But first, Coffee
In conversation with Ryan Linden of LINDEN x TWO
Words by Mary Cain
Photography by Emily Maye
Ryan Linden is the founder of LINDEN X TWO, a specialty coffee roaster that has an incredible assortment of coffees. LINDEN X TWO has worked with the team at Tracksmith, serving coffee to our runners at the Trackhouse, Abbott World Marathon Majors, and, most recently, at the Olympic Trials. Along with running his own business, Ryan runs hundreds of miles each week with his wife, Des Linden, who is a two-time Olympian and 2018 Boston Marathon champion. We recently sat down with Ryan to enjoy a remote coffee and a catch-up:
The Last Six Months
'The last six months have been a little crazy, but I feel we have adjusted pretty well. At first we came off the Trials getting ready for the Boston Marathon and then things got shut down. I was fit, so I continued with this energy and kept getting as fit as I could by doing a lot of biking and running.
'We hit mid-June and I realized I hadn’t taken a break for over a year, so we took ten days off. I did some work on the house and that made up for no running. Since then, this whole summer we did a lot of running, easy base miles, and making it so that you really enjoy it again. If it means you’re going to trot along at 7:30 pace for an hour, so be it, or if you’re going to feel pretty good, let’s see what the legs can do and go with it.'
'On top of that, it’s nice to be home and all in one place together. We have our golden retriever who’s a three-year-old now. He has been running with us always, but recently he's been running four to five runs per week and getting in up to 12 miles a day. Last week I think he hit 45 miles in with us. We laugh because his sweet spot is 6:30 pace and he’ll lock in and go with you with that and his excitement and ours too.
'What I really love, especially right now in the fall, is the colors are starting to change. You’re out on these dirt roads and rolling hills in the middle of nowhere and it’s quiet and it’s just you. You can sit there and think, have discussions with Des, or just admire the colors. You find yourself going by a lake and realizing “wow this is cool, this is special”. This is why I love to run.'
Des decided to do this calendar club. We got the idea from a friend of ours that did it back in July so we started it October 1st and we’ve been running the days of the week as miles. So whatever the day is, that’s how many miles you run. So far, we’ve run them all in singles, but we will start breaking it up soon. We’re getting fitter as it goes along, so I can’t complain.
It’s been really cool to see Destober and all the interaction around friends and random people that follow you on social media who are trying to be active. You don’t have to run the specific miles everyday, but it’s fun seeing people have new goals to challenge themselves for a month and see that takes them places.
I think I did many years of averaging 120-130/week for miles, so it’s not that bad. This winter I did some 115-120 mile weeks with Des’ Trials build-up, but this is a different feeling. You’re not doing workouts, but are just running and the mileage is adding up. I think we were 105 miles last week. This week is 147. The following week is the reality check of 197 miles. It’s testing yourself to see what the mind and body can go through.
Umm… Why Not Hit 200 miles?
It’s definitely in my head. I don’t want to do the last four that last day, but I think I can sprinkle in an extra mile four days out of seven. Would be kind of cool to say you ran 200 miles in a week if you’re feeling healthy afterwards.
As much as I still love racing, I was thinking this fall will be the twentieth anniversary for my first marathon back in the fall of 200. So it’s kind of crazy, because I really wanted to run a marathon for the 20th anniversary and we will one of these days [for Destober]. It’s crazy to be celebrating the 20th. I think I’ve run close to 20 and if you add in some ironmans, another five there. For the first couple of years in college, I was doing two per year and then I started getting more serious and thought that I should train.
I’m pretty adamant about having one in the morning and then I’ll have one in the afternoon. Sometimes I don’t have one before my run because I don’t want to waste a good cup of coffee, I want to enjoy it. If I’m feeling really edgy, I’ll have an espresso at 6:00 PM. I love the process of making it and smelling the aroma. It’s fun playing around with my roasting and trying to make the perfect cup.
Enjoy it how you want to enjoy it. Whether it’s the fuel to get you going through the day or it’s 15 minutes of how you sit there I don’t think there’s any right way. I always recommend people try it black but however you enjoy it, it’s something special to have and relax with.
If I’m drinking my own coffee, which is a lot of the time, it’s an Ethiopia Laayyoo. It’s very juicy and fruit-forward. Kind of tea-like, but great for all day. It gives me something to explore myself with. I always am a fan of whenever I’m traveling to find local roasters and try their coffee.
I’ll fluctuate around with what we have on our website for different times, different times of day. For the morning, the Guatemala Las Marias is a really good all-around coffee, as is the Papua New Guinea Sigri Kula Peaberry. Both of those are my favorites to have right now in the morning. Well-balanced and goes well with a bagel or oatmeal and sitting there enjoying it.
We switched up the offerings to all of our single origins around the start of fall. Brought on five new coffees. Two we had in the past, and three are new. We’ll be running those for the next couple of months. The full list is the Papua New Guinea Sigri Kula Peaberry, Ethiopia Laayyoo, Guatemala Las Marias, Honduras Los Lesquines, and Costa Rica Cafe con Amor. The latter is our number one seller. It’s really good and comes from a family farm that we work directly with the sellers. It’s a women-only farm, so it’s really neat to support them and their best practices.
Coffee ~ Running
There might be a rare time where I want another one just because. I might not need it, but I want to enjoy the process and feel like it’s something special to me. Like running, I do it because I really enjoy it. One foot in front of the other doesn't matter the pace I’m getting outside and getting active with the dog or with Des. It doesn’t matter if it can be 15 minutes to two hours of just enjoying it and being active.