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!

Plyometrics: A Runner’s Best Friend

What are Plyometrics?

Running PlyometricsPlyometrics are movements that involve jumping, hopping, bounding, pitching or throwing and catching weighted objects such as medicine balls, pushing off with the arms such as hitting a push up while “getting air.”

All plyometrics involve a rapid eccentric (meaning lengthening) and concentric (meaning shortening) muscle action. This form of training when executed correctly and implemented in a carefully organized progression can enhance all sports.

Image credit: Competitor

What can plyometrics do for a runner?

  1. Plyometrics can enhance power in making a runner far stronger, while reducing the risk for injury.
  2. Plyometrics enhance mobility to joints, ligaments and tendons.
  3. Plyometrics make your running more efficient and faster, having better control while running.
  4. Pyometrics improve the spring in your running gait, allowing the body to absorb (coil) energy, and then release the energy (uncoil) with each stride taken.
  5. Plyometrics can improve upper body and core strength as well as lower body strength which give  the runner that edge by allowing the entire body to engage and share the workload.

Many runners simply run, training sport-specific while trying to achieve their results. Plyometrics introduce a challenge and training method that can only make the runner stronger, more efficient, while keeping them injury free if incorporated in a safe and organized progression.

Power up your training with plyometrics this season.  Contact Amy for a Newton Natural Running consultation in the metro Phoenix area and put plyometrics to work in your running.

Anyone Can Run….Better!

I began running in college and then sporadically until my late 40’s, where I took to it ritually. I never examined my running style.  Anyone can run, right?

Over time I began to develop some injuries and problems (plantar fasciitis, arthritis in my knees and feet and neuromas). I did the foot blot test (pronation, supination, etc.) and treadmill running gait analysis, which focused more on the type of running shoe rather than running style.

I was a heel striker and over strider. I thought this was ok since I saw this in many photos of runners.  Even with the “right” shoes, I was still experiencing problems.

Then Amy announced in her AVC Elite Training Class, a running style that aids performance and reduces the risk of injury.  Amy hosted a Newton Running Clinic. Along with the owners, they took us through drills and present a specific running posture and style. Amy followed up with a training program of her own.

I was skeptical at first. Could this really help me?  Also, these new funky shoes, looked more like a hindrance than an asset.

After Saturdays of drills and runs, and practicing during the week on my own, I began to see change. I must say it was a challenge changing bad habits, but the benefits were my incentive to change.

Amy would run along side or ahead and take photos of us so we could view our deficits and improvements. She provided information and insight that assisted in improving my running form. My knee was pain free and my feet showed a marked improvement.

By running more efficiently I was experiencing less fatigue and feeling more efficient. At times, I still revert back to old behavior s(like shuffling my feet), but I’m more conscious  and quicker correcting my self.

Thanks Amy for all your help and giving me more years of happy running!

~ Cynthia, age 58

Do you want to run happy by learning how to run better? You can enjoy the same benefits as Cynthia by working with Amy, your Mesa, Arizona Newton Natural Running certified coach. Contact Amy and lace up your shoes to run without pain – at any age.