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Marina Blake is no stranger to challenges and tribulations.
At the age of twenty-two, Marina’s doctors told her that after many years of struggling with Renal failure, she had a forty percent chance to live for another five years. After a procedure to remove a part of her kidneys, and several treatment sessions, immuno-therapy, radiation therapy, and the slow roll of time, Marina pushed through the gloom and remained hopeful and positive.
“I could have sat in bed and cried all day or I could take control of my life as much as I could and be enjoying all that I have. I still had legs to walk, arms to use, fresh air to breathe and endless opportunities.”
She decided to take her health into her own hands, going against the advice of her doctors.
“I didn’t want to be bedridden and depend on meds the rest of my life,” she said. “I met with a nutritionist who guided me through foods I can and can’t consume, I signed up for a gym membership to slowly work my strength training. Most importantly I took charge of my mental health.”
That’s when she started to adventure. Since then she has visited thirty different countries, being in places she had only dreamed of before, interacting first hand with several unique cultures, witnessing historical sites and tasting authentic foods from far off places.
Between one of her many exploits around the globe, Marina heard about the Boise Marathon and decided to register.
“I used to run a lot as a kid. I signed up for the full 26.2 miles and instantly started regretting it after my [first] day of training.”
Marina spent six months training, but she admits she didn’t take it all that seriously until August came around. It was at this point that she was serious enough about it that she even took the time to run while she was adventuring in Europe for a couple of weeks. But when the time came to run the Boise Marathon itself, Marina found herself confronted by another set of challenges.
“Physically I was prepared for the run but mentally I was not.” Marina told me about how she showed up in shorts and a thin shirt while the other runners were far more bundled up. After a few quizzical looks and some polite questions from other people in the crowd, Marina began to have some doubts. “I thought to myself ‘well, obviously everyone else is more prepared and my muscles will freeze, I will just die during the run.’”
Other runners began to pass her and her courage waned, “Eventually, I stared at the ground and zoned out. I stopped paying attention to the people behind or in front of me. I thought about the beach and my favorite foods, I recited my favorite songs in my head (I ran without music) and simply let my mind wander and take my focus away from the mile markers.”
At the end of the day, Marina did more than win the mental and physical battles of the Boise Marathon: “I finished the full 26.2 miles in 3:20:49 which qualifies me for the Boston Marathon.”
Marina plans to dominate the Boston Marathon in 2021, and fully intends to do the Boise Marathon again.
Not only is she a doctor defying athlete, but she is also a business owner who opened a food cart in 2016. She then grew it from cart, to truck, to brick-and-mortar store in Meridian. Coned! makes pizza, but not in the traditional sense. They make the pizza inside of a dough cone by layering the ingredients per customer request! You can find them at almost any major event in the Treasure Valley, and they will even cater your private event if you contact them.
You can also find three Coned! stands at any Boise State football game held at Albertsons stadium. So next time you get hungry at a Boise State game, Coned! has got you covered.
Since Marina has been killing it in the last few years, I asked her what her plans are for the future including the Boston Marathon, and what keeps her moving forward.
Marina said, “I am a goal setter and a go getter! I thrive on chaos and success. Life is too short to dwell on things and you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. I plan on continuing to travel the world. I would love to run around the world, too. It would be an honor to be accepted into the London Marathon. Until then, I will take each one step at a time!”