Friday, November 11, 2022

Catching up with Menlo Atherton junior runner, Tatum Olesen

Today we catch up with Menlo Atherton junior Tatum Olesen (John Hale photo) who last Saturday won the Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) title. Menlo Atherton has one of the best girls' teams in Northern California and will be favored to win the CCS Division I race. Olesen already qualified for the cross country state meet last year as an individual and will be looking to lead her teammates to the state meet as a team. In the spring. Olesen qualified to the state track and field meet in the 800m as she 2:12.90 to finish in 3rd place. She improved her time to 2:12.05 at the state meet to qualify for the finals. Olesen's dad, Marc, was a sub 4 minute miler in HS in Canada and competed for Stanford University as a collegiate.

1) What other sports have you participated in aside from cross country and track and field? When did you get your start in running? 
I have played soccer since elementary school. I first started running in 7th grade, but still focused on soccer until my sophomore year, when I started to prioritize running over soccer. 

2) What was your experience during your freshman season in XC and TF? Highlights? Biggest lessons learned? Who were the runners that you looked up to and learned from as a freshman runner?
I did not run cross-country or track in my freshman year. 2020-21 was still a Covid year and the high school soccer season overlapped with track, so I was playing soccer instead.

3) Did you do anything different over the summer before your sophomore season to prepare for cross country? 
I ran some mileage throughout the summer, but I didn’t completely start training for my sophomore cross-country season until high school practice started in early August.

4) Looking back at your sophomore XC season, what do you feel was your best race? Highlights?
I think my best race was the Mariner Invitational. I ran my season record for 3 miles running 17:44 and felt strong throughout the race.

5) Your team just missed making the state meet last year in XC losing to Los Altos on a tiebreaker. What was the immediate reaction of the team when hearing the result and how do you feel that experience will help your team this season?
After seeing the results of not making it to state, it was disappointing for our whole team to know that we had been so close to our goal. These results have helped our team this season by keeping us even more motivated and working hard, so we can give our best at our races towards the end of the season and reach our goals.

6) You got to compete at the state meet as an individual along with your teammates Katherine Lorenz and Sofia Melani. What do you recall about that experience and how did you feel about your race?
I was really excited to compete at the state meet. I was glad I was able to experience a higher-level meet, but disappointed that I didn’t run my best race that day.

7) This past track season, you qualified for the state track and field in the 800m. Was that a goal going into the season? What was your reaction after you qualified? What do you remember most about your state meet experience at Buchanan HS?
At the beginning of the track season, I wanted to lower my PRs and once I was further into the season, a goal of mine was to qualify for the state meet. I was really happy when I qualified that I would be able to run against some of the top competition and it was really nice to have the opportunity of a bigger race than what I had been racing in before.

8) What does a typical training week look like for you and your team? Any repeated workouts? Distance of longest run? Strength work? Any morning runs?
My team’s typical training week is two workouts with one being intervals that we will repeat for a few weeks, a long run from 8-10 miles, and recovery runs after our workout days. We don’t have morning runs and typically run about 30 miles a week.

9) Favorite XC course? Favorite XC invitational? Favorite XC workout? Favorite long run? Favorite TF event? Favorite TF invitational? Favorite TF workout? Favorite team tradition? 
My favorite XC Invitational is Woodbridge, my favorite long run is at Huddart, my favorite track event is the 800m, my favorite track Invitational was the CCS Top 8 meet, and my favorite team tradition is our pasta dinners.

10) Can you tell us about your coach and he has helped you get to your current level as a runner?
My coach has been super helpful to my progress with running by always motivating my team to do the best we can and encouraging us to push ourselves throughout our workouts and races, while also looking out for us. 

11) Your dad Marc was sub 4 minute miler in hs in Canada and competed at Stanford University. How much do you know about his own competitive days and what has been his involvement in your running career?
I have heard a lot about how my dad was as a runner through some of his friends that he has run with, and he’s shared stories about his running career. My dad has been very supportive of all of my running goals and achievements. He also encourages me to give my best efforts and not limit myself.

Thank you very much for your time, Tatum. AJC.

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