Nina C. Vosburgh (Class of 2014)
Nina grew up on a farm in Appleton, NY and served in the US Navy Seabees from 9/2000 to 9/2008 as a steelworker. She served on sea duty 2000-2005 in Gulfport, MS and her unit was one of the first responders for Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. She then served on shore duty 2005-2008 in San Diego, CA. The Seabees are the United States Navy Construction Battalion, and have the motto: "We Build, We Fight."
Nina you recently ran a 50k, (31 miles) at the 12th annual Can Lake 50, “Run Like it Matters” held Oct 11, in Canandaigua Lake, NY. This annual event is a fundraiser that benefits Serenity House in Victor, NY, which provides specialized care for the terminally ill, their families and loved ones. Can you tell us about that experience?
There were 182 runners who participated in the race. My goal was to complete it in 7 hours and 30 minutes. I beat that goal by 16 minutes. The hills were killer and I know that if it was not for my pacer and NU Alumni, Juliana Donner, I would not have made it up some of those hills!
How did you get involved in marathon running?
I never really considered myself a runner growing up, even though I participated in track and soccer. The furthest I had ever run while in the military was only a few miles.
Every year my unit set up a water station at the San Diego Rock - N - Roll Marathon. In 2006, I volunteered and had so much fun, then again in 2007 I signed up to volunteer and I had a couple of good friends who were running it. After seeing them run 26.2 miles I said I am going to do this too. So began my love for running. I found that when I am out running, as the endorphins kick in I can ignore the rest of the world and be in the moment. Any issues that I am struggling with, all that just goes away when I run.
In January 2008 I signed up for the June 2008 San Diego Rock - N - Roll Marathon. I started to train but an injury sidelined me for 5 months. I was devastated. But I was still determined to complete this goal. June came around and so did the marathon, I was a nervous wreck and freaked out because I hadn't trained, but I was going to do it. Sure enough I did it and loved every minute of it. I didn't start the race with a smile on my face but I sure did finish with one.
Since then, I have done 4 sprint triathlons, close to 100 half marathon and short distance races, another marathon and I just competed my first ultra marathon.
How did you prepare for the ultra marathon?
I had never heard of an ultra marathon (any race over 26.2 miles) when I went to a trail running camp through Team RWB. When I left from running trails all weekend and being surrounded by the top athletes in the ultra marathon world, the out pouring of support they gave to use Veterans was amazing. They inspired and motivated me to run an ultra marathon. When I got home I started researching ultra marathons and found one in Canandaigua, for Serenity House.
I found a training plan and was setting myself up for success, so I thought. Half way through I ended up with a foot injury and I was out for a month and had a hard time getting back into it, but I knew this goal was rapidly approaching and needed to get back on track fast.
You found inspiration by several family members and ran for them, can you tell us about them?
As the day came closer I decided to run each mile of the race for someone who inspires me, motives me or in memory of someone. I thought it was going to be hard to find 31 people but my list filled up quickly. My top 4
1. Simon Douglas Vosburgh Sr, this is my grandfather who passed away in Feb 2000. He was an Air Force Veteran and I was the last one to talk to him before he passed and it was about how proud he was of me joining the military.
2. Simon Douglas Vosburgh Jr, this is my father. He passed away when I was 9 years old. My dad was not in the military but he taught me to have a strong work ethic and to always get the job done.
3. Simon Douglas Vosburgh III, the oldest of my two younger brothers. He was in the Army National Guard and he was injured in Afghanistan. We are very lucky that he is with us today.
4. Simon Douglas Vosburgh IV, this is my nephew, his father is Simon Douglas Vosburgh III and he is due any day now.
Tell us about the day of the race?
October 11, 2014 was finally here. I was a bundle of nerves but with my boyfriend, pacer and with my friend and NU Alumni Juliana Donner '11 and MBA '13, and my puppy Maddie, I knew I had an amazing support team to get me through this. It was an amazing challenge and while the hills were painful, I can honestly say I loved every minute of the race. My goal was to complete it in 7 hours and 30 minutes, I did it in 7 hours and 14 minutes. Coming across the finish line I was so overcome with emotion. I did cry a little. I did it! I completed my first ultra marathon! I have two more set up for next year one in January and the other in August. I would also like to go back to this race and see if I can improve on my time.
How do you apply your determination and perseverance to other aspects of your life?
I think I learned early on in life to not give up. In the military, I would not have been able to lead my team to get the job done without it. That tenacity has also served me well in my education. It took a long time to adjust and find my groove from military to college life, but I did and it has paid off. Last semester I made the Dean's list, something I would not have thought possible.
You plan on graduating this December with a degree in marketing, what does the future hold for you?
I currently work for Niagara Implement, a local Kubota dealership, which is a tractor and heavy equipment manufacturer in Newfane. I would love to receive a job offer from Kubota Headquarters in Torrance, CA. I am also looking in Charlotte, NC as well for out of state options. I would like to put my degree in marketing to good use.