Race Team Member Olaf Wasternack is preparing for his first attempt at the 24 Hour National Championships. Follow his journey below!
Since getting back into running in 2011 I went through different stages of running trying to find my niche. I did multiple marathons, half-marathons with satisfying times, but realized that I pretty much maxed that out in terms of how fast I can compete at that distance. I also ran several trail races ranging from 6 miles to 100miles, which were tons of fun. In between I tried a couple of long distance races in the 50k to 40mile range and was also part of several Ragnar Relays. I really liked all of those races but felt that there is something else out there. I finally found that missing piece this year when I ran with Cody Goodwin in the Vol State 500 Relay. For the first time I felt how it feels to operate at my personal absolute limit. I ran myself completely into the ground and it took me several days to get back to normal and even longer to do a regular run again.
However, I learned a lot about myself and felt that this is it. I want to know how long I can operate in this area between being tiered and rock-bottom when properly prepared and signed up for a 24hr race. In preparation for that new challenge I signed up for the Run Under The Stars 10hr race. In the beginning I forgot all I learned and started way too fast but soon remembered my lessons from the Vol State Relay and dialed the speed back. I immediately lost the lead to David Dye, who opened up a good lead immediately. Fortunately strength and motivation returned just at the right time and I could run my fastest laps in the entire race with 8hrs in and could the take the lead back. RUTS was a great confidence builder on the way to North Coast 24hr that showed me that patience is everything in this kind of race. After RUTS I focused on solidifying my running by increasing mileage with double days, several longer runs during the week and tempo runs in between. I have 8 weeks until the big day, which should be enough to get me into a solid shape. Not only is it a big day for me, as I have never ran for such a long time before but also because of the status of the race. The North Coast 24hr Endurance Run is also the US National Championship for 24hr runs and also serves as one of the qualifiers for the National 24hr Team. In order to submit an application for consideration to make the team I need at least 140miles. I realize that this is a very ambitious goal but I am highly motivated. This is the first time I ever compete in a National Championship and it gives me some extra motivation to know that I will be running on the same course with legends such as Jon Olsen and Connie Gardner. I never had a crewed run but this time I am very fortunate that James Suh is going to crew me, which is huge. This will allow me to solely focus on running and he takes care of all nutritional needs.
Next up is the Loonies Marathon this week. The weather should be great, hot and humid and with the start being at midnight the trifecta of misery is complete. Sounds like my kind of race. I will go into the race with significant miles in my legs and hope I can test my legs out on how much I have after a solid week of running. The chances of an epic blow up towards the end are pretty good but I need t know how big the tank is at the moment.
See you out there. Olaf.