Annelies Starreveld cycled, swam and ran her way across the finish line to win the Friendly Island Cycling Association's annual international triathlon held last Sunday, June 7. About 100 persons participated in this event, which included swimming in Great Bay, cycling from Philipsburg to Cole Bay and back and running. The 28-year-old Virgo born likes being active and participating in anything in which she can move. She tells us about herself and her experience in this week's Hot Seat.
Who is Annelies Starreveld?
"I'm a fun, energetic, active, loving human being. I can be patient, but also very headstrong. I like to learn and experience new things every day. I like to laugh and I always sing when I am happy. I was born in Grou, a small town in the north of the Netherlands. I went to the university in Nijmegen, Netherlands. I studied history and got my Masters in medieval history. I have been working as the Office Manager at Central Mix Concrete since December 2014."
What do you like best about your job?
"The construction industry is a man's world, but I have my own office space, so I'm queen of my castle. I like the independence and the responsibilities I have in my job. Every day is different and that keeps it interesting."
How did you end up in St. Maarten?
Three years ago I joined a friend on a last-minute holiday to St. Maarten. The moment I set foot on this island, I didn't want to leave. After a short stay of ten days, I went back home to quit my job, pack my things and say goodbye to friends and family. A month later I was back again in St. Maarten, ready to start a new adventure on this intriguing island."
How athletic are you?
"I need at least an hour of exercise a day to keep myself happy. I love the energy that I get from being active. It doesn't matter if it's running, cycling, swimming, mountain biking or even rope skipping, whenever I do something that I really enjoy I will give it my all."
How do you keep yourself fit and healthy?
"I exercise for fun, so staying fit comes easy. When I don't exercise enough, I start to feel grumpy and then I know I have to get up and start moving. I try to eat healthy as well. The food you eat is the fuel that keeps your body going. And I want to go as far and as fast as I can."
Why did you decide to enter the triathlon?
"Two years ago I did the shorter version (sprint distance) which I enjoyed a lot, but I was more focused on mountain biking. Last year I decided to do it again and to train more for the triathlon. I shifted my focus from only mountain biking to include running and swimming. I have been training even more since last year, and decided to go for the big one this year; to actually do an Olympic distance triathlon. I like to challenge myself and keep pushing my limits to see how far I can go and then go a little further still.
"This was the first long distance triathlon I ever did. This is the third time I did the Boardwalk triathlon. I participated twice in Saba's Hells Gate triathlon. Last year I did the Raid de Gendarmerie on the French side and I did a lot of (mountain) biking events. This weekend (June 13 and 14) I will be going to Martinique together with four other women to represent St Maarten in a road bike cycling event. It seems that if you want, you can do a race every weekend."
How did you prepare for this triathlon?
"My boyfriend Joost Huele and I have a little tradition that on the evening before a race we eat a big steak at The Palms and then go to bed early."
What was the triathlon like this year?
"It was a very nice event. It was well organised as always. I like that there is a short and a long distance and that you can also participate as a team. It makes it into a very social event where everyone can participate, whatever level you are on. Three years ago, I didn't even dream of doing a triathlon and now I just did the long distance and enjoyed it."
Which of the three triathlon activities was your favourite?
"The cycling part is always my favourite. It gives me such a great feeling when I can race up a hill, putting in all that energy, getting my muscles to work as hard as they can.
To finally reach the top, to have conquered the mountain, is to feel like you're on top of the world. After all the hard work of going up, is the sweet sensation of speeding down the hill again. The wind in my face and the adrenaline in my veins keep me going mile after mile."
Toughest challenge during the competition?
"The running part was for me the toughest part. After a long swim and even longer cycling part I still had to run 10km up and down the boardwalk. It was starting to get hot
in the sun and my legs felt so tired. But I pushed through, I kept running and I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face."
What was your overall experience like?
"I had a lot of fun. I suffered a lot, felt very tired, but also very proud of being able to push myself."
Would you do this again, why or why not?
"You can count me in for next year! I enjoyed it and I know that I can still improve on my time. I will keep training to see if I can go even faster next year."
What would you say to encourage others to participate in future triathlons?
"Try it! You might surprise yourself! It is a great way to test yourself, push your limits and not give up."
What differentiates you from other athletes/competitors?
"My ability to suffer, yet to keep pushing through, and always with a smile on my face, feeling happy as can be."
Favourite exercise routine?
"Mountain biking is still my favourite. I love riding the technical trails in Bellevue or do a long ride around the island. Riding off road around the island lets me see the beauty of St. Maarten and every time I feel like I'm on a great adventure."
Best health tip?
"Stay active, in mind and body. Have fun while exercising. Pick an activity that you like doing and it will be easier to keep going."
What message do you have for others who may want to win a triathlon?
"Don't participate in a triathlon solely to win. Do it for the fun, the exercise and for the sense of achievement. Every finish line you cross is personal win."
"Besides sports; painting, singing and reading."
"People who let their dogs bark at night! Don't they care about their dogs? It's an actual "pet" peeve - haha.""
Philosophy on life?
"I like to keep it simple. Enjoy life as much as you can, but don't be selfish. Remember that you are not alone in the world. Enjoy life together and we can achieve great things."
"The answer to life, the universe and everything is 42."
What's your favourite type of music – what artistes do you listen to?
"I listen to music that mirrors my state of mind at that time. When I feel relaxed, I listen to easy, lounge music. When I feel happy and energetic, the music is more upbeat.
I don't have a favourite artist that I listen to all the time."
If you could ask any three persons (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would they be and what would you cook for them?
"I would invite Charlemagne, Ghengis Khan and King Arthur and would have to cook something with a lot of meat. But I would start with dessert (something with chocolate), because that is my favourite part of the meal."