10 Questions With Uzo Aduba

The actress talks about her training regimen -- and what cancer has taught her about life.

Medically Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on May 27, 2015
From the WebMD Archives

Orange is the New Black's Uzo Aduba goes the distance - at the Boston Marathon and in life. She talks with us about her training and what cancer has taught her about life.

1. In April, you ran the Boston Marathon to raise money for research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. How has cancer touched your life?

I have an aunt who is currently fighting breast cancer, an aunt who passed away from leukemia, and a cousin who passed away -- it will be 2 years ago this October. I ran for all of them, but leading the pack is a very dear family friend who passed away from breast cancer this past October. She was a great, great lady.

2. How much did you raise?

Almost $11,000, with money still coming in, which has been really thrilling. I was encouraged taking a tour of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and seeing what incredible strides are being made -- and even more impressed to see what kind of work is being done through grants like the Barr Program, which is what I ran for.

3. How has your outlook on life changed?

There is no greater pause button than watching life leave this earth and realizing how time is guaranteed to no man, so we should do our very best and be our greatest selves with the time we're given.

4. You were a sprinter in high school and college. How did you transition to long distance?

When I lived in New York, I started taking up running just for the exercise. I grew to love it. I found it very relaxing, very therapeutic, and meditative.

5. How did you train for the Boston Marathon?

I did some longer runs, just to get my body conditioned a bit more to the longer distance. It's harder on the body, it's longer on the body, so it takes a lot more out of you. And you have to get your mind and your physical being ready to be able to tackle that distance and, more important, to be able to run consistently through that distance.

6. What did you eat while training?

I did not change my diet. I'm doing a lot of fish, a lot of greens, egg whites in the morning, grains.

7. How did it feel to cross the finish line?

I wasn't running for myself, if I'm being really honest. I think I was running to acknowledge a life, I think I was running for something bigger than myself. I was trying to do something for a cause that I feel very passionate about.

8. Working in the fast-paced entertainment industry, how do you stay centered?

I meditate. When I come back from my run, for 15 minutes after that I don't do anything. My phone is off, everything is turned off, and I do a meditation. I take in what I just did, take in what I just let out, before I press play on the day. And just practice stillness and mindfulness.

9. What can we expect to see from your OITNB character, Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren?

Suzanne has been a bit of an idol worshipper these past couple of seasons. She's someone who takes those idols and bows down at their altar. And the problem with idols is, there can be a lot of challenges if they're not the god that you believe they are. It's been interesting to watch her this season, what she chooses to put her beliefs in.

10. Does Suzanne ultimately find fulfillment?

If I tell you that, I will end up in the real-life SHU [solitary confinement]!

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