Meet My Handsome Friend

I’ve been talking about my “Handsome Friend” on the blog for a while now. Since May, in fact. (Also sometimes referred to as “My Nice Friend” or “My Friend Who Is A Boy” or, finally, “My Boyfriend.”)

I finally showed him to the public in my Hamptons Marathon recap post. (The post showed up on WordPress “Freshly Pressed” yesterday! Not sure how they found it or why that happened, but I was kind of excited about it!)

I spy: Ali On The Run!

But back to that boyfriend. I will talk a bit about him now, so that you can all get acquainted.

I have a blog. I obviously have no problem sharing the details of my life with anyone who cares to read, and I have no shame in having admitted that I peed myself three times during the marathon on Saturday.

This is the scene of my post-marathon collapse + pee confession

In fact, the first thing I did when I crossed the finish line and collapsed into that boyfriend’s arms was yell to him “I peed a little!”

I only vaguely remember that happening but, lucky me, it’s all on video.

Class, class, class, Ali. Way to go.

My Handsome Friend has a name: Brian.

From now on, since you’re all friendly with each other now, I’ll simply refer to him as Brian. He doesn’t need a cutesy moniker. He has a name, so I plan to use it.

So why did I keep him a secret for so long?

Let me take you back a couple months and fill you in…

I was selected for JackRabbit’s Run For The Rabbit campaign in the winter. I went to the store for a screen test in February. I waited around for what felt like forever, then finally got taken downstairs where the director, PR person and a few other people were waiting for me. While they got the area set up, a nice man in jeans and a blazer asked me if I wanted some fruit while I waited.

Naturally I assumed this man was the caterer.

I did my screen test, then waited to hear back from JackRabbit.

I eventually found out that I was chosen as a finalist. One weekend in March, we all gathered in Central Park for a full day of filming. The “caterer” was there, again wearing a blazer, and I remember thinking he was kind of dressed up and also, where was his food?

Fun fact: This man was not a caterer. He was the producer and the CEO of the ad agency managing the Run For The Rabbit campaign.

I figured this all out — kind of, because I’m a little slow — at the Run For The Rabbit press conference.

That's Jill, the PR girl, and Brian. Running the show at the New York Running Show.

I was off in my own little world, excited about kicking off the campaign. I remember thinking Brian was cute but my thoughts didn’t wander much beyond that.

Our first official photo together. Standing nowhere near each other. SO PRECIOUS.

It wasn’t until a month later — the day I ran the super sucky Brooklyn Half Marathon and then trekked all the way to the Bronx for filming — that Brian and I actually had a conversation.

There's Brian on the far left. Standing around. Seeming important.

I was exhausted from waking up at 4 am, running a half marathon, taking the train back from Coney Island, showering as fast as possible and then taking a $35 cab to Van Cortlandt Park to shoot the next round of JackRabbit commercials.

When the shoot wrapped, Brian and I happened to be walking next to each other. I asked him where in the city he lived and, turns out, we live in the same neighborhood.

We chatted about our favorite bars and restaurants in the area, and then parted ways, each in separate cars back to Manhattan.

Then I went home and, in lieu of eating dinner, decided to drink some wine.

Maybe several glasses of wine…by myself…in my pajamas…

Brian and I were already Facebook friends because he was one of the administrators for the Run For The Rabbit Facebook pages.

So Drunk Ali decides to hop on Facebook and send Brian a message.

“Hey neighbor!”

And, quite literally, that’s how it all began.

He responded, saying he took my suggestion and went to one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants for dinner after the shoot.

I told him I was drinking in my pajamas in my apartment.

He suggested I stop drinking alone and drink with him, at a bar in the neighborhood.

Within an hour we were both at a low-key bar nearby, chatting and laughing. It was 10:30 when we got to the bar, and what seemed like five minutes later, the bar was closed and we were getting kicked out.

I remember not wanting the night to end, so Drunk Ali offered Brian a “tour of my street.” I am pretty sure I blatantly made up stories about the “historic apartment buildings” and “really important trees lining the street.” He either bought it or was amused enough by my rambling that he didn’t run away.

I didn’t want to stop hanging out. We were both having a great time, so I [very innocently] found a way to invite him back to my apartment.

