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Big ups to Josh Howey and Danielle Worden!

Josh finished 4th in the state for wraastling and Danielle finished 3rd in the state for powerlifting

Entries in murley (128)

My First Semester of Teaching, Part 3

Chris asked me to write a post about how my first semester teaching at Foley went, so here goes. Even though it was the start of my third year of teaching, I continue to joke that I am just repeating my first year for the third time. As I expected, returning to my alma mater was... nostalgic and awkward. I still refer to my previous teachers by their last names. Sitting in the staff lounge at lunch was a milestone too. Now I’m starting to feel more like I belong there, but it took some time.

Christmas Workout 2010

I didn’t take a lot of time to plan for this year, or at least not as much as I’d hoped. I taught for a summer school program at Wayne State, and that turned out to be a lot more work than I had bargained for. I prepped three science classes, and even though it was a half day program I often stayed until 3 or so getting labs set up or cleaned up. I am an introvert and a perfectionist, so teaching seems especially difficult and draining for me. I definitely need to spend next summer doing the farthest thing possible just to reset myself.

Without spending all that time in the summer planning, I work long days. If I can have all of my lesson plans for all of my classes planned more than a day in advance, I count my lucky stars. And in the back of my mind I also worry. Far too often, I’ve designed these ridiculous lessons that I think are sequenced and structured well, then they fall apart on the first day and I have to re-think everything anyway. I’m typically planning, re-planning, and grading until at least 5:30 every day, and I still feel the need to go in before 7 to make sure everything’s ready.

I’m a pretty bad judge of what is easy and how much time something will take. Especially when I can’t get some kids to stop talking. I seriously don’t think they’re capable. I ask them to stop talking to someone, and they start singing to themselves. Just to hear the noise? I asked my students once, and they actually said they can’t recall when they last sat silently– no music, no videogames, no phone, no talking – other than when being forced to during a test. Serene silence is lost on this generation apparently.

There were a lot of good things about this semester though. I really like working with Mrs. Sheehan, my freshman math teacher who I consider to be a rockstar. I have started asking her more questions and for more feedback, and it gives me a lot of insight into what she has seen over her many years of teaching. I also have some really good kids in my room. They let me make mistake after mistake and they just go along with it most of the time. And on rare occasions, when I actually do something right, I feel on top of the world. When the students get excited during an activity, or when I hear them say things like “I finally get it,” that’s all I need to know that I did my job that day. I’m hoping that those moments will become more common over time. For now, I am trying to cut myself some slack and focus on being patient, understanding, and as helpful as possible for the poor schmucks stuck with me.

Teaching for me has been mostly just trial and error, learning what NOT to do next time. I've never really experienced anything like it, but I think that once I finally figure it out (or at least narrow it down a little), it'll be the best decision I ever made.

Murley's Unexpected Rant

[Ed. - The teaching one will be posted sometime next week. Enjoy!]


Hey, friends! If you’re wondering what I’m doing on the website for the first time in years, I’m about to go on a largely personal, but hopefully relatable, rant about why I hope you’ll see more of me – and a happier me – in the gym from now on.

In August 2016, I felt like I was in the best shape of my life going into my senior cross-country season. About a week before practice started, I got a call from the principal at Gabriel Richard, and my plans for a PR changed. That fall, I was a full time first year teacher, a full time student, and coach managed to convince me to finish my senior season. Looking back, I can’t believe I finished that year relatively unscathed. The only blemish I have to remember that time is the tiny – next to the A in Mama V’s Microbiology course (although, if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the course at all – she’s the real MVP). The secret to my survival was to prioritize everything I thought was most important – teaching and school – and ignore the rest – including my general well-being.

We’ve all been in that time period where we excused ourselves from healthy eating and exercise because we had too much else on our plate. But for me, I noticed another huge drop-off in my emotional well-being. Since that year, I’ve tried to get my eating back on track, but I failed miserably – mostly because I was miserable. I thought that when I began teaching at Foley that I would miraculously become healthier again, but here again I failed. I think I went the entire month of November without eating a single vegetable, instead having dinners consisting of cookies, ice cream, or both. Every time I came to the gym and I wasn’t magically as fit as I was in 2016, I threw a temper tantrum that ranged from cutting range of motion on the workout to cutting the workout short and leaving altogether. I was afraid to go to the gym because I hated having people see me like that. So I just stayed home.

Murley and Matt - Summer 2016

I told myself that I had absolutely no reason to be as miserable as I was. I landed the job I wanted, I had the house and the husband and the dogs, I had everything that I computed would mathematically produce happiness. When it didn’t, I became frustrated, I questioned my ability to teach, I questioned my desire to teach… I questioned my desire to do anything. I kept shaming myself for eating poorly and being out of shape, which just led to a never-ending cycle of negative emotions.

