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  • Annie Bothma

Updated: Apr 10, 2022

Over the next month, I will have the privilege to test out an ElliptiGO trainer to supplement and mix up my training a bit. I would love to spread the word about how beneficial the ElliptiGO can be to people struggling with chronic or acute injuries, as well as to those who want to reduce the impact associated with running, add more mileage or cross-training to their program in a safe way, or just want a new, fun way to stay fit and active.

WHAT EXACTLY IS AN ElliptoGO?

Traditionally cross-training inside can be very boring, especially for runners who love being outside in nature. To me, the ElliptiGO is like an elliptical that got an upgrade and is able to go outside for a ride. It is also better than a bicycle since it doesn't involve sitting hunched over on an uncomfortable saddle for hours. The ElliptiGo uses a Stand-Up cycling movement that combines the best of running, cycling and the elliptical trainer to give you a fun and effective way to exercise outdoors. It is a low-impact exercise, thus, elliptical cycling allows you to build cardio fitness while being easy on your joints. This makes it a great option for anyone who wants to improve their fitness - young or old, health-conscious to elite.

SOME BENEFITS OF THE ELLIPTIGO INCLUDE:

  • LOW-IMPACT: The smooth motion provides a great workout that’s gentle on your knees, hips, ankles and back. It can be a great option for those struggling with joint pain, arthritis or osteoporosis.

  • FUN TO RIDE: It is a unique and fun way to exercise. The speed, handling and motion feel like “running on air,” giving you a carefree exercise experience at any age.

  • COMFORTABLE & NATURAL: The natural “stand up” riding position reduces stress on your neck and back while completely eliminating seat pain. It feels more natural and free than sitting down on a traditional bike.

  • INJURY-RECOVERY OR PREVENTION: The Elliptigo offers a great cross-training option for those recovering from injury or those trying to prevent future injuries by substituting some of their mileage pounding the pavement with a low-impact alternative.

  • VERSATILITY: Meant to ride freely outdoors on the same paths that you walk, jog, run or bike, but compatible with indoor stationary trainers (3C, 8C and 11R only), so you can train year-round no matter the weather.

  • HEART HEALTHY & TIME-EFFICIENT: You can burn 33% more calories than a traditional bicycle, providing a better workout in less time. It is truly an awesome cardio workout!

  • GREAT FULL-BODY WORKOUT: Your heart and lungs will not be the only thing working hard on the ElliptiGO. The stand-up position of elliptical bikes engages your core and upper body in addition to your legs, providing a full-body workout.

I am trying out the 8C ElliptiGO trainer and loving it so far. They have standup bikes and other options as well to choose from, visit https://www.elliptigo.co.za/products/ to check out their full range of products.


SOME COOL FEATURES OF THE 8C INCLUDE:

  • 8-SPEED INTERNAL HUB: The 8 internal gears reduce maintenance and provide a large range of resistance, allowing you to conquer the steepest of hills and sprint at speeds of 25mph+.

  • TELESCOPING STEERING COLUMN: A simple quick-release lever makes it fast and easy to adjust the height for any rider or to transport the 8C in a vehicle.

  • ERGONOMIC BAR-ENDS: Adjustable bar-end extensions offer greater versatility in adjusting your riding position on the fly for climbing hills, sprinting flats or cruising descents.

  • CUSTOMIZABLE SETUP: Compatibility with a variety of traditional bike and ElliptiGO-specific accessories allows you to deck out your bike with the gear you need to tackle any situation on any ride.

WHO USES IT?

RUNNERS

Current, former and injured runners all use ElliptiGO stand up bikes to experience the joy of running, but without the negative effects of impact on their joints. Athletes of all ages and abilities use elliptical cycling to stay healthy, avoid injuries and improve endurance.

  • SAME WORKOUT, SAME RESULTS: A study at the University of California – San Diego EPARC centre found ElliptiGO bikes elicited a similar HR and metabolic (caloric) response, making it easy to translate running workouts using just time and intensity.

  • PATENTED RUNNING-LIKE MOTION: The stand-up riding position and patented motion of ElliptiGO bikes provide a running-like experience – giving you all the benefits of weight-bearing exercise without additional impact or stress on joints, bones and soft tissue. Proven research shows that you can use this machine as an effective way to supplement or replace some of your running mileage.

CYCLISTS

Both recreational and competitive cyclists benefit from the gentle joint angles and 33% higher caloric burn of ElliptiGO bikes, making them perfect for any rider looking for a more comfortable, time-efficient or effective workout than a traditional bike provides.