“Have you seen the JackRabbit commercials on TV?” I asked him. He told me he hadn’t, but that he had “been working on them for months” so he had “seen them plenty of times.”

Still, I let him know that I “had them all DVR’d on my TV” and that they “totally look better on TV.”


But it actually was an innocent good time! We watched the commercials, we watched the season finale of “The Office” and we discovered that right around 4:30 am the Magic Bullet Express infomercials turn into sex toy infomercials.

We stayed up talking until 7 am, at which point we both passed out for a while (and I got busted snoring, like the sexy girl I am). I had been awake for far more than 24 hours at that point and, during those 24+ hours had run a half marathon. I was tired.

Our first kiss wasn’t until 8 am.

He lined up a second date before he even left my apartment, and we’ve pretty much been dating since then.

So why the secrecy?

While there weren’t any rules about “contestants dating the ad guys,” we just didn’t want people involved with the Run For The Rabbit campaign knowing about us.

On Saturday, after the race, the store owner let me know that he “figured it out” when Brian showed up to the marathon finish line wearing an “I Heart Sweat” shirt.

And other people figured it out along the way, too, like Coach Cane and his wife, who we literally ran into on the Bridle Path one Sunday morning. Coach Cane didn’t seem to care, and Mrs. Coach Cane emailed me immediately after letting me know she was a fan.

In addition to all the marathon goodness in my life lately, meeting Brian has been the icing on the cake.

I applied for Run For The Rabbit hoping to maybe get picked and, if so, raise a little money (or, you know, $20,000) and get a running coach out of the deal.

And I got a boyfriend too. Kind of cool.


Brian has been around for a little while now. So those times you thought I was traveling alone and drinking alone…

Ali in Orlando!
Hammered Ali likes company.

…yeah, I wasn’t. He was there, too.

Epcot was a good time.
Magic Kingdom!!!
Booze is good.

Brian is cool because sometimes, on roller coasters, he agrees to do jazz hands with me.


Good man.

So there you have it. That’s Brian. No longer a secret because everyone at JackRabbit knows. And, turns out, they really don’t give a crap about my personal life.

Playing at Governor's Island

Here are some things you should know about Brian:

He’s a cyclist. Biking is his thing. He’s done several Century Rides (100-mile bike races) and, recently, some shorter fast rides in Prospect Park. So on the weekends, when I would be doing long runs and he’d be out for a long ride, we would pass each other going opposite ways in Central Park roughly 100 times.

Good morning, biker friend!
After the FITNESS 4-mile race. He rode 85 miles that day. Crazy.

He runs now, too! Brian didn’t own running sneakers until we met. We went to JackRabbit one afternoon to get him a pair (a Brooks man, clearly he knows the way to my heart) and soon after he was busting out 3–6 mile runs in the morning. He did his first race — the Battle of Brooklyn 10-miler — in August. Soon he’ll be faster than me and I’ll probably get kind of pissed. His next goal, he says, is a half marathon, and he’s eyeing the Vegas Half in December.

Joining me for my 20-miler in D.C.

My family approves. Brian first met the whole crew earlier in the summer when my family came into the city for an afternoon.

At the Reservoir.

They like him. So do I.

He’s into adventurous stuff. He’s a snowboarder, which is cool, and he’s gone skydiving and loves rollerblading.

This is Brian rollerblading. Show off.

I, on the other hand, do not enjoy having my feet on wheels.


He was also the man behind the trapeze class plan.

Trapeze class!

He’s a damn good cook. Homemade pasta. From scratch. I have not gone hungry since we started dating, that’s for sure.

He's good in the kitchen. Good thing. Because I am most certainly not.

He likes dogs as much as I do. So when I scream at the mere sight of a puppy, he doesn’t seem to judge me too hard.

French bulldog puppy!

I think that’s all for now.

I’m glad you guys have all finally met.

He loves sweat. So I love him.

Regular running-and-marathons-obsessed posting shall resume tomorrow.

Any questions?



120 Responses

  1. Oh how fun! My relationship with my hubby started via facebook…. I believe he said something along the lines of “that test dominated me…. want to meet and study together?” And now, 4 years later, we are happily married. 🙂 Oh the things that website can do!

