Right Track – Wrong Train

50 States for Sole!

Mill Race Marathon – Columbus, Indiana – Saturday, September 27th, 2014 – Marathon #22 for 50 States for Sole, #36 for Lifetime

In Girls With Sole we focus on resilience. Being able to bounce back when obstacles get in your way and life pulls you down is the key to living an empowered and happy life.

Running marathons can mirror life in many ways – as they both present their own set of obstacles that can “derail” us on our journey.

Little did I know that while running the marathon this weekend in Indiana, I would come face to face with the literal version of this life lesson!


If you have been following the 50 States for Sole journey you know that obstacles are all part of the adventure. I have come up against some tough ones including: elevation illness; a rupturing cyst on my ovary at mile 18 of a marathon course; a fatal shooting on the highway that closed it down for hours; a car driving towards us head-on at 80 miles per hour on the wrong side of the road; and other various adventures in travel and accommodations to name a few.

As I started my solo run in the very quaint town of Columbus, Indiana, I took in the scenery and had a wonderful sense of satisfaction that I was on the right track. My purpose in life is to help empower girls in need through Girls With Sole programming, and to raise my own children – whom I carry in my heart at every race and on every trip I take. While I ran, I thought about how fortunate I am to have a family at home who loves me and supports me in my efforts to change the lives of girls who need Girls With Sole in order to be as strong and happy in their lives as I am today.

At about mile 2 or 3 a physical reminder of what GWS is about, and why I am doing what I’m doing, was placed in front of me – quite literally – in the form of a freight train!

I looked up and saw that there was a commotion as runners approached the tracks. Most of the runners veered off to take an alternative route, while others ran up to the train and stopped as close to the tracks as they could get. When I got close enough to decide which way I wanted to go – I decided to wait at the tracks. Again – much like life – I decided that following the crowd wouldn’t be in my best interest. Since I wasn’t familiar with the area, I had no idea how far out of the way the other route might take me – or how much of the course may have been cut off – if I followed the people who ran off across the grassy field to who knows where.

As I reached the crowd of astonished runners gathered in front of the slowly moving train, it begrudgingly came to a halt and I heard a man behind me yell angrily (twice) “THIS IS BULLSHIT!”

I was just as shocked as everyone else by this crazy situation. I have been an endurance athlete for over 20 years, and have complete hundreds of races – but this is the first time I have ever been stopped on a race course by a train!

They say nothing can stop a train – and that might be true – but nothing can stop a runner either! And that’s a fact!

Some of the runners started to climb through the cars and jump over the railroad tracks to keep moving forward on the course. The guy behind me paced and huffed, and I couldn’t help but stand there and smile.
This is all part of the experience – the journey. We can try to control everything – but it’s impossible to do so. We can only control how we react to the things that happen. Yes, my time was going to be about 3 minutes slower – but so what? I knew I would stop to pee at least once while I was out there – which would also slow my time down- but my journey is about being there and experiencing everything possible – and to use those experiences to strengthen and empower myself and others, as well as to enrich my own life while leaving a legacy for my kids and the girls in my programs.

At any time in our lives we can be moving along on the right track – and the wrong train can come along, derailing our stride. The important thing is to work through it – and to make the choice to stay positive and keep moving forward!! I saw a really cool quote recently that I shared with my husband and my daughter and son, because I think it’s something so important for everyone to remember. It said:
“Emotions are like waves. You can’t stop them from coming – but you can choose which ones to surf.”

The train finally pulled away, making room for the runners to get by and continue on our way. I listened to various miffed conversations about times and pace being thrown off. I told one of the ladies running next to me that I was just glad to be there, completing another state. She looked at me like I was the village idiot who had escaped again and was running loose. I didn’t care. She has her journey and I have mine.
My journey isn’t the same as anyone else’s and I love and embrace that fact. Sometimes when things like this happen I am reminded that bigger obstacles have tried to stop me in my life, but they couldn’t. Compared to those things, a train is nothing. The heart and sole of a survivor is stronger than any obstacle when our energy finds the right focus. A Girl With Sole finds the focus that turns negative energy into a positive force – and that’s a runaway train that can’t be stopped.

Aside from the train holding things up a bit – everything else about this marathon was on the right track!
All the details about this little race could easily rival the big-time race venues that I have experienced. The Expo was fantastic and so were the race shirts, bibs, medals and support on the course – both from spectators and volunteers.


They did an amazing job organizing and providing ample parking on race day, and the whole town seemed to support the runners and embrace the race itself. Each of the mile markers had unique and creative art work made by local school children, which was a touch I really loved.

At the start of the race it was about 53 degrees. There was a great DJ and a short opening ceremony which included the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by two local high school girls. The runners were sent off in waves with each corral being sent off in 30 second intervals.

The day got pretty hot with temps reaching the mid 80’s but the course offered some great architecture, scenery, and wonderful energy from the crowd.


All around this race was fantastic! I just loved the small town charm combined with the professional feel of a big-time race! For me, that’s a winning combination.
The icing on the cake was having a message (in the form of a train) park itself in front of me as I work towards completing my journey of 50 States for Sole. The message reminded me not only of my own strength and resilience, but also the gratitude I have for my health, my family and my life….and that Girls With Sole is truly on the right track to bring these same realizations to girls everywhere.


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