  • MORE COMFORTABLE RIDING POSITION: Riding an ElliptiGO bike is not like simply standing up and riding a traditional bike. The fully supported foot platforms of ElliptiGO bikes provide a stable, more comfortable ride. The upright riding position also improves visibility with a level, elevated line of sight.

  • BETTER CARDIO EFFICIENCY: The vertical, weight-bearing riding position helps to rev your cardiovascular system and build a more efficient blood-pumping “engine.”

  • IMPROVED MUSCLE ACTIVATION: The unique architecture of elliptical bikes develops the muscles of your legs, glutes and core more effectively – and in a more balanced manner than traditional bikes.

  • NO PAIN POINTS: The ergonomic, neutral position of riding an elliptical bike removes neck, back and seat pain that can stem from sitting hunched over on the saddle of a traditional bike.

GENERAL HEALTH & FITNESS

Outdoor enthusiasts and fitness fanatics alike use stand up cycling to get all the benefits of an elliptical workout, but without being stuck indoors. Whether it is to improve health, lose weight or increase fitness, ElliptiGO bikes can get the job done.


ELLIPTIGO VS A TRADITIONAL ELLIPTICAL

  • ENJOY THE OUTDOORS: ElliptiGO bikes allow you to take the workout outside, where you can enjoy the same streets, routes and paths that you typically walk, jog, run or bike.

  • GREAT CORE WORKOUT: To maintain balance and adjust to ever-changing conditions (road, wind, other riders, etc.), riding an ElliptiGO bike constantly works your core in ways a stationary machine can’t.

  • MORE COMFORTABLE, NATURAL STRIDE: The patented motion and narrower stance of ElliptiGO bikes reduce stress on the feet, ankles and knees, while also more closely resembling traditional walking, jogging and running motion.

  • LONGER, MORE ADJUSTABLE RANGE OF MOTION: ElliptiGO bikes provide a variety of stride-length settings to match your comfort level and range of motion needs, while also providing a range of motion nearly a half-foot larger than the industry standard for indoor elliptical trainers.

USED BY SOME OF THE THE BEST ATHLETES IN THE WORLD

Below is an example of a couple of top athletes who competed at the past Tokyo Games in 2021 who uses ElliptiGO trainers to supplement their training.


ElliptiGO ELITE ATHLETES:

  • Bashir Abdi – Belgium – Marathon

  • Abdi Abdirahman – United States – Marathon

  • Andrea Deelstra – Netherlands – Marathon

  • Allyson Felix – United States – 400 Meters and 4 x 400m Relay

  • Mason Ferlic – United States – 3,000 Meter Steeplechase

  • Elliot Giles – Great Britain – 800 Meters

  • Genevieve Gregson – Australia – 3,000 Meter Steeplechase

  • Jill Holterman – Netherlands – Marathon

  • Dieter Kersten – Belgium – Marathon

  • Gesa Krause – Germany – 3,000 Meter Steeplechase

  • Susan Krumins – Netherlands – 10,000 Meters

  • Heather MacLean – United States – 1,500 Meters

  • Cory McGee – United States – 1,500 Meters

  • Koen Naert – Belgium – Marathon

  • Aisha Praught Leer – Jamaica – 5,000 Meters

  • Rachel Schneider – United States – 5,000 Meters

  • Dom Scott Efurd – South Africa – 10,000 Meters

  • Molly Seidel – United States – Marathon

  • Emily Sisson – United States – 10,000 Meters

  • Guusje Steenhuis – Netherlands – Judo

  • Aliphine Tuliamuk – United States – Marathon

  • Hanne Verbruggen – Belgium – Marathon

READ MORE AT:

https://www.elliptigo.com/23-elliptigo-athletes-to-compete-in-tokyo-olympic-games/

At the end of the month, I will make a follow-up post to reflect and share how I benefitted from using an ElliptiGO trainer. I will also explain how I used it to supplement my training program, as well as share some fun workouts I did.


CONTACT ME if you are interested in giving this product a go by simply sending me a DM or an email @anniebothmarunningblog.com 📥


FOR MORE INFO VISIT:

https://www.elliptigo.co.za



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Updated: Apr 10, 2022

While training for a marathon, you need a lot of fuel to power you through all the long and hard miles on the road. If you want to perform at a high level you have to fuel with good food, and quality products, that offer the nutrients needed to recover from the hard training and optimize your performance in workouts, long runs and ultimately on the big day when the race arrives.


I am looking forward to going into 2022 with a new nutrition sponsor and feel ecstatic to announce my partnership with PowerBar.

