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'Crazy chick' inspires with cross-country run
Katie Visco wants people to follow their dreams, and to inspire them she is fulfilling her dream of running all the way from Boston to San Diego.
The 24-year-old started running March 29 and has already logged more 3,000 miles on foot. She ran through the streets of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and now California.
She passed through Yuma Tuesday and got as far as the Welcome to California sign on the north side of the 4th Avenue Bridge. She expects to be in the waters of the Pacific Ocean in only 14 more days.
"I am doing this to inspire people to go for their passions in life, and my story fits into that message because I come from loving running, and that’s my passion, and I want to make a difference in the world with my passion," Visco said.
"Those things give you wings, life and love. Your dreams, your goals and your passions might be on the back burner, or might be just something you haven't thought about. People have different passions, but it is important to go for them because that is what makes you, you."
Visco said it doesn't matter what a person's dreams are as long as they are chasing that dream.
"This is just one example of some crazy chick out there pursuing her dream that she’s had for a long time. If that crazy chick can do it then you can too. I don't mean run across America, but go for your dreams. That is what this is about."
Visco runs an average of 18 miles a day in about five hours.
"The way it works is I'll run about 7 miles and take a break, and my friend Jenny Sadler, who drives the van that follows me, will go up and wait with the van and I'll take a break and do another seven," she said. "She is really my rock. Sometimes you just can't achieve your dreams without help, and Jenny is there for me."
Visco must eat constantly to keep her energy up.
"I love cereal," she said. "I try to eat 3,500 calories a day. The main staples are whole grain cereals, raisins, nuts, milk, bananas, peanut butter, turkey and avocados. It is possible to eat healthy without stuffing your face with goo and gross bars and stuff. If you are athletic its possible to eat whole foods."
In addition to inspiring others, Visco also is raising money for Girls On the Run, "which empowers females from elementary through middle school through the sport of running," she said. "They get together a couple of times a week and train together to do little mini 5-K's. The girls learn about self respect, team work, how to eat healthy and are coached by volunteers which are awesome women in the community."
Visco said people can donate to the group at her website, paveyourlane.com, where they can also read blogs of her progress and view photos of her journey.
"I'm raising money for them, so anybody who hears about this, if you can donate a dollar or ten dollars or whatever, all that money will go to Girls On the Run."
Visco said she has been staying with host families across the United States. While she is in Yuma she is staying with Linda Goodman and her family.
"That is an example of what we've done across the whole U.S. That is what makes this special for me because I get to share my dreams and passion with others and involve them because it's nothing without other people. I mean I could just go and run across the country and pursue my dream for myself but I want to make a difference."
Visco spends a lot of time out on the asphalt and often finds herself in the trance of a "Runner's High."
"Absolutely," she said. "Sometimes it's the first step, and I feel that I am so lucky to be able to run. The runners high is so beautiful and running is awesome because anybody; anybody can do it."
Visco is by herself for long stretches and has found some interesting ways to keep herself amused.
"Sometimes I talk to myself," she said. "I was singing the Beatles last week while I was running (but nobody heard me because) I was in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes I practice my accents. But most of the time its like zenning out. It's your time to collect yourself and be yourself out there on the road."
Visco said she realized her similarities to Forrest Gump, and decided to do something about it.
"I decided to be Forrest Gump on Halloween. I had a full on beard when I was running that day in New Mexico. You can see photos of me that day on my website."
Being so close to the end of her travels, Visco said she still has plenty of energy.
"Not tired, I am enthused. I am very excited, it's only 14 days to San Diego, but I'll tell you there were some very difficult parts of course. We are all human right? I knew when I was setting out that it was not going to end just at the run because this is about other people and inspiring them and I want to help them do that even after this run is over."
Visco said as she can't wait to sink her toes into the sparkling waters of the Pacific.
"I am going to go in the ocean. I dipped a cup in the Atlantic ocean and I have Atlantic water in the van and Jenny and I decided to keep it and get Pacific water as well. I'll just keep it for my whole life."