I’ve had a lot of nicknames through the years Jessie Girl, Jelly, Buff, Rabbit, The Logo and Jess Express but Moja Mala is the nickname that has stuck. It pretty much translates to “My Little” which doesn’t make much sense but I’m just barely 5 feet tall so that is where it started.
I am a 20-something, (knocking on 30s door) from Cleveland, OH. I’ve lived here my entire life (minus the 4 years I lived in Toledo for college) and cannot imagine living anywhere else. However, I love to travel and will visit just about anywhere. Cleveland is a great city and has so much to offer. Do not let anyone else tell you otherwise.
I’m going to lie and tell you I had a very normal childhood growing up. Which included traveling and performing with the American Zagreb Junior Tamburitza for 14 years. I made some amazing friends and was able to perform and travel the world. Totally normal.
I’ve always been an avid runner, I think that was my favorite part of every sport was when we got to do running drills. I played many sports throughout grade school and high school, volleyball, soccer, cheerleading (If you tumble and stunt it is a sport), gymnastics, and my favorite Track and Field! I’ve been a runner for years but I didn’t start out as a distance runner. In high school, the farthest I would run was 800 meters and I would complain about it the whole time. I was a sprinter, hurdler and a pole vaulter.
When I went to college, I ran to keep in shape. For a while, 2 miles was really far but by my senior year I was running 5-7 miles a day. My friends at the time thought I was crazy and didn’t get why I would run that far. For me, I loved it and it was a good workout. During my college years, I probably ran about 3 races in that entire 4 years. All 5ks, all in the 25 min and up range. I loved running and was a poor college student so racing wasn’t my thing.
After college, I continued to run and did it because I loved it. Eventually, after being home from college for about 8 months I decided to sign up for a race. I couldn’t find any friends who would do it with me so I sucked it up and went by myself. Normally, for your first race (or first race in awhile), you sign up for something small, like a 5K. For some reason I signed up for a 10K. At that time I wasn’t even running 6 miles in my training runs. I ran 3 miles at lunch a couple days a week. However, after that 10K, I WAS HOOKED! I was already hooked on running but now I was hooked on racing! It was a whole new ballgame.
Before I knew it I was racing every weekend. If I could find a race I would run it. Sometimes I would run races on Saturday and Sunday. I was officially race crazy. But I loved every minute of it and I loved the people I met at races. (also where I met the love of my life) In 2007 I ran 20 races ranging from 5K to half marathon. People starting asking me when I was going to train for a marathon and I responded “Never” “That’s crazy” “That can’t possibly be good for you”. I was perfectly content with a half marathon being the farthest I would go.
In January of 2008 I decided to train for my first marathon. I still don’t know why I decided to run a marathon after being adamant about never running one. Picking a first marathon to run was easy. It HAD to be Cleveland. I couldn’t have another marathon be my first marathon. Cleveland HAD to be it. I ended up with some knee pain (probably IT band) and dropped down to the half.
I wasn’t devasted or anything but I still really wanted to run a full marathon. I broke my “It has to be Cleveland for my first marathon” rule and registered for the Akron Marathon. I heard it was hilly and hard and said “so what” “bring it on”. In the fall of 2008 I ran Akron and became a marathoner! It was not a pretty race, I fell, cramped up and somehow collected myself to still run under 4 hours.
After Akron I HAD TO RUN CLEVELAND! I also had a little goal time in mind. I wanted to qualify for Boston. It wasn’t a “I have to qualify” but I felt like I had trained hard enough that I should be able to and if not it was no big deal. In May 2009, I ran Cleveland and qualified for Boston. From there on I knew I had to continue running marathons. I couldn’t imagine a marathon free life.
I’ve had my share of ups and downs with running, I’ve made amazing friends, experienced injuries, became a marathon maniac and traveled to new places for races. I’ve completed 11 marathons and continue to run about 20 races every year. This blog is where I share my journey through running but also where I share anything else that is going on in my personal life. I’m planning to get a weiner dog this summer after my wedding so there will soon be many puppy pics.
Other random things about me. I love Cleveland. I love running. I have the most amazing little sister in the entire world. I love swedish fish, cereal, marshmallows, pumpkin everything and sno-cones. I enjoy playing indoor and sand volleyball and flag football. I like to bake, travel and share my love of my Croatian heritage. I love playing first shooter video games like Call of duty. And I have the most amazing fiance in the entire world. He spoils me to no end and to think I met him through running.
AND Marrying this guy in 2013!
If you need to contact me please use the following email address MojaMala2blog@gmail.com
Can you believe there was already a mojamala2 email?