In September 2021, I was diagnosed with Central Diabetes Insipidus, an illness where the body does not secrete sufficient amounts of ADH to regulate the fluid and water retention in the body. This illness is in no way related to Type 1 or 2 Diabetes Mellitus and is a direct result of my Hypopituitarism. Before starting treatment I was always dehydrated since it was almost impossible to replace the fluids and electrolytes at the rate my body was losing them. Since I have started treatment and we have figured out the correct dosage in November of last year I have seen significant improvements in my health, life quality, and athletic performance. However, managing this illness takes a lot of work and I constantly have to make sure my electrolyte balance is correct. The new medication may help reduce the number of fluids I am losing, but it also pulls crucial electrolytes, such as sodium, out of my blood. Therefore, swapping most of my water or fluid intake with electrolytes has been a key part of figuring out this balance. I experimented with a few different products to see what works best and which flavours I like most, but I can now say I have found one that not only helps me better manage this chronic condition but also tastes better and more natural compared to similar products. It has allowed me to stay hydrated during training and to maintain a better electrolyte balance over the past two months. I know it will be a key part of my battle against Diabetes Insipidus.

PowerBar does not only offer a product that tastes great - it is also made of high-quality ingredients and is clean for athletes to use (safe sport approved), something which is paramount to me as an elite athlete. They also offer a large variety of products and flavours to choose from, meaning you will most likely find something to suit your individual taste and dietary needs.

I have been using their products during training over the last few months and have been loving them so far! During my first marathon in 2019, at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, I really learned the hard way how important it is to fuel during a marathon. That is, if you want to achieve your full potential on the day. I hit the dreaded marathon wall at 32km (or 20 miles) into the race after missing my first two gels. It was a hard lesson, but afterwards I started practising more during training by fuelling during my long runs, long marathon workouts, and race-pace tempo runs. I have experimented with many different products up to now, but I can honestly testify that PowerBar is the best.

I have been struggling with my digestive system since my childhood. At the age of 17, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, which is an autoimmune condition where the body reacts adversely when gluten is digested. As a result, I have suffered from many gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, such as cramping, nausea, bloatedness, and diarrhoea or constipation. Distance running also comes with its fair share of GI problems, due to the constant jumping movement. When you exercise the body prioritizes blood flow to the muscles over the GI tract and as the distance, or time on feet, increases it will also become harder for the body to digest and absorb fluids and nutrients. Factors such as warm weather or humidity, as well as the intensity at which you are running, may further prevent the body from absorbing the products you ingest to keep up with the demands of endurance exercise.


The body will prefer carbohydrates, especially as the intensity of the exercise increases. However, taking in many concentrated forms of sugar can lead to GI adversities in some people. Everyone is different and it is important to experiment in training to figure out a race day fueling strategy that works for you.


You have to train your gut to tolerate fuel during training, just like you train your legs to cover the distance and run at a certain pace. You can read more on PowerBar's website and see their recommendations on how to use their products to fuel optimally, both for training and on race day: NUTRITION GUIDE FOR RUNNING

Personally, I find that water-based hydrogels work better than traditional gels. I also use an electrolyte drink instead of plain water as my body absorbs it better and it prevents that uncomfortable water-belly feeling of fluid sloshing around in your stomach. It might also save you from an unwanted pit-stop mid-race. PowerBar offers both these options and perform much better than anything else I have tried. I encourage you to give their products a go if you are also someone who has a sensitive stomach or if you struggle to take in fluids and fuel while running.


So far a couple of my favourite products are:

LONG RUNS: I like their HYDROGEL, orange flavour, on long runs since its liquid texture is easy to get down and it doesn't cause any of the GI problems such as nausea, cramping or bloating that I have experienced while using other gels. I take it alongside the 5 ELECTROLYTE TABLET in the grapefruit flavour with added electrolytes.

The other option I find works great for long runs is their ISOACTIVE carb-electrolyte drink mix or the ISOMAX, which has some added caffeine. They provide both hydration and carbohydrates, as well as the essential electrolytes, all in one bottle!


ELECTROLYTES: My favourite two so far is definitely the grapefruit with caffeine or the mango-passionfruit without caffeine.


GELS: The Orange HYDROGEL as I mentioned for the long runs. They also offer a more natural, fruit based SMOOTHIEGEL, which I love taking before a run if I need something simple and easily digestible.


BARS: I really enjoyed their REAL 5 BAR, which is only made out of 5 simple ingredients!


I am excited to try out their whole range and will continue to share my recommendations on social and on my blog. You can get a 15% discount on all their products online if you head over to PowerBarSA and use my code ANNIEPB15 at check-out.


