Vera is a passionate athlete who always has a smile on her face. She talks to Sundried about training and racing.
Have you always been into sport?
I never really liked sports. In fact, when I was young, I made excuses to skip sports classes. But after becoming a mother, I needed to lose the weight I gained during pregnancy and that's when I started running.
How did you first get into triathlon?
After many years as a runner with several injuries, I started to swim a few years ago. I wasn't expecting to like it so much but found I loved swimming in open water.
Only the next step was missing. Last year, I was challenged by a friend to buy a bicycle and try out a triathlon. It was not easy at first, because I was afraid to fall. But little by little, those fears disappeared and gave way to the incredible sensation that is cycling.
I tried an Olympic distance triathlon and I was really happy throughout the competition. Four months later, I ventured into middle distance and the whole journey to get there was absolutely incredible.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
The Rotterdam marathon, with its incredible anthem "You'll never walk alone". The atmosphere is indescribable, the crowd is wonderful and the arrival of the last participant is celebrated with as much or more affection than the first. My performance in that race was not the best, but I will always keep this event with great tenderness in my heart.
What is your proudest achievement?
It is difficult to choose a single one, because almost all have a special meaning or an overcoming history behind them. But if I have to choose, I would pick my first marathon or my first triathlon. I took part without pressure, enjoyed the whole route, felt the support of the audience, and in the end that feeling of overcoming something that I had never experienced before was priceless!
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
I've already gotten sick and vomited, but the worst was finishing a marathon with terrible pain in my foot, which I later came to know to be a stress fracture.
How do you overcome setbacks?
It is not always easy. I choose to do alternative training that does not harm the injury. But above all, I like to think that each day that passes is a day closer to a stronger return.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
Follow your own pace and don't compare yourself to others. Listen and respect your body, which includes rest and eating well. Don't wait for the final result to celebrate: be proud of the small achievements you are making along the way!
What are your goals?
Since I am not a fast athlete, my personal goals are to be able to continue doing sports and overcome myself. I usually say that in the competition I only want two things: to have fun and to cross the finish line with a smile.
Who inspires you?
With all due respect for elite athletes, I am more inspired by ordinary people who set out to be the best they can be. The person who never practised sport, the person who smoked all his life and never got off the couch and one day manages to do the first 4 or 5 km, the people who were in the Boston marathon during the attack and who returned stronger without fear as amputee athletes. It is these individuals overcoming adversity that melts my heart.
Why work with Sundried?
I love the fact that this brand is created by athlete for athletes. Sundried's concern and responsibility for presenting sustainable and eco-friendly products without compromising quality are values I recognise myself.