Last day to vote! DO IT NOW!

Have you watched and voted for Aaron’s video to help him (OK, and me!) win a trip to this year’s Tour de France? Wanna do it again? Today’s the LAST DAY!!!

Here’s how to get your vote on:

  1. Click this link to visit the contest page (It’s a bit buggy, so hit refresh a few times if you don’t see his video on the first try. And just ignore the “Sorry! This contest is closed” message.)
  2. Click on the video “My Life. My Dream. My Tour. – Aaron Pass”
  3. Press play to watch it (it’s only 30 seconds long!)
  4. Click the check-mark to vote for it

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That’s it — only takes 30 seconds! Both views and votes count for the final tally.

After the voting closes tonight at midnight, the top four most-viewed and voted-for videos will move on to be judged by Specialized, and the winner will be announced on June 14!

We’re nervous. We’re excited. Could we really win this thing?

Thank you for all your help!!!

A very long story about love

Today, Aaron and I celebrate eight months of being engaged. There’s nothing super-special about the eight-month mark, other than that we’re officially one-third of the way through our epic 24-month engagement!

Everyone thought I was nuts to want such a long engagement. Aaron wanted to get married, like, yesterday. I question it myself sometimes, thinking we should just go to City Hall and get ‘er done, because I kinda can’t wait to see a ring on his finger and call him my husband.

But I still believe in my reasons to hold out until October 3, 2014:

1. We’re paying for most of the wedding, so that gives us lots of time to save up to pay for it in cash, and then start saving for a down-payment on a house.

2. We’ll have lived together (and shared finances) for two years by the time we get married, so we’ll already know and have (mostly) adapted to each other’s quirks by then. He leaves cabinet doors open. I leave sweaty running gear hanging on doorknobs. We both hate putting away clean laundry. Luckily, we’re both very good with carefully spending and obsessively saving money. That’s important.

3. This was not a factor at the time we chose our wedding date, but it’s so important to me now: My mom will be healthy on our wedding day. I can’t imagine doing the intense wedding planning or getting married this year, while she’s still undergoing treatment. I don’t want her to miss out on all the best moments, like coming with me to try on wedding dresses, because she feels too tired or sick. I want her to be able to dance at my wedding.

And the fourth reason is that Aaron and I didn’t have the most conventional relationship before we got engaged. I didn’t really blog about it, but a lot of you knew when he completely disappeared from my blog that we were broken up for a while.

I would say that I regret initiating that breakup, but I really don’t, because I did what I thought was right at the time. Also, the time apart gave each of us the chance to become our own people, to embrace separate interests that have made us much more interesting and independent now that we’re back together, and to really realize how much we missed each other, how much we loved each other, and how much we really belonged together.

Here’s that story:

In August of 2011, I sensed that the next steps in our relationship — moving in together, getting engaged — were hurtling toward me at breakneck speed and I freaked out. I ended it, and couldn’t even give Aaron a very good reason why.

He was literally the model boyfriend; I couldn’t find a bad thing to say about him. My roommate cried when I broke the news to her because she loved him and loved us together. My mom was upset. Aaron’s mom was heartbroken. Everyone thought I was nuts (see how this is a theme in my life?).

But I still wanted to do some things just for myself, travel places alone, and have more “me” time before it all became “we” time.

So I had my “me” time. Plenty of it. I traveled alone from February to May 2012, met a ton of people, and tried new things. I enjoyed it, but I still found myself thinking of Aaron often and talking about him to complete strangers.

On a tour bus in New Zealand, a fellow traveler made a comment about a cyclist who was ascending a giant hill. “My ex can do that,” I said.

I would brag about him at any opportunity, even though he wasn’t technically mine anymore. I’d talk about how much he knew about cars, what a great photographer he was, and how well he treated his mother.

“Sooooo… why did you break up with this guy again?” people would ask.

I can’t count the number of times I sighed loudly and said, “I don’t know, but I think I need to go back and marry him.”

In March, my mom emailed to tell me that my uncle had passed away. I was alone at my high school friend’s house in Melbourne, Australia, when I read the news. I needed someone to talk to, and the first person I Skyped was Aaron. We kept in touch for the rest of my trip.

