Fear and Loathing in Saginaw. Or, how I talked myself into doing the Murph Challenge

So, I’ll start off by saying this: Fear is a liar.  And it has this filthy habit of sneaking into my life, when it isn’t remotely welcome.  I’ve accomplished a lot in the last 18 months or so.  Dropped 120 pounds.  Committed to a clean way of eating.  4 times a week at Crossfit.  But, the Murph…that’s, not for me.  That’s for people who have their crap together, with regards to Crossfit.  Which, amazingly, was my same theology, with regards to the church before I got saved.

What is the Murph?

“Lt. Murphy, despite being severely wounded, relayed the position of his unit, an act that ultimately led to the rescue of Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, and the recovery of the remains of the three other SEAls who were killed in a 2005 battle with the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to the Murph Foundation website.

To honor Lt. Murphy, and raise money for scholarships in his name, a not-for-the-faint-of-heart workout dubbed the Murph Challenge was conceived. The challenge includes a one-mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, and second one-mile run — all while wearing either a 20 pound vest or body armor. Clearly this workout is hardcore. ”

People that still need to lose 100 pounds don’t do that kind of thing.  Even with scaling options, it seemed…well, horrifying. In spite of all the progress I had made, I was still…I still have a ways to go.  I spent a week, or two, talking myself out of even considering it.  I had no real problem NOT doing it.  I mean, running sucks.  The rest of the workout isn’t by any means pleasant but…a small piece of me really, truly wanted to go to any means necessary.  It made me question my resolve.  How bad I wanted to obtain a new me.  Everything about the last 18 months was suddenly, a big question.  Had I changed? Could I really take whatever CrossFit threw at me? OR, was I just doing what was comfortable? What we call half measures in recovery.

The night before, I was definitely at peace with not going.  Running. Heat.  and, lots of people.  No, no, and heck no.  I’m out on this year’s Murph.  Maybe next year… This, in spite of my friend Jade doing her best to talk me into it…but she likes cardio, so, I question her sanity anyway. I reached a conclusion.  I would go to bed, and if I woke up on time…I’d go. If not, meh.

Of course, at 0700, my Yorkie began barking. Loudly.  And because I’m a creature of habit, within minutes I began to do the unthinkable: I began to dress.  Even my son was like, are you SURE you want to go? I wasn’t.  But, I WAS going to go.  I felt like God woke me up so, who was I to argue with His sovereignty?

I pulled up, and the confidence I had built in the last 18 months melted away.  And not because of the heat.  Because, I didn’t now many of these people.  And, they were all super fit.  Well, mostly.  Although, after sitting quietly in the car for a few minutes and slowly making my way in, I did realize I was wrong.  Not everyone in that room was 6% body fat and ready for the cover of CrossFit Magazine or some such.  In fact, there were a lot of people that were NOT that template: but they were there.

So, at this point I discussed my options because, I can not run a mile.  Much less run a mile, do the middle piece, and then another.  Walking a mile each way seemed very time consuming, so instead, one of my coaches told me to make it a half mile walk, and then just fight thru the rest. And I planned on doing just that until, pride showed up.  In a good way.

Leaving out for a half mile walk in the blazing heat seemed….well, I was ready to puke.  Honestly.  I didn’t want to stick out any more than I was sure I did, so…I started a slow jog.  And then something crazy happened: I kept it up.  I actually jogged a half mile.  Something I had not done since 1997! I was, wow.  Beaming.  I did something I didn’t dream possible that day.Unfortunately, the rest of the workout was far more unforgiving. I made a decision at one point to do a 1/4 Murph, and then, a 1/2.  And, I got thru both of those decisions.  At some point, it did get pretty bad.  I no longer had prayers to pray for myself. So, in the middle of it all, I just did the only thing I knew to do: I began to intercede for other people.  That’s right: I started praying.  And suddenly, the rounds kept fading away.  (It’s easier to break it up into rounds than to try to do 100 straight anything.) Until there was 3, then 2, then 1 round left.

I did it.  I finished.  I set my mind to it, and…I completed it.  I’m still processing a lot, today.  and I’m still deliriously sore. But, dang it…I made it.  and it may have been scaled, but scaled or not…a 1/2 mile run, 100 ring pullups, 200 push ups, and 300 air squats, followed by a 600m walk, and 200m run, is nothing to sneer at. And I 100% believe that while my determination played a role, that Jesus is the one that drug me thru that.  Some of it is such a blur…but guess what? Bad as it was, it wasn’t NEAR as bad as I fancied it up to be.

And, such is life.  Our minds are wonderful weapons.  And, they are our worst enemy. The devil is a liar.  You are capable of so much more than you realize.  So, in closing, I just ask that you remember Coolidge’s words:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Press on, Champions.

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