Today I learned that you can embed a Twitter profile!
So this is my new girl crush. It is #WCW right? Right.
Allow me to introduce you to Alexi Pappas! Alexi is a poet, filmmaker, actress, and damn good runner. She plans to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in the 10,000 Meter event and is currently training with Coach (and 2008 Olympian) Ian Dobson and the Nike Oregon Track Elite.
I had a chance to meet and talk to Alexi at the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon. Disclosure: I got a free VIP ticket to this race so I could share about it in great detail with all of you! So look for that race rundown later (waiting for the official race photos to come in).
Alexi and her coach were doing the race as a two-person relay. She also spoke at the pre-race dinner, which is a “Race Extra” that is well worth the cost, by the way. Here are some notes I took from what she said that night.
Alexi Pappas Notes
Okay, first a few minor things I found interesting:
- She was a multi-sport athlete in high school. Actually, her refusal to drop her non-running school activities cost her the ability to run on the track team her Junior and Senior years. She went in to Dartmouth lacking two years of development as a runner and it took her time to “catch up” and find her distance. I’m all for well-rounded athletes and admire her decision to stay involved in other things in high school.
- Deena Kastor told her to take a nap! Alexi trains for 2 to 3 hours in the morning, goes home and works on her film, runs again in the afternoon, then eats dinner and does more film work until lights out. She’s putting a lot of herself and passion into every hour of her day. She said the best advice she got was Deena telling her to take a nap and it helps.
- Art and athletics have a lot in common. I love that Alexi mentioned this. Art and athletics are both things you can have a natural talent or ability in, but they’re also learned disciplines. If you ever want to excel or master an artist or athletic talent, you’ve got to put in the work. She said her athletic discipline has helped her be more disciplined as a creative and vice versa. Beautiful.
“Running can be the worst at it’s worst,
but it can also be the best at it’s best.”
– Alexi Pappas
Alexi sees running as a team sport.
At it’s worst, running can be lonely, but at it’s best you have the support and strength of those around you to help you. She shared a story about one of her teammates helping her through a difficult training run. She said it was like her teammate was able to hold her pain for her and let Alexi borrow some of her strength.
Running isn’t life or death.
Oh I could stand to remind myself of that often. I’m sure I’m not alone. And I’m not even a competitive runner. Whether you got your run in today or not, or hit your paces perfectly or not, or won the race or not, is rarely ever a matter of life or death. But how great is it that runners of all abilities can still care so much about it and share the pain and pleasantness of running with each other?
Honesty frees you from the struggle.
Alexi shared another story about pacing a half marathon. She doesn’t race half marathons, by the way, so this was a unique experience for her. She said when she felt strong, she led the other runners, but when she started to struggle she was honest about it. So one of the other runners in the group ran in front of her and helped her keep the pace. In running as a team sport, being honest with your teammates and letting them know you’re struggling is huge. It’s empowering to share and release that burden, and then let others help you stay on pace.
Alexi said she did not come to love running alone. Neither did I.
Check out Tracktown Movie
Okay, so Alexi’s next film is a joint project with her boyfriend, Jeremy Teicher. The film will feature a lot of elite runners, which should prove interesting, and hopefully the film will debut in January at the Sundance Film Festival! I cannot wait to see it.
Alexi stars in the film as the main character, an up-and-coming track star who falls in love with a local boy, someone outside of the running world. Through the story of these young lovers, the character of the town of Eugene, Oregon itself is shared and celebrated.
Side note: The parents of Alexi’s character are played by Rachel Dratch of Andy Buckley. Heck yes.
Oh, and I just found this on Vimeo:
So that’s Alexi. She’s a busy bee. I’m looking forward to watching her movie AND her running career. Definitely send her some love on Twitter and let’s cheer for her during the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials – anyone want to go watch live?
If you want to get more Alexi and running, read this great post: “On Budgeting Willpower“.