Have I mentioned I am really enjoying the group workout dynamic of CrossFit? Having that community of people, working toward the same goal, cheering and supporting each other through hard workouts; it’s a really nice benefit that I haven’t ever experienced in my previous solitary workouts. Seeing someone else struggling through another round of push-ups, fighting for those last reps, knowing they have to repeat it again and again in several more rounds – it’s incredibly motivating for myself too!
But yesterday, the CrossFit community had a larger purpose than just working out together. We gathered for a special Memorial Day workout, to honor America’s soldiers. It wasn’t just at Ronnie’s gym that this was occurring – CrossFit gyms across the country held commemorative workouts over this weekend for the same reason, which made it incredibly cool to know there is one giant celebration going on, bigger than just our sweaty little corner in Waldo.
For yesterday’s event, Ronnie asked one of his high school athletes that just graduated and is headed to West Point this Fall to wrestle, to choose which “Hero WOD” he wanted us to complete for the Memorial Day workout. Hero WOD’s are benchmark workouts for CrossFit that are typically extra difficult, and are named in honor of fallen soldiers. “Murph” is the one commonly chosen for Memorial Day, and that is what Ronnie’s athlete of honor chose. I can’t find the official page at the CrossFit HQ site that tells the story of Murph, but this CrossFit Affiliate tells the story, from a member who actually knew the soldier.
The workout consists of 1 mile run, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and then another 1 mile run to finish it off. The official way to do it is wearing body armor or a weighted vest, and combat boots. Not many in our group had that equipment, but Ronnie and a couple other guys wore their weighted vests. Additionally, Ronnie created some scaled versions, including a half the distance run, and options for those of us that can’t do pull-ups. I did ring-rows in place of pull-ups, since I was already so sore from the previous two days of workouts. But I did complete the full distance/reps, in about 44 minutes. I technically could have been faster but I wanted to be sure we had photos of the event, so during my quick water breaks I ran around with my camera shooting photos of the workout!
It was pretty dang tough, particularly that last mile run. My whole body felt like I had put on a fat suit, or was just swollen and extra heavy, so trying to run just didn’t feel the same as it usually does. I was like a stiff brick with chicken legs, trying to make my way down the street. Other than the last few miles of my marathon over four years ago, it was one of the toughest miles I’ve ever completed.
And everything about it was amazing, and I actually had to try not to get teary, thinking about our purpose for being there that day. I think it may have been the first Memorial Day that I actually celebrated the intended purpose, in my thirty-plus years here!