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AskedYou Asked For It!
xwith Karen Lichtenstein
Our newest featured article Is “You Asked For It!” with Karen Lichtenstein. Karen will be interviewing Silver Striders detailing interesting achievements. Enjoy facts and tips the runner will share with us.
Our August interview is with Bronka Sundstrom
August – 2022
Karen: When you climbed Mount Rainier at age 77, you became the oldest woman to summit the mountain. Now at age 96, I understand that you are still very active. Please tell me about your walking and hiking.
Bronka: I have to do it as long as I live. I walk 5 miles every day. I moved to Panorama because my vision is not good, and I cannot drive. My friends told me that I needed to be in the city close to services. I can walk to the Chehalis Western Trail every day, but I am not able to hike in the mountains very often because I don’t drive. I am very independent, and I don’t like to ask people for help. I had to give up my lovely home in Ashford which had everything made for my size. I am very small.
Karen: Have you ever done any races?
Bronka: Yes, my eye doctor was training all summer for a marathon back in 1989. I wanted to do the marathon just to be with my friends. I did not train for the race, but I finished in fourth place in my age group. My eye doctor was mad because he was not able to finish the marathon in spite of his training.
Karen: You prepare your own meals. Do you have a special diet?
Bronka: I never go to restaurants because I have to be careful about the food that I eat. I cannot eat raw vegetables so I boil my vegetables. I eat fresh fruit like bananas and apples, and I like cream of wheat, whole wheat bread, and cottage cheese. I do not eat fried food, sweets, or fatty foods. I like any food that I can digest.
Karen: Do you take any supplements or vitamins?
Bronka: No, I don’t take any supplements. If you eat a good diet, you don’t need vitamin pills.
Karen: How do you deal with stress?
Bronka: Getting out of the house is my stress medicine. I feel better when I get outside for walks and hikes.
Karen: You have told people that trips to the mountains are your medicine. Please tell me more about hiking in the mountains.
Bronka: My husband enjoyed sports like hiking and skiing. I did not know about sports, but I was willing to learn. When we lived in Tacoma, we would go hiking in the mountains. When we retired, we moved to Ashford so we could hike every day. We hiked 28 miles per day at Mount Rainier. I am strong, and I pay attention to my breathing. I enjoy the scenery and meeting people. Recently, one of my friends drove me to the Olympic mountains, and we hiked all day. The next day, I did not go for a walk because I needed to rest. You have to be careful at my age.
Karen: Do you have any goals for this year?
Bronka: I would love to go to the mountains more often. It is hard to be dependent on other people to arrange trips. Last year, my friends took me to Mount Rainier National Park to celebrate my birthday. They had three birthday cakes, but I did not eat any cake. I am very careful about my diet because my digestion is not good.
Karen: Do you have any tips on how to stay healthy?
Bronka: Yes, my advice is don’t drink, don’t smoke, and rest when you are tired.
Karen: How much sleep do you get, and do you take naps?
Bronka: I do not take naps. I go to bed at 10:30 pm and get up at 7:00 am most of the time.
Karen: Is there anything else you would like to tell the Silver Striders?
Bronka: Never give up. There are times when it is hard to exercise. Do it while you can with no excuses.