Most mornings, I’m happy to hop out of bed at 5:30 am to squeeze in a run. It’s just how I like to start my day.

I understand that willingly bundling up under three layers and run/skipping around ice patches on the path probably makes me in the minority.

But today, getting out there felt so good. Even if it was 28 degrees. Even if my nose was bright red by the time I was done. Even if it took me a full five minutes to disrobe from all my sweaty layers (you’re welcome for that lovely mental picture).

I ran 4 miles without knee pain and maintained a less-than-9-minute-mile pace. My sub-2 hour 1/2 marathon goal is in sight!

So why am I proud this morning? Well, it’s not myself I’m proud of today. (I pat myself on the back often enough.)

I’m proud of ABS (that’s my boyfriend-roommate, for any newcomers). A little backstory…

When ABS was and I first met, I had just finished my very first 1/2 marathon: the Napa to Sonoma 1/2 Marathon with Team Challenge.

I raved about the race, and told him that I had already signed up to run a second race: the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon, just four months down the road.

“You should do it, too!” I joked with him.

“Where do I sign up?” he responded.

Here’s what that meant for him and for us:

  1. We had barely known each other a few weeks and already we were committing to taking a cross-country trip together.
  2. He was agreeing to train for and run 13.1 miles. He had only ever done a 5K, and he was, well, drunk, when he did it.
  3. As a member of Team Challenge, he was also agreeing to raise $3,700 for Crohn’s Disease.

Needless to say I had an early inkling that he was a keeper.

As ABS and I trained together — our first run together was 2 miles, and gradually we made our way up to an 11 mile trek at 6 am one morning in Central Park — and naturally running together brought us closer.

We started cooking healthy meals together.

We both started losing a decent amount of weight.

On race day in Vegas, we finished within two minutes of each other (granted I ran my little heart out and he had some stomach problems and ended up walking the last portion of the course).

When we got back to NYC, we both entered the lottery for the NYC 1/2 Marathon — and we both got in!

But as training for that race began, and we committed to running outside as often as possible, ABS came down with a nasty cold, which progressed into bronchitis.

He was sidelined from training and had to bail out of the race.

At that same time, ABS had started a new job. All of a sudden, he was working 12–14 hour days on average. Working out took a backseat. Takeout became the way to go.

Meanwhile, I was working at the same job with flexible hours, making more time than ever to squeeze in workouts whenever I could.

When we started living together, I started to get frustrated. I hated that ABS wasn’t making working out a priority and refused to see his point of view. In my mind, he should be waking up even earlier (he already gets up at 5:30 am) to run, or he should go to the gym at 10 pm if that’s what it takes.

Weird. He didn’t break up with me. I would have broken up with me!

For a long time, I let my disapproval for his new lifestyle lead to little fights. I didn’t know how to motivate him to get back to the gym.

Finally he got through to me: He wanted to work out. But during the week, he’s exhausted. By the time the weekend comes, he wants to relax.

Badgering him wasn’t the way to motivate him. My bad.

Needless to say that when ABS approached me at the end of 2010 saying he had joined the nearby New York Health & Racquet Club, I was thrilled for him!

He has since signed up with a trainer and has been excited about eating healthy meals. He even said he does want to run another 1/2 marathon, but needs time to train, and right now work is just too time consuming.

Last night, ABS got home after his training session and was so excited to tell me about all the different exercises he had learned.

I couldn’t stop smiling.

“I’ll never love working out like you do,” he told me. “But I’m doing it, and I feel good about it.”

Then he asked me to take a picture of the dinner he had made to post on my blog for him. (He made spinach tortellini — we’ll work on the “limited cheese intake” another time.)

Proud Ali.

TELL ME: Do you and your boyfriend/husband have similar fitness and eating habits? If not, how do you deal? Does it bother you?



0 Responses

  1. It used to bother me a lot how different my boyfriend and I are. I played soccer through college and he played hockey through college. We met working at summer camp then moved to South Florida together two years ago. Since then he has gained almost 50 pounds since we were at camp, and I have remained the same….he still plays hockey twice a week, and I go running when the mood strikes and I play in a women’s soccer league. He knows he is overweight and would like to kick the extra lbs but he never wants to cut back on his favorite foods, go running or walking with me, or change any of his habits. I have slowly accepted that this is out of my hands and someone has to want to change to change.

