SHE LOST THE RACE—BUT HE LOST HIS LUNCH

In order to win a date with Lisa Aguilera, she made Anthony Galaviz agree to go on a four-mile run. "I thought, 'How bad could it be?' I was really into the challenge," recalls Anthony who was then, in 2001, a hurdler and the captain of Arizona State's sprint team. But the hypercompetitive Lisa, who had caught his eye as a star on the university's cross-country team, knew better. A sprinter trying to keep up with a long-distance runner "is the equivalent of a cage fighter agreeing to a night at the ballet," she says. Sure enough, three miles into the run, "my showboating came to a screeching halt. I kept asking, 'How much further? How much longer?'" says Anthony, 29. But he rallied, racing past her in the final stretch. He also won the sprint up three flights of stairs to her apartment: "I beat her but she would not speak to me," he recalls. Adds Lisa, 28: "It was a power struggle!" And it might have ended there were it not for Anthony's prerace meal. "I definitely ate too much," he says. Anthony leaned over the third-floor railing. "I heard gagging," says Lisa. Recalls Anthony: "I'm over the side doing three stories of projectile vomiting"—while a giggling Lisa couldn't resist gloating. "I shouted 'Victory!' and laughed so hard I could barely stand up," she recalls. In the end the pair—who now live in Gilbert, Ariz., where Anthony is an assistant finance director at a car dealership and Lisa is training to compete in the 2008 Olympics as the American record-holder in the 3,000-meter women's steeplechase—were able to put their competitive streaks aside, marrying in 2004. "I knew he'd pay," Lisa says of their first-date challenge, "but I didn't expect it to be that extreme!"

EMBARRASSMENT AT THE ER

Things were pretty awful when Rosie McDuff had to excuse herself midway through her first date in 2005 with Timothy Derryberry because she was sick to her stomach. After she disappeared into the bathroom for more than 30 minutes, "I thought, 'Maybe she left and snuck out the bathroom window,'" recalls Tim, 42. "I'm thinking, 'What did I say wrong?'" Unfortunately, things were about to get a whole lot worse: With Rosie so weak she could hardly stand, Tim drove her to the emergency room, where the hospital staff mistakenly assumed that the pair were a longtime couple. "The first thing they asked me was to take all my clothes off and put on a gown," says Rosie, who had no intention of letting Tim see her disrobed on their first date. Tim excused himself but returned in time for the doctor's painfully intimate questions. "The doctor was asking, 'Are you pregnant? How do you know?' He was going into my whole gynecological history," recalls Rosie, 43, who was finally diagnosed with a kidney stone. Having made the hour-long car drive into Baton Rouge, La., for the date, Rosie was too far from home to make the return trip and ended up spending the night at Tim's house. "I woke up the next morning and had no clue where I was at first," she says. "I had no makeup, no toothbrush, no deodorant. I asked him for a pair of his briefs and his Speed Stick." Chivalrous from start to finish, Tim had already gone out to fetch her prescription and coffee. "I remember thinking, 'This must actually have to go somewhere because God wouldn't set you up on a first date and it goes that badly and then turns into nothing," says Tim. It turned into something, and on Sept. 1, 2007, the pair—who now live in Houston, where they work together at Tim's marine construction company—married. Says Rosie of their disastrously awkward first date: "We laugh about it all the time!"

  • Contributors:
  • Reported by Howard Breuer/Los Angeles,
  • Arnesa A. Howell/Washington,
  • D.C.,
  • Amy Mindell/Detroit.