I recently took on my first book tour 11/29 through 12/7. It begins with me landing in Boston, driving to Vermont to speak at Saint Michael’s College, driving back to Boston to speak at BU, driving to Rhode Island to speak at URI (Kingston), and back to Boston for one last talk at BU. The following details my journey on Wednesday 11/29 through Thursday 11/30.
Book Tour Day 1
I woke up at 3:30am, arrived in Boston by 9am, grabbed a rental car and I was off for a 4-hour drive to Colchester, Vermont!
A quick description of the drive: Miles upon miles of tree-lined roads, Moose Crossing signs (we have deer crossing signs in Michigan), rolling roads, vast expanses of mountains. I was in awe, and the moment I arrived at Saint Michael’s College, I couldn’t stop telling everyone I met about my drive (the student-athlete journalist who interviewed me for the school newspaper, the photographer for the school newspaper, and later my host Emily and the SAAC leader and the athletic director).
After the interview and a brief tour around St. Michael’s College, I retreated to my hotel where I checked in and immediately passed out for 12 hours. My body REALLY needed it.
Book Tour Day 2
The next morning was one I had been looking forward to for a long time. Emily Kopacz and I had been communicating for months and she was the one who proposed that I come to speak at her school. By raising her voice and connecting with SAAC (Student Athlete Advisory Committee), they were on it. And here we were, months later, meeting for the first time in person. I had tears in my eyes when we greeted each other. These meet-ups with Running in Silence followers/readers/friends feel more exciting to me than it would be to meet a celebrity, thanks to the connection we share through our experiences and passion for eating disorder issues.
That afternoon I had lunch with the Saint Michael’s SAAC group. They asked me questions about how I handle eating disorders as a coach, and what they can do going forward based on my experiences. The questions were great and made me realize that at this point our greatest hurdle may be having the right resources available to students. With the lack of a dietitian and perhaps conflicts with times to meet with counselors, getting help can be difficult.
I was especially impressed to learn about Hope Happens Here, a student-led movement that promotes mental health awareness and mental wellbeing in student-athletes. Their goal is to educate their peers in dealing with their own mental health and “act as mediators in connecting people with proper resources and promoting healthy ways of life.”
We also talked about how coaches may have the best of intentions, but may unintentionally say the “wrong thing” because of their lack of knowledge of eating disorders or nutrition in general. But this is why we need the right education and for coaches to understand how prevalent eating disorders are in sports, how to identify them, and where to direct their athletes for professional advice/therapy.
The presentation that night went very well. The whole school was behind me on this—encouraging all athletes to attend, advertising, greeting me, etc. The athletic director (Chris Kenny), SAAC leader (Shannon Kynoch), and so many others came up to me before and after the presentation to talk. I love that they are working towards a better environment for their students/athletes. It’s one of the best I’ve seen so far.
By the end of the night, the athletic director helped bring the books back to my rental car. “Are you traveling alone?” he asked when we placed everything in the trunk.
I let his words sink in. I was traveling alone. The anxiety and stress of doing so were a lot to handle. But I answered confidently that yes, I was traveling on my own, and surviving! This trip has not been easy so far, but it’s been a wonderful experience for me. So I can’t repeat Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote enough: “do one thing each day that scares you.” I’ve been doing multiple things each day that scare me (especially as an anxiety-ridden perfectionist). But it’s been so rewarding, and so worth it.