Last year, Tina Lewis won the Leadville 100 with a measured, patient effort. After not running in June or July of this year due to a foot stress fracture, she’ll need the same sort of effort to defend her title after deciding only yesterday that she’d race Leadville again this year. In the following interview, Tina talks about her injury, what she did to stay fit the past few months, and why she’s decided to race Leadville after all.
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Tina Lewis Pre-2013 Leadville 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Tina Lewis, the defending champion here at Leadville 100, before the 2013 race. How are you doing, Tina?
Tina Lewis: Good.
iRF: You’ve had a tough decision to make. This spring you got injured after running The North Face 100 over in China. What went down with your injury? How did it happen?
Lewis: Thankfully it didn’t happen while I was in China. It happened when I got back while I was in my jet-lagged, post-China coma. It was probably one of my first runs back after two weeks of just kind of resting. I was running down the first Flatiron in Boulder—I was just kind of bombing downhill—and I landed on a rock and my foot kind of flared open and I fractured my metatarsal.
iRF: Have you had a stress fracture before or was this your first time? Acute injury?
Lewis: No. I think there was some predisposing stress there. In China there is a lot of cement, steps, cobblestones, so I think my feet took a bit of a beating there. I did the Great Wall Marathon as well which is all on cement and stone.
iRF: You thought that might take you out for a little while, but you were still hopeful you could run Western States. When did you find out you couldn’t?
Lewis: I think originally I couldn’t get my MRI’s; they thought it was just a bone contusion. I was just hopeful it would clear up one day. As long as I was able to run the week of, I would have been happy to do Western. But I was still in my boot and couldn’t even walk pain-free. So sometimes I’m just unrealistic and a bit of a dreamer.
iRF: It’s probably good that you didn’t run Western States because you were still not running until pretty much August, right?
Lewis: Yes, just a few weeks ago.
iRF: What’s the longest running that you’ve done? What’s your training been?
Lewis: Going up Hope to the top and coming down, so just a few hours. So not much. I just didn’t want to push it to re-fracture. I’m trying to be smart, although running 100 miles probably isn’t too smart. The doctor gave me kind of the green light. They think that as soon as it’s healed that it’s healed.
iRF: You couldn’t run for a pretty long time—over two months?
Lewis: Two months, yeah.
iRF: What did you do while you took time off?
Lewis: I did some biking; I was able to bike. I couldn’t hike or really walk, but I could bike with my foot stable. I did some good bike rides. I feel like I maintained some fitness, just not endurance. I love to mountain bike, but I didn’t feel like that was kind of wise with a broken foot, so I road biked. I got in two decent rides, but the rest were all under an hour.
iRF: So you are coming into this pre-race week, you also had an entry into Pikes Peak Marathon as an alternative run. How did you decide to give Leadville a go this year?
Lewis: My heart is here. I got the invite to Pikes Peak Marathon and thought that would be the wise decision, but one of my friends asked me, “Where is your heart?” My heart is here in Leadville. I’ve been here living in Colorado for five years, and I’ve been here every year either doing the bike race or the run. It’s just kind of like a year without Christmas if I don’t do it.
iRF: Everybody, any runner whether elite or middle of the pack, can face the decision having been injured before the race or coming in with a slight injury. How did you weigh those pros and cons, not having much training and coming off a pretty severe injury? Really wanting it—but that’s a pretty common feeling. We put a lot of time and energy into these things.
Lewis: Well, my heart is here, so I think that’s pretty important. I’m well-rested. I’ve put on a few pounds, so that’s good reserve if I can’t eat during the race. The desire is there, of course, and I think I maintained fitness. So for the short term I think I’ll be okay. I just have no idea what’s going to happen out there. I guess I’m willing to take the risk.
iRF: So last year you came in in really good shape and probably had a lot of confidence. Does it change your race plan at all coming off this long break from running?
Lewis: I don’t think so. I don’t really think too much about it really. I never really have a plan going into the race. I just kind of race my own race, and I don’t really pay attention to who else is out there until later on in the race. You can’t control everyone else’s race or day. Yeah, I don’t really have a plan.
iRF: You probably have a plan for what you’re going to wear on your feet on Saturday because you’ve got to protect those. With the mix of road and trail, what are you going to be wearing out there?
Lewis: I’m going to be wearing my Salomon Sense. Yes, I love those shoes.
iRF: Best of luck out there, and have fun!
Lewis: Thanks, I’ll try to have fun.