An Ageless Accomplishment in Fitness

Earlier in the week, I was talking with some friends at work and Tough Mudder Arizona came up in the conversation. The more we talked and looked at some of challenges online, the more we convinced ourselves that this Tough Mudder thing is insane and maybe would have given it a go in our 20’s, but certainly not in our late 40’s.

Medicine Ball Squat WalksOkay so later that week, I am in Amy’s training and she issues a challenge to the group to sign up and finish the next Tough Mudder as a team. You know we have a couple younger pups in the group, but the majority of the Team are right up there in age with me and quite a few even a bit older.

I am thinking this is not going to be much of a “team” for Tough Mudder as we will probably be the oldest Team out there! (As a side note: we discovered during TM that there were a few older Tough Mudders participating in the event that day, but we by far the oldest Team in the size of our Group out there for TM AZ).

So…..Before I realized it, I am signed up for the challenge with 20+ others. How do things like this happen??? Tough Mudder Sign upI mean I got plenty of sleep the night before, I was sober, not taking any medication legal or otherwise… It happened because Amy convinced us that we could do it and as many times before, she has made me and each and every person in the AVC Elite group reach goals that were thought to be impossible.

So now you know how I got to signing up for this very understated “challenge”…. Now let me tell what it took to get us prepared.  Kettle Bell Squats with ChinsFirst of all, Amy worked harder than any of us and that says a lot since I have never worked out as hard or had as much fun working out as I did in preparing for Tough Mudder. We all still attended our normal 2 days a week training, which she stepped up a bit to incorporate moves, exercises and then some that would be needed to prepare us for Tough Mudder.

Later on, Amy added marathon Saturday sessions incorporating running and obstacle courses along with interval training.  Then, she added exercises that you might see iRope Crawlingn the “World’s Strongest Man Competitions.” I think Amy came up with a few tricks that Tough Mudder could use to make it even more challenging. The great thing about it is that we gradually built up our strength, endurance and abilities over this approximately 8 month training period if you take our start date of training beginning with the Fall Group Training in September and leading to the Marathon Saturday’s which  were added on later.

We all came out of it in the best shape of our lives.  I say this not only because we were all stronger, faster, had more stamina, endurance and agility, but because I dare say we all looked HOT!

Tough Mudder Team FinishThe day of Tough Mudder Arizona came and we conquered it with ease! We did it as a Team staying together, supporting one another and having a blast while doing it. We celebrated our victory afterwards as “official” Team AVC Tough Mudders.

One thing that some fail to realize is that many people get injured (and many times severely) during Tough Mudder Events. We are all proud to say that not one of us got injured other than your expected and typical bumps and bruises. It was an experience none of us will ever forget!

Okay Amy so what’s next??? Climbing Mount Everest…Seriously Just Kidding!!!

Thank You Amy and the AVC Elite Tough Mudder Teammates!


Let’s warm up to Mount Everest…with a 50K Ultra trail run perhaps? Are you ready to be inspired by training partners and reach new fitness goals you never dreamed possible?  Start with your AVCs…Elite Training that is and achieve the ultimate.

Memorable Mudder Moments

In June of 2011, I received a text from my brother that had the link for the Tough Mudder event on it asking me to check it out. I said I was down for it, but couldn’t get any other family members to commit. The race was going to be in February 2012. I remember texting Amy Van Cleve that I wanted to do the Tough Mudder. We both half-joked that we should do the event and then promptly went about our lives.

When Amy decided in May 2012 to train a group of athletes for the Tough Mudder Race in 2013, I was excited and a little fearful. Having done other events, I knew that I would just have to go through the training and be as prepared as I could be for the event.

I spoke with a co-worker who had done the race in 2012 and he shared some pictures of his team going through the obstacles.

The only obstacle that took my breath away was the 15 feet jump off a platform into water ( the “Walk the Plank” obstacle.) I sent Amy these pictures and suggestedWalk-the-Plank-Obstacle that she share them with the group that would be going through the training. She opted not to share the pictures since she didn’t want people to get preconceived ideas about the obstacles.

She knew what we were up against…we did not fit the mold for the participants that usually join the race (we were predominantly 40-60 year old women..not 25 year old stud muffins.) I knew we could accomplish this event, especially with Amy carefully watching us every step of the way and making sure we stayed uninjured.

