Photo by Kelia Anne MacCluskey/Penguin Random House
Author: Alexi Pappas
1. At what age did you fall in love with running?
From a creative perspective, I've found that a book is more about the thoughts behind words and actions, while a screenplay is more about the actual words and actions themselves.
My favorite personal quote is, "good thing I didn't accomplish all my goals yet because then what would I do tomorrow?" -- I know you probably didn't mean which of my own quotes is my favorite, but honestly I've found that this thought is what keeps me most motivated!
4. How mentally fit do you have to be before a big race?
I believe that mental fitness and health is just as important as physical fitness and health. They go hand-in-hand. Before a race I like to visualize the parts of the race that I predict will be the most challenging and actually see myself pushing through the challenge and achieving my goals.
5. Was making it to the Olympics everything you dreamed it would be?
YES! I feel very lucky to have had a record-breaking, personal-best-setting race at the Olympics. I felt like my mind and body were completely in sync -- I describe this in more detail in my book, but my race almost felt like an out-of-body experience.
6. Do running a marathon and writing a book have much in common?
Absolutely -- I believe that athletics and the arts are more similar than people think. Both are disciplines that can improve with practice and determination. We tend to put talent on a pedestal, especially when it comes to something artistic and abstract like writing a book or making a movie, but the truth is that talent is only one factor.
7. In "Bravey", you cover and speak at length very candidly about loss. From not placing as high as you would’ve liked in the 2016 Olympics to the loss of your mother, and everything in between. At what age, did you begin to feel more comfortable being vulnerable and verbally expressing the things that most people lock deep inside?
What a great question -- and this is definitely a topic that I explore in the book, especially in the chapter "My Pal, Pain." I saw my mom, who suffered from bipolar manic depression and ultimately died by suicide, trying her best to keep her pain hidden away from the world. So from a very young age I was determined not to end up like her.
8. Who were some female mentors and role models that impacted your life?
Growing up without the keystone female mentor figure of a mother in my life, as a kid I was always on the lookout for mentors -- and that practice has persisted into my professional life as an athlete and artist! I believe a good mentor is a living example of the type of person you would like to be, and you can learn from them simply by being in their vicinity and paying attention. That last line is a direct quote from Bravey, so I don't want to give anything more away!
9. Can we look forward to seeing you in this year’s Summer Olympics?
Like all athletes, I am cautiously optimistic about this summer and continue to train while focusing on controlling what I can control.
10. What’s your best advice for getting over writer’s block?
Just to keep writing without self-judgement! Give 100% of what you have that day, even if it's 100% of crap and you end up throwing it away. Just the practice of generating words will eventually lead you to a doorway through the block. The key is not judging yourself.
11. What’s the best book you have read this year so far?
12. What’s the best advice you have ever received on happiness?
When I was in the thick of my post-Olympic depression, my doctor taught me that actions change first, then thoughts, then feelings. If we are feeling sad, we can't expect to "make ourselves happy." I dive into this more in the chapter "Depression" in Bravey.
13. Do you plan on writing more books in the future?
Absolutely! But for now I am trying to relish the moment and enjoy seeing Bravey out into the world. This book truly feels like a culmination of a significant chapter in my life as an Olympian and artist -- it feels like "the end of the beginning."
Places To Find More From This Author:
Facebook: Alexi Pappas
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