THE MURPH

The-Murph image

 

The MURPH workout for me and I believe most crossfitters is one of the, if not the most taxing workouts that CrossFit offers. Personally, it is THE benchmark workout that measures overall fitness. If I improve from one year to the next, then I know that I am progressing in my fitness goals. This year is my third year doing it and my second year doing it as prescribed with the twenty pound weighted vest. On my last two attempts, I had a mix of dread and eagerness. Dread because of the amount of work that MURPH demands but enthusiasm as well. As much as I knew it was going to hurt I needed to challenge myself to be better.
Last year my time was 43:37 but wore my vest up until the final mile. Ever since then I vowed that when I did it again, this year I will keep the weighted vest on no matter what and beat my old time. This year I didn’t feel any dread all I felt was the eagerness and the hunger to challenge myself. Don’t get me wrong I knew it was going to hurt, I knew it would challenge me as few workouts could, but this year I was hungry. I didn’t want the challenge I needed it as much as I needed to breathe that day. I had no doubt I was going to do better than last year now it was my time to prove it.
9 am was our start time I strapped on my vest and our coach, and a fellow veteran gave a great short speech on the 4th of July and told the story of Lt. Murphy from whom the workout is named after. We were asked to run behind the flag bearer for the first lap then after that, we could run at our pace. It felt great to run and look to my right and see the flag next to me. After the first lap, it was game on. That twenty-pound vest weighs heavy from the first step. I kept my head looking forward and maintained a steady pace. I managed to finish the mile under the eight-minute mark. Now the tough part began pull-ups, pushups, and squats. This year I broke them up into twenty rounds instead of ten. The idea was to maintain a steady pace for as long as possible. It worked out well because I was able to keep that pace with few stops except for wiping off the sweat from the unforgiving Texas heat. Near the end of my twenty rounds, my legs began to gain weight, and my squats got harder by a factor of ten. Nevertheless, I looked at the clock and still kept moving. In the back of my mind, I kept wondering when was I going to confront my doubt. When will that voice start talking to me? I finished the last round and now began the last mile. Our mile consisted of 4 laps around one of the long buildings next to our gym. Now the vest had gained another 20 pounds, and my legs became twenty pounds of concrete apiece. Then that voice started talking to me.
“You can stop now.”
“You have done enough.”
“You can’t do it.”
Even with my earphones on that voice was louder than the music blasting in my ears. I am very thankful that my friend George ran with me even though I couldn’t hear what he was saying the fact he ran next to me helped keep me moving.
Thank you, George.
I was able to keep a steady pace with until the final two laps. Especially on the 3rd lap I would stop running and walk a few steps then run and walk a few more. I am disappointed in myself because I did the same on the 4th lap as well. However, I did manage to sprint the last 200m to the end. When I finally finished, I couldn’t get the vest off me fast enough and drop to the floor in front of the giant fan.
The big question, what was my time? Did all that effort, sweat, and more sweat pay off? Did I manage to get my goal time? My time was 43:00. I managed to knock off 37 seconds off my time and get the second best time individual time in the gym overall!!!
One of the things I love about CrossFit is that if you push yourself hard enough, you will face your doubts, your fears head-on. It will tests like few things will in this modern world. But meeting those fears is vital if you want to see what you are truly capable of.

“If you believe you can or can’t.
Your right.”
–Henry Ford

Next year 40:00.
Till next time

Ian

 

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Bucket List:Skydiving-Part II

 

“Get busy living or get busy dying.”

-Stephen King

“let’s go.”

My best friend’s instructor had a lot more energy than mine did and that helped set me at ease. The plane was by far the smallest plane I have ever boarded in my life. It was just enough room to fit the fifteen of us. Then again how much room do you need when you’re going to jump off the plane anyway?

Towards the front of the plane were two benches which we sat chest to back as tightly as possible. My instructor behind me strapping me to his harness, the videographer in front taking video, pictures and asking me how I am feeling. My best friend sat next to me giving me, and everyone else fist bumps and high fives as the plane continued to climb above the clouds. My ears popped harder as our elevation increased to 15,000 feet. In front of us on the floor was a group of five experienced skydivers suited up and more ready than I was.

When we got to the proper elevation the diver closest to the door slid the clear plastic up and climbed outside holding on the fame as the others followed him and within seconds they were gone. My friend was next this was his second jump, he fearlessly jumped. Now it was my turn, the instructions were simple bend your knees, hands on your harness and jump out. My videographer jumped first, and before I knew it, I was off the plane. For some reason, my eyes were fixed on a baseball field as I yelled until my throat was dry. I looked up at the videographer, and I know without seeing the video I knew all I was doing was screaming while I reached terminal velocity. It felt like ages before my instructor pulled the cord once he did the video guy continued to drop and for the first time I had an idea how quickly I was falling towards the earth.

