Ida Nilsson Pre-2017 Transvulcania Ultramarathon Interview

Ida Nilsson returns to Transvulcania as the defending women’s champ. In the following interview, Ida talks about where she started her 2017 running season, how she transitioned from skiing to running this spring, and how her running is going early in her season.

You can find out more about who’s racing this weekend in our women’s and men’s previews and, then, you can follow along with our live coverage of the race.

Ida Nilsson Pre-2017 Transvulcania Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Mauri Pagliacci of iRunFar, and I’m here in LaPalma for the 2017 Transvulcania with Ida Nilsson, the defending champion. How are you?

Ida Nilsson: Very well, thank you.

iRunFar: Your season already started in China, right?

Nilsson: Yes, I did two races over there.

iRunFar: How were those?

Nilsson: Very nice and different. First I did one race [the Ultimate TsaiGu Trail 50k], three hours outside of Shanghai. It was green mountains, tea plantations, small villages, and overgrown stone stairs. It was good.

iRunFar: They were kind of tough races?

Nilsson: That one was nice, low elevation. It was a nice race. Then I did the Yading Sky Race. That one was tough because of the elevation.

iRunFar: You’ve been running a lot of different distances and terrain all around here. You had a breakthrough race here last year and then just an awesome season. What’s your tactic for this year… if you have one?

Nilsson: Yeah, I will do about five ultras around this distance, about 70 to 90k. Those will be my main goals. Then I’ll do some shorter races in between. That will be good.

iRunFar: That’s great. You also come from skiing. You had a really nice ski-mountaineering season. How as the transition from snow straight to the China races?

Nilsson: It was actually really smooth and good this year because we didn’t have very much snow in Norway. There was no snow down at sea level. There was snow in the mountains. So I had one month after the world championships in skimo where I kept skiing but I also started to run more. Yeah, I actually did a more gradual and smooth transition this year. It was not a problem to stop and go run in China.

iRunFar: That’s good. As the defending champion here this year, do you have pressure, or are you relaxed because you know the course? There’s a super strong field here, too. How do you feel about your race here?

Nilsson: Yeah, of course it feels a little more pressure this year because last year I didn’t know it at all, and it was quite unexpected. But I feel good about that also because I know the course, and I’ve started to feel good and rested.

iRunFar: That’s good motivation. That’s awesome. There’s new competition and also competitors you know like Hillary [Allen] or Mimmi [Kotka] from Sweden? How do you feel about the girls in the field running this year?

Nilsson: Yeah, it’s going to be very tough again. Also, there are a lot of people who have run it before and know the course and also some new people. Yeah, it’s going to be interesting.

iRunFar: Do you have any strategy or feel for how you will race?

Nilsson: No, I’m going to see how I feel. For me, if it feels comfortable in the beginning, it’s always going to be hot later.

iRunFar: I remember last year that you told me you’d see what happens, but then you had a super-great advantage on the field.

Nilsson: Yeah, it’s hard to know. Last year, I thought the middle 25k would be my strong part where it’s flat and good, and I didn’t think I’d do good in the uphill at all. I feel the same now that I’m not strong in the uphill, but we will see. It’s always in my head. If I can keep up until then, then I know I need a little bit of a gap because the downhill is not my strong part, so we’ll see.

iRunFar: Thank you very much for your time, and I hope you have a great race on Saturday.

Nilsson: Thank you.

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