Have you ever met a rider that delights and surprises you? Someone who inspires to do more, be more, try harder? We crave the human connection during these times now more than ever, finding ways to share the same passion is increasingly valuable. This month’s nominee, Sue Shuler, has found both inspiration and connection. Here, she shares her ElliptiGO story along with some tips for physical and mental wellness.
I am from a small town in Pennsylvania just outside of Harrisburg. Growing up I loved sports but never played any in high school, being part of my high school’s State Championship band, and band front occupied my free time. I married my high school sweetheart after we both graduated from Penn State University. We moved to Long Island NY. and later Philadelphia where my husband played professional football for 14 years.
A Lifetime of Staying Fit
My interest in health & fitness initially stemmed from trying to help my husband stay healthy and fit for his NFL career. This was during the late 1970s and 80’s when little was known about physical and mental wellness or how to take care of oneself optimally. I did lots of research about diet, nutrition, cross-training, stretching, massage, etc. all things which are the norm now but were not then.
During this time, I was a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids under 7 years of age. To say I needed an outlet for myself was an understatement! Always a high-energy person, I joined a gym, fell in love with high-impact aerobics and that started my own story with health and wellness. I became a certified fitness instructor and taught classes in aerobics, step, spinning, and stretching for the next 15 years.
Supplementing my aerobic conditioning with running, the sport eventually became my primary focus. After my husband’s career was over, we moved back to our hometown and continued raising our kids, both of us coaching high school sports.
During my running years, I ran 14 marathons, including NY and Marine Corp twice, Boston, Nashville, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh to name a few. I also ran 5k’s, 10k’s, and several half marathons. There were a few sprint triathlons, and some fun adventure challenges too.
I really enjoyed the whole process of training and competing even though I was never really fast – my satisfaction came from trying for a personal best.
Entering a New Endurance Era
Shortly after I ran Boston, I was rear-ended by a tanker truck. The injuries from that accident eventually caused enough nerve damage that surgery was recommended. I decided to quit running instead.
Over the next couple of years, I tried everything to find an activity that would replace running. I found out there aren’t many things that provide the level of fitness and mental wellness that running does. In 2016 I came across ElliptiGO.
During a test ride, I was shocked at the ease of motion, lack of pain, and that great feeling of doing something that felt good for me again. I ordered my first 11R that day.
Finding Friends and Physical and Mental Wellness
During my first year on the ElliptiGO, as much as I loved it, I still missed the camaraderie of my old running friends. Then I discovered the ElliptiGO Facebook Group and realized there were others!
My first organized ride was the NY 5 Boros ride – such a great time meeting and riding with fellow GOers. I knew then the ElliptiGO was going to fulfill my needs for both fitness and camaraderie.
I joined the Global Elliptigo Riding Club in 2017 and now enjoy the benefits of monthly challenges and the infamous September Team Challenge of which I have been part of the winning team for 3 years. This year I was co-captain on the winning team!
My favorite part of the team challenge was watching team members, in the spirit of fun, set goals and work together to accomplish them. For some new members, it was the first time they got a glimpse at the unlimited potential of what can be done on an ElliptiGO in terms of its climbing and mileage capabilities.
Since my original purchase, I have added another 11R – the Anniversary Edition, an Arc 24, the MSUB, and a SUB. I use them all for their cross-training effects by targeting different muscle groups. The 11R is still my GO-to ride when I want to go a little further or climb a little higher.
While in Colorado a few years ago, I learned firsthand how well the 11R climbs. Riding up several mountain passes there with elevation, I was so surprised I could actually accomplish that personally, and on an ElliptiGO.
A few weeks later, I had the time of my ElliptiGO riding life, climbing Mt. Palomar at the ElliptiGO World Championship in California! That accomplishment, plus the 5 Centuries I did in 2 years were truly the highlights of my ElliptiGO riding so far.
Challenging Cadillac Mountain
One of my favorite rides was this past summer in Maine, the Cadillac Mountain Challenge. The ride was not a century but a 70-mile ride through the beautiful Acadia National Park. The challenge was the placement of the climb up Cadillac Mountain at mile 62, a 1500 foot climb over 3.5 miles.
Test riding it the week before, I thought it was pretty doable. On the day of the official ride, it was raining and cold… That climb and descent were much more challenging than any I have done so far. I was so happy to finish the ride and hope to never be that cold and wet on a ride ever again!
ElliptiGO Experiences In Companionship
Alongside accomplishing personal riding goals and maintaining physical fitness, the most outstanding part of the ElliptiGO experience for me has been the friendships made with fellow GOers.
One person in particular, Didi Schenck, took me under her wing and helped push me along to accomplish ElliptiGO goals I never knew I had! Living a few hours apart, we don’t ride together daily but come August for the past two years, we’ve met up at some fabulous organized rides and had a blast.
Of my 5 Centuries, 4 were done with Didi. Being a faster rider, she often sacrificed her own time to ride with me. Our experiences have run the gamut from grueling to relaxing but always fun.
I highly recommend getting involved with other GOers to ride whenever possible. It enhances your total ElliptiGO experience, as well as mental wellness. There are several state and local riding groups that get together – you’d be surprised how far people will travel for the camaraderie! Plus check out the Facebook group and the Global ElliptiGO Riders Club to get the complete ElliptiGO experience.
Looking Towards 2021
I do like goal setting so I might like to try and qualify for Mt. Palomar again in the future. As far as more centuries … I probably will do a few more since they remind me of my marathoning days without all the pain! Not to say a century isn’t painful, but If you train properly they can be pretty special.
Reason To Ride
I know people get drawn to the ElliptiGO for different reasons: runners looking to enhance their training, former runners looking for a comparable way to stay fit, athletes looking to rehab an injury by cross-training, people wanting to get fit or lose weight, the list could go on and on.
The one common thread I see is the need many have to become the best versions of themselves possible, both physically and mentally. Our overall well-being depends on fitness in both of these areas.
I encourage all my fellow Goers to keep on GOing strong because you already get it!
For new riders, consistency is the key to get better; take baby steps, allow yourself to enjoy the journey. To anyone researching whether the ElliptiGO is a worthwhile investment I emphatically say Yes. GO try one out. You might find the investment in your personal health and well-being to be life-changing!
Lastly, I would like to personally send a huge Thank You to the whole ElliptiGO community. I am so happy to have found you and become part of a group of diverse, but like-minded people in our appreciation for all things ElliptiGO!
ElliptiGO is grateful to have you in our community Sue, may you have many more miles to GO with friends and memories to make!
Contributed by Elinor Yee – A rider considering herself lucky for each day on her ElliptiGO, drawing inspiration from fellow riders conquering obstacles big & small.
Want to inspire Elinor? Contact ElliptiGO with nominations to Rider of the Month or share your own story. It may just be the next feature!