About 10 years ago, I read a book entitled “Lone Survivor”.
I remember being completely awed by the beginning descriptions of the training Navy SEALs are required to go through, and the mental toughness they must have. A very special character in the book, Michael Murphy, immediately grabbed my attention and inspired me. Murph was a part of a four-man team who led a reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan in 2005. They were in extreme rugged and enemy-controlled terrain. Their position was discovered and they were attacked by approximately 40 taliban fighters. The ensuing fight led to many Taliban soldiers being wounded as well as each of the four SEALs. Murph tried to radio to headquarters for back up, but due to the rugged terrain, he could not get a good enough signal. In a heroic effort, with complete disregard for his own life, Murph walked out into a clearing where he was exposed to direct enemy fire, and while being shot, completed a call to headquarters with their location. He said thank you, ended the call, and continued to fight until he died. His bravery led to Marcus Lutrell, the only survivor from this mission, being rescued. For his bravery, Murphy was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
In Michael’s honor, CrossFit gyms across the globe complete a workout called “the Murph” over Memorial Day Weekend each year. I joined a CrossFit gym in January of 2018, and I was so excited to learn that they participated in “the Murph”, in honor of someone I learned about so many years ago. I completed my first “Murph” with my gym tribe on May 28th, 2018. It was hard. My muscles burned. My breath was short. The miles felt endless, but I finished it. The final mile, two of my friends ran with me, quietly encouraging me to finish with each step we took. When I (finally) crossed the finish line, I collapsed to the ground and cried. It was such an amazing feeling to know that I had completed the challenge, and was a part of something bigger than myself. I knew I was never in it alone, and I knew that with it I gave a small bit of my blood, sweat, and tears to honor a man who gave everything.
After some time to reflect on the experience (and some time for the soreness to dissipate), I began to think of our residents here at Juniper Village at Brookline. They are individuals who have spirit, drive, and a willingness to try new things and be involved in new experiences. I knew that they would dive into this experience head on- and boy was I right.
We worked with CrossFit Nittany, our local CrossFit gym, and modified “the Murph” so that our residents could complete the workout over the course of the month of May, and finish with the rest of the CrossFit world over Memorial Day Weekend. We had 17 residents who completed “the Murph” this year! We also provided the residents the opportunity to share who they personally completed the “Murph” for. Because of this, the Murph this year was extra special to me.
I am always inspired by the community here at Juniper Village at Brookline. It is never too late to step out of your comfort zone and try something new! Thank you to the residents who joined us on this journey, and CONGRATULATIONS!