Aliza Lapierre has set a couple course records out east–the Vermont 50 Mile and Stone Cat Marathon–this autumn. This Saturday, she’ll face much stronger competition at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. In the following interview, Aliza talks about her run at Western States in June, how her season has gone since then, and how she’ll approach the race.
[Editor’s Note: For more information, we’ve published a full women’s race preview with links to other pre-race interviews.]
Aliza Lapierre Pre-2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Aliza Lapierre before the 2013 The North Face Endurance Challenge. Aliza, how are you?
Aliza Lapierre: I’m well, thank you, Bryon. How are you?
iRunFar: I’m doing well.
iRunFar: Last time we spoke I think it was before the Western States 100.
Lapierre: Yeah, it’s been awhile.
iRunFar: How has your year been since then?
Lapierre: It’s been pretty good. It’s definitely not the season I planned on just with foot surgery this past winter, but I’ve been progressing. After recovering from Western States, I did a couple races, so I think I’m pretty happy where I’m at.
iRunFar: You went into Western States with probably some pretty high expectations after finishing third the year before. You didn’t quite have the race you were expecting there, no?
Lapierre: I don’t think I really went into Western this year with high expectations. It was just “finish and have a good day.” I wasn’t in the best shape because of my foot, and my foot wasn’t fully healed. Given the temperature and that I didn’t have a lot of miles logged on my feet, I’m happy with the way it played out.
iRunFar: Since then, you’ve run a couple less-competitive races in New England. How do you feel? Are you jazzed to have some strong competition to run against this weekend?
Lapierre: I am excited. It’s pretty intimidating to me, but at the same time it’s great to see them all. It’s very inspiring to me to be able to hang out with them and to be on the same trails. It’s definitely going to help me gauge where I’m at and where I need to go which will be helpful as I move forward.
iRunFar: You’ve run a lot of races back East where you’ve been the women’s winner by quite a ways including this fall when you ran the Vermont 50 and won that. Did you set a course record there?
Lapierre: I did.
iRunFar: Then you ran the Stonecat Marathon and set a big course record there. You’re very strong and confident in running a strong race, a fast race, but racing—we’ve talked about this before a little bit—you don’t have as much experience racing people.
Lapierre: I’m never very confident no matter where I’m running or racing, but that’s something that I’m working on. I know how to race and kind of play the game. I’m used to leading and just kind of relaxing and running my own style. This kind of feels similar to Western States. It’s something new and different, but it’s a learning experience, so I’m excited for that.
iRunFar: Could there be some advantage in just being able to pace yourself and run your own really fast race on your own and not get caught up in that game?
Lapierre: There could be some advantage and then disadvantage as well, but I’m hoping I can just listen to my body and be patient and see what I can do out there. I don’t want to leave a lot in the tank which happens sometimes. This is kind of the end of my season, so we’ll see what happens out there.
iRunFar: You’re not going to play it conservatively?
Lapierre: Hopefully not, no.
iRunFar: You did have two really good races this fall out in New England. How do you think your fitness is compared to Western States this year?
Lapierre: I think I’ve worked a lot on speed since Western States, so I feel faster. At the same time, I’ve been training alone, so it’s very hard for me to know where I’m at compared to where I was or where I am compared to the competition. So, I always think I’m in the same spot, but we’ll find out. It’s hard to gauge without something to bounce it off of or someone.
iRunFar: This is a rolling course. What have you been working on in training?
Lapierre: My coach has me doing speedwork, some tempo runs, and then hill repeats as well—shorter and longer. I think I’m getting more used to working at a higher intensity and being comfortable with that.
iRunFar: It should be helpful late in this race.
Lapierre: Yeah. It might be a little fast.
iRunFar: Might. Best of luck out there this weekend and have fun out there, Aliza.
Lapierre: Thanks, Bryon!