Russ didn’t say much as the parachute deployed and my heart finally stopped beating a million miles a second. As we began to float towards the ground, I was able to look around and take in the beautiful landscape. Serenity took over suddenly as the beauty of the world below me had me in awe. Sad to say its a feeling that I don’t feel often enough. Russ then loosened up the straps across my chest instantly I grabbed my harness instinctually I thought I was going to fall.

It took many beautiful minutes for us to float to the ground I put my feet out and we made a soft landing on our butts. My friend quickly landed a few moments after we did I was still high on adrenaline that I failed to listen to my instructor when he said to stay close to him.

“head’s up!!”

I ducked out of the way as another diver floated in my direction coming in for a landing. Russ quickly grabbed me by the harness and pulled me with him as we walked off the landing area.

Oops!

Skydiving was a fantastic experience I am more than ecstatic that I finally did it.

Would I do it again?

Absolutely

Bucket List: Skydiving-Part 1

Let’s go and jump off a perfectly good airplane with only a large piece of nylon to stop us from hitting the ground at terminal velocity. When it stated like that, skydiving sounds like something an insane person would do.
A few years ago I told myself I would skydive, but I waited for a few reasons. Such as fear, fear and more fear. Plus I couldn’t find anyone to go skydiving with; sure a few people said they would go and watch which is great. However what I wanted was someone next to me on that tiny plane ready and willing to take the “plunge” with me. All that changed recently when a neighbor mentioned their interest in skydiving, I quickly volunteered to go along. Now is my chance to knock another item off my infamous bucket list.
What surprised me was after I signed about one hundred pages of waivers (which I tried not to read) agreeing I wouldn’t sue the company. Is how many people around me have been skydiving most of them more than once. Almost everyone I talked to have been on multiple jumps, one guy is a certified skydiver, and I knew him for over a year!!! All of them told me how great it was and that they would do it again. I said myself I would only do it one time and that would be it!! I must be insane to do it more than once, right?
A few days before my big jump I told my best friend about what I was about to do and he “leaped” at the chance to go with me. I was going to jump with three people I knew one of them being my best friend. It couldn’t have worked out better.

Our jump was early in the morning I wanted to get it done before I lost the nerve to do it. My neighbor thought the clouds would delay our skydive. Therefore, she decided to leave later. I forced myself to go and since my friend was already on his way it made moving that much easier.

“This isn’t real.”

When I arrived at the check-in desk, I had to sign yet ANOTHER waiver. Signing all the waivers is what unnerved me the most. Signing every document made me question the idea of skydiving. But I was already there it was now or never. After a short promotional video, I went behind the building where my friend was already waiting. We chatted for a few minutes then my instructor, Russ, came out and put me in my harness. He gave me some instructions on how to jump off the plane “safely” which took about five minutes. His accent was a little heavy. I had to focus on what he was telling me. As the time drew closer to board the plane, my heartbeat continued to escalate, but I kept taking slow, deliberate breaths At that time the videographer introduced himself to me. He informed me that we would be jumping on the next flight.

My time was near.

Green Bay Packers Vs. Dallas Cowboys (Part 2)

During halftime, I talked with some of the fans around me engaged in some friendly trash talk. I even met a guy that was from I used to live on the east coast who was also a Packers fan. Then the 2nd half started and I admit I got more excited GB started to come back scoring a field goal then later returning an interception for a touchdown. When that happened, the whole stadium erupted every Packers fan in the building cheering as loud as possible. Then the familiar chant of “go pack go” filled the stadium. But I didn’t care, GB was coming back and Dallas fans knew what was going to happen.

After that frustration built up again as Dallas methodically marched down the field and scored again. Dallas had the lead with less than two minutes to go.  I knew Aaron Rodgers could come back and win a game coming from behind. He is a master of the art of the comeback. I was still nervous as GB marched down the field very quickly in the last 1:30 of the game. It was a tension-filled time every second of every play I was glued to the screen. Rodgers marched down the field faster than the Cowboys did, then it happened.

Rodgers hikes the ball Adams gets a small opening near the corner of the end zone. Rogers throws, Adams catches the ball. GB scores with only 10 seconds to spare. I jumped up and down, yelling in the air getting high fives from fellow fans. Once again the whole stadium erupted, It was an amazing moment. Dallas tried in the last 10 seconds to play hot potato with the football but failed.

What I admired most was the Dallas fans were very friendly. We all talked trash but it was never personal. That made the game so more enjoyable to watch. I congratulated the Dallas fans as well on a great game giving them respect for being a great and challenging opponent.  It could have gone the other way just as easily.

