Emelie Forsberg started her season late after suffering a serious knee injury while skiing in February, but she’s here in Portugal to run the IAU Trail World Championships. In the following interview, Emelie talks about her return from injury, why she’s running the IAU Trail World Championships, and how she expects to do this weekend.
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Emelie Forsberg Pre-2016 IAU Trail World Championships Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Emelie Forsberg before the 2016 IAU Trail World Championships. How are you, Emelie?
Emelie Forsberg: I’m good, thank you.
iRunFar: I think this is my first time interviewing you this year. It’s a late start to your season.
Forsberg: Yeah, I did a few races, but mostly recovering and building strength.
iRunFar: Let’s start there. The end of last year, you had a major injury skiing.
Forsberg: Yeah, in February. I did the ACL operation at the end of February, and everything has been going really well. My doctors and physios were happy and surprised that I could run so quickly after. Everything is fine; it just takes so long anyway. It has been really long.
iRunFar: But you’ve been at or ahead of schedule in terms of recovery.
Forsberg: Yes, for sure.
iRunFar: It didn’t seem very long between the injury and you being out, not training, but moving around the mountains.
Forsberg: Mmmm, I had two months where I was only digging my land and taking down forests and did no cardio for maybe actually three months.
iRunFar: What was that like?
Forsberg: It was okay. I like that kind of thing, too. I missed… I’m not the kind of person that is sitting on the rowing machine or sitting on the bike inside for two hours and getting out of the injury really fit. So I was really unfit when I started to train. It was so hard to do these uphill intervals. I was, Oh, man, why did I do this to myself? But then… it’s life. It’s fine coming back from that, too.
iRunFar: So, you had a break.
iRunFar: Was that good for you mentally? You’d had a number of seasons where you’ve just been…
Forsberg: Yeah… no, I don’t think it was good for me mentally. Everyone is saying that. “Maybe you will appreciate races more, and blah, blah, blah, blah.” But I appreciate every moment, and I am getting really upset with people telling me that. Even before the injury I didn’t need someone telling me that I should appreciate things because I did every day. So, now I get that off my heart. You don’t need to tell me that.
iRunFar: You appreciate being here in Portugal?
Forsberg: Yeah, I’m really happy to be here.
iRunFar: You have had a couple of races. The one I know about was Trofeo Kima. You won that. Did you have a good result there? Did you feel strong?
Forsberg: Looking at the times and what I can do there, I was maybe one hour off what I think I can do. But you know, it’s my kind of race. I really feel comfortable on that terrain. I was careful with my knee. It’s a lot of climbs. I had a good day, but I was not at my 100%.
iRunFar: What other races have you done?
Forsberg: I did a race in the U.S., Mount Kendall. That was really fun—a half marathon up and down. That was my first race up and down where I could actually run back in July. Then I did Tromsø Vertical. I have improved in verticals because I’ve been mainly running uphill, so that has been nice. I felt good there. Then I did a small race in Norway as a preparation for Kima. I was really tired coming off three weeks of heavy training period, but it was beautiful. Then I went to India for a month.
iRunFar: What were you doing there?
Forsberg: I did my yoga teaching training.
iRunFar: Did you incorporate some running while you were there, or was it yoga focused?
Forsberg: Yeah, I was thinking to incorporate running, but wow, we woke up at 4:30 a.m., and we had lessons and everything until 8:00 p.m. I couldn’t really fit it in. So, if we talk about the preparation for this race, I’ll tell you more.
iRunFar: You read my mind. How about your preparation for this race, Emelie?
Forsberg: It’s a long story actually. I said yes to this because I think it would be so good for Sweden because we have Ida Nilsson, you know her, Mimi Kotka…
iRunFar: Who was in the top 10 last year.
Forsberg: Exactly, and won CCC. Wow, this is going to be fantastic for ultrarunning and trail running in Sweden. Yeah, okay, let’s do this this year. Peter Fredricson, he’s an awesome guy.
iRunFar: You probably had an email every other day, “Hey, Emelie…”
Forsberg: It’s a really good ambiance. So I wanted to be part of that and try to share everything in Sweden, so I said yes. Then both Ida and Mimi could not be here today, so, Okay, it’s up to me. And my kind of plan was to let Ida go for the win and Mimi and I would fight for a good position, and maybe we could win the team. I had a plan for Ida. With my month in India where I didn’t run—I was calculating and I ran 25k in 30 days, so it’s nothing. I didn’t have the best preparation for this especially coming off my summer with my rehabbing. I’ve been rehabbing. So when I came back, I called Peter and I said, “Okay, I’m going to give everything these three weeks and train as I’ve trained before.” I knew it was a risk. I don’t have the kilometers in my legs. I don’t have the strength. But it’s my only way to even consider to finish 85k. So these three weeks I have been training, training, training, a lot, a lot, a lot. Here I am.
iRunFar: With not a lot of rest.
Forsberg: No, I had two rest days.
iRunFar: Right into it.
iRunFar: So it’s hard to know what your fitness is right now?
Forsberg: I feel strong. I love this distance. The only thing is that I know I’ve been gambling a bit with my knee. When you try to do cardio for 23 to 25 hours, the rehab, the strength is suffering a bit. So, I think if I feel the slightest in my knee, I told Peter I would just stop because I don’t want to risk anything. I don’t have a team to race with. I’m here to see what I can do, but I don’t have high… I don’t think I will finish to be honest, but it’s a chance.
iRunFar: If you finish, since Ida’s not here to win…
Forsberg: For sure. I will go out and try to follow Caroline [Chaverot] and Nathalie [Mauclair] and the ones I know that are super strong. If I can follow them, that’s great. We’ll see how long my knee…
iRunFar: Usually, downhill running is definitely a strength of yours. Can you be as aggressive on the descents as you usually would?
Forsberg: Yeah, I feel good. I’m back at normal, only that when you haven’t been up to the distance, especially with the knee, it starts to get tired. At Kima, I started to feel tired toward the end. Then I only went quite slow. It’s all about the knee.
iRunFar: With the knee, does it make you hesitant to go into another skiing season?
Forsberg: In the beginning I was feeling like… when I imagine myself going downhill—you can do that sometimes to feel the flow—then I was really scared at the beginning. Now, for maybe two months I’ve been starting to feel like, Oh, I want to be there again. So, that’s a good sign, I think.
iRunFar: You’re looking to…
Forsberg: Yes, I will strap on my skis one week after this race.
iRunFar: This is the end of your running season?
Forsberg: I think I will see you in San Francisco.
Forsberg: Yeah, I’m really motivated to try to do a good race. I think I can manage to ski a little bit and run a little bit during November. Since my third position there some years ago, I said, Gosh, I want to come back and have a bit more running in my legs.
iRunFar: As much as you don’t want to start a season injured, there is an advantage in that the season is very long.
iRunFar: You can come into The North Face 50 [Mile] in December or even this and be both mentally and physically fresh.
iRunFar: Best of luck out there, Emelie, and good to see you again.