Cinnamon Buns Make You Strong: Emelie Forsberg’s 2012 TNF 50 Mile

Emelie Forsberg writes about her win at the 2012 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships.

By on December 7, 2012 | Comments

I am not sure when or why I decided to run the TNF 50 miler. In the beginning of this season I did my first Skyraces and, at the end of the season, I tried some technical ultras. Which I liked. But my favorite thing is still shorter and technical stuff. And December is a far way out of the summer season for me! The snow came already at the end of October in Tromsö and I had put my skis on! But somehow I told Mr. Vollet that San Fran could be fun and why not?

I ran a race in the end of October, Templiers, which is a race I thought could be pretty similar to TNF, so to say: not technical and very runnable. And I actually kind of liked it. Anyway, before Templiers I had a feeling that I was strong, but the race became a terrible race for me due to stomach problems. So I guess I wanted to try one more ultra and to have the feeling of being strong the whole the way through.

So after a month with skiing and not very much running at all I flew over the sea to San Francisco. The days before the race I ran more than I had done in the whole November! It felt good and my feeling for the race started to be good! I wanted to do a good race! I wanted to prove to myself that I can handle long distance. Even though I believe that good luck plays a big role, I understand that you need some practice and experience to be able to do a good race.

Emelie Forsberg - 2012 TNF EC 50 mile - mud stride Rivers

Emelie flying through the mud.
Photo: Brett Rivers, San Francisco Running Company

Anyway. The start was fast! Maud [Gobert] and Lizzy [Hawker] started super fast and my plan was to follow them. But just after a few kilometers I decided not to. “What happened,” I asked myself? I know that I am pretty fast, so I should be able to follow them. Is it all the cinnamon buns and the lack of running that is talking?

Somehow, I did not get stressed. After some more kilometers the American ladies Stephanie [Howe] and Caitlin [Smith] caught me. What is this?

Then I remembered, it’s TNF!! A fast race! I better stay with the Americans… So that’s what I did. My feeling was good. I didn’t push. I felt strong in the uphills and even better in the downhills. And that was such a nice feeling!

Then we passed Lizzy who had problems with her shoe laces. I said to her that she’ll catch us in the end and I see you soon! She is a very impressive woman.

After the half race, Caitlin and Stephanie picked up their pacers and I still was hanging around them. I was thinking about how much energy all the Americans seems to consume during a race. Or is it just because I’ve heard from Anton Krupricka and Dakota Jones (They are like the only Americans I know, so I assume that everyone is like those guys.) that they eat crazy amounts of gels that I drag all Americans into that camp?

Well, well. The race continued. Running running running, rain, mud and not really anything new to lay my eyes on. But hey! I see Maud. I felt so happy to see her. Like to catch a bigger European sister. I hoped that she still had power so we could run together.

Emelie Forsberg - 2012 TNF EC 50 mile - Anna Frost mud

Emelie and Anna on lap two. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

But in the last part of the uphill I started to get a small gap. Just a tiny one. But big enough to come alone to the aid station where I picked up my pacer. My good friend Anna [Frost].

We kept up the good pace and we had a good time out there. My thoughts were wandering around and the fact that this was going to be the last race for the season made me a bit sad. And very happy at the same time. And I also started to get the feel a bit impatient. Bummer! I just want to be finished with this race! And that’s a new feeling for me. Interesting. And good, because then I had some more to think about.

I was still feeling good in my body and in my mind. No stress. I think it was that I felt I could keep this pace (which was an okay pace) and if someone caught us, I think I had more to give. We just wouldn’t increase the pace until someone caught us. Because I want to be sure that I have power if that happens. And, for sure, I thought someone would catch me.

If I had not heard that Lizzy had a bad day, my money would be on her. But I knew that something was wrong with her, she was a bit behind. So my guess was that some of the American girls or Maud would catch me.

The last uphill I got a little nervous. In different ways.

First: I’m leading a long distance race! Wow! How could this happen? Can I win?! I thought I was doomed to just finish second and third in ultras. And that somehow got me nervous.

Second: What if someone catches me? Do I still have the power to run faster than them?

Third: My season is going to end in a few minutes. It has been so long and I know I have so many thoughts and reflections. And that got me a bit nervous too.

And then came the last downhill with just some small miles to go. Here, I started to see things clearer. I have nothing to be nervous about! Nothing at all! Running is just wonderful, it makes you see things clearer. So I let go and I had a relaxed downhill. I saved power for the last part on the road. And then I saw the finish line! My goodness, I was so happy and surprised! In the beginning of this season I had not in mind to run an ultra and, now, I am going to win one. I think I have a bit of luck I must admit!

Emelie Forsberg - 2012 TNF EC 50 mile win

Emelie winning 2012 TNF EC 50 Mile. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

I crossed the finish line with a big smile and with the conclusion that cinnamon buns make you strong! Thank you, America! And thank you, TNF!

Emelie Forsberg - 2012 TNF EC 50 mile - Anna Frost and Emelie finish

Anna and Emelie after the finish. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Emelie Forsberg
Emelie Forsberg runs for Salomon. In 2012, she won the Skyrunning World Series and The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile championships.