My experience at the Dallas stadium was amazing and worth the trip. The venue is amazing and beautiful and the fans for both teams were very friendly and talkative.

I would love to go back and watch another game.

Till Next time

Ian

 

Green Bay Packers Vs. Dallas Cowboys Oct 2017

I am a big fan of the NFL, however, I have only been to one NFL game in my whole life. When I had the chance to go and see my favorite team, the Green Bay Packers, play I was excited. Not only was I going to see them play, I was going to see the Packers play against another great team, the Dallas Cowboys.

Last year the Packers and Cowboys played in one hell of a playoff game that went back and forth. I just knew that this game would be as great as that one.

There were cars and people were everywhere once we got to the stadium area. It took us quite some time to find a parking lot. We managed to find one that wasn’t too far from the stadium that only cost $40.00.

After a short walk on the stadium grounds, we made it to the tailgate area. Music was in the air and barbeques in every direction. Of course, lots of blue and silver tailgates going, but to my surprise more than a few Green and Gold tents were set up as well.

We managed to get there early enough we decided to drink the few beers we carried with us because the stadium wouldn’t allow any bags in and the beer in the stadium cost almost $10.00.

Many fans were dressed and showing their team spirit, dancing, throwing footballs around having a great time. I almost didn’t want to go into the stadium because the parties on the grounds were just as amazing.

Once we were inside people were everywhere, vendors set up all over selling overpriced food and souvenirs. You could feel the energy packed inside the stadium. I was surprised to see as many Packers fans as Dallas fans. We began a chant of “Go PACK Go” and before we knew it the whole stadium joined in the chant, that was a memorable moment.

We got what was called a “party pass” which are the cheapest seats you can get, so cheap, in fact, you get to stand the whole time you are there. So if you get a “party pass” get some really comfortable shoes to wear.

After a few minutes, we settled on an area behind a few rows of fans on the second floor. I found a decent spot but the fan in front of me wore an obnoxiously large blue hat so I ended up moving to the third floor. At that point, it was still in the first half and GB was doing poorly.  However, all of the GB fans kept saying that we will get it back in the 2nd half.  I sure hoped so, I was at the point where I almost couldn’t watch anymore!

By the end of the 1st half, GB managed to score twice but miss the P.A.T. both times!!! I mean,  how could the kicker miss those easy points!! I thought for sure those lost points would cost GB the game near the end.

My Journey Down Clockwork Orange- Part 3 (LASIK)

In less than a few minutes my life was changed forever.

“Ok, you’re done. Let’s get you off the table.”

I slowly let go of poncho as I was assisted off the table by the office manager.

For the brief moment, everything I saw appeared to have a haze around it. I was walking in a light fog, despite this my vision was better by a factor of 10. A yellow laser hazard sign in the distance I saw more clear that I ever had before. I went back to small recovery room where two previous patients sat eyes covered like mine would be soon, their heads back facing the ceiling. I was guided down to a chair on the far side, to my right was a small table with a small eye scanning machine secured to it. I sat back with my eyes covered waiting for twenty minutes to pass. The doctor wanted to be sure that my eyes were stable before I left the office. After all they were just opened up and reshaped by lasers. I had a few minutes to relax in the chair and take inventory of what I was feeling. A haunting feeling dawned over me I could still feel where they cut in my eye to open my cornea up they call it “flap awareness”. At first the feeling was unsettling to say the least it was like an itch you didn’t dare scratch. At first, I wish I could have taken my eyes out and scratch it just for some relief. But If I scratched my eye I knew the price would be too high.

While I waited I talked briefly with the other patients in the room even cracking a joke to get everyone to laugh. One patient was called after his twenty minutes was up.

“Make sure you wear you goggles when you shower and when you sleep for the first week. Your googles will fog up and that is normal. Oh and sleep on your back and do not get water in your eyes. Also here are prescription for more drops. You will need to follow up in a week.”

The doctor called me up and gave me the same speech and before I knew it I contacted my ride and to his credit he was already on his way. I waited outside for a few minutes, dam even after surgery I still had lenses on my face, seemed a bit ironic but it was now only temporary.

My ride arrived and I closed my eyes as soon as I was comfortable in the seat. It was critical that I kept my eyes closed as much as possible for the next few hours. I told my friend about the surgery on the way back home. He made me laugh a little. As soon as I was able to laid on my couch ready for my newly reshaped eyes to heal.

I often get asked

“how was the recovery?”

