Finding a Partner for Life’s Marathons

04SHABMAN-master675Samantha Ashley Shabman, a daughter of Stefanie H. Shabman and Stewart A. Shabman of Scarsdale, N.Y., was married Tuesday to Andrew David Trief, a son of Marvin Trief of Somerset, N.J., and the late Roberta H. Trief. Rabbi Jonathan Blake officiated at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, with Rabbi David Ellenson taking part.

The bride, 26, and the groom, 37, are fifth-year rabbinical students at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, from which each received a master’s degree in Hebrew literature. She graduated from George Washington University, and he graduated from Dartmouth.

The couple met in 2011 at a pizzeria on the Upper West Side, at a get-together with other Reform rabbis-in-training before the students headed to Israel for their first year of study. Mr. Trief had his face buried in a Hebrew newspaper, paying little attention to Ms. Shabman, who examined him from across the table.

“He was wearing earth-toned Tevas — red, yellow and brown — the old-man kind,” she said. “And in Manhattan! I was confused, like, why was he wearing water sandals, and why did he bring a newspaper to a social event?”

Despite their inability to connect over those initial slices of pizza margherita, they became acquainted during their year abroad in Jerusalem. And when they arrived back in New York in 2012, the friendship continued to blossom.

“I ended up getting a pedicure with her, which was the first indication that I had feelings for her, because otherwise why would I get a pedicure?” the groom said. “I agreed to go with her to Bikram yoga, too, which was also totally out of character for me. So I knew something was up.”

Soon after, their friends planned a group road trip to the Trief family’s summer home in Maine. But when the others bailed at the last minute, “all of a sudden it turned into a romantic getaway to Maine for the two of us,” the groom said. Five days and 50 s’mores later, Ms. Shabman and Mr. Trief were an item.

They quickly bonded over their mutual love of fitness. “We got sucked into the marathon culture,” the bride said.

After a first marathon in Maine and a second in New York, the couple decided, on a whim, to run a third in Paris. They took their marks, with thousands of other runners, on the Champs-Élysées. In the right pocket of Mr. Trief’s running shorts were all his gels. And in the left, inside a flowered pouch that had belonged to his mother and grandmother, was a ring.

After the race started, they set out across the bridges and through the tunnels of the city. Past the Louvre, through the squares, from one forest in east Paris to another in the west. “We ran together the whole time, which I thought was a little suspicious because he’s competitive,” Ms. Shabman said. “But I didn’t suspect anything.”

At Mile 16, she began crying in pain, and at Mile 21, he, too, momentarily slowed to a walk. But they pushed each other on. At Mile 23, they passed a band playing “Lean on Me.” At Mile 25, he reached for the pouch in his left pocket. And at Mile 26, finish line in sight, he said he was in too much pain to make it.

“He said: ‘You need to help me get down. I can’t stand up anymore, I’m going to fall,’ ” the bride said. “And I was like: ‘Are you kidding? We’re so close, you can do it!’ ” But she gave in, escorting him to the side.

“I got down, pretending that I couldn’t stand up anymore, and there I was, on one knee,” said Mr. Trief, who had staged his fall before swarms of spectators at the finish line, many of whom began cheering and snapping pictures as soon as they figured out what was happening. “She finally understood what was going on, and she was floored.”

They held hands as they stumbled across the finish line. And as for the Tevas? “Every day, I’m working on changing that,” Ms. Shabman said, and laughed. “But the ones he wears now are a slight improvement.”

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Rachel C. , PhD Research Scientist Consultant @ U-VIB PhD,
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– 911 Medic for over 15 years
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source: NY Times by Alexandra S. Levine

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