When the New York Post contacted us looking to photograph "couples who run together or met through running", we reached out to our network of NYC runners and Jennifer contacted us.
Inspired by their story (on "dating and fitness"), we asked if she would share her story of running, love and running with her partner, her husband, Jeff. Jenn and Jeff's story is a prime example of how running changes lives, strengthens relationships and even helps save marriages! Maybe training for a 10K together can be a prescription given by marriage counselors?
Tell the story of how you met or got together, was it via running or fitness?
My husband and I met in 1991 during our general surgery residency at NYU. He was 3 years ahead of me and I was the new intern on his service. He scared the hell out of me but I was attracted to his overall badassery...so, one thing lead to another. We started dating (in secret) and ultimately got married in 1997. Think Grey's Anatomy and Dr McDreamy!!! Lots of surgical training and practice, long hours, middle of the night emergency cases, the pressures of our respective surgical careers, 2 kids, 15 years of marriage later and approaching 50 years old, we both realized it was time to get our relationship and health back on track. This is where the running came in. Now 3 years later, tons of races, 1000's of miles and 2 NYC marathons later, running has become one of the most important things in our life and in our relationship.
Do you and your partner run or workout together? What particular workout or running routine you enjoy doing the most together?
We run together several times a week. We train together for our respective races, We've run 2014 and 2015 NYC Marathon side by side. Although we run very different paces, we have developed strategies that allow us to run together in ways that serve both of us. Jeff will often get his speed work or fartleks done by running ahead of me and then circling back to get me and join me again at my pace for a while before he speeds ahead again. He is able to push and guide me at times when I need the extra motivation and encouragement and I'm able to keep him from "going out too fast" all the time. The time we spend running together is time when nothing else matters but being together, even in silence, logging miles, exploring new routes -- we don't think or talk about work, about our kids, about the zillions of things on the "to do" list or about any conflicts we might be experiencing. We are simply together, enjoying each other's support, friendship and camaraderie. As we fell in love with running over the last few years, we also fell in love with each other all over again. (editors note: wow, that is such an amazing #qotd!)
What do you think would happen if one or both of you quit running or working out...would things change?
It would be really disappointing to each of us if the other decided to stop running. We would miss each other's motivation and company and the fun we have exploring together on the run. We have also incorporated running and racing into most of our trips and travels over the last few years and that would be difficult and sad to say goodbye to. The joy we experience running is so intimately tied to the fact that it is something we are both committed to and engaged in. I don't think the other person would necessarily quit running but it would certainly change the fun we have doing it together. We are absolutely a "running couple" and are each other's best and favorite running partner. If one person quit, we would lose that connection in our relationship that we enjoy so much right now.
Do you ever "fight", argue or struggle over running or working out together? If so, tell a funny/juicy story (as long as the partner does not mind).
We argue only over a few minor issues...I LOVE taking runfies (running selfies) and sharing them on my social media sites - Jeff HATES this and is a very unwilling participant - he always looks so miserable in our runfies that it's become a standing joke between me and our large circle of running friends - I'm always begging him to take at least one picture where he looks like he's even slightly less than miserable! LOL. We also argue over safety issues while running - I am extremely careful about running anywhere near cars and crossing street corners only when we have the green light. Jeff tries to dart around cars and hates stopping at the light. After a few years of showing him every single story I saw about runners getting hit by cars, he has finally relented and promised me to be more careful when running. Otherwise no real arguments or struggles over working out together.
Do you have any current or upcoming running, racing or fitness goals that you've set to accomplish together?
Jeff is training to run the Marathon in Fargo, ND on 5/21 with the hopes of qualifying for Boston. I'll be running the Half Marathon in Fargo on 5/21...this will be the first time either one of us has been in North Dakota, ever! We'll be visiting a new friend I made during my recent women's running retreat in Wisconsin with Kara Goucher. We have lots of races all over the place coming up in the next several months - Longbranch, NJ Half Marathon together, several races in the Philadelphia area, Hamptons Half Marathon, Newport 10 Miler, Paris Marathon 2017 together with a ton of NYC running friends. I'm also waiting to hear about the 2016 Chicago Marathon which we entered the lottery for....obviously, running races together is also a way for us to incorporate traveling together and socializing with our huge family of running friends that we've made over the last few years. The biggest goal and one that I am the biggest cheerleader for is Jeff's attempts to qualify for Boston.
- Jennifer Svahn, MD and Jeff Nicastro, MD
You can follow Jennifer and her running on social: Instagram @lady_surgeon Facebook: Jennifer Svahn Nicastro Twitter Dr. Jenn @jennifersvahn1. Jeff is not on any social media -- hates it, hence their only running arguments!