Pete Kostelnick is running “The Toughest Race in the World” tomorrow.  I caught up with this man among men as he readied to head out to Death Valley.   Tomorrow I’ll feature Pete’s Chef de Mission, Kyle Clouston.

Will:   How you feeling going in?

Pete:   Good.  Very good.  Not too different than Steve Bartman when he caught that foul ball.  $hit gon’ hit the fan NOW!

Will:  What did you take away from last year that most benefited this year’s training and preparation?

Pete:  Practicing race day nutrition.  I think I was eating too much, so that’s something I’ve focused on.  Also, cutting some weight has not only allowed for less weight to carry, but also helped me adapt to the heat much better.

Will:  Describe your most important training block.

Pete:   A couple 50-70 mile long runs on the weekend, simulating race day with a hat and long sleeves on.

Will:  Describe your most difficult workout.

Pete:   Tapering down to 3-7 mile runs.  This week has been hard on me… taking that first step on a short easy run is very hard for me.

Will:   You’ve been picked up and featured by Hammer Nutrition, want to give some love to your sponsor?

Pete:  Hammer Nutrition has helped me out a lot, not just from using their products, but their general contributions to sport nutrition with their extensive sport nutrition guides and articles.  Check it out sometime on their website.  They could probably make more money making products that have a larger market (like gummy products), but aren’t as beneficial to the athlete.

Will:  What segment of the race do you hope to improve the most, or, what segment gave you the biggest challenge last year?

Pete:    I want to storm on up Mt. Whitney at the end (miles 122-135).  Take prisoners.  Last year I fell apart on that critical last 13 miles up to the portal.

Will:  You’ve got an Ace Crew dialed up.  What is new for in-race strategy this year?

Pete:   We’ll have more defined roles for the crew.  I’ll also be more interested in knowing where I stand with the other runners at the checkpoints since the course this year is the true point to point with no out-and-backs.  It’ll be more remote, so we’ll lean heavily on each other.

Will:  The work is done, what is left to do over the next few days?

Pete:  Rest up, eat healthy, game face on.

Will:  Those close know you are on a mission, driven.  I sense the cusp of something great going down.  Do you too?

Pete:  I do, but at the same time I want to keep an honest mindset going in.  Looking at my results on 100+ races, I don’t have near the accomplishments as many of the other racers.  So I am very motivated to change that at the same time, and prove that I belong.

Will:   Perfect opportunity to plug your favorite post race beer. Can I scoop the rest of the running world?

Pete:  Zipline Anything!  Usually a Zipline IPA so I can feel the celebratory spirit quickly.