Head over to my PowerBar Page.

My mantra when it comes to nutrition is Fuel for the Work Required. Powerbar makes it easier, more convenient and sustainable to do this while training hard. I am thankful to have them as part of my team for this new year, which will be filled with many miles, gigantic goals and daring dreams!




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  • Annie Bothma

As I reflected on this past year, a metaphor came to mind: In 2021, I felt like a boxer in a ring, getting knocked down every time I struggled to my feet; each time the punches seemed to get stronger and it would get harder to get back up again!

After returning to Kenya at the end of 2020, I spent another December holiday, Christmas, birthday and New Year’s Eve in the thin air, running between steep mountains and gravel roads with the fastest runners in the world. My goal was clear: finally running a qualifying marathon, in early 2021, that would secure my spot in the South African team for the Olympic Games, that had been postponed to August. After running the Elite Cape Town Marathon in 2020, I was selected for the Olympic squad, but still had to find an official marathon to run the standard of 2:29:30 set out by the International Olympic Committee for female marathon athletes.

Compared to the first two times I went to Kenya - at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 - the third time around I was much better prepared, both physically and mentally. I adapted to marathon training on my own in South Africa during the pandemic, and also knew what to expect when I arrived, in terms of terrain, altitude, and the tough training program. There was also a notable change in my performance. I was better equipped to complete the sessions and long runs, and was able to handle the hilly terrain and high altitude better than ever before. I was able to keep up with the other athletes in the camp and was much faster during the same courses or workouts. Lifestyle activities like preparing food, knowing where to find non-perishable items, and knowing what I should bring along from home also became easier. It is always cold 3000m above sea level, and I definitely didn't bring enough warm gear for those early morning runs the first time I went.

I flew back at the end of January, 2021, to compete in a marathon, which ended up being canceled a week before its scheduled date in February. I recall coming back from my last pre-race workout, only to receive the unfortunate news from my manager. We have learned to accept the current state of the world by then, and I felt almost nothing after reading the message. My attitude became: "Expect nothing and appreciate everything."


It was a challenging time, not only from an athletic perspective, but also emotionally and mentally - I was going through the sadness of a divorce. I knew I was slowly losing myself. I started to feel like I was failing and simply never good enough. I knew it would have been wrong to continue with something that wasn't right for me. Sometimes you need to acknowledge that what you thought was right at the time turned out to be a mistake. Ultimately, the only real mistake is knowing that you need to make a change and then being too scared to make it. Choose to learn, grow, and move forward, while celebrating the good and letting go of the bad. I do believe that I learned a lot about myself during this time and also gained more understanding and empathy for others who may have gone through a similar experience. But it is still hard to say goodbye to someone you care about.

The day after I moved out of my flat in Cape Town, I went for a 30 km tempo run with my dad. I was exhausted, both physically and mentally - it was hard to keep showing up and believing in my dream. I remember just sitting down on the pavement and staring into the distance afterwards. I had improved my previous best time for that course to 1:44:36 (avg 3:28/km), yet I didn't feel excited. Instead, I felt drained and empty.


I was back on a plane to Kenya that following day, to prepare for the Copenhagen Marathon, which would have taken place during May, 2021. Two weeks later, I suddenly heard that I got another opportunity - on a better course and more likely to take place. I paid my own way to Tuscany, Italy, to participate in a smaller elite race, specifically designed for fast times so athletes can get a "last chance" to qualify for the postponed 2020 Games. But, in what now seems a recurring theme in my running career, I got sick. This time it was the regular flu and I was unable to compete. The big change in temperature, from a warm South Africa to a freezing, mountainous town, accompanied with traveling and a compromised immune system, may have created the perfect storm to leave me sick as a dog, watching the race from my room.

Three weeks later I collapsed during the South African Half Marathon Championships, which was my last chance to qualify for the Olympics. I decided to take a more conservative, longer build-up by shifting all my attention to the Cape Town Marathon, which took place in October, 2021.

During the lockdown in 2020, I was able to train hard and really felt like I was making progress towards my goals. Although my health did struggle - I had some episodes of fainting due to low blood pressure or hypothermia - I was consistent in my training and frequently did solid workouts. This year, that is not the case. Although I had good workouts, they were far and in between, and I wasn't able to run good long runs week-in and week-out, they had to be spaced out to allow more rest. I wasn't able to plan ahead either. I had to take it day by day. Wake up, take my vitals, go through my activation and warm-up routine, do a body scan, and see what my body would give me that day. It was unpredictable and extremely frustrating to not be able to plan ahead at all. On a good day, I embraced it and I would go hard, but most of the time, I was just surviving. I wasn't thriving anymore.


