Why and how iAMHealthy&Fit Started?

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Hello! My name is Vanessa Partida, a triathlon athlete and creator and founder of iAMHealthy&Fit. iAMHealthy&Fit started at the beginning of 2013 but why and how this started?

I have always been involved in sports since I was little. I played competitive tennis since I was 10 years old but after playing tennis for so long and competing for 2 year in college, I decided to try other sports.  I remember one day, I went to the Palm Desert Park to go for a run. The COD cross country coach, Wendi Hill Ansley saw me running and asked me if I wanted to run for the Cross Country Team.  I wanted to keep myself active again so I went for the try outs and decided to join the COD Cross Country Team.

I didn’t know I love running so much!  I ended up being the number one runner at COD Cross Country team and at the end of the season, I was named the MVP… (I know this might be funny for some and not for others but when I received this award, I had not idea what MVP meant. I was like  “oh! thank you!” lol …until, I asked Adrian what it meant) Adrian was the number one runner in the men’s Cross Country team, if I remember right.

Joining the COD Cross Country Team allowed me to meet other amazing athletes! One of them was Adara Garcia. She was an Olympic Triathlon Athlete. She is actually the one that introduce me to triathlons. I can’t remember exactly how my interest in triathlons started, but I do remember started training with Adara and her boyfriend. Adara asked me if I had a road bike and I was like, “uh, I have mountain bike” lol! To make the story short, she let me borrow one of her bikes and this is how it all started! I knew I could do triathlons because I said to myself: “if I played competitive tennis, I can do a triathlon!”, “I know how to ride a bike too…I can do this!”, I used to swim competitive in HS…I can do this!”, “I ran Cross Country…I can do this!!!” Well, I realized later that it takes more than just knowing how to swim, ride and run!

I don’t remember the exact day or year but this day was going to be my first triathlon! We had to swim in a lake AND I had never swam in a lake before. (well yeah, but not like this) I jumped in the water and…well, first it was the smell of the water. Second, it was me not being able to see anything underneath the water and that scare me the most! I didn’t know how deep the water was and even though I knew how to swim, I started to feel really scare. Yes, I couldn’t do it!  A few years had to pass for me to try again.

I knew someday I was going to go back to make it happen and I was right! The time came again!

I have been wanting to compete in triathlons for so long that I finally decided to start training on my own. (Adara and her boyfriend moved back to Mexico) I was so motivated that in January 2013, I had the idea of inviting people to train with me  to keep me more motivated. So, this is how iAMHealthy&Fit idea started.

When the group started to grow, I had the opportunity to meet two triathlon athletes, Sergio and Alan. I mentioned to them that I have been wanting to compete in triathlons and soon after, I was training with them! I was actually the only girl in their group!  We competed in a few triathlons together as a team but in 2014, the group decided to split. When this happened, I continue training on my own but for some reason, I lost a bit of motivation. I tried to join other groups but I still wasn’t really motivated.

Then, one day while looking at some pictures on Instagram, I saw a picture of a bike that got my attention. It was a picture from an organization called, 99%RIDE. This organization was raising funds to help kids from Central and South America. The founder was riding from Alaska to Argentina while his teammates were raising funds. I thought this was so amazing! I decided to contact 99%RIDE. I wanted to give them one of the bags I designed as a present. I was going to send the bag to them via mail but when I knew I could ride with them too, I decided to go to LA to give them the bag personally.
A few days passed and Samantha, from 99%RIDE, contacted me and asked me that if I had any other idea to help them raise funds, to let them know.   Well, it didn’t take long for me to think about an idea!
I needed a motivation to keep riding my bike and it felt good to try to help so… an idea was born! 😀  I contact them again and told them I could help!  I offered to ride my bike and raise $1 for every mile I ride. (I know, this goal might not had been very realistic, but I still wanted to try!)

I started to ride on April 02, 2014. Unfortunately, that same day I had a bike accident. I severely injured my elbow, broke my nose and had other injuries that required time to heal.

Once I recovered from this accident, I decided to continue riding. The gaol: Ride 8,700 miles and help raise funds. Well, to make the story short, it took me one year and seven months to complete 8,761 miles. Yes, the goal was achieved but my goal to raise the funds was not achieved…

So what is next for iAMHealthy&Fit?

I will be taking it easy for a few months due to some issues I have been having with my foot, knee and back (mostly all related to my bike accident)  In the meantime, I decided to continue practicing yoga for another 2-3 months. I also will be going for easy rides and easy swims. No running! (running is what hurts my body the most) Until my body feels strong and ready again… I will see you all again soon.

Vanessa P. (aka, iAMHealthy&Fit)