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Olympic Runner Alexi Pappas on Overcoming Obstacles & Setting Goals

With the intention of making this Your Best Year, we’re sharing stories of others to inspire your own journey. And Alexi Pappas's is one of these. As both an Olympic runner and an award-winning actress and writer, her list of accolades is impressive to say the least. But what’s even more noteworthy is her story to the top, which — spoiler alert! — includes a lot of grit, determination and hard work. Below, we give you a snippet of her account to drive your own goals as we head into the new decade. Scroll below to check it out. 

Lively: Alexi, tell our readers about who you are and what you do?

Alexi Pappas:Hi! My name is Alexi Pappas, and I'm a runner, writer and filmmaker. I ran the 10,000 meters in the Rio Olympics, my new movie, Olympic Dreams, is coming out on Valentine's Day, and my new book, Bravey, will be coming out this August! I'm also currently training for the 2020 Olympics in the marathon.

L: By now, you've achieved a lot in the running space. How did you get here? We know the journey isn't easy. What obstacles or setbacks did you have to overcome?

AP: The short answer: hard work. The longer answer: I was a naturally gifted runner in middle and early high school, but then I took my junior and senior years in high school off from running (I actually got kicked off my team because my coaches wanted me to quit my other extracurricular activities). When I came to college, I was the slowest runner on my team as a freshman. But thanks to an incredible coach and supportive teammates, I slowly worked my way back into fitness. At first, I contributed to the team the only way I could: I dressed up as a mascot and cheered at every race. When I was finally fast enough to contribute a team point in my junior year, it felt like a tremendous milestone. A few years later, I made it to the Olympics. A huge part of my journey was leaning to recover just as hard as I train. Sleep and fuel are so important to endurance athletes. Which is why Vital Proteins are part of my fueling routine.

L: Now that we know more about you, what resolutions or goals do you have for 2020?

AP: I am excited to be joining a new tradition in 2020: the marathon. My hope is to break the Greek national record and, just maybe, make it to the Olympics a second time.

L: What do you believe are the biggest obstacles people face when setting their resolutions? What advice do you have for someone going after something they haven't yet done before?

AP: My first piece of advice is: Write your goals down so that when you get them, you remember that you were brave enough to want them. So many people get in their own way because they feel embarrassed to set a goal -- but if you can take that first step to proclaim your goal out loud, even just to yourself, you're already well on your way.

L: Lastly (since we're starting a new decade!) if you could accomplish one thing in the next decade, what would that be?

AP: I want to continue to fully explore my potential, both as a distance runner in a new event -- the marathon -- and as an artist. I am publishing my first-ever book in August 2020, Bravey, and I hope that my writing can inspire as many people as my athletic performances have.

Short Answer:

Thanks, Alexi!