Heather O (HBO

Heather O (HBO


Personal Information: Amrita Health Food Ambassador

What is something most people don’t know, or would be surprised to learn, about you?

My journey began as a 295 lb overweight mother who realized that leading an unhealthy lifestyle could make it difficult to raise a family and set a good example. While a gastric-bypass surgery help me lose 150 lbs, I knew that I needed to do more to maintain my health both physically and mentally.

What is an accomplishment that makes you proud?

I’m most proud of never giving up or quitting, it’s just not an option. Starting out, I ran my 1st 5k in jeans because it was cold and I didn’t know what I was doing. I worked my up through the race distances (5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, marathon) and even through in a few sprint-distance triathlons. My love of Obstacle Course Races (OCR) lead me to trails, which progressed on to ultra-marathons. Meanwhile, I was dealing with undetected ovarian cancer spreading inside of me. Once diagnosed and operated on (way too many times), I was able to continue a degree of training even during my chemotherapy treatments. After battling cancer into remission in the spring of 2014, I immediately began rebuilding myself into a more rounded and healthier athlete. I’m proud that I display a positive, fighting attitude to all of my running, Tri and OCR friends. They call me an unstoppable badass and I wear that title with honor.

What motivates/inspires you?

I’m motivated by what I can be and who I can be. At 295 lbs, a flight of stairs is a huge accomplishment. After a round of chemo, getting out of bed is a huge accomplishment. I love hearing folks tell me that I’m amazing or that I inspire them. Hearing that inspires me to keep being badass and get to the next level, the next goal, the next huge accomplishment.

What is your personal mantra?

Be badass.
Relentless forward progression.
I’ve got this.
I am stronger than this challenge and this challenge is making me even stronger.
For beer and glory.

What person has most shaped your life, why?

My husband Rick. Many people wrote me off as an overweight trouble maker. He loved me at my biggest, supported me through cancer and chemo, and cheers for me as I target my next goal. He is my rock, my life, my best friend and it’s because of him I am who I am today.

Where are the best places to follow you online?

Facebook: Heather Bailey Ostrander
Athlinks: Heather Ostrander

What is your favorite Amrita Bar?

Apple Cinnamon.

What is your day job?

I’m an IT Infrastructure Project Manager for Xerox.

What is your location?

Macedon, NY – Upstate Western NY near Rochester.

Are you plant-based, why or why not?

Nope. I love meat and dairy too much and would never give it up. I do enjoy veggies and know that they are required for a healthy lifestyle.

Athletic Information:

What sport do you compete in?

A lot. Hm, let’s see, I’m a Road / Trail / Obstacle Course/ Triathlete / Du-athlete / Cross-Country / Ultra Distance / Adventure Racer

 How did you get started in your sport?

As a Boy Scout Merit Badge Councilor, I asked one of the scouts to teach me how to run a mile to earn his Activity Badge. This quickly led to my first 5K. Then I saw a video for Warrior Dash and I was hooked. Trail races and OCRs became my passion. This year I challenged my racing skills further by joining a Cross-Country team. To mix it up, I like to get out of my comfort level at least once a year and borrow a bike to tackle a triathlon and/or duathlon.

Why did you continue with your sport?

I love running with friends and meeting like-minded folks. I love mentoring someone then watching them fulfill their goals. I love surrounding myself with other athletes so I hear their stories and want to add that adventure to my bucket list.

How did you get into teaching/training others?

I live in Upstate New York and love running trails. I’m the Trails Roc Slow and Steady trail lead, where I show folks how to run the local trail systems, how to get lost safely and most of all, how to have fun. There are many new trail runners looking for someone to lead them, and I’m more than happy to share that experience with them.

What is your favorite workout, why?

I love doing what I call my “Tired Leg Push.” It’s 3-4 workouts in 24 hrs. I usually do a 5 mile run, followed by a gym workout in the am. Later that night, I’ll run about 3-4 more trail miles with lots of hills. Then in the morning I run a nice slow and steady 3 mile trail run with a few more hills. This workout helps you learn to push through fatigue and it also helps you practice active recovery while running

What affect has Amrita had on your training?

Due to my gastric bypass, I can not eat over 24 grams of sugar. I have gastrointestinal issues with Gels, GUs and Chomps type products. For my long runs, I stick mostly to baby food and peanut butter pretzels. I’ve added Amrita bars as my pre and post run nourishment. I’m slowing adding them into my long runs as well, so that I can enjoy them for my 50 mile race planed for 2015.

What is your favorite race, why?

My Favorite race was a “race-cation” with my husband in 2013. We left one of NY’s winter storms and flew down to Florida. Together we conquered a Super Spartan of over 20 obstacles and 8 miles; which was the 1st of piece of the Trifecta puzzle that was our main goal for 2013. We got to spent the week on the beach then 6 days after the Super Spartan, we completed the Miami Tough Mudder. Being one of their first Tough Mudders of the year, we overcame new obstacles that we had never seen before. Tired but smiling triumphantly, we crossed the finish line after 12 miles and 22 obstacles. It was the best vacation we have ever had together.

What is your pre-race / warm-up routine?

I grab Amrita bar and a bottle of water. I eat half the bar driving to my workout, then finish the remaining bar as soon as I get back in the car. I usually pack a few post-race beers to share with my friends.

What gets you most excited to compete?

I strive to be better than I was before. I try not to run the same race multiple times. I love new adventures, telling the story of the race I just completed, and yes,  I love the bling and the bragging rights!

What gives you an advantage over your competition?

My competition is me. I was asked once if I “raced” in the 150 races I’ve completed or simply “run” in them. I replied that I ran them, because PRs and age group placement are just added bonuses to average, middle of the pack runner in any given race. As long as I am improving, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else is doing, does it?

What are some resources you use for information on training, diet, etc?

Facebook, blogs, and friends. I like to see first hand what works for my friends. I then apply that to my training to see if it works for me.

What are your goals for 2015?

Continue to rebuild from chemotherapy and train smart for a 50 miler in November. I have a few OCRs and a TRI in the mix as well.

What are the most important races you have scheduled for 2015?

Savage Race – June 27th, 2015
It’s an intense 5-7 mile obstacle run with 25 world class obstacles, mud, fire, and barbed wire. This is my 1st real OCR challenge since I went off the scene to battle cancer. Once I finish this race, I’ll know that I am officially back to the badass OCR runner that I was before chemo.

 Advice to others:

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given – and would be eager to pass along to others?

Respect the training, Honor the commitments, cherish the results.
The people which you chose to surround yourself are a direct image into your life.

What tip(s) do you have for new athletes?

It’s not about how fast or how far you have to go. It’s about digging deep and pushing yourself to keep moving forward!
For every workout change 1 small thing. If you’re at the gym, increase by 1 incline, 1 speed, 1 rep or 5 more lbs.
If you’re walking; go to the next driveway before turning around.
If you’re running; push yourself to the next telephone pole before talking a walking break.
It’s the smaller changes like this that will give you the results you are looking for.

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