The self-pity parade continued until a couple weeks ago. I realized that I focused so much on my mistakes and poor health choices that I was setting myself up to fail. When talk of New Years Resolutions came up, I decided mine was not going to be dwelling on diet and exercise as is often the trap. Instead, I decided I would focus on improving my mood and attitude about life. I started reading a book called “High Performance Habits” by Brendan Burchard, and trying little changes in how I go about my day. Now when you see me in the gym, I am focusing on being positive. I am trying to reduce my complaining to the joking kind. I am going to do rope climbs or max effort lifts if they are the workout of the day. At school, I am focusing on being patient with my students and especially with myself. I am taking a lesson that didn’t go the way I thought it would as a learning experience. I am finding something to be excited about every day. I am finding a way to show gratitude to the people around me. I’ve been focusing on these things, but I’ve found that I started living eating healthier and having better workouts as a by-product. I’m learning quickly how much my mood affects the rest of my life, and I’m also learning just as quickly that I have a lot of power over my mood. I’m enjoying life more. I just hope I can stick to my resolution and see how much progress I can make over the course of the year.

If you read this all the way to the end, thank you! I need a community like you to keep me accountable. And if you’re ever feeling the way that I felt, please reach out. I’d love to share the book and thoughts with you. Peace and Love!


New Guest Post Alert + Poll: Oreos vs. Reeses

Last semester, we got really great guest posts from two of our young teachers in our ranks. Rachael gave us an update on how she's managed to work out in her basement while finishing her student teaching in Armada. Jacob gave us his thoughts about his daily routine and finally getting to teach in a classroom in a writing style only he can pen. This semester I wanted to get a post from the other two teachers: Murley and Mama V. Murley's should becoming out some time this week, so be on the lookout.


In related news, this poll involves two of the most delicious snacks known to man. You're ready for a glorious cheat meal and are staring at a bag of Reeses and full tray of Oreos. Which side are you on?

Note, we're talking about stand-alone, classic candy treats. Not holiday or mixed variations, ice cream flavors, or Blizzards from DQ. 

From the Vault: College Kids Christmas

Since our first Christmas as the Champions Club, we have always had good turnouts around the Christmas holiday. But 2014 is when we really started to deck out the place and badger the crap out of the college kids to come back. Here's the first "Under the Lights" workout we did:

Then that same year - a few days after that Christmas - we had what I think was the best single session in Champions Club history. Matt Fecht, James Rogers, Murley, and Shannon led the way for a star-studded noon session doing the classic CrossFit benchmark workout, "Kelly." Check it out.

From the Vault: The Forgotten Summer

Summer 2014 will go down in my mind as The One That Got Away. It seemed like we had everything primed in the spring, but things just didn't turn out the way I hoped for the Summer as far as attendance goes. But in terms of movement, this is the first Summer that can stand over time, so to speak.

I always look back at old videos of what I thought was good form and cringe. Summer 2014 is where I really started to get a grip of what standards to hold our athletes to.

This video is from August 8, 2014 and is a deadlift/shuttle sprint/burpee triplet with a built-in rest. We did a mashup from all the sessions. You might recognize some familiar faces (or might not, in Shake's case).

80's Theme Workout Recap

I confess, this is the first disappointment from an otherwise perfect Summer: we had 11 in attendance for the 8th annual 80's Theme Workout (and yes, my disappointment compounded because I had to work out!) I had a feeling it would be a lower turnout, but still I was hoping for around 15 or so. Either way, the crew who was at the gym this morning put on a good show - both with their attire and their workout.

Some how, some way, Nicole Murley won yet another 80's Workout -this time she was paired with Erika.

Since we have moved to this gym in 2012, Murley has not lost a single 80's Workout she has participated in. Next year we will make sure to get Saporito, Shannon, Jacob, and anyone else willing to claim the throne.

The full workout results can be seen here.

The photo gallery can be seen here.

The next official Theme Workout on the calendar will be September 1 - when tradition states we do the Harry Potter Theme Workout. But we may sneak one more in before Summer is over. Stay posted...

Disney Doozy 2018 Recap

We had another good turnout for a theme workout this morning; 16 including me at the Disney Doozy! We made a few modifications on the fly with rep counting; Baloo's Bear Crawls were on the blue mat and counted for 4 each trip down (8 for down-and-back), Tinkerbells were synchronized and counted same as Hakuna Matata Tabata Squats. As expected, there were a few mix-ups on the station rotations, but nothing that couldn't be figured out. In the end it went pretty smooth, the team of Jennifer and Murley (MurleyMouse and IncrediBANET) won with a convincing score of 622.

We don't have a full photo gallery, but there are a few uploads in the July '18 Daily WODs gallery, and you can see the full workout results here.

Great job to everyone and that's for the turnout! This is probably my favorite Theme Workout. Also, big ups to Erica for driving an hour to the gym this morning just to come to the workout. Definitely earned some brownie points there, and adds to her resume' for an already very impressive Summer. Next week will be another theme workout. Check back soon for the announcement!

Traditional post-workout movie viewing. Lindsey convinced everyone on Tangled.