CrossFit has many “Hero” workouts, which are named after soldiers who died in service. The Murph workout is named in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, age 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan on June 28th 2005. For his selfless leadership, courageous actions and extraordinary devotion to duty, LT. Michael P. Murphy received the Medal of Honor, the first service menber to receive the medal in Operation Enduring Freedom, and the first Navy recipient of the medal since Vietnam. You can read more about his heroic actions at the Memorial Day Murph site.
For the past 2 weeks, I had alternated between feeling anxious and excited about the Murph workout. I love many of the Hero workouts and I was looking forward to the challenge of this particular one, even though it really scared me. My goal was to do the workout as prescribed, without any modifications or scaling. This meant I would have to do:
1 mile run + 100 pullups + 200 pushups + 300 squats + 1 mile run.
It would be brutal. But I had a plan on how I would sequence the reps. You always need a plan:
run 1 mile + 50 pullups + 50 squats + 50 pullups + 50 squats + 50 pushups + 50 squats + 50 pushups + 50 squats + 50 pushups + 50 squats + 50 pullups + 5o squats
See? Doesn’t it look SO MUCH easier when you sequence it all that way?!?!
I had gone so far as too coordinate a carpool with Julie & Laura and we were going to arrive early to get registered in the first heat.
And then my body rebelled with other plans. 8 days ago I did a brutal kettlebell workout which trashed my legs. They would have recovered on their own, except that 5 days ago I was silly enough to go run 8 miles, because I wanted to squeeze in another training run before the San Diego 1/2 marathon. That was a mistake. Big one.
Since that 8 mile run, I have not been walking normally at all. My IT band and glutes have been in a state of rebellion and I’ve been alternating between massage, heat, ibuprofen and stretching. I took 2 days off from CrossFit to rest, but then Saturday I trained with the Charly’s Angels. Or rather I tried to train – I couldn’t make it through the entire workout.
I came home after that workout on Saturday and realized I was screwed. I had 7 days to recover before my 1/2 marathon in San Diego, and I had the Memorial Day Murph workout on Monday. I knew that doing Murph would trash my legs again. In general, it would trash everything, but my legs would be included.
Sunday I came to the sad conclusion that I couldn’t do Murph AND also do the San Diego 1/2 marathon. As much as I wanted to, as much as I wished I could, my body couldn’t do both in the same week. Not while recovering from an IT band injury.
The trouble with this problem is that there is a fine line between heroism and injury. Or: there is a fine line between being tough and being stupid. I wanted to be tough like Michael P. Murphy and force myself through the workout. I have willpower and I can be pretty stubborn. But then I knew I wouldn’t be recovered for the 1/2 marathon next weekend. I had to choose.
Doing the Murph workout would be a way to honor a deceased solider. Doing the 1/2 marathon next weekend would be a way to honor a living friend. I’m doing that race to support a friend who has recently recovered from cancer. I’ll be running with John who finished chemotherapy last December and this will be his “comeback” race.
I decided it was more important for me to follow through on that commitment to a friend. I wanted to support him by running that race instead of limping that race.
So this morning, while my friends did the Memorial Day Murph workout, I stayed home. I put tiger balm on my IT band and I took more ibuprofen and I tried not to feel like a wimp. I tried not to sulk. Not doing that workout this morning was awful.
I tried to remind myself that we can’t do everything. Sometimes, we just have to choose which battles we can really fight. We can’t fight them all – not in the same week. Sometimes we just have to choose.
I hope you know who you want to honor in your life so you can choose which battles you want to fight.
Because sometimes, the hardest choice to make is to NOT do something in your life. Sometimes, the smartest thing to do is stay home so you can rest to fight another day.