This all starts at Lollapalooza '95...maybe '96?
For you millennials Lollapalooza was Coachella before Coachella - the festival of festivals that toured the country.
Anyway, I was one of the DJ's that played that year in Wisconsin. I was 19 or 20, and I was given full access to the cooler of ice-cold Milwaukee's Best Ice, in a can.
I could do a hot mix, turn around, crack a cool one, slam it down and hop back in the mix. I liked to mix fast and show off skills in those days. Lots of mixes, lots of beers.
By the time I was done I was hammered.
I decided it was a good idea to start doing front flips and somersaults down the hills of Alpine Valley, the winter ski-hill that becomes a summer concert venue in the outskirts of Milwaukee. I landed hard, felt something funny and realized it was my collar bone, almost sticking out of my skin. I'm pretty sure I was concussed, and also very drunk.
I wandered up the hill to the first aid tent. They started loading me in an ambulance but one of my friends caught me and told me I should hop in his car. He took me to the hospital where they rolled their eyes at me, told me I had to be more careful, gave me a handful of vicodin and a brace and sent me on my way with a referral to check back in later on. I returned to the festival and watched Nine Inch Nails or Black Sabbath or something. Not really sure.
I wore that brace for the summer, continued to DJ and my bone healed with a huge lump that has never gone away. I probably should have had surgery but that wasn't super common then. Over the years I have built up muscle around this injury - one that has caused my right side to always lag a little behind my left. At one point my SCM (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sternocleidomastoid_muscle) shut off completely when doing high repetition CrossFit workouts and caused drooping shoulder syndrome. Eventually it healed.
When I was 30, I discovered CrossFit and fell in love with a workout called Murph.
It's pretty simple:
Run a mile
100 Pull Ups
200 Push Ups
Run a mile
Wear a 20# vest for the whole thing.
I loved smashing myself with this 'WOD' and started doing it a lot, including every year for my birthday, with a pound added for each year.
On my 37th Birthday I did it with a 37 pound vest.
I am dumb.
This leads to now. I am 44. I am older, wiser and refuse to beat myself up like I used to.
We've been in quarantine for a couple of months. My pull up volume is greatly diminished, I have not been running, and - let's be honest - my sleep and stress levels have been the inverse of what they should be.
On 'Murph Day' this year I will workout. I will think about the meaning of Murph, I will take a moment of silence for all that have gone too early.
BUT - I will not be beating myself up and possibly hurting myself, or setting my fitness back.
I realize this may be an unpopular opinion, but maybe this year you save Murph for July 4th, or late August, or 2021. Why? Because I care and I don't want you to make the same mistakes I did.
BUT - If you are doing Murph, here are my pro-tips (as someone who's done this workout near 100 times) to come out of it in decent shape.
1. Be safe
If you haven't been training, opt out. We've seen even the fittest deal with Murph-related dehydration, rhabdo and horrible hand injuries. Be smarter than that.
2. Cut the reps down
For some reason people think they need to do this workout as prescribed, even though they don't do other workouts RX. Be smart, work smart, live to come back and get fitter. Do half. Do less! Do you.
3. Don't wear a vest
If you've never done Murph the whole way without a vest, don't do it with a vest. Plain & simple - it's a bad idea unless you've trained for it.
Kipping in a weight vest is a horrible idea for almost anyone. Unless your last name is Fraser or Toomey, don't do it.
5. Hydrate like it's important (it is)
It's hot out. If you're gonna go this hard, treat it like any other competition - hydrate like crazy in the days leading up.
6. Don't drink booze at all they day-of or after
It is what it is, it ain't what it ain't. You'll likely be dehydrated, possibly with mild heat stroke and some form of exhaustion. Don't add to your physical stress by feeding it poison. Just don't. Pick booze or Murph - but don't pick both.
Whatever you choose this Memorial Day, stay safe, be smart, take a moment of silence and enjoy your day like someone else fought for you to have it. Because they did.