Riding the wave. And Running for Another. 

There’s been a huge wave of Good News up in these parts the past week or so. I feel like I’m surfing an ideal point break. And it feels pretty fantastic. Not for nothing, it’s about time. I was starting to feel like that little depressed pill from the Zoloft commercials. And that’s just not me. Two awesome things happened last week: 

  1. I received The Best News Ever. And was promptly overwhelmed by all of your warm thoughts and well wishes. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. It moved me to tears. The outpouring of support made my heart overflow. That’s the truth.  XOXO. 
  2. I found out I was named a Janji Corps Ambassador! WOOT! WOOT! 

A while back I blogged about Janjia socially conscious running clothing company that gives back by providing clean water in countries around the world. I discovered them after returning from a life changing trip to Kenya. Gotta admit. I became sort of obsessed with the company. How could I not? Go to Kenya and you’ll see first hand how horrible the water situation is. There is a water crisis in Kenya. I was so struck by that. To discover a company that dovetails what I love to do with helping others, was such a perfect find. I wanted to be a part of it. Sadly, Kenya is just one country with a water crisis. There are many, many more.

I ran full Janji today!



 Janji means “promise” in Malay. Run Janji and promise to Run for Another. I love it. Love everything about it. I am honored to be a part of this AMAZING group of Ambassadors. All runners, all committed to this cause. I’m totally impressed.  I’m even more excited to see the SPRING collection which drops this week. I had a sneak peak and it looks awesome- great bright colors and cool designs! That is, if I even remember what Spring is.  Or shirts. Or t-shirts. Or the sun for that matter…

Are you, like Tina and I, OVER winter? What’s the coldest temperature you’ve run in this winter? Rain or Snow- which would you rather run in? 

Review: Run Janji. And Run for Another.

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I first read about Janji, a running apparel company with a conscious, after returning from Kenya in September of 2013. Serendipitous, really. I left Nairobi 3 days before the horrific terrorist attack at the Westgate Shopping Mall. I was actually in that very mall, sitting in a coffee shop, reflecting on The Trip of a Lifetime days before it was under siege. I was stunned watching the coverage. Bodies slumped at the very table we sat. Terror. Panic. Death. I blogged about that very day here. I was devastated to see this happening to a country I had fallen in love with. A People who were so very welcoming and kind. And in such need.

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I had never experienced abject poverty quite like that exists in Kenya. Ever. That day in the Coffee Shop, which would become the scene of a terrorist massacre, I reflected on my stay in Kenya. What struck me most? Water. The lack of potable water. There is a water crisis in Kenya. It’s huge. And not just drinking water, but also for crops, agriculture and livestock. You would see women walking miles with jugs of water. Miles. And not in sneakers either. In the old dress shoes you gave to Goodwill 4 years ago. It was heartbreaking to me. Such need. I looked to see how I could help. And I found Janji.

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Janji is a running apparel company founded by Mike Burnstein and Dave Spandorfor who’s mission is to create a community of runners dedicated to run for another. Perfect! I thought. The company’s mission is to provide clean water and food to those in crisis by giving a portion of the proceeds from their sales to organizations who fund solutions and projects related to the global food and water crisis. And they don’t just do it in Kenya. Haiti, Rwanda, Peru, Tanzania, the United States….and several other countries too. Sure, many runners give thru running. The giving usually ends on race day. Mike and Dave, competitive runners themselves, thought that rather than giving to a cause for just one day, runners can give back through everyday training. And here’s where my love affair with Janji begins.

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I purchased the Women’s Kenya Acacia Tee and Kenya shorts because I loved the cause. Simply loved it. I figured at the very least, I was giving back to Kenya and providing a family with a growing season’s worth of water via a low-cost water pump. Total. Win-Win. I felt like I was doing something meaningful AND a Kenyan Family would benefit. But here’s what happened. I really loved their product! The fit. The function. The quality. Excellent! And, not for nothing, it’s cute. (I’m simply being honest.) My quads and I sometimes have a tough time finding shorts that don’t bunch up and ride way up resulting in a long run spent tugging at them and muttering under my belabored breath. These are perfect. The shirt is cut beautifully- not tightly fitted and has this neat stitching. It’s really well made. I’m not sure it will work for me on a 90 degree day with 100% humidity, but tonight it was perfect.

I love this company. And their product. (And no one told me to say so either!) I’ve already got my eye on a singlet. And the Kenya Anna short. And a no-slip headband…

Let the water flow. 🙂

EXCITING UPDATE! Get 25% off ALL KENYA GEAR with coupon code: marasprint. The coupon expires on Monday, June 16th! THANKS JANJI!!!!

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The Coffee Shop.

Art Caffe Nairobi KenyaThis past Tuesday I sat in a beautiful cafe, outdoors, overlooking a busy cityscape, Adele quietly crooning in the background, sipping a cappuccino. It was the perfect balance of energy after a wonderful day. A typical Lazy Tuesday with a mid-day jolt of caffeine. My favorite kind of day.

The cafe itself can be found in a host of cities around the world. In many ways, it’s generic. Wonderful terrace, tables filled with business people, bloggers and ladies who lunch, all chit chatting animatedly. Upscale but without pretension. Relaxed, not uptight. A classic Coffee Shop. A great place to sit and watch the world scoot by. It could be in any city.

But it wasn’t in any city.

The cafe I was sitting in was the Artcaffe at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

I was there Tuesday. It was bombed on Saturday. As I write this, it is still under siege. Siege. How often does one use ‘siege’ in a sentence? That’s a first for me. Horrible.

I saw pictures of bullet riddled bodies strewn on that serene terrace. Lifeless souls slumped at my very table. Carnage along the marble steps I had waited on. My waitress running, blood soaked. Hysteria. Bloody violence. Fear. Terror.

All for what?
To intimidate by fear to achieve…..
What??
What was the gain?

Pointless.
Senseless.
Tragic.

And it is 3 days later and the terror is still going on.

I just can’t understand. I am beside myself.

I had planned on blogging about my trip to Kenya in a series of sorts. I still am. In fact, I must. Kenya is a magnificent country. I encountered nothing but beautiful, kind, wonderful people who profusely thanked me for visiting their country. I don’t just mean a flip “Thanks for stoppin’ by.” I mean a real, genuine heartfelt thank you. It touched my soul.

There is beauty in Kenya. Beauty that takes your breath away. The people are genuine, authentic. There is also abject poverty and exorbitant wealth in the capital city. Intermeshed. I’ve never seen such a disparity between the Haves and the Have Nots. The juxtaposition of these two images? Gut wrenching. I can’t stop thinking about it. It is so very striking. This attack didn’t just happen to the Haves, it happened to Kenya as a Whole. In the face of terror, that stratification ceases to exist. It has terrified all Kenyans and now, the world.

And these kind, beautiful souls do not deserve it. No one does.