It took me about a year to adjust to living in Jacksonville after spending 5 and a 1/2 years in San Francisco (and California is my home state). When my husband found out he was being transferred to Jacksonville, I cried… and then cried some more. Not only did I despise the idea of moving away from home, but I also really despised the idea of moving to Florida. Really, could we move any further away from the west coast?? The heat and humidity scared me (and I already knew about it because my husband was a prior resident of the state). The big bugs were also a bit frightening. Oh, and snakes too!
It was not easy driving ALL the way across the country to a new world (yes, it was a bit of a culture shock). The one thing I was looking forward to was finally owning our own home! And it just so happened to be double the size of the house we were currently renting. However, it was not a short 10-minute walk from the beach. And it was not a short 10-minute walk to the local coffee shop or brewhouse. But it was a very nice house in a very nice neighborhood with a very nice community pool. I tried to remain positive throughout the whole moving experience, but it doesn’t help when you are packing up your home while you are extremely sick with the flu. At least the drive was nice… if you like 110 degree weather and Interstate 10.
So, we finally arrive in Jacksonville and I don’t find my niche right away. All of the Coast Guard families are very friendly, but most of them were from the south or east coast. Nothing wrong with that, but I kind of felt like the odd woman out. I’m the type of person who likes to have a couple of really good friends instead of a hundred acquaintances. I’m also very shy and find it hard to make small talk. A year went by and I still didn’t find what I was searching for but I went through my third (and final) pregnancy with a happy little bundle of joy at the end. That cute little bundle of joy kept me busy and so did my final year of my Master’s degree program. Finally, though, enough was enough and I needed to find some friends.
I thought about Team in Training and how I had met some amazing people when I was a part of the program in San Francisco. I knew that running a marathon was on my bucket list and I also knew that I needed to lose the baby weight and the only way I could was through running (the best weight loss program I know of). 6 weeks after giving birth I joined the local team. Through the 4 month experience I made really good friends, lost all of the baby weight, gained confidence and finished my first marathon. I was hooked. I couldn’t stop there so I decided to stay involved as a coach and then eventually signed on as a participant once again. Even though it sounds crazy, I loved getting up at 5:00 am on Saturdays to run with the team and meeting up on Tuesday evenings to push ourselves over the bridges. I knew I had finally found my niche in Jacksonville.
Training and working out became my passion and a big part of my life. I enjoyed getting a break from the kids by dropping them off at the gym daycare (and they loved the social aspect of it). I looked forward to the classes offered by very personable instructors. I began to set my sights even higher and ran a marathon and a half (in 2 days) at Disney World with one of my really good friends. I even tried my first triathlon and loved it! I overcame (well, not completely yet) an injury that set me back from achieving my fitness goals. Through that, I learned a lesson on determination.
I have learned and endured so much since moving to Jacksonville. I just can’t believe that it is already time to move on to the next place. I will truly miss all of my friends, my house, my neighbors (the most awesome cul-de-sac ever!), and the Jacksonville running community. I will not miss the summer weather, but I must admit that it was kind of nice wearing shorts and t-shirts during most of the winter. I will look forward to having all of the seasons, real mountains and being closer to the west coast. I am sure that I will have many new adventures and that is what keeps me going through all of this. I am definitely never bored.
So, goodbye Jacksonville! Tomorrow I start my next journey across the states!