Long-distance running ace Alexi Pappas, who will represent Greece next month in the Rio Olympics, is nothing if not driven. The petite 26-year-old’s pinned Tweet reads: “good thing I didn’t accomplish all my goals yet, because then what would I do tomorrow,” and Tracktown, the semi-autobiographical film she co-wrote/directed and stars in, recently debuted at the LA Film Festival to glowing reviews. We asked Greece’s 10,000-meter record holder and 5k national champ what it takes to be—and date—the best.

“My coach says it is normal to feel good 33 percent of the time, OK 33 percent of the time, and bad 33 percent of the time along our journey to the top, so I try to keep that in mind even if I don’t feel great every day. This is a part of the process.”

How does it feel to be the first Greek woman to run the 10,000 meters at the Olympics?
It’s an honor to be a part of the country where distance running and the modern Olympics began—and to contribute something new to this tradition by being the first Greek woman ever to race the 10,000 meters at the Olympics is so special.

What was it like to co-write and star in your film?
[Co-writer/director/producer] Jeremy Teicher and I like making movies about highly specific worlds, and so to delve into the running world I am so much a part of was very fun. The main character who I play, Plumb, is like me in some ways, but also very different. I’d say she is more a product of my observations and experiences than my direct running journey.

Want to work on more films in the future?
Definitely. I hope to make films for the rest of my life. And if given more chances to act, I would definitely do it.

What does it take to be the best?
In order to be the best, it takes giving 100 percent effort every day—which is different than functioning at maximum capacity. My coach says it is normal to feel good 33 percent of the time, OK 33 percent of the time, and bad 33 percent of the time along our journey to the top, so I try to keep that in mind even if I don’t feel great every day. This is a part of the process.

“I remind myself to be kind to myself—obstacles are normal and a good part of the process. I try to wake up every day actively moving forward so that obstacles don’t become walls.”

When you are not running, what are some of your healthy snacks?
I enjoy eating lots of red meat, Wild Friends peanut butter, Runa tea—and I use BeetBoost beet powder and EnduroPacks recovery every day.

While in Greece, what’s your favorite food?
I love the homemade full-fat Greek yogurt and local eggs. The yolks are the color of apricots, it’s incredible!

What inspires you?
I am inspired by those around me. In Greece, I am inspired by the two boys and woman I am training with, Markos, George and Tina. Even though we haven’t known each other that long, and don’t know all the same words, we all understand hard work, laughter and running!

How do you deal with obstacles?
I remind myself to be kind to myself—obstacles are normal and a good part of the process. I try to wake up every day actively moving forward so that obstacles don’t become walls.

If a guy wanted to date an Olympian, what advice would you give him?
Just ask—athletes are bold and brave and hope for the same in their love life!

What kind of guys interest you?
A guy like my partner Jeremy. He is supportive and interested in running but has his own passions. He inspires me to be my best self because he is striving to be his best self, too! We can go on wild adventures together, but doing low-key activities like watching movies and cooking are also fun when you’re with a best friend whom you also love.

Got a running tip for us?
Get out the door every day, even if it’s for ten minutes—call it “practice” to keep you motivated!

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