Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday's Workout: Memorial Day Murph

I've been hobbling around since last Friday's front squat-heavy WOD fried my quads, but there was no way I was going to miss the chance to do Murph at CrossFit Palo Alto this morning.

As you probably know, Murph is a CrossFit "Hero" workout named in honor of twenty-nine-year-old Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy of Patchogue, New York, who was killed in Afghanistan six years ago. CrossFit gyms around the country are participating in Memorial Day Murph, and raising money for three charities: The Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, the Lone Survivor Foundation, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

I've written about Mike Murphy before, so I won't repeat myself except to say that the WOD we did today was one of Murph's favorites, and it's also one of mine. Doing this workout was a perfect way to honor not just this fallen SEAL, but also to remind us of the sacrifices made by all the men and women in our armed forces who are serving on our behalf. They do what they do so that we can enjoy the privilege of grilling meat on the backyard barbeque on a sunny spring holiday.

So here's what was in store for us today:

For time:
  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pull-ups
  • 200 push-ups
  • 300 squats
  • 1 mile run
Although you have to start and end with one-mile runs, you can partition the pull-ups, push-ups and squats however way you want. Most folks break up the 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats into 20 rounds of Cindy (a 20-minute AMRAP of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats). I planned to do the same.

The first time I did Murph was on New Year's Day, and I loved it. I did it as RXed, and finished in just under 38 minutes, so I was pretty happy with my time. Nonetheless, I did by myself at home, and it just wasn't the same. Sure, I saved time by being able to do my push-ups and squats right underneath my pull-up bar, and didn't have to waste any time transitioning between exercises. But it simply wasn't as fun without the company of others next to me in the trenches.

That's why I was excited to see over two dozen folks show up at the gym at 9 a.m. to get our Murph on:

It was awesome.

We staggered the start -- half of the group began running first, and as soon as they returned, the rest of us took off. M (a.k.a. Nom Nom Paleo), who had (FINALLY) made up her mind to do Murph just the night before, was in the first group. I was in the second. Waiting for the first group of runners to get back was probably the most nerve-wracking part of the workout.

Once I started running, all the nervous energy got channeled into the effort. For me, the first mile wasn't bad at all. I kept up a good pace, and tried to stay true to the POSE method as much as possible.

The pull-ups, push-ups and squats went by pretty quickly, too. I started with 10 pull-ups, 20 push-ups and 30 squats, and then did 16 rounds of Cindy before finishing up with another round of 10 pull-ups, 20 push-ups and 30 squats. The push-ups wore me out after a while, but the pull-ups were smooth and quick. And although I had to pause with every 5 or 6 squats, I was able to crank 'em out at double-speed.

That's not to say there weren't some hiccups. I'd taped my palms to try to stave off ripped calluses and bloody hands, but (stupidly) forgot to tape my thumbs, so I ended up tearing chunks of skin off my thumbs midway through the WOD. And despite the tape on my palms, the skin underneath tore anyway.

I wasn't the only one who left DNA on the bars; here's Kyle's hand post-Murph:

The worst part? The final one-mile run. My legs were jelly, and POSE went right out the window. I ended up just lurching and stumbling the entire way. I watched as Carmela passed me, running with perfect form. "I was just telling your wife that I read your blogs!" she called out cheerily. I tried to say something gracious in response, but managed only a wheezy grunt as she zoomed past.

Result: 38:26 as RXed. Not bad, but not a PR; I was a half-minute faster in January. Nonetheless, this morning's Murph was infinitely more fun -- especially 'cause I got to share this experience with my wife. She'd been waffling about joining us for Murph this morning, and I'm glad she finally decided to take the plunge. Like me, M had a blast, and reported that she had a great time exchanging friendly obscenities with R. as they passed each other while running.

What? You somehow missed the fact that my wife has a potty mouth? I mean, this is the woman who ran the last 50 meters of Murph with a big grin and an upraised middle finger, people.