My heart was racing. I thought to myself, “I hate sand. Why is he making me roll around in sand?” Michael Murphy, aka Murph, visited my cousin Heather at her Jersey shore beach house and convinced me to do a light workout called ‘Wet and Sandy’ on the beach with him. ‘Wet and Sandy’ was an AMRAP consisting of a long ocean swim (at least by my standards as a 12 year old), rolling in the sand until you became a ‘sandy cookie,’ doing max rep push-ups, and finally a sprint. Mike said the SEALs typically would do this workout until someone puked. He went easy on me and we did it until I gave up, which didn’t take very long. I hated the feeling of sand on my feet, never mind everywhere else we managed to get it that morning! I was fit for a young kid, but I had no idea what was possible, both physically and mentally, until I saw what Mike could do.
The answer to the common question “Why?” really became, “Why not?” The workout was hard, and hard is good. Throughout his entire life, Mike did things for for the sole reason being that they were difficult. There was no reward or incentive. The only reward was the challenge itself. Mike was teaching me to be thankful that I had opportunities to improve myself. I was lucky enough to learn that lesson time and time again. The inherent reward of achievement and improvement becomes a part of every CrossFit workout. Although this workout on the beach happened before CrossFit was created, I consider it my first WOD. The raw, uncompromising obstacles and someone suffering alongside you create the environment CrossFit has become known for. Mike taught me the value of challenge early in my life, and for that I am eternally grateful.
My personal goal in opening Solace was to spread the gift of adopting a lifestyle where challenge is embraced, not avoided. More importantly, it’s something that should be celebrated together. Misery loves company, after all. If you’re not afraid of your workout, you’re doing it wrong. A CrossFit workout is an opportunity to overcome a challenge every day. Don’t let it pass you by.
Over the past two years I have been dealing with a unique postural injury but fortunately am close to resolving which would allow me the opportunity to workout with intensity again. It’s going to be a slow road back and because of this, my goal will be to crush the ‘Murph’ WOD on Memorial Day 2017. This summer, I hope to remember and honor Mike by doing ‘Wet and Sandy’ on that same sand. If you want to understand who Michael was, check out the movie “Lone Survivor” and the documentary “Murph: The Protector.” I can’t do justice to Mike’s character with words. I can only hope to emulate him.
When you’re 30 minutes into the workout and start doubting your ability to push through, think of the sacrifices made and pain endured by our armed forces. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect your freedoms as an American. We can all honor those sacrifices with an hour of hard work in their memory. I challenge the Solace community to persevere through this workout and all the challenges that we may encounter. Remember what Monday means and be grateful for the sacrifices others have made.