Pete Kostelnick is running the “Toughest Race On The Planet” this weekend. He is the toughest ultra runner from Nebraska right now, hardly anyone knows who he is, he’s never once bleated. We all celebrated the effervescence that is Kaci Lickteig during her recent Western States accomplishment. Today is your chance to learn about and hop on the Pete Kostelnick bandwagon.
*In the interest of and adherence to, the philosophy of the Late, Great, Hunter S. Thompson, I conducted this interview inebriated, in all due respect to our interviewee, the one, the amazing, The Badwater Bad Ass, Pete Kostelnick.
Will: Who are you? Where did you come from?
Pete: Pete Kostelnick–I grew up in Iowa, and went to college at Iowa State. I went abroad to Greece for awhile in college, and at the top of Mt. Zeus on the island of Naxos, after fending off several beasts you only hear about in story or see while in a severe dehydration, I witnessed the oracle that foresaw that someday I would run thru spaces man is to be forbidden.
Will: How did Badwater end up as a stitch in your life fabric?
Pete: I read a magazine article about Badwater while I was in college, and told a girl I met that I was going to do something like that some day. I wasn’t in shape to run three miles, nor was I intending to ever run again, and I think she got that impression as well. But somehow I held true to my word, so here I am. (A lot has happened between now and then).
Will: How are you keeping you’re head wrapped around the enormity of this pursuit?
Pete: I’m keeping pretty narrow focus on the race itself, as if it were any other race. It seems that a lot of others running have many distractions, but I have none. Having run RAGBRAI last year has helped me plan for this event as well.
Will: How are you crafting your body to address the challenge?
Pete: I’ve put it thru hell the last eight weeks–averaging around 130 miles a week.
Will: Please describe a keystone workout.
Pete: 60 miles on the Jamaica Trail in the heat and humidity, with Kyle Clouston telling you to man up while you’re grunting to try and hold back from throwing up
Will: Please describe a keystone week.
Pete: 20s after work each day, with two slightly longer runs on the weekend. Friday off completely to fit in with society.
Will: I’ll refer back to question # one. No one outside of the cognesceti seem to know who you are. You’ve been mentioned as an anywhere from top five to top ten. Yet you are as calm as a clam at bloody mary tide. Is preparation the key? What gives here?
Pete: I think I’m the only one mentioning anything close to potential top 10, but that’s fine. 🙂 I don’t worry about what people talk about, and typically train by myself and keep to myself. I love the ultra scene and social aspect of the sport, but I participate in the sport foremost because I’m a very competitive person. I’m more than happy to talk about what I think I can do, definitely not too proud to be one of those “oh, I just hope to finish” runners. I think my brutal honesty about what I think I can do helps keep me level and motivated to fulfill what I say.
Will: Tell me about nutrition and hydration. I understand you eat McDonalds and pizza and canned soup and cabrito (young goats) for breakfast?
Pete: …and lunch and dinner. I can eat just about anything while running, which I think is important in an ultra. So many people go too narrow in my opinion. I’ll be putting down the likes of Vespa for burning the oil, all the way to Jolly Ranchers for burning the lighter fluid during Badwater.
Will: Your wife Nikki was recently mentioned for Ascention, understandably and with immediacy, just how lucky are you?
Pete: I have no clue what this means. Hell of a lady. She’ll be climbing Mt. Whitney during the race by herself, so I’m excited for her to get the chance to climb the highest point in the 48 states.
Will: Anyone else you want to throw a bone to?
Pete: Kyle has been a great resource and supportive fellow runner and teammate. You and Linda have sparked my enthusiasm for running since I joined the team last fall, and I know I still have a ways to continue to improve. Adam Gentzler with Spine and Sport Chiropractic has been critical to keeping me going these last couple months to help me get over a few hurdles with my legs.
And Pete’s bitch and burro for the weekend, Kyle Clouston:
Will: Didn’t you play third base somewhere?
Kyle: Yes, in a strange time and place. From a running perspective, I’m a utility infielder. Not good enough to play shortstop or any other position on an regular basis but I’m thick headed enough and willing to take ground balls off the groin from anywhere you want to put me in the infield. Anything to get an at-bat.
Will: Maybe it was a bowling alley?
Kyle: In a bowling alley where everybody is guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.
Will: What the heck are you doing here?
Kyle: I was sitting around in a middle school parking lot in Dixieland back in 2012. I see some asshole pull up in a stupid neon with a bike on the top of his car. I’m thinking, no way this guy has a chance. Less than eight hours later I was wrong, picked up a another vice (ultra running)and this hairy dude from Iowa is the real deal.
Will: You ran a 4:52 mile on Sunday through the campus of UNL. Do you
wear a cape?
Kyle: More like a skirt after that performance
Will: You also ran the 100 mile Trail Run National Championships last
Kyle: Good question, I hate pain, despite my ability to tolerate it beyond all known parameters, which is not necessarily a good thing. In all seriousness though, completing this race was the most humbling and educational experience in my life.
Will: I hear you are Pete’s secret weapon, with the night vision and all
going on. How did that whole thing come about?
Kyle: The urban campers along the Lincoln trails early in the morning, “Man, I thought you’s was a train!” Pete’s got enough weapons without me, I’ve always looked at Pete like he’s Scott Jurek and I’m Dusty Olson.
Will: We climbed Pike’s Peak together last month and you couldn’t find
your ass. How have you prepared for this?
Kyle: Yeah, thanks to Linda or I’d still be up there, Jeremiah Johnson style. All bs aside, I’m glad this is a road race, I have a long ways to go before I conquer the mountains. I’ve read everything I can get my hands on, will lay down in traffic for Pete and have been to the dark side enough in life and running. I’m confident I’m prepped and ready to help Pete get this done. I’ve never met the any of the other crew but I have utmost respect for these three guys and what they will bring to the table. That being said, I think we will hold up our end of the deal.
Will: Is this your cell phone laying on my counter? Or Pete’s?
Kyle: Jerrod’s. Thanks Dr. Gonzo, when others turned guys like us away, you took a gamble.