  2. Is it weird that I was thinking about you two meeting around the same time I started dating the special guy in my life? Congrats! It seems like you are as happy as I am and he seems like an awesomely “SWEATy” guy! Sorry, don’t mean to be uber-blog-creepsauce. 🙂

  3. How CUTE are you two!?!?! HIGH FIVES and JAZZ HANDS all around for how happy you guys are and how wonderful that you found one another!!!!!!!!:) It is amazing how incredibly excited and thrilled I am for a complete stranger! But I love your blog and look forward to reading it every single day!!!!!! Brian definitely sounds like a FABULOUS guy for you and I just love that you have found such peace!!!!:)

  4. Um <3 the handsome friend reveal and story, even though it was all too evident when he snapped pictures in the bushes or showed up at 16 Handles 😉 I love how HAPPY both of you are, and hope the amazingness continues.

    Also, he kinda is still a caterer since he cooks for you 24/7. Let me know if he wants to share foods, kthnx!

  5. You should have lead with the French bulldog picture! I pretty much didn’t need to know anything else about him after that…obsessed. Great post!

  6. yay! glad he is revealed in blogland! and what a relief that you don’t have to keep your relationship all hush-hush. i love that brian can cook. and that he makes you happy. cuz obviously the latter is most important… right? 😉

    DRINKS SOON. oh, and you owe me a sweat-shirt!

  7. Ahhh! I LOVE love stories!!! I enjoyed every mention of him and getting to meet him on your marathon post was awesome! I am SO very happy for you. He sounds like an awesome, awesome guy and you’re right…he IS handsome! You deserve all the happiness in the world and I’m so glad everything is falling into place for you! 😉

  8. I totally had a feeling he was a secret because of some JackRabbit connection!!!!! Also your Disney World pics are making it impossiblefor me to get work done today since I’m goin there on Friday for a half marathon/food and wine festival! You guys look great together and he seems absolutely amazing!!! I’m very happy for you!!!

  9. What a great story. 🙂
    I’m glad Brian doesn’t have to be a secret any more, but the pictures of him from the back were fun. I’m glad that you weren’t drinking alone on all those trips. When you were in Disney, I thought you must be with a very understanding co-worker or the wait staff was really kind to take the photos of you for your blog.
    Cycling and running — sounds like you guys have to sign up for some duathlons and then maybe even give triathlons a try!

  10. as a single girl, i loved reading it! it give me hope that when day facebooking while drunk on wine will pay off (which i totally did last night… and had a very interesting conversation with a friend about kissing, too bad he’s on another continent and not in my neighborhood).
    aslo, i wholeheartedly agree with everyone that said your writing is top-notch, it’s one of the things that make me excited each time i see a new post!

  11. First off, congratulations on completing your first half marathon! I’ve ran two, aren’t they the hardest and most rewarding experience? And secondly, you and your boyfriend are DARLING!!! 🙂 I am so glad I found your blog!

  12. too cute 🙂 I can’t get enough of love stories lol. Even though I have my own, I always get butterflies in my stomach when I get to hear others. i am so happy for you. what an amazing 6 months!

  13. awww you guys are super cute! So I actually do something similair on my blog, my beau and i work together at the same game studio and while several people know I just call him Ken on my blog, not his real name.

    Its definitely not disallowed since our art director and lead engine programmer are married adn just had a baby, but we both like our privacy.

    Anyway super happy for you!

  14. I <3 This Post!!

    It really brightened my day. And I kind of like the whole "my handsome fried" air of mystery. It gave it a great sense of suspense! 🙂

  15. I was wondering when we were going to be introduced to him!!! I mean, I know our opinion matters oh-so-much to you and all…

    But I am SO happy for you, Ali. You deserve a nice man friend 🙂

  16. Seriously Ali I am so happy for you!! This post makes me SMILE….. I’m literally sitting at my computer with a wide-ass grin on my face while everyone else is running around all pissed off because it’s month-end… OOPS. But so happy for you, you deserve it 🙂 You leave some hope out there for those of us (or me) who have burned pretty bad. So I thank you!!

  17. You’re a great writer, and I am excited to read your blog now. I just moved to a city away from my friends and family and I need some running inspiration, and my husband HATES running, so I think I can use some “stranger” company through your blog. Thanks for bringing all of us along on your runs!

