1 hour, 12 minutes, and 34 seconds

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…and THAT was my Murph time. Finished last in a sea of 20-25 LAX CrossFitters. Definitely not anything that I’m proud of, but in this instance, I finished. The fastest time was around 30 minutes for this HERO WOD on Independence day, (Go Mr. Palmer!) and it took me over twice as long from his time to finish it.

 

Murph

1 Mile Run

100 Pull-Ups

200 Push-Ups

300 Air Squats

1 Mile Run

This blog post isn’t about dissecting how to strategically do Murph. (haha, why would anyone listen to someone who finished with the slowest murph time ever). However I will tell you that this wod is deceptively hard. If you look at these movements individually, they are not complex movements. They are basic CrossFit movements that most people learn to do rather quickly (even if you use assistance).

The difficult part is the mental aspect of this wod. Yes, people may not like it, but the mile run isn’t hard. It’s AFTER the mile run, when you’re breaking down the 100, 200, and 300 into 20 rounds of Cindy. (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats) that may make or break you.

It took me forever to complete even just 5 rounds. In my head, I was thinking to myself:

“Keep going, just finish 5 more and call it a day”

After the 6th or 7th round, I was going ridiculously slow. Luckily, I was able to string the pull-ups together each time but  had to break up the pushups and the squats into sets of 5 and 10.

By the time I got to the 10th round. I was ready to call it quits.

I was mentally checked out of doing the last 10 rounds.

“Just tell Adan you wanna quit and walk/jog the last mile and be done with it.”

Then, at that very same instant, my body kept going and my head followed suit. “10 more rounds is not that much, you’re not in that much pain, just do it. ”

So I did, knocking it out 1 round at a time. Still, I was going at a snail’s pace, but I knew I had to finish.

IMG_5445

Yup, still not finished.

This goes to show how much of a mental game any CrossFit workout is vs. a physical game. I already had that defeatist attitude of “I will never finish.” This is by far the worst attitude to have, but we all do it just so we won’t be disappointed with the outcome if we can’t complete or finish something. Physically I was capable, but mentally, I was not there. I actually wanted to cry.

I think the key to mental toughness first starts with confidence. Confidence starts with physical preparation and setting goals.  Visualization is a great tool to use at your disposal after a long hard day. Getting to that sub X minute fran, or getting that first pullup, or running a sub X minute mile, all are similar. The approach on how we go about getting there is the key.

Physically you’re there, but mentally you’re checked out (or your ego gets in the way): Your athleticism is there, but mentally you are always thinking in negative terms. “I’m not having a good day, so I’m not even going to try.” “I’m not gonna look good if I can’t do X, so I’m only going to do the things I’m good at.” “Meh, I didn’t beat (name here) during the wod, so I’m not going to even try because I don’t want to lose to them.”

Physically, you’re not quite there yet, but mentally you are always thinking positively- “Okay, I’m not there yet, but look, I’ve gotten kipping pull-ups with a blue band instead of a green.” “I can do 5 x 65# thrusters unbroken.” etc.

Hands down, I would pick the person with the positive mental attitude to win in tough situations over Negative Nancy.

Visualizing helps tremendously and thinking in positive terms will already set yourself up for success, not failure. However, you still have to put in the work. Putting yourself through that pain of tearing your hands, using less resistance in a band, working on strict pull-ups, doing drills and working on your technique in running, will only help you to get to that end goal. Repetition in this instance is key. Constantly putting your body through uncomfortable situations will help you to make you into a mentally stronger person and build your confidence. (Confidence is completely different from ego, that’s another blog post)

I am not the fastest, nor the strongest, and I am definitely not the most flexible (actually I am probably by far the most inflexible person). And, I am okay with it. Putting yourself through struggles and to push your physical boundaries will enable you to find your limitations. Once that is established, use those limitations as a ground/base to launch yourself into positive thinking which will ultimately giving you the mental toughness to not only survive those uncomfortable situations, but to fight through those WODs.

Workout of the Day 7/25/2013 – Thursday

Met-Con.
‘Manion’ – 7 Rounds:
400m Run
29  Back Squats (135#/95#)

Compare to 4/12/2013.

manion

First Lieutenant Travis Manion, 26, of Doylestown, PA, assigned to 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Pendleton, CA, was killed by sniper fire on April 29, 2007 while fighting against an enemy ambush in Anbar Province, Iraq. He is survived by his father, Colonel Tom Manion, mother Janet Manion, and sister Ryan Borek.