In each Power Couple Profile you will meet a couple that inspires us to grow stronger together. Our goal is to learn from these incredible people and share their unique stories and experiences with our readers. If you know a power couple we should connect with, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!
I met Natalie and Mark through mutual friends when we all trained together for a Spartan Race. I was so in awe of Natalie’s post-baby abs! She already had a six pack just three months after giving birth. I also loved how Natalie and Mark worked out together, shared the same passions, did everything as a team, and how they balanced life with their two boys. Before I met Fat I was single and wished for a relationship like theirs…
Names: Mark Batres and Natalie Miano
Ages: 32 and 32
Location: Upland, California
Mark: Industrial Specialist with the Department of Defense
Natalie: Nutrition Coordinator with El Monte Union HS District
Our first date was September 16, 2002 and we’ve spent every day together since that day. We are now married and have two really awesome boys.
How did you meet?
We met as incoming freshman at Cal Poly’s cross-country team summer practices.
What makes you a Powr Cupl?
We feed off each others ambition and energy. We both think the other is SOOO amazing in SOOO many ways. It makes it easy to not lose interest! We pretty much have EVERYTHING in common: exercise, competition, ambition, spiritual beliefs, upbringing and childhood circumstances, humor, love for travel and adventure…the list goes on and on. The best part about us is we are a TEAM in EVERYTHING we do!
What is your love language?
We probably tell each other “I love you” 10 times a day or more. Seriously…every day since we started saying the magic words!
How do you hope to inspire other couples?
To lose the selfishness in their relationship and start having the attitude to do more for your significant other. That attitude will reciprocate, and you’ll be in a selfless relationship that fosters productivity, feel-good vibes, and growth. Also, to live life to its fullest and enjoy every moment together and as a family. We don’t do girls or guys nights out with our friends—not saying it’s not healthy, just not us—we like to spend time together all the time. It works out for us because we have so much in common and truly enjoy the other to the max. Most people can’t feel that way all the time.
Can you describe a difficult time in your relationship and how you overcame the hardship?
We actually just overcame the most difficult time in our relationship this year. From January, 2015- April, 2016, Nico (our youngest) did not sleep at night…at all. No exaggeration, he woke anywhere from 6-10 times each night and would take 20-60 minutes to get back to sleep. The average hours of sleep per night for me was around 4 hours, if that. And it went on for more than a year. Since I was nursing and Nico only wanted me, Mark really couldn’t help much. At this time, Mark was waking up at 3am to run and get a head start on his commute to work, which at the time was two and a half hours if he left after 5am. I also worked full-time and had a one-hour commute. For the first half of 2015, we got by.
Strong-minded and stubborn, we put our heads down and powered through. Summer of 2015, the severe sleep deprivation took a huge toll on me and I began, for the first time EVER in our relationship, to resent Mark. We weren’t working as a team anymore. Mark was experiencing sleep deprivation too because he would wake frequently to try to help. In January 2016, after a lot of talking it through, we attacked the whole situation with a plan, and it involved working together. This was the ticket! The roller coaster continued through 2016 with the struggle of getting Nico to sleep and me going through six months of physical and emotional distress related to stopping breast feeding too fast (after three and a half years of straight breast feeding), but since we were working together through all of it, it was so much better. Despite the rollercoaster, I never felt I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel once I had my teammate helping me through every bump…or mountain, haha.
What is the best investment you have made in your relationship?
Time together. We cherish EVERY second with each other. It’s been this way since the first date.
What is the key to a strong and successful relationship?
Selfless love. We can’t do enough for one another. Also, we both hold a high regard for our personal health and make time for it every day. It’s an attractive characteristic to be healthy.
Just a Cupl More…
Give us a quick background of your fitness and athletics and how you got into Spartan Racing?
Our great friends, another super Powr Cupl, Shaun and Kate Fitzgerald, introduced us to the sport because of our strong running, fitness, and competitive background. What got us hooked is how functional and complete the training for OCR is to our fitness.
How often do you guys train together and what type of training do you do?
80% of our training involves running. The workouts vary depending on the phase of our training. We try to plan our running schedule so that Mark’s recovery days are my speed/tempo days, that way I’m not by myself! We do most of our strength, technique, and grip workouts together. Our favorite, favorite thing is bouldering. We also make it a point to be athletes and adventurers all the time. That involves tennis, rock climbing, kayaking, basketball, and golf.
What’s your main motivation for doing the obstacle races? What are the goals that you want to accomplish?
Have fun while competing, travel to cool places for races, expose our boys to a healthy, adventurous environment…just to name a few. We do have competition goals. Mark wants to win the Spartan World Championship! It is very difficult for us to remain grounded in our goal setting. If you know Mark, winning a World Championship is not at all out of reach for his abilities, but our lives aren’t typical of world class athletes. We are fully dedicated to our children and make them our #1 priority. Time with them is precious. Nothing can replace it. Our workouts definitely take a hit because of our divided time commitments, and that is why our #1 and #2 goals with Spartan Races remain to have fun and travel!
Do you guys plan on taking these races as a career or make a business out of it somehow? Or is it strictly a hobby?
For now, a hobby. We welcome sponsorships of course, especially for Mark, but at this point we only see it as paying for itself. If we can win enough prize money and get enough sponsorship to cover the cost of traveling all over for races, then awesome!
How do you juggle raising two boys, obstacle races, and work?
1. Prioritize our time. Boys and time together come first—always. Training, second. And work…a distant third!
2. Wake up early. People who wake up before dawn are more productive. Bam!
3. Keep it light-hearted and fun. We make it a point to not take the ups and downs of competition too serious.
4. Ask for help. We are fortunate to have parents who are almost always down to watch our boys while we are training or racing.
5. Incorporate training in play time with the boys. I imagine we look pretty intense when we set up ninja rigs at the playground!
6. Organization and routine. Our home is organized and we have a pretty solid routine when it comes to our nutrition and keeping up our home.
What is the best way for your partner to show support after you have won a race? How about after you have lost a race?
We treat each other the same regardless of a race outcome. We are always supportive of each other and admire each other regardless of a race outcome. We always reflect on races together and discuss what’s working and what isn’t and next steps with life and training. Realizing right now that reflection time fosters growth as a couple. Hah!
What kind of things do you do as a couple that don’t involve training or racing?
Raise our kids, travel, cook/eat, talk, snuggle…
Do you have any tips for couples that want to train, race, or compete together?
Figure out what your goals are individually and as a couple beforehand. That will help steer your training plan and allow you to see where you can incorporate together time into training. Spartan or other OCR races are fantastic teamwork events. I see tons of couples racing together and helping each other over obstacles and through times of mental breakdown. It’s a great bonding experience. Mark and I don’t actually compete together, but we are so “together” in the whole experience. We love cheering for and supporting each other from the sidelines and rely on that support at times throughout the race. It’s our form of teamwork when we can’t actually physically help each other out in races.