  18. Very cute! I had a hunch that you weren’t going to reveal “Handsome Friend”, now Brian, until after the marathon. I didn’t realize WHY you didn’t, but I’m glad that Jack Rabbit didn’t care! It’s funny how things turn out sometimes and I’m glad that this experience provided you so many good things in your life!

  19. I feel like the past few months have been like a really amazing chick flick where the girl rocks the marathon and has the guy in the end! In fact, I even ate Trader Joe’s Kettle Corn while reading this post 😉 Congrats lovely girl!

  20. I am so happy to finally hear the full story. And it’s so cute!

    Your writing has been pretty awesome lately! Your passion and zest for life has really been shining through.

  21. Keeping him secret for awhile added to the fun of it! Oh hi, this is Ali, I’m dating this guy named Brian … boring. Oh hi, This is Ali, my secret man-friend is spoiling the heck out of me, maybe you’ll get to meet him someday, maybe … super cute and made us want more! Glad to finally see him though, and hear your story. Yay!

  22. This post made me cry! I think its because you are clearly SO happy!! I love love!!

    Can’t wait to see more of Brian. Though I will admit, the backward jazz hand picture was great!!

  23. This is such a cute story!!! So happy that we all finally get to see him on here and know what his name is. And I’m happy that he makes you happy =) Question: Are you going to run the Vegas Half together? That’d be super cute.

    xo Marie
    Chocolate & Wine

  24. LOVE LOVE LOVE!! Thank you for linking back to your Brooklyn Half post — the smile on your face post-weekend is priceless. 🙂 Brian sounds wonderful, and I’m so glad you’ve shared him with us. Any chance you might turn into Food Blogger Ali and share some of his yummy recipes?

  25. LOVE IT!! Thanks for introducing us…I was curious 🙂 You have an awesome love story to tell (hopefully) for many years to come! And you make a very cute couple!

  26. I saw it happen from nearly the beginning. Brian is a total win and I think the future looks pretty damn good for you guys. It also helps that your relationship has such a strong foundation built upon your mutual passion for the Church of Scientology.

  27. This post made me smile and reminisce of when I met my husband. It’s adorable and you seem so very happy. Great things have been happening to you, and I imagine many more to come.

  28. This. Is. So. Cute.

    I love stories about meeting someone where you’d never expect it – that’s what happened with Mike and I! So fun! And, it’s so great that you both share running/exercise-related activities together. Trust me, this is a big deal!

  29. I love all the pictures you have together! So sweet and amazing. i am really, really happy that so many great things came to your life from Run for the Rabbit . . . I know things were rough for you before, and I really do think everything happens for a reason. You look so happy!

    This made me laugh: “and also, where was his food?”

  30. Ok, fans of Ali on the Run… the protective older brother, I need your help. It’s a little game called “find the fault” or the skeletons in the closet. I’m normally pretty damn good at this game, but I’m having a hard time with Brian…..let me know if you want to play!

  31. awww!!!! I love this Ali! I am so glad you have found someone that really seems to complement you in every way, and challenge you in others (and you for him too). That is so special. I’m very happy for you, you both look so happy together!

  32. aww you cutes are so so cute together! I love cute couples. And such a fun meeting story! I basically started dating my boyfriend after hanging out all night one night too.. and its been almost 2 1/2 years now!

  33. This is so great!!! You guys make such a fabulous couple and I’m glad the secret is out!!! I’m also glad I got to meet him in person – I totes approve! Now come visit me in Boston. Like now : )

  34. You guys are adorable. …and you are a super good secret keeper. I laughed when you confessed he went to Disney w/ you. I was definitely thinking you were getting trashed by yourself. good times! He’s definitely a keeper, Ali!

  35. Hooray! So, not only did I embarrass myself by coming up to you out of the blue at 16 Handles last spring, but I was crashing a date, too? I am first-class all the way, baby 🙂 Also, I saw you on Freshly Pressed yesterday and did a “whoohoo” in the library at school. People stared. What can you do? Hope those post-marathon blues are going away 🙂 See you soon!

  36. omg, omg, omg. I LOVE THIS POST!! Eventhough I’ve known about Brian for awhile (oh heyyyy remember when he took our photo at 6am?), reading this post was an awesome way to find out more about this mysterious man-friend. I know that this year has brought a lot of changes and I’m so glad that you’re happy right now. I am so full of mushy-ness this morning. xo

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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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