Who is she?
“Whatever you want to do, go ahead and do it! It can be done!”
If I was a season, I would be … Autumn
If I was a flower, I would be … Daffodil
If I was a sport, I would be … Tracking
If I was a motto, I would be … “Live love laugh”
If I was a music instrument, I would be … Violin
If I was a city, I would be … Rome
If I was an animal, I would be … Cat or Elephant
What does it mean to you to be a woman?
I am happy to be a woman, I think if I had the choice between being a woman or a man, I would choose to be a woman because I am definitely happy to be a woman. I was raised in a family with two other sisters, so my father was the only man. He gave us a lot of respect; a lot of independence and I think it’s because of my father that I am the person I am today.
I am not afraid of anything; I expect respect from people, and I give a lot of respect back. Having three children of my own, I know that the ability we have in our bodies to reproduce and conceive babies is incredible. I don’t feel, I don’t follow, and I have never felt threatened in any situation. I can go to parties, and even if it’s a room full of men, I don’t care.
I have never felt the inequality between a man and a woman; I have never been in that situation. So, when I see or hear these kinds of situations, it’s very hard to understand because, in 64 years of life, I’ve never felt intimidated by a man or intimidated by a situation… Maybe I’ve been very lucky, in fact, I’m sure I have! I am glad to be a woman, I think we have more sensitivity than a man, we are more attentive, and we have the intuition to have empathy and sympathy for others.
How and why do you integrate sports into your daily routine?
The main reason is to feel good. I want to live a long time. I respect my body. In my family circle, my mother was sick from a very young age.
At the age of 49, the doctors diagnosed her with heart disease, cardiomyopathy, which is a disease of the muscles around the heart. This disease prevented her from walking, and it totally changed her mentality, because her body was telling her that she couldn’t walk, she was telling herself that she couldn’t walk when in fact she just couldn’t walk long distances.
From that day on, I promised myself that I did not want to go through the same thing. At that time, I was 28 years old and already had children. I was limited in what I could do due to a lack of time. As soon as my children left home (I was 50 years old at the time), I started doing sports very intensely.
I do marathons, I climbed Kilimanjaro, I ran Machu Picchu, I did the Four Days Walk in Nijmegen (about 40 km walk daily for 4 consecutive days) …
I also do yoga because it’s a different kind of exercise, very relaxing, but very hard at the same time. As I like to be outside, I combine these sports efforts with trips, to have something a little more adventurous like Machu Picchu or Iceland.
I’ve done city marathons too, but it’s not quite the same thing. I’m not here to win, I’m not the fastest… I just do it because it feels good, I feel really good after I exercise. I just want to respect my body; I want to be there for my kids. I want to live a long healthy life and if I can do that through exercise, that’s what I’m going to do.
If you had to pass on one piece of knowledge and/or advice to other women, what would it be?
That would be: “Respect yourself and love yourself! Be selfish sometimes, do things for yourself, you don’t always have to put others first. So respect yourself, love yourself and be sure of yourself! And whatever you want to do, go ahead and do it! It can be done!”