After failing to achieve my dream of qualifying for this year's Olympic Games, I made the Cape Town Marathon my new goal. It was the thing that drove me during those cold winter months and the thing that allowed me to stand back up after every health setback. If I can only run and do well at this race then it would be enough for this year, I thought. It was confirmed that the marathon would take place as a mass participant race again this year, and that there would be a strong international field. I had basically been training for a competitive marathon since the end of 2019, and I was so ready to see what my body was capable of in a REAL elite race.


My build-up was far from ideal, but I still managed to, once again, improve my furthest long run distance, and ran some of my highest mileage weeks ever. With my health still being such a concern, most of my training had to be effort based, but I felt confident. My long runs were faster than the previous year, so I knew the endurance was there even if I wasn't able to do as many high-intensity intervals and tempos at marathon pace as before.

However, in August, my symptoms got alarming, so I decided to seek expert help, which came in the form of Dr Tim Noakes. He arrived at the conclusion that I had a rare disorder called Diabetes Insipidus. Shortly after that, the diagnosis was confirmed during a hospital visit, and I started with the appropriate medication. This finally gave an explanation for a lot of my symptoms. Diabetes Insipidus is not related in any way to Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. It is directly linked to my pituitary gland not secreting sufficient amounts of Antidiuretic hormone (ADH). ADH helps regulate the amount of water in your body. It works by controlling the amount of water your kidneys reabsorb as they filter out waste from your blood. This is why I always embarrassingly rush to the toilet and wake up multiple times per night, almost always dehydrated, regardless of how much fluids I consume - I can't keep up with the rate my body loses them. If you have ever been dehydrated you will know that it is a pretty shitty feeling. That's how I have been feeling every day and in training, it would get so much worse. Now, however, I finally understand why I would faint, get low blood pressure, have poor circulation, get dizzy, have daily headaches, and have extremely dry skin.


The last weeks leading up to the race were anything but smooth, after that diagnosis. I battled, trying to adjust to the new medication and figure out my hydration plan, while also going for blood tests every three days to make sure my sodium and electrolyte levels weren't dropping too low. My body went into an erroneous inflammatory state in my calves and wrist. I reacted by taking several rest days and a cortisone shot right before the race, but to no avail.


The cold, rainy weather on the morning of the race embodied the experience. My warmup was agonising, but I hoped that the adrenaline and the magic of being in a real race again after two years would allow me to push through the pain. I needed to showcase my fitness and prove that my training achievements were real. When I stepped up to the start line, rain pouring down, I had to stand with confidence, but, inside, I was dying. The cold seeped into my shaking body, and the pain roared in my calf. After the gun, my body started shutting down, and dizziness enveloped me. I heard cries from the sidelines telling me to stop, and I knew they were right. I also heard my mother’s concerned voice saying that she can’t pick me up at the side of the road again, having to call an ambulance. She told me to stop before I collapsed. So that is what I did. I knew my race was over. The leaders were nowhere in sight, and just moving felt like an effort. The opportunity that I trained two years for slipped through my fingers.

So I ask myself: where do I go from here? The truth is... I don’t know. What I do know is this. Since the start of the pandemic I’ve seen myself accomplish things I’ve never done before, but I’ve also seen my body fail to support me. I have Diabetes Insipidus and Hypopituitarism. I know I am at a disadvantage, but I also know I wouldn’t be running if I weren’t. This struggle is what drives me. It gives my life meaning, and purpose. When I run I feel somewhat like I am normal and for that moment I feel strong and capable. I know there will be countless more mountains to climb, but I also know that every single one will equip me better for the next, whatever its unique challenges, be it sickness, global pandemics, or anything in between. You may see me fight and falter, but you will never see me quit. Like my Kenyan coach said, I’m a soldier. I know how to fight!

I know the same passionate fire that has been fueling me for all these years and through all the obstacles is still there. I am not burnt out or over-trained, I haven't lost my drive or my motivation to work hard towards my goals; I still have the same big, scary dreams that get me out of bed every day and allow me to still have hope: if I keep on training when my body allows me, by stacking one mile onto the other, one day it will come together and it will be my day!

"I am building a fire and every day I train I am adding fuel" (Mia Ham)

....and one day I will that light the match and then there will be fucking fireworks!!

That's why, I walk away from 2021 with an attitude of gratitude knowing I am stronger because of what I overcame and more ready for whatever 2022 or the future may throw at me. I have learnt how to fight back!





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