Aliza Lapierre (Salomon) is becoming a recognized force in women’s ultrarunning. In her three previous 100 milers, she’s finished second (Vermont 100 ’10), sixth (Western States 100 ’11), and third (WS100 ’12). However, for the first time, she’ll be going into a 100 miler as one of the women’s favorites. In the following interview, she talks about how she prepared for the Leadville 100, the competition at this year’s race, as well as her thoughts about the course and the Pearl Izumi prime.
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Aliza Lapierre Pre-2012 Leadville 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell here of iRunFar here with Aliza Lapierre ahead of this year’s Leadville Trail 100. How are you doing, Aliza?
Aliza Lapierre: I’m doing well. Thank you, Bryon.
iRF: Last time I saw you, you had just finished third at Western States. Has that sunk in yet?
Lapierre: I’d say it has and it hasn’t. It feels very real, but it feels very far away at the same time. It was just a great day and an honor to be out here with so many great people; so third place was really just a blessing.
iRF: Well here you are, not even two months later, lining up for the Leadville 100. How did things look in the interim between the two races? What was your plan? It’s short enough that there’s not a lot of time to train but long enough that you kind of have to.
Lapierre: I took a week off with just hiking and no running, and then kind of jumped back into things. I had two or three kind of big weeks with some back-to-back runs and some hill repeats then kind of crashed and burned for a week and just sat on the couch. But I had some really good runs out here this past week, so I’m optimistic.
iRF: The women’s field isn’t quite as deep as Western, but for Leadville, it’s stacked. There’s a good group of women here both mountain specialists and some faster women. How does that look to you?
Lapierre: No matter what race and who’s there, any race is pretty scary to me. You can only control what you can do and just enjoy everyone else’s company. I’ve never been on a course with Darcy [Africa] before, so that will be a lot of fun for me. So I’m looking forward to that. Hopefully we get to share some miles together.
iRF: That would be cool, yeah. When you got out here, and you started seeing the course, what did you tell me about the course?
Lapierre: Um, I don’t think my words are appropriate for the video.
iRF: True. True. Paraphrase.
Lapierre: Something like this course is too runnable, and it’s really scary to me. I like my walk breaks. This is definitely a runner’s race, but it’s at altitude. So that’s kind of the factor. I will enjoy Hope Pass and Sugarloaf for sure, and just hope my legs will go on the flat sections.
iRF: How do you think the $500 premium from Pearl Izumi shakes things up? Does it?
Lapierre: It’s definitely in not only the back of my mind, but in the forefront of my mind – $500 can buy you a lot of Gu for sure. I’m not going to say I’m going to race to the top, but if I’m in contention, I will run a little bit faster for sure. I wouldn’t mind running down the other side of Hope Pass with $500 in my hydration pack.
iRF: Literally. I’m pretty sure they’re going to be up there with cash.
Lapierre: Yeah. Grab it and go.
iRF: Hopefully it’s not pennies.
iRF: So you live in Vermont with a couple hundred feet elevation?
Lapierre: 734 feet [above sea level].
iRF: Here we are at 10,200. You’ve got 12,600 in your future on Saturday. What did you do to prepare for that?
Lapierre: I actually had an altitude tent which my husband and I slept in for a couple of months. It also served as heat training because there’s no way to regulate the temperature, so it was pretty intense (no pun intended). Then I came out here two weeks early. I’ve been up on Hope Pass a couple of times. I’ve got to listen to my body and know when to push and when to just relax and wait for my heart rate to come back down.
iRF: So you feel pretty comfortable at this point with the reality of it.
Lapierre: I would like to think so. This course requires a lot of patience and just not running hard until it’s the right time.
iRF: As you talked about, it’s a very runnable course and there are a lot of road sections. I talked to Anton [Krupicka] earlier and he’s still going through three choices between road racing flats and a couple different pairs of trail shoes. What are you thinking of lacing up on Saturday?
Lapierre: I think I’m going to start in the Salomon Sense. They’re a very minimal shoe than what I normally race in, but I feel like I have better form altogether. Then if I need to, I’ll switch over to probably the S-Lab’s or the Crossmax. But I think the Sense will be great on the flats and even the trail.
iRF: Well best of luck out there on Saturday.
Lapierre: Thank you, Bryon. Thanks for covering.
iRF: Take care.