Murph Day

Today is Murph Day at CrossFit Austin. Held in honor of Lieutenant Michael Murphy, it’s a fundraiser for the Naval Special Warfare Foundation and is a kickass way for us nutty CrossFitters to bond over a ridiculously challenging workout.

In case you’re not familiar with the man behind the Murph, here’s his Medal of Honor Citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as the leader of a special reconnaissance element with Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005. While leading a mission to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June 2005, operating in an extremely rugged enemy-controlled area, Lieutenant Murphy’s team was discovered by anti-coalition militia sympathizers, who revealed their position to Taliban fighters. As a result, between 30 and 40 enemy fighters besieged his four-member team. Demonstrating exceptional resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly led his men in engaging the large enemy force. The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of the team. Ignoring his own wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lieutenant Murphy continued to lead and encourage his men. When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his beleaguered teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communicating in the extreme terrain, and in the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into open terrain to gain a better position to transmit a call. This deliberate, heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate support for his team. In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his selfless leadership, courageous actions, and extraordinary devotion to duty, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

One of the things that’s so great about the CrossFit community is that it honors men like Michael Murphy by bringing us mere mortals together to support each other through our own “personal combat”: scary-hard workouts, illness and injury, broken hearts, and other losses. So a day like today is both a memorial and a celebration.

I’m sending good wishes from Pennsylvania to everyone doing the Murph today with special shout-outs to my girl Bonita who is tackling the full workout in a 20-lb. vest, to my new workout buddy Chaz (use those freakish lats, brother!), and coach Tristy. Go get ’em, you guys!

In solidarity, I did a sort of half Murph this morning. I couldn’t find anything in my parents’ neighborhood that would fill-in for a pullup bar, so my workout looked like this:

The PA Sorta Half Murph
1/2-mile run, up and down a 1/4-mile hill
100 pushups
200 squats
1/2-mile run, up and down a 1/4-mile hill
My time: 24:39

I sorely missed my workout buddies; this not really a WOD that’s meant to be done alone. It was a struggle (how is it possible that pushups never get easier?!?!), but I thought of the real Murph and tried not to wimper too much. As it turns out, it wasn’t a bad way to start the day.

Some time soon, I need to try the full Murph again. Some. time. I did it once, by myself, back in 2008, when I was CrossFit rookie; read all about it right here.

Turkey Day Tabata & Feast Gone Bad

This Thanksgiving, I'll be starting the day with meditation, then watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's all about balance, people. Then later in the...

Read More
I’ll Take The Stairs: Story in Photos

Our (temporary) apartment in Prague is just off Old Town Square, in a narrow alley with large wooden doors on either end. After midnight, the...

Read More


  • meghan says:

    Melissa, you are just my hero.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Meghan, you are very, very nice to say so.

  • Anonymous says:

    Can't wait to do Murph in 2 weeks… for the first time. We were going to do it today, being 4th of July weekend, but a few of us are competing in the CF Houston Girl's Only Summer Challenge next week, so coach decided to delay it until afterwards. Nothing makes you want to finish a hard WOD like knowing it is in honor of a hero!! on-on!! ~Karyn M.

  • Barbara says:

    Great job girl! I took on a gym version Tuesday and have been walking funny all week.There isn't enough fish oil in the world to right me.

    Have a great 4th..

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Karyn, that's awesome. Shoot me email or post here when you're done and let me know how it goes!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Happy 4th to you, too, Barbara! XOXO