Emelie Forsberg bested Nuria Picas to win the 2013 Transvulcania Ultramarathon after taking second behind Picas in 50-mile races twice last autumn. In the following interview, Emily talks about how she ran a smart race, what it’s like running Transvulcania, and her advice on moving up in distance from shorter trail races.
[Editor’s Note: We’ve also published Emelie’s Transvulcania race report.]
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Emelie Forsberg, 2013 Transvulcania Ultramarathon Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Emelie Forsberg after her win at the 2013 Transvulcania Ultramarathon. How are you, Emelie?
Emelie Forsberg: I’m better than I thought I would be today.
iRF: Why is that?
Forsberg: My legs just feel okay. I thought they were going to be destroyed. They’re tired but not destroyed.
iRF: Maybe tomorrow?
Forsberg: Hope not. We’ll see.
iRF: It was a 50-mile effort. It was hot. Does the rest of your body feel okay, too?
Forsberg: Yes, I feel okay.
iRF: That was your fourth 50-mile race. Do you think it was your best 50-mile race?
Forsberg: I think so. I felt so good the whole time. I think I did a smart race. I didn’t go out too fast. I always had Nuria (Picas) was behind me on the uphill. I felt that I wanted to see where she was. Sometimes I made some more minutes, but I knew where she was. That’s nice for your mind to not get worried—Is she trying to catch me? Does she have more power? I saved power, I think. I didn’t push all the time so if she caught me, I knew that I was going to follow her.
iRF: You had more left.
iRF: When did she catch you during the race?
Forsberg: Yes, because sometimes I wanted to run with her. It’s nice to run with someone, but sometimes it’s also nice to just run by yourself and get in the pace and everything. It’s nice to have that mix.
iRF: I saw you at 34k with Nuria. Was she ever ahead of you? Did you always stay with her?
Forsberg: In small parts of the uphill, she was in front. Mostly I was a bit in front of her on the hills. On the long downhill, she was in front the whole time.
iRF: Did she ever put more than a couple seconds on you?
Forsberg: No we were running [together] because we didn’t want to push the downhill. We said it’s early in the season and we have nothing to… we were close to the record, but we didn’t want to push. We just wanted to get down and not destroy ourselves.
iRF: You had an agreement not to… or an understanding?
Forsberg: Almost, I think we had an understanding.
iRF: You came into Tazacorte together?
Forsberg: Yes, she was some seconds in front of me, but we were together.
iRF: Then did you make a strong move on the climb or on the flat?
Forsberg: Yes, we were together and I finished some six minutes in front of her. It was 6k? I feel strong in the uphills this season.
iRF: Did you run up the road climb?
iRF: The one that everyone else walks?
Forsberg: I think I’m in the mode of small running instead of big steps.
iRF: You’re used to the mountain running with the steeps and small steps.
Forsberg: Yes. I felt tired, but when the people start cheering for you, you get more energy.
iRF: What is the atmosphere like here at Transvulcania?
Forsberg: It’s amazing. It’s almost like Zegama, but I think this is even more maybe because it was sunny and more people were out.
iRF: Zegama was 0 C and snow and rain.
Forsberg: Amazing. And the ridge we were running on was so beautiful and we got to see the sunrise.
iRF: That sunrise was unbelievable.
Forsberg: Yes, you saw it. It was super beautiful. It’s so amazing that there are so many people that love trail running. It’s amazing.
iRF: And love nature and love being outside. Were you running with any men for any long period of time?
Forsberg: Not for a very long time. Some guys came and left and came back.
iRF: Not for 10 or 20k.
Forsberg: No, it was me and Nuria for the whole race.
iRF: Did you have any low points during the race?
Forsberg: Not really. I felt very comfortable the whole race. That’s why I’m happy about it because I think I managed it the way I wanted to.
iRF: To have that control…
Forsberg: Yes. It’s a new feeling. I hope I will feel it again, but you never know.
iRF: It’s magic when it happens.
Forsberg: Yes, it just felt really good.
iRF: Going into the race, you were worried about the heat. How did that aspect of the race go?
Forsberg: It was warm. I had salt pills but I lost them. I was so worried because I sweat a lot especially this early in the season. I had a lot of water with me. I think I had almost one liter in between the aid stations and I poured myself with water. I didn’t drink so much. Then I met Joe Grant and he had two extra salt pills, so he saved my race. Thank you, Joe!
iRF: What’s up next for you?
iRF: What’s after that?
Forsberg: Mont Blanc Marathon and some small races in Sweden.
iRF: You’re going to go race in Sweden? Is that exciting? Here you are on the world stage, literally, and there are huge crowds. What’s it like when you go home and race a small race in Sweden?
Forsberg: I like it. I almost have more pressure there because people think I’m going to be so good. In Sweden the trail running is pretty flat and it’s not my specialty, but I do it because it’s fun. It’s the Salomon Trail Tour and I like to do that.
iRF: Here everyone knows you because you’re one of the best in the world. There everyone knows you because you’re Emelie from Sweden.
iRF: Now that you’ve run four 50-mile races, do you have any advice for people moving up from the shorter races?
Forsberg: I think it’s important to do the slow progress. If you’ve run a half marathon, maybe you can run a 35k and maybe one more, and then maybe a marathon, then maybe 50k. Take it slow. If you just go from marathon to a 50-miler, it can be… of course it’s possible, but I think it’s more convenient for you if you do it slow. I think you have more pleasure with it.
iRF: Don’t rush it. Well here we are on La Palma, a very relaxed island. Don’t rush your day and enjoy it.
Forsberg: Thank you!