Sherry LaBree is just coming up on her 1-year anniversary of being an ElliptiGO owner. Even though she sustained an injury at a marathon in January and could barely walk for 12 weeks, she wanted to see if she could still achieve some of her running goals in 2014 by joining the ElliptiGO PR Initiative and following a custom training plan from Greg McMillan. After months of carefully working running back into her program, she achieved her goal of finishing the Chicago marathon with a Boston Qualifying time. Since then, she has been focused on recovery, but still entered and won her first ultramarathon (56 miles) in her time category and then PR’d at the 5K distance in her local turkey trot! Congratulations on all you have achieved this year, Sherry!
Q & A with Sherry
1. How long have you been riding your ElliptiGO and what model do you ride?
My black 8C was a surprise Christmas gift from my husband last December. So the GO has been in our family for just about a year now.
2. What inspired you to purchase your ElliptiGO?
Brace yourself; it’s a long story! I first read about the ElliptiGO around 3 or 4 years ago when it was mentioned in one of Jenny Hadfield’s articles. It looked like a fantastic cross-training tool, but at the time I was heavy into triathlon and couldn’t imagine adding the equivalent of a fourth sport to the mix. Fast forward to Ironman Florida 2013. My coach had prescribed a shake-out run and short swim the day before the event, however, the weather was horrendous. Boat loads of rain and double red flag warnings for Panama City Beach. I basically found myself with three options: brave the outside elements, use the hotel treadmill or use the hotel elliptical (I should mention at this point that I loathe the treadmill). I opted to do 20 minutes on the hotel elliptical and it left my legs feeling fantastic! I went on to have a terrific race the following day, finishing my first Ironman in 11:54.
Soon after Ironman Florida my husband surprised me with an ElliptiGO test ride. It was love at first ride for both my husband and I, but with the holidays upon us I wasn’t quite ready to pop for the GO. My husband, on the other hand, was! He secretly placed one on order for Christmas and it has literally been the best gift ever! The irony of all of this is that neither one of us was injured when we acquired the GO. Actually, neither of us had ever sustained any sort of running or triathlon related injury that was severe enough to keep us from training or racing…until January 2014. I left the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon with a new marathon PR, insertional achilles tendonitis and a compressed sural nerve in my right foot. I had become a product of “too much, too soon” following Ironman Florida. I had already set big goals for 2014 which included the 2014 Chicago Marathon and hopefully a Boston qualifying time. Unfortunately, for nearly 12 weeks I could barely walk properly let alone run; it hurt to put a shoe on; and there was nothing that I could really do other than give the nerve and my achilles time to heal.
During this time period I trained on the ElliptiGO four to five times per week and began including strength training in my workout routine. I did two to three “easy” workouts on the GO, one interval GO workout and one long GO workout. Over time I found that my heart rate data for my ElliptiGO rides almost mirrored my running heart rate data. I was essentially able to train on the GO in my running heart rate zones. When I was finally able to run again, I came back slowly using a run/walk program. My muscles/bones/tendons needed some time to remember what the impact of concrete felt like, but in terms of cardiovascular fitness, I was absolutely golden! The ElliptiGO had helped me maintain run-specific base fitness.
In April of 2014, ElliptiGO announced the ElliptiGO Project PR:Initiative. I was just back to point where I could run without walking, but I knew that I had a long way to go to reach my Boston qualifying goal for 2014. I also knew that I was treading on water with my right foot and that I needed to do “something” different in terms of training that would allow me to continue to strengthen my foot and keep it healthy. The fact that ElliptiGO announced the PR:Initiative exactly when I needed it most, must have been divine intervention! Being accepted into the program was a true blessing and I knew that ElliptiGO and the McMillan Running Company would have their work cut out with me; after all, I was coming off of a 12 week injury and basically had a four month window to go from no running at all to Boston qualifying time! From the end of May to the beginning of October, I religiously followed the combined run/ElliptiGO training plan that McMillan Running Company set up for me. I ran less “road” mileage per week than I have ever run during a previous marathon build, but the time spent on the GO more than made up for that… and it kept me injury free. I toed the start line of the Chicago Marathon with a healthy foot and a determined, confident mindset! I achieved my goal of running a Boston qualifying time and perhaps more importantly, I finished the race without an injury.
My training since Chicago has been all about recovery– a nice mix of easy and spirited road runs and ElliptiGO rides! Nevertheless, three weeks after the Chicago Marathon, I completed my first 56-mile ultra marathon totally on residual fitness from my Chicago training and won the event for my time category. As a grand finale, I very unexpectedly hit a new 5k personal best at last week’s local Turkey Trot! To think that it hurt to put a shoe on just 8 or 9 months ago and now I am here setting personal records from the 5k through the marathon! Amazing!
3. What are your favorite events you’ve done on the ElliptiGO?
I have yet to actually do an ElliptiGO event. All of my training on the ElliptiGO has been done as an effort to minimize my chance of injury so that I may continue to compete in road races. That being said, I would love to someday do an ElliptiGO event and have had some thoughts about possibly riding the GO in one of our local cycling events this coming spring.
4. What’s your most memorable experience related to the ElliptiGO?
Even after a full year of riding my ElliptiGO around our neighborhood, I still have folks flag me down to ask questions, take photos, wave, or give me a thumbs up! I’ve even had a police officer pull me over to ask about the GO! The GO makes everyone smile! I also field an email or two every month from a friend, coworker or customer that wants to know more about the ElliptiGO. The word is spreading!
5. What are your ElliptiGO-related goals for the next year?
Having set personal bests in both the marathon and in the 5k over the past two months, I will attempt to do the same in the half marathon distance this spring! The ElliptiGO will of course be an integral part of my weekly training. While I want to continue to improve my running, I also want to make sure that I do it in a way that keeps me healthy; after all, Boston 2016 looms on the horizon! Suffice it to say, the ElliptiGO is here to stay AND my husband and I have already discussed the possibility of adding another one to the stable.