We began training in October 2012 for the race in February 2013. The requirement from Amy was that we be enrolled in AVC Elite group training Monday and Wednesday sessions and she would add a Saturday training day.  We were on our own to run two to three days a week to get the base conditioning in. I can’t even guess how many hours we put in from October 2012 to event day on February 23, 2013 but needless to say there were a lot of hours involved.

Agility Training with TiresAmy worked predominantly on our endurance in the Saturday training sessions.  The basic training session was warm-up, run, cardio exercises, run some more, and yet more cardio exercises. Towards the end of our training we were up to 13 miles in total with 20 or more obstacles lasting 4 hours.

In addition to endurance, Amy placed an emphasis on proper running with your weight balanced underneath you, 180 steps per minute strides, proper arm movement and no over-striding.  She constantly emphasized hydration, proper nutrition, proper sleep, all components that made us the best condition that we could be in.  Not to say that I couldn’t have run more or had better nutrition but her constant reminders were always there making sure that we were giving it our all.

The training sessions all run together but the memories that come to the forefront for me are the following:

  • Mudder Team TrainingFirst training session running, doing 2 minute cardio exercises, and walk/running up and down Kong with Kettlebells
  • Training session at Mountain View High School where the temperature was 20 degrees and we had frost on our running shoes
  • Carrying a telephone pole across Mountain View practice fields to utilize it for the Twinkle Toes obstacle
  • Crawling through John’s tarped-covered “Trench Warfare” obstacle
  • Training sessions in which you looked at your watch and realized that you were two hours into training and you still had a minimum of an hour to go
  • Jumping into Amy’s pool in January to get ready for the Arctic Enema obstacle
  • The look of horror on some of my teammates faces as Amy described some of the obstacles we would be encountering in the race (planning meeting at the Monastery)

The spirit of camaraderie in our training was unparalleled.  When someone achieved an obstacle that they hadn’t previously been able to do, the entire group cheered.  When someone had an injury, (and there were plenty of them) the entire group rallied around that individual.  We had such a fantastic collection of personalities all melding together to conquer this achievement.

Most everyone on the team had an obstacle or a fear that they would need to overcome to complete the entire Tough Mudder event. We didn’t dwell on the obstacles we weren’t going to try…we would simply try every one and if we couldn’t get it done after a couple of attempts, we would move on.

Finally it was race day… The 15 of us showed up at the training facility at Ellsworth and Guadalupe. After an inspirational speech by Sean Corvelle (boo-rah), and we were off for 12 miles of running and 21 obstacles.

Mudder Memories from MargieWe had an amazing group of friends and family there to support and cheer us on. They couldn’t have done more for us than cheering us on at each obstacle.  Big Kudos to Helen, who trained with us through every Saturday session, and took amazing videos and pictures of the all the FUN we were having.

The actual race itself is a blur, with the hardest obstacles for me being the Berlin Walls and Everest.  Everything else was doable. I was definitely fatigued during the race, but felt I had the endurance to complete it. We stuck together as a team and although it took us a bit longer because of that, we were there for each other the whole way.

Team AVC MuddersThanks Tough Mudder team!  You guys are the absolute best. You guys are the toughest Mudders I know…thanks for helping me cross this off my bucket list…

Memorable moments:

  • Kendall completing the monkey bars…go Kendall!
  • Cynthia jumping off “Walk the Plan” the 15 foot platform…conquering one of her fears
  • Patti getting through the obstacle Trench Warfare which can be horrible for claustrophobic people
  • My whole team working together to get up Everest…thanks, team

After a couple of months had passed since the Tough Mudder event, the daughter of one of my friends did the Mid-Atlantic Tough Mudder where one of the participants drowned.  I realize that many accidents happen especially in such a difficult event, but I sincerely feel that Amy trained us to prepare for the race and we were the most prepared we could have been.

Thanks, Coach Amy, and I can’t wait to do the next Tough Mudder event!

What will you check off your bucket list this year?  Rim-to-Rim at the Grand Canyon? Tough Mudder? Ironman? An Ultra Trail Event?  What ever your fitness goals, AVC Elite Training can help you achieve them. Contact Amy today and let’s get to work!