Saturday, January 1, 2011

Saturday's Workout

Here's how I know I'm addicted to this stuff: I woke up this morning at 6, and my first thought of 2011 was "I can't wait to do Murph."

"Murph," by the way, is a CrossFit workout named in honor of twenty-nine-year-old Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy of Patchogue, New York, who was killed in Afghanistan five years ago.

His story is an incredibly harrowing and tragic one. In the summer of 2005, Murphy led a SEAL team on Operation Redwing, a mission to kill or capture Ahmad Shah, a Taliban leader. While on the mission, the four men on the team -- Murphy, Marcus Luttrell, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson -- were discovered in their hiding spot by local goat herders. The team initially detained the herders, but after some debate about whether the herders might betray their location, let them go. But within the hour, the four SEALs were pinned down in a fierce firefight against upwards of 150 Taliban fighters. The herders, it appears, betrayed their location.

During the firefight, Murphy exposed himself to enemy fire to reach higher ground to call for backup with his cell phone; he was successful, but was shot in the abdomen during the conversation. He returned to the fight, but did not survive the night. Dietz and Axelson were also eventually killed in the course of the next two hours. Luttrell was the sole survivor. Despite severe injuries, he managed to evade capture and crawl and walk seven miles until he was taken in by Pashtun tribesmen who protected him from Taliban forces until he was rescued by U.S. forces a week later. (Luttrell later wrote a book, "Lone Survivor," recounting the battle and its aftermath.)

Murphy was the first person to be awarded a Medal of Honor (posthumously) for actions in Afghanistan, and the first member of the Navy to receive the award since Vietnam.

According to the CrossFit main site, "[t]his workout was one of Mike's favorites." It's now one of mine, too.

For time:
  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pull-ups
  • 200 push-ups
  • 300 squats
  • 1 mile run
You have to start and finish with the running, but you're allowed to partition the pull-ups, push-ups and squats however way you want. (Optional: Wear a weight vest or body armor -- Mike Murphy-style.)

I decided to break up the 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats into 20 rounds of Cindy -- which, as you may remember, is a 20-minute AMRAP of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats. Although I've not yet encountered a full 20 minutes of Cindy, we've done a 1/2 Cindy (10 minutes) and a 3/4 Cindy (15 minutes) in class. Each time, I'd managed to crank out about one round per minute.

Figuring I'd lose a little steam as the workout progressed, I estimated that 20 rounds would take me approximately 22 minutes to complete. I'm not a speedy runner, so I assumed my two mile-long runs would take 8 minutes each. And 22 + 8 + 8 = 38 minutes.

So how close was I to my guesstimate? Ten seconds off. I finished in 37:50. (Or thereabouts. The clock actually said 38:05, but I'm subtracting the roughly 15 seconds it took me to haul myself up off the floor, stagger over to my stopwatch, fumble with its buttons and finally stop the time.)

Nothing like a long metcon to kick off a brand new year, right?