About ME

Hi There! I am Jess, a 30 something wife and doxie mom from Cleveland, OH, where I have lived most of my life. Minus those four college years I spent in Toledo. I absolutely love Cleveland and you will not find me living anywhere else. Even with those crazy lake-effect snow filled winters…that I secretly love!

Why the name “Tambura Runner”? Well, originally this blog was “mojamala2.wordpress.com” which was based off a nickname from college. I eventually decided to buy the domain for the blog however, that one or something similar was not available. Since this blog is 95% running, I had to keep it running related. Another somewhat serious hobby of mine is playing a Croatian folk instrument called the Tambura. Specifically, I play the prim, it’s one of my favorite things to do and my favorite music to listen to. Technically, I could have went with Prim Runner, which probably would have been a lot easier to pronounce! However, I ended up going with The Tambura Runner, forever making people mispronounce it. Your welcome.

This is my “Tambura” or my prim.

You are probably wondering how I learned to play this instrument. Technically, I learned because for 14 years of my life I traveled and performed with the American Zagreb Junior Tamburitzans. They are a Croatian folk performing group in Cleveland. However, my entire family plays this same family of instruments so it was probably inevitable. I made some amazing friends and was able to perform and travel the world.

Fellow Tamburitzan Friends

Currently, I perform with another local Cleveland group named Zumbercani. I started performing with them in 2014 and it has been a great way to continue performing and traveling.

Ok, back to running! Running has always been one of my favorite things to do. Whether I was playing kickball at recess or running drills for another sport, I always loved the running part. I participated in Track and Field in grade school and high school but short distances only. Anything longer than a 400 and you would hear some major complaints from me! I also “dabbled” in volleyball, soccer, cheerleading and gymnastics but still loved to run.

In college, I ran to stay in shape and slowly worked my way up to running 2 miles. Which all my friends thought was “so far.” To be honest, I thought it was pretty far too. By my senior year of college, I was running 5-7 miles a day and my friends responses then were “everyday?!?!” While at college I couldn’t really afford to participate in local races. I think I ran about 3 races in my entire 4 years at college and most of that was my friends dragging me to fundraising runs.

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 to measure my fitness. I was doing all this running so let’s see where I measure up. While I couldn’t find any friends who would do one 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 and at that time I wasn’t even running that far. However, I went, did that 10K and I was hooked!

River Run 5K 2007
River Run 5K 2007

Before I knew it, I was racing every weekend and sometimes both Saturday and Sunday of the weekend.  I had my share of ups and downs with running, I made amazing friends, experienced injuries, became a marathon maniac and traveled to new places. I’ve completed 16 marathons, plus an ironman and continue to run about 20 races each year. I have loved every minute of it and I loved the people I met at races. Loved one runner so much that I married him!

My favorite picture
My favorite picture

Shortly after our honeymoon, we started a family and brought Bodhi home. Then in 2015 we brought Bandit home too. These two dogs bring an incredible amount of joy and laughter to our lives.


This blog is where I share my journey through running and life so I hope you enjoy it!

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

10 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
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