey, but I will try.

To begin, I was nervous about this workout.  Obviously, “Murph” is hugely challenging.

Also, and probably not so obvious to most of my readers, fallen hero’s hold an importance to me that I can’t put into words.  If I made the commitment to start this workout, I was going to finish it.  Not only was I going to finish it, but I was going to appreciate every minute that I was working through it, because unlike the man we were honoring and the men that the holiday remember, I could.

I didn’t want to scale it, though that option was available.

I also didn’t want to think emotionally much about why I was doing it before the workout.  I just showed up, talked with friends, marveled at how big the turn out was, and warmed up with everyone else.

When the clock counted down 3…2…1… I began the first mile of what would prove to be a journey that was as long as it was rewarding.

“Murph”

1 mile run
100 pull ups
200 push ups
300 Air Squats
1 mile run

Time: 72:42 scaled with KB swings@15lbs instead of pull ups

The first mile was actually amazing.  I felt really strong, much better than I had felt in the mile we ran on Friday, and felt like I was through it in no time.  The pack dropped me completely, but I’m used to being a slow runner and just concentrated on one foot in front of the other.  It was a really cool morning, and at one point I remembered stories I had heard about what it felt like to run in the desert.  What I was doing was easy compared to what our troops do daily.

My plan to get the required reps was 20 rounds of 5 KB swings, 10 push ups and 15 air squats.  I chose a significantly lighter KB than I would usually use as my back is still not 100% and I wasn’t sure how I would feel after 100 of them.  That turned out to be a great choice.

The first 10 rounds were uneventful.  The swings felt great, the push ups were going really well, and the squats were actually easy.  Surrounded by my Crossfit family I didn’t have to dig very deep for motivation or inspiration.

After the first 10 rounds though, the wheels started to come off.  Psychologically, I saw many people around me finishing and leaving for their second run.  I knew that we had many participants doing “SMurph” aka, a scaled Murph and therefore half the reps and distance, but it didn’t stop me from feeling like I wasn’t moving fast enough.

At round 14 I found that I wasn’t able to string together more than one push up at a time.  My arms were completely spent, and every rep was shaky at best.

I won’t lie, I seriously considered quitting.  Or at least shaving a few reps off the workout.  Who would know?  We were all in our own separate world of pain.

I won’t get all deep and poetic on you, but I will say that every time I had those thoughts or considered quitting, seconds later I considered that somewhere a soldier had pushed themselves up one more time to fight for one more minute for a freedom that I had probably taken for granted.  Someone had lost their life doing one more push up for my country… for me.

So I did one more.  And one more.  And one more.  I never skipped a rep.  I never skipped a round.

In the middle it all gets blurry, but I distinctly remember having three rounds left to go and being surrounded by the next class.  These peeps hadn’t started the workout yet, and I pretty much had my own cheering and coaching squad.  Everyone had a word of encouragement.  Everyone had motivation.

So I kept going.

In my last round of push ups (please God make the pain stop), the camera woman who had been filming the workout came over and asked me why I was there today.  My response?

“To honor the troops, to remember the fallen.  *grunt pant sweat, one more push up*  And because Crossfit is awesome!”

When all the reps were done I was so happy I could have cried.  Then I took two steps and realized every single muscle in my body was shaking uncontrollably, and I still had to run a mile.

Surrounded by a herd of Crossfitters with everyone asking how I was doing, I kept smiling and saying fine, but the truth was I could not fathom how I was going to run a mile.

Until the moment I realized that “Crossfit Angel” was standing by my side, I didn’t think I could do it.  “Crossfit Angel” is a fellow 6 a.m.er, and frolicked beside me for the entire mile, talking to me and encouraging me every step of the way.  I ran more than I thought I would.  I walked a bit too.  I threatened to hug her when it was over because she was pushing me, and she didn’t scamper off scared.

I crossed the finish line nearly an hour and 13 minutes after I started.  Super awesome girl coach was there cheering for me.  “Crossfit Angel” hugged me immediately.  Super awesome girl coach wasn’t far behind.

I was a giant pussy and started tearing up, and was immediately thankful I was sweating like a wilderbeast and also wearing sunglasses so no one would know the difference.

I stayed until the last person crossed and cheered for them just as folks had stayed to cheer for me.

When it was all over my best friend asked me how I felt via text.  My response, “I feel so accomplished and so so dead.”

In hindsight, horrible choice of words.  But even as I sit here laughing at my inappropriate self, I’m smiling because I am sure those that I thought of yesterday, those that I honored, would have laughed at that really bad unintentional joke.

Miss you.  Miss all of you.  And thank you.

Anxiety schmangxiety

fear

It’s been awhile since I’ve had Crossfit anxiety, but I’m experiencing it in full force today. Tomorrow we’re doing repeat “fitness testing,” running the same tests that we did back in February that actually inspired my first blog post and the beginning of chronicling this journey.

I admit it. I’m terrified I’m going to discover I haven’t improved… or worse, that I’ve LOST fitness.

And yes, I realize that’s irrational. Never said I was sane kids.

As if that wasn’t enough to cause a slightly neurotic freak out, I also know that we are doing a Memorial Day Murph on Monday. There are two classes in the morning, which means I will be doing this super ridiculously hard workout outside of the comfort of my 6 a.m. peeps who are used to my sex noises and death rattles.

Though there is something different about the anxiety this time.

When I first started Crossfit I would freak out that I couldn’t do a workout, or that I would not be able to finish. I was constantly worried that I would be last, and everyone would be standing around thinking, “good God what makes this fat chick think she should be doing this?”

Obviously, that never happened. And while there were certainly workouts along the way that challenged me nearly to my breaking point, I never emerged from the box feeling unsuccessful.

Come to think of it, the “anxiety” this time may not actually be anxiety at all… it might just be *gasp*… excitement?

Sure there’s a chance my fitness tests won’t show improvement. I’m injured, I took 3 weeks off, I’m in my first week back and I’m so sore that breathing should be considered my WOD for the day as far as I’m concerned.

But let’s face it, that’s unlikely. And deep down, I think I’m excited to see just how much I have improved even with all those things listed above.

And Murph? Well duh, I know I am not yet able to Rx it. Obviously, since I don’t have pull ups yet. But my coaches are awesome, there will be scaling, and my pain tolerance is pretty darn high. So come hell or high water I will drag myself through the running and the reps and over the “finish line” for that hero, who I know would be right there next to the rest of the awesome people at my box cheering me on if he could.

I’m excited to see my progress.
I’m excited to test my fitness and my limits.
I’m excited to Crossfit.

Excited and nervous feel so much the same, but in the end, knowing I WILL succeed rather than fearing I won’t are what separates the two.