Emelie Forsberg has been nearly unstoppable in ultramarathons and she’s feeling confident at 50 miles (80k) at the moment. This weekend’s Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) will be her first attempt at 100k. In the following interview, Emelie talks about the highlights of her season, what she’s figured out about ultra-distance nutrition, and what she enjoys about exploring the mountains.
Emelie Forsberg Pre-2013 UROC 100k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Emelie Forsberg before the 2013 Ultra Race of Champions. How are you doing, Emelie?
Emelie Forsberg: Good, thank you.
iRF: You’ve had a very busy summer, yes?
Forsberg: Yes. Yes… or no. It has been a lot of races but not really busy.
iRF: Have you kept your energy level up through this summer?
Forsberg: I think so. I’m pretty good at resting. It starts to feel like it’s the end of the season, for sure. But it’s still long until San Fran [TNF 50 Mile].
iRF: Yeah you have another two months or more.
Forsberg: But a bit of skiing in between.
iRF: A bit of skiing. It’s snowing here in Colorado right now. We’re not even at the top of the course. Did it snow before here in Norway?
Forsberg: No, but I know that it has been snowing now both in Sweden and Norway.
iRF: So are you ready to get on your skis?
Forsberg: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it, but I don’t think it will happen until the beginning of November.
iRF: You still have other races this season—Limone?
Forsberg: Yeah, Limone and then I’m going for Diagonale des Fous.
iRF: It feels like the end of your season, but it is not.
iRF: What do you think the highlights of your season have been so far?
Forsberg: The highlight is that I’ve been able to do every race both short and long and to keep injury-free because it is demanding. But best race and best feelings, I think, was Transvulcania. To start the season with that with only a couple of days of running—that was really big for me.
iRF: It must feel special having the gift of a great day without expecting it.
Forsberg: No, no, no, no. It was very nice.
iRF: Last year was your first step up to the longer ultramarathons. How have you felt during this year? More confident?
Forsberg: I feel much more confident. It feels like 80k—I feel so good going out there doing it. I think I’ve won almost every long race I’ve done, so it feels like I have it really under control. It’s so nice.
iRF: This will be your first 100k. Do you think that’s a big jump or if you feel so comfortable at 80k…?
Forsberg: Yes. No, I think it’s big because as we talked about the race course before, it’s pretty fast and 20k on roads and I have never run 20k on the roads. This is going to be the longest, so I’m afraid for that. The altitude—I feel the altitude a lot walking up the stairs there. I was [deep breath]… so I don’t know. It’s going to be very interesting. I think 100k—I think I can do it in about the same time as I did the European Championship (the long one) because that was pretty… a long race. It was about 10.5 hours.
iRF: So with the added elevation and distance here, you think it will be the same as that 80k?
Forsberg: Yes, it’s 20 more kilometers but less meters to climb.
iRF: Have you raced at all at altitude before?
Forsberg: I think Ice Trail [Tarentaise] in Europe which was a lot above 3,000 meters, but I had spent some time in the Alps being more acclimatized. I really feel it here, but I hope it will turn out okay.
iRF: So you’ve been up in Scandinavia?
Forsberg: Yes, I’ve been three weeks up in Norway at sea level.
iRF: And here we are at 10,000 feet.
Forsberg: Yeah, it’s hard talking.
iRF: ow that you’ve spent more time doing longer races, obviously in shorter races you don’t need to eat as much if at all, what sort of plan have you figured out with your nutrition that works for you?
Forsberg: Long race? It depends. If I can do it pretty slow and I don’t need to push the whole time, I can eat quite a lot like bars and things with nutritious dates and oats and cocoa. So that’s pretty heavy, but I can eat that. It depends. If it’s a fast race, normally I can eat some blocks and gels and chocolate and banana.
iRF: How often do you eat or do you know how many calories you might take in?
Forsberg: No, I don’t count calories, but I wish I could eat more because I think it would be good. In a 100k race maybe I can eat four gels and maybe two to three bags of the blocks and hopefully some pieces of the bars.
iRF: Do you find that you can eat or drink better when it’s cooler versus when it’s hot?
Forsberg: Yes, I feel better, but not if it’s too cold because then it can affect your stomach a bit.
iRF: There is going to be snow on the course tomorrow. Do you think that gives advantage to someone like you who also skis?
Forsberg: Yes, I think so. I feel confident in the snow.
iRF: You’re a confident descender anyway.
Forsberg: Yes, for me it’s good. The more snow the better.
iRF: What kind of shoes are you going to be wearing?
Forsberg: I think the normal Salomon Sense.
iRF: Normal Sense—not the Soft Ground version?
Forsberg: No, I don’t know where I have those, so I need to take my Sense.
iRF: Good luck out there and have fun.
Forsberg: Thank you.
iRF: Back for one quick bonus question with Emelie. Throughout the summer we saw lots of great pictures of you and your friends up in the mountains, not just running but climbing and scrambling. How much do you enjoy that? What do you enjoy about that?
Forsberg: I love being out there and finding new ways to explore yourself and finding where’s your comfort zone and just to feel confident out there and develop yourself in the mountains. That’s very interesting.
iRF: Whether it’s on skis or running shoes or…
Forsberg: Or ice…
iRF: Have you moved more into the climbing and ice in the last year?
Forsberg: No, before I started running when I was 18 to 22 years old, most of my time I was climbing. I didn’t run as much. It was climbing and telemark-ing in the winter that occupied me. I actually went on a lot of road trips here in the U.S. just to do climbing—Moab, Indian Creek, [can’t understand] Creek up in Canada. So running, I started a lot with that five years ago. I always had been running, but I just changed to running… or the climbing for running.
iRF: Now that you maybe spent more time doing endurance sports with running and ski mountaineering, has it opened up new possibilities for the mountain exploration and the climbing?
Forsberg: Yes for sure. If you can go fast and feel confident, everything is so easy. It’s super exciting. You can plan a lot of cool things to do in the mountains.
iRF: I’m sure you have some good dreams up in your head.
Forsberg: First, I feel like I want to be more confident. That’s my first goal. In the next years, I want to just develop my skills in the high alpine. I don’t feel like I can put up goals yet because I want to be much, much, much more confident.
iRF: So you’re going to work on your skills before.
iRF: Great. Enjoy exploring the mountains.
Forsberg: Thank you.