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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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
…yeah, I wasn’t. He was there, too.
Brian is cool because sometimes, on roller coasters, he agrees to do jazz hands with me.
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.
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.
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.
My family approves. Brian first met the whole crew earlier in the summer when my family came into the city for an afternoon.
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.
I, on the other hand, do not enjoy having my feet on wheels.
He was also the man behind the trapeze class plan.
He’s a damn good cook. Homemade pasta. From scratch. I have not gone hungry since we started dating, that’s for sure.
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.
I think that’s all for now.
I’m glad you guys have all finally met.
Regular running-and-marathons-obsessed posting shall resume tomorrow.