“Engaged in a frenzied firefight and outnumbered by the Taliban, Navy Lt. Michael Murphy made a desperate decision as he and three fellow SEALs fought for their lives on a rocky mountainside in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. In a last-ditch effort to save his team, Murphy pulled out his satellite phone, walked into a clearing to get reception and called for reinforcements as a fusillade of bullets ricocheted around him. One of the bullets hit him, but he finished the call and even signed off, “Thank you.” Murphy was killed in Afghanistan on June 28 of 2005 and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.”
This is what I was told right before my first CrossFit workout. Yep, you heard right…Murph was my first workout. For those of you that may not know what I’m talking about, “Murph” is one of CrossFit’s most iconic workouts. It has become a tradition all over the nation on Memorial Day to challenge and complete this workout to honor Lt. Michael Murphy and all of the service men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice. And as you can imagine, after hearing the selfless act of this particular hero, it was not something to be taken lightly.
So to take you back to when I was deployed in Manama, Bahrain; I had already been there for a few months and started to venture to the gym. I began lifting weights for the first time in my life. Doing the basic routine, you know, the “curls for the girls” and always skipping leg days. Right outside my barracks there would always be this group of people doing CrossFit. At the time, I had no clue what they were doing but I was immediately impressed. These dudes were completing insane workouts right out in the 120 degree weather! And absolutely loving it! So, my interest peaked and I had to check it out. All of my friends were completely opposed and sternly said, “Hell no” when I invited them along. Even with the discouragement of my friends, I was still drawn to these intense workouts and the dedicated group of people. So I approached my Executive Officer Captain Lewis who was in charge of the group. Without hesitation, he invited me to the next class. I was pretty excited to get an invite until he proceeded to tell me to bring my flack jacket. That excitement quickly turned into a wave of nervous apprehension.
That next class happen to fall on Memorial Day. I had no idea what I was in for. I showed up early and saw a white board with “1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats, 1 mile run” written on it. Immediately, panic took over and I started to look for an exit. Before I could escape, Captain Lewis had spotted me and started to walk over. There was no turning back now. He put us through a warmup, explained the workout, and the reason behind honoring Lt. Michael Murphy. Everyone around was getting amped up and motivated. But I could only think about the 108 degree blazing heat and the predicament I’ve gotten myself in. Before I knew it, I heard the Captain yell “3, 2, 1, GO!” and we all started the 1 mile run wearing our Marine Corps flack jackets. Midway through the workout I was dying and questioning if I was even going to finish. Then I caught myself and put a stop to the crushing thoughts running through my head. I realized this workout and this pain was much bigger than me. I told myself to suck it up, stop feeling sorry for myself, and go to work. A long and grueling 58 minutes later, I finished Murph and was completely wrecked. Breathing harder than I ever thought was possible, but at the same time overwhelmed with a sense of pride and accomplishment. It was hard and very challenging to say the least. However this workout taught me more about grit and tenacity than anything I’ve ever done. Right then and there, CrossFit became apart of my life.
So as we go into this year’s Murph, just keep in mind that this workout is more than just a way to physically challenge CrossFitters. As you start that 1 mile run, remember it’s a way to honor a hero for his selfless leadership and courageous actions. When you are half way through and things are getting tough, remember it’s a way to pay tribute to a man’s extraordinary devotion to duty. And when you are starting to doubt your strength, remember it’s a way to commemorate every soldier who has given it all for our freedoms. So let’s make sure we give it our all this Memorial Day.
Written by Thomas McArn
WHEN: Monday, May 30, 2016 at 10am
WHERE: CrossFit Rolesville, 6440 Rogers Rd. Rolesville NC, 27571
WHO: Both members and non-members can participate or even just come to cheer on others
WHAT: Hero WOD Murph & cookout!
Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run.
DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED if you can’t do the entire workout. Anyone can do their own version of “Murph” including scaling the run, reps, movements, or even partitioning the workout as a team. The idea is to challenge yourself and do a little more and go a little faster each year.
Beginners or non-members of unconfirmed experience level will be scaled or partnered accordingly by coaches.
A cookout will follow the workout. CrossFit Rolesville will provide burgers, brats, and beverages. If able, please bring a side to share!
Please RSVP on our Facebook event!