This week is a special edition of “Friday Favorites” It’s technically tomorrow BUT I want to take the opportunity to say Happy One Year Anniversary to my absolute (not just on Friday) favorite, Mike. Technically we went on our first date on July 28, 2011 (shut up I’m just good with dates!) but we only had two dates before we were both traveling for three weeks so we decided we would start counting after that three week hiatus (we got stranded on the runway for almost 4 hours flying back from Nashville in the spring and so we ended up having an in depth discussion about this because there was really nothing else to do… my Kindle died!).
My feelings about this date are sort of contradictory. One one hand, this past year has absolutely flown by. I can’t believe it has been a whole year. But on the other hand, I feel like I can’t even remember what my life was like before Mike. He feels like such a natural part of my life and we are so close, I feel like we have known each other forever.
I wouldn’t consider myself someone who has been extremely “lucky in love” up until this point, and I spent the majority of my adult life single, which most days was really fine. I developed wonderful friendships and never ever lacked for wonderful life experiences. I always prided myself on the ability to get through the tough stuff in life on my own. I depended on me. But for the first time in my entire life, I feel like I have a partner and it is better than I could have ever imagined.
This year has come with it’s challenges and having Mike by my side eased the burden so much. He was there when a knee injury sidelined me from running for almost two months, when things at work got really rough, and when my mom had a pretty significant health scare. However, this year has also seen unthinkable highs, including having him there as I crossed the finish line of my first marathon, a goal I would’ve never dreamed of setting if he hadn’t encouraged me.
But besides all the mushy gushy stuff… Mike and I HAVE FUN when we’re together. We are always running around (pun intended) racing, traveling, laughing, and exploring together. So below are some of my favorite pictures of us from the last year.
Happy Anniversary Mike… in the words of Ben Folds, I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you
Watching the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2011. This was our first picture together (and the first to go on Facebook… so official)… I refer to it as our “coming out photo”
Before going to Richmond together for Mike’s second marathon in November 2011, he fulfilled a lifelong goal of mine and took me for a ride on his motorcycle 🙂 He even bought an extra helmet so I could ride!
Freezing our patooties off at the Army / Navy Football game with a big group of my friends in December 2011
Ugly sweater party before Christmas 2011 in DC. We went to a vintage shop to buy these the day of the party and the pickings were pretty slim. Mike’s shirt is actually a plus sized women’s denim blouse with reindeer heads on it… WINNER.
Mike came down to visit my family the day after Christmas and after a couple days we went back to Charlottesville to stay with his family. My mom and dad took this right before we left and my friend Sarah told me it looked like our Christmas card (especially with Bernie in the background. He wasn’t posing he’s just old and slightly senile so he didn’t know what was happening).
Our very first race together – The St. Patty’s Day 8K in March 2012. We were both registered to run the Hot Chocolate 15K in December but my physical therapist said I couldn’t run yet 😦 After a long winter (where Mike grew an awesome lumberjack beard), I was finally back in the game!
And we didn’t stop there. Mike and I both ran 12 races this past spring season. This picture was taken after the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in April 2012 (we also ran the Charlottesville 10 Miler the day before!) I knew he was a keeper!
At the finish of the George Washington Parkway 10 Miler in April 2012.
During the Country Music Marathon in April 2012, Mike ran four miles of the race with me. I am not exaggerating when I say that I would not have finished this marathon if he hadn’t been there. He was my rock, and is pretty much all the time 🙂
BONNAROOOOOOOOOO. Something we both said we never would’ve thought of doing on our own!
We traveled to Pittsburgh in May 2012 for a weekend with my friends and to cheer on my friend Haley as she ran the Pittsburgh Marathon (her first!)
And finally in July 2012, we hiked up Bull Run Mountain on a beautiful summer afternoon. That’s one of the things I love most about Mike… he is up for any activity any time!
So back in May, Mike and I decided to institute a monthly “special date“. We started off with his choice of a great meal followed by a night out mini golfing. For our June date (my choice) I decided to tick off a couple items on our summer to do lists. It was actually July 1st but we decided it counted towards June (especially since we went to Bonnaroo in June so that was kind of a special thing). So that Sunday afternoon we hopped in the car and headed out into Virginia to hike up Bull Run Mountain. It was absolutely gorgeous. There were even some “ruins” on the bottom part of the trail and some fun placards with information. DC was smack in the middle of an unbearable heat wave (I know like everywhere in the country was having the same heat wave so don’t get me wrong I don’t think we’re special) so we brought plenty of water and prepared to get really sweaty.
Before we even got in the car I knew that I wanted to go all the way to the top. I read that the views were amazing and I wasn’t going to let a little heat stand in our way!
The previous Friday night a huge storm came through the area. Tons of people lost power, trees down everywhere! Luckily, I didn’t lose power at my apartment but Mike’s house lost power for almost the entire weekend (especially not fun when it is 100 degrees outside). There were a few trees down on the paths up to the top but we were able to navigate them relatively easily.
The views from the top did not disappoint 🙂 After taking a few pictures we settled down and lounged on the rocks for a while. It was a definitely a challenging hike to the top, so we felt like we deserved a little rest.
On the way down the mountain we found a little steam that I couldn’t help but splash around in. Mike was certain I was going to fall in but guess who came the closest to falling? (I’ll give you a hint… it wasn’t me!)
Over the train tracks and back to the car. It took up probably around 3 hours to do the 5 mile hike but we took a long break at the top and several pit stops along the way.
After hiking we went back into DC to try a new pizza place (one of Mike’s summer goals). We went to District of Pi in Chinatown and ordered a bada bing salad and a Kirkwood deep dish pizza. It was AMAZING. I didn’t take any pictures because I always feel so awkward taking pictures of my food in a restaurant. Maybe I’ll get over it, maybe I wont! ANyways, Mike was so happy. In fact, he said District of Pi might be his new favorite DC pizza place (title for favorite pizza place of all time is currently held by Crozet Pizza in Crozet, VA). They also have a great beer selection on draft so it was the perfect way to treat ourselves after an active day.
I am really loving our special date tradition. It’s a great way to ensure we go out of our way to do new and different things (and a good way to get through our summer to do lists!). Mike gets to plan our July date so I can’t wait to see what he comes up with 🙂