It was another Memorial Day, and in the spirit of what the day represents, and to join thousands, if not millions, of other Crossfitters across the nation, and even around the globe, I participated in the Memorial Day Hero WOD “Murph”. “Murph” isn’t your typical workout. Most Crossfit WODs focus on a strength portion and then a met-con (metabolic conditioning). But “Murph” is a hard-ass chipper- meaning it’s a long and grueling workout. It’s a mile run, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 air squats, and finished with another mile run.
Why do we honor Memorial Day by doing such a difficult challenge? Because every day, hundreds of men and women fight for our freedom. They risk their lives so that we can remain the land of the free, or so that other countries can have a taste for freedom. Lt. Michael Murphy was such a man. He served to protect those he had never met, and he paid the ultimate price. While “Murph” honors Lt. Murphy specifically, it is the workout of the day across the nation on Memorial Day to honor ALL the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect everything we hold dear. It’s an incredibly difficult and challenging workout for a good reason- to remind you when you want to give up or slow down that those who fight for our rights do not ever give up. To complete this workout is to honor Murphy and everyone else who has ever given their life in service for their country.
I am not in my best fitness shape currently. Last time I participated in “Murph” was 2014, and I finished in 58:17. I was able to do all the squats prescribed, and I finished my first mile in under 10:00. This year, I was not so fast. I substituted sit-ups for squats because doing just 1-2 bothers my knees now, and while this workout is about fighting through the fatigue and mental anguish, it is not about killing yourself. However, I finished. I was dead last, but I finished. I’m even more proud of my husband, who went through the workout completely Rx (prescribed- unpartitioned sets and wearing a 20 lb vest). Our times might have been considered by some to be dismal, but that’s not the point. The point is we did it. We did not give up.
There’s another reason I find “Murph” to be an interesting and note-worthy workout. As I develop and find a path for EarthFit, I often look at workouts and try to figure out how to make the exercises “EarthFit”, in other words, create natural movements, use recycled or natural equipment, or simply move the workout outdoors. Some workouts are super challenging. I finished watching the Crossfit Regionals and the workouts they performed are incredibly difficult to meld into EarthFit. Using machines and barbells is difficult to translate. But “Murph”? With the only challenge being finding an accessible place to perform pull-ups outdoors (and as a common or easy solution, I suggest using a playground at a park- monkey bars are a perfect substitute for pull-up bars), “Murph” is completely transferable to outdoors. Since it consists entirely of body-weight movements, there is no necessity for subbing natural equipment or creating your own weights from cat litter containers or milk jugs. In fact, Chris and I practiced for “Murph” earlier by doing a half-Murph on the Thursday before, doing the entire workout at the South Whidbey Sports Complex, an outdoor soccer park with a kids’ playground in the epicenter.
I did not celebrate Memorial Day with a grill-out or summer party. It’s Monday, so that means I practice not eating meat for Meatless Monday. I rewarded Chris by making a vegetarian pizza for him with goat cheese, fig, and walnuts. And the highlight of my afternoon was picking up our very first farm share from Ebb Tide Produce, which had a vast amount of green veggies for us to enjoy this week. I’m already planning the salads, stews, and wonderfully green meals we’ll be enjoying.
Memorial Day is a day to honor those who gave their life so we can continue to enjoy the pleasures of pursuing our happiness. It is my right to use that freedom to write, learn, teach, and share about this wonderful Earth, and how we can grow connected to it in healthy ways, for ourselves and for the planet. Thank you, for continuing to fight so that I may have the right to continue mine!
That was a great challenge! It’s also a workout, when shared with others, that gets some bemused looks and shaking heads. I wish that I was more eloquent while speaking so I could impart the feeling of not only physical accomplishment but mental as well. I’ve realized that pushing myself through hard workouts has improved my health but most of all it has bolstered my mental fortitude. After “Murph”, my other day to day challenges seem much easier.