Anyone who’s been sidelined by an injury can attest to how frustrating that is. Our January Rider of the Month, Dayna Hogue, understands that better than most. The 33-year-old ElliptiGO enthusiast lives in Alpine, California, a small mountain town in east San Diego County, with her husband, Nate, and dog, a female Vizsla named Benelli. Currently, she is the Deputy SUBSAFE Program Director of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Detachment San Diego. “I know that doesn’t mean much, unless someone has a connection to submarines,” she says, “but ever since I graduated from college, I have had a mechanical engineering career in the world of submarine maintenance.”
Though she loved playing sports since she was a young girl, osteoarthritis, genetic abnormalities, and severe femoral acetabular impingement (FAI) caused her chronic hip pain and required multiple surgeries. Dayna shares that ElliptiGO bikes have helped her recover, stay active, and achieve new goals.
Sports and Surgeries
“I was always a well-rounded athlete, but soccer and running were my top passions,” Dayna told us. She had her first surgery, to clean up and repair her labrum, prior to entering college. Because she was still recovering from the surgery, she failed her college entrance physical—but she still went on to run cross country and track at the University of Washington.
“Those two years of the college athlete experience were incredible,” says Dayna. But Dayna recognized that her health was suffering, and in turn, so were her grades. The team doctor even told her she should never run again. “It was terribly difficult to resign from the team,” Dayna told us.
She focused on school and her health, prioritizing physical therapy. Once she was feeling better, she began playing semi-professional soccer in Seattle. “It was another absolutely memorable and incredible experience that I am so grateful for. But I still struggled a ton with my hip and had to finish the very end of the season on the sidelines,” Dayna shares.
Despite the pain, she couldn’t help but try to continue enjoying her favorite sports. Dayna attempted short streaks of running and soccer over the years, but each time, her hip plagued her, and she’d be forced to stop. A second surgery was performed to reshape her femur and clean up bone spurs. That surgery revealed her labrum was not repairable, and the surgeon told Dayna that she should never run or play soccer again. By that point, Dayna felt that she had to agree.
An ElliptiGO Bike to the Rescue
Dayna was desperate to find non-impact activities to replace running and soccer. Her search led her to ElliptiGO. She says, “It was love at first sight! I thought it was the best invention ever, before I had even tried it!”
She and her sister both decided to buy ElliptiGO bikes, and Dayna’s first and primary bike is a pink 8C that she scored on Craigslist. Dayna says, “Spoiler alert: It IS the best invention! ElliptiGO has helped me stay active without being stuck indoors.”
Though that pink long-stride 8C is still her favorite, Dayna eventually added more bikes to her collection. She has a black 11R, which her husband occasionally rides, or that they keep on their Fluid 365 Stationary Trainer. She also has an aqua RSUB that she brings along when she travels by plane or rides on hard-packed dirt roads. “It’s helped me continue to enjoy exploring new places, like I used to love to do by running,” she explains.
Unfortunately, hip pain continued to plague Dayna. Eventually she was unable to ride her pink 8C, and she knew a full hip replacement was in her future. “Feeling like you have so much athletic potential, yet being stripped of everything and also in constant pain and dysfunction, is quite taxing on the mind, to say the least,” Dayna shares. To distract herself, Dayna found a way to share her love of ElliptiGO, even if she couldn’t ride.
The ElliptiGO Amazing Race
In 2020, Dayna created an ElliptiGO Amazing Race around San Diego, complete with clues and challenges. “It was a way to fill my time and make people happy, which brought me joy,” she says.
The race certainly accomplished that. Teams of four to five ElliptiGO riders received an envelope with numbered cards, which they opened in order along their ride. Route cards led them to a pit stop destination, such as a statue, historic landmark, or park. Teams had to take a photo or video at each pit stop to get credit for reaching that destination. A roadblock, which is familiar to fans of the reality competition TV show, The Amazing Race, forced teams to complete a challenge before continuing to the challenge.
Participants loved the race so she coordinated it again in 2021. “Everyone always asks for it to continue,” says Dayna. However, she feels that after two years, the participants know the routes and clues, so she’d have to develop an entirely new game to hold the race again. “It takes a ton of time to plan and craft and coordinate,” she says, and her mechanical engineering career keeps her too busy to develop a new San Diego race. She adds, “If I brought it back, I might choose a different city entirely!”
Recovering—and Challenging Herself
After her hip replacement surgery, Dayna found that riding her ElliptiGO was instrumental in helping her recover. Riding 15 miles with 1,000–1,500 feet of elevation gain (which is easy to find in Alpine) was a great workout that helped her maintain strength and fitness. But the thought of riding further or harder sent her into a panic. After years of pushing herself and suffering because of it, Dayna says she had to rewire her brain to trust that a hard effort or a long ride wouldn’t result in a horrific outcome. “It’s been a prolonged mental recovery,” she notes.
Dayna decided to challenge herself. She set her sights on riding 50 miles under four hours and qualifying to compete at the ElliptiGO World Championships. And she did it, 19 months after her third hip surgery. Dayna shares, “This ride was such a huge accomplishment, mentally and physically. Qualifying for the World Championships was so satisfying. Competing and finishing the World Championships ride up Mount Palomar was a dream come true!”
Today, Dayna says she’s just happy to be back riding again. She’s waterskiing as well. “I am just so thankful for ElliptiGO and the amazing community of people and the support I have received on my journey,” she says.
Still, the athlete in Dayna can’t help but continue to challenge herself. “I would love to qualify and compete at the World Championships again,” she says.
We have no doubt that she will!
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