About ME

I am a 30 something 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, even during the crazy lake effect snow filled winters.

Beautiful Cleveland day
Beautiful Cleveland day

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.

River Run 5K 2007
River Run 5K 2007

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.

Akron Marathon 2008

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 15 marathons (plus an Ironman so maybe 16 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.

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 husband in the entire world. He spoils me to no end and to think I met him through running.

Time Crisis is my favorite arcade game!
Time Crisis is my favorite arcade game!
Guitar Mania in front of the Rock Hall
A Lot!
I practically live in sundresses in the summer
My sister is my favorite person in the whole wide world! Pic from 2006
2012 and we're practically wearing the same size clothing
2012 and we’re practically wearing the same size clothing

AND I married my best friend in July 2013!

My Grandma says this picture makes me look busty!
My Grandma says this picture makes me look busty!
My favorite picture
My favorite picture

And shortly after our honeymoon, we started a family. Meet Bodhi! I’m slightly obsessed with this little guy so you’ll see lots of pictures of him on the blog.

Teenie Weenie
Teenie Weenie

And in September 2015 we added another addition to our family.

Meet Bandit
Meet Bandit

If you need to contact me please use the following email address MojaMala2blog@gmail.com
Can you believe there was already a mojamala2 email?

This blog was previously named mojamala2.wordpress.com. However, I decided to purchase a domain and that one was not available so I purchased The Tambura Runner instead.


9 thoughts on “About ME

  1. Hello! I am a native of Cleveland and love to run, cycle, and stay active as well! Just wanted to say hello and that I love following your blog and reading about your training adventures! I am currently studying abroad in Rome for the semester but when I get back in May, maybe we could plan to meet up for a run together!?! Always looking for new running buddies and friends! 🙂 Good Luck at the St. Malachi Run today–my cousin is running in it today too, hope the weather perks up a bit! -Melissa (Ehrbarme@gmail.com)

  2. Hey, just wanted to say good luck tomorrow. I too am Croatian. Born and raised in Zagreb. I was 10 when i cam to the states.

  3. Hey there! I have been following your blog since mid summer maybe after stumbling across it on a random google search for something else running related. Your blog introduced me to many other blogs that I follow now as well. I finally leaned what RSS was and how to use google reader and add you to it, so I thought it was time to finally say hello! Do you happen to run at the Rocky River fitworks? Not to be stalkerish but I think I may have seen you or your twin there the other day, which also spurred my need to say hello! Thank you so much for sharing all your stories and training adventures, and thank you for introducing me to so many good reads! Look forward to following into the new year!

  4. Good luck! I am just starting my marathon training too for the Cleveland marathon also hoping to run 3:30. I am just starting to create a blog to keep me focused this year after getting hurt in training last year. Ran across yours from the website and am looking forward to seeing how you do! Good luck again!

  5. Found this blog off of Google. I think I may have seen you at the Towpath Marathon ’11 (3:49 finish) and I enjoyed reading your post about it. I’ll also be running in a couple of the events on your schedule (Towpath half, Cleveland Half, Perfect 10-miler), so I perhaps I’ll see you around.

  6. Hello Mala,
    Just a quick message to ask if you would be interested in a ‘mutual’ following on twitter. I am currently following you now and am awaiting for your follow-back. (#FYI I do RT’s ‘anytime’ for all #Triathletes #Cyclists #UltraRunners #Marathoners #FitnessProfessionals who follow me on Twitter and have something important they want mentioned for support…)

    All the very best to you & Ryan for 2013 & beyond Mala. Look forward to hearing from you…

    PS. Gave Ryan a follow & welcoming him on board as well…

  7. I see a lot of interesting content on your website.
    You have to spend a lot of time writing, i know how to save you a lot of work, there is a tool that creates readable, SEO friendly articles in couple
    of seconds, just type in google – k2 unlimited content

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s