The 2014 Ultra-Trail World Tour champion Núria Picas kicks off her 2015 season with the Tarawera Ultramarathon in New Zealand this weekend. In the following interview, Núria talks about her off-season, how she’s feeling going into her first race of the year, and a bit about how she’ll approach 2015 differently than her 2014.
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Núria Picas Pre-2015 Tarawera Ultramarathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Núria Picas before the 2015 Tarawera Ultramarathon. How are you, Núria?
Núria Picas: Fine, thanks. Nice to see you again.
iRunFar: Nice to see you again. It was only three months ago when we saw each other in France for Les Templiers.
Picas: Too fast—three months.
iRunFar: You had a very long season last year with a ton of races.
Picas: Yes. True. Time flies and I’m here again. I don’t know. I will try to run 100k. For me it’s a long distance just now at the beginning of the season, but…
iRunFar: You had only planned to take how long off? How much rest? At the end of last season, how much rest did you plan to take?
Picas: One month, but it was not possible to rest only one month. I needed a lot of more weeks for sure. I have been climbing a lot and doing some ski mountaineering, not on the sofa every day.
iRunFar: So you’re fit? Your fitness is good?
Picas: Yeah, sure, but for running it’s different.
iRunFar: How many days have you been running?
Picas: Maybe no more than five days.
iRunFar: Five days?
Picas: Five or six days. I don’t know. I will try to do my best.
iRunFar: Many times you are very fast at the beginning of the race, maybe aggressive.
Picas: Sure. You think?
iRunFar: Well, a little bit. Since you’ve only run five or six days, maybe will you be more tranquil at the beginning of this race?
Picas: No, this race I think will be different because I’m not in my 100% fitness, so I will try to start calm and then I will see. I don’t know.
iRunFar: So you have no idea what your fitness is?
Picas: No, I have no idea.
iRunFar: How else did you enjoy your off season and your rest time?
Picas: Always climbing, doing alpinism. I enjoy a lot my end of the season—November, December, and January as well. To me, it’s a kind of holiday, and I enjoy a lot the other sports.
iRunFar: Spending time with your family?
Picas: Yeah, sure, my family and my friends.
iRunFar: Do you ever relax?
Picas: Uh, no, not at all. Sometimes I go to the disco and drink some beers, of course. I’m very young. I need to dance.
iRunFar: It’s good for you.
Picas: Yeah, it’s really good.
iRunFar: Is this your first time in New Zealand?
Picas: Yeah, sure. I really like this country.
iRunFar: How long are you here for?
Picas: Only 10 days.
iRunFar: So you have more time after the race?
Picas: No, only two days to visit the country, but I’m thinking to come back again next year and stay here for one month. It’s Anna Frost’s land, and she says it’s an interesting place to live. We saw part of the island, and it’s full of mountains. I would like to go there and climb and visit Anna because it’s massive.
iRunFar: The South Island of New Zealand is really where adventure racing was born.
Picas: Actually, yeah, I didn’t know.
iRunFar: Not just for running, it’s so much sport down there.
Picas: It’s way different from the north part.
iRunFar: They call it the Southern Alps.
Picas: Yeah. Higher mountains.
iRunFar: Yeah, it’s beautiful.
Picas: Like Mont Blanc?
iRunFar: No, but glaciers.
iRunFar: Here it’s the green forests.
Picas: Yeah, nice forests. Today we went for a run for one hour with Pau [Bartoló], my time man. It was really funny because the forests are so different. It’s a beautiful place.
iRunFar: Beautiful place. It must be nice—during the race you probably can’t enjoy the different trees and plants as much, so it was nice to see it before the race?
Picas: I hope, yeah, I hope to enjoy the race because the forests are amazing.
iRunFar: At the end of the race, toward the end of the Tarawera course, there’s a lot of road running.
Picas: Ah, I didn’t know.
iRunFar: There is some road running toward the end.
Picas: It is a fast race.
iRunFar: It is a fast race.
Picas: I prefer hiking and slow and technical path, but it’s okay for me to run fast and easy singletracks. It’s quite different from Europe, but I really enjoy this.
iRunFar: Many of the races you’ve done well at, like Les Templiers, are steep climbs and steep descents but there are also flats.
Picas: Yes, it’s similar like here. I like to run fast and flat, yeah, at times.
iRunFar: After such a long season in 2014, how do you get yourself excited to do the same thing this year?
Picas: No, I’m thinking to do other things like climbing high mountains. I have my schedule. I will run here, Transgrancanaria, Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc again, and Ultra Pirineu, but I think other plans in my brain.
iRunFar: So not just racing?
Picas: I will visit Nepal and climb some of the highest mountains in the world, and I will see, but not to run 15 or 16 ultra-trails like last season.
iRunFar: Good thinking.
iRunFar: Well, good luck this weekend.
Picas: Thank you very much. Nice to see you.
iRunFar: Nice to see you.