Anthony Costales comes to this year’s TNF 50 to make his 50-mile debut. In our first interview with him, Anthony talks about his running history, how he was encouraged to keep running post-collegiately, and what he thinks it’ll be like stepping up to the 50-mile distance.
Anthony Costales Pre-2019 TNF 50 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Anthony Costales before the 2019 TNF 50. How are you, Anthony?
Anthony Costales: Doing well. How about yourself?
iRunFar: Alright. I’m glad to finally have a chance to speak with you on camera.
Costales: Yeah, it’s a pleasure to be here. I’m excited.
iRunFar: You have a long history with running, correct?
Costales: Yeah. I’ve been going since high school, like a lot of runners. Junior high I guess a little bit, but a little bit. Not as competitive, just show up with your friends and have a little bit of fun on race day.
iRunFar: But then you did become a competitive track-and-field and cross-country runner.
Costales: Yeah, I did. I got a lot more competitive in high school and then did junior college. Went to American River in Sacramento and then went up north to Chico State. Ran for Gary Towne.
iRunFar: Did you overlap with Tim Tollefson there?
Costales: No. Tim and Jimmy Elam, both of them, they, Tim left maybe a year before I got there. And Jimmy and I probably missed each other by a month.
Costales: But Jimmy and I see each other every once in a while now in Salt Lake City, and Tim’s been definitely a kind of big motivator on where I’m at today.
iRunFar: Nice. In your collegiate-track days, what did you focus on?
Costales: It was pretty quickly, as soon as I got to Chico, 10k. When I was in junior college it was more 5k but it was, I liked cross country a lot more back then.
iRunFar: I was going to ask you because there’s some 10k guys that are definitely cross-country guys and some that don’t enjoy it as much, but you–
Costales: Yeah, definitely we always joked, we always said I liked cross country more but I was better at track. Just, kind of just the way it kind of worked back then I guess.
iRunFar: Yeah. Some people come out of an especially good program like Chico State kind of burned out.
iRunFar: Were you burned out or did you take any time off after your collegiate career?
Costales: Uh, no, I didn’t take too much time off. After, right after college I kind of did a little bit of assistant coaching with Gary Towne and I was in a teaching credential program for another year. So not a Master’s program but just another year of school. And then right after that, now with my wife now, she was out in Salt Lake City and moved out there and started my teaching, physical-education teaching career. And kind of just been doing both, and been going well since.
iRunFar: And you’ve been, it’s be interesting because this will be your first 50-mile here, and you only have two 50ks under your belt?
Costales: Yeah. I did Red Hot 55k a couple years back, 2017. It went well.
iRunFar: Set the course record.
Costales: It went well. And Moab’s like a second home to me. I’m out there a lot.
iRunFar: We’ll talk to you about that in a sec.
Costales: Yeah. That’s, we go there like every–we were there two weekends ago, so yeah.
iRunFar: And you ran Way Too Cool 50k and won that this year.
Costales: Yeah. Way Too Cool went well. That was fun. I actually got to run with Gus Gibbs, American River College as well. And that was fun because we were, when he kind of caught me in that course I kind of went through a little scramble where I was all over the place trying to, it was a muddy day, and we were running together and it was actually a place we used to run together for camp at junior college, our junior-college camp. So it was kind of cool 10 years later being on the same trails together.
iRunFar: So you do cross country and track and you spent time on the trails when you were a junior.
Costales: Yeah, we did, Chico we were all about the trails.
Costales: Every Sunday was never-flat run and fartlek. We did those all the time.
iRunFar: So post-collegiately you did some road racing. Were you still mixing in trails during that time or were you really focused?
Costales: You know I didn’t, Tim Tollefson really got me into the trail idea. Right when I started. He got me actually into road running, him and Danny Tapia kind of gave me that idea. Oh, keep doing it after college. And once he started going, or he got an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier I was like oh, that would be a fun thing to do. And then he got into trails and I saw the awesome places he was going and I was like man, this seems like the thing to do. And then kind of, well trying to follow his footsteps a little bit in some ways.
iRunFar: You have a 2:13 PR in the marathon?
iRunFar: When was that?
Costales: I ran one two years ago at the U.S. Marathon Championships and then last year as well, in December.
iRunFar: That’s fresh.
Costales: Yeah, pretty fresh. It’s starting to feel like a while from now with a little bit of string of injuries but that’s just–
iRunFar: So you’ve been mixing in some really good road performances with some really strong trail performances. How do you manage that?
Costales: I don’t know. It’s kind of interesting. The first time I ran the quite a bit faster road marathon it was actually right after the Moab Trail Marathon. I just kind of, you know, I think the trail is nice because you’re out there for a long time. It’s easier to kind of relax a little bit, not worry about splits. I think that’s kind of helped just training road running as well. And then sometimes just got to gear down and maybe a little bit more thought out workouts on the road stuff, or planned out.
iRunFar: Are you still hitting the track and doing fartleks and that kind of stuff?
