Nicknamed Banana Buzzbomb for eating obscene amounts of bananas and always being on the go, Heidi chose to use the moniker for her blog where she focuses on running, training for triathlons, living a vegan lifestyle, all the while proving that YOU make the decision to lead the life you want to lead. We interviewed her to find out a bit more about her path to becoming a runner, which she recently celebrated her 5 year anniversary. This is someone not just dedicated to her sport, but who is always striving to improve upon it, be it through doing iron-man distance triathlons to, inspiring fellow runners and to-be runners with great articles, stories and videos on her blog, and by treating nutrition as an equally important factor. She’s got great attitude, great spirit, and great perserverence. Without further ado… Meet Banana Buzzbomb. You recently celebrated your 5 year running anniversary, yet you weren’t always a runner. What’s the story behind your journey? Although I considered myself active as a child I was never athletic and running never came easy. I remember going out for junior high track and realizing I couldn’t even run once around the track and chose shot-put and discus as my sport to avoid running. Once I married my husband I began to gain weight and wasn’t living an optimal lifestyle. I somehow came up with the grand idea that I was going to run come heck or high water. I made up my mind, believed in myself, and set out to conquer one of the biggest challenges of my life. It didn’t come easy, but I can now say, “I’m a runner.” Nutrition is also huge part of your life. Through a vegan diet, what would you suggest as essential foods / nutrients for runners in terms of both long term eating regimens, as well as before / after run nourishment? You can live on almost any diet, but my goal isn’t to just live, but thrive. This is why I went vegetarian 4 years ago and then vegan 2 years ago. My transition has been a journey and not an overnight change. Although I am vegan, I do not preach that everyone eat a plant-based diet since I do not believe there is a one-size fits all when it comes to diet/lifestyle. What I will say is that I recommend everyone stick with whole foods (non-processed) whenever possible and try different options to see what works best for their bodies. I also recommend routine blood work to find if supplementation is necessary no matter what your diet. What thoughts go through your head throughout your runs? My mind is in constant motion, even while I sleep! My thoughts during runs depend on the intensity and mood I’m in. Sometimes I visualize my next race, which provides inspiration. But most often I make every attempt to shut off my brain from it’s current concerns and just soak up my surroundings and live in that very moment. For those who want to get into running, but don’t see themselves as a runner, how can they begin training for it? Any mistakes you made, advice you’d give? Quite simply, just get out and move. I did a lot of walk/run/walk when I first started and lessened the walking aspect of my workouts a little day-by-day. Before I knew it I was running more than walking and then running complete routes. My advice when it comes to gear is to be fitted professionally for your running shoes. I made the mistake of using trail shoes for my first pair of running shoes. To this day I have no idea how I didn’t injure myself. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about life through running? If I can’t have fun doing something, then why do it? You’re currently training as a member of Team Red White & Blue, a half Ironman distance triathlon? How are you training for this feat? Of the swim, bike and run which do you struggle with most and how are you overcoming that? When it comes to training I tend to take pre-made plans and customize them to my own needs. Once I signed up for my first Half Rev3 I knew I needed a little something more but wasn’t ready to hire an actual coach. Thankfully Rev3 offers a Group Coaching Option that is steering me in the right direction. Initially I thought the bike portion would be easiest. Unfortunately I found this to be the total opposite. There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to clipping in and out of the pedals and riding in the aero position. The sport of triathlon continues to humble me on a daily basis. What meaning does running hold for you and how has it changed your life? Running allows me to be free. Growing up I dealt with anxiety issues with OCD tendencies that continued into adulthood. Stress only made my symptoms worse and I reached a point when I needed prescription medications. Once I began to run I had no need for the medications. In addition to this, my once random blog now focuses on my life as a vegan triathlete, which has lead me to so many amazing people that continually inspire and motivate me through my journey. Who/what inspires you? I can’t say I’ve had one specific person that has inspired me, as almost everyone that has come into my life has left an imprint on me in some way. However, seeing people on a daily basis rise above their circumstances and succeed inspires me and lights my fire. What “golden rule” do you live by? I have two. “Never say never, because I can.” And “Go through today as though it’s the best day of your life. Tomorrow wake up and do the same.” Are there any training resources you have used that you’d recommend? Training regimens, websites, online communities? When it comes to resources I recommend reading anything you can get your hands on. That’s not to say that everything is fact, but educate yourself and take away ideas that you think may work for you. It’s important to surround yourself with people who are supportive of your lifestyle. The FitFluential Groups on Facebook, my Twitter followers, along with my Daily Mile friends always have my back on my off days and are the first to give me a “high-five” on my good days. This is important. When you’re not training what are you up to in your everyday life? Blogging, tweeting, playing ball with my dogs, or traveling the world with my husband. When did you get into doing triathlons, marathons, etc? I started running in 2007, completed my first half marathon in 2008, and then my first triathlon in 2011. What causes are you passionate about, why, and how are you involved? Currently my main cause I’m passionate about is Team Red, White, and Blue. Team RWB works hard to assist in reintegrating veterans into civilian life after they return from combat and their time in the service. The cause is very important to me since my husband is a former Marine and we have witnessed first hand the obstacles service men and women go through after serving their country. As I train for the Half Rev3 I will be raising funds to go toward this mission Another cause I’ve come to grow passionate about is the Ulman Cancer Fund. The Ulman Cancer Fund works on a community and national level to raise awareness of the young adult (ages 20 – 39 years old) cancer issue. In addition, they help young adults and families impacted by cancer by giving them a voice and the resources necessary to thrive. There are so many organizations out there looking to find a cure that often this aspect is overlooked. Recently I have attempted to help raise awareness and funds for this organization and would like to join their Team Fight in the future. And just for fun, what’s your favorite book(s), movie(s), and music group(s), meal(s)? I love the Twilight Series and will admit that I’ve read each of the books at least 3-4 times. Dirty Dancing, While You Were Sleeping, Only You, and The Holiday are some of my favorite movies. I listen to any music played for me that I can dance to and am a lover of Mexican food. What are you most grateful for? That every day I get to wake up and live this life I was given. What’s next for Banana Buzzbomb in the near and distant future? These past few months have been a whirlwind and it looks as though there’s no break in the future…but I love it! Over these next several months I’ll be heading deeper into my training for my first Half Rev3 while catching some races on the side. No worries! It won’t be all work and no play. Recently I was named one of Columbia Sportswear’s Omniten. I’ve already been testing out their goods and am gearing up to head out to Sedona, Arizona to meet up with the rest of the Omniten crew for some epic adventures next month. After this race season? Who knows! I’ll have to see what challenge catches my eye! ~~~ Nicknamed Banana Buzzbomb for eating obscene amounts of bananas and always being on the go, Heidi chose to use the moniker for her blog where she focuses on running, training for triathlons, living a vegan lifestyle, all the while proving that YOU make the decision to lead the life you want to lead. Over the past 5 years Heidi has transitioned from a non-runner to someone that can hold her own in a half-marathon and triathlon. Within those years she’s also become vegetarian and now vegan. Within that time she focused on changing to all cruelty-free products, reduced her personal belongings, and even changed careers. Instead of just going through the motions Heidi is most interested in learning about life, trying to simplify, spreading love, and being happy. Heidi can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.