My First Time Failing Murph

If you want to try something new, give it a shot and don’t be afraid to fail.


Run 1 mile

100 pull ups

200 push ups

300 squats

Run 1 mile

I went into this workout yesterday fully confident that I was going to successfully complete it. I was looking forward to being able to tell everybody that I did it, and that I could push my body to its limits and finish what I started.

I failed.

Let’s rewind for a minute and take a look at what my weekend was like. On Friday, I drove 11 hours across the state of New York to a fitness conference in Toronto. On Saturday and Sunday, I sat through lectures from 9 am to 4:30 pm. I went to bed late both nights and my body wouldn’t let me sleep past 6:45 am either morning. I packed healthy food to eat throughout the weekend, but my macros were off by miles and my water intake was significantly lower than my typical 100+ ounces per day. On Sunday, I had to make the drive back home and nine hours later I arrived around 1:30 am. My weekend was fueled by excessive amounts of coffee and energy drinks to keep me focused and able to network with other fitness professionals, rather than letting myself curl up and nap during any spare time.

Was attempting Murph still it worth it? Absolutely. Am I glad it’s over? I’m just happy to get back to my normal schedule and routine.

Embrace Challenges

When it comes to routines (workouts, specifically) doing the same thing week after week can get stale and boring. Personally, I end up losing motivation, sight of my goals, and stop looking forward to my workouts. Hence, I failed my attempt at Murph.

I saw the Murph challenge as something new, something different, and something to challenge my body in a way I had never tried before. I knew I was tired, dehydrated, and I had spent the last three days sitting and being sedentary, but I didn’t know how much of an effect that would have on my performance.

After running the first mile, I knew it was going to be a struggle. I rarely run to begin with, but I completed it in a little over ten minutes. I felt dizzy, out of breath, and I was already sweating profusely. What was I thinking? I refilled my water bottle, walked a few laps, and got down to business. Yes, I used a band to help me complete my pull ups. Yes, I elevated my push ups to take some pressure off my wrists and maintain good form. I still only made it halfway through the workout.

(Source: Bev Childress)

59 pull ups, 100 push ups, and 150 squats later, I called it. My body felt like it was on one of those vibrating plates—everything was shaking and I could barely make it up the step stool to reach the bar for my pull ups. I was so disappointed. I was frustrated with myself because I hadn’t done more over the weekend to prepare, and that I hadn’t maintained my eating and fitness habits.

As I put my equipment away, I thought about what I had accomplished. I pulled my chin up over a bar over 50 times. That’s pretty darn impressive, especially for a female. Pull ups are really freaking hard for us, and it can take months to work up to just one single pull up, let alone 59 assisted pull ups with a band. Also, I’m not a CrossFitter; my workouts aren’t typically AMRAP or EMOM or pushing myself to the point of wondering whether my last snack is going to stay down. I made it halfway through this crazy intense workout at less than 100% and that is something I should be proud of.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Am I going to attempt this workout again in the future? You betcha. I have a goal now, and one day I will complete the entire workout. When I do, you better believe that I’m going to document it as a life event on Facebook, too. The moral of the story: change things up every now and then. If you want to try something new, give it a shot and don’t be afraid to fail. And please, don’t give up just because it didn’t work the first time. If it’s something you really want, keep trying until you get there.