Ida Nilsson may not have raced a ton in 2016, but she capped her nonetheless impressive season with a win at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. In the following interview, Ida talks about how the dynamic raced played out, how her limited run training this season challenged her during the race, and how her upcoming ski and, then, run seasons for 2017 might look.
Read our TNF 50 results article to find out what else happened at this year’s race!
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Ida Nilsson, 2016 The North Face 50 Mile Champion, Interview
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Ida Nilsson after her win at the 2016 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. Congratulations!
Ida Nilsson: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: That was a tremendous run in a really tough race.
Nilsson: Yeah, it was tough.
iRunFar: You battled the whole way. How did the first half of the race go?
Nilsson: In the beginning I felt really good. It was fun. We were running in a big pack of women. Then me and Megan Kimmel ran together for awhile. Then I felt really bad when we had to turn around at 35k. I didn’t feel good at all. Ah, it’s a long way to go when your legs are already trashed. But then after Stinson Beach I started to feel a bit better again. Then I was catching Megan. It was fun also. Ruth Croft came and caught me I the downhill also, so we were quite close.
iRunFar: It’s not normally like that so far into a race. Was it exciting to be in that or was it stressful?
Nilsson: It was good for me because I had a fall in that downhill, and then Ruth came and woke me up a little bit to start to run again. I was running really bad for awhile.
iRunFar: You were in third then when Ruth passed you?
Nilsson: Yeah, I was… we were together.
iRunFar: Did you start feeling better? What happened? Did you just push harder? What turned the race around?
Nilsson: I don’t know that I felt much better in my legs, but at least my breathing was fine. The uphills were good. I was struggling in the downhills because my legs were bad.
iRunFar: Probably a result of doing not quite enough running going into the race?
iRunFar: When did you take the lead in the race?
Nilsson: It was at 65k.
iRunFar: Having the race being so close before that, did you feel pressure or extra stress in the lead? There were a whole bunch of women still close.
Nilsson: Yeah, I felt that Megan was quite tired when I passed her, but then I didn’t know behind. I knew Ruth was quite close. I didn’t feel super strong, and there was still 25k to go.
iRunFar: Did the uphills continue to be a strong point for you?
Nilsson: I think so, yeah, I think it was good.
iRunFar: Now it’s ski-season time? All skimo or some Nordic? What’s your focus this winter?
Nilsson: Yes. Skimo.
iRunFar: How long does your season go?
Nilsson: I will maybe have a little shorter season, but at least until the World Championships at the beginning of March. I will not run so much until then.
iRunFar: Some people, their season goes far into April.
Nilsson: I will keep skiing but maybe some smaller races in Norway and Sweden.
iRunFar: Running continues to be your focus.
iRunFar: Do you have any aspirations or races you’re really looking forward to next year?
Nilsson: I think I will do some races I’ve already done. I’d really like to do Transvulcania again. Then maybe some new races like Les Templiers. I’ve wanted to do it for two years now, but I haven’t done it. Maybe I will do that next year also to get a new race.
iRunFar: Sticking around that 50-mile distance?
Nilsson: Yeah, after today, I’m not too tempted to go much further.
iRunFar: Not so much concentration on shorter races either? Would Zegama be a focus for next year?
Nilsson: I think that would be a little bit too close to… I want to do some faster, shorter races like in Sweden they have the race Lidingöloppet that is 30k. It’s fast and…
iRunFar: Is that one of the four classics?
Nilsson: Yes. I would like to do that one and maybe some half marathons. I enjoy the fast running also.
iRunFar: You’re still pretty excited about this whole trail running and ultrarunning thing.
Nilsson: Yeah, it’s really nice.
iRunFar: What was your favorite part of the race today?
Nilsson: The forest. I love the redwood forest. It’s so nice.
iRunFar: Have you run in it before?
Nilsson: Yes, just this one part, but not the big part where I saw today. I hadn’t seen this redwood place before, so that was nice.
iRunFar: Pretty amazing day for it.
Nilsson: Yeah. Also the sunrise was amazing when we came up there and had all the lights. It was nice.
iRunFar: So, a very good day and a very good season, yeah?
Nilsson: Yes, it was nice to end the season this way and not with an injury. It was good.
iRunFar: Enjoy your ski season. I look forward to seeing you next year.