So here are my thoughts regarding the Hero WOD Murph.

Monday WOD: Hero WOD Murph

1600 m run
100 reps of pull-up
200 reps of push-up
300 reps of air squat
1600 m run

This WOD is intended to be done individually. I respect the hell out of anyone who’s capable of that. There’s a small part of me wondering when the time will be right for me to attempt it. But then I get to thinking about it. For me, Murph has never been about the individual effort. Murph, more than any other WOD is about teamwork and camaraderie. PR’s are irrelevant because I’ve never partnered with the same person twice, so it’s not possible to do a true comparison. With that pressure eliminated, individual effort becomes secondary. When I take part in Murph, it’s about working together to endure. It’s about working with a partner to cross the finish line together feeling proud of what we accomplished.

The first time I did Murph I had been doing Crossfit bootcamp for all of three weeks. I got caught up in the excitement that comes with being new. I gladly dove into my first Hero WOD with no idea what I was about to experience. My partner that day was spontaneously and randomly assigned to me by the coach. He was a guy that I expect very well could have completed the WOD solo, if he chose to. Instead he accepted me as his partner and ended up looking after me.

The plan was we would run the mile, split the exercise reps in half and then run together again. My partner ended up taking on WAY more than half the exercise, because some where in the first 100 air squats I got dizzy and had to sit out for a while. He kept right on going doing the reps for both of us. When he completed those air squats he STILL accompanied me every step of what felt like the longest one mile slog of my life. I will never forget what he did for me that day. My partner carried me through one of the toughest hours I’ve ever experienced in the box. I carry that lesson with me every day, but on Memorial Day especially.

I laugh to myself because Murph definitely puts me back in a military frame of mind. My old Army platoon leader mindset kicks in. I can feel it and I kind of embrace it. My WOD partner and I become battle buddies. All the athletes in that session are now part of my unit. I’m keeping an eye on all of them. I can’t turn it off.

My battle buddy yesterday was a rock star. I’m very proud of how my wife, Erin worked through Murph. For someone who’s been crossfitting less than a year, Erin is kicking ass and taking names. We elected to run 800Ms rather than 1600’s, then split the calisthenics. Part way through she felt her shoulder tweak so she stopped doing push ups. I didn’t realize that until we talked after the WOD. Or I would have attempted to pick up her reps. So I guess technically we did almost half-Murph? Call it much of Murph. It’s besides the point.

Part of being a good battle buddy is always being on the lookout for the folks to your left and your right watching for other athletes not necessarily on your team that might need a bit of help.

Yesterday after a few minutes of recovery, I started counting reps for and cheering on one of the last solo athletes in our session. No matter how you’ve scaled Murph that last run is ROUGH. Unless they really want to, no one should have to endure it alone. When this fellow finished the last of his exercises, I asked if I may accompany him on his run.

He said “you’re welcome to come, but I’m going to be out there awhile. I’m gonna go slow. I mean REALLY slow.”

I told him, “I don’t care. I’ve got nowhere else to be.”

So we went out and ran the last mile together. He did a hell of a job too. I’d welcome him as a partner for any partner or team WOD that comes our way in the future.

I just wanted to see another battle buddy through to the finish line the way it’s been done for me before. I’m grateful that on this day this athlete shared that experience and permitted me to give back just a bit to the community that continues to give me so much.