Costales: Fartleks is kind of my go-to thing.
Costales: I run by myself a lot so I kind of don’t like doing set–every once in a while I’ll do a set 10-, 12-, 16-mile tempo, but it’s real easy to just kind of get in your head and blow up especially when you’re by yourself, so fartleks is a great way to kind of do what I call sneaky tempos. Also I average pretty low mileage, or pretty low average but at the same time get a little bit of recovery to kind of refresh yourself in the middle.
iRunFar: I was going to ask you about, so I guess more than half of your really good trail performances have been in Moab. But that’s because you’re in Salt Lake?
Costales: Yeah, it’s really just location. I teach so I only get four personal days a year. I’m using one right now. And so I kind of got to pick and choose a little bit. Yeah, Moab’s kind of like a second home to us. We go there even when we’re not racing.
iRunFar: So you can pop down on a Friday night after work, not take a personal day.
Costales: Not take a personal day and be there.
iRunFar: And then have a good weekend on the trails.
Costales: Yep. And then mountain bike afterward or something.
iRunFar: I saw you finish at your Red Hot Moab 55k race where you set a course record.
Costales: Oh yeah?
iRunFar: That was just phenomenal time.
Costales: Oh, yeah.
iRunFar: Did it feel like you really nailed that one?
Costales: Yeah. I felt like I nailed it that day. I mean trails are so interesting because it’s such conditions. I was out there that day. Hayden [Hawks] ran, too. It was a little misty but I think both of us had fine days on weather where last year I did a 33k and I’m pretty sure my average time the second half of the course was faster the year before in the 55k because just conditions were so bad.
iRunFar: Snow on the course.
Costales: Yeah I mean the course is kind of marked with white. It’s a jeep road so it’s marked with white markers plus the ties. And racing in the desert is a lot different, you know. Singletrack, it’s, you could take a wrong turn when it comes up but in the desert you could just kind of, you could be on slickrock and just be veering off a little bit and then all of a sudden realize you’re not, there’s a football field of the same looking stuff and not know where you’re at.
iRunFar: Got it. Got it. So you’re making a big leap up from that 55k which is just over 3.5 hours.
iRunFar: To this.
Costales: Yeah, it’s a big jump. I don’t know if there’s really too much an in-between ground to jump, but luckily it seems like this is a pretty runnable course. It’s a lot of vert but you take a lot of things out, you take off the elevation, you take out a lot of loose rocks, or harder-to-run-on terrain, and almost a little fire road-ish in the beginning it seems like, so I think that will maybe benefit me a little bit in spots, but I don’t know. It’s the first one. We’re going to see how it goes.
iRunFar: It is your first 50 miler. Are you, I mean there are people with more experience in the race.
Costales: Oh, yeah.
iRunFar: Are you going to cue off them for the first half or are you going to stay in your own head?
Costales: I kind of just go by feel. Training’s been a little bit different lately. I’ve had a little string of injuries, but yeah. I think, I just like competing. That’s why I run hard after work. I love to run just to run, you know, but I train hard because I like to compete. So that’s what I’ll do tomorrow is compete as much as I can.
iRunFar: You were scheduled to run the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile back in April. What took you out of that?
Costales: It ended up being a sports hernia. And got kind of recovered from it, then kind of came back a little bit the last month or so but kind of kept it a little bit under control this time around. I was going to, I was supposed to do Xterra in early September and then it got cancelled due to weather. But that happens I guess.
iRunFar: Maybe that’s good.
iRunFar: So you’re fresh and ready to go then.
Costales: Yeah. It’s been interesting. Feeling very, a lot more fresh compared to normal. I haven’t been running as many days as, only running maybe four days a week but a ton of cross training which is interesting because I feel like I got a lot of fitness but at the same time legs feel fresh every time I run on them, so it’s a little bit different.
iRunFar: Is it more exciting or intimidating to have this longer distance coming up tomorrow?
Costales: I think more exciting. I mean you blow up and it doesn’t go well and then you learn. Then you go and try another one if it seems like something that you like. I think it’s just, jumping up from the marathon to the 55k, even though it’s not really that many miles, it was an extra hour and a half. And it wasn’t too bad. It was, trail racing is interesting where when you’re on the road, once you start hurting you’re pretty much hurting the whole rest of the time, but on trails, you might be hurting the first 10 minutes of the race, and then feel great the next hour and then terrible the next part, so we’ll see.
iRunFar: Comes and goes a little bit.
Costales: Comes and goes a little bit more, so we’ll see how it goes.
iRunFar: Well I’m excited to see how your race goes out there, and good luck, Anthony.
Costales: Alright, thank you.