For Edna Vázquez, Coronavirus quarantine does not exist.
She gets up every morning at 5 a.m. and begins a long 16-hour work routine online as she did before the health crisis closed her training center’s doors in Pilsen: getting people moving, lifting spirits through exercise.
Edna acted fast. Just as she’s been doing since she was 3 years old when she started playing sports and has kept doing throughout her athletic career.
The mental strength it takes to run ultramarathons always guides her. She knows that with time, guidance, commitment, and desire, everything is possible.
There is no need to be afraid, or let anything paralyze you. You have to give life a chance to show you how wonderful you are, in any challenge, Edna tells us over the phone at 6:30 am, just 15 minutes after giving her first class of the day.
Everyone to the gym…without leaving home
With a basic infrastructure and a fantastic story of survival, Edna is making her business “Vive Healthy Sport and Nutrition” survive the Coronavirus crisis.
Although her physical premises closed its doors temporarily, Edna’s spirit has brought people back through participating in her online classes.
Edna has learned throughout her life that crises lead you to create and innovate. In a few weeks, she has found a new market, with new clients. She is offering flexible prices and a good reaction from people, who understand the importance of a healthy life to face any lurking disease.
From 31 classes a week she had when her gym was open, she’s recovered more than 50% of activity in just three weeks of quarantine, already streaming 14 weekly classes and also guaranteeing her personalized training service.
The key to keeping the business moving in times of crisis is to never stop working, she says.
Edna is grateful for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s (IHCC) provided support. She participated in our recent webinars and was able to apply for an SBA loan to keep her business dream from coming to a halt.
“We will survive, just as we survived many other life experiences before.” Her way of thinking is inspiring.
She says IHCC’s work in encouraging small businesses to seek help and keep working to get the economy moving is very important.
Behind her determination and philosophy for survival, there is a story to be told. She is an example of the Latino community.
Edna discovered her love for athletics in Monterrey, Mexico, her hometown.
She’s been swimming since the age of 3 and from her training, in elementary school, she felt the urge to follow the advice of those Army sergeants who visited her school in Monterrey.
The advice of those military men, who talked about pursuing goals, having discipline and never giving up, marked her forever.
Her father, who never finish primary school, and her mother, always encouraged their daughters to study, get to know the world, look beyond their limits, and build history from strength.
Life at 150 beats per minute
In that humble home in Monterrey, was a constant challenge to overcome limits and leave mediocrity behind.
In her teens, she developed a love for ultra-marathons thanks to her aunt Maria Elena, as she attended activities at the Parque Niños Héroes in Monterrey. There she saw Silvia Andoni train, a pioneer in the development of ultra-marathons in Mexico. Silvia taught her it was possible to travel the world by doing sports.
She went from 6.2 miles to 12.4 miles. From 12.4 miles to 25 miles, from 25 miles she reached 50 miles all up to 62 miles. Afterward, she went on to the Ironman competitions and then to the ultra-marathons, which involve running more than 155 miles in several days.
The lack of money didn’t matter. In exchange for doing community services, she got the funds to cross the Atlantic and ran her first big 62-mile race in Belgium.
Since 1998, she has run ultra-marathons on all types of terrain, in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Antarctica.
Welcome to Chicago
In 2003, she arrived in Chicago with her father when he lost his job in Monterrey. Her father got a job as a mechanic at Erie Lassalle’s shop in La Villita, the same place he worked almost 30 years earlier, in his first foray into the United States. And Edna worked in food factories.
Together, father and daughter saved money so her younger sister could finish her medical studies in Mexico.
At the age of 35, Edna became the first Mexican American to complete The 4 Deserts Race Series, becoming a member of 4 Deserts Club.
The Last Desert (Antarctica) in 2016, after previously finishing The Sahara Race (Namibia) in 2016, Gobi March (China) in 2015 (where she was the first place in her age group), and The Atacama Crossing (Chile) in 2013. Amongst Edna’s race, finishes are multiple 150-mile, 100-mile, and 50-mile ultramarathons as well as Ironman triathlons.
A woman educated for success
She is a USA Track and Field Certified Level I Coach specialized in Endurance Sports.
She is a former student from UDEM in Monterrey who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Relations and extended her studies in Social Psychology at Sevilla University, Spain.
She studied her MBA at Robert Morris University specializing in food and the sports industry.
In October 2018 released, her book titled “The Races of My Life” (Las Carreras de mi Vida) in Spanish.
It’s based on her life’s story, detailing her transition from life in Mexico to Spain and eventually the United States.
She talks about her life through running — the ups and downs — using her competitions as metaphors for her diversities.
The book narrates the arduous journeys of an ultra-marathoner, but also a woman in search of freedom, self-determination, and love.
It is an inspiring story appreciated by athletes and non-athletes alike.
The challenge of undertaking
Her 10 years’ experience Edna worked in food factories she learn about administration, logistics and personnel management. As she started as an assistant and ended up becoming an operations manager.
There she understood the typical American diet and all the problems that come with processed foods and excess sugars.
She learned that she did not want to work for others but to have her own business, based on great passion, and high-performance sport.
With the IHCC I found guidance and knowledge to build a business, their seminars gave me strategies to grow, finding the paths to financing and thus making my dream come true, says Edna.
In February 2019, she founded her fitness studio in the Pilsen neighborhood.
Together with Vive Healthy Sport and Nutrition
Located in the heart of Chicago, Vive Healthy and Nutrition is dedicated to building a strong community through physical activity and healthy lifestyle education.
Jeff Lung her business partner and husband, a native of Quincy, Illinois who found boxing a valuable tool in learning about life and his values.
In 2015 “golden glove” champion has incorporated boxing into the development of personal programs as the primary basis for the dynamics and energy required by any individual.
Both missions are to provide sport as a necessity. They just ask you to be willing to give an hour a day and have fun.
At Vive Healthy we adapt the dynamics and energy of participants, music, culture, and language to strengthen human relationships.
They do not advertise their service based on following sculptural physical models. What interests them most is that people feel good.
Edna is convinced that sport, besides being a tool for physical training or sports development, is a lifestyle that provides you with the necessary elements to adapt, grow, socialize, and set goals.
It helps build bridges and links between neighbors, friends, families, and co-workers to establish a personal growth dynamic.
Edna believes life is a journey in stages. “Sometimes you go fast, sometimes you go slow. It only takes patience and intelligence to lead the way and reach your goal.