The first three hours are the worst, I couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep but I had to keep my eyes closed in a silent room. The silence was more my own fault I thought I could use the time to sort through my thoughts and bask in the quietness. Instead what happened is I laid trying to ignore the feeling of my eyes being cut into. I often wondered if my eyes would scab over and I would need a knife to remove the them.  I managed to call on a neighbor and she bought me a few pain relief meds that I took right away. At this point, all I wanted to do was rest like the guy said in the video and wake up with my new vision. Sadly, that wasn’t exactly my case, I was awake all those 3 hours. Lucky for me with each passing hour the pain subsided slowly and the many drops I had to put in began to help.

After that I began to walk around and at a slow pace began to function in my new vision. For the first week, I was putting in a few different eye drops that the doctors prescribed including regular over the counter eye drops. It was a bit of a hassle to keep up with but necessary. Not to mention sleeping on my back was not something I was used to. I noticed that over time my eyes wouldn’t dry out as much and when they did I had a hard time reading anything menus, documents, labels. But after putting the drops in and giving my eyes a few minutes to adjust I could read better than I ever could in glasses.

Lasik got my eyes to 20/20 and a clarity that I never knew I could have. Colors are brighter, everything around me has more details that I never noticed before. The world is new to me once again.

Till next time

Ian

My Journey Down Clockwork Orange- Part 2 (LASIK)

I woke up on a Sunday and like I usually do I reached for my glasses putting them on so I can see the world. Then a thought dawned on me. This would be the last time I put on glasses in my life. It still didn’t feel real, I still didn’t believe that I would actually see the world without glasses.

I asked a good friend of mine to give me a ride to and from my appointment.  After all I was getting surgery on my eyes, driving afterwords was out of the question. I was a little worried because traffic like always was heavy but as it turns out I made it on time,

The office was full of people some like me waiting to be operated on, most of them were friends and family of other patients, waiting quietly. I told the receptionist I was here for my surgery then I sat down.  Even though I got there on time I waited for a while before I was called in. I didn’t mind it gave me some time to calm my nerves and see the world through my lenses one last time. I took those long moments to remember what wearing glasses really felt like I warn them for so long that I forgot just how alien having frames on your face actually felt.

I was finally called back to a small  preparation room. The doctor spoke to me briefly explaining the drops they were about to put in my eyes and I was handed over to a nurse who gave me a blue shower cap and blue foot covers to put over my shoes. Then she put some drops in my eyes to prep me and begin the numbing process.  After a few minutes I was moved to another smaller much darker waiting room full of patients in an almost pitch black room the only light coming from a small TV playing the first twenty minutes of the movie Pitch Perfect. I didn’t know the name of this movie until someone next to me told me.  As an added “bonus” the DVD player played the first twenty minutes over and over again. I don’t think I ever disliked a movie more than that one.

After what felt like another eternity the surgeon walked in, turned on the lights. I took a minute for my eyes to adjust to the sudden brightness in the room. He stood in front of us taking some time to go over in detail the procedure and what we would feel and possibly smell. I didn’t expect to be smelling anything during the process, I was scared and intrigued all at the same time. My mind couldn’t help for a few seconds to wonder to that scene in clockwork orange where the killer has his eyes held open by a metal apparatus as he was tied to a table. Especially when he mentions the plastic halo that would hold one eye open at a time.

Once he left the room he turned off the lights and that dam movie began to play again, god I was so sick of that movie. I was the third patient in the room to be called back. I put all my stuff on the chair next to the door. For some reason, I brought way too much stuff for me to hold. I guess it’s a bad habit. The cushioned table rested low to the ground. The laser machine was smaller than what I expected. It hung just above the cushioned table. I laid down on the table and I quickly was given a blanket and a stuffed light brown animal named poncho. I thought the stuffed animal was odd but I didn’t question it.

The doctor covered my left eye so he could focus on the right, he put more drops in my eyes to make sure it was numb then he rubbed what looked like a cotton swab over my eyes as he talked me through the process. He moved the swab around the edges of my eyes to show that my eye all I could feel if anything was a tickling sensation AROUND my eye, but the middle of my eye was numbed. I kept my focus on the small green light no matter how scared I felt. I don’t remember at what point everything faded to black if it was when he cut the cornea open or when he fired the various lasers into my eyes. Around the same moment I could smell the faint aroma of burning flesh. At that moment I remembered thinking “Oh god, I am going blind.” And I squeezed poncho as hard as I could. Then a few seconds later the process was done as my vision began to clear as he closed the flap. He then asked me to close my eyes as he taped the right and asked me to open my left to repeat the process. Even though I knew at some point my vision would go dark I still squeezed poncho. Now I knew why they gave him to me. The process took less than two minutes. My vision and my life was changed forever after a few minutes on a cushioned table and a few lasers blasts in my eyes.

But the tougher part lays ahead, my recovery.

Till Next time

Ian