  2. Congrats to ABS!!
    My husband doesn’t run but he exercises, he’s not crazy about it but he wants to look good 🙂
    It used to bother me because I wanted him to run with me, but now I’m just used to it and I don’t really care anymore. If he’s happy doing his thing I’m happy. He’s very supportive but I know that sometimes he don’t understands what I’m talking about but it’s ok because I have my brother who’s also a runner, so I leave the crazy runner stuff to talk with my brother 🙂

  3. I’m jealous 🙂 My husband and I are complete opposites – I love getting in a good workout and trying to eat healthy. He works 12+ hour days so when he gets home/on his days off, he just wants to relax (understandable, but still). It drives me crazy. And he’s a meat & potatoes kind of guy so trying to find a meal that compromises between our tastes is always a challenge! When we were first dating, he was the gym rat. Now I’m the one dragging him to the gym or on a long walk with the dog.

  4. ha ha I wish we had the same habits but what he lacks in working out, he makes up in cooking us amazing healthy meals! Since my commute is so long, dinner is usually ready and I even have a plate for lunch the next day! At times I wish he would run with me but then I think of all the great meals I would be missing out on 🙂 Compromise is everything and as we are about to get married, its a good thing we tested this theory and lived together 🙂 Enjoy your time with him and continue encouraging him!!

  5. This is a great story. Leading by example and positive encouragement really is the best way to motivate people. My mom has gotten excited to use the gym now and that’s a huge step for her.

  6. New reader here. I also live with my boyfriend. He also works long hours, whereas I work 9-5. I am into both eating healthy and exercising. He does his best to eat healthy, but isn’t as much into working out. I look to the positive – he is making much better meal choices than he ever has – but of course it would be nice to have a workout partner! As I’m sure you know, when you live with someone, you have to compromise whenever possible, so the fact that he’ll eat whatever veggie dish I’ve created w/o complaint is mine.

  7. Shane and I don’t have similar eating or workout habits. Shane’s more of an all or nothing guy in terms of eating healthy and working out, and I’m well…you know – about balance! It does cause some problems, but nothing we can’t handle.

  8. Way to go ABS!
    My boyfriend and I kind of switched places almost. He was way more focused on working out, whereas I was focused on being disappointed I couldn’t dance regularly (which was the only real exercise I did in the past,) but now, I’m training for 1/2 marathons and he’s lucky if he gets in some tennis on the weekends 😉 We do cook healthy or mostly healthy meals together most nights for dinner though so that helps. I do wish he’d be more active, but like ABS his job can make it difficult. 🙁

  9. Aww! Nice work, ABS! My boyfriend loves being active, but not in the same way I do. He is competitive and enjoys hockey and golf. He even the half-marathon I ran last spring, but it was more of a life goal than a passion for running. We kind of do our own thing with workouts. I would love to work out together, but we have such different schedules and interests. The most important thing is supporting one another 🙂

  10. My husband hates running but he does it because he knows he’s supporting me by doing it and helping his own fitness. He definitely doesn’t get runners high or anything but I am proud that he gets out there, even if sometimes he is so grumpy I’d just rather go without him!

  11. It bothers me HORRIBLY…My hubs eats horribly, smokes and refuses to exercise. I had been looking for a new gym because mine was not meeting my needs (and it was smelly) he recommended we head to a new gym and check it out. I was shocked when he negotiated membership fees and then said..sign us up. He is now talkinga bout quitting smoking and even said that maybe by the fall he will be ready to run a race with me…I told him that if he gets on it now he could easily do a spring 5k…YAY!

  12. Hi, new reader here. Also a former dancer like you.

    Congrats to ABS! My husband and I have similar eating habits, he can just eat portions about 3x bigger portions than mine. It took me a while to get used to that. As far as fitness, while we have different goals, we try to go to workout together when we can, and definitely try to motivate each other. It’s always nice to have a workout buddy.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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