You never know what you are truly capable of until you try.

Earlier this week, on Memorial Day, I completed my first ever "Murph" challenge and it was unlike anything I'd ever done before. Well, ironically, I'd done all of the exercises included in "Murph" before but never quite like what I experienced last Monday.

If you've never heard of "Murph", let me back up and start with what this challenge is all about. The "Murph" is a CrossFit WOD (workout of the day) that was  created in memory of Lt. Michael Murphy who died in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005. The workout is completed every year on Memorial Day as a way to honor those who have died fighting our country and those who are still serving today.

The workout itself is as follows:

1-mile run
100 pull-ups
200 push-ups
300 air squats
1-mile run

You complete the workout for time and it takes around 45 minutes to an hour to knock out. Many individuals also wear a 20lb weighted vest/body armor during the challenge. The workout was originally created and called Body Armor by Lt. Murphy and was later changed to "Murph" as a way to honor the fallen soldier.

If you think that sounds intense and really hard, well spoiler alert it is. When I visited Unyoked CrossFit back in March for my gym of the month, owner Kam Fitzgerald filled me in on "Murph" and is tough as it sounded, I was intrigued. After all, BRAVE is my word of the year and I'm doing all kinds of new things to step outside of my comfort zone. I told Kam that I'd see him again in May for the challenge, but as Memorial Day approached, I began to feel a little nervous of what I was getting myself into. Fear or not, I kept my word, showed up at CrossFit CU at 6:30am Memorial Day ready to work.

Calm before the storm.

Outside of knowing what exercises I'd be doing, I really wasn't sure what to expect. As most people do, I broke up the exercises in between runs into twenty rounds of 5 ring rows (instead of pull-ups), 10 push-ups and 15 squats. The first mile wasn't too difficult and felt like a good warmup but as I progressed into the meat of the challenge things got exponentially harder. The first ten rounds seemed to take an eternity. Even though by round ten I was mentally and physically fatigued, the final ten rounds seemed to go by much quicker than the first. When it was time for the final mile, my legs wanted to stop. It was hard to start with a walk much less run. Even still, I eventually found my groove and managed the to walk/run the final mile finishing in 53 minutes.

Or, in my case, 100 ring-rows.
A tick mark signifying completion for each of the twenty rounds of work.

"Murph" is a pure mental and physical challenge that was so much bigger than myself. I wanted to quit, halfway through I thought about calling it and just doing a half "Murph", my legs were beat, my arms were sore but somehow I kept going. Knowing that I was doing this to honor those that have died protecting our country and those that are fighting day in and day out to keep us safe in our homeland helped me perservere to the finish.

TRUTH! Quitting IS never an option.

Since finishing that last mile, I have been feeling the after effects of "Murph" all week long. While my legs, specifically quads, are finally back to normal, my arms and upper body are still a little sore. I guess that's what 200 push-ups will do to a person!

"Murph" Finisher!

Completing "Murph" is something I won't soon forget. I'm proud of myself for trying something new, committing to a goal I'd set for myself back in March and seeing it through to the finish. It felt so rewarding to complete the challenge and I'm forever grateful for those who tirelessly fight for our country and do the hard thing day after day. It took a lot of courage and bravery for me to do a single WOD that lasted 53 minutes. Knowing that there are others that get up each day with a tremendous amount of courage and bravery to fight for our freedom 24 hours a day makes a hour long workout seem totally doable.

Thank you again to Lt. Murphy and so many others for your selfless actions that keep this great country of ours safe and protected.

Thanks again Kam for your encouragement to do the hard thing! 

Beyond "Murph", the rest of the week was about recovery and adapting my workouts based on what my body needed post challenge. Bodyflow was a definite necessity to stretch my sore muscles. Between "Murph" and CX classes this week, I skipped Wednesday's leg day to give my lower body some more recovery time and was able to resume strength training Friday with some upper-body kettlebell work. To get a little more quick bursts of cardio throughout the week, I added a couple classes of Bodyattack. At just 30 minutes, Attack was the perfect fit to move my body, loosen up a little and get a good calorie burn in no time at all.

How about your week? Now that it's the first official week of Summer has your workout routine changed? I'm looking forward to getting outside more for some long walks with the kiddos in between gym sessions.

Happy Summer and happy weekending!