This Saturday will be our fourth year as an official host location for The Murph Challenge. We are proud to support Lt Murphy’s foundation and we think any gym who does this as an event should do the same. As a gym, we make ZERO dollars on our event. We pay to be a host, and we encourage our members to officially register so the financial focus can remain on Lt Murphy’s non-profit organization. Supporting a cause is important to us, and The Lt Michael Murphy Foundation is one of ours. (I will note that we also support many local charities with donations throughout the year, and we hold a memorial fundraiser in the fall, where the donations stay local).
As our members prepare to challenge themselves physically and mentally this Saturday, I had a few thoughts that I wanted to share. But first, some history.
Hero WODs (workout of the day) are unique to the culture of CrossFit. No other training methodology that I am aware of, memorializes heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in the way that CrossFit does. The workouts are designed to be a challenging test of fortitude. They are often symbolic (dates hidden in the rep scheme), or in the case of Lt. Murphy, his favorite workout, which he originally named “Body Armor.” This is one of the parts of our culture that we feel in our soul and we know is important.
Hero WODs allow us all to show a symbolic gesture of our support and gratitude to their namesake. We collectively help carry the flame that keeps their memory alive and we renew our gratitude for their sacrifice.
We hosted our first Murph event in 2015, only 3 months after opening our doors. I think we had a total of 20 people with us that day. It was AMAZING! Bob and Julie had just joined the gym, and Karli had just graduated from nursing school. Paul and I had done the workout in years past, at home in our driveway. But after that first Murph event, we KNEW we had to carry on this tradition. Our members told us it gave them a sense of purpose on Memorial Day weekend. A more meaningful way to pay respect, beyond the parades and barbecues.
The Murph Challenge is not about the leaderboard (though if you are officially registered you can post to it). The Murph Challenge is an opportunity. An opportunity to honor our fallen heroes by symbolically giving your own sweat and discomfort. It is an opportunity for growth and self discovery.
To our members joining us Saturday….
During this workout, we are ALL going to go into the pain cave to fight a battle with our minds and our bodies. But we are ALL going there together. When you take that water break, or that minute to shake out your shoulders, take a minute to look around the room at your brothers and sisters. Give them a yell across the room, or a fist bump, or tell them to keep going. It is our collective energy and solidarity that gets everyone through. This workout is HARD. Letting your brothers and sisters know you are right there, fighting it out with them MATTERS.
And when you find yourself in the pain cave, think about Lt. Murphy and the sacrifice he made to try to save his team. Think about how hard you would fight to save YOUR team.
In CrossFit and in life, mindset is everything. I highly recommend you watch Lone Survivor this week, before the workout. Even if you have already seen it (make sure the kids are in bed, it’s very graphic). When discomfort starts to creep in, think about Lt Murphy, Danny Dietz, Matthew Axelson and Marcus Luttrell.
The only surviving member of the team, Marcus Luttrell is seen in the movie walking after the last battle. What they don’t show is one of the greatest testaments to the power of will and the human spirit that I have ever heard. In real life, Marcus Luttrell was paralyzed from the waist down after the final battle. He crawled over seven miles that first night and was shot in the back again. During his crawl, he would draw a line in the sand with his knife, and focus only on crossing that line. Then another, then another. For seven miles.
This workout can feel overwhelming if you let it. Remember these 3 things and you will have an incredible experience.
- The intent of the workout is to honor Lt Murphy and all of our fallen heroes for Memorial Day. It doesn’t matter if you scale, if you do half the run,or if your time was fast or slow. Fight to finish and pay your respects with your sweat.
2. Draw your own line in the sand. It may be a telephone pole on your run, or it may be a number of sets. Your brain is in charge. You CAN make yourself do it. This is an exercise in grit, just as much as it is a physical exercise.
3. Help your brothers and sisters around you. We GET to do this together. When we are finished, we are all going to be stronger. Mentally. Physically. And as a community.
Rest well Friday night, get your mind right and show up Saturday morning with a spirit full of dynamite ready to seize the day!