ALGONQUIN – It was Oct. 27, 2009.
Katie Visco was two months shy of completing one of her life goals – running across America – when she stumbled.
She woke up in Mountainair, N.M., to “pitch white.” She was nervous about trekking through the mountains in the first place, but the added snowfall made her doubt herself.
Visco was averaging about 18 miles a day, beginning her running journey seven months before in Boston.
Yet on that cold October day, all Visco wanted to do was give up.
“The last thing I wanted to do was run,” she told a captivated group of Algonquin Lakes Elementary School students Monday. “I felt like the world was saying ‘no’ to me.”
But Visco put on her running shoes – one of the nine pairs she’d go through in her nine-month trip – and pulled wool socks over her hands to work as makeshift gloves. Then, she started to talk to herself.
She chanted “Inner strength, stronger” to herself, over and over again.
“It was so hard; I had to find a way to get to the end of my day,” Visco said.
Eventually, on Dec. 29, Visco finished what she had started. She had run 3,132 miles across the country, making her the second-youngest woman ever to do so.
About 40 girls from the Algonquin school’s Lady Lions Running Club listened intently to Visco’s tale of pushing through challenges with physical and mental endurance. Some even offered their own personal mantras: “Almost there” and “Don’t give up.”
The fourth- and fifth-graders will be completing their own race Thursday. The after-school club, which focuses on building friends and a positive self-image, has been preparing for the 2-mile run for weeks.
In between funny stories about spraypainting her shoes red to run through Kansas, or the time she got lost on a road and ended up in the middle of some Rhode Island hunting grounds, Visco’s deeper message was this:
“Anything is possible,” she said.
Visco told the girls not to give up on their dreams and passions, despite others’ doubts.
Lady Lions Coach Alisha Baumann praised Visco’s advice during the visit.
“The big picture, girls, is this isn’t just about running,” Baumann said. “It’s about everything.”
On the Net
For more about Katie Visco and her running journey, visit www.paveyourlane.com.