Hi FitFooters 👋🏼 !
Last week I read Olympian/Filmmaker/actor Alexi Pappas’ new memoir Bravey and was completely inspired by it and her.
The book is partially about Alexi’s journey in running - from her start as a teen growing up in California, to her time at Dartmouth College and the University of Oregon, to finally a professional athlete competing for Greece (she has dual citizenship) in the 10k in the 2016 Olympic Games, but also her story is largely one about mental health. (Trigger warning: Alexi is very honest about her experiences seeing her mother hurt herself and in talking about her mother’s suicide as well as Alexi’s suicidal thoughts.)
Her essays are very open and vulnerable, and oftentimes charming and quite humorous. Some are also heartbreaking and very tragic. Her training as a poet become evident in her delightful use of metaphors (my favorite is when she describes people as kinds of potatoes) and her economy of words.
The pacing of this book is very satisfying as is her consistent self-reflection and her ability to make even a grueling training run with an American record holder relatable (hint: focus on their calm breathing, observe the birds, stay calm).
I highly recommend this read if you enjoy learning about the thoughts and feelings of high performing individuals, but also wonder what happens when they leave their arenas and need to deal with the everyday challenges of life. Alexi describes her experiences beautifully and creates space for you as the reader to also dream and fail and succeed.
(Fun random fact: this ⬆️ photo was taken by Alexi Pappas as the 2014 Gate River Run in Jacksonville. She had just finished in the top 10 in one of the most competitive road races in the country and still was kind and grounded enough to offer to take our group photo. 😆 Thank you, Alexi)
Happy reading and stay well, FitFooters!
The book’s title comes from one of Alexi’s poems which she posted on Twitter the night before an intimidating workout:
run like a bravey
sleep like a baby
dream like crazy
replace can’t with maybe