By Pamela Burke/July 13,2012
If you’ve ever skated for long periods of time, you know how tired your ankles can get and how arduous it can be. What if you did it for 47 days and covered some 2,500 miles? At 27, Kacie Fischer (now Cleveland) did, and she now knows what it’s like to set the record for Fastest Female To Cross America on Inline Skates.
“Once I set a goal for myself, I am compelled to accomplish it.” Kacie Fischer
Kacie recently completed this amazing skate from Solana Beach, CA to Jacksonville, Florida with a team of eight, raising money and bringing attention to the Special Olympics. When you know that this super athlete had heart failure at 21 and was told by medical specialists that she was not going to survive, the accomplishments are all the more remarkable.
It’s this never give up attitude that made us want to find out more about Kacie, her stamina, and will to succeed…
EYE: Congrats, Kacie! You’ve just broken the record as the fastest woman to cross the U.S. on inline skates. Did you always think you could do this?
KACIE: I had over two years to prepare for this journey both physically and mentally, and decided that no matter what, I wasn’t going to stop. If there were ever an option of stopping when it got hard, I never would have gotten out of Arizona!
Finishing the cross-country section of my trip is almost surreal for me. Knowing what I just went through and what my body and mind can handle has definitely made other complaints I had feel insignificant to the pain I endured everyday for nearly 48 days!
EYE: What was has been the toughest part of the journey?
KACIE: Western Texas! Most road surfaces in Texas are chip-sealed, which is rocks thrown on top of tar, and to anyone in the inline skating community “unskateable.” I slowed down from 12.5-18 mph to 2-3.5mph with strong head winds reaching 35 mph right in my face everyday for over a week.
I’m glad I went through this early on because completing this section made everything else seem easy and definitely doable!
“Through athletic challenges and accomplishments people gain self worth, confidence, and pride.”
EYE: You were motivated to raise money for the Special Olympics by your cousin Matthew who has been involved with them. Tell us about that.
KACIE: Matthew, at 28, is full of life, energetic, and is autistic. When he isn’t being challenged mentally or physically, he has trouble focusing and communicating. His involvement in sports keeps him focused, surrounded by friends and motivated to improve himself. I want everyone to feel this way (not just Special Olympians).
Through athletic challenges and accomplishments people gain self worth, confidence, and pride. These qualities are crucial to anyone who wants to be successful.
EYE: You are an amazing sportswoman. You were a 2012 Promax DOer, an award given to athletes with outstanding dedication to fitness. I’ve seen your Workout Wednesday videos (above). How important is being in good shape to you?
KACIE: I live what I preach to my clients. Health and wellness is the most important thing. It’s more important than the clothes you wear, how much money you make, or what others think of you.
I have one body and I’m going to take care of it! I am passionate about fitness and performance and so is Promax, which is why we make such a great team!
“Overcoming heart failure taught me to never give up when times get hard…”
EYE: It’s hard to believe that you had heart failure at 21 and had tremendous difficulty walking. Can you tell us what impact that had on your life?
KACIE: I like to call this time in my life my ‘dark angel.’ When my doctors repeatedly told me I was going to die and to give up, I found myself asking “why me” and felt sorry for myself for a long time. When I made the decision not to give up and to challenge what the doctors told me, I felt my life restart.
Now I am 27 and healthier than ever. I have been ranked top 10 in the world for tower running; am a competitive runner; and compete in all types of competitions. Overcoming heart failure taught me to never give up when times get hard, and that hard work is always worth it in the end!
KACIE: I started listening to my body and discontinued the prescribed hormonal medications I had been taking to regulate my periods. I also went through physical therapy and had to change my approach to training to keep my body healthy, including more hours swimming in the pool than I would like to remember!
EYE: What do you advise women about heart disease?
KACIE: Overcoming heart failure, compartment syndrome, torn lungs, torn muscles, broken bones, and countless infections have taught me to listen to my body more. Try to avoid taking unneeded medications or over the counter drugs if possible. If you do take medications, make sure to do your research.
EYE: I read where you believe that you can do anything and fight through pain. How do you have the courage to do this?
KACIE: There was about a week in Texas that I came back to our support bus in tears every 5-10 miles because of how bad the road surface was. I was able to continue on because I was focused on the end result instead of the temporary pain I was feeling.
I learned to do this when I was in high school running cross-country. Every single race I ran I wanted to hide in the bushes or quit, claiming to have an injury, however I finished every race! This is where I learned that hard work and accomplishment stays with you forever, whereas the pain is only temporary.
EYE: You qualified for the Boston Marathon and ran up the steps of the Empire State Building. And yet your doctor told you that you were never going to run again. Where did you get that inner strength to pursue these goals?
KACIE: I qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2008, nine months after I was told I would “never run again.” After completing this race, I knew that if I just didn’t give up I could accomplish anything.
Racing up the 86 floors of the Empire State Building was the hardest race I have ever competed in. I tore the lining of my lung on the 50th floor, yet will always remember the feeling I had on the top observatory deck!
EYE: Was it your idea to inline skate across the country?
KACIE: Yes, and I have been training and preparing for it for over two years.
KACIE: We have incredible sponsors who have supported us with gear and financial donations. Friends, family and followers of our cause have helped spread the word and because of this people from all over the world have shown their support.
My fiancé, Adam, has been with me the entire time working with our sponsors, converting our bus, building our website, and managing our trip!
Kevin Crossman, a professional tower runner from Seattle, selflessly rode his bicycle along side me the entire trip. He managed the route and kept me safe on the road. I don’t know what I would have done without him.
Other people who have been instrumental in making this trip happen is Thom (my dad); Melinee (my sister); Corky (family friend); Jerry (father-in-law); Blair (professional inline skater from Orange County, California); Robert Murders (Naval Weather Specialist); and our amazing documentary team Iconic Images (Heather and Philip Elgie).
I also have great sponsors including Inline Warehouse, Rollerblade, Promax, K2, Pear Sports, Avia, and many others. I was introduced to many of these companies through Promax, who made me one of their Promax DOers of the Year for 2012. Without my sponsors none of this would have been possible.
“By setting goals and accomplishing them, you make a habit of being successful…”
EYE: How important is it to break the world records?
KACIE: It was/is very important to me to break the world records, (Fastest Crossing the USA on Inline Skates by a Female, and longest distance traveled on inline skates by a female). Once I set a goal for myself, I am compelled to accomplish it. I think this a very important characteristic not only for elite athletes, but for everyone. By setting goals and accomplishing them, you make a habit of being successful and doing what you set out to do.
EYE: What have you learned about the country on your skate across America?
KACIE: I crossed the county in under 48 days skating between 5-20 mph, and I was able to see and appreciate so many interesting places. I saw deserts, swamps, hill country, beaches, and enough roadkill to feed a small village. I met great people all along the way that were eager to help us and were motivated to start their own challenges! This has been an amazing experience.
EYE: What can you possibly do next to top this?
KACIE: I will never stop challenging myself. Some of my next goals include inline marathons, ½ marathons (running), and XTerra racing!
EYE: What’s a favorite quote that you love that inspires you?
KACIE: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.” — Helen Keller
EYE: What’s your next adventure?
KACIE: It’s planning our wedding, which is going to be a relaxing week-long celebration in Idaho this September with a small group of friends and family.
EYE: Many thanks, Kacie. You are one remarkable athlete. You didn’t quite get to skate to New York City which you were aiming for, but you had an amazing journey.