I’ll never forget when he picked me up from the airport in Seattle on May 17, 2012. My ankle was sprained, so an airport employee pushed me in a wheelchair from the plane to baggage claim, and then outside to the pickup area.

Aaron was there, standing outside of his car, holding the biggest bunch of flowers ever. I burst into the ugly cry. He walked over. I stood up as best as I could and threw my arms around him. Everyone — my wheelchair-pushing guy, other passengers waiting for their rides — stared at us as we hugged and trembled and cried.

The rest of the day, he just kept saying over and over, “You’re here. You’re here.”

And I knew then for sure that I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

Seattle is where I live.

But being with Aaron — that is home.

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A googly-eyed selfie from dinner, right after he picked me up from the airport. Those are some happy people!

The very next day, I watched him race his mountain bike for the first time (my first time watching him, not his first time racing!). I had booked my flight specifically to be able to come to this race and support him.

In July, we went to Hawaii to photograph his friend Michelle’s wedding.

(We’re photographing another wedding together this July!)

In August, I caught the bouquet at my friend Amy’s wedding.

And in October, in Italy, Aaron put a ring (and a lock) on it.

As exciting as it was to get engaged, I didn’t want to rush into getting married very soon after our dramatic break-up/reuniting situation because I didn’t want that to be the focus of our love story.

I wanted us to rebuild an extremely solid relationship, and then get married with that as our story and our foundation. And that is what we have now, and what we’ll continue to build until 10/3/14, and then for the rest of our lives.

I’m here. I’m here.

The poor guy can’t get rid of me now if he tried.

20 miles done!

I don’t want to brag about this run, but OH WAIT YES I DO.

My goal pace for this 20-miler — aka the granddaddy of all long runs for this marathon training cycle — was 9:00.

My average pace was 8:58.

I am a very, very happy girl.

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Also, sweaty.

Everything went so very right. I had no cramps, no hunger, no pain, no chafing. My brand-new shoes felt awesome. I stopped five times to refill my water bottles, but I never had to use the restroom. It was warm and sunny out, but my hydration and fueling were right on point. I finished strong and could have proooobably run 6.2 more miles?

And now I’ve used up all my good luck and will be cursed for the marathon, but shhh, let’s think positive thoughts.

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You will notice that mile four was my fastest, and that’s because some creeper scared the shit out of me in downtown Fremont!

I ran past this older guy on the sidewalk with plenty of room — didn’t even come close to him — and noticed out of the corner of my eye that he flinched. I turned to look at him and he SNARLED at me and started chasing me! I jumped about two feet in the air and yelled, “JESUS!” and kept running. He then stopped chasing me after a few seconds and crossed the street like nothing happened. WHAT. THE. FUCK!

I was so shaken that I sidled up to a male runner who was waiting at the crosswalk I needed to cross (going a different way from the creeper) and was like, “Some dude just chased me a little bit, so I’m gonna stand close to you in case he comes back over here, mmmkay?” He was like, “Sure!” and was clearly not aware that I would totally hide behind him/expect him to defend me in the event of a second creeper attack. Nice guy.

But other than that, the run was great. I ate chocolate Clif Shots at miles 4.5, 9.5, 14.5, and 17.5, and used three tabs of Nuun in total. The only time I got really, really tired was during mile 17, when I had to run up a hill and was just like AM I DONE YET?

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I was pleasantly surprised that my legs and feet did not get all that tired. I mean, they’re super-sore now, but they stayed all strong-like during the run.

And now I’m just plotting all the delicious things I can eat today because I ran 20 miles.

The marathon is three weeks from today. This run HUGELY boosted my confidence that I can cut 15 minutes off my PR and run sub-4:00, or at least get close. I need to average a 9:10 pace to run 3:59:59, which seems doable, barring horrific weather/injury/hills. If I could keep an 8:58 pace, like today’s run, I’d do about 3:55. Oooh, that sounds nice, doesn’t it?

But enough about goals for now. I’ll just focus on staying healthy and being ready to run on race day!