CrossFit CE May 2019 Newsletter
What’s Up With Programming?! – Murph Edition
The Importance of Murph and other Hero WODs
This past Monday morning I was sitting on a plane coming back from DC and had the chance to sit next to an elderly woman. She looked over at me. She watched me help a much younger woman place her bag in the overhead compartment. As I took my seat she asked,
“Were you in the service,”
“You look like you were in the service,” she said.
“Yes ma’am. I get that a lot ma’am.”
“When we land would you mi-“
“I’m happy to get your bag down for you when we land.” I frantically reached for my AirPods as I was tired and cranky from the weekend and didn’t want to talk with anyone.
“My husband was in the service,” she said. It stopped me dead in my tracks as I thought, ‘Crap…I’m stuck now talking to this old lady.’
“He died a while ago of ALS (i.e. Lou Gehrig’s disease)…secondary to Agent Orange exposure.”
My annoyance immediately shifted to disappointment in myself for all of the preconceived notions I had about her. Through my shame over not wanting to take the time and listen to this woman’s story. What followed between us was a teachable moment for her and a grand reminder for me not to make assumptions. She told me how the ALS ravaged him over 10 years. and that his courage in his suffering was only matched by the service of the nurses and attendants at the VA hospital he was in and out of. She told me that when they would walk into the hospital there was a quote over the door that read, “Within these walls bears the cost of freedom.” She spoke about the meaning it had for her that her husband gave up a part of his life to protect the privileges we all frequently take for granted. She spoke of the courage and dignity with which he faced this suffering and how he and the other Vets would always thank the nurses for their service.
In three weeks time, as a community we will undertake Murph the ultimate CrossFit Hero WOD. It is easy to think of it as another Saturday, another WOD, another time to get your sweat on, another opportunity to see friends. Reality is, this isn’t another WOD or Saturday or opportunity to get your sweat while seeing friends. Hero WODs are structured for the athlete to toil and suffer as did these fallen. Or said best by Lincoln in his letter to Mrs. Bixby, mother who lost 5 sons during the Civil war, “I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
45 minutes of suffering in a WOD is nothing in comparison to the Great Sacrifice that these brave people have given in service to our country, but it is the same that I found in listening to the elderly woman on the plane.
It is important to read the story of Murph in this next newsletter so you can understand the reverence of the day and delve into the spiritual and emotional nature of this grueling workout. When keeping the stories behind the real-life heroes in mind, slowing down becomes harder to justify. When the pain of pushing harder becomes too great, I am reminded of the sacrifice these men made for my freedom, and my struggle becomes laughable. And when I compare my temporary suffering to the lifelong sorrow felt by the grieving families of these people, stopping becomes an impossibility.
The Hero workout is more than a test of physical ability. It bridges the gap between the body and the mind, emotion and experience, and gives us the chance to do more than just remember our soldiers. It gives us the chance to sweat, bleed, suffer and grieve for our fallen heroes one rep at a time.
The background of Murph
In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, NY, who was killed in Afghanistan June 28, 2005. A United States Navy SEAL officer, Murphy was awarded the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the War in Afghanistan. His other posthumous awards include the Silver Star Medal (which was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor) and the Purple Heart.
The “Murph” Hero WOD was originally posted on the CrossFit Main Site as the workout of the day for Thursday August 18, 2005 (050818), where the post said “This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it ‘Body Armor.’ From here on it will be referred to as ‘Murph’ in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.”
“Murph” has become one of the most famous CrossFit workouts, especially popular as a tribute on Memorial Day in the US, when the workout is sometimes referred to as “Memorial Day Murph.”
The workout, as prescribed (“Rx”), requires a weight vest but allows the athlete to partition the work as needed. In a more challenging “Rx+” version of the workout some athletes do the work in order, un-partitioned (complete the 100 pull-ups before beginning the push-ups, etc.). The workout first appeared in the CrossFit Games championships in 2015 (athletes partitioned the work), then again in 2016 (athletes were required to do it unpartitioned).
Murph – The Workout and How to Make it Through
1. Pacing – First and foremost, remember that this is a WOD, and that like anything we do in here, your objective is perform optimally. In short, check your ego, so that you can do your best. There is a lot of debate whether Murph RX is partitioning or not partitioning the reps. Let’s end the debate here, partitioning the reps is still considered RX. How to partition is more about your fitness level and not about a correct way to do this. The less you need to partition these is directly related to your fitness level. That said, you should still hit all of the movement standards for each movement and hold yourself to these.
The second aspect of pacing is being mindful during the WOD. Make sure that you perform the first 5 rounds at a pace you can maintain for the rmeainder of the WOD. Then, you need to make sure that you hold your pace fore each round consistent throughout.
2. Mile Runs – There is a school of thought here that you should sprint the first mile regardless. I disagree with this. Your pace should be your pace. Follow me on this…that’s why it’s called PACING. The first mile is the time for you mentally to get focused and get into the Flow of the WOD. Watch your pace and desire to get caught up in everybody’s fervor.
3. Calisthenics – The objective with both movements (i.e. pull-ups and push-ups) is to not create full muscle fatigue. This will kill your flow. There is a school of thought that bookending the pull-ups with push-ups helps with the agonist muscles in these movements. I think that’s more of a head game. One of these will be your limiter though. You should know yourself well enough to come up with a strategy to help offset this.
4. Squats – you can do more of this movement than you will be comfortable doing. Embrace the suck and go with it. No sets fewer than 15. Maintain a pace here that does not accelerate your heart rate so high that you fail on the other movements.
And last, both have fun, and realize why you’re doing this.
Videos to movement standards:
Murph – Saturday May 25th
So after all that – you’re sold and want to participate. Awesome! Here is how:
We will be holding 3 heats to complete Murph on Saturday May 25th at our normal class time – 7:30/8:30/9:30 am. Heat signups for each time are now open – so please jump onto PushPress to reserve your spot by Wednesday 5/22! We will do our best to accommodate for everyone on the rig/in our space/and weight vests. If you plan on using a vest – please email Holly to make sure we have enough each heat.
Also, feel free to stick around after for a few beverages to kick off Memorial Day Weekend – BYO Beverage or BYO Food.
Member of the Month
Our May Member of the Month is Jen Jauregui! In the time that Jenn has been with us here at CE we have seen great things out of her! She’s always in with a smiling face, ready to encourage others, and crush her goals. We’ve even seen Jen participate in two CF competitions – going outside of her comfort zone and making us proud! (Click picture to see video)