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Date Lab: Can two marathoners go the distance?

Sunday, June 6, 2010; W08

7:30 p.m., Oya, Penn Quarter

Anna: I had just come from the gym at work and got to the restaurant five minutes early. I ordered a glass of wine [from the bar]. I wasn't really nervous or anything, more like, "Who are they going to set me up with?"

Daniel: I got to Chinatown around 7, so I was actually a half-hour early. I walked around a little bit, went to City Sports and popped in and out of some other places. When I arrived, she was already there waiting at the bar. She was gorgeous.

Anna: I don't really have a type, but I was attracted to him when I saw him. Immediately, there was a good vibe. We gave each other one of those meet-and-greet-type hugs, then he sat down and ordered the same drink I had. He asked what I did before coming here. I said, "Oh, I was at the gym."

Daniel: Her work has a gym, and she personal-trains there, too. That's how we jumped into the whole running thing. She is a marathoner, and I am a marathoner. She is not just a runner, she is lightning-fast. I find that drive and intensity really attractive.

Anna: Runners can be strange people, and I have met guy runners who are just bizarre. This was great, though. Both of us have similar personalities, which I don't find very often in D.C. He seemed pretty laid-back, very go-with-the-flow and like he didn't take life too seriously. After we finished our drink, we went to a table.

Daniel: We were doing that thing where you have the menu right in front of you and you are looking at it but not really reading it. We were talking the entire time. I don't know a whole lot about wine, so she picked out a bottle for us. We ordered some sushi and shared different-sized plates: steak skewers, chicken and salad. We could have portioned everything onto our own dinner plates, but we just shared and ate off the food plates.

Anna: You know how sometimes if you go to a restaurant you can tell the people who are on a first date? I think if someone looked over, they wouldn't think we were on a first date, just because there was such ease to it. We didn't mention what we do [for work] for quite a while. When it did come up, we both agreed that it was so off-putting whenever the first question somebody asks you is, "What do you do?"

Daniel: The thing I really liked about her was that she was definitely not Type A. She didn't seem fixated on one thing, like her job. It's hard to meet people in D.C. who are interesting and eclectic. I want somebody who, when I am hanging out with them, I'm going to get into new situations. She seems really dynamic in that way.

Anna: After dinner, we both agreed that we should get a drink somewhere.

Daniel: I think it was my idea to go to Proof, and she was on board with it. We had a glass of wine. I said, "You know, Date Lab is going to ask us if we exchanged numbers, so we should just set up a time to hang out now."

Anna: We were having a really good time. He called my phone, so I have his number. Proof was closing down, and by that point we had already missed [the last] Metro, so it was like, "We might as well continue going out!" It's not something I normally do on a Monday night.

Daniel: We talked about how both of us, when we go out, don't have an "off" switch. We went over to Clyde's. She is like, "Let's get cans of PBR." Sometimes you go out with people, and they are all wine and martinis. I liked that she ordered PBRs for us. We talked about all the different places we have lived and how we both love it out West. The ebb and flow of conversation was such that there were no secondary thoughts running through my head. I completely lost track of time.

Anna: By the time I got in a cab, it was maybe 12:30 or 1 [a.m.]. The time flew by. He paid for the drinks and for my cab home. It was above and beyond nice. We told each other that we would definitely hang out again soon. I give [the date] a 5 [out of 5].

Daniel: We did a little hug, a little embrace. I'm training to be a teacher, and here's the thing: A lot of teachers think you can't give out 100 percents because nobody should always be getting a perfect score. But I don't really believe that. I think if you do something great and it goes really, really well, then you should know it went really, really well. So I am going to go ahead and give it a 5. I had a blast!

Interviews by Stephen Lowman

UPDATE: Daniel and Anna have met up several times, including once for a run to Georgetown followed by lunch on the Potomac. He says she's a "complete breath of fresh air." She says the status of the relationship is "really good."

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