If I could transport all of my Lynchburg people to Newport, life would be perfect. But I can’t. And as much as I would love to enjoy the coastal lifestyle and a glass (or bottle) of Oregon wine with the people I left behind, let’s face it, Newport just doesn’t have the booming job market that it would take to get them here. All that seems to remain now is our little family. We have trekked so far and I hope that if we walk in circles long enough we will feel content enough to settle down. But until the settling occurs I know we still have a long way to go.
There are plenty of things I could busy myself with to avoid an inevitable truth. As wonderful as we are together, we cannot exsist in a vaccuum. We need to meet people. We may not need them now, but eventually we will. This I had been dreading. Although I find myself to be a realtively social person, the thought of how much effort it was going to take to start over and put myself out there was exhausting and frightening. When I saw the ad for the “Free Flight 5K/10K” I knew what had to be done. I had to peel myself off of the couch, lace up the old sneakers, and hit the pavement. I was ready. I woke up Saturday morning to pouring rain. I strapped on my new, rugged Oregon persona and told Ryan I was doing the race. “In the rain?” he asked. “Yep, rain is a part of our lifestyle now. Plus, we might see someone under the age of 70!” I threw on a hat, we loaded the minivan, and were off. Pulling up to the Marine Science Center I had first day of school jitters. I hoped that the race wasn’t full and I could still sign up. The time was 8:05 and race day registration had just begun. Or so I thought. Where was everyone? “Are you sure this is where the race is?” I checked on my phone to be sure. MARINE SCIENCE CENTER – 10/10/10. WHOOPS! That would mean the race was tomorrow. Who knew a race would be on a Sunday? Those West Coast Heathens! Sheesh!
Take 2. I woke up SUNDAY morning and had a typical feeling of dejavu as I put back on my running gear and headed out into the rain once again for the big event. We were running a little late this time and I felt even more nervous about going last minute to sign up. That’s when I realized that were weren’t in Kansas anymore, er, rather Lynchburg. This was the most laid back race I’d ever been a part of. I walked in, signed up, got my long sleeve t-shirt (yes!), and had 45 minutes to kill. Ryan kept pestering me to “warm up” which was hilarious. When did he become my running coach? So I took a lap and came back right as they were gathering people up at the starting line. All 30 of us. It was right around the part where the man in charge was explaining the course “run out to the south jetty along the bay, circle back, then 5Kers will finish after a loop on the estuarary trail” that I realized I had no idea what he was talking about. He told us that if we didn’t know where we were going to just make sure we weren’t in front of or behind the pack. Thanks for the tip. He laughed as he said, “Ready, Set…Go!” And we were off! We reached the path that led us to the south jetty around mile 1. We ran along the bay. The only thing that separated us from the water was a narrow sandy strip lined with rocks. The cold rain pounded on my face and turned my legs red, but I kept going as fast as I could. I circled back feeling great. I hit the estuarary path and before I knew it the race director was shouting 28:43 as I crossed the finish. My best time to date! I could go on and tell you how excited I was about the young couple that came up to us after the race, so friendly and nice, telling me about where moms go for playgroups around town. And it was an answered prayer – finally a place to start meeting more people. But the answered prayer that was in my heart went much deeper than that. I was, for the first time, at peace in Newport. Life is life everywhere. There are many things here that are different from what I am used to, and making new friends takes time. But in the meantime I get to be in this incredibly beautiful place, while I live a part of my life that I never knew was waiting for me.