In the previous post, I introduced the ultra cool spirit of Katie Visco. Here we get to read more about her and the upcoming Run Across Australia.
Dina: What is your inspiration for your 2100+ mile transcontinental run across Australia?
Katie: The dream to run my way across Australia all started back when I was in middle school when my best friend, Brittany, and I were obsessed with the Australian actor, Heath Ledger. We weren’t the insane stalker types, but rather we simply watched all his movies like it was our religion, put up posters of his dreamy face on our walls, and eventually hosted a candlelit funeral for him under a tree in downtown Boston when he died. Okay, maybe we were a little obsessed. But, it was fun and we were thirteen. Come on.
During those same prepubescent years of drooling over Heathie, my interest in the land Down Under grew and grew. Sure, Brittany and I seriously thought we would one day fly to Australia to track him down, and well, melt in his presence. But also, I started to romanticize the country. What was the desert like and is the sand really that red? Were people really as carefree as I heard they were? What’s up with the Walkabout, the aboriginal rite of passage, and can I do one myself as an American woman? Thanks to Heath, I was hooked on Oz and vowed one day to go there. For me.
In my junior year of college, I needed a break - a break from the cold Minnesotan winter, a break from the hardship of going through my first heartbreak, a break from everything, really. Plus, Australia was calling, so, I said yes; I bought a round trip ticket with my own money, took a leave of absence from school for a whole trimester, and signed up for an internship in the nonprofit world. I was realizing my first ever dream and I’d never felt so free. My three months in Oz was more than I could have imagined. Ask me about it one day. All to say, the experience was my breakthrough from girlhood into becoming a powerful and independent woman.
Additionally, I came away from my three months in Australia in 2006 promising myself that one day I would run across it. That day has come. Starting this July 2019, I will run across Australia, through her deserts, into her complex and elegant desolation. This is my pilgrimage, to confront all parts of myself in one of the most raw and barren places on earth, to find my Katie again, to reclaim all of my fire, to accept my vulnerability and let it all go at the same time. I want to go to the outside edge again, and love it.
When you have a call in your heart that simply doesn't go away, especially after so many years, you've got to take notice. Make a choice - do it, or put it to rest. I want to run across Oz because I can. Because I want my curiosity to be greater than my fear. Because I want to live what I believe. By running across Australia, I will embolden women to push their limits in the outdoors and my example will help to represent more women as they truly are - strong, diverse, and powerful. I will show that you need not be perfect to take on your goals, but rather, all you need is the curiosity, confidence, and faith to try, to get it. Adventure is for everybody.
Dina: I can FEEL the Oz calling in your words and that desire to get into the mental (and physical) places where the adventure will take you! What an inspiration for women, and really, everyone. It’s so cool to have your husband, Henley, to be your bike support while you are running. Is he shipping a custom bike to Oz for hauling all of your supplies or how is the bike setup going to work?
Katie: Yeah, go Henley! We are using bicycle support versus vehicle support because we want to be 100% human-powered. We care about the planet and want to live our values through this expedition. The bicycle will be one heavy duty beast. Henley will be pedaling his trusty Surly Troll with a Surly Ted trailer, which is where most of our three-hundred pounds of gear, food and water will live. As far as we know, the crossing will be the only known time (OKT) for a bicycle-supported transcontinental run across any continent.
Dina: This Australia trek will be the 10-year anniversary from when you ran across the USA. Aside from being older and being newly married, what are the big differences in your life (or in your existence) from that time point?
Katie: I love these kinds of questions! So deep, big picture, and solicits a vulnerable response. A big difference in my life now compared to ten years ago is that I have more grace with myself. I am still determined and persevering, as you need to be to run across a huge land mass, but I am also kinder to myself. To be frank, there have been many times that I've thought I've wanted to put this Oz dream to rest. "I've moved on...I'd rather bike...I don't want to put my body through the stress of running across a continent again" I'd say to myself. But, every time I quieted the still small voice telling me to do it, the voice came back again and again and again.
Now, I finally listened to these voices and decided to finally take the run on this year. All to say, rather than pressuring myself to commit to a big goal, I instead listen to those still small voices with an open heart. I don’t forge ahead no matter what, grasping my goal in sight, but instead I reflect on my motivations, and if they are true and genuine, I push forward with an open palm. This is what I call grace with myself, and being unattached. I am more of my own best friend these days. I believe that a confident woman is exactly that - one who can be a best friend to herself and loves herself no matter what.
The Nutrition Mechanic is happy to be providing nutrition support to Katie while she gets geared up. Hey, do you want to support her run? Visit her website and learn more about how to make a donation.