Embrace the Journey

I had a life changing event in February of 2009. My husband of 32 years, unexpectedly passed away at the age of 58. I had to create a “new normal” for me, as I transitioned into this new phase of my life without Jack, I was 57. I decided one of the things that would help “go on with my life” was to try new things, activities I never dreamed I could do.

So I signed up for AVC Elite training classes created by my good friend and fitness expert, Amy Van Cleve. I also began her trekking program.  Before, I was not at “outdoors” person. I preferred to be in a cool, air conditioned gym (with a TV), than be outside exercising.

Trekking was quite a new experience for me.  In 2010, with lots of training from Amy I trekked the Catalina trail for 30+ miles!.  I did it again in 2011, but did 20+ miles. Who would have thought that I could do this, certainly not me.

But Amy never doubted I was capable and was always so encouraging. I was older, slower, was usually at the back of the group, but I was steady at my own pace, and I was able to finish both Catalina treks.

After the trekking program, Amy sponsored a running clinic with the Newton Running shoe company in March of 2011.  Again I was hesitant to sign up, because as a 59 year old, I had never run…..or had any desire to run, plus I thought I was too old for this. But once more, Amy encouraged me to try it.

I was a “blank slate” as far as learning the correct techniques of running. I had no idea about form, foot placement, correct shoes, cadence, body position. I thought you just ran.

In the fall of 2011, Amy offered a running program for all abilities –  from seasoned runners to novices, like me. I decided to try it, with a lot of misgivings, but I was determined to continue my goal of trying new activities. So I became a part of this group, learning how to run correctly.

Throughout the fall and winter we met and Amy taught me how to run the right way.   I learned that good running shoes make all the difference and are a “must.” So, I bought good Newton running shoes, used my heart rate monitor, bought a small metronome for the 180 beats cadence, and actually did some running on my own in my neighborhood.

Each session with Amy was a learning experience, where, she observed my running and made corrections/adjustments where needed.

In December of 2011, I decided to try something really out of my “comfort zone.”  I entered the Phoenix Marathon 10K race that would take place in March of 2012.

With Amy’s running group, and her continued advice/help, I trained for the 10K……me, who never wanted to be outside doing anything, was running 3-4 times a week to get ready for the race. Oh, look where I placed….never in a million years would I have thought this was possible at 60 years old!

Next came the Tough Mudder training. I know my body’s limitations, and I knew Tough Mudder would be too much of a challenge for me, but I wanted to do the running training with the group.  So I joined team AVC Tough Mudders. I did what I could, and I was able to keep up with the team when they ran.

I was slow, but steady, and I had the endurance, thanks to Amy’s running training. It was quite an experience, and worth every early Saturday morning training session (in heat and freezing cold).

It has been quite a journey/adventure. I am so appreciative of my friend (hermana), Amy. She always had faith in me, even when I didn’t. Due to Amy’s expertise and encouragement, I was able to reach my goal of “trying new things,” particularly with my running. So, that’s my story……who knows where the road will lead me next.

~Helen H.

Ready to try something new like Helen? Check out AVC Elite Training Small Group Sessions, Newton Natural Running and/or Tough Mudder with Coach Amy. The only limit to your accomplishments are the hurdles in your mind. Contact Amy today and embrace the journey!

1 thought on “Embrace the Journey

  1. Helen, Thank you for sharing your incredible journey with all of us. You are truly such an inspiration to everyone. It has been a privilege and an honor training with you all of these years not to mention witnessing firsthand all of the amazing things you have accomplished over time. Much praise and admiration goes out to you for taking giant leaps of faith and always coming out on top….You’re one of a kind, Helen!

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