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My Most Memorable “Murph” Experience

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[vc_row delay=”0″][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_custom_heading text=”Why we do “Murph“ in CrossFit” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:32px|text_align:left|line_height:1.2″ google_fonts=”font_family:Montserrat%3Aregular%2C700|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”][vc_empty_space height=”10px”][vc_custom_heading text=”May 29th, 2016″ font_container=”tag:h6|font_size:16px|text_align:left|line_height:1.0″ google_fonts=”font_family:Droid%20Sans%3Aregular%2C700|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text delay=”0″]

Back in October 2012 I took on the challenge of doing SEALIFT Kokoro Camp in Encinitas, California. It is a 50+ hour event started by Navy SEAL Mark Divine. It is based off of Hell Week that Navy SEALS are put through to become a SEAL. This Kokoro was called the Glen Doherty Memorial Kokoro Camp. Glen Doherty was one of the Navy SEALS killed in Benghazi the month before this camp. Glen was part of the SEALFIT Cadre team and a great friend to everybody in the SEALFIT community. 

It was 2:00am and we had just run about 13 miles on the beach doing whatever twisted exercises in the surf and sand the Cadre and coaches came up with along the way. We were told that we would now be doing the “Murph” workout. To make it a lot harder we were told that we would be doing this workout with a weighted backpack. We had been going for over 15 hours at this point! I was starting to feel sorry for myself and wondering how I was going to make it 50 plus hours! We started this workout with a story of LT. Michael Murphy. 

One of the reasons I love CrossFit is that we do Hero WODS. The workouts are in memory of fallen soldiers and first responders. The reason we do these workouts is not to see who is the fastest and best at them but to push ourselves the best that we can like these heroes did for us. They gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. When I do these workouts I do my best to take my mind off myself and think of those that gave their lives for us. During Murph at Kokoro I had a hard time not thinking about myself and was struggling through the workout because of my weak mind at the time. They gave us 1 hour and ten minutes to complete this workout. Any other day I was finishing this workout way faster but tonight was a struggle. I was not the only one struggling so I kept setting little goals and pushing myself.   

There are lots of stories about Lieutenant Michael Murphy and how tough he was through SEAL training and in his own personal training. Some people are most familiar with him because of the book and movie “Lone Survivor”.

In CrossFit we do this workout every Memorial Day or around this time in his memory because it was one of his personal favorites. He had named it “Body Armor” because he would do the workout wearing his body armor plate.

LT. Murphy was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005 during a firefight with Taliban Forces. A four man crew led by Michael Murphy along with Marcus Luttrell, Matthew Axelson and Danny Dietz were on a special mission to capture or kill a high value Taliban target named Ahmad Shaw, known as Ismail. They were in the rugged Hindu Kush mountains up around 10,000 feet elevation. During this mission they came up on a older man and two young sheepherders . The story is that they were unsure that they should let the them go but LT. Michael Murphy made the choice to let them go. Shortly after they were surrounded by multiple Taliban fighters. For many hours they fought many of them off but unfortunately three of the four SEALS died. The part of the story that gets me every time is that LT. Michael Murphy left his cover to help his team survive. Knowing that he would be mortally wounded he went out in the open up on a ridge to call in the coordinates they were at so they could get support. He was then shot in the back and killed.

Immediately a Quick Reaction Force was sent out with 8 Navy Seals and 8 Army Night Stalker commandos in a rare daytime rescue mission. Unfortunately the helicopter they were in was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade killing everybody on the helicopter.

This workout and all Hero WODS are about so much more than just doing a workout. While doing this WOD cheer on your teammates and take attention off yourself and think about what so many American heroes have done for you, me and our country. Push yourself and do your best!

I wish I could say that I completed this workout in the amount of time that they gave us to complete it at Kokoro that night but I did not. I was definitely physically weak but more than that I was mentally weak. It ended up taking me 1 hour and 17 minutes and I just about got sent home along with a few others. I normally finish in the 40 to 50 minute time range depending on how much weight I carry. It has bothered me that I did not make this cut off time and has pushed me to do my best each time I do this workout ever since. I learned a lot this night about not giving up and pushed myself the rest of the 50 hours to do my best and to be the best teammate to my Kokoro teammates I could be.

Here is CrossFit’s explanation of the “Murph” Workout:


For time:

1 mile Run

100 Pull-ups

200 Push-ups

300 Squats

1 mile Run

In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it “Body Armor”. From here on it will be referred to as “Murph” in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you’ve got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.

Most people that do this workout will break it up into 20 Rounds doing 5 Pull Ups, 10 Push-Ups and 15 Air Squats. This is a great way to do this workout.

If you are unable to do a Pull-Up do Kettle Bell swings or a Dumbbell Press if you have them available. If you are not near a gym find a park or do Mountain Climbers instead of the Pull-Ups. If you are unable to do a Push-Up do them from your knees. The important part is to push yourself out of your comfort zone, do your best and help others around you.

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