As I’ve mentioned before, CrossFit includes dozens of benchmark workouts (or WODS) designed to track your progress in weights, time, and intensity. Some of these appear to be named after middle-aged women (Helen, Fran, Barbara) and some of them are “Hero WODs.”
As CrossFit is a common training program for military, law enforcement and fire fighters, CrossFit has created special workouts to honor the heroes who gave their lives to keep us and our country safe. These CrossFit Hero WODs are some of the most intense workout experiences that you could experience.
On Independence Day, July 4, 2012, I knew I would be walking into my first one. The temperature outside was well in the 90s and the city had issued a heat advisory. And I would be heading to class right around the scorching noon hour.
The workout was called “Strange.” U.S. Navy Cryptologist Technician Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, PA, assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit, died on August 6, 2011, of wounds suffered when his unit’s helicopter crashed in Wardak province, Afghanistan.
Here is the workout, as performed prescribed by exactly no one at my gym.
Eight rounds of:
Level 1: Full rounds, scaled weight
Level 2: Full weight, 6 rounds
Level 3: 6 rounds, scaled weight
When I saw this, I informed the trainer that I would probably be scaling to my own personal Level 4, or four rounds. He said “whatever.”
As I ran through the blazing sun wearing only a sports bra and booty shorts as I passed the housing projects behind my gym, I considered what would happen if I stopped after one round. Or two. Or three. And then I remembered that I was part of this challenge and had to push myself to complete the six rounds (did I mention that no one did eight except for maybe 3 people who did level one and are more machine than man?)
That’s the great thing about having actual goals. It forces you to push yourself when you might otherwise settle.
And then I had a heat stroke and died. No, not really. But it did suck. I came home and passed out and then woke up and ate some of the giant American Flag sugar cookie fruit cake thing my son made with his friends to celebrate the 4th. Overall, it